Category Archives: Manc Stuff!

July Review

Hendrik Groen finished July 2017

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Well, I forgot the tick on my wipeboard, but The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old has now been read, and I would love a sequel! Think of Adrian Mole, but imagine him as an elderly Dutch guy in an old folks’ home in Amsterdam with all his aches and pains, and various grumbles, plus a sense of adventure!

So, I have finished three entire books within the course of this past month, with Hendrik Groen’s completion following on from One Italian Summer and Dissolution which were both finished last week. During the course of 2017 so far, I have read, or at least finished off, 34 books, meaning I am 4 books over my Goodreads Challenge target of 30, which I met in May, and I feel July has been very productive on the book front!

I have read at least 50 pages of each of the six books I have read during the course of July, with Me and Earl and the Dying Girl needing more reading done on it. Only read 50 pages of that one, but with reading Dissolution, the first of the Shardlake series, that was 443 pages, so that was the most for any book I read this month. As I am listing these books here, they will not be listed at the end of the blog, although other books will be mentioned.

One Italian SummerKeris Stainton. 241 pages. (Read whole book)

DissolutionC. J. Sansom. 443 pages. (Read whole book)

The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years OldHendrik Groen. 376 pages. (Read whole book)

Periodic TalesHugh Aldersey-Williams. 88 pages read in July.

Me and Earl and the Dying GirlJesse Andrews. 50 pages read in July.

Neither Here Nor ThereBill Bryson. 92 pages read in July.

Total number of pages read in July: 1,290

Nemanja Matic joins MUFC 31st July 2017

My current distraction from reading, but July has been a good month for books!

Wow! That’s a lot of pages! After June, which wasn’t all that productive, I feel July has been a great month on the book front! Probably because I felt I had to do something while waiting for United to sign players in the transfer window, lol! Therefore I got a lot of reading done between breaking news on Sky Sports News! We have signed Romelu Lukaku, of course, and now Nemanja Matic, but the fannying about from our chief exec, Ed Woodward (aka The Gnome), was getting a bit much at times, and doing my head in, so I had to escape into a few good books while I waited for him to get his arse in gear and get signings done and dusted!

(We did also sign Victor Lindelof, but that was in June, so I’m dealing more with July’s events in this blog!)

I think this is something like my 166th book blog, but I know some things for sure. I now have 61 followers, 60 on WordPress, plus 1 via email, so thanks very much to all of you who brave my waffle on a regular basis in the hope that I mention something to do with books! The vast majority of my blogs on here are about books, but there have been one or two occasions when only one or two books have been mentioned because something has happened for me to bring up a particular news event. I am pretty sure that’s not a common thing, though. I remember having a rant at the chavs responsible for the arson and looting in 2011, and I also posted my Manchester La La La blog entry in May this year after the bomb at the Arena. I still did get a couple of book references in each of those blogs, though, but I hope you understand these things had to be said and that you knew I would get back to matters of a literary nature!

(The blog covering the arson and looting rant was in September 2011, I think, and was called If They Steal Any Books, They Might Even Learn Something! It’s either August or September’s archive from 2011, anyway, should you wish to look up that blog and have a read of it.)

Cathedral book bench 4

This month also saw the Book Benches appear around town, and they are on display up to 10th September. For those wishing to see them, they are indoors at their various locations, such as Central Library, the Arndale Centre, Manchester Cathedral and the National Football Museum. There are also many others to find! Not just in the city centre, but also dotted around various suburbs of Manchester!

Charlotte bookmark 2017

My niece, the Junior Bookworm, celebrated her 7th birthday this month, so I stitched her a cross-stitched bookmark. It is currently keeping her place in one of her books.

So, let’s get on to the Ongoing Concerns as July comes to an end. Early this month, as you may recall, I decided it was time for the OC Overhaul, and booted a few books off the list. It was actually a matter of being fair to those books as they hadn’t been read for ages, and were being overlooked and overtaken. I had about 9 or 10 books on the list, but only 3 or 4 of those were being picked up and read, so I had a cull and decided I would have six books, two fiction, two non-fiction and two young adult.

The revised list of six books was Dissolution, One Italian Summer, Hendrik Groen, Periodic Tales, Me and Earl, and Neither Here Nor There. As you know now, the first three of those books have been read, so that leaves  us with three to be continued as we head into August…

Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews

Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson

OC list end of July 2017

The new OC List as we head into August…

Two of those are non-fiction, with Me and Earl being Young Adult, so we need two general fiction books and one young adult one to get the OC list back to the half dozen. One of the general fiction books I am adding is The Beach Hut, by Veronica Henry. As that one is already 34% read, it can go straight on the OC List. It is over 10% read. The other two books are Dark Fire, by C J Sansom, the second Shardlake novel, of which I will need to read 58 pages to get to 10%, and A Quiet Kind of Thunder, by Sara Barnard, 31 pages of which should see me reach 10% and I will thus be able to add it to my OC List. With those two, of course, it all depends on that first ten percent, and whether it grabs me enough to continue!

If, for any reason, I am not enjoying them, I will have to reconsider matters, but I feel confident that I will enjoy these books.

Lake District purchases July 2017

Before I finish, a couple of mentions for some books acquired recently. As I went to the Lake District last week, I picked up The Shepherd’s Life, by James Rebanks, which had been a bit of a word-of-mouth surprise best-seller a year or so ago if I recall rightly. It’s from a shepherd in the Lake District, so it’s local to that area. Yes, there were also magnets purchased, lol, and some necessary Kendal Mint Cake! Had to be done! Today, I was just out and about locally to me, though, and picked up a 20p bargain from one of the charity shops on Salford Precinct, the book in question being The Food of Love Cookery School, by Nicky Pellegrino. It’s set in Sicily, it’s about food, and it was a mere 20p, so I decided to risk it for a biscuit!

Well, that’s about it for this month on the book front, I think that’s all my news for July, so as we head into August, I shall finish this off and get it published, so until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry (other than the original 6 OCs)

  • The Beach Hut – Veronica Henry
  • Dark Fire – C. J. Sansom (Shardlake #2)
  • A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard
  • The Shepherd’s Life – James Rebanks
  • The Food of Love Cookery School – Nicky Pellegrino

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Filed under Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, Historical Fiction, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Month in Review, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, Travel, YA Books

Sit Down With a Good Book!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

One week of July left, folks! Latest updates on the OC front coming later, but I have been promising you some photos of the book benches in Manchester, haven’t I?! I think I posted the above ones before, and those are amongst the benches in the Arndale Centre. This event is running for two months, from 10th July to 10th September, so if you’re in Manchester at any time, get yourself a map and try to find as many book benches as you can! They all seem to be indoors, and there’s plenty yet for me to check out, as I’ve not been to Central Library yet. I have, however, been in Manchester Cathedral and the National Football Museum, and there are benches in both those locations.

These are the ones in the Cathedral ( see above). Yes, you can sit on them, but you should also explore the other side, as they are illustrated on the back as well as on the bench bits!

These ones are in the National Football Museum, so people can sit on a book bench rather than the subs’ bench, I guess, lol! There are four benches in the museum, two on the ground floor and two on the second floor.

I guess I thought, at first, it would be like when we had Cowparade, which was in 2004 if I remember rightly. Although one or two bovines were indoors, and could be found in hotel receptions and Piccadilly Station, most of the cows were outdoors, so I was a bit taken aback not to see any book benches around town, but it seems they’re all indoors. Certainly the ones I have tracked down so far! There are supposed to be some on Salford Quays, so I will have to investigate those – at the Lowry I believe, some at the theatre and some at the outlet mall. Also, if I were to take a trip back to Chorlton, where I worked for three years, I understand there’s a book bench at Chorlton Library.

Chorlton was very good for books, as anyone scrolling through my archives of this blog will discover! Not been for a while, but certainly when I was working in that part of town from 2009 to 2012, there was the Chorlton Bookshop, the Oxfam Bookshop, and several other charity shops with a decent selection of bargain books! I bought that Roald Dahl box set, which I gave Charlotte for Christmas last year, when I was working in Chorlton, and, although I’ve yet to read it, I acquired A Game of Thrones, by George R R Martin for just 79p at the PDSA shop! Despite the TV series being called Game of Thrones, the actual book series is called A Song of Ice and Fire, with A Game of Thrones simply being the first book in what is an ongoing series, with another couple of books expected in the coming years.

I think I shall have to watch the excellent Thug Notes video again before I do attempt the book – I don’t know if you’ve ever watched any of the Thug Notes videos on YouTube, and they’re definitely Not Safe For Work because of the language, lol, but they are a brilliant guide to literature! You know when you’re at school or college and you’re studying some work of literature for your English exams, and you have study guides for that particular book, like Letts’ revision guides or York Notes?! Well, Thug Notes is like a video-based guide to literature in a very colloquial way!

As you know, I’m all in favour of stuff which encourages people to read who possibly wouldn’t. I’m against book-snobbishness, and I am all for things like Thug Notes. Also, it doesn’t matter which format you read in! Hardback, paperback, e-books, audiobooks, large print, Braille… the main thing is to read for pleasure. Yes, audiobooks count, especially if they are the unabridged versions. After all, along with large print and Braille books, audiobooks are good for those with visual impairments, and are more readily available as a format than large print editions or Braille books. E-readers do enable you to enlarge the font size, so those can help, too.

Charlotte bookmark 2017

Now that my niece has had her birthday, turning 7 on Saturday, I am able to show you the bookmark I made for her. I couldn’t really post this any sooner! I need to get on and mention a few more actual books, though, don’t I? I’ve been on about book benches and a bookmark, but let’s get down to mentioning some actual reading matter!

I had One Italian Summer and Neither Here Nor There in my handbag today, and managed to get a bit of each read at lunchtime. I think Keris Stainton must be a fellow Potterhead, as there is a mention of Voldemort in her novel! With the Bill Bryson book, I was reading about his visit to Amsterdam, a city I have visited twice, although I really must go again, as I’ve yet to visit any of the museums! I am now on for a chapter about Hamburg, which I have not really visited, but I did pass through the city in 1991 when I was going to Denmark with the City of Salford Youth Concert Band. We sailed from Harwich to Hamburg on the ferry, and then our coaches drove up through Germany and into Denmark. Coming home, though, we sailed from Esbjerg in Denmark back to Harwich.

I do believe, though, that there are parts of Hamburg where the walls have been coated with hydrophobic paint. Once a surface has been treated with this stuff, it repels liquids, and it has been done to stop drunken revellers peeing against the walls! If they attempt to answer the call of nature and have a wee against the wall, the wee rebounds back on them, wetting their shoes! Ruthless German Efficiency, if you ask me! If you’re a bloke, you’re in Hamburg, and you’ve been caught short, please DO find a proper public loo! You will need Toiletten, and Herren if you have a choice of Damen und Herren. Hope that helps!

On the footy front, STILL waiting for the stupid bloody Gnome to get his arse in gear and sign a couple more players as per Jose’s shopping list! Hence the books I am getting through while waiting for pigs to fly, lol! We had another pre-season friendly last night, and it finished 1-1, thus it went to penalties and one of the most farcical shoot-outs I’ve seen in a long time! If it were a film, you could promote it thus…

Starring Manchester United and Real Madrid in…

HOW NOT TO TAKE PENALTIES!

We won the shoot-out 2-1, so Real were even more useless from the spot than we were, although some of that was due to Dave’s Saves! DDG saved a couple of theirs, and they missed the other two they failed with! Our two successful penalties were converted by Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Daley Blind, so our Dutch defender essentially won it for us. I should have a stroopwafel, then, shouldn’t I?! Dutchman scoring a goal! Thing is, I have less need for stroops now, as the Dutch players we still have at United are both defenders – Daley Blind and Tim Fosu-Mensah. I needed more stroops when RvP was still with us, but as Mr van Persie went to Fenerbahce in 2015, my stroop requirements have decreased in the past two years. I may well need Belgian chocolates, though, as we have signed Romelu Lukaku from Everton this summer, and he is a striker.

A couple of charity shop bargains were acquired earlier, from the Age UK shop in Salford, where I picked up Around the World in 80 Days, by Jules Verne, and Iris & Ruby, by Rosie Thomas, which looked interesting. Anyway, I shall get this published and then you can admire the book benches! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • A Game of Thrones – George R. R. Martin
  • One Italian Summer – Keris Stainton
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • Around the World in 80 Days – Jules Verne
  • Iris & Ruby – Rosie Thomas

 

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Filed under Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Cross-Stitch, E-Books & Audiobooks, Football, Foreign Languages, Goodreads, Handbag Books, Junior Bookworms, Manc Stuff!, My Bookworm History, Ongoing Concerns, Television, Travel, YA Books

Long Blog From Joanne!

Stuart Maconie at Waterstone's July 2017

Stuart Maconie at Waterstone’s, Deansgate

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

We’re now in the early hours of Friday morning, but I’m hoping to get on with this blog and report on a great evening at Waterstone’s yesterday, when I met one of my favourite writers, Stuart Maconie, who was promoting his brand new book, Long Road from Jarrow, in which he retraces the route from Jarrow to London taken by 200 men from the north-east town in October 1936 to try to petition Parliament to create some jobs in their local area.

Eighty years to the day, Maconie set off from Jarrow in October 2016, taking in what had changed and what was still similar all these years later. As he said himself, during the talk, things have changed so quickly even since last autumn that even some of the events of last year seem very out of date already, but you can’t just go round putting in amendments in all the books – you just have to accept that that’s how things were when you finished writing! An occupational hazard of non-fiction writing, especially when it comes to history!

The lady with Stuart was from BBC Radio 6 if I recall rightly, and was leading the interview-style event prior to Stuart taking questions from the audience. This was in one of the event rooms at the book shop, although Stuart did the book-signing session in the cafe on the 2nd floor, so that was out in the main part of the store again.

If any of you have read and enjoyed his books, he is as witty in real life as when he writes. There were a lot of similarities between 1936 and 2016, despite the eighty year gap. The media was just getting going back then, but the marchers used what forms of communication they had at the time to plan their route, find some accommodation and get some mentions in local papers along the journey! A lot of people felt politicians had turned their backs on them and abandoned them, which is pretty much the feeling a lot of people have even now.

Me with Stuart Maconie July 2017

Me with Stuart Maconie

I didn’t put any questions to him during the Q&A session, but did have a bit of a chat while he was signing my books – he signed my copy of Long Road from Jarrow, and also The Pie at Night, which I had brought with me. I mentioned that I’d got a lot of that read on the way to Wembley in February – it seemed an apt book to take to the EFL Cup Final as football is one of the major things we northerners enjoy as entertainment. He’s a Wigan Athletic fan, so 2013 was a special year for them, as well as my lads. Although they were sadly relegated from the Premier League that season, they did win the FA Cup so it was still a happy memory!

Long Road from Jarrow may have to wait, but hopefully not too long – it depends on the progress of the current non-fiction books on the OC List, but as Periodic Tales is now at 64% and Neither Here Nor There is now at 33%, it shouldn’t be too long before Dave Haslam and Stuart Maconie are on the OC List! Manchester England is being queued up as the next non-fiction to join the OCs, so Long Road from Jarrow can be next after that! They’re both books about (mostly) 20th century British history, popular history of northern England to be exact, but not completely the same. One is specific to my local area, concerning the city’s entertainment history, and the other is the re-tracing of a famous march route down to London by 200 job-seeking Geordie fellas.

My signed book, plus promotional postcard and badge

As I said earlier, he also signed my copy of The Pie at Night, but the photos are of the new book, and the promotional stuff – nice when you get matching freebies, isn’t it?! Plus, it gives me extra things to #Bookstagram about! And there’s plenty to #Bookstagram about when you’re a mad bookworm on Instagram, let me assure you, lol! Particularly when authors of YA novels are liking your posts! I got a like from Keris Stainton when I featured One Italian Summer in one of my Bookstagram posts! Woo-hoo!

I’ve also made friends on Instagram with one of the Waterstone’s ladies – she works in the children’s and young adult’s section, and she’s the one who recommended One Italian Summer to me. She has also recommended When Dimple Met Rishi, by Sandhya Menon, which I certainly like the sound of, but I have yet to acquire a copy.

Super scrumptious story bench

The above photo is a taster of a blog to come, as I plan to do a more thorough mention of the Book Bench Trail shortly. I have found the benches in Manchester Cathedral, and in the National Football Museum, so I will be featuring more photos very soon from around town. It’s just that I wanted to concentrate on the Waterstone’s event with Stuart Maconie in this blog. I don’t mean to over-Manc you all, I know that my followers are pretty spread out – the last time I checked, I had 58 of you following my book blog, so thank you for being brave enough to do that, lol! – and I also know it can be irritating to read about book events you can’t get to as they’re nowhere near where you live! I’d love to go to some of those book fairs I see mentioned on Book Riot’s Facebook page, but they’re all in the USA and I’m on the other side of the pond!

I mean, I’d quite like to go to Hay-On-Wye, which is a famous book town in Wales, well known for having a lot of book shops, and that visit is not beyond the realms of possibility as it is in the UK, so I feel that is an achievable thing for a British bookworm and that I might eventually be able to tick it off from my “to do” list! Not saying I won’t ever get to a book fair or convention in the States, but it’s a more remote possibility than visiting a book town based on the same island I inhabit!

Thus, if there’s book-related stuff happening right on my own doorstep, here in Manchester, I’m going to be having a shufty and reporting on it in this blog! However, for the time being, I’m going to have to call it a night for now and get this thing published, so, until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Long Road from Jarrow – Stuart Maconie
  • The Pie at Night – Stuart Maconie
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • Manchester, England – Dave Haslam
  • One Italian Summer – Keris Stainton
  • When Dimple Met Rishi – Sandhya Menon

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Filed under Authors, Books, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Literary Issues, Manc Stuff!, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Travel, YA Books

A Truth Universally Acknowledged

Jane Austen ten pound note 2017

The forthcoming plastic £10 note featuring Jane Austen

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a person in possession of one of the new £10 notes will find a picture of Jane Austen on it! This week marked the 200th year since Austen passed away, so it does make it rather appropriate that when the new plastic tenners come out this autumn, she will be on them. At least the Bank of England have got things right this time, actually bringing a note out featuring a certain famous person in an appropriate anniversary year, as opposed to a few years ago when they actually phased out the £20 notes with Sir Edward Elgar on them a year or two before a significant anniversary regarding one of our most famous composers! I expect, after the strident complaints received from disgruntled classical music buffs over their Elgar error, they have learned from their mistake and chose 2017 to actually launch the Jane Austen ten pound notes. And, as you can probably tell from the title and the opening sentence of this blog, yes I did study Pride and Prejudice when I was at school!

The OC Overhaul is working well, getting the list down to six was one of my better ideas, lol! Today I have been making progress with our latest book club book, The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old, and am presently up to 37% of the way through the book. If you can imagine Adrian Mole, but elderly and Dutch and in a nursing home in Amsterdam, you can probably get a fair idea! The diary is set in 2013, and I am up to the end of April, or early May, I think, so I’ve just gone past a significant time for me – not that Hendrik mentions it, he doesn’t, but April 2013 for me was about United’s 20th league title and my 40th birthday! As many of you know, our 20th title was clinched the night before my Big 40, thanks to Robin van Persie’s hat-trick at home to Aston Villa, the second goal of which was an absolute beauty and definitely one of the best goals I have ever seen!

Talking of goals, it was good to see Romelu Lukaku get off the mark with his first goal for us the other night as we came from behind to beat Real Salt Lake 2-1 in our second game of our pre-season tour in the USA. I know we have got Lindelof and Lukaku, but we still need more players this summer! The Gnome is being very tardy, and Jose has had to mention it a few times in press conferences – you can tell Mr Mourinho isn’t happy about it! He gave Ed the “shopping list” in May at the end of the season we’ve just had, and we have got two players, but Jose has said we need four! I would say we need at least four! I am not best pleased that Morata’s going to Chelsea, I thought we should have gone for him as well as Lukaku! We need all the strikers we can get after not scoring anywhere near enough goals last season, especially in the league!

So, some of the progress I have been making in recent days with both Dissolution and the Hendrik Groen book has been as part of a challenge to see how much I can get read while I wait for that useless Gnome to get his finger out of his arse and make some more signings! Dissolution is up to 75% read now! Serious progress, and I am really enjoying it, so I hope the other books in the Shardlake series are as good! Of course, when I finish Dissolution, Dark Fire will be next.

Charlotte's summer reading challenge 2017

My niece’s summer reading challenge – I’m sure she’ll complete this!

My sister posted that photo on my timeline on Facebook earlier. It’s Charlotte’s summer reading challenge from her primary school. As she takes after me on the bookworm front, I’m sure she will excel at this! The Junior Bookworm will be 7 this weekend – yes, I know! Time flies, doesn’t it?! Seven years since I became an auntie! I had been an “honourary auntie” to friends’ kids prior to 2010, but I became an actual auntie that summer, and I remember having to phone in to work and speak to my boss to get that day off – my niece was born at a silly time in the morning, and I hadn’t had much sleep when I woke up to phone work – thankfully my boss, Dawn, could tell I sounded utterly knackered, congratulated me on becoming an auntie, and gave the go ahead for my leave. I then went back to sleep, as you can imagine!

Actually, next month will be my 7th blogging anniversary! I have been doing this Joanne’s Bookshelf blog since August 2010. August will also mark my 10th anniversary on Facebook! I joined on either 9th or 10th August 2007, not quite sure which date, but I am sure FB will let me know next month with my “10th Faceversary” video, lol! One of my long-time FB friends, Robert Rush, recently celebrated his 10th FB anniversary, although I think it was probably around the September of 2007 when I became friends with him thanks to a group called A Cup of Tea Solves Everything!

Of the charity shop bargains lately, there have been a couple of chunky monkeys by Charles Dickens which have ended up chez moi – The Pickwick Papers set me back a mere 50p on Monday when I was in Salford, and Nicholas Nickleby wasn’t much more expensive when I acquired it in Eccles earlier today for 99p. You can get some of the classics really cheaply, I have noticed! I once got Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes, for a mere 20p! It was when I was volunteering at The Mustard Tree in Eccles, I think. And that’s a real chunky monkey of a book! It weighs in at 785 pages in the edition I own! 785 pages of novel for a mere 20p?! A snip, as they used to say in the legendary pop magazine Smash Hits back in the day!

Well, I shall be at Waterstone’s tomorrow evening… the book event with Stuart Maconie has soon come around, hasn’t it?! Hence I will be meeting one of my favourite non-fiction authors. I think I will take either The Pie at Night or The People’s Songs with me just in case, but I intend to buy Long Road From Jarrow anyway, so I can certainly get him to sign that. I must remember that if there are any drinks, as there often are at these things, I can’t have any of the vino, unfortunately! I’ve got a dental infection and I’m on the “uncle-biotics”, lol, so no booze for me for a few days! Will have to stick to juice.

Talking of which, I must remember to have my third and final one for today, three a day for five days, so I shall get this blog finished and published, and then I can attend to my medication. I will be back again soon enough with another blog, lol! Hopefully a photo or two from the Stuart Maconie event! Until then, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  • The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old – Hendrik Groen
  • Dissolution – C. J. Sansom
  • Dark Fire – C. J Sansom
  • The Pickwick Papers – Charles Dickens
  • Nicholas Nickleby  – Charles Dickens
  • Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes
  • The Pie at Night – Stuart Maconie
  • The People’s Songs – Stuart Maconie
  • Long Road From Jarrow – Stuart Maconie

 

 

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Filed under Authors, Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Chunky Monkeys, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Handbag Books, Historical Fiction, Junior Bookworms, Manc Stuff!, My Bookworm History, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, School, College & Uni Reading, The TBR Pile

OC Overhaul, Book Benches and an Emergency Book!

OC Overhaul July 2017

Bullet journal documenting my Ongoing Concerns overhaul…

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Yes, I have gone and done it! I have taken decisive action on the notorious Ongoing Concerns List, and trimmed it down! I decided it was unfair on certain books which were not being read, I hadn’t touched them for weeks, if not months, and I thought let’s just take them off the list, at least for now, and put them back on some time later if I CAN be arsed reading them instead of leaving them on there for decoration without them making any ounce of progress as far as Goodreads percentages are concerned.

Several YA books are therefore back in the TBR pile as partially-read books, with receipts or travel tickets in them as bookmarks so I know where I’m up to when I do decide to resume them at any time in the future. There are now two YA novels on the new OC list, those being Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, by Jesse Andrews, and One Italian Summer, by Keris Stainton. She actually liked one of my posts on Instagram the other day! I am a frequent Bookstagrammer on there, most of my posts on Instagram are about books! There are some which aren’t, but I’m very much into the whole Bookstagram thing.

One non-fiction book has been returned to the TBR list, but Periodic Tales, by Hugh Aldersey-Williams, and Neither Here Nor There, by Bill Bryson, remain on the OC List as our current representatives of factual reading matter! This coming week, on Thursday, I will be meeting one of my favourite non-fiction writers, Stuart Maconie, who is coming to Waterstone’s on Deansgate to promote his new book, Long Road From Jarrow, which will be published that day. That one will have to join the TBR pile though, as I’ve got two non-fictions on the list, and I said I was going to resume Manchester, England by Dave Haslam as my next non-fiction selection on the OC List once one of the current factual books has been read, and will be using my “and the bees still buzz” bookmark in it!

It’s all go on the book front in Manchester at the moment, and I shall return to the matter of Mancunian book-related events shortly, once I have covered the fiction section of my new trimmed-down OC List, lol!

OC Wipeboard July 2017

The OC Wipeboard – cleaned and tarted-up with the new list. The magnets have been on for a while, from Berlin, Chichen Itza, and Marrakech respectively. The blue thingy is a wipeboard eraser, and is magnetic. I might just plonk that on the top and put a few more magnets on, or sometimes change them around. I needed a new pen for it anyway, as the one it came with had gone funny. The board itself needed cleaning, too, but I sorted that out, so it looks pretty good now, and I have a few colours I can use on it. I’m sure non-permanent OHP pens would also work on it…

So, the fiction section… Obviously, this currently consists of Dissolution, by C. J. Sansom, the first book of his Shardlake series, and my current book club book, The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old. I am now 12% through that so it has joined the list because I have read at least 10% of it. Thus the OC list is at six, with a nice balance of 2 fiction, 2 non-fiction and 2 young adult. If I find even that is too much and things are not being read, I will have to trim it down further, but it’s a lot better than it was!

Bookbench trail map

Bookbench Trail Map

I did promise you more book-related goings-on in Manchester, so this is what I was on about, the Bookbench Trail. A bit like when we had Cowparade in the noughties, but with sets of benches in the shape of books, decorated by various groups and schools, and dotted around Manchester, both in the city centre and out in various suburbs. This is on for 2 months from 10th July to 10th September, so it just started this Monday just gone.

The above photos are from some of the benches in the Arndale Centre in town. The crayons remind me of some of Charlotte’s books, actually, lol! I’m thinking about The Day the Crayons Quit, and The Day the Crayons Came Home, both by Drew Daywalt. If you haven’t read these books, you really should! They’re brilliant and very funny!

Anyway, one foolish thing I did yesterday was that I forgot to put any books in my handbag! Oops! I was going in to town for my volunteering, and also to give blood afterwards, although it turned out that my haemoglobin was low, so I couldn’t donate a pint of my O positive on this occasion. I realised in the morning, after leaving the house to get a bus to Eccles, that I had forgotten to bring any books with me. I was not best pleased, as you can imagine! Chief Bookworm had no Handbag Books! Oops!

Emergency Book July 2017

Emergency Book!

Bearing in mind I’d be volunteering in the morning, and that I’d be doing the sudoku in the newspapers while on the tram to town, I wasn’t so much bothered about not having a book for the outgoing journey, but I figured that, if I was going to be giving an armful to the vampires, I would need a book to pass the time during my donation, so just before I went to the donor centre, I nipped into Fopp, where they have a selection of cheap books as well as music and films, and picked up Life After Dark, by Dave Haslam, for £3 to take with me. Hence the bit in the title of this blog about the Emergency Book!

So, I took the Emergency Book with me to the donor centre, only for me to turn out to be a bit low on iron and unable to give blood! Oh well, never mind! The book is a history of British nightclubs and music venues, as you might expect from a DJ, and I read a little bit of it on the bus on the way home from town, although the rest of it will have to wait, at least until after I have finished with one of his other books, and that’s still not on the OC list yet, anyway!

Didn’t have a fellow bookworm on that bus, but the previous day, I had a fellow bookworm on the tram to Eccles when I was coming home from town. I was reading Dissolution, she was reading The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry, which she said she was enjoying. I said it was on my TBR List. She said she’d read and enjoyed Dissolution! My copy of The Essex Serpent is in the pile of books, mostly hardbacks, known as my Bass Amp Book Tower!

Well, I shall now go and get myself a brew, and do some reading perhaps. My lads have their first game of the pre-season tour later, at what is silly o’clock for us here in the UK, but that’s not too much trouble as I can always watch it in bed and I am a night owl, so I will probably be awake for most of it anyway!

Wonder when the Gnome will get his finger out of his arse and get some more players off Jose’s shopping list?! I don’t think the manager is very chuffed at the extremely lethargic “speed” at which Gnome is progressing with this task, and we fans certainly aren’t! We need more players, and we need to be buying them, not letting other players go in exchange! Especially not strikers, as we don’t have enough as it is! No, Inter Milan, you cannot have Anthony Martial! We don’t have enough forwards! We might possibly have some spare defenders or something, if you need anyone in those positions at the back, but we need all the strikers we can get!

We have practically exchanged Rooney for Lukaku, so we have Lukaku, Martial and Rashford. That in itself is not enough strikers. We need at least one more, because we cannot bank on Zlatan returning. If he comes back mid season and manages to bang in the goals despite his age and despite having had a serious knee injury, that should be considered a bonus!

Anyway, that is about all from me for now, you’ll be relieved to learn, lol! So, until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • One Italian Summer – Keris Stainton
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • Long Road From Jarrow – Stuart Maconie
  • Manchester, England – Dave Haslam
  • Dissolution – C. J. Sansom
  • The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old – Hendrik Groen
  • The Day the Crayons Quit – Drew Daywalt
  • The Day the Crayons Came Home – Drew Daywalt
  • Life After Dark – Dave Haslam
  • The Essex Serpent – Sarah Perry

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Filed under Authors, Bass Amp Book Tower, Books, Bookstagram, Childrens' Books, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, Historical Fiction, Humour, Junior Bookworms, Manc Stuff!, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Travel, Uncategorized, YA Books

June Review

Penguin orange book spines

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Another month over, and time for the monthly review, plus a look at the first half of 2017. Consider this the half-time break, go and get your pie and a cuppa, while the manager gives his team-talk, lol! (And while I secretly wish to boot my beloved club’s chief exec up the arse with one of my Timberlands if the bloody gnome-alike doesn’t start making more moves in the transfer market pretty bloody sharpish! Come on, Woodward! Even bloody Arsenal have signed someone today, and we know they’re not always the most active in the transfer market, lol, so how embarrassing does that look that you’ve yet to tick off any other players from Jose’s shopping list other than Lindelof?!)

Anyway, we’re half-way through the year, and we’re at 31/30 on the Goodreads Challenge. Meaning that I met my target in May, but have since added one more book to the list, that being Pet Shop Boys, Literally, by Chris Heath, which I finished just before I went to see Neil and Chris in concert at the Empress Ballroom in Blackpool last week!

It’s been a busy old month, with a concert, two birthdays, a christening, and the course that I’m currently on, which has increased my weekly amount of getting out and about! I probably should have fitted in more reading, but I didn’t, and I still need to start The Power, our book club read by Naomi Alderman, and the next book club is on 12th July, so I’d better get a shift on, I suppose…

I did buy two books at the church summer fair, those being Heartstone, by C. J. Sansom, and The Blind Assassin, by Margaret Atwood, but I had given Sandra a few bags of books for her stall, so I still reduced my physical book count significantly.

And then new ones come in… Well, second hand ones from charity shops, but they’re still new to me… Revelation, by C. J. Sansom, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan, and Jacky Daydream, by Jacqueline Wilson

That last one is actually her autobiography, her memoirs of her childhood, but written in the same style as her novels! I really should read more of hers, but I did read The Story of Tracy Beaker years ago!

I was also busy with my band, and the past two Saturdays have seen us giving concerts instead of having our usual rehearsals, although it’s back to normal tomorrow, and I shall be blowing my horn at Flixton Junior School as usual. So, last Saturday, I was playing my horn at an Armed Forces Day event in Northenden, adding to my busy weekend.

And it was Glastonbury last weekend, so Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I was alternating between BBC2 and BBC4 with use of the red button as well! Then looking up how to play “Creep” by Radiohead on my ukulele. Only 4 chords, which repeat throughout the song, although fretting one of those chords is slightly tricky.

I also had a book reshuffle during the course of this month, going into the Book Chest in the garage and swapping some reading matter over between the chest and the stuff here in my room.

Books were discussed when Sarah and I met up for the Pet Shop Boys gig last week, and I got to see James’ collection of David Walliams books, as well as being lent Phil Collins‘ autobiography, Not Dead Yet. He was risking it for biscuit calling his book that when you consider that the Grim Reaper was on overtime last year, when the book was published, and went a bit crazy with the number of famous people he was taking from us!

Plus, my volunteering, as part of my Volition course, is at the cathedral bookshop in town.

So, there has been quite a bit of book-related stuff going on in June, just not all that much actual READING! Oops!

Hopefully, July will be better and I will actually get some reading done! It can’t be much less productive on the reading front than June has been! OK, I met my Goodreads target for the whole year, and I achieved that in May, but I had hoped to exceed 30 books by a bit more than just one book by now.

I want to get some stuff off my OC List which has been on there for rather too long and if books could talk, they’d probably be moaning that I’d forgotten all about them! The list seems to have gone “stale” in that hardly anything on it has been read lately! OK, the PSB book was finished off, but the only other two I’ve bothered with have been Periodic Tales, and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl! A whole shedload of books need to be read, even if only a little bit. They need to be revived.

I think I feel that I don’t know what to read for the best at the moment. So many damn books need reading for one reason or another and the whole OC List thing, which I started in February, and which had been working well, seems to be going a bit Pete Tong!

I hope matters improve in July, and that things settle down after a busy month and I can get some significant reading done! To that end, I think it’s time I finished this off and got it published, so until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Oh, and in case I have any followers in Canada, and I don’t get round to blogging tomorrow, I send my advanced best wishes for a Happy Canada Day!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath
  • The Power – Naomi Alderman
  • Heartstone – C. J. Sansom
  • The Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood
  • Revelation – C. J. Sansom
  • Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief – Rick Riordan
  • Jacky Daydream – Jacqueline Wilson
  • The Story of Tracy Beaker – Jacqueline Wilson
  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Anderson

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Filed under Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Childrens' Books, Football, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, Historical Fiction, Manc Stuff!, Month in Review, Music, Ongoing Concerns

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