Category Archives: List Challenges

Sticky Weather!

Sticky Weather June 2017

Avoid sunburn – Stay indoors and read!

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

It’s sticky weather, as Peter Kay would put it! I do have to venture out tomorrow, as I’m volunteering at Start in Salford, as I currently do on Monday mornings, but I shall be taking precautions against this abnormally hot and sunny weather which my country is currently experiencing! Hopefully, though, there will be SOME chance to sit and read and avoid getting sunburned!

The weather’s reminding me of one of the newly-knighted Sir Billy Connolly’s stand-up routines, about holidays and sun cream…

“I’m a kind of pale blue. It takes me a week of sunbathing to get white! I go into a chemist’s… “I’ll have a bottle of suntan lotion, please! Factor 57.” They gave me an asbestos suit and a welder’s helmet!”

This might not be the longest of blogs, but you ought to know the news that Pet Shop Boys, Literally, is now finished! Yep! One more off the OC List. It’s been a bit quiet on the book front this month, I have only finished off one book so far in June, but perhaps it will pick up again later. As I go to see Neil & Chris in concert this coming Wednesday, it is a timely finish for the book about their first-ever tour back in 1989. I didn’t see them on that tour, but I did see them two years later, funnily enough in Blackpool, on the Performance Tour of 1991!

PSB Literally finished

I will be back at the Winter Gardens in midweek with my friend Sarah. She was there that night, too, but although we were penpals at the time, she and I didn’t meet up until the following year. My sister, Ellie, went with me the first time I saw the Pet Shop Boys, and also the first time I saw Erasure, in 1992 at the Manchester Apollo, but all the subsequent concerts where I’ve seen either of my two favourite synth duos have been with Sarah, and all the Erasure gigs I’ve seen with her have been at the Guild Hall in Preston. The PSB gigs have been at either the Arena or the Apollo, including the one in February this year at the Arena.

Obviously, after the bomb last month, the Arena is still out of use at the moment, being repaired, although it is hoped it will re-open soon. Although I was disappointed about the Maccy D’s closing, as it used to be very handy for a post-gig drink to cool us down, I still think it’s the best concert venue, certainly in terms of location. It is so handy for going into town and having something to eat first, then making your way over for the gig.

I will have to make a start on The Power, by Naomi Alderman, my book club book, but it’s not on the OC List as yet, so the list is down to 8 books at the moment. I’m still thinking that I should add a “chunky monkey” to that list, and due to a response from one of my friends on Instagram, my former colleague Jill, it’ll probably be The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett.

Goodreads challenge surpassed

You see, I’ve met my Goodreads Challenge, and I’ve learned from last year! I am NOT going to alter my challenge, I’m going to see how many more books I read beyond the 30 I’ve finished off thus far! So, I will not panic if I have a book hangover after a particularly epic novel, as I did last year when I finished A Little Life. I will probably stick to non-fiction until I feel ready to read a story again. 2016’s challenge was very handy in imparting some useful book-reading lessons!

  1. DON’T increase your target number of books! Just see how many books you read beyond that number when you hit your target.
  2. DON’T panic if you have a Book Hangover! Just read books which are different to the one which gave you the hangover.

I was having a Book Reshuffle earlier. That’s a bit like a Cabinet Reshuffle, except that it’s useful, lol! Actually, that means it’s nothing like a Cabinet Reshuffle, lol! Anyway, I was putting some books in the Book Chest in the garage and taking some out. I think there’s going to be another mini-clearout, might take a few and divvy them out between local charity shops.

I was mostly going into the Book Chest because one of the books I picked up at the church fair last week was Heartstone, by C. J. Sansom which is the 5th book in his Shardlake series of historical fiction, and I knew I had a few other books of his in my book chest, so I was essentially going for a shufty to re-familiarise myself with what the hell I had in there. I discovered that I have Dissolution and Dark Fire, which are the first two books of that series. Sovereign and Revelation are the third and fourth books, but I don’t have those, nor the 6th book, Lamentation. This is not a cause for concern, though. There’s time yet. I will list them in reading order on the List Challenges list, and at the end of this blog. I like series to be in the right order.

Other books I took out of the book chest to have close to hand were Humble Pie, Gordon Ramsay‘s autobiography, which sounds good, and Robbing The Bees, by Holley Bishop, which is described as a biography of honey. I have read books about tea, coffee and chocolate, so don’t be too surprised! Besides which, bees are very much in the news of late, as they’re a symbol of Manchester, so I thought I might add that to Manchester, England, by Dave Haslam in my Manc Reading theme. There are beehives in town, by the way… on the roof of Manchester Cathedral, and also on the roof of The Printworks.

This one’s not from my book chest, but from one of the tubs in my room… Fathomless Riches, by the Revd Richard Coles. Those of you who are my age and into 80s music will probably remember the UK’s best-selling single of 1986, which was “Don’t Leave Me This Way” by The Communards, a song which is still guaranteed to get me on the dance floor at a disco, even though I’m no dancer and will probably just dance around my handbag, lol! Well, Richard Coles was one half of The Communards, along with the rather more well-known Jimmy Somerville. Coles is a vicar now, has been for some time, and his book is about how he went from pop to pulpit!

Well, I need to go from blogging to freshening up, which is pretty tricky in sticky weather, so that’s about all there is for this entry. Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath
  • The Power – Naomi Alderman
  • The Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follett
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • 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
  • Humble Pie – Gordon Ramsay
  • Robbing the Bees – Holley Bishop
  • Manchester, England – Dave Haslam
  • Fathomless Riches – The Revd Richard Coles

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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, British Weather, Food & Drink, Goodreads, Humour, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Reader's Block, The TBR Pile, Weather

A Sense of Completion

MUFC Europa League Winners 2017

Mission Accomplished: European Silverware and Goodreads Challenge…

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Welcome again to yet another blog from the most waffly bookworm in Manchester! As you can see from the blog title and the photo, there is a feeling of satisfaction and completion here. On Wednesday night, my lads delivered the goods in Stockholm, beating Ajax 2-0 in the Europa League Final to win the trophy for Manchester and complete the set of continental silverware! We have now won every trophy European football has ever had to offer at least once each! European Cup 3 times, the old European Cup-Winner’s Cup in 1991 and now the UEFA Cup (as the Europa League was known for donkey’s years) on Wednesday night in Sweden. Actually, it’s the first time we have ever kept a clean sheet in a continental final! Even in our other victories, the opposition had had a goal back, but not this time!

Yes, we’re still shocked and upset, but the best tribute to the 22 who died at the Arena on Monday night is that the show goes on… the sports, the entertainment… The athletics went ahead this evening on Deansgate and outside the Town Hall, and the Great Manchester Run goes ahead on Sunday. As it says at the end of the poem I posted in my last blog, this is Manchester, and the bees still buzz!

Anyway, on from sports to the matter of books, and United’s trophy collection isn’t the only thing being completed this month, as my Goodreads Challenge has also reached my target of 30 books! Yay! As I had mentioned after our last book club meeting, I never included our current book on the OC List. It was far too short! An overnight read as it turned out, and I finished The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman, by Denis Thériault, last weekend! This took me to 29 books for the year, and I finished Nul Points earlier today, Tim Moore‘s book of Eurovision losers, so that brings up the 30 books I had set as my target!

So, what to do next? My OC List is now down to 9 books at present, I’ve not added to it yet. It’s also a question of what to do next with the Goodreads Challenge side of it. Last year, I set the original target at 25. I met that around May or June of last year. Plenty of time to go, I thought, so I upped the target to 40, thinking another 15 books was perfectly sensible…

But then I read A Little Life. And then I had an Epic Book Hangover! Oops! For the rest of 2016, I did not feel up to reading ANY fiction at all! Nothing appealed to me. Nothing grabbed me. My final total for 2016 was 30 books, and that’s because I managed to read some non-fiction books for the rest of the year! I’d missed my target by 10 books, though, because I’d wasted a lot of time fretting about my inability to read any fiction.

However, I now know that if the same thing ever happens again, I can turn to my non-fiction reads, of which I have plenty I can be getting on with, so I am NOT going to let it bug me if I have Reader’s Block on the fiction front. It would only be a worry if I didn’t fancy reading anything at all! This has also happened in the past, so I am not going to bother upping my Goodreads Challenge total. I will leave it at 30 and see how many more books above and beyond my target number I can read by the end of 2017!

So, back to the Ongoing Concerns… Pet Shop Boys, Literally, now returns to the top spot, followed by Periodic Tales. The number of OCs is currently 9. Do I add to that, or get others off the list first before adding new ones? I really think some of the YA ones on there could do with reading! Perhaps get PSB off the list first, though. The book is at 62% and I am going to see them in Blackpool in June, so back to Chris Heath‘s account of their first proper tour back in 1989…

Just looking over at the OC pile, and the nine books consist of four non-fiction titles and five YA novels! My plan, from a previous blog, was to get the list to a balance of general fiction, non-fiction, and young adult. Three of each. So, next non-fiction to come off the list gets replaced by a general fiction title, and the next two YA books to come off the list are also replaced by general fiction, and we would get to that three of each stage. The others could be like for like replacements. So, let’s say I finish Pet Shop Boys, Literally next. That non-fiction is replaced by fiction. Next book after that is Periodic Tales, another non-fiction, but that could be replaced by another non-fiction, as we’d have got the non-fictions down to three. After that on the list are Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, followed by Finding Audrey, so those are the two YA titles which would be replaced by general fiction once those had been read, but then we’d have that balance.

So, the OC pile stays at nine. No more books are added. Next non-fiction, and next two YA novels are to be replaced by general fiction, and then we’re set.

For one of my next fiction ones, once I’ve finished with Pet Shop Boys, Literally, I have a few in mind. Obviously, Midnight Blue, a recent acquisition could be read, but then again, maybe it’s time I gave The Miniaturist a go? However, I did recently find I Know This Much Is True, by Wally Lamb, at a charity shop in Salford for £2. Bearing in mind that it’s quite a chunky book, and the RRP was £9.99, that’s still quite some bargain, even if I have had much cheaper acquisitions from the local charity shops, of which we have many in Monton, Eccles and Salford! I still can’t see that book without thinking of the Spandau Ballet song, lol!

Anyway, that’s about it for now, and while we’re still on 26th May, 18 years on from the best night of my life in Barcelona in 1999, I wish all my fellow Reds a Happy St Ole’s Day! Until my next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman – Denis Thériault
  • Nul Points – Tim Moore
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath
  • Periodic Tales  – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • Finding Audrey – Sophie Kinsella
  • Midnight Blue – Simone van der Vlugt
  • The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton
  • I Know This Much Is True – Wally Lamb

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Filed under Books, British Weather, Charity Shop Bargains, Football, Goodreads, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Reader's Block, Sports, The TBR Pile

Signed, Sealed, Delivered…

Tobacconist finished May 2017

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Another blog, another book finished and off the OC List! Not quite in time for yesterday’s book club meeting, but The Tobacconist has been finished off, and I can recommend it! Historical fiction without being too chunky (we all know historical fiction, as a genre, has a well-earned reputation for chunky novels!) Very well-written. So, currently, until I add another book, there are 10 books on the OC list, and now 28 on my Goodreads Challenge! Woo hoo!

Going back to my OC List, it may have occurred to you that when I give percentages for how far through any book on my OC List I have progressed, they are always at least 10% or more. Usually coming in on the list at around 12 or 13 percent. This is my OC List policy and it also means that I can try a bit and see if I like it first. If it doesn’t grab me, it’s not even going to go on the list! It’s my escape clause so that I don’t feel pressured into reading stuff which really doesn’t fizz on me, such as horror novels! So, if you WERE wondering why books had to be read, at least a little bit, before even appearing on the OC List, that is why! In case my book club chooses something which isn’t my cup of tea, or if I try one of my many books from my TBR List only to find that I can’t get into it…

New books May 2017

My latest acquisitions from Waterstone’s yesterday…

Anyway, talking of the book club, the next book, for our meeting on 14th June, is The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman, by Denis Thériault, a novella set in Quebec, Canada. The author lives in Montreal, according to the info at the front of the book, so that’s our new one, with the postman theme giving us the blog title for today! Thing is, it’s a short one. 137 pages. Thus I am debating whether it will even need to go on the OC List at all, or whether it will only take a day or two to read and I needn’t list it as an Ongoing Concern, in the same way I didn’t bother listing Diary of an Oxygen Thief as an OC.

The other book in the photo is one which caught my eye in Waterstone’s yesterday, Midnight Blue, by Simone van der Vlugt. Historical fiction set in the Netherlands, in both Amsterdam and Delft. I have been to Amsterdam, of course, been there twice, let in the new year there once, back in the noughties, but not been to Delft as yet. I believe it’s in the south of the country and not far from Rotterdam, which I mentioned on here earlier this week due to Feyenoord winning the league and due to the anniversary of United winning the European Cup-Winners’ Cup at their ground in 1991.

Anyway, back to Midnight Blue. I read the blurb on the back, and it struck me that it seemed like the sort of book I might like, having enjoyed Girl With a Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier, a couple of years ago. Actually, I really should get round to trying The Miniaturist, by Jessie Burton, sometime soon, if we’re discussing historical fiction set in the Netherlands, lol! Plus, I met her last year, and she signed it for me, along with my copy of The Muse.

Really should read some more of my hardbacks. Thing is, they’re not always the most ideal handbag books, are they? So I don’t feel as inclined to lug them around as I do with paperbacks, which I just stick in my handbag and take them around with me. Some books just come everywhere… Nul Points is still in my handbag. That’s top of the OC List now that I’ve finished The Tobacconist. Still got a lot of YA novels on there to get on with. Perhaps I need to get Nul Points finished and have a good go at the YA stuff… get it off the list and some fresh stuff on.

Talking of YA novels, anyone who knows me on FB book groups might know that I’ve recently commented that I much prefer the cover of the US edition of The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas, rather than the UK version. Very helpfully, the young lady who was working in the YA section at Waterstone’s yesterday said that the Book Depository would be the place to go if I wanted to get a copy of that book with the US cover, so when I get around to acquiring one, I shall look online at that site. The book has different publishers in different countries. I don’t dislike the UK cover, but I have to say I much prefer the US one.

Bit of a List Challenges mini rant! Grrr! Why is it that sometimes they either change the edition or put image not available?! I’ve had to find new images for a couple of books and I’ve had to put those back in where they belong on a very long list, meaning I had to scroll upwards quite a bit, not just for 11/22/63, by Stephen King, but especially for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J. K. Rowling! Very irritating, and a total pain in the arse, but covers have been found and the old ones deleted.

The other rant, although this applies to other sites, not just List Challenges, is that when you hide an advert for whatever reason, they bloody lie to you with that “We’ll try not to show that advert again” bullshit, but you know that’s not true as it crops up yet again shortly afterwards. If they are trying, which I very much doubt, then they’re NOT trying anywhere near hard enough as far as I’m concerned! Lying tossers!

The standard of advertising on the internet is subterranean to say the least! So much misleading shite! I just wish there was some kind of strict regulator, like we have the Advertising Standards Agency here in the UK. That tends to cover TV, radio, papers and magazines. Sadly, websites don’t come under their remit and there’s a load of bullshit “adverts” on the internet which would NEVER get shown on telly for a bloody good reason – they’re false and misleading and just bloody clickbait! If pigs ever fly, and I ever get to be in charge, a whole host of shite ads would get banned! Why should people’s enjoyment of time online have to be spoiled by shitty fake adverts?!

Been on the Book Depository website, but, disappointingly, it just seems to have the UK edition of The Hate U Give. Is there anywhere where I could get a copy of the edition with the cover I prefer? Anywhere at all? Not that I’ve really got the dosh right now, but on a need to know basis for when I do get around to buying it…

Well, time to get a bit more of Nul Points read, I think! So, until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Tobacconist – Robert Seethaler
  • The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman – Denis Thériault
  • Diary of an Oxygen Thief – Anonymous
  • Midnight Blue – Simone van der Vlugt
  • Girl With a Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier
  • The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton
  • The Muse – Jessie Burton
  • Nul Points – Tim Moore
  • The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
  • 11/22/63 – Stephen King
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J. K. Rowling

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Filed under Books, European Literature, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Historical Fiction, List Challenges, Literary Issues, Music, Ongoing Concerns, Rants, The TBR Pile, Travel, YA Books

April Review

Cross stitched book girl in frame

Another good month on the book front…

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Welcome to the monthly review for April 2017! A month in which I have managed to finish off 8 books and reach the 25/30 stage on my Goodreads Challenge for this year. A matter of an hour or so ago, I finished Diary of an Oxygen Thief, by Anonymous, which it only took me a day to read. Wasn’t a particularly long book, only 151 pages. There was no point putting it on the OC List, as I felt it would be a quick read, which it proved to be. Likeable in an odd sort of way, rather in the way I enjoyed Fight Club last year!

While I accept that two of the eight books I’ve polished off this month were the kids’ books I read in Waterstone’s the other day, six of my finished reads during the course of April have been grown-up reading matter, lol! I have got quite a few long-term ongoing concerns off the list! Some of that is thanks to being on jury service, although I finished I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović before Easter and passed it on to my sister.

I also finished the cross-stitch of the girl with the book before Easter, as seen in the photo at the start of this blog!

Skintown, by Ciaran McMenamin, was published on 6th April, so I was finally able to find a photo of the actual cover for the purposes of List Challenges! This was a book which I had got as a freebie in February at a book club meeting, because it was an uncorrected proof copy.

That was also the day I was at Cheshire Oaks, and acquired a few books at The Works while I was there. While I don’t need to list all of them here, a couple of them were added to the OC List this month, those being The People’s Songs, by Stuart Maconie, which I have since finished, and City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare, the first of the Mortal Instruments box set of 6 books, which I am still reading at present.

12th April was my book club night, and our chosen book for our next meeting, to be held on 18th May, is The Tobacconist, by Robert Seethaler, so that is currently one of my ongoing concerns.

Four of the five missing books were found on 14th April in part of my wardrobe unit, Good Friday proving a very good day for locating stray paperbacks, lol! Of those books which I had listed as missing in previous blogs, the only book still AWOL is The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy. I still haven’t a Scooby where that one buggered off to, as it used to be in Computer Corner! It went walkabouts some time ago, though.

An Equal Music, by Vikram Seth, was the first of the books I finished while on jury service. Also coming off the list thanks to my time at Manchester Crown Court were The People’s Songs, The Saffron Trail, and Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist.  The Stuart Maconie book hadn’t been on the OC list for long, but the other three had, so some of the long term OCs are finally off that list!

The OC List, as things stand at the end of April, has eight books on it, and this is the present state of affairs…

Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath – 62%

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews – 34%

The Tobacconist  – Robert Seethaler – 32%

Nul Points – Tim Moore – 30%

Finding Audrey – Sophie Kinsella – 29%

City of Bones – Cassandra Clare – 21%

I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You – Ally Carter – 15%

Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson – 13%

Nul Points is, as you can imagine, a book about the acts which have failed to register a single vote from any country at the Eurovision Song Contest. I added this book in April, along with the Ally Carter book, the first in the Gallagher Girls series of YA novels about girls at a school for spies, and Bill Bryson‘s tour of Europe. I also added the book about the Pet Shop Boys, which I had mentioned earlier this year. That was already half-read, so it’s just a matter of resuming it, which I have now done. As I have listed the current OCs above, they will not be listed again at the end, just the other books I’ve mentioned in this blog which are not currently ongoing concerns will be listed in my usual bullet points.

I am now a 44 year old bookworm, by the way, as I celebrated my birthday last Sunday, 23rd April. Have to admit that I had a day off from the reading. It was a day for eating, and also for celebrating a 2-0 away win at Burnley for my lads. I just wish more of the home performances were better, I feel short-changed! We’ve had far too many draws this season, especially at Old Trafford, and I am not impressed! Too many wasted opportunities. Anyway, less about the footy and back to the books…

On Saturday, I read Tidy, and The Day the Crayons Came Home, which accounts for the two children’s books added to the Goodreads Challenge this month, and on Sunday I polished off all 151 pages of Diary of an Oxygen Thief, as I mentioned at the start.

So, as we head into the merry month of May, there are more books to be read, more to be added to the OCs, and hopefully more to come off that list, too! I will probably add at least a book or two to the OC list to get it back up to ten. I just need to decide which books to choose! Got plenty of possibilities! Maybe The Upside of Unrequited, by Becky Albertalli, just in case she actually lets us know how mermaids pee, lol! Maybe I might even find The God of Lost Books, er sorry, The God of Small Things?! Stranger things have happened, like Leicester City winning the league last season, but that book must be around somewhere! I’m pretty sure I didn’t give it away!

Oh well, I think that’s about all my book related waffle for now, so I’ll get this published so you can read my review of April’s book-related activity! Until my next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry (other than the current OCs)…

  • Diary of an Oxygen Thief – Anonymous
  • Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović – Zlatan Ibrahimović
  • Skintown – Ciaran McMenamin
  • The People’s Songs – Stuart Maconie
  • The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • The Saffron Trail – Rosanna Ley
  • Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist – Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
  • Tidy – Emily Gravett
  • The Day the Crayons Came Home – Drew Daywalt
  • The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli

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Filed under Books, Cross-Stitch, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Free Books, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, List Challenges, Month in Review, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, Travel, YA Books

Good Morning, Judge!

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

The joys of jury service, eh?! Last week, I wasn’t on a case, this week I am, but there’s still a lot of hanging around in the jurors’ lounge and thus plenty of reading time to keep bookworms happy, lol! Especially if a point of law needs to be raised and the judge doesn’t need us jurors for that… Thus, long lunches and plenty of book time! Therefore the OC List might be unrecognisable soon with some long-standing books coming off the list at last! You’ll remember that I finished off An Equal Music last week, along with The People’s Songs, and now another couple which have been on the list for some time, along with the Vikram Seth novel, have also been finished and joined the ranks of the Goodreads Challenge instead!

By the way, tonight’s court-themed blog title comes courtesy of a hit by 10CC back in the 70s! I’m not expecting the case to go on too long, which is a good thing because I’m not sure how many more legally-themed songs I can think of! We’ve had Love In The First Degree, All Rise and now Good Morning Judge! Talking of Love In The First Degree, it’s quite a co-incidence that I should use a Bananarama song title for a blog title last week and then we hear the news that Bananarama are making a comeback! I’m sure that’s just a fluke and we’ll not be hearing similar news for Blue and 10CC!

If I hadn’t been going through legally-themed titles, I might have gone with A Little Respect for today’s blog, as it’s the birthday of Andy Bell from Erasure, and I have loved them since my teens, back in the late 80s – second only to the Pet Shop Boys as far as my musical favourites go, and I’ve seen Andy and Vince in concert several times, almost as many times as I’ve seen Neil and Chris!

Right, anyway, so, where were we?! Ah, yes, finishing off books and getting them off the OC list because I’ve had a lot of time to kill on jury service, lol! So, yesterday I finished off The Saffron Trail at last, a really great book with a really good plot twist near the end! I’d actually got that book in October last year because I wanted something set in Morocco, or at least partially set in Morocco, to take on my jollies with me to Marrakech, and a Google search of “books set in Morocco” threw up that one along with a few others, the blurb looked good, and I managed to get a copy of Rosanna Ley‘s book from W H Smith’s in the Trafford Centre. Waterstone’s had some novels by the same author, but not that particular one, but WH Smith had a copy, so I was in luck. I got a bit read before and during my jollies, but I have read most of it since then, and it has reminded me of my time in Morocco in November.

I still want to slap Ted Robinson from The Saffron Trail, though! Well, actually, punch his lights out for being a total arsehole, or asshole as they’d say in the States, as he’s one of the American characters in the plot. He’s on the Literary Slap List, that’s for certain!

That one had been on 55% for a while, along with Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, but I finished that one off today, before making further progress with City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare, the first of the Mortal Instruments series, which is now up to 21% according to Goodreads.

Before we come on to the usual “what the hell should I read next?” dilemma, lol, I saw an interesting book-related question on Facebook earlier, concerning books which you may have originally hated, or at least not liked very much, first time around, but then you read them again later and really enjoyed them. Not sure I’ve experienced that as such, yet, but there is one book I remember having to read when I was at high school, round about 30 or 31 years ago now, the academic year of 1986-87, anyway, when I was in my third year at high school (year 9 as it’s known these days).

It was one of those instances where the whole class reads the same book. The book was The Gun, by C S Forester, and it didn’t really float my boat as a 13 or 14 year old. However, this is now 2017, I am now 44 years old, and if I were to get hold of a copy, I might try it and see if it grabs me this time round. I think they picked the book at the time in the hope it would appeal to the lads. I was a teenage girl and the thought of reading about some huge-arse cannon used in some silly battle or other didn’t seem like the sort of reading matter which would be up my street.

As I said before, though, we’ve moved on 30 years or so, I’m an adult, and a very random reader with pretty broad tastes! I read quite widely, I like to think, although there’s some stuff which really doesn’t appeal to me – such as horror or books by known right-wingers, as I have no wish to read something that’s either going to scare the living crap out of me or annoy me and get my blood pressure up! I’m not too thrilled about crime fiction, either, although I’ll give it a go as long as the plot isn’t too gory or scary!

I think I need a brew. On second thoughts, no. I KNOW I need a brew! I shall be back shortly with a cuppa… cannot possibly decide what to add to the OC List next unless there’s some tea inside me…

Right, back again with a brew and the remainder of my birthday cake. Oh, and a special thank you to all of you who follow my blog! 50 of you now! Not bad at all for something I just started up in 2010 in order to amuse myself and see if anyone else was undeterred by my waffle! I do go on a bit! You may have noticed, lol!

So… let’s not put it off any longer… Having just finished another couple of books in the past couple of days, we go back to that age-old question of what the hell to read next! The eternal bookworm dilemma…

Let’s look at what I’ve just finished. We have The Saffron Trail, which is general fiction, and Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, which is YA. So, if I were to replace like with like, we’re looking at one general fiction and one young adult to come off the sub’s bench, so to speak! But I could just disregard that and pick two completely different books to those which have come off the list. I could go with some fantasy and resume my Discworld progress with Mort, by Sir Terry Pratchett. It would give me a good laugh and be a really good size for my handbag. I’ve got I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov, here by Computer Corner, and that’s around the same size, physically, as Mort, so if I wished to attempt a bit of science fiction, there’s always that. Out on the landing, on one of the bookshelves, I have Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline, which is supposed to have an 80s setting to it, or at least a lot of 80s references in it.

Then again, there’s some of the “Prodigal Books” – those which once were lost, but had been found, lol! You may recall that four out of five of my “missing books” turned up. Just don’t start me on The God of Small Things, as I haven’t the foggiest when that disappeared, let alone where the hell it is! If you wish to revisit the sorry tale of my books going walkies, go back in the archives, you’ll probably need either February or March of this year, and blogs entitled Missing Words, and All The Books We Cannot See. However, there was a happy ending in Four Out of Five Ain’t Bad!

Of the Prodigal Books, most had been at least started, other than All The Light We Cannot See, plus the still-missing novel by Arundhati Roy (see above) but there’s three partially-started books – The English Patient, Thirteen Reasons Why, and A Man Called Ove. It occurred to me that if I were to resume Thirteen Reasons Why, plus either the Ondaatje or Backman, it would be a like for like substitution for the general fiction and YA I’ve just finished. However, for the general fiction, there’s the temptation to go with All The Light We Cannot See on the grounds that I could make serious inroads with this fairly chunky one while I’m still on jury service! Shorter reads can wait their bloody turn, lol!

Anyway, I’d probably better give some thought as to what to put in my bag for tomorrow. Perhaps I should take some which need getting on with… The Tobacconist, as it’s my current book club book, probably should be one of them, but we’ll see… I’m off to sort my books out, so if you wish to know which books I end up adding to the OC List, you’ll have to keep your eye out for email notification of my next blog, lol! Until then, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • The People’s Songs – Stuart Maconie
  • The Saffron Trail – Rosanna Ley
  • Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist – Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
  • City of Bones – Cassandra Clare
  • The Gun – C. S. Forester
  • Mort – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • I, Robot – Isaac Asimov
  • Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
  • The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
  • All The Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
  • The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje
  • Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher
  • A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman
  • The Tobacconist – Robert Seethaler

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Filed under Books, Computer Corner, Facebook & Other Social Media, Fantasy Fiction, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Historical Fiction, Humour, List Challenges, Literary Slap List, Music, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, YA Books

Assorted Book Bits…

Cross stitched book girl in frame

Girl With a Book – stitched and framed.

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Moonstone is back in the handbag. Mind you, that’s because it’s Book Club tomorrow night, so I’m getting ready. I’ll be at my placement prior to that, so I’ll have to head to town from there – well, go back into Eccles and get a tram, anyway. Thus, I have to take the book with me. The girl in the photo is taking her book with her, although we don’t know which book, lol! I finished stitching her on Monday night, and put her in the box frame which I bought from The Range. I felt the frame suited the design of the stitching and the material I used, which was a hessian square from a Docrafts “bare basics” pack.

Skintown cover

You may recall, a few months ago, that I picked up a freebie at book club, because it was an uncorrected proof copy of a book yet to be published at that time. As Skintown, by Ciaran McMenamin, was published on 6th April, and we are on 11th April today, I have now been able to get a proper photo for it on a Google image search and amend my list on List Challenges accordingly. It will now show the above cover, rather than a photo of the author, which had been used to hold the book’s place in the right order on my list of books I’ve mentioned on this blog during the course of this year!

The cover of my copy is not like that, but as I got it before it was actually published, it’s to be expected that things get changed before a book actually comes out properly compared to when advanced proofs get issued! Having said that, when I got The Chimes, by Anna Smaill, as an uncorrected proof freebie a year or two ago, that actually pretty much retained the same artwork on the cover when the book was published.

Maybe I should try to get Skintown as our next book club book when we meet tomorrow? I would really like it if, even just once, we could read something I’ve already got in so I wouldn’t have to fork out! Also, I think that proposed cull, and taking of books to charity shops, might well be happening. It will get a lot of stuff out of the way. At least some of the Duplicate Books might go, too. I doubt I’ll ever read them in tandem with someone else, so one set of them can leave the building!

Anyway, onto a discussion on Facebook earlier, concerning The Catcher In The Rye, as someone else had just read it. I read Salinger‘s novel a few years back now because of a debate going on on my book group – On Friday it will be 9 years since I started it! 14th April 2008 was the date I’d Spend All Day In Waterstone’s If I Could Get Away With It! was created, and my friend David Hunt was the first to comment on the group’s wall! I remember, during the Catcher In The Rye discussions, Lizzie Harvey had been one of the ones who wanted to punch Holden Caulfield, lol!

Thing is, that I came to see Caulfield as a typical teenage lad – I just thought he was like a lot of lads I knew when I was at high school and sixth-form college, particularly high school… the sort who can’t be arsed with school, either fail their exams or don’t do as well as they could if they’d made more effort, they’d bunk off from school, and they would definitely try to get in pubs and clubs and get served with booze while they were still under-age! I didn’t have a very high opinion of teenage lads when I was a teenage girl – most of them were stupid arseholes, and a lot of the others, even if they were alright, were still not the most mature of creatures! At 16, I knew I wanted to go to uni, I didn’t have time for dickheads!

Actually, my ambition to go to uni started when I was about 4 or 5, but at that age, I had no idea what I would want to study. I had no idea what I’d be good at, if anything at all. I did know I loved books, though, which was obviously going to be to my advantage, lol!

Current OCs April 2017

Zlatan Ibrahimović, he is our Swedish hero…

My current OCs with Mini Zlatan on top! The People’s Songs, by Stuart Maconie, has now moved up a place since that photo a few days ago. Zlatan‘s autobiography is now at 75% so getting nearer completion. Well, he did help his own cause further by scoring our opening goal against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Sunday afternoon in our 3-0 win over the Mackems! Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marcus Rashford scored the other two goals. I was at my placement at the time, but thankfully, my book towers were still intact when I got home – they hadn’t fallen over as they did when we beat Leicester City in February, lol! Clearly, Mkhi’s opening goal against the Foxes that day got my books all excited! To the extent that I’ve become a bit wary of my reading matter before matches, particularly away ones, and I’ll look at my book towers and ask them nicely not to fall over, even if anyone scores a particularly spectacular or important goal for United, lol!

My niece in her natural habitat – Waterstone’s!

You have my sister to thank for these! Junior Bookworm in her natural habitat! It’s school hols at the moment for Charlotte, so she was at the Trafford Centre the other day, in Waterstone’s, choosing some new books for herself, and one for Reuben, which she was going to read to her baby brother!

Charlotte choosing books April 2017b

Charlotte and her daddy having a good read!

That look of concentration as she focuses on her book! A true bookworm, and definitely taking after her auntie! Not biased, not at all, lol! Thanks, Ellie, for these photos, and Zlatan will be with you fairly soon now, as I’ve not got too much more of his autobiography to read, as I mentioned earlier!

Now, you’d think that, with book club tomorrow, I’d wait and see what the next book is for that before adding anything to my OC list, wouldn’t you? That would be the sensible option. However, bookworm tendencies can override common sense and can make you go ahead and start another new book anyway, even though you’ll be starting another newbie soon enough, and thus you’ll end up with 9 books on the OC list… Then again, with both An Equal Music, and I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović heading for the finishing line, why the hell shouldn’t I add new books to the list?  It’s my OC list, after all! City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare, is being added. As I mentioned previously, it’s the first of the books in the Mortal Instruments series, the box set of 6 books I got at Cheshire Oaks last week.

Well, this has been an assortment of book-related bits and bobs, hasn’t it? After tomorrow evening, I’ll know my new book for our book club, so that will probably be one of the main items on my next blog, but for now, that’s about it, so until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in today’s blog entry…

  • Moonstone – Sjón
  • Skintown – Ciaran McMenamin
  • The Chimes – Anna Smaill
  • The Catcher In the Rye – J. D. Salinger
  • The People’s Songs – Stuart Maconie
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović – Zlatan Ibrahimović
  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • City of Bones – Cassandra Clare

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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Cross-Stitch, Duplicate Books List, Facebook & Other Social Media, Fantasy Fiction, Football, Free Books, Handbag Books, Junior Bookworms, List Challenges, My Bookworm History, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, YA Books

Polishing Off The Pie

Pie at Night finished March 2017

Finished! The Pie has had its chips (and gravy), lol!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

That’s The Pie at Night finished! 14 books on the Goodreads Challenge now, as Stuart Maconie‘s brilliant guide to what the north does for fun joins the list of books I’ve read this year! Wahey! It can now come off the list of Ongoing Concerns, although I might want to get that list down further before adding more to it. Then again, I might not! There are plenty of books round here begging to be read, lol, so it won’t be too long before new ones are added! After all, I expect others to come off the OC list pretty soon.

Unless anything drastic happens, I’m expecting this coming Tuesday to be the last of my Tuesdays With Morrie sessions! That one is certainly a very moving and poignant book, although I am not one to cry over reading matter. Doesn’t mean I don’t experience feelings when reading, I certainly do, but not what some people would describe as “ugly crying”.or “ugly sobbing”. When I was reading A Little Life last year, I wanted to hug Jude on several occasions, and wanted to punch the living daylights out of several characters in that novel who had mistreated him! Willem was my favourite from that novel.

Moonstone will still need to be a priority as it’s for book club. Mind you, it’s only short and I’m just over halfway through it at present, so that should be off the OC list fairly shortly, and I also think Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist is making good progress. It’s not that I’m not enjoying the others on the OC list, but maybe I’ve just been more in the mood for certain books rather than others.

So, with one book off the OC list, and with others soon to follow, we need to think about which fresh books or half-read books to add to the mix! Do we opt for Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy, particularly as it’s going to be made into a film? It has to be said that I’m not much of a cinema-goer anyway, so it’s not all that important to get something read before it appears at the flicks! It’s not that I don’t like films, I do, but I really have to get my arse in gear to go and see them, and it’s not really something I lose sleep over if I miss out on seeing something – I can always get it and watch it on DVD, and even then, I’ve got plenty of those I’ve not got around to watching yet!

I think it’s the matter of wondering if I really have a couple of hours to set aside for a film. A book can be picked up and put down and picked up again. Yes, I have read books in one sitting before now, but it’s been a long time since I did that with anything other than a kid’s book! I managed The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark in one go the other day, but that’s a children’s book, it had fewer than 100 pages!

Rainbow Book Tower March 2017

The Rainbow Book Tower

What I COULD do on the OC front is tackle that rainbow pile of books from pink-covered Stargirl at the top down to The Sisters Brothers whose spine serves as the “pot of gold” at the bottom! I could add the next book from that pile any time I need a new item of reading matter on the OC list. There are also some of the runners-up from the vote to become my “Wembley Book” for the EFL Cup Final last month, the vote which was won by The Pie at Night, which I have just finished. One of the runners-up on that front was The Lady and the Unicorn, by Tracy Chevalier, so that one should be given serious consideration.

If you recall my recent blog, I mentioned a book with a “mad-looking snowman” on the cover – the anonymously-penned Diary of an Oxygen Thief – well, I took the plunge and acquired it the other day, and it has become a Handbag Book, as has Headhunter, by Jade Jones, the Olympic Taekwondo Champion from 2012 and 1016. It’s from the Quick Reads series and was written after London 2012, but before Rio 2016. As it’s a very slim volume, I expect to get through that one fairly rapidly once I decide to make a start on it! I have a couple of “chunkies” on the OC list at present, so I don’t feel remotely bad about having one or two at the short end of the scale. I also managed to pick up a book in a sale the other day, but I have not yet read Eragon or Eldest, so Brisingr is a long way off being read! The fourth book of that series is Inheritance, but I don’t have a copy of that, and that’s not a major concern right now!

I am not sure if I mentioned this in previous blogs, but I recently received documentation calling me up for jury service in April, straight after Easter. My parents, and my late maternal grandparents, have done it, and if their experiences are anything to go by, I am hoping to get some epic reading done during the fortnight I expect to be fulfilling that obligation at the courts in town! Crime is not my usual genre when it comes to books, so it’s unlikely I’ll be reading anything of a legal persuasion, unless, perhaps, I choose to read Alias Grace, by Margaret Atwood! That one’s in the rainbow tower, though, so if I decide to read books in order of coloured spines, there’d be three others I’d need to read before the Atwood!

Anyway, I think that’s about it for now! The pie has been eaten, but there are plenty more books on the menu, and it’s so hard to choose! I want a bit of everything on my plate, a sort of read-as-much-as-you-like buffet on the literary front, as it were! Hence the Ongoing Concerns – I can have a bit of YA, a bit of travel, some autobiography, and a couple of chunky helpings of general fiction… A food court but for books, so no matter what you’re in the mood for on the reading front, if you’ve got a few different types of books on your OC list, you can get on with whichever suits your mood at that time!

Until the next time I blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Pie at Night – Stuart Maconie
  • Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • Moonstone – Sjón
  • Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist – Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
  • Dumplin’ – Julie Murphy
  • The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark – Jill Tomlinson
  • Stargirl – Jerry Spinelli
  • The Sisters Brothers – Patrick deWitt
  • The Lady and the Unicorn – Tracy Chevalier
  • Diary of an Oxygen Thief – Anonymous
  • Headhunter – Jade Jones
  • Eragon – Christopher Paolini
  • Eldest – Christopher Paolini
  • Brisingr – Christopher Paolini
  • Inheritance – Christopher Paolini
  • Alias Grace – Margaret Atwood

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Filed under Books, Childrens' Books, Food & Drink, Football, Handbag Books, Humour, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Music, Olympic Games, Ongoing Concerns, Travel, YA Books