Category Archives: List Challenges

Mission Accomplished!

Gallagher Girls Series

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Blogs are like buses, sometimes… You wait absolutely ages for one, and a couple come along at once! Not sure this is going to be the usual double-decker though, just one of those little buses, but we shall see…

It’s just that I have some quite big news on the book front for all of you who have read my blogs and know that I’ve been acquiring the Gallagher Girls series of YA novels about girls at a spy school over the past year or so, and have been doing so by getting them from local charity shops. In my previous blog the other night, I had managed to get my mitts on Book 4 from the Age UK shop on Monton Road, and just had Book 5 to get…

Well, I got it this afternoon from The A Word, a charity shop in Eccles in aid of an autism charity. There were a few books from the series, actually, but Out of Sight, Out of Time, by Ally Carter, was one of the Gallagher Girls books available in that shop, and only a quid, so my series is now complete and I have been able to do it by acquiring them from local charity shops, mostly in Monton and Eccles.

All part of a pretty good day, really. Started by getting certain things sorted for the end of the year – I have said I will be busy around new year, and so the List Challenges lists associated with my reading for the year, and the books I’ve mentioned on here during the course of 2019, may well be published before my unavailability. If I remember, lol, I will let you all know in January what that was all about!

Got my bus and tram pass, so that got sorted for another few weeks. Also had a little look at the Christmas markets that are based in Piccadilly Gardens. Manchester looking very festive! Bought some stroopwafels from one stall and some cheese from another – it’s actually charcoal cheese. Yes, it’s black, but do not let that put you off! It tastes like Mini Cheddars! UK readers will know what I mean! They’re made by Jacobs and they’re a savoury snack, diddy cracker-type things that are mildly cheesy and very pleasant! That’s for my Transatlantic friends – my best description of what Mini Cheddars are. If  you have any shops that import British food, you might be able to find them. Anyway, this particular cheese tastes like those do.

And then I got a tram back to Eccles and had a mooch round there, and found the Gallagher Girls book in that charity shop I was telling you about.

After returning home for a short while, it was time to head off to Tim Horton’s for tea – Mum and I do this at least once a month, although we hope to fit another visit in before the end of the year. It has been the Manchester Derby today, albeit across town at our neighbours’ ground, not at OT, but it clearly didn’t matter to our lads that they were the away side as we won 2-1! Yay! Jingle bells, Jingle bells, jingle all the way! Oh what fun it is to see United win away! City 1 United 2. Marcus Rashford from the penalty spot on 23 minutes and then Anthony Martial on 29 minutes. City got a goal back with 5 minutes to go, but we held on for the win.

From the last blog, in which I was talking about getting around to it, or even a round tuit, lol, I can now start on the Gallagher Girls series knowing that I’ve got all the books. However, I might draw up a shortlist, or longlist, of some books I feel I’ve had for ages, which could be priorities for the Getting A Round Tuit List…

English Passengers, by Matthew Kneale, would probably have to be quite high up on that list, as I have said on a few occasions that I have had that book for a while and not got round to it yet. Same goes for Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett, and Mister Pip, by Lloyd Jones. Another one I could add is Nocturnes, by Kazuo Ishiguro, which is a book of five short stories about music and nightfall. He’s Japanese, but has lived in the UK since he was 5. He is now 65, so that’s been quite a while now, lol!

I could even try to give The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton, another go. I did try it some years ago, but didn’t get very far. However, I was having a bit of a book slump at the time, so I don’t know if it was that the book wasn’t right for me, or whether it was just that it was a bad time for me to try to read it.

Resuming C. J. Sansom‘s Shardlake series could be another thing for the Around Tuit list… I did read the first book, Dissolution, a year or so ago, but really need to get back to the series and start on Dark Fire. Especially as there are 7 books in that series and I have quite a way to go, lol! For the record, the others are Sovereign, Revelation, Heartstone, Lamentation, and Tombland. Quite a lot of reading material there, especially as it’s historical fiction and quite chunky! Tombland definitely looks like a chunky monkey of a book!

While we’re on chunky monkeys and historical fiction… Ken Follett! The Pillars of the Earth definitely needs to go on the A Round Tuit list!

Right, gonna break off and resume in a bit. Match of the Day is coming on soon, and the Manchester Derby is the first match on it, so once I’ve seen our 2-1 away victory over City, I shall resume this blog!

* goes off to the loo, then settles down in front of the telly for the footy… *

Right, back again! Telly is still on, but the derby has been on and I have watched our victory, so I am back at my laptop again! Before I went off to watch highlights of City 1 United 2, I was mentioning my A Round Tuit list of books I’ve had for some time and probably should get around to trying. One of those could be Norwegian Wood, by Haurki Murakami. I have definitely had that one knocking around here for donkey’s years.

Might be worth exploring under the laptop, actually, as there are several piles of books under Computer Corner! I think I’ve got Angela’s Ashes, by Frank McCourt under there, and I have definitely had that one a long time without reading it yet, so I could add that to the list. Not arsed if it’s fiction or non-fiction, I’m investigating stuff that I’ve had around for quite a while, whatever form of published writing it takes… Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, short stories, etc… If I see a book that I recognise as having been hanging around here for a substantial length of time, then it can go on the list!

Think of it as a branch of the TBR Pile, but perhaps a priority list for some of those which have waited patiently enough to be read, ha ha! Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts, definitely needs to be added to the list. Here I am finding more books for the A Round Tuit list, and the “small bus” blog starts to look a lot bigger! Got a few chunky monkey historical fiction novels by Edward Rutherfurd under Computer Corner, including New York and Dublin. Those have been around for some time! The Forest is there, too, but I read that some years ago for the former Waterstone’s book club. I also have Paris, and pretty sure I have Russka, too.

I think that’s probably about it for now, or I might start waffling on about more historical fiction novels. I can save those for the next blog, lol! Trust me, there are more, and most of them are pretty damn chunky! I’ve got 153 books on the list of things I’ve mentioned on here this year. Yeah, that’s not a lot compared to past years, but given that I only started reading and blogging again in April after a book slump and the early months of my bereavement, it’s not too shabby. There will be 4 pages of books as things stand. Each page on List Challenges has 40 books. Might get it to a 5th page, providing I break the 160 book barrier! Not unfeasible given what I’m like when I get going and find books to mention on here!

If I can’t get around to blogging before Christmas, I wish you all the very best for the season, and I hope to be in touch between Christmas and New Year to get a few more books mentioned and review stuff from the year from the books I have managed to read. It’s been the year of the Object Lessons, really! Still got plenty more of those lined up so I hope to get through some of them in 2020.

Until the next blog, have a very Merry Christmas and I hope you get plenty of books, or at least gift cards for book shops!

Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Out of Sight, Out of Time – Ally Carter
  • English Passengers – Matthew Kneale
  • Bel Canto – Ann Patchett
  • Mister Pip – Lloyd Jones
  • Nocturnes – Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton
  • Dissolution – C. J. Sansom
  • Dark Fire – C. J. Sansom
  • Sovereign – C. J. Sansom
  • Revelation – C. J. Sansom
  • Heartstone – C. J. Sansom
  • Lamentation – C. J. Sansom
  • Tombland – C. J. Sansom
  • The Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follett
  • Norwegian Wood – Haruki Murakami
  • Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt
  • Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts
  • New York – Edward Rutherfurd
  • Dublin – Edward Rutherfurd
  • The Forest – Edward Rutherfurd
  • Paris – Edward Rutherfurd
  • Russka – Edward Rutherfurd

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Filed under A Round Tuit!, Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Chunky Monkeys, Computer Corner, Food & Drink, Football, Historical Fiction, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Music, Non-Fiction, Poetry, The TBR Pile, YA Books

Getting A Round Tuit…

A Round Tuit

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Back again, and a bit of catching up to do as I’ve not blogged for a bit. Meant to, but didn’t get around to it, or even a round tuit, lol! I do hope I will get at least another blog in before the end of the year, although I’m pretty busy around new year, so the usual List Challenges lists that relate to this blog and to what I’ve read this year might have to be published either just before new year or in early January. So, I’m sitting at my laptop, listening to Absolute 80s, and United are winning 2-1 against Spurs, both our goals by Marcus Rashford, and I’ve got some updating to do on the book front…

Think the last blog was August or September? I had been to Power Up at the Museum of Science and Industry in town, had some ear discomfort, a bit of vertigo and dizziness, and then a touch of the notorious Badger’s Arse with a stupid cold.

Don’t think I’d been to the Lakes at that point, no I hadn’t. So that’s the next bit, around mid September around the time of what would have been Dad’s birthday, when Mum and I had a short break in the Lake District, and also stopped off at a couple of other places on the way back on the Tuesday, so we covered Bowness, Brockholes and Blackpool in one day!

As you can imagine, I purchased a few books during this break, and I have read one of them! It was one of the books I bought at Waterstone’s in Blackpool, and it seemed apt given that the seaside town has three piers… the book was Pier Review, by Jon Bounds and Danny Smith, and it is their account of their road trip around the coast of England and Wales to visit all the piers! They’re from Birmingham, about as far from any seaside resort as you can get in mainland Britain, lol, and they rope in this friend, Midge, to do the driving, only this means they have to get round the country within a fortnight because Midge needs to be back in Brum in time to get his arse to the job centre and sign on!

In October, my friend Sarah and I went to the Royal Northern College of Music in town for an event which was part of the Manchester Literary Festival. Prior to this, I hadn’t actually been to the RNCM for donkey’s years – not since I was at high school, doing GCSE Music, and me and Dad went to a big band concert at the college. However, the reason Sarah and I were at the RNCM in October was because one half of our favourite duo was talking about the literary influences on his lyrics! Yep, Neil Tennant, the singing half of the Pet Shop Boys, was in town, so Sarah and I were there to see him, and the ticket price included a copy of his book, which was published late last year, One Hundred Lyrics and a Poem. For the purposes of this blog and literature, I am classing that book as a poetry book anyway, as song lyrics are essentially poems with music added!

Of course, there has been a lot of PSB news since the autumn. First, they announced the greatest hits tour, Dreamworld, and Sarah and I will be off to the Arena in May 2020 to see Neil and Chris once again! Also, there was a new album announcement. At that time, the title wasn’t revealed, just the first single, Dreamland, and recently Burning the Heather has been released, but they have since revealed that the album title will be Hotspot, another one-word title to the surprise of absolutely nobody who knows anything about Pet Shop Boys albums, lol! I don’t think it was intentional at first, but after about 3 or 4 albums, when either Actually or Introspective came out, I think someone mentioned it to Neil and Chris, and it has been a tradition ever since! Hotspot will be released in January.

You may recall that, back in the summer, I had an optical emergency, and needed new specs, which resulted in me having two new pairs of glasses, distance and reading. At that time, I started on the Object Lessons book, Eye Chart, by William Germano. I have now finished this book, meaning I have read 6 Object Lessons books this year. In total, I have managed 18 books this year with 4 weeks remaining of 2019. Considering that I didn’t start on the books until April, that’s not too bad.

For anyone interested in the Gallagher Girls series, by Ally Carter, about the spy school, and my ongoing challenge to get the series via charity shops, I have now got the fourth book, Only the Good Spy Young, which I found at the Age UK shop on Monton Road recently, so I only need the 5th book now to complete the set, as I own books 1 to 4 and also book 6. I plan to read the series once I have them all, although I probably could start sooner.

9th November marked the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. At that time, as a 16 year old at sixth form college, it took us all by surprise, although I since learned that a lot of stuff was going on in the Eastern Bloc which kinda led to the events in Berlin in 1989, events which actually started in Hungary in 1988 when their head honcho realised that their economy was stagnating and he went off to see Gorbachev in Moscow. He was a bit concerned about Soviet history of sending the tanks in, but he needn’t have worried this time. The Soviet premier knew the same stuff was happening in the USSR and things would need to change soon, so he wasn’t going to send the tanks in to Budapest if Hungary wanted to go all Western and open their borders up. I have made a start on The Berlin Wall, by Frederick Taylor, but that might be an Ongoing Concern for some time, lol, as it’s a bit of a chunky hardback and not really a book I want to lug around with me.

While we’re on the subject of the 30th anniversary of the end of the Iron Curtain, I really could do with finishing 1989: The Year That Changed the World, by Michael Meyer. I started that book quite some time ago, but really need to resume and finish it! I still can’t believe the 1980s are so long ago now! Mind you, even the 1990s are a while back. This year marked 25 years since I graduated from university in 1994! In May this year, it was 20 years since United won the Treble when Ole put the ball in the Germans’ net on 26th May 1999!

Funnily enough, United have won 2-1 this evening, as well, although against Tottenham Hotspur, not Bayern Munich! Marcus Rashford got both our goals this evening. Ole’s our manager these days, but did score another against Bayern when we had the Treble Anniversary match in May and stuffed Bayern’s old boys 5-0 at Old Trafford twenty years to the day that he made history in the Nou Camp.

On the Ongoing Concerns front, one hardback I am taking around with me is Me, by Sir Elton John, his autobiography. Very enjoyable and quite funny. Need to get on with it, my sister has put in a request to read it when I’ve finished with it! I could go on to Face It, by Debbie Harry, which I got at the same time as Sir Elton John’s book. They were on offer at Asda in Swinton not long ago.

I picked up something of an interesting book at Waterstone’s the other week, the premise of which sounded like a good laugh. The book is Space Opera, by Catherynne M. Valente, and it sounds as though someone has combined The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams, with the Eurovision Song Contest, which has resulted in a pan-galactic version of Eurovision with it’s dodgy songs and biased voting, and set it, musically, in the 70s glam rock era! Showing my age here, lol, but glam rock was in when I was a baby! Slade and Wizzard were doing battle for the Christmas number 1 spot back in 1973. So many of the best Christmas records came out in the 70s and 80s, actually! One or two before or since, but the vast majority of classic festive records for this time of year came out during the 70s and 80s! My all-time fave Christmas song came out 32 years ago in 1987, and is the legendary Fairytale of New York by the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl.

Absolute 80s currently playing Don’t Leave Me This Way by The Communards, one of my all-time favourite songs! Not much of a dancer, lol, but this one is practically guaranteed to get me up on the dancefloor at a disco! Number 1 and best-selling single of 1986, pop pickers!

I started out this blog with the Round Tuit, and perhaps I should make that some kind of theme on this blog when I get around to any book that I have had knocking around for some time! There are quite a few that I have had for absolutely ages and not read, so we shall start a new category… the “A Round Tuit” book list for books I’ve eventually got around to reading! Some of them might be half-read books that I get around to resuming and finishing off. Perhaps Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, by Louis de Bernières, for instance.

Busy with the steel band tomorrow night and Wednesday next week, then my team’s Christmas meal next Thursday, so we will finish work early and head off to eat. I will also have to get some more Christmas shopping in and do some pressie-wrapping while wearing my United Santa hat and listening to festive songs, so I may or may not get a blog in before Christmas, but I hope I will get one in between Christmas and New Year. I will probably stick to not bothering with the Goodreads Challenge. I think challenges like that skew reading habits. You feel like you need to read a lot of short books so that you can get as many in as you can during the year, and therefore it discourages the reading of chunky monkeys. If you stop giving a toss, it’s very freeing, as it says in those books I’ve read about not giving a f**k! You’re not skimming, you’re not sticking to short books, you are taking your time and savouring what you read, and if you read an epic novel or two, and it takes you a while to get through them, so what?!

Maybe one day, I will go back to that, but I rather like not giving a shit about targets! Reading should be about pleasure and enjoyment. Even when I read non-fiction, it’s still for pleasure, I read factual stuff I’m interested in and most of my reading in 2019 has been factual. I did my fair whack of having to read books by a certain time when I was a student and what happened back in those days was that I was left, after graduation, with quite a few books I can’t really remember! I can certainly remember some of those I did read in their entirety, such as The Magic Toyshop, by Angela Carter, Death In Venice, by Thomas Mann, and The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins-Gilman, but some of the others, particularly the classics and chunky novels, I have a hard time remembering anything about the plots because I had to skim-read! Even though this one wasn’t particularly chunky, I just cannot remember anything about the plot of Surfacing, by Margaret Atwood! Sorry, Margaret! It was on one of my literature modules for my degree, but I can only remember the title and author.

I’d better get this finished as Match of the Day is coming on soon! In case I don’t get another blog in this side of 25th December, I will finish by wishing all my followers a very Merry Christmas and hope you get lots of books, or at least bookstore gift cards!

Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Pier Review – Jon Bounds and Danny Smith
  • One Hundred Lyrics and a Poem – Neil Tennant
  • Eye Chart – William Germano
  • Only the Good Spy Young – Ally Carter
  • The Berlin Wall – Frederick Taylor
  • 1989: The Year That Changed the World – Michael Meyer
  • Me – Sir Elton John
  • Face It – Debbie Harry
  • Space Opera – Catherynne M. Valente
  • The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
  • Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis de Bernières
  • The Magic Toyshop – Angela Carter
  • Death In Venice – Thomas Mann
  • The Yellow Wallpaper – Charlotte Perkins-Gilman
  • Surfacing – Margaret Atwood

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Filed under A Round Tuit!, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Chunky Monkeys, Football, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, List Challenges, Literary Issues, Manc Stuff!, Music, Non-Fiction, Object Lessons, Ongoing Concerns, Poetry, Science Fiction, Sports, The TBR Pile, Travel, YA Books

New Specs and the New Season

Me with new specs August 2019

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Last time I blogged was the day of the Optical Emergency, as you may recall, when I had had to book the day off work because an arm had come off my glasses in the wee small hours, and I’d had to go to the optician’s to have an eye test and get new specs ordered. Well, I collected my specs after work on Friday just gone, and those are my reading glasses in the photo above. I also have distance glasses. As I said in the last blog, I have reached Middle Age now, lol! That’s last season’s shirt, not got a new one yet, but I’ll get on to the footy later.

Anyway, I finished Sock, from the Object Lessons series, the day before I picked up my new glasses, so I was actually able to move on to Eye Chart in time to celebrate the acquisition of my new visual assistance devices! The actual standard, traditional eye chart, which starts with one big letter at the top, usually an E, was invented by a Dutch optician called Herman Snellen. Another feature of the eye test, the card which you are asked to hold at your normal reading distance, was invented by an Austrian guy called Eduard Jaeger, so you now know two of the people responsible for aspects of getting your eyes looked at!

Wonder who invented the contraptions they put all those different lenses in? You know, that bit when they ask if it looks clearer with 1 or with 2, and they pretty much look as blurred or as clear as each other and you can’t tell the bloody difference, lol! I’ve been wearing specs from a pretty young age, before I started primary school, although I don’t think it was until I started school that I wore them properly. Often, before that, I would wear them on top of my head like my Grandad D-J, lol! Thing is, when you’re little, the font size in children’s books is pretty large, so I could read it without my glasses. I can see without my specs, but as I am long-sighted, things look further away than they really are when I’m not wearing them. Also, I have a lazy left eye that doesn’t look the right way.

There is actually a suburb of Manchester called Longsight. Bearing in mind that a considerable percentage of the world’s population are short-sighted, there must be a fair few short-sighted people in Longsight, which is possibly the ultimate example of Mancunian irony, or should that be eye-rony?!

I wear my specs most of the time. I only really take them off for being in water, or going to sleep. I take them off for having a shower, or if I’m going swimming. There were also the occasional other sporting activities in my school days which necessitated the removal of my eyewear, stuff like trampolining, but I last did any of that malarkey donkey’s years ago, so it would just be swimming these days. If I am going for a workout, I hardly need to take my specs off to go on a treadmill or an exercise bike. In fact, I need them on so I can programme the damn machines for how many minutes of workout I want!

Space Invader Funko Pop

No, you’re not seeing things. That is a bright green space invader! It’s a Funko Pop, which I bought on Saturday at the Museum of Science and Industry in town. I’m going back there this weekend, though, as I’ve now booked a ticket for Power Up. That’s what I was hoping to go to, but they’d sold out, so I’m returning more prepared this weekend, lol! I probably should have the space invader here around Computer Corner, shouldn’t I?! It would be suitably nerdy!

Talking of suitably nerdy, I wore this t-shirt (above) which I saw in a shop in the Trafford Centre recently, and just had to get it! I am always using the “Not Found” error, usually if there’s any suggestion that a person can ever have too many books! I will often comment…

Error 404: “Too Many Books” Not Found.

Please Enter “Not Enough Bookshelves” and Retry.

Hopefully, I’ll wear it again this coming weekend when I return to have a mosey around MOSI and get to visit the Power Up event, which is a chance to play lots of retro video games! I’m not the greatest at video games, I tend to hit the wrong buttons and lose lives, lol, but I still like them, and they remind me of being a kid in the late 70s and early 80s, and the days when Dad used to bring computers home from work sometimes, and then we got our own computer as a family. It was Dad who showed me how to write basic programs in BASIC – essentially doing what would be called coding nowadays.

I even bought a book at MOSI, that being Lost In a Good Game, by Pete Etchells. The sub-heading is Why We Play Video Games and What They Can Do For Us.

Anyway, after my visit to the Museum of Science and Industry, I made my way from Castlefield onto Deansgate, and after visiting Forsyth’s for a few music-related bits and bobs, I entered Waterstone’s. You’re not even surprised, are you?! I can tell! You will be even less surprised to discover that books were purchased, including two more Object Lessons books, those being Burger, by Carol J. Adams, and Shopping Mall, by Matthew Newton. I also bought A Short History of Drunkenness, by Mark Forsyth. It sounded interesting, and potentially amusing, to read about the history of excessive booze consumption and people getting ratarsed through the ages!

Actually, all three of those would present opportunities for my oft-mentioned Relevant Reads idea. You could read Burger in a diner or fast-food establishment, Shopping Mall at the Trafford Centre or other similar retail outlet, and the book about drunkenness in a pub, or even a brewery! Even if you couldn’t organise the proverbial piss-up in a brewery, surely you could at least manage to read about piss-ups in said establishment?!

You could even read Don’t You Forget About Me whilst listening to the song of the same name by Simple Minds! The book is by Mhairi McFarlane, and it’s another recent purchase, although, as you can probably tell, I’m still pretty much in non-fiction mode at the moment. Still not really ventured back into the realm of novels yet. If a book shares its title with a song, though, that just makes me think about the song far too much! Any time I catch sight of a copy of I Know This Much Is True, by Wally Lamb, I instantly think of True by Spandau Ballet! It’s impossible not to if you’re an 80s nut like me!

Actually, some do it on purpose, and name their book after a song title. For instance, What’s New, Pussycat? by Alexandra Potter, which I read some years ago now. That was deliberate on the part of the author as there was a distinct theme of songs by Sir Tom Jones running through it, and the main protagonist was called Delilah! The edition I have put on List Challenges is not the one I had, but in the Google search, that one was too blurred for some odd reason, I couldn’t get a good image of it, so I have had to go with a different cover, and I don’t like doing that!

Of course, the weekend just gone marked the start of the new Premier League season, and my lads were at home on the Sunday, so it was back to Old Trafford for me, and back in my second home – the Stretford End.

As they might put it on the telly, any viewers of a Chelsea-supporting nature should look away now…

United 4 Chelsea 0 11th Aug 2019

For much of the game, it was quite close, actually, and the visitors hit the crossbar on a number of occasions. Thankfully, we have a much-improved defence, especially as two of our three new signings this summer were bought to shore up our back four! We acquired Harry Maguire from Leicester City as a centre back, and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, from Crystal Palace, as a full back, and they both impressed on Sunday! Wan-Bissaka particularly stood out for me, as he had done during pre-season games, and I have taken a considerable liking to him already!

We went ahead on 18 minutes thanks to a Marcus Rashford penalty, after Rashy had been brought down. VAR (Video Assisted Refereeing) has come in this season in the Premier League, and that was one of the incidents which was checked, but it was an obvious penalty and didn’t take long for them to say so! Even then, Chelsea still threatened, and I would have been quite happy to take a 1-0 win, but there was a spell midway through the second half when we just blew them away with two goals in quick succession, and that pretty much killed Chelsea off! Anthony Martial made it 2-0 on 65 minutes, and then only two minutes later, Marcus Rashford got his second goal of the game with probably the best goal of the match to make it 3-0, and I think our visitors got the message that it wasn’t their day!

I had mentioned that we signed three players for our first team this summer, and the two defenders started the game, but we also saw the introduction of Daniel James, a winger, who came on as a sub, and he scored our 4th goal with about 8 minutes to go! His dad passed away just before he signed for United, so he dedicated his goal to him. Coincidentally, after coming on as a sub, it took him only 7 minutes on the pitch before he scored his goal. Back in 1996-97, a new summer signing also came on as a sub in a home game, albeit against Blackburn Rovers, and he scored after only 7 minutes on the pitch. That player? Our current manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer! I hope Dan James is going to be as good as the last Welsh winger we had in our first team, a certain Mr Ryan Joseph Giggs…

It was the joint biggest win over Chelsea in a match I have been to. The previous time I saw Manchester United stuff Chelsea 4-0 was 25 years ago at Wembley in the 1994 FA Cup Final! Our first Premier League and FA Cup Double was achieved on 14th May 1994 with a 4-0 thrashing of the London side at the old Wembley Stadium, courtesy of two penalties from Eric Cantona, and goals in open play from Mark Hughes and Brian McClair.

Talking of London, I actually acquired some books in the capital back in June when we went down the day before my mum’s birthday for a visit to Hamley’s and Afternoon Tea at Claridge’s – there were a couple of bookshops at Euston Station, and we had a bit of time before getting our train back to Manchester Piccadilly, so I acquired one novel, Our Stop, by Laura Jane Williams, and two non-fiction books, My Sh*t Therapist, by Michelle Thomas, and Walk the Lines, by Mark Mason. In this book, he sets out to walk the length of the London Underground. I already have a book by the same author, Move Along Please, which I really should get around to reading, lol, and that one is about bus travel.

I think that’s about it for now. Probably covered everything I needed to witter on about. There are now 110 books on the 2019 blog list on List Challenges, so that’s not too bad considering I didn’t even start blogging this year until April, and my lads are off to a winning start as the new season gets under way. I’ve got new specs, Ole’s at the wheel, and all’s well! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Sock – Kim Adrian
  • Eye Chart – William Germano
  • Lost In a Good Game – Pete Etchells
  • Burger – Carol J. Adams
  • Shopping Mall – Matthew Newton
  • A Short History of Drunkenness – Mark Forsyth
  • Don’t You Forget About Me – Mhairi McFarlane
  • I Know This Much Is True – Wally Lamb
  • What’s New, Pussycat? – Alexandra Potter
  • Our Stop – Laura Jane Williams
  • My Sh*t Therapist – Michelle Thomas
  • Walk the Lines – Mark Mason
  • Move Along Please – Mark Mason

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Filed under Books, Childrens' Books, Computer Corner, Food & Drink, Football, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Music, My Bookworm History, Non-Fiction, Object Lessons, Ongoing Concerns, Sports, Travel

Floating Islands and Local Plays By Local People!

.Floating Island dessert Mauritius 2019

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

That dessert in the photo is the Floating Island I mentioned in my last blog. Mum and I had these at Ponte Vecchio on our first full day at our resort in Mauritius. The usual Grand Port buffet restaurant needed to be closed for some reason, so they opened up the Italian restaurant for lunch, and Mum and I had a lovely meal there, especially this dessert. However, that meant we wanted this dessert again, but it wasn’t on their evening menu, and led to this, which would not be out of place as a Monty Python sketch…

Mum: We would like the Floating Island, please.

Waiter: I’m very sorry, that’s only on our lunch menu.

Mum: When are you open for lunch?

Waiter: We’re not.

See what I mean?! Don’t get me wrong, we did enjoy our accommodation for the most part, but there were some areas for improvement on their part! So, I still think, of all the jollies I’ve ever been on, the El Dorado Seaside Suites on the Riviera Maya in Mexico still tops the list. That’s where we went in 2013, as you may recall, as part of my 40th birthday celebrations that year. I certainly think, for free onsite activities, the Shandrani has plenty going for it. The setting is beautiful too. We were there in their winter, as it’s in the southern hemisphere, so there were some issues with finding one of the restaurants, Le Sirius, when some of the lamps had their timings wrong and were off when it was dark. As I said, I would tell them, if they ask, that we enjoyed it on the whole, but I would give some constructive criticism around areas which need improving.

I did like the Beachcomber travel wallet we got before we went on the holiday, though. That was a lovely touch when our documents came with about a fortnight to go before the hols. I will be using that for future holidays for tickets and stuff!

Let’s get on with some book stuff now, and we can return to jollies later. Sock, from the Object Lessons series, is still an ongoing concern. I get bits read when I’m on my lunch at work. They are only short books, though, so they don’t take too long to read. As the book talks about socks and other similar items of footwear and foot wrapping, it also mentions puttees, which, for me, was a reminder of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières. I was reading that back in the day, back in the 1990s, and got halfway through it, my bookmark is still in there between pages 206 and 207, but I don’t know what happened, perhaps I got distracted by other things and haven’t finished it off. I should do, but part of me wonders if I need to re-read up to that point to refresh myself of what happened, as it’s been a bloody long time!

As I recall, I was enjoying it at the time, although I had to look a lot of things up, especially Greek words! I have been to a couple of Greek islands since then, though, so that may help, although I’ve not been to Kefalonia, which is where this novel is actually set. I have been to Santorini, which is beautiful and I would recommend it to anyone, and also to Kos for the day when we were on holiday in Turkey. The novel was hugely popular back then, seemed like everyone was reading it at that time! It appealed to me on the music front.

As we’re on books I’ve had for ages, here we have one that I’ve had for quite some time, although not as long as Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. Have any of you read this one?

English Passengers Matthew Kneale

We have English Passengers, by Matthew Kneale. Published in 2000, so it’s more recent, only 19 years old, lol, and I’m not sure I’ve had it a full 19 years. On the back of my copy is a price sticker for £1.00, so I got it from a charity shop when I bought it, I didn’t pay the full £8.99 that was the RRP when it came out and is stated on the back of the book. Obviously, something appealed to me at the time when I bought it, but it has been around amongst my TBR Library for some time and has not yet been read. OK, the same can be said of a lot of books, lmao, but for some reason, this one does keep catching my eye and sticks out as a Book I’ve Had For Donkey’s Years But Not Read Yet!

I’ve still not read any fiction this year, just been poetry and non-fiction, but I went back to the staff book club at work the other day, and our next book is actually a play, so we have drama on the cards here!

The last time I studied a play, I was at university, so it’s a pretty long time ago as I graduated 25 years ago! My final year dissertation was about plays, as it was on the theme of lies and liars in the plays of Henrik Ibsen. I know two of the three plays I based my thesis on were A Doll’s House and The Pillars of Society. I think the other one may have been The Wild Duck.

However, the book club reading matter is rather closer to home. In fact, I doubt it could be any more local than A Taste of Honey, by Shelagh Delaney! Delaney wrote this play when she was only 19 years old. She was from Salford, from the Broughton area, and the play is also set here. I know this might make me sound like those two weirdo shopkeepers from The League of Gentlemen, but A Taste of Honey really is a local play by a local person! I may even see if there’s any performances on YouTube as I think you really need to see a performance if you’re studying a play. It does help. You are reading something which is meant to be acted out.

Just pulled a book out of my purple Kipling bag. All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque. I had started reading that last year, given that 2018 was 100 years since the end of the First World War. I got myself a new handbag though, so changed over to that mostly. My current bag fits the Object Lessons books, but I would need to go back to bigger handbags, really to start having Handbag Books again, or take them with me in an extra bag. That has been known. Maybe I should start a Backpack Books list? I have a Hogwarts backpack that I bought myself not long ago for the trip up to North Shields with Salford Steel, so sometimes I take that with me to places as well as my handbag, and there are often books in my backpack! Sometimes I set off with them, sometimes I come home with them!

Just how bloody hot was it on Thursday?! It was crazy! I would love to know what temperatures it reached in Salford and Manchester on Thursday, because it was still bloody boiling even in the evening! After work, I went into town for an event organised by Cruse – UK readers may know of Cruse, they’re an organisation who provide bereavement support, and this was a group for adults who have lost a parent. The meet up was at Manchester Central Library, and by the time it was over, I came out of the library around quarter to eight in the evening and it was still absolutely boiling! Then I crossed the tram lines and went to Wagamama to eat. Came out of there around an hour later… still pretty damn warm! Quarter to nine at night and still ridiculous temperatures! If it weren’t for the familiar surroundings, I would have questioned if I was in Manchester! Perhaps it was a parallel Manchester, but with hot weather?! It certainly wasn’t the usual weather for my neck of the woods, lol!

When I had got to town from Swinton on the bus, I had time for a quick visit to Waterstone’s before heading to the event, and purchased a copy of A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole – the edition with the red cover and yellow hot dogs on it – I love that cover, and believe the book is meant to be very funny. If I am going to get back into fiction, I think I want something that’s going to give me a good laugh! Actually, when I looked it up on Amazon just now, there was a glowing review of it by Sir Billy Connolly, who said it was his favourite book of all time, and I think you all know I’ve been a big fan of the Big Yin for donkey’s years! My all-time favourite comedian.

I have actually got his Made in Scotland book, which I started a while ago, so I can continue with that, but that’s not fiction, so wouldn’t get me back into made up stuff.

On the List Challenges list for this blog, I now have 82 different books listed for the things I’ve mentioned so far this year on my blogs, which means we’re into our third page in terms of published lists. When a list is published, there are 40 items to a page. Given that I didn’t start blogging this year until April, that’s not too bad, really. This list is going to be shorter than usual, I suspect, but probably as random as ever! We have poetry, plays, books about the art of not giving a f**k, children’s books, historical fiction, science fiction, books about medical conditions and disabilities, autobiographies, object lessons, travel, and books about books! Bit of young adult, too. My lists have a lot of random stuff on them. I am a very random person. You might have noticed, lol!

You may recall from previous blogs, way back in 2012, after the London Olympics and Paralympics, that I put a photo up of me with a gold postbox. I think I did, anyway. Royal Mail painted postboxes gold up and down the UK in places of significance relating to athletes who won gold for Great Britain in those home Games, and we have one in Salford in honour of Dame Sarah Storey, the cyclist who won multiple golds in the Paralympics that summer. I think she won 4 golds if I remember rightly.

Anyway, Royal Mail have now painted some other postboxes white with cricket bats and stumps to celebrate England’s victories in the Cricket World Cups for our women’s team in 2017 and our men’s team this year, and as Old Trafford, Lancashire’s ground, was a host venue, there is a celebratory postbox in town. Possibly there isn’t a postbox near the cricket ground itself, maybe there is, but there is now a cricket-themed postbox in town and I saw it on Thursday night, so I thought you might like to see it. I’ve only read one book that’s cricket-related, but that was the hilarious Penguins Stopped Play, by Harry Thompson! I definitely recommend it. Even if you’re not into cricket, it is so funny! It is on my list of books which made me laugh my arse off while reading them!

Another funny book I can recommend, one that I read a couple of years ago now, is Round Ireland With a Fridge, by Tony Hawks. I remembered it again recently because of Mr Hawks’ previous claim to fame before he became a published writer… as a pop star, albeit a one hit wonder. He and a couple of mates teamed up in the late eighties and, under the name of Morris Minor and the Majors, reached number 4 in the UK singles charts in early 1988 with a comedy rap hit called Stutter Rap (No Sleep ‘Til Bedtime), a send-up of the likes of the Beastie Boys who were hugely popular back in 1987-88! As BBC4 shows old Top of the Pops on Friday nights, they’d got to the stage where it was late 1987 and early 1988, and this song was being performed on the show on some of the TOTPs that I had recorded and watched on my Sky+ box, and that reminded me that this was the first bit of fame enjoyed by Tony Hawks before his writing career!

Incidentally, BBC4 are now up to April 1988 in terms of Top of the Pops, and thus Heart by the Pet Shop Boys is number 1, so I was a very happy bunny watching it last night! The main reason I was particularly keen on watching the shows from December 1987 and into January 1988 was that Always On My Mind was number 1 for four weeks, so I was basically watching those shows because of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe! There were other good tunes as well, including Stutter Rap, which was quite witty for a daft novelty record, but I admit I was watching because I’m a PSB fan!

So, what other things have I bought recently on the book front? There’s Rivers of London, by Ben Aaronovitch, and the much talked-about Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens. Feels like every book group on Facebook mentions that novel! Perhaps I should see what it’s like? I’m not really one for much talked about books, but then a lot of those seem to be crime thrillers, so that’s not really my genre anyway. This seems a bit more general fiction even if there is crime and mystery in it.

Wonder what the Booker Prize nominations are for this year? I tend to find winners of such prizes off-putting. I did enjoy Life of Pi, by Yann Martel, but I’ve attempted one or two others that have won the Booker Prize, and didn’t get very far with them. Found myself plodding and wondering if the plot was going to get moving at all! It was The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton, that I found hard-going, and I did swap my original copy at a pub restaurant some years ago in exchange for Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier, which I loved! I did get another copy of The Luminaries, though, thinking I might try it again, as I was having a book slump at the time we attempted it for our book group.

Well, the list on List Challenges is now up to 89 books, lol! I think that’s about it for now! More about books, holidays and other waffle coming soon, but until then, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Sock – Kim Adrian
  • Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis de Bernières
  • English Passengers – Matthew Kneale
  • A Doll’s House – Henrik Ibsen
  • The Pillars of Society – Henrik Ibsen
  • The Wild Duck – Henrik Ibsen
  • A Taste of Honey – Shelagh Delaney
  • All Quiet On the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque
  • A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
  • Made in Scotland – Sir Billy Connolly
  • Penguins Stopped Play – Harry Thompson
  • Round Ireland With a Fridge – Tony Hawks
  • Rivers of London – Ben Aaronovitch
  • Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens
  • Life of Pi – Yann Martel
  • The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton
  • Girl With a Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier

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Filed under Books, British Weather, Charity Shop Bargains, Facebook & Other Social Media, Foreign Languages, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, Historical Fiction, Humour, List Challenges, Literary Issues, Music, Non-Fiction, Object Lessons, Olympic Games, Ongoing Concerns, Plays, Sports, Television, The TBR Pile, Travel, Weather

Greetings from the Costa del Salford!

Costa del Salford 23rd July 2019

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

It’s a hot one alright! That was earlier on when I was on Swinton Precinct having an iced coffee in Costa after work. Hence Costa del Salford is a particularly apt pun! I need to try to catch up on stuff I’ve not blogged about yet, and I last blogged at the end of May, before I did one to Mauritius on my jollies! I will probably have to work things in over a number of blogs, but we might as well start now. I will still get book-related stuff mentioned, and I did get some reading done while I was on my hols, so we can start on that.

I finished Ole, by Ian MacLeay, while I was in Mauritius, and passed it over to Mum to read, so she’s on that one. I also started on Luggage, from the Object Lessons series, by Susan Harlan, while I was on holiday, as it seemed apt to read about luggage on one’s jollies! You will be hearing so much about these books, as I absolutely love them! There may be one or two which wouldn’t really be relevant to me, but a lot of them are of interest. I have found a large selection of them in the Popular Science section of the Deansgate branch of Waterstone’s, but there are so many of them, and I have also bought some online as they interested me but the Deansgate store didn’t have those particular books.

Since coming home from my jollies, I’ve polished off two more Object Lessons books, those being Personal Stereo, by Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow, and Bookshelf, by Lydia Pyne. I have now decided upon Sock, by Kim Adrian as my fifth OL book. Yeah, here we are in a heatwave, and I’m reading about socks, lol!

Holiday was absolutely awesome, although it did have its dodgy moments. Tip to any readers of this blog if you’re ever at the Shandrani Beachcomber Resort and Spa in Mauritius… If you have a ground floor room, and you’re near the beach, make sure you turn the light off for outside your room at night! You might find that, when you’ve come back from your evening meal, the staff who have come to turn down your bed covers may have turned the patio light on… Turn it OFF! You do NOT want uninvited knobheads, who may well have been beach sellers, having a party outside your room at stupid o’clock in the morning! We were woken up by these idiots at around 2:30am on the first Friday we were there, a few days into our jollies. Even though the windows were shut, the music was loud, and one of them was smoking and the smell did waft into the room, and I ABSOLUTELY HATE THAT SMELL!!! I’ve hated it pretty much all my life, can’t stand it, it makes me feel sick! I have actually been known to throw up because of people smoking near me, so I find it really revolting.

We had to call security twice before, eventually, someone came to tell them a complaint had been made. Even then, they hung around for another ten minutes before they buggered off. Just glad we didn’t have any excursions booked that day, as our sleep had been interrupted. We felt the hotel really could and should have done more to make up for this experience. Also, they need to up their game on the dining front. To be a truly top hotel, nothing should be too much for them to do, no customer request should be too difficult, especially something like making us a dessert from a different menu… We had an experience that would not have been out of place as a Monty Python sketch! I might actually save that for another blog, though. Let’s just say it was a bit of a farce!

They did have a bookshelf so people could borrow or swap books, but the thing was that there weren’t that many in English while I was there. I did consider a couple of books, but when I looked them up, both of them were about the third book in a particular series! If they’d been the first book in the series, I would definitely have considered them, but it’s a bit silly when it’s not. I really could have done with either a stand alone book, or the start of a series. The first of these third books, if you get my drift, was The Lords of the North, by Bernard Cornwell, and the other was Fire and Sword, by Simon Scarrow. Both would have been historical fiction, which I am partial to when I’m in the mood for fiction, although I’m more into factual stuff at the moment.

When we came home, we had Mum’s 70th birthday that weekend, and the following weekend we were on a stall at St Thomas’ church fair, and then I had my trip to Geordieland with Salford Steel as we went to the Steel Band Festival in North Shields, so it’s been all go really! Just had my niece’s birthday, too! Junior Bookworm is now 9 years old! Thus it’s all been a bit mad and I’ve been thinking “should I blog?” and then deciding against it, but I really do need to get some stuff typed up and photos put on from various events. Might get some time for that this weekend.

So, I’ve got Mauritius, I’ve got London and I’ve got North Shields to waffle on about and also mention some books, lol! Well, I’ve bought books, anyway, and I have read a few of them. If they’re non-fiction, that is. Non-fiction gets me out of slumps, and I’d been in one of those between November and April, as I’d mentioned in previous blogs. Well, it started as a book slump, but obviously then turned into bereavement after Dad died in January, so books were a bit of an afterthought for a while and I only started bothering again just before my birthday.

Ooh. A numpty! Sorry, just had notification from Farcebook that someone wants to join the United group of which I am one of the admins, and the daft nelly hasn’t answered the damn joining questions! Ever since FB started letting admins ask questions to potential members, the other admins agreed to my idea that we should have a mini quiz to see if they know their history of the club. It has been a really good way of filtering out unsuitable people! So many of them can’t even be arsed answering the questions, so we give them an hour or so, and then we block them from being able to try again. If they do answer the questions, most of them get them wrong, so, again, bye bye! I think, in the time since we’ve started asking questions, we’ve actually had to vet all of two profiles for member suitability! And one of those turned out to like other clubs in their likes, including some of our rivals, so that was him blocked as well! We have let in one new member since we started asking questions! Got the questions right, and their profile showed they were a proper Red with no other reasons not to admit.

We used to get lots of people asking sometimes, especially just before a really big match, right bunch of bandwagon-jumpers, and as we would go through their profiles quite thoroughly to see if they were a proper supporter or not, and if there were any other reasons why they might not be a good member (any discriminatory attitudes towards certain people – racism, sexism, homophobia, that sort of stuff…), so as you can imagine, it used to take us Admins quite a while if we had a lot of people to vet, and it was a bit of a chore. When the questions became possible, it made things much quicker. If you don’t do as we ask, that’s it! You’re not coming in! Do one!

We will post stuff, and so will others, when there’s relevant factual stuff to post… starting line-ups on match days, goals, half-time and full-time scores, transfer news during the windows, if there’s any official news of signings (we don’t do rumours or gossip), and mentions of famous results on this day in history or birthdays of former or current players or managers…. you get the idea. Occasionally, we have to show a yellow card to a spammer, sometimes a red one if they’re a repeat offender or they break a more serious rule, but most of the time it’s pretty calm, unlike a few years ago when all hell used to break loose far too often! Certain trouble causers were removed around 6 years ago now, and things have been much more on an even keel since then, thankfully!

buying books and reading them

Starting to feel that way myself! I also feel that my To Be Read list (TBR) can no longer be described as a list or a pile. It would be far more accurate to describe it as a TBR Library! I am cultivating a TBR Library, fellow Bookworms! Well, OK, I’ve not really got enough bookshelves, so you’ll have to imagine it as a library setting, but I’ve certainly got the books for it to be classed as a library!

I am also pondering which book I should consider for my first fiction book in ages. So far this year, I have read non-fiction and a bit of poetry, a couple of anthologies. Not actually read anything that resembles a story, though, so far in 2019. Daisy Jones & the Six, by Taylor Jenkins Reid appeals to me. Looking at some more of my recent fiction purchases, we have The Lies of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch, and Strange the Dreamer, by Laini Taylor. I think both of those are young adult fantasy novels.

I could read Half a World Away, by Mike Gayle. You may recall that I read and loved The Man I Think I Know last year after it was featured on the Zoe Ball Book Club on ITV. When I bought the new Mike Gayle novel, I also bought the new book by Brian Bilston, Diary of a Somebody. You will recall that I’ve already read You Took the Last Bus Home a few months ago, and that I’ve been enjoying his poetry on Facebook and Instagram for quite a while, but this book is kinda combination between novel and poetry. It’s written in the style of a diary with poems in it. There’s also On the Bright Side, by Hendrik Groen, the diary-writing Dutch pensioner whose debut diary I enjoyed a couple of years ago.

I do also have the entire set of the Malory Towers series! Box set of them. Got it from the book club at work a while back and it’s been sitting in a locker at work for a while, but I needed to clear out that spare locker recently, so I brought the books home. I did read some of them donkey’s years ago, when I was a kid and I was at a sports centre for one of my sister’s trampoline competitions, but it’s been a long time since then, and I only read the first few. There’s actually 12 in the series! I don’t have any qualms about reading children’s books, happy to go back and read some Enid Blyton! I’ve read a bit more Roald Dahl in recent years, too! Esio Trot, and Fantastic Mr Fox came as recommendations from my niece!

Well, time has ticked on a bit since I started this blog. Just gone 11pm here. Still bloody hot here, though! Got a fan on just outside my room, first time since last summer’s heatwave. I have plenty more material for more blogs, obviously, with things I got up to on holiday, plus the trip to London for my mum’s birthday, and the other mad stuff that has kept me busy since June! I need to tell you about the floating island farce sometime soon, lol!

Until that time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Ole – Ian MacLeay
  • Luggage – Susan Harlan
  • Personal Stereo – Rebecca Tuhus Dubrow
  • Bookshelf – Lydia Pyne
  • Sock – Kim Adrian
  • The Lords of the North – Bernard Cornwell
  • Fire and Sword – Simon Scarrow
  • Daisy Jones & the Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora – Scott Lynch
  • Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor
  • Half a World Away – Mike Gayle
  • The Man I Think I Know – Mike Gayle
  • Diary of a Somebody – Brian Bilston
  • You Took the Last Bus Home – Brian Bilston
  • On the Bright Side – Hendrik Groen
  • Malory Towers series – Enid Blyton
  • Esio Trot – Roald Dahl
  • Fantastic Mr Fox – Roald Dahl

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Filed under Books, British Weather, Facebook & Other Social Media, Fantasy Fiction, Football, Historical Fiction, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Non-Fiction, Object Lessons, Poetry, The TBR Pile, Travel, Weather, YA Books, Zoe Ball Book Club on ITV

Towels, Tigers, Travel and Tortoises

Towel Day

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Happy Towel Day to all you hoopy froods out there! We’ve actually got some new towels in our bathroom recently. Dark teal ones, really gorgeous shade. So, yes, I’m a frood who knows where our towels are! For those who are unfamiliar with the works of the late great Douglas Adams, I am making reference to the legendary work of science fiction humour that is The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. As 25th May was Douglas’ birthday when he was still with us, it has been declared Towel Day in his honour since he passed away.

Sadly, while on the subject of authors no longer with us, Judith Kerr passed away earlier this week, aged 95. She is particularly famous for her children’s books, one of the best known ones for young readers being The Tiger Who Came to Tea. One of those books my sister and I enjoyed when we were kids and my niece has enjoyed it too in recent years. Charlotte, the Junior Bookworm, is quite into David Walliams books these days, and has recently been laughing her way through Fing. According to my sister, Charlotte had already started reading it in Waterstone’s and had got through the first three chapters in the book shop! You know it’s a good book when you haven’t even left the store and you’re already well into it!

You won’t be at all surprised to learn that I was at Waterstone’s earlier today. Let’s face it,  you’d be more gobsmacked if I hadn’t been, lol! The big one in town, on Deansgate. I wanted some more of those Object Lessons books – you will recall in a recent blog that I bought and read Souvenir, by Rolf Potts, and I wanted more from the same series about items which interested me, so I will be mentioning those shortly. I also got some books from HMV this afternoon. Yes, I know, it’s ostensibly a record shop, or that’s what it’s famous for, but they do have books and usually on offer.

As you know, my dad passed away in January. I used to get him HMV gift cards for Christmas, I had been doing this for some time. However, he hadn’t got round to using the last two I’d got him, and Mum found them amongst his stuff the other day. I got them checked out before I bought anything and, yes, they were both still valid and with a tenner on each. I have now spent one, on some books, but I still have one to use.

Books bought 25th May 2019

Book haul from HMV and Waterstone’s.

The three at the bottom, plus White Teeth, by Zadie Smith, were from HMV, and the other five were from Waterstone’s. I did toy with getting myself another copy of Not Dead Yet, by Phil Collins, and I still might. I had read that the other year when Sarah lent me her copy. I then found a paperback edition last summer for a quid at a charity shop in Wales when I went to Conwy and Llandudno for the day in August. I then lent that copy to my dad as I thought he would enjoy it.

Although we got a lot of his stuff after he died, my Phil Collins book wasn’t amongst the belongings. It doesn’t really matter as I have read the book, but it would have been nice to have got it back anyway!

Obviously, with having my ups and downs, I am not doing the Goodreads Challenge this year, as I mentioned in a previous blog. I only just started reading again in April. Book slump, followed by bereavement, meant that I hadn’t finished a book since the end of November, until April this year. I have now finished my fifth book of the year, though, as I finished off You Do You, by Sarah Knight while I was on my lunch at work the other day! It’s the second book I have read by this writer, as I previously read and enjoyed The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k the other year.

I am very near to my sixth book, too, as I am almost at the end of the ebook version of The Girl With the Curly Hair, by Alis Rowe. You may well know her from Facebook and other forms of social media. She has Asperger’s Syndrome, so she’s on the autistic spectrum, and posts about life on the spectrum from her own experiences and in order to help others – both those with the conditions and those without. Having an invisible health issue myself, my lifelong dodgy thyroid, plus being introverted and having my run-ins with depression from time to time, there is a lot I can relate to when Alis posts on FB, so I downloaded her book on my Kindle. Other than that she is an early bird and I’m a night owl, I feel there’s a lot of cross-over and stuff in common.

I would like to get to double figures in books read by the end of the year. I know that’s a low target, but I don’t care. I also don’t care if nearly all the books I read this year are non-fiction. I have read a couple of poetry anthologies, too, but I’ve not finished any novels yet, and the books on the horizon for being finished look like being factual stuff, too. I’ve still got the book about Ole on the go, so a biography will add to the non-fiction list once that’s been read.

Anyway, as I said a few paragraphs ago, lol, I bought some more of those Object Lessons books when I was at Waterstone’s earlier. Given my impending jollies, Luggage, by Susan Harlan, was an obvious choice! I’d bought a book about souvenirs, I might as well buy one about suitcases, lol! The other two OL books are about relevant items to me due to being a bookworm and a music nut, as they are Bookshelf, by Lydia Pyne, and Personal Stereo, by Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow.

Sony launched their first-ever Walkman portable personal cassette player in 1979, so it’s the 40th anniversary this year. I had a couple of personal stereos, not branded ones, since the mid 80s, getting the first one when I was 12. I think it was for Christmas in 1985, so, yes I would have been 12. I got another at about 15, but it was in 1989, ten years after Sony launched the first model, that I saved up and bought myself a Sony Walkman. One with MegaBass, in my case, and that really served me well in the early 90s when I was a student and commuting to Bolton and back on the bus for the three years of my degree at uni! Pretty sure I still have that Walkman, and that it’s in the garage. Might even still work if fresh batteries were put in it! We still have some tapes in the garage, so if my Walkman does work, I would have something to play them on, lol!

In the past 30 years, though, audio technology has changed. I went from a Walkman and tapes to a portable CD player, and also MiniDiscs at one point, and an MP3 player, and then, of course, an iPod, and in recent times the advent of having my music on my phone so that everything is on the same device and I would notice if someone was trying to ring me while I was listening to some tunes! My tastes in music haven’t changed much, just how I listen to my favourite songs! I’m listening to music digitally, on my mobile phone, when I’m on the bus or tram, but it’s pretty much the same stuff I loved to listen to on tapes back in the day! Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, and pretty much most other 80s music, especially the synth stuff! Human League, Depeche Mode, New Order, Soft Cell, Ultravox, OMD, etc…

Tortoise, by Peter Young, is not from the same series, not an Object Lessons book, but it is from a series about different animals. I am hoping to see some giant tortoises when I’m on my holidays, so that’s why I bought the book, in case you were wondering! No, I don’t have one as a pet. I don’t have any pets. Lots of music by the Pet Shop Boys, but no pets, lol! The only time we had any pets, temporarily, was when my sister and I were at primary school and we looked after Sooty, one of the nursery class’s guinea pigs, during school holidays. We did that a few times, particularly when Ellie was in the nursery.

Well, that’s about it for now, I think, so have the rest of a Happy Towel Day, fellow froods, and I shall be back again some time soon! Might not be this side of my jollies, but I will be around again before too long! Take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
  • The Tiger Who Came to Tea – Judith Kerr
  • Fing – David Walliams
  • Souvenir – Rolf Potts
  • White Teeth – Zadie Smith
  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • You Do You – Sarah Knight
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k – Sarah Knight
  • The Girl With the Curly Hair – Alis Rowe
  • Ole – Ian MacLeay
  • Luggage – Susan Harlan
  • Bookshelf – Lydia Pyne
  • Personal Stereo – Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow
  • Tortoise – Peter Young

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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Childrens' Books, Computer Corner, E-Books & Audiobooks, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, List Challenges, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Poetry, Science Fiction, Travel

Science Fiction and Cheeky Nando’s

Tallest structures in the world 2019

Hello again, fellow Bookworms,

Trying to decide what to read next! Also got to give some thought to holiday reading. OK, so my Kindle will be coming on my jollies, so there’s plenty of ebooks on that, and there is always the chance I will find some book or other while I’m away and come home with some reading matter as a souvenir, but I usually do take a physical book or two away with me.

However, there’s still some weeks to go, and I still need to decide what to read now, never mind when I’m on the plane or sunning myself overseas! So, what I could do with, and this is a concept that might be familiar to other bookworms, particularly on Facebook and particularly if you’re a fellow Potterhead… the Book of Requirement. In the Harry Potter series, I think it might be around the 5th book where this comes in, there’s a Room of Requirement at Hogwarts. A room that isn’t always there, but makes itself appear and become available when it’s needed, which it does for Dumbledore’s Army when Hermione and others form the resistance movement against Umbridge and all the dark stuff that’s going on by then…

Thus, someone came up with the idea, in a meme, that there should be a book that turns itself into whichever book it is that is right for you at that time! A book that might, sometimes, be blank, but then when you’re having one of those “I don’t know what to read next” times, you open that book, and it is whichever book is just right for you at that time. The Book of Requirement! If there was such a book, that’s what I could do with right now, lol!

patronus is a bookworm

As for the Harry Potter books, I’ve listed them all on the books mentioned in 2019 list on List Challenges, the 7 main books, anyway. I’m not going through all the spin-offs, I just wanted to raise the issue of the Room of Requirement so you got the idea about the Book of Requirement concept.

Someone once said, and I think it might have been Margaret Atwood, that the book to read is the one that makes you think. Right now, though, the book to read is the one that will make me want to continue reading and help me get back in the mood for more books! I’ve been in a book slump since November, and my dad popped his clogs in January, then the funeral was in February, so I’ve only just been in the mood for reading since April, therefore it’s not necessarily about books that make me think, although I do read a lot of non-fiction so it is pretty true that they usually make me think, but the book to read is the book that makes you want to read even more!

Decisions, decisions! Fiction or non-fiction?

If non-fiction, what to read about? If fiction, which genre? Historical fiction? Science fiction? Fantasy? General fiction? Some people on social media suggest re-reading an old favourite when in a slump, but I just feel that I should read something I’ve not read before as I have absolutely stacks of unread and partially-read books…

I may have to resort to getting a few out and selecting a book by the time-honoured method…

Ip dip do, cat’s got flu, dog’s got chicken pox, out goes you!

Sometimes, that’s the only way to make a decision! I mentioned, last time out, that Howard’s End is On the Landing was on our landing, which seems appropriate enough, lol, but there are plenty of books on our landing. There are also some books downstairs, and, of course, in the book chest in the garage. And then, there are all the books in here. There are books right under Computer Corner as well as on top of surfaces near here!

I seem to have two copies of The Music Shop, by Rachel Joyce! One hardback and one paperback. I think it’s because I couldn’t find the hardback at the time, and found a copy of the paperback in a charity shop, thinking I would need it for the work’s book club, although they would have read that as I think I was on leave due to bereavement when they were reading it. My hardback copy was from a charity shop, too, so both copies of the book were pretty cheap!

Regular readers of my blog will recall the infamous Duplicate Books List from a year or two ago now. I think I actually ended up giving the duplicates to charity shops last time I was having a clear out, so I no longer have more than one copy of those books, and there were quite a lot on the list. I think it was at 17 or even 19 books at one point where I owned two copies of the same book! A lot of it was accidental, I genuinely forgot that I already owned those particular books, saw the book on offer in a charity shop and bought it, before realising that I already owned a copy! Occasionally, though, it was deliberate, as I knew I had a copy but didn’t know where it was, and bought another copy anyway with the intention of reading it fairly soon. However, I didn’t get around to it, as you might have guessed, lol!

Let’s see which books are lurking around here…

I’ve got Who’s the B*****d in the Black? here, the autobiography of former referee, Jeff Winter. I could read that, actually! It would be the third referee’s autobiography that I’ve read, as I’ve read The Rules of the Game, by Pierluigi Collina, and The Man in the Middle, by Howard Webb, in recent years. Could take the Jeff Winter book on holiday if I’ve finished the biography of Ole by then, as it might help alleviate the notorious Football Withdrawal Symptoms which come upon me once the season is over, and it very nearly is! Final game of the season this coming Sunday for my lads, at home to Cardiff City.

Although the lads have run out of steam in recent weeks, I still reckon we’ve done much better than we would have done if the Bus Parking One hadn’t been sacked the week before Christmas. Ole did give them belief back, but I think fitness and stamina need to be worked on to get us back to the side that used to be able to play to the final whistle as they did under Sir Alex. I expect that, with those who stay, and with the new signings, Ole will make it a priority to get a side together that keeps going for 90 minutes plus stoppage time.

We’ll be in the Europa League next season, which is a bit of a pain as those games are on Thursdays, so I’ll have to miss steel pans some weeks.

Funnily enough on the covers of the referee books, Howard Webb isn’t brandishing any cards. Pierluigi Collina is showing a yellow card on his, and Jeff Winter is showing a red card on his, giving some player the grand order of the early bath!

Still deliberating whether to take Dune with me on my jollies so I can read it on a dune in June. I was actually looking at my science fiction section the other day, and considering To Say Nothing of the Dog, by Connie Willis. That one actually sounds quite amusing. I could give that a go. I think it’s a time-travel novel by the sound of the blurb. I’m still considering Resistance is Futile, by Jenny T. Colgan, on the grounds of humour. It is “a riotous cocktail of geeks” according to Matt Haig.

OMG, there’s a Nando’s receipt in my copy of the Connie Willis book, lol! It’s for an order taken at 7:17pm on 2nd March 2018, and from the Nando’s in Piccadilly Gardens! Must have been in town after work and bought the book at Waterstone’s on Deansgate, and then gone for a cheeky Nando’s before I got the bus or tram home… I am partial to a cheeky Nando’s, it has to be said! On that occasion, I had the double chicken breast wrap, with chips, and a bottomless soft drink. I also had a reward on my Nando’s card, so I actually got money off! Eat in total was £8.50 which is pretty damn good!

There is a Waterstone’s receipt at the front of my copy of The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. Le Guin. It’s dated 2nd February 2018, so I bought that book exactly a month before the Connie Willis novel. According to the receipt, I also bought a brown notebook with dotted pages on that same occasion, plus The Stars My Destination, by Alfred Bester. I probably went for a cheeky Nando’s that night as well, although there’s no evidence of my dining destination for 2nd February! Not in any of my nearby books, anyway!

I still intend to read The Priory of the Orange Tree, by Samantha Shannon, but am thinking I might wait until I’m home from my jollies before starting that one due to the sheer physical size of the book. I don’t really want to be lugging it anywhere, so it’d be one I’d read here at home, and thus I don’t want to start it now and really get into it and then feel that I do have to cart it around with me, and I certainly don’t really want to be carting it around overseas! So, we shall wait until I am back from my hols before that one is commenced!

Another one I’m not about to attempt yet is S, by J J Abrams and Doug Dorst. I got this a couple of years ago now, as I recall, from a bookshop and cafe on Lever Street in town. I think it’s called Chapter One. The idea of this book is that it’s an old library book and it’s been written in by these two people, students I think, who write comments in the margins, and there’s loads of stuff in it between certain pages. Postcards and the likes… All part of the story, so it’s going to take some kind of strategy to work out how to tackle this one when I do read it. I think the guy at the shop said, at the time, that there’s a lot of stuff online about it, so I might look for online advice and ideas when I do get around to trying it. Again, a book I will probably want to keep at home. It’s not massively chunky,  well not compared to The Priory of the Orange Tree, lol, but with all the things inside it, I don’t want anything getting lost or mislaid once I do start reading it.

I have some seriously weird and random books, don’t I?! Regular readers of my blog won’t even be surprised, though, lol, as I’m a very random person and I do waffle on about anything and everything! It will be, mostly, about books, but then other ingredients are added to a blog entry… music, food and drink, Manchester United, holidays I’ve been on or am going on, various handicrafts… Somehow, though, it hasn’t put people off as I seem to have over 80 brave souls now who follow this blog!

I’ve always read anything which took my fancy. Some people tend to stick to one thing or another. Some like romance, some like horror, some crime… my late dad was very much into spy thrillers, he certainly read a lot of Len Deighton and John le Carré novels when I was a kid. That was during the Cold War era of the “Iron Curtain” so there was plenty of material for spy novels! He also liked war-themed stuff, but then again, his dad was a bomber pilot in the RAF during the Second World War, so that’s pretty understandable. He also liked poetry, as I mentioned recently, and I certainly share at least some of that – definitely the appreciation of Roger McGough, anyway!

I’ve liked fiction and non-fiction pretty  much alike since I first learned to read. I’ve even read a lot of reference books. That’s how much of a nerd I am, lol! I remember getting an encyclopaedia for Christmas one year as one of my pressies. I think I was about 8 or so. Anyway, there was a double-page spread of Flags of the Nations. Bear in mind this was about 1981 or so. Dad went through all the flags and wrote a C next to all the countries that were communist, so there were a lot of those back then! That’s when I asked him something of a hypothetical question at the time… If East Germany and West Germany ever became just Germany again, did my dad think they’d be western like us or eastern like the Russians? My dad thought they’d be eastern like the Russians. Then again, at that time, I think we all thought it would be how it was forever, we didn’t see the Berlin Wall coming down… that all came as a massive surprise when it happened at the end of 1989!

Obviously, towards the end of this year, it will be 30 years since the Berlin Wall came down, so I may well do a special blog on it, or at least part of a blog. Having been to Berlin in 2012, I have seen some slabs of the Wall, and also where the Wall was is marked throughout the city with two lines of cobbles and metal plates bearing the words Berliner Mauer 1961-1989. Fascinating city, I would love to go back there again.

Anyway, I think that’s about it for now, so until the next time I blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Harry Potter series – J. K. Rowling
  • Howard’s End is On the Landing – Susan Hill
  • The Music Shop – Rachel Joyce
  • Who’s the B*****d in the Black? – Jeff Winter
  • The Rules of the Game – Pierluigi Collina
  • The Man in the Middle – Howard Webb
  • Ole – Ian MacLeay
  • Dune – Frank Herbert
  • To Say Nothing of the Dog – Connie Willis
  • Resistance is Futile – Jenny T. Colgan
  • The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula K. Le Guin
  • The Stars My Destination – Alfred Bester
  • The Priory of the Orange Tree – Samantha Shannon
  • S – J. J. Abrams and Doug Dorst

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Chunky Monkeys, Computer Corner, Duplicate Books List, E-Books & Audiobooks, Facebook & Other Social Media, Fantasy Fiction, Food & Drink, Football, Half-Finished Books, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Music, My Bookworm History, Non-Fiction, Poetry, Science Fiction, The TBR Pile, Travel, YA Books