Category Archives: Literary Issues

Talking Leaves

Hot coffee and red book with autumn leaves on wood backgroundHello there, fellow Bookworms!

A suitably autumnal photo for the time of year, eh?! Books, leaves and coffee, although you’d need to take that leaf out first, lol!

Not really been all that much to report of late, I didn’t get anything finished last month, but have just finished My Name is Book, by John Agard, which is basically an autobiography of the written word and its many formats over the centuries. I think my niece would probably like it. I certainly loved it, and it brought back some memories of my student days, back in the early 90s, as there is a poem, or at least an excerpt from a poem, by Grace Nichols in this book – Book-Heart. I studied some of her poetry when I was at uni! Pretty good stuff, actually. Trying to find which anthology includes the poem, and I think it’s called Everybody Got a Gift. I remember reading The Fat Black Woman’s Poems when I was at uni.

The title of this blog is from My Name is Book, as Agard mentions that the Native Americans call books “talking leaves”, so that gave me the idea!

While we’re on the subject of across the Atlantic from me, I shall wish all my followers in the USA a very Happy Thanksgiving for tomorrow! I can take an educated guess at some of the things for which you’re thankful… Books, bookshelves, authors, bookshops, the invention of the printing press, ink, pens, typewriters…. am I correct?!

I didn’t manage to read Elizabeth Is Missing, by Emma Healey, for our council book club, but our next one is Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson – bit of a chunky monkey at 611 pages! I took a library copy at lunchtime, but I will offer that up to any council colleague who needs it as I do own a copy of the book myself, and was able to locate it this evening after work. The book club that has been meeting at Waterstone’s has now been postponed until the new year, although that does give us more time to read Why Mummy Swears by Gill Sims. Also, we are changing the location to the cafe at Asda in Swinton. It’s nearer to where we work and they have book offers on. I have ended up going to the Asda in Trafford Park for the books, though, as the past couple of times, they’ve not had any left in Swinton for the chosen book.

The loom knitting continues apace, and that’s what I’ve been pretty busy with although only one item of that was bought from the church fair at St Paul’s. We did very well on 10th November, but I was a bit disappointed that my knitted stuff didn’t go other than a mug rug. I hope those coming to St Thomas’s on Saturday might be more willing to buy my handicrafts. I have made some mobile phone holders now to add to the knitted stuff. A small circular loom from a kit I bought at the weekend has proved just the right size to make phone holders. So, there’s not only loads of books in my room, but plenty of yarn, too! All sorts of yarn, different colours, different effects and different thicknesses from double knit to seriously chunky stuff! Loom knitting suits chunkier wool, but sometimes I do combine a few balls of double knit.

I have still got All Quiet On the Western Front on the go, actually, and that’s a Handbag Book at the moment. The Eighties: One Day, One Decade, by Dylan Jones, is still my main current read on my ebook.

Got my first gig as part of the steel band tomorrow, a Christmas Lights switch-on at Media City, Salford Quays. I think we’re performing near the BBC studios. There’s also supposed to be some giant snowmen! It’s to do with the children’s book The Snowman, by Raymond Briggs. I think it’s a special anniversary year. So there’s going to be big snowmen on the Quays, twelve of them I understand, like the twelve days of Christmas.

Not long now until I need to check my emails for the Madness tickets. That’s soon come around, hasn’t it? Only a couple of weeks now until Sarah and I go and see the Nutty Boys at the Manchester Arena! Can’t wait! Funnily enough, due to having lost just over two stone now at Slimming World, I’ve ended up with a lot of Baggy Trousers, lol! Many of them have gone to a charity shop as Mum and I sorted the kecks out the other week and I found loads of pairs in my wardrobe which may well fit me again now I’m slimmer, to replace those which are far too big for me! I will be giving Sarah her book back, but as  I now have my own copy of What Does This Button Do?, I am not panicking over getting it finished.

Went to the cinema for the first time in absolutely bloody ages on Saturday! Mum and I went to the Vue cinema at the Printworks in town, as we were doing some shopping, and I had got myself an absolute bargain from Gap (I had an offer in the post, but it had to be the Arndale store and I needed to use it by 19th November, which is why we went into town at the weekend) so we went to see “Bohemian Rhapsody”, which was brilliant! Saw a trailer for “Rocketman” which is due in cinemas next year, and is a biopic of Sir Elton John, so I already want to go and see that one when it’s released!

Yes, I admit I was singing along during the film, lol! Can’t help it! Can’t beat a bit of Queen! There’ll never be another like Freddie Mercury ever again!

Anyway, I think I’ve covered nearly everything for now. Books, poetry, book clubs, loom knitting, music, films, shopping… just don’t mention the footy. Still waiting for that idiotic manager of ours to get the sack. Should have happened at the end of last season, as I’ve said before, but certainly should have happened after we lost the derby at the council house! I don’t want any players to leave. I just want the manager to park his bus as far away from Old Trafford as possible. He can park it on the dark side of the moon for all I care!

I just want a manager who encourages an attack-minded style of play, brings players into the first team from the youth team, and who keeps criticism of players private and behind closed doors, NOT in front of the media! Is that really too much to bloody ask?!

Anyway, rant over, and blog over for now! I’ll be back again soon enough with another helping of waffle and some mention of books, lol, but for now, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • My Name is Book – John Agard
  • Everybody Got a Gift – Grace Nichols
  • The Fat Black Woman’s Poems – Grace Nichols
  • Elizabeth Is Missing – Emma Healey
  • Life After Life – Kate Atkinson
  • Why Mummy Swears – Gill Sims
  • All Quiet On the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque
  • The Eighties: One Day, One Decade – Dylan Jones
  • The Snowman – Raymond Briggs
  • What Does This Button Do? – Bruce Dickinson
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Filed under Books, Chunky Monkeys, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, List Challenges, Literary Issues, Loom Knitting, Music, Ongoing Concerns, Poetry, School, College & Uni Reading, The TBR Pile

Everything Must Change!

Book Sort March 2018 h

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Not quite a spring clean, but certainly a spring sort out! For the first time in ages, the weather has been decent enough on a weekend day to enable me to venture into the garage and look at the Book Chest! I’ve done more than look at it, or in it, though – I have been having an epic rearrangement! Books have been cleared out of the chest, and also out of my room – they’re going to be given out – to work, to charity shops, might even sell some of them off. I looked at whether I’d re-read them if I’d already read them, or whether I’d read them or finish them off if I had half-read them or not read them, and thus decided plenty of them have to go.

It was getting out of hand, even for Chief Bookworm! Hence the title Everything Must Change, which is also a Paul Young song from back in the 80s when I was a kid, which ties in with going to see him last month in Preston!

The sorting isn’t finished yet, there’s still loads more books to sort and other nonsense to clear out, but it is considerably better than things have been. One of the reasons this has come about was because I recently bought a pair of wooden bookends from a charity shop in Swinton – these bookends have robots on them, so I thought I would get all my science fiction books together and put them between these bookends, and that is essentially what has happened now as part of the sort-out! Yes, they’re all lined up here near Computer Corner, lol!

Book Sort March 2018 f

OK, you can’t see either of the robots, I’ll have to get another photo to show you one of those, but that’s my row of science fiction brought together, other than the two which are currently in my handbag, The Chrysalids, by John Wyndham, and The Word for World is Forest, by Ursula K. Le Guin, and possibly the odd stray SF novel elsewhere, but I think I’ve got the vast majority of that genre together. I am wondering about a few other books in my collection though, and whether they are classed as science fiction. In particular, I’m wondering about 11.22.63, by Stephen King, as a guy travels back in time to just before JFK is shot. Time travel is surely a science fiction thing? Also, I was wondering about my China Miéville novels – I have The City and the City, and Un Lun Dun, and was wondering if those were science fiction too?

I found Remarkable Creatures when I was looking in the Book Chest, so that has come in to join my other Tracy Chevalier novels! My Philip K. Dick books are all together, too – I found Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – It was near here, not far from the computer! The Man in the High Castle was in the Book Chest, but that and “Androids” have joined Ubik and are now lined up on the science fiction row between the Robot Bookends!

My Bill Bryson books are together, well most of them are, and if I can find where I put the classic Notes From a Small Island, that will join them! My two Hannah Kent novels are together, my Paulo Coelhos, and there’s a few other authors whose works are together. Need to gather my Stuart Maconie books together, too. I bought one the other day at Waterstone’s, actually – Cider With Roadies. Been meaning to get that one for some time! Bryson and Maconie are two of my favourite non-fiction writers, actually, and I met Stuart Maconie last year when he came to Waterstone’s on Deansgate to promote his most recent book, Long Road from Jarrow.

Me with Stuart Maconie July 2017

Me meeting Stuart Maconie last summer at Waterstone’s Deansgate.

A bit of an update from yesterday, although there’s not been that much reading done. I have made some attempt at starting North and South. I say attempt, as it seems a bit slow-going. Not feeling it yet. Got until 11th April to try to read as much of it as I can for my book club, and I don’t really want to disappoint Nick and Diane, if they can make it, as they are big Elizabeth Gaskell fans, but I’ve got it in paperback, and I even downloaded it for my Kindle as there was an edition for 49p, lol (you can get some cheap, and some free, classics as ebooks) – but it’s not exciting me.

busby book march 2018

On the other hand, I am now up to 10% of The Man in the Middle, by Howard Webb, which is my match day ebook, and I was reading it while stuck in the Old Trafford car park, and then Trafford Park, on the way home after our 2-1 victory over Liverpool yesterday! Always good to beat the Scousers, and it was also satisfying to get a decent amount of my ebook read on the way home! While we’re on the subject of football, I can now mention Patrick Barclay‘s biography of Sir Matt Busby, which was one of the pressies I bought my mum for Mother’s Day. Obviously, I couldn’t tell you beforehand, but she has opened her pressies, so I can tell you now! Ellie bought her Thinking Out Loud, by Rio Ferdinand, so she’s received two United-related books today!

Book Sort March 2018 g

As you can see above, one of the other things I have done as part of my book sorting session is to get a load of short books together. These are books which have 200 pages or fewer. There might be the odd one or two with just over 200 pages, but most of these have considerably fewer, and so I am putting them in one handy pile so that if I need something short, which I hope will be a quick read, I can reach for one of these and give it a ago! I also have a few other Horrible Histories books lurking around, along with The Slimy Stuarts, which I read the other day. The one on the bottom isn’t a short book, lol, but I needed a sturdy base, so The Sun & the Moon & the Rolling Stones, by Rich Cohen, provides me with a solid foundation for my Short Books Tower!

Email from Book Riot – Choose some TV shows and we’ll give you a book to read. In other words we’ll find you books according to your viewing habits. Trouble is, I doubt they’d suggest anything I’d want to watch! I only really watch sports events or music videos. About the only “popular” show I would bother to watch would be Masterchef, lol! Anyway, I tend to be able to find books about sports, music and food without anyone else’s assistance! I’ve read plenty of great books about sports and music, and I have also read some bloody good books about food, especially Kitchen Confidential, by Anthony Bourdain! I can definitely recommend that one!

Well, I think that’s about it for now, so I will be back again soon enough. I still intend to do a blog on the Slap List and the Shovel List, so I haven’t forgotten about that theme! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Chrysalids – John Wyndham
  • The Word for World is Forest – Ursula K. Le Guin
  • 11.22.63 – Stephen King
  • The City & the City – China Miéville
  • Un Lun Dun – China Miéville
  • Remarkable Creatures – Tracy Chevalier
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Philip K. Dick
  • The Man in the High Castle – Philip K. Dick
  • Ubik – Philip K. Dick
  • Notes From a Small Island – Bill Bryson
  • Cider With Roadies – Stuart Maconie
  • Long Road from Jarrow – Stuart Maconie
  • North and South – Elizabeth Gaskell
  • The Man in the Middle – Howard Webb
  • Sir Matt Busby: The Definitive Biography – Patrick Barclay
  • Thinking Out Loud – Rio Ferdinand
  • The Slimy Stuarts (Horrible Histories) – Terry Deary
  • The Sun & the Moon & the Rolling Stones – Rich Cohen
  • Kitchen Confidential – Anthony Bourdain

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Filed under Authors, Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Computer Corner, Fantasy Fiction, Football, Half-Finished Books, Historical Fiction, Literary Issues, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Science Fiction, The TBR Pile, Weather

Fave Female Authors, Shovel List and More…

An Abby Wright illustration of a women reading a book outside in the snow

Hello there, fellow Bookworms!

Good evening to all of you! Happy International Women’s Day to all my fellow female bookworms! I have said on here, many a time, that it does not bother me who the author is, I just read whatever takes my fancy, and always have done, but I shall have a look at some of my favourite books by female authors. I will also be introducing you to a new concept which cropped up the other day when a character in The Chrysalids pissed me off big-time, plus I will be doing the usual updates on the Ongoing Concerns and waffling on about a few non-book matters as well, no doubt, so here goes…

If I am going to focus on books by my fellow females, I shall start with a few series I have enjoyed, and then go on to some stand-alone books. I’ve not really read that many series, but one I did read in my teens was the Kevin and Sadie series by Joan Lingard, a series of five books set in Northern Ireland and England during “The Troubles” in the 70s and which I read when I was around 15 or 16. The Twelfth Day of July starts the series, and it is followed by Across the Barricades, Into Exile, A Proper Place, and Hostages To Fortune. You can still find them in the YA section at Waterstone’s, actually, should you wish to read them. Possibly a bit dated in 2018, and might even constitute historical fiction by now as they were set in the 1970s!

Rather obviously, J. K. Rowling has to be on this list as author of the Harry Potter series, which I started reading when I was a civil servant at Albert Bridge House in town – a colleague recommended the books to me! I’m not naming all 7 books, I’ve listed them already on the Joanne’s Bookshelf list for 2018 on List Challenges, and it’s well-known enough without going through them individually. The series, of course, also gives us Ravenclaw, the house for those of wit and learning, the Hogwarts library, and a female book nerd heroine in Hermione Granger! Oh, and Flourish and Blott’s bookshop on Diagon Alley, of course!

The late great Sue Townsend is on the roll of honour for giving us Adrian Mole and his diaries! I think I have read most, if not all, the Mole books, but the first two are still my huge favourites, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 and The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole. My copies of those books have had to be sellotaped back together countless times!

Now onto female authors of whose works I have read two or three and really enjoyed them, so we have to honour Hannah Kent and thank her for both Burial Rites and The Good People, both awesome books which I would totally recommend! Still on historical fiction, I have now read and loved two books by Tracy Chevalier, both Girl With a Pearl Earring and The Lady and the Unicorn, so she joins the roll of honour and I still have a few more of her books which I have yet to read.  Helen Fielding gave us the brilliant and funny Bridget Jones’ Diary and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. There is another one too, but I’ve not got round to that as yet.

To bring this bit to a close before moving on with the blog, a few books which I have loved, and these are stand alone books. Last month, I read and loved Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman. Where’d You Go, Bernadette?, by Maria Semple, was also a book club book, albeit a few years ago now, and I loved it. Again, very funny! To complete a trio of hilarious reads by females, I recommend Cheer Up Love: Adventures in Depression with the Crab of Hate, by Susan Calman. I saw this in Waterstone’s in the Arndale Centre a few years ago, started reading it and had to buy it as it was too funny not to purchase it! I also recommend it if people want books about mental health.

Right, so… onto other matters and this concept came into my head the other day, at lunchtime, when I was having my lunch and reading The Chrysalids, by John Wyndham, and one character, the father, Joseph Strorm, had me absolutely fuming! As you know by now, I HATE bigotry and narrow-mindedness, so this guy being a total nutjob, utterly disgusted me. His attitude towards the so-called “mutants” is appalling, his attitude towards his own son, how he flew off the handle at David just because the lad made a very normal conditional statement that I think every human has made at times – wishing they had another pair of hands! And to strike him for simply being friends with a girl with 6 toes… I was absolutely bloody LIVID reading this! I can’t remember the last time I hated a fictional character so much – hell, not even Dolores bloody Umbridge in the Harry Potter books had me fuming this much!

I think it’s because I see the so-called “mutants” as equivalent to people with disabilities. I myself have a gland which has never worked, so I was totally incensed at Joseph Strorm’s attitude! If they’ve got 6 toes, or 4 hands, or whatever, so what?! I think, deep down, Strorm is just jealous! Who wouldn’t like another pair of hands? It would, quite literally, come in handy! I know what it’s like to have a body which doesn’t quite behave normally, due to my lazy-arsed non-working thyroid gland, so I am on their side!

Thus, I was so angry at this nutjob character, that I wanted to do something very unpleasant to the bigoted bastard! That’s when I became inspired to come up with the Shovel List. I already have the Literary Slap List, of course, for characters who are merely annoying – characters who could do with a good slap because they’re irritating or stupid, but a slap would not suffice in this instance. Needs something a bit more harsh, like being whacked on the head with a large, heavy shovel, for instance! Thus I have created the Literary Shovel List for the worst offenders in literature. Characters who get you so wound up that you would dearly love to knock seven shades of shit out of them…

In a coming blog, I will expand more upon this theme and list some characters on the Slap List, and some who thoroughly deserve to go on the Shovel List. These lists are my book-related equivalent of yellow and red cards in football… the Slap List is for characters who need a warning that their conduct or attitude is irritating or annoying me, the Shovel List is for those whose conduct or attitude disgusts me, thus they need the literary equivalent of the grand order of the early bath!

As we have been mentioning The Chrysalids, it’s time we got to the Ongoing Concerns and some recent reads. I am now on for 13/30 on my Goodreads Challenge for 2018, and have read 3 books so far in March. After finishing The Lady and the Unicorn, I have wolfed down a couple of children’s books, both of which were brilliant, fun, quick reads. Fantastic Mr Fox, by Roald Dahl, was followed by The Slimy Stuarts, from the Horrible Histories series, by Terry Deary. Those two have been Handbag books as they were slim enough to carry home that way after I bought them, but they were so quick that they never went onto the Ongoing Concerns list!

I bought a book the other day, although not a children’s book, which I feel is borderline as to whether it goes on the OCs or not. It is 128 pages long so it just about might go on the list. The book is The Word for World is Forest, by the late Ursula K. Le Guin. I have got another couple of her books in, as I have mentioned in previous blogs, but this one is pretty slim, about the same length as The Time Machine, by H. G. Wells. That did go on the OC List at the time, so this one might, but it depends how quickly I read it!

Hawksmoor remains at 49%, currently topping the OC List despite the fact that I only made it to 49% and didn’t get it beyond halfway. The Chrysalids is currently at 27% despite my wish to wallop Joseph Strorm over the head with a shovel, as documented previously in this blog, lol! The Word for World is Forest HAS gone on the list at 12% thus far, and that officially ends the OC List for now as my match day e-book is only at 3% read and my new book club book has not been started yet. I only really put books on when they reach 10%

There were three of us at book club last night, myself, Stephanie, and Alison, who is one of my council colleagues. We all loved Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, and, after a good chat, we set the date of the next meeting for 11th April, and went off to find a suitable book. We figured out that we hadn’t read a classic for quite some time, so we decided it was overdue and settled on North and South, by Elizabeth Gaskell. Nick and Diane, if they can make it, will be very happy as they love Gaskell’s writing and volunteer at the Gaskell Society!

As you may have noted, all the books on the OC List, and book due to go on if I get to at least 10%, are works of fiction, meaning I am still short of a non-fiction book for the list. Does mean I could probably have a hardback and read that at home as my other Ongoing Concerns are all paperbacks at present.

The Winter Paralympics start tomorrow, with coverage in the UK courtesy of Channel 4, so if I am distracted from reading, you will know it’s probably winter sports action on the telly getting my attention again! Saturday, I will be at Old Trafford as United take on Liverpool in a lunchtime kickoff – I hate those! 12:30 is no time to start a footy match. Saturday afternoon at 3pm is the PROPER time for football. End of! Anyway, I hope to get my ebook read on the way home and make more progress with The Man in the Middle by Howard Webb.

Sunday is Mother’s Day here in the UK, so the likelihood is that I will be out and about with my mum at various stages of the day! Eating out, that sort of thing. I might possibly blog again before Sunday, but in case I don’t, I hope all my followers here in the UK who are mums have a very happy Mother’s Day and that they receive some good books, or at least gift cards for book stores, from their offspring! Until the next time I blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Chrysalids – John Wyndham
  • The Twelfth Day of July – Joan Lingard
  • Across the Barricades – Joan Lingard
  • Into Exile – Joan Lingard
  • A Proper Place – Joan Lingard
  • Hostages To Fortune – Joan Lingard
  • The Harry Potter Series – J. K. Rowling
  • The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 – Sue Townsend
  • The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole – Sue Townsend
  • Burial Rites – Hannah Kent
  • The Good People – Hannah Kent
  • Girl With a Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier
  • The Lady and the Unicorn – Tracy Chevalier
  • Bridget Jones’ Diary – Helen Fielding
  • Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason – Helen Fielding
  • Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette? – Maria Semple
  • Cheer Up Love: Adventures in Depression With the Crab of Hate – Susan Calman
  • Fantastic Mr Fox – Roald Dahl
  • The Slimy Stuarts (Horrible Histories) – Terry Deary
  • The Word for World is Forest – Ursula K. Le Guin
  • The Time Machine – H. G. Wells
  • North and South – Elizabeth Gaskell

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Filed under Authors, Books, E-Books & Audiobooks, Facebook & Other Social Media, Food & Drink, Football, Goodreads, Handbag Books, Historical Fiction, Humour, List Challenges, Literary Issues, Literary Shovel List, Literary Slap List, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Rants, Science Fiction, Sports, YA Books

Science Fiction and Dutch Pensioners

Hendrik Groen and scifi books

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Here again, with another blog, and this time after a 2-0 win for my lads, at home to Huddersfield Town this afternoon, thanks to second half goals from Romelu Lukaku and our new boy, Alexis Sanchez. We had actually got a penalty, which is amazing enough as it is given what a dreadful, useless ref we had, but the goalie got down and got a hand to it. Thankfully, he didn’t save it, just blocked it, and the ball came back to Sanchez so he put away the rebound. Wonder if we’ve got any of that Chilean wine in? Hmmm…. That Casillero del Diablo stuff, if you’re wondering what I’m on about…

* Chief Bookworm then buggers off down the road to Tesco and ends up coming back with a bottle of said vino (white) and some snacks… *

* raises glass to Alexis Sanchez *

Here’s to many more goals! I could actually also get round to reading that book about the Chilean miners – you remember that? Around the end of 2010, as I recall. The book is called The 33, and it’s by Jonathan Franklin. Now my club actually has a Chilean player, it’s the perfect excuse to get that one off my TBR list at last. I may have to fast track it for when I’ve finished Russian Winters by Andrei Kanchelskis. That’s my current hardback.

However, the hardback I bought the other night may also be in line for an early read, as I read The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen 83 1/4 Years Old last year, and now Hendrik Groen is back with another diary, On The Bright Side, the New Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen! Hence the bit about Dutch pensioners in my blog title! I’ve had a thing for diaries, at least amusing ones anyway, for years, two of my most-read books are the first two Adrian Mole books by the late great Sue Townsend, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 and The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole. We might not have called them Young Adult books back then, but they were, and that’s the YA stuff I was reading when I was a teenager!

Mmmm… that wine’s nice! 🙂

Anyway, I hadn’t expected the Hendrik Groen book. I had gone into town after work yesterday because I needed my  bus and tram pass reloading for another month, and I had said I was going to look for books in Fopp, which I did, and I also got some from Waterstone’s too, before fetching up at Wagamama for food. I ended up with 4 books from the SF Masterworks series, all by different authors, and I am going to mention 3 of them, as one of them will tie in with my intended blog for Chinese New Year, so I will be coming back to that later this month.

Science fiction Feb 2018

Besides the earmarked book for the “dog blog”, my other purchases were The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. Le Guin, The Sirens of Titan, by Kurt Vonnegut Jr, and The Stars My Destination, by Alfred Bester. I do already have another book from that series at my disposal, on one of my towering piles of books, that being Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keyes. However, while we’re on the subject of science fiction, let’s move on to my current read in that genre, and the other two books which are currently my Ongoing Concerns…

Some bad news for Mr Kanchelskis – I’m afraid our Andrei has been overtaken by the Martians, lol! Russian Winters is at 25%, but The War of the Worlds reached 26% the other night and as I have now downloaded the H. G. Wells classic for free on my Kindle (top tip – you can get a load of old classics for nowt as e-books), I was able to read a bit more of it this evening on the way home from the match after our 2-0 win against Huddersfield! I am up to 29% at the moment – my Kindle actually gives progress in percentages. Usually, I work out how many pages I’ve read and divide it by the book’s total to work that out.

I couldn’t read an actual book in the back of the car on the way home at this time of year, it’d be too dark, hence my Kindle comes in handy. We don’t live far away, but it takes quite some time to get out of the Old Trafford car park and then a while longer to get through Trafford Park, so it is worth taking an e-reader to the match! I’m glad I took it to Wembley last year for the EFL Cup Final – on the way back, after our 3-2 victory over Southampton, the reading lights in the coach didn’t seem to be working, so I couldn’t continue with The Pie at Night, by Stuart Maconie, which I had been reading on my way down to the final, and ended up reading Premier League Years 92/93 by Andrew Hyslop on the way back to Old Trafford. Must say, though, that that was the quickest we’ve ever got back from Wembley after a win! The Pie at Night ended up being signed when I met Stuart at Waterstone’s later in the year, along with Long Road from Jarrow, which had just been published when he did his book event on Deansgate.

Hawksmoor, by Peter Ackroyd, is still 3rd, but is up to 23% read now, so not too far behind Andrei’s autobiography. I want to get all three advanced as much as possible bearing in mind that it’s book club this coming Wednesday, and I’ll then have another book to get stuck into!Munich 60th anniversary 2018

These were on our seats in plastic bags at the match today – match programme, book and pin badge. Today was the nearest home match to the anniversary of the air crash, the actual anniversary is this coming Tuesday, 6th February, and I will be having a half day at work so that I can finish at lunchtime and go to Old Trafford in the afternoon for the commmemorations.  Not sure the book’s got an ISBN, though, so I’m going to have an issue putting it on Goodreads, possibly. Just because it’s a commemorative book should not mean that it can’t feature on the Goodreads Challenge, though, surely?! A book is a book! If I read it, I should be able to list it, both on Goodreads and List Challenges. We shall see… If not, and I read it, we’ll just have to regard it as an extra book.

In a way it’s a bit similar to that problem I had last year when I got a free book at my book club, but it was an advanced copy, an unedited proof edition of Skintown, by Ciaran McMenamin. I acquired that in either January or February last year, but the book was not published until early April, so I had to wait a few months to find a photo of the cover of the book for List Challenges. I still have yet to read it, though, so it won’t be an issue on Goodreads anyway, but it was an issue for List Challenges – at the time, I found a photo of the author and put that in place on my list, and then replaced it in April with a photo of the cover of the published version!

Anyway, that’s about it for the time being, as I intend to get this published and then enjoy the rest of my glass of wine while watching our 2-0 win on Match of the Day! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The 33 – Jonathan Franklin
  • Russian Winters – Andrei Kanchelskis
  • The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen 83 1/4 Years Old – Hendrik Groen
  • On the Bright Side – Hendrik Groen
  • The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 – Sue Townsend
  • The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole – Sue Townsend
  • The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula K. Le Guin
  • The Sirens of Titan – Kurt Vonnegut Jr
  • The Stars My Destination – Alfred Bester
  • Flowers For Algernon – Daniel Keyes
  • The War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells
  • The Pie at Night – Stuart Maconie
  • Premier League Years 92/93 – Andrew Hyslop
  • Long Road from Jarrow – Stuart Maconie
  • Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd
  • The Flowers of Manchester – Manchester United (commemorative book)
  • Skintown – Ciaran McMenamin

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Brock’s Posterior Strikes Again!

Natural Born Bookworm!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Not sure how long this is going to take, or how long it will be, but as you can see from the title, I’m under the weather yet again. Badger’s Arse Syndrome strikes again! This time, catarrh and a general achy feeling all over. Came down with a sore throat overnight, too, which put paid to returning to band this morning – would have been back blowing my horn again, but I wasn’t in any fit state to do that, unfortunately. I was fine yesterday, though. Other than the leftover cough from the previous cold, I had been fine at work, and then at the match, as I watched our lads score two late goals to beat Derby County 2-0 at Old Trafford and book our place in the 4th round draw for the FA Cup.

The way their goal was leading a charmed life, though, it was going to take something special to get the ball in the net. The post and crossbar came to Derby’s rescue a few times, along with their goalie being forced into some pretty nifty saves, particularly from free kicks taken by Juan Mata and Paul Pogba. However, once the returning Marouane Fellaini had come on as a sub with about 10 minutes to go, that seemed to be the breakthrough United needed, and Jesse Lingard scored an absolutely belting goal on 84 minutes! He’s scored some right crackers this season! Then, just as they were announcing how much stoppage time would be added on, Romelu Lukaku played a great 1-2 with Anthony Martial and then Rom finished it off to make it 2-0 and pretty much confirm our place in the draw.

So, I was fine last night at the match, and in good voice, but started getting a bit of a sore throat later, when I was back home. On the Strepsils. Good job I have a decent stash of them. Anyway, throat still felt rough this morning, and body felt achy, and my body still feels achy now. Throat feels better, but this catarrh and achy feeling have led to another sense of Badger’s Arse-ness. Getting pretty fed up of this!

I’ve got Book Club on Wednesday, and I am now, roughly, about a third of the way through Hot Milk. Would have liked to have made more progress, but this is what feeling under the weather does to you… you need a lie-down and some zeds, and that reduces potential reading time. I know we’re only on 6th January, but I’ve not finished a book yet. Nothing to show for this year’s Goodreads Challenge. 😦

My original plan for today would have been to go to band, and then to get my bus and tram pass later (I did go into Eccles for that this afternoon, so that bit is sorted) and then perhaps some shopping and a visit to Waterstone’s, either in town or the Trafford Centre, but that was ruled out by me feeling like shite (and, yes, that is a technical term, as you probably know by now, lol!)

We had a bit of author news at the end of 2017, which I forgot to mention, two items of news, one sad, one happy. The first being that thriller writer, Sue Grafton, passed away in late December. She had been writing a series of thrillers for every letter of the alphabet, but as they won’t be having anyone else writing in her name, the alphabet, in this case, will end at Y is for Yesterday. Rest in Peace, Sue.

The other news is that it’s Arise, Sir Michael Morpurgo! The author of War Horse was knighted in the New Year’s Honours List.

Also, at the end of 2017, Duncan Jones decided he was going to launch the David Bowie Book Club in honour of his father, who he described as a “beast of a reader” – indeed, I read something not long after Bowie passed away, which said that he used to take a library of around 300-400 books on tour with him whenever he went on tour! Clearly an epic bookworm, and thus much missed for that as well as for his music, which formed part of the soundtrack to which I grew up in the 70s and 80s. Duncan said the first book would be Hawksmoor, by Peter Ackroyd. I got as far as looking it up on Google the other day, and it does sound quite interesting to me. As I do like a bit of historical fiction, I might check it out. I was going to do so this weekend if I hadn’t woken up feeling like crap today! Damn you, Badger’s Arse!!!

So, what else shall we look at? Perhaps some of those Books That I’ve Had Knocking Around For Bloody Ages And Still Not Read Yet?! Gould’s Book of Fish springs to mind here, lol! I bought this book, by Richard Flanagan, absolutely AGES ago now. I might even have had it at Hawthorn Avenue, I dunno, but I do know that I have had it a bloody long time and still not read it yet! I’ve not had The Versions of Us, by Laura Barnett, for anywhere near as long as that, lol, but that one has also been hanging around for quite some time. It’s right here by Computer Corner. We can’t mention Books That I’ve Had Knocking Around For Bloody Ages without mentioning Memoirs of a Geisha, by Arthur Golden – that’s been hanging around for some years, as has Salmon Fishing In the Yemen, by Paul Torday! The English Passengers, by Matthew Kneale, has also been lingering around for many a year, and I’ve still not got around to reading that one yet!

If I DID have Gould’s Book of Fish when I lived at Hawthorn, I will have had it before October 2006! That’s a bloody long time! I know I did have a clear out and give pretty much half my collection to a charity book stall at work at the time when we were moving house, but that still means quite a lot of books did come with me in the move. I’m pretty sure I must have thought I was going to read it though. I gave away stuff I’d already read or felt I was unlikely to read or to finish. A lot of the books I skimmed at uni went to charity. I had graduated back in 1994, and by 2006, I still hadn’t felt inclined to read them all the way through, lol, so they went to a good cause.

I know The Beach, by Alex Garland, would have been given away, as I had read that one. I enjoyed it very much, but I had read it. I am not really much of a re-reader. It’s not that I dislike the idea, there are plenty of books I have loved to bits, and would happily read again and again, but I tend to want to get on with books I haven’t read yet and discover even more favourites amongst those! I’ve probably not done much re-reading since I was a kid, certainly a teenager, but if any books of mine have been read to bits, it would be the first two Adrian Mole books by the late great Sue Townsend! Both The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 and The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole have been sellotaped together countless times!

So, I think that’s about it for now, and you’ve got a fair idea that there are some books I’ve had for absolutely donkey’s years without reading yet. It’s all about the potential for reading, though! Don’t be ashamed of your unread books. The fact that you have them means that you could always get around to reading them some time… they are there, ready and waiting for when you’re in need of them! And, on that thought, I shall finish this off and get it published, and hope that my body is less achy soon! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Hot Milk – Deborah Levy
  • Y is for Yesterday – Sue Grafton
  • War Horse – Sir Michael Morpurgo
  • Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd
  • Gould’s Book of Fish – Richard Flanagan
  • The Versions of Us – Laura Barnett
  • Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
  • Salmon Fishing in the Yemen – Paul Torday
  • The English Passengers – Matthew Kneale
  • The Beach – Alex Garland
  • The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 – Sue Townsend
  • The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole – Sue Townsend

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Not As Badger’s Arse As I Thought I’d Be!

black book covers

Hello there, fellow Bookworms!

Good evening, and, for my followers in the USA, Happy Thanksgiving! I guess you’re probably busy right now, you’ve got family round, or you’ve gone round to theirs, and you’re stuffed to the eyeballs with food, but I hope you’re having a good day and that you’ll eventually get some time to have a nice read! I guess you’re hoping for some book sales on Black Friday?!

Right then, back to events here in my part of the UK!

So, as you might recall from Tuesday’s blog, I’d had my x-ray appointment at Hope Hospital (Salford Royal) on Monday morning, and they then booked me in for my surgery on Wednesday, thus yesterday afternoon… so I have been off work yesterday and today. When you have the sedation I opt for, it can last in your body for up to 24 hours after it’s been given, so I have to have the next day off as well as the day of my surgery. I’ve had this done a few times over the years, as you can probably tell, so I’m very familiar with the procedures.

Well, I had the surgery yesterday afternoon, and they actually took me in at 2:30, so half an hour early (I think a previous op had been cancelled, so as Mum and I arrived in plenty of time, they took me in ahead of my original 3pm appointment), and took the teeth out, two of them together, upper left 7 and 8 for any of you who wish to know, and then after some time in recovery and being advised on aftercare, we went home, although not before stopping at WH Smith’s in the hospital and purchasing a book, lol,  and I had a snooze for a bit once I got home. I did feel a little sore when the anaesthetic wore off, but considering I had had two neighbouring teeth out, I didn’t feel as “badger’s arse” as I thought I would. A little sore, yes, but not exactly in serious discomfort.

I have also been using some of the time to have a good read, and I have made good progress with The Good People, by Hannah Kent, our current book club choice. I am now 30% of the way through the novel. I am enjoying it, but perhaps a glossary of Gaelic words and names would help matters, particularly a pronunciation guide! I do have family over in Ireland, but I don’t exactly want to mither them to death with pronunciation queries! Hopefully there’s something online that I can look up… If anyone who has already read the novel could come up with some sort of guide to all the Gaelic names and words in it, that would be much appreciated! Still hasn’t spoilt my enjoyment of the book, thus far, though, even if I look at certain words and think “How the hell do you say that?”

Anyway, as I was saying in the previous blog, I know many of you like blogs where I mention lots of books as it gives you ideas. I’ll have to be doing some book shopping soon, but for others as I have Christmas shopping to get the hell on with! But as for my books, before we get into that “review of the year” mode which tends to happen at this time, let’s see if there’s some books I’ve bought but not mentioned on here already… Caraval, by Stephanie Garber, was the book I purchased yesterday at the hospital, but I have already mentioned that one. Pretty sure, though that there’s a few which haven’t been listed yet in 2017…

Of the books in the photo at the top of this blog, I have already mentioned Dumplin’, by Julie Murphy, and The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern, but I knew I had definitely mentioned that latter one on a few occasions as it was a charity shop bargain. It only cost me a quid from the British Heart Foundation shop on Salford Precinct, and that’s the hardback edition! Caraval has already been mentioned, of course, which just leaves A Man of Shadows, by Jeff Noon. I really do like that cover! I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, and I’ve been a bookworm more than long enough to know that, so I did read the blurb on the back, and thought it was worth it – “let’s risk it for a biscuit” I thought!

At the same time as I purchased A Man of Shadows, I also purchased Welcome To Night Vale, by Joseph Fink. The blurb and the cover both attracted me. Looking around my room for anything which might not have been mentioned, but to be fair, a hell of a lot of books have been mentioned this year! 518 different books, and we haven’t even got to the end of this blog entry yet, let alone the end of the calendar year!

Apparently, there are nearly 130 million (129,864,880) books in the entire world, according to a post I saw on Facebook earlier! One of several interesting facts in a post on a group called “I’m Not Obsessed, I Just Love To Read”, posted by Firdyawkal Nigussie. This list also says that the first book described as a “best-seller” was Fools of Nature by US writer, Alice Brown, way back in 1889! Wow! As someone on FB said, it would be especially amazing, as many female authors at the time either had to publish anonymously or under a male pen name in order to get their books in print. Indeed, Mary Ann Evans took the pen name George Eliot, and it is under this very blokey-sounding name that her novels are still published, including The Mill On the Floss, which I read, or at least skim-read, at university! Even the Brontë sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne, originally took male pen names, being first published as Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell, although they eventually DID get published under their actual names.

Other interesting facts from that list, and my thoughts on these matters…

It would take 60,000 years to read all the books in the world. It would probably take that long to read all the books in my room, let alone the whole world, lol!

The M6 toll road was built on two-and-a-half million copies of pulped Mills & Boon novels. Do you remember that Oxfam bookshop in Wales which was inundated with copies of the Fifty Shades trilogy? So many that they built a fort out of them in their back room?! Maybe they could offer them up to make a motorway if any new roads need building near Swansea?!

The page most readers lose interest at is Page 18. Wow! That early in a book? Well, if you get past page 18, from now on, you know you’re over at least one reading hurdle! I usually say give it rather more pages than that unless it’s a pretty short book! For a full-on novel, some say anything from 70 to 100 pages. Personally, when I’ve been doing my Ongoing Concerns lists during this year, I work out what 10% of the book is and see how that first 10% goes… So, if I’ve got a book that’s 380 pages long, let’s see how I feel about it when I get to page 38.

Thankfully, for you, this blog is not that long, lol, and we have got a few more “fresh” books mentioned which hadn’t already been on the list, and we’ve had some facts about books thanks to Firdyawkal’s post on Facebook, so I hope it’s been an entertaining blog tonight! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Good People – Hannah Kent
  • Caraval – Stephanie Garber
  • Dumplin’ – Julie Murphy
  • The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
  • A Man of Shadows – Jeff Noon
  • Welcome To Night Vale – Joseph Fink
  • Fools of Nature – Alice Brown
  • The Mill On the Floss – George Eliot

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What’s So Hard About Animal Farm?!

The Good People

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Back again with another blog, and it was nice to have four of us at book club on Thursday. Nick and Diane had returned, and one of my council colleagues, Michelle, came along, so there were four of us and it made for a much better book club meeting than I’d had for some time! It felt as though we were able to have some proper discussion and bounce ideas and book suggestions off each other, which is what book club is about, and that’s bloody hard to do if only two of you turn up and the other person is just happy to go along with your choices. So, much better, as I said. We decided on The Good People, by Hannah Kent, as our next book, and our meeting will be on Wednesday 6th December.

As I’ve said previously, Hannah’s first book, Burial Rites, was a book club book of ours about 4 years ago. When the novel was first published, Hannah and her publisher came to Waterstone’s to promote the book, and as we were due to have book club that night, Emma from Waterstone’s had said to us “Would you be happy for this to be a book club event?” so we said yes, and Hannah talked to us about her book and how it came about. She’s from Adelaide, Australia, but had gone on an exchange programme to Iceland and, in learning about the country and its history, became intrigued with the story of the last woman to be executed in Iceland, hence the story behind Burial Rites.

She’s gone from Iceland to Ireland with this one, but yet again it is a work of historical fiction based on Irish folklore. I have started it, so let’s see what it’s like! It’s a handbag book, anyway, although it’s not the only reading matter which has been making a home in my purple Kipling bag. Currently sharing the handbag space with The Good People are What Light, by Jay Asher,  which is a Christmas novella, and The Outsiders, by S E Hinton. I was kinda hoping that short books, and possibly some short stories, might get me feeling fictional again.

This year is 50 years since The Outsiders was first published. Not one I’ve read before, but it is a book which has been read by many in the last half century, especially teenagers. It has often been a set book for literature classes at school, on the syllabus for the old O Levels and CSEs and then GCSEs when those came along in my high school days. My year were the second lot ever to sit GCSEs, way back in the summer of 1989. Perhaps one of the other English sets, 2 to 4 read this book? Not sure. All I know is what we read in set 1 with Mrs Walsh. (There were eight sets, but only the top four studied literature as well as language.)

Our play was Macbeth, it was always going to be something by the Bard as our teacher was a total Shakespeare nut, lol! Our novel was Pride and Prejudice, so we were introduced to Mr Darcy long before Colin Firth played him in that adaptation! Animal Farm, by George Orwell, was our novella which we looked at both as a straightforward story and as a political allegory, and our poetry, rather appropriately for Remembrance Day weekend, was from the First World War, as we studied a fair few poems from both Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. Not sure which book Mrs Walsh used for our poetry, but I always recommend The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry should you be looking to read what I read at school!

Right then… back from my high school reading to the present day, and yesterday I was at St Paul’s Church in Monton for our Christmas fair. While we did have one or two little kids’ books, Mum and I don’t have a book stall, but there is one, and I managed to get five books for a mere £1.50 so I think we should class church fair book bargains in the same category as charity shop bargains for the purposes of this blog.

Church fair book purchases 2017

As you can see, this haul includes two large books about Abba! Abba The Book, by Jean-Marie Potiez, and Mamma Mia! How Can I Resist You? This is the inside story of the making of the musical and film based on Abba’s songs. Bit irritating that I can’t see the exact edition of Abba The Book for my List Challenges list. I have put one on for now, but I shall keep trying for the white cover edition. Grrr! It annoys me, that! It’s all very well if I haven’t got a copy of a certain book, but if I have, I want the right edition on List Challenges. Except for The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas, as I prefer the US cover anyway, as I’ve said before!

My other books are Prophecy, by S. J. Parris, The Tenko Club, by Elizabeth Noble, and The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde. I have a feeling I do already own a copy of the latter, but as I’m not even sure where it is or whether I could get my hands on it easily, I chanced getting a copy yesterday at the church fair.  I remember seeing the film version when I was at uni, and then again some years later, on telly late one night, and it’s brilliant. It’s mostly in black and white, but the portrait is in Technicolor!

Actually, going back to List Challenges for a moment… I was on there in the past week or so, and there was a list of “difficult to read” books, but I have to say that some of them weren’t what I’d call difficult at all! The Picture of Dorian Gray was one of them, but I fail to see what’s so difficult about this book! SPOILER ALERT! Well-to-do good-looking young bloke has his portrait painted, as people did in those days when they were well-off, and he’s gone to see and admire the finished product. While he’s admiring his portrait, he makes a wish that he could stay young forever and that the portrait would grow old instead. This wish comes true and Dorian remains young and handsome. However, this goes to his head, and he becomes a right arsehole, and he does some pretty nasty shit to some people. As his behaviour deteriorates, his portrait grows not only older but uglier too, so he hides it away.

Anyhow, that’s enough Dorian spoilers! A couple of the other books on the “difficult to read” list were Jane Eyre and Animal Farm! Seriously?! Those are seen as hard to read?! As I have already said in this blog, I read Animal Farm for my GCSEs when I was at high school, so it’s not that bloody hard! If we’re discussing Orwell’s writing, I could see how people might find 1984, with its newspeak, difficult to read, maybe, but what’s so hard about Animal Farm?! I was about 15 or so when I read that! And I was even younger when I read Jane Eyre! I was in the third year at high school, 13 going on 14! If Jane Eyre was a difficult book, I doubt very much I’d have read it at that stage of my education!

Well, I think that’s about it for now. I had a bit of a book tsunami earlier, but then again, the previous one was in early February, so it’s not too bad considering the huge piles of books I have, lol! Quite a lot of book mentions in here for you tonight – I know some of you like it when I have a big long list at the end as it gives you reading ideas! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Good People – Hannah Kent
  • Burial Rites – Hannah Kent
  • What Light – Jay Asher
  • The Outsiders – S. E. Hinton
  • Macbeth – William Shakespeare
  • Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  • Animal Farm – George Orwell
  • The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry – Various
  • Abba, The Book – Jean-Marie Potiez
  • Mamma Mia! How Can I Resist You? – Benny Anderson, Bjorn Ulvaeus & Judy Craymer
  • The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
  • Prophecy – S. J. Parris
  • The Tenko Club – Elizabeth Noble
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
  • Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
  • 1984 – George Orwell

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