Category Archives: Manc Stuff!

Mystic Mince Pies, Hot Milk, and Traffic Jams…

Hot Milk and Mr Dickens

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the books are so delightful! Yep, we’ve had some snow today at Bookworm Central, lol! Some actual snow, as opposed to the usual attempt to snow in the UK. We have a kind of weather which I would describe as “Trying To Snow” which is when there’s a very minor flurry but nowt else, lol! However, at several times during the course of the day so far, it has been snowing. There has been some rain in between times so that has washed it away, but we have had snow. Not enough to build a snowman, not round here, unless you make a mini snowman on a garden wall or something.

Been a busy old week, and not over yet considering it is scheduled to be the Manchester Derby tomorrow at Old Trafford – snow permitting, of course! Anyway, I was at the match on Tuesday as United played CSKA Moscow in our final group game. Prior to the game, Dad came round for tea as we were going in his car, as has happened frequently this season. After our chilli con carne, we had some mince pies and squirty cream, and when Dad squirted cream on his pies, it looked like a 2 on one pie, and a 1 on the other, so he said that would be the score that night…

Not best pleased at half-time when we were trailing to a blatantly offside “goal” which should never have stood. Thankfully, in the second half, we turned things around in the space of three minutes midway through the half, with Romelu Lukaku equalising before Marcus Rashford put us ahead… and that reminded me of the pies and squirty cream, lol! 2-1 it remained, so when I got back in the car with Mum & Dad, the talk was of the Mystic Mince Pies, lol! Never mind your “Paul the Octopus” predicting winning sides in the World Cup, we had Mystic Mince Pies predicting the scoreline in United’s Champions League match!

So, we have won our group and we are through to the knockout stages, which start in mid-February. European football has a winter break, although we will find out on Monday who we have got in the first knockout round. As we have won our group, we will be away in the first leg, and at home in the second. It’s better that way, because if you don’t get a particularly good result in the first leg, you know you’ve got home advantage which can really help to turn things around in the second leg! Having said that, when we did the Treble in 1999, our quarter final and semi final ties against Inter Milan and Juventus saw United have the home leg first, and away leg second, and we still ended up winning the trophy!

Right, that’s the footy done, on to the books, lol!

Didn’t get any more of my book read in time for book club the next night, but I did get 70% read, so was mostly able to participate in the discussions, and I will finish it off – after all, I have just under a third left to read of The Good People. After our discussion, for which there were five of us, with Stephanie rejoining the fold as well as the four of us from last month – myself, Michelle, Nick and Diane, we discussed the next book and whether we should read something Christmassy, or deliberately un-Christmassy, and I said perhaps we should make it something reasonably short as we might not get a lot of time to get some reading in over the festive season! So, with a couple of us already owning a copy, we went for something fairly short and set in the summer, Hot Milk, by Deborah Levy. Our next meeting is on 10th January to give us a bit more time to read after Christmas and New Year!

Prior to the start of the book club, I met up with three of my colleagues from my days at Manchester DBC – June Padley, Anne Emmott, and Martin Biddles! It was great to be able to have a chat with them again and catch up a bit, also to be able to let them know I am working again at the moment. It was Martin’s birthday, so I guess that’s why they had met up. I said I’d seen one colleague fairly recently, Janice, as she volunteers at one of the charity shops here in Monton, and I am still in touch with quite a few people from my decade at Albert Bridge House on Facebook, and one or two on Instagram.

Right, anyway, I already had Hot Milk, as I said above, but I did buy myself something rather festive on the book front while I was at Waterstone’s, that being Mr Dickens and His Carol, by Samantha Silva. Something suitably seasonal, especially if our stupid weather insists on giving us the white stuff this year!

Chocs and books 2017

Thursday night, after work, Mum and I went off to the Lowry Centre on Salford Quays, as we had a voucher for Pizza Express, so we went in the shops first before we dined, and I stocked up on chocolate from the Cadbury’s shop, as you can see, lol, and a couple of cheap books from The Works, picking up The Snow Globe, by Sheila Roberts, and Hygge and Kisses, by Clara Christensen. Maybe not quite Christmassy as such, but certainly a plot which suggests cosiness, and that’s what many of us want at this time of year!

Then we come to yesterday, and the reason I ended up having to get a bus into Eccles today after my hairdo – I had to get my bus and tram pass, which was what I intended to do after work yesterday, and I got on a bus in decent enough time in Swinton, and headed on into town… except that when the bus actually got into Manchester, it was just bloody crawling along Bridge Street and taking an eternity! I knew I wasn’t going to be able to make it across town to the travel shop in Piccadilly Gardens before it closed at 6pm, so I was a bit pissed off to say the least! But, I was in town, so I thought I might as well do the other stuff, in other words get myself something to eat from the Christmas markets, and as I was on that side of town, and the shop was open for a while yet, I went in Waterstone’s.

Traffic jam compensation books December 2017

Yes, I know. But I was so damn annoyed at the traffic jam that I felt I needed some retail therapy, so off I went into my natural habitat, lol, and came out with three books – Furiously Happy, by Jenny Lawson, The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k, by Sarah Knight, and Warcross, by Marie Lu. I have mentioned the “not giving a f**k” book before, I think. I already like to think that I give fewer “flying ones” than I used to, but I felt this book would be good anyway! It would be a vindication of my general reduction of f**k-giving, so to speak!

Most of the stuff on telly these days is hardly worth giving a f**k about, especially reality TV shows! Unless they’re about food. I like Masterchef, although I probably shouldn’t watch stuff like that. Cookery programmes make me hungry, lol! I remember watching Ken Hom’s Chinese Cookery late at night on BBC2 when I was a teenager in the late 80s, and that used to make me ridiculously hungry! I absolutely LOVE Chinese food! Always have done since I was very little!

I have half a mind to read Warcross and Ready Player One back-to-back as I feel the premise of both books is pretty similar, and Furiously Happy is a book I have seen on a lot of lists on List Challenges, and people have said, in reviews, that it’s very funny.

I was going to add that, if you want “very funny”, you should definitely read This is Going to Hurt, by Adam Kay, but I’ve been saying that already for a few blogs now, lol! Been saying it since about September or October! Another book I would recommend if you want a good laugh is Cheer Up Love: Adventures in Depression with the Crab of Hate, by Susan Calman. I came upon that one by chance – I just happened to notice it a year or so ago when it was out in hardback and was being promoted in the Arndale Centre branch of Waterstone’s…

One of those times when you start reading a book in a bookshop, and you just know you’re going to have to take it to the counter and buy it because it’s too good not to buy! I didn’t even know who the author was at the time, turns out she’s a Scottish comedienne, but the fact that it was at least a bit about depression interested me – I’ve had a few bouts of that over the years, so I have experience of how shite it is when you’re going through it, and the “Crab of Hate” part of the title amused me, so I picked a copy off the shelf and started reading… and started laughing! It is on my list of books which have made me laugh my arse off, so if you want a good giggle, give it a try!

(Shite is a technical term, by the way!)

I think that’s about it, although I did pick up a couple of cheap books at the Rotary Club shop in Eccles this afternoon as I was waiting for the travel shop to re-open after their lunch break, lol! I picked up Unholy Night, by Seth Grahame-Smith, and The Spy Who Came For Christmas, by David Morrell. Both sounded suitably seasonal. Seth Grahame-Smith is the same guy who did the Austen-reworking, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, lol! Anyway, until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Good People – Hannah Kent
  • Hot Milk – Deborah Levy
  • Mr Dickens and His Carol – Samantha Silva
  • The Snow Globe – Sheila Roberts
  • Hygge and Kisses – Clara Christensen
  • Furiously Happy – Jenny Lawson
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k – Sarah Knight
  • Warcross – Marie Lu
  • Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
  • This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
  • Cheer Up Love: Adventures in Depression With the Crab of Hate – Susan Calman
  • Unholy Night – Seth Grahame-Smith
  • The Spy Who Came For Christmas – David Morrell
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Your Book Club Needs YOU!

Do Not Say We Have Nothing

Book and a G&T – and I needed that after book club!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

My nephew, Reuben, is one year old today (8th October)! Hence we’ve been busy with birthday celebrations this weekend, but it’s now time for me to come over to Computer Corner and tap away at my laptop for a bit to bring you yet another dose of waffly blog which might just mention a book or two, lol! Actually, it WILL mention books, and some rather worrying developments. Basically, the Waterstone’s Deansgate book club is in a critical condition!

When I say that “we” met up on Thursday evening, I mean just me and Anne again! It is bloody ridiculous! I ended up going to speak to Alice, the current store manager, to ask for more publicity for the book club! We need it! You can’t have a book club with only 2 members, you need around half a dozen or so to make it a good club. That way you get some decent debate and discussion, a better mix of opinions, and more ideas for recommendations when it comes to deciding the next book!

So, like the Lord Kitchener posters in World War I, I am putting out this appeal if you’re a bookworm in the Greater Manchester area…

YOUR BOOK CLUB NEEDS YOU!

If you are able to make it to Waterstone’s Deansgate on Thursday 9th November 2017 at 6pm, get yourself a copy of Do Not Say We Have Nothing, by Madeleine Thien, published by Granta, RRP £8.99 (although it’s a former shortlisted book for the Booker Prize, so you may find a much cheaper copy in a charity shop if money’s too tight to mention like Simply Red once sang), get reading as much as you can of it, and get your bookworm backside to the coffee shop on the top floor of Waterstone’s on 9th November and join in the fun! Please! Pretty please with a cherry on top! WE NEED BOOKWORMS URGENTLY!!!

I’m not saying the book club is dead, it’s not yet an ex-book club, but let’s just say it’s in intensive care and desperate for a fresh injection of book lovers to bring it back to good health and keep it going into 2018. I have emailed those who have been in the past, let them know the club is still going, what we are reading next and for when, so I hope some of them will be persuaded to return, but I am also trying to get some new bookworms, including some of my council colleagues! We have an in-house social media thing called “Yammer” so I have mentioned the book club on there to try and get some new members.

Alice did say she’d try to get some publicity on Facebook and Instagram, but I might also try to raise awareness. Certainly with a bookstagram post on Instagram… get some new bookworms that way…

Anyway, I had finished Blitzed in time for book club, and the other day, I finished This is Going to Hurt, by Adam Kay and I was sad to finish it because I bloody loved it! I won’t spoil it for you, but I will advise that there are some parts you really shouldn’t read in public unless you want some funny looks when you’re laughing your arse off! Adam is coming to Waterstone’s Deansgate on 27th October to talk about his book, so I got myself a ticket for that event, and I shall bring my copy with me for him to sign. This also gives you lucky blog followers another book event to read about later this month, lol! Don’t say I never give you ‘owt!

Current reads October 2017

Well, we’ve dealt with the book club book, and you know about my e-book – that one’s for match days and our next home games are not until the end of this month, so there won’t be further progress on Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows until the Spurs match, and then the Champions League home game vs Benfica on Halloween.

On the grounds that I am exactly halfway through it, the Bill Bryson tour of Europe that is Neither Here Nor There makes my photo arrangement. While I’d scrapped the Ongoing Concerns list, essentially, it seemed unfair to Bryson to forget about that one given the significant progress made with it. Also, On Writing by Stephen King will be continued. Manchester England makes the list on the grounds that I am 17% of the way through it and I DID say I was going to resume it this year due to what happened here in May at the Arena. I will be using my “And the bees still buzz” bookmark in that one, as I said in previous blogs this summer.

So, that leaves Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline, which I have had for some time now and I must have bought in the first place due to the promising blurb on the back of it which mentioned that there are a lot of 80s references in it, so I thought I should give it a go. The author himself is only a year older than I am, a 1972 baby as opposed to 1973, and thus the creator of the OASIS virtual reality world which is the basis of this novel is also a 1972 baby. It definitely feels like a book for my era based on the start I have made on it. I’m more a pop music nerd than computer game geek, but I do remember some video games and stuff like that from when I was a kid – when Atari systems first came out, with games like Asteroids and Space Invaders!

By the way, when it comes to the end of this year, and I’m publishing the List Challenges list of all the books I have mentioned on these blogs during the course of 2017, it will be a pretty long list, lol! Do Not Say We Have Nothing was the 500th different book I have mentioned! If you’re like me, you prefer the longer lists on List Challenges and feel a bit short-changed if a list only has a few books on it! There will be at least 13 pages for Joanne’s Bookshelf Blogs – Books Mentioned 2017, so something to look forward to in a few months’ time!

Jane Austen tenner 2017

Just before I call it a night, I thought you might want to see one of the new £10 notes which came into circulation here last month. I know many of my followers are not on the same side of the Atlantic as myself, so you probably won’t be in possession of our new tenners with Jane Austen on them, thus I thought you might want to see one! The quote on the banknote reads “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!” – I couldn’t have put it better myself, Jane!

With that in mind, I’ll get this published, and you can enjoy this helping of literary waffle! Until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Do Not Say We Have Nothing – Madeleine Thien
  • Blitzed – Norman Ohler
  • This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
  • Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows – Balli Singh Jaswal
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • On Writing – Stephen King
  • Manchester England – Dave Haslam
  • Ready Player One – Ernest Cline

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September Review, Four – Nil Again!

Books bought 1st October 2017

OK, just bought these today 1st October, but I will review last month as well, lol!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Time for the monthly review, and September has been very busy as I started my new job on the 4th, and I’ve been adjusting not just to being back in work, but also to the fact that it’s full-time. A lot of learning, a lot of information to take in, so this could well be why my OC List has gone completely to shit! Well, that might have something to do with it, anyway, as well as the fact that books on the list just weren’t being read. It’s one thing to have a selection of books on that list, and quite a good variety too, but I never seemed to be in the mood for any of them, so the OC thing has effectively stopped for now, certainly in the form that it had taken.

I have realised there is NO point fussing about having a balance if it’s totally fake and you’re just not in the mood for certain kinds of books! I came to realise that if I simply wanted to read all non-fiction, or all fiction, or all young adult, then I should just do that and sod balancing things out. I don’t owe it to anyone to maintain balance! It’s about what I feel like reading. I’m not doing it for anyone else, this blog of mine is personal, it’s not a situation like Nick Hornby‘s where he was blogging for a book reviewing publication, the results of which you can read in The Complete Polysyllabic Spree, and I would recommend it!

Anyway, before we bring you up to date with the first of October’s book-related activity, let’s get September sorted on the review front. Two books were finished this month, those being The Angry Chef, by Anthony Warner, which had been a book club book, and If I Stay, by Gayle Forman, which I read for an online book club of sorts on Facebook. The sequel, Where She Went, is still to hand, and perhaps I should read it while the first book is still relatively fresh in my mind.

Book club is this coming Thursday, 5th October. Thankfully, the politicians will have buggered off back to London after their conference, so it shouldn’t be a problem. I don’t even want ANY party coming to Manchester, even if it had been a left-wing one, because it’s a bloody nuisance and inconvenience to us, but I really didn’t want who we’ve got! ALL parties should have their conferences in London, as I’ve probably said in blogs before now, because it’s the only damn place most politicians give a shit about! They’re about as welcome around here as a fart in a wetsuit, as Sir Billy Connolly would put it!

The book club book is Blitzed, by Norman Ohler, and I am at 60% read on that one. This is Going to Hurt, by Adam Kay, his diaries from his days as a doctor, is at 40% read, and On Writing, by Stephen King, at 23% so clearly I am in a non-fiction mood of late. It’s not unusual, to quote the Sir Tom Jones song! My current e-book read on my Kindle, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, by Balli Kaur Jaswal, is now at 20% having read some more of it yesterday evening while in the car park at Old Trafford, and in traffic in Trafford Park, following our 4-0 win over Crystal Palace. Yes, yet another 4-0! If last season was the 1-1 draw season, which it certainly seemed to be in the league at home, then we’ve started this campaign with quite a few nice 4-0 wins!

On this occasion, a quick opening goal from Juan Mata, two goals from Marouane Fellaini, and one from Romelu Lukaku near the end gave us the win. Poor Palace can’t defend and they still can’t score! They are yet to score a goal in the Premier League this season! You won’t be terribly surprised to learn that they have lost all 7 of their fixtures thus far and are at the bottom of the league, completely pointless.

On Friday, after work, I headed into town to enjoy the Manchester Food and Drink Festival. I had a drink and a read of This is Going to Hurt while I was in a coffee shop, as I recharged my phone! Then I went over to sample the grub, having some pasta with pesto sauce, some churros and chocolate, and then a rhubarb gin and ginger ale, all of which I can recommend! I will visit again, at least on Thursday, as I can eat at the festival after book club! Epic Win!

Maybe some more people will join us on Thursday? There were three of us last time.

Also coming up shortly, next Sunday in fact, is my nephew’s 1st birthday! Reuben, the Chunky Monkey, will be a year old! Doesn’t time fly?! Charlotte is 7 and now in the juniors at primary school, and Reuben is almost one! I shall report back on the birthday after the event, but that’s coming up on 8th October.

Charlotte is definitely taking after her auntie, and on the music front as well as the books! She started learning the violin in the previous school year, and now she’s in the juniors, she’s joined the school choir!

Right, onto the books I acquired earlier… The footy one is one which is published every year, and is full of stats for the previous season. I haven’t always bought it every year, but given that my lads did win both the EFL Cup and the Europa League last season, I definitely thought it was worth getting on this occasion! It’s probably not going on List Challenges, but the other two are, as they’re fiction, and they caught my eye, even if it does seem a bit daft having a title which seems like a spoiler, lol! John Dies at the End, by David Wong, is the book in question, although I’ve also heard of a book, published a few years ago now, called Skippy Dies, by Paul Murray, and you’d think the author wouldn’t really want to give the game away like that, wouldn’t you?! The thing which always gets me with that one is that the Skippy in question is a human – even though the TV show was a little before my time, I am so used to thinking that Skippy was a kangaroo, lol!

I have to admit that if an author goes and calls his novel Doughnut and puts a photo of said item of bakery on the front cover, that is VERY likely to attract my attention! You know by now what a foodie I am, and that I’ve always had a sweet tooth, and I am VERY fond of doughnuts, so it was rather inevitable that this book by Tom Holt caught my eye. It is NOT the only book I own with doughnuts on the cover, either, as I also have This Book Will Save Your Life, by A. M. Homes on my notorious TBR pile! I picked that one up some time ago from a charity shop, probably in Salford, and it’s a wonder I hadn’t already mentioned it in a blog, but seemingly I haven’t as it wasn’t previously on my List Challenges list – if it had been, I’d have got a message saying “item already exists” but I didn’t get that error message!

So, a couple of doughnut books! Just right for reading if you’re enjoying the said items at Krispy Kreme, lol. Perhaps, also, at Timmie’s, if the Manchester branch or branches of Tim Horton’s have opened up yet? I enjoyed coffee, doughnuts and Timbits when I was in Canada in 2009, so I was delighted at the news earlier this year that they were opening up in the UK. I shall have to look up as to where Timmie’s is in town.

Mmmmmm…. Doughnuts!

Anyway, never mind my Homer Simpson moment, lol, back to the matter in hand. The badge you can see in the photo was from Waterstone’s and says “I believe in tea & books”, thus just right for me! Sometimes tea, books and music as well, although it depends what I’m reading. If I feel the need to concentrate on the book, I am better off without the music and have to pause it, but on other occasions I can happily have some tunes on while I read, or have a music channel on, such as Vintage TV.

Anyway, I think that’s we’re we’ve got to for now. The book situation is up to date, and into October we go! I may yet return to stuff which used to be on the Ongoing Concerns of old, but for now I’m reading what I’m reading and it’s mostly factual! Some of it is pretty funny, especially the Adam Kay book! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

And, yes, before you ask, I probably will feel the need for a doughnut in the next day or so! I blame Tom Holt and A. M. Homes, lol!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Complete Polysyllabic Spree – Nick Hornby
  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner
  • If I Stay – Gayle Forman
  • Where She Went – Gayle Forman
  • Blitzed – Norman Ohler
  • This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
  • On Writing – Stephen King
  • Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows – Balli Kaur Jaswal
  • John Dies at the End – David Wong
  • Skippy Dies – Paul Murray
  • Doughnut – Tom Holt
  • This Book Will Save Your Life – A. M. Homes

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Bad Medicine

this is going to hurt book

Warning: Reading this book may cause your sides to split.

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Open wide and say aah, lol! Bit of a medical theme tonight, really, on the book front. Hence the Bon Jovi song as blog title, although I could just as easily have opted for Doctor Doctor, a hit for the Thompson Twins back in the 80s. But, Bad Medicine it is! So, I’m prescribing this mad, waffly blog for you!

I doubt there’ll be any new books mentioned I’ve not already mentioned this year, though.

Not only am I still reading about the Nazi druggies in Blitzed, just over half way read now, book club a week away, but I am loving the book in the above photo This is Going to Hurt. Adam Kay is a former doctor, and these are incidents from his time in the medical profession before he became a comedian, and if you read it, you can see why he became a comedian! You may end up as a patient whose rectum has become detached from the rest of your body. In less than medical terms, you might laugh your arse off!

A look through my List Challenges list of all the books I’ve mentioned thus far this year throws up quite a few dealing with matters of life, death, health, illness and disability, some fiction, some non fiction, so instead of the one usual list at the end, there will be two for this one. One factual, one fictional, with lists of books and their medically-related themes. Some might just be vaguely on the subject, others might focus very much on the matters of life and death and all which comes in between. One or two books will be mentioned in the coming paragraphs, then there will be the two lists at the end of this blog.

APOLOGIES IN ADVANCE, BUT THERE’S PROBABLY GOING TO BE A FAIR FEW SPOILERS COMING UP HERE FOR SEVERAL BOOKS! SCROLL DOWN QUICKLY IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW!

Reasons to Stay Alive – Matt Haig. Author of The Radleys and The Humans, amongst other books, but this is his own personal tale of battling against severe mental health issues and the suicidal thoughts he was having at one point.

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak. Set in Nazi Germany just before and during World War II, so Death, the narrator, is exceptionally busy! One of my favourite books, I gave out copies for World Book Night in 2012.

Blitzed – Norman Ohler. My current book club book. Drug addiction on a grand scale, especially drug addiction dressed up as being respectable and in the national interest during the war effort!

The Novel Cure – Ella Berthoud. This book deals with Bibliotherapy, the concept of prescribing certain novels to help patients with a range of illnesses and other issues. This is the book which said Shantaram was a cure for constipation! I don’t know if it’s true or not, lol, as I’ve yet to attempt that epic novel, although I do own a copy and it’s hanging out right here by Computer Corner!

When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi. My favourite non-fiction book from last year! Paul was a surgeon who, himself, got cancer. He was helping other patients with cancer while having to deal with the fact he also had the disease.

A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara. My epic novel from last year, the one which caused a major Book Hangover, lol! 720 pages long, but well worth it. It’s a big pull emotionally, though, and issues of illness, disability, abuse and death run through it, hence it has to be mentioned on the Bad Medicine book blog!

A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard. Young adult novel, in which one of the main protagonists suffers from selective mutism, and the other main protagonist is deaf. British Sign Language plays a big part in this novel.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews. More YA fiction, this time with a couple of nerdy amateur film makers and a classmate with cancer…

The Fault In Our Stars – John Green. I know, this one’s pretty obvious to those who are well-up on their YA. Two teens meet and fall in love at a cancer support group, get to go over to Amsterdam due to a charity which grants terminally-ill youngsters a wish.

The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old – Hendrik Groen. At the other end of the age scale, life in an old people’s care home in Amsterdam. Elderly care, dementia and death are the issues raised here. Fiction, I think, although probably based on a real Dutch OAP in an old folk’s home…

The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner. A recent read, obviously, but with all his advice on food and on diets, I think it should be included in our medically-themed blog!

One Italian Summer – Keris Stainton. YA novel, in which the main characters are sisters suffering bereavement after their dad had died suddenly, so this novel looks at themes of grief and coping with loss, especially when faced with a lot of reminders of the person you’ve lost.

Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom. Mitch returns to one of his former favourite teachers, finds him in seriously ill-health but still able to impart valuable lessons. Again, terminal illness, deterioration and death are prominent.

If I Stay – Gayle Forman. YA novel in which a promising cellist suffers multiple serious injuries and multiple loss. I really should stop giving out spoilers, though. As there’s a sequel, though, you already know she lives, albeit a very different kind of life from the one she’d had before the family car was ploughed into.

Pear Shaped – Adam Blain. Not sure if this is available in hard copy, but I read it a while ago on my Kindle and finished it earlier this year. The true tale of Adam’s brain cancer.

The Ten (Food) Commandments – Jay Rayner. One of them is about not mistaking food for pharmaceuticals, so it touches on some similar ground to Anthony Warner’s book. Indeed, there’s praise from Jay Rayner on the cover of Warner’s book.

Mind Your Head – Juno Dawson. Non-fiction young adult guide to mental health issues and where to get support.

I think that’s enough to be getting on with. They’ll be listed soon enough, along with a few others, plus the odd one or two non-medical mentions right at the end. Anyway, talking of medical, and of mental health, I really do think the men in white coats should hurry along to the White House! As if we didn’t already know that the Mango Mussolini was several sandwiches short of a full picnic basket, he really has gone and done it this time with perhaps the barmiest and most pointless decision ever…

You remember that travel ban of his? Where people from certain countries couldn’t go to the US of A? Well, look which country the dozy Dotard has added now…

North Korea.

Yep. North Koreans cannot visit the United States of America.

Hello! Earth calling Donald! Got some news for you, sunshine, and it sure as hell ain’t fake! Get this little fact into your stupid orange head, dipshit…

NORTH KOREANS AREN’T EVEN ALLOWED OUT OF NORTH KOREA!!!

I think this therefore constitutes The Most Pointless Ban Ever! It has to! In the long history of things being banned in various countries at various times for various dubious reasons, this has got to be the most ridiculous ban ever! Fancy banning people from something they already couldn’t do anyway?! I was trying to think of a more pointless ban, but I don’t think I am able to! The nearest I could get would be to ban someone from doing something they wouldn’t want to do anyway, for instance banning die-hard Stretford Enders, like myself, from ever swapping clubs and supporting Liverpool! That would be a pointless ban ’cause die-hard United fans wouldn’t dream of supporting that lot!

But if citizens can’t even leave their own country, no other country needs to worry about admitting them, therefore Donald’s ban is even more pointless than a pointless answer on the TV quiz show Pointless!

I would have said that Dodgy Donald had lost the plot, but that would imply that the Tango-tinted Twat had a plot to lose in the bloody first place! For the good of the whole planet, PLEASE get Donald under psychiatric care PDQ!!!

Well, that’s about enough about President Fart’s mental health, so I think we should get this finished off and those lists made! Until next time, which will probably be the September Review, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Some non-fiction books on a medical/health theme…

  • Blitzed – Norman Ohler (drug addiction)
  • This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay (life as a doctor)
  • Reasons to Stay Alive – Matt Haig (mental health)
  • The Novel Cure – Ella Berthoud (bibliotherapy)
  • When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi (surgery, cancer)
  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner (diets, food fads, health scares)
  • Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom (terminal illness, death)
  • Pear Shaped – Adam Blain (brain cancer)
  • The Ten (Food) Commandments – Jay Rayner (food is not medicine)
  • Mind Your Head – Juno Dawson (mental health, esp for teens)
  • This Is Your Brain On Music – Daniel Levitin (music and health, psychology)
  • Fragile Lives – Stephen Westaby (heart surgery)

Some fiction books with medical/health themes in them…

  • The Book Thief – Markus Zusak (death)
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara (disability, mental health, drugs, abuse, death)
  • A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard (mutism, deafness)
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews (cancer)
  • The Fault In Our Stars – John Green (cancer, cancer support)
  • The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old – Hendrik Groen (old age, mobility, dementia, death)
  • One Italian Summer – Keris Stainton (bereavement, grief)
  • If I Stay – Gayle Forman (serious injury, loss, disability)
  • Me Before You – Jojo Moyes (severe disability, mental health)
  • The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje (injury, deformity, disability)
  • Wonder – R. J. Palacio (facial disfigurement)
  • All The Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr (blindness)
  • Veronika Decides to Die – Paulo Coelho (mental health)

And a few which were mentioned even though they’re not on a medical theme…

  • The Radleys – Matt Haig
  • The Humans – Matt Haig
  • Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts

 

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Necessary Adjustments

can't buy happiness can buy books

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Welcome to another helping of utter waffle! You can’t say you’re not used to it by now, lol! We’re almost at the end of September, I’m on for week 4 of my new job, and I am enjoying it very much, even if it does take a lot out of me at times. There have been times when I have come home and needed naps! I think it’s the amount of information I’m taking on board at times. Office jobs might not be physically demanding, but they can be taxing on the ol’ grey matter! Eventually, although there’ll still be things to learn, it will probably plateau out on that front and my brain cells might not feel quite so overloaded by the time I log out and shut down my computer!

For now, though, while I’m still very new, there will be necessary adjustments, and that affects the book-reading and the blogging. This blog might not be all that long, and it might be started one day and continued another. It probably won’t be the only blog where this happens, either.

I’m up to 45% of Blitzed, by Norman Ohler. Need to get on with it, book club is next Thursday, 5th October. As with certain other non-fiction books, I am enjoying it, but I feel the information can’t be rushed. I was going to say that the Nazis were a right bunch of Ben Johnsons, and make the comparison with the cheating sprinter from the 1988 Olympics, but Ben Johnson actually won on drugs before he was found out. I need another example of people cheating and still not managing to win, so I can compare the Third Reich’s pill-poppers with other cheating losers!

They took drugs, and the RAF still sorted them out! Ha! Serves them right!

As I was saying earlier, when I was telling my mum about this book, the Pervitin, which the Germans were practically wolfing down like sweets, is essentially the exact same substance we know these days as crystal meth! Sure, it kept them awake for ages at a time, but one of the other side effects of such substances is to give the user extreme confidence to the point where it becomes arrogance, and that, therefore, probably brought about their downfall. Early successes in France at the start of WWII just added to this cockiness. Some officers were expressing concerns, but those who did were often outnumbered, and just laughed-off by others who could only see the perks of Pervitin.

Anyway, enough about High Hitler and his narcotic-addled officers, there are other books to be mentioned. We are nearing the end of the month, meaning the September Review will probably be occurring this coming weekend. Probably Sunday, as United are at home to Crystal Palace on the Saturday afternoon. In all likeliness, with a full house expected, we will be back to the traffic problems in Trafford Park, and I will get some reading done on my Kindle on the way home from the match. Time to continue with Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows on my way home from Old Trafford. I had read 11% of that one last time I checked.

One of the recent acquisitions, which was bought at Waterstone’s after my last book club meeting, has been started, and I must say how much I am enjoying On Writing, by Stephen King! 23% of that has been read of that so far, so almost a quarter of the book already! It’s actually pretty funny in parts, particularly when he recalls some amusing incidents from his childhood! King might be most famous for writing horror novels, but he also has the capacity to be amusing! He’s also pretty nifty at trolling the Tango-Tinted Tosser on Twitter! Well he was until Fart sulked, stamped his little foot, and blocked the author! Donald’s maturity level wouldn’t even earn him a Happy Meal.

King wasn’t the only one turning 70 recently, though. In fact, my dad beat him to it by a few days, as his birthday was the previous weekend, turning 70 on 17th September. United won 4-0 against Everton to mark the occasion, and I gave him the biography of John Le Carré, by Adam Sisman. You may recall I’d found it and bought it a few months ago. Dad’s always enjoyed spy thrillers, particularly by John Le Carré and also by Len Deighton. Back to the Everton match for a moment… Antonio Valencia’s opening goal after 4 minutes… pure class! A volley Paul Scholes would’ve been proud to score!

I just had to post that. Goals that good deserve repeat viewings!

Anyway, I have read two full books this month. The Angry Chef, by Anthony Warner, and If I Stay, by Gayle Forman, so despite the new job and the naps, some reading has been done, lol! I might start Where She Went soon, while the first book is still fairly fresh in my mind. But I think I must be on a non-fiction fix at the moment, what with the Norman Ohler book about the Nazi druggies, and Stephen King’s book about writing books!

I think that’s about it for now. Apologies that this is quite a short one, but I think I’ve mentioned all the books I’ve focused on lately! Bit of non-book news to round off the blog… The Manchester Food & Drink Festival starts this coming Thursday! Yay! Might have to pay one or two visits to town after work… Still waiting for the dental appointments for the x-ray and extraction, though. I hope the letter comes soon, at least for the damn x-ray! So that’s my news for now. Until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Blitzed – Norman Ohler
  • Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows – Balli Kaur Jaswal
  • On Writing – Stephen King
  • John Le Carré: The Biography – Adam Sisman
  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner
  • If I Stay – Gayle Forman
  • Where She Went – Gayle Forman

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The Farce Is Strong With This Bus!

Stationery at work

My stationery “welcome pack”

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there was a number 2 bus! Well, it must have been in a galaxy far far away, as it sure as hell wasn’t turning up anywhere near my place of work when I needed to get home this evening! I ended up getting a lift home after my first day in my new job, and I hope the bus problem was a one-off and that I will be able to get a bus home in decent time on most occasions, especially when United have evening home matches, as they will do next week and the week after…

As Yoda might put it with regards to this bus…

Come it did not.

Off I am pissed.

Yes, mmmm….

Despite the bus problems, I had a good first day as an admin officer in my new job, and I was given that stationery pack as part of the welcome! I had actually brought a notebook, best to be prepared and all that, but I didn’t need it, as they provided me with two, one A4 and one A5, plus a pen and a pack of highlighters! Epic Win! The Force was strong with the stationery, if not the public transport, lol!

Anyway, book club looming on the horizon, two days to go – actually, at this time on Wednesday, I’ll have been to book club and got the next book, whatever it is we end up deciding upon for our October meeting, and I’ll probably be in town having something to eat, but for now, we’re still on The Angry Chef, although I am nearing the end, and managed to get a bit of reading done at lunchtime, taking the percentage up to 81%. I feel I can get this finished in time for the meeting. I just hope that more than two of us turn up this time! I want a decent discussion about this one, which is what I didn’t get about The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old.

Please let there be more than two of us this time! Even if it means we end up with something which isn’t my cup of tea on the reading front! I just don’t want it to be two of us again, especially not like last time! I really don’t want someone latching on to me, especially when I find it hard to hear what that person’s saying due to quiet volume and an accent.

Anyway, other book matters now… After this Saturday, when my lads are away to Stoke, we will have 3 home games on the trot, two of them midweek games, one in Europe and one in the League Cup. Due to the traffic situation in Trafford Park, which I have mentioned in previous blogs as being an arseache, I took a book with me to the home matches against West Ham United and Leicester City last month. Thing is, two games will be at night, and even though the Everton game is in the afternoon, we are now into the autumn and it will be getting darker earlier, so I think I might have to take my Kindle and read e-books as my match day reading, particularly when we’re stuck in traffic for ages coming home from Old Trafford after the match!

With that in mind, looks like I might get into regular use of my Kindle throughout the autumn and winter. I’ve certainly got plenty of reading matter to choose from. There are some books which are just samples, but there are plenty of full books which I have downloaded over the years since I got my Kindle towards the tail end of 2011. If you wish to read about THAT saga, check out my archives from 2011, particularly from the summer onwards until the Kindle finally arrived, which was in the November as I recall! People who’ve followed my blogs for some years might already recall that ongoing saga, but newer followers may be unfamiliar with the story which started that summer when I was working in Chorlton and found a free book when I was having lunch at Barbakan Deli…

The book was How To Leave Twitter, by Grace Dent. Anyway, you can check out my old blog entries and read it for yourselves, so I won’t give any more spoilers!

So, anyway, if I am going to be doing some more e-reading, perhaps I should incorporate that into the Ongoing Concerns? I can keep track of e-books just as I can keep track of physical books, although maybe just the percentage read for an e-book rather than also giving the page numbers which I sometimes do for my paperbacks or hardbacks. At the moment, there are 7 books, 6 books and a book club wild card, so to speak. I should look to narrowing things down a bit more, really. Maybe one fiction, one non-fiction, one YA, one e-book (any category), the latest book club book, and perhaps one more?

By the way, your Chief Bookworm is now enjoying a G&T. Relieving bus-related stress from earlier today, so to speak!

So, back to the e-books now, and what the hell have I actually GOT on my Kindle?! A damn good question! Perhaps Dorothy Must Die, by Danielle Paige – I got that as a freebie some time ago, I think, possibly a Kindle daily deal or something. There’s plenty of other things on there, some recent, some which I’ve had on for ages and not read, lol! An electronic TBR List to go along with my physical TBR List Just like my physical books, it’s a very random collection of reading material, a mixture of fiction and non-fiction alike, and stuff for children, adults and young adults.

* England 2 Slovakia 1. Marcus Rashford puts England ahead. Not that I’m biased, lol, but a United player gives the national team the lead… Stick that on your needles and knit it, ABU knobheads! *

Anyway, sorry, where were we before young Mr Rashford’s goal?! Discussing the total randomness of books on my Kindle, which shouldn’t really be a surprise as it mirrors the total randomness of physical books in my possession anyway! Unread, partially-read and fully-read, fiction and non-fiction, books for young and old… whichever format they’re in, that’s what I’ve got! A couple of my recent downloads include The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, by Becky Chambers, and Caraval, by Stephanie Garber.

Wonder if there’s any free books around? Classics are often free as e-books because they’re so damn old now that they’re out of copyright. Yep, there’s a few classics floating around as free e-books! So I am going to see what I can get, and I shall leave things there for now. England have won 2-1, the full time whistle has just gone, so until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner
  • The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old – Hendrik Groen
  • How To Leave Twitter – Grace Dent
  • Dorothy Must Die – Danielle Paige
  • The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet – Becky Chambers
  • Caraval – Stephanie Garber

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August Review

Life without books

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

You can thank Liz Craig for the above photo – she sent it to me in FB Messenger, and it seemed right for this blog! 1st September is here, which for Potterheads means it’s that epilogue at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, 19 years on… Albus Severus Potter is on platform 9 3/4 ready to head to Hogwarts…

Anyway, we’re ready to head to the review of all things bookish that went on chez moi during August 2017, and it’s been a pretty busy month, and a successful month on a lot of fronts. Let’s start with finished books from last month, and two of them came off the Ongoing Concerns list after having spent quite some time on there. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, by Jesse Andrews, was finished in August, as was Periodic Tales, by Hugh Aldersey-Williams. As I read one of my niece’s books on Wednesday when we had the day trip to St Anne’s on Sea, Oi Dog! by Kes and Claire Gray and Jim Field completes the trio of books finished in August.

The Angry Chef was chosen by Anne and I at book club as we were the only two there last month – I do hope we’re going to have a better turnout this coming Wednesday! I am 53% of the way through this book, so I hope to get more finished over the weekend. Has to be said, though, that I am busy, especially with the events which unfolded since the end of July, events which mean I’m starting work on Monday!

I’d been booked onto a jobs fair in Swinton, which I attended on the last Friday in July. At this event, a lady from the local council spoke to me and asked me for 2 copies of my CV (for my transatlantic followers, I believe you call it a resumé in the States) as she said there may be some openings coming up… The following week as we head into August, I get a phone call from a lady called Gail, inviting me for an interview on Monday 7th August at Unity House, which is part of the civic centre complex in Swinton.

So I go to this interview on the Monday morning, and am interviewed by Gail, who was due to retire, and Michelle who was succeeding Gail, and that lasted around 20 minutes, and then I headed on my way to Salford for a couple of appointments, with a fairly decent feeling that “things went about as well as they could have done, although you can never be sure with interviews…”

Anyway, I’ve got time to get my lunch before my appointments, and I’m sat in KFC on Salford Precinct’s car park, having had my food, and I get a phone call, and it’s Gail calling me back to offer me the job! Chuffed to bits, to say the least! So, this month has been a bit busy with all that! I’ve had to provide references, then provide an alternative reference because one of the people I’d named was on sick leave and they needed someone else pretty quick as they were keen to get me started as soon as possible. I have also had to email scans of my passport and a bank statement for proof of ID and address, and complete and return medical forms, so there’s been a fair bit to do for me, and for them, before they could get me started. They needed to get me a staff pass, get me put on their computer systems, and that sort of stuff, plus check the things I had sent to them and make sure they were OK. However, this Tuesday just gone, I got my start date, and thus I will be back in work this coming Monday.

So, that’s work, and then there’s been the start of the new football season! 2017-18 is under way, and United’s Premier League campaign has started with us ending August top of the league with the only 100% record in the top flight! This is unusual. Normally, after only 3 matches, you’d expect about 3 or 4 clubs to have maximum points, 9 out of 9, but everyone else has dropped at least two points already, and we’re the only ones with the full 9 points. We’ve also kept 3 clean sheets, winning 4-0, 4-0 and 2-0, so you couldn’t really ask for a much better start, except to ask for better linesmen than one of the numpties we had for the Leicester match who wrongly ruled Juan Mata offside in the first half! I know I always say our players are never offside, but Juan definitely wasn’t!

The transfer window has now closed, that shut at 11pm last night, and doesn’t re-open until January, but we didn’t need to do anything on the last minute. We’d got our players, three new ones plus the re-signing of Zlatan Ibrahimović who will resume action when he’s fit again after his knee injury from last season. Still trying to decide who I want on my next United shirt, but I won’t be getting that just yet, I’ll be waiting until I’ve had at least one payday in this new job, so it might not be until October before I have to make that tricky decision, which still looks like being between Mata, Matić and Mkhitaryan at the moment! Have to say, though, that Pogba’s had a great start to this campaign so far. The signing of Matić has helped, as he is a defensive midfielder, so his job has freed up Agent Pogba to venture further forward and add to our attacking line-up. The performances have been much more like the United of old, not the tedious crap from a lot of home games last season!

Anyway, books… back to the OC List… As I have said, The Angry Chef is top of the list, with 53% read thus far, so I have read at least half of it, and am really enjoying it. Due to being busy, I might not finish it in time for book club, but I certainly want to finish it. With two books having come off the OC list last month, Manchester England, by Dave Haslam, has been put on the list for the purposes of resuming this book which I started years ago. There was also a vacancy for a YA novel, and Dead Ends, by Erin Lange, filled that position.

Went a bit mad yesterday, actually. Unlike the footy, there are no deadlines for books unless they are library books, lol, but I thought I’d have my own “transfer activity” on transfer deadline day, seeing as United wouldn’t be farting around on the last minute, lmao, and I had a bit of a clear-out come book replacement session, giving two batches of books away, one to a cafe in Eccles, and the other to a charity shop in Swinton. The piles of books you can see in the photos are those I gave away. The latte in the first photo is a giveaway that those books went to the cafe. So, I cleared out 21 books in total. However, I did acquire quite a lot of replacements, and ended the day with 15 “new” items of reading matter, 11 from Eccles, 4 from Swinton. I say new in speech marks as many of them were second-hand apart from a couple of the books in Swinton, but they’re all new to my considerable collection!

Books acquired 31st August 2017

These are the books I ended up bringing home. August has been a mad month for books, though, as this batch of 15 just adds to the book buying I did last month. There have been a lot of purchases! A lot of them are charity shop books, though, so it’s not like I’m paying full RRP on that many of them. Occasionally there have been some freebies, plus the odd one or two ridiculously cheap ones, such as The Knife of Never Letting Go, by Patrick Ness, one of the 15 from yesterday, which set me back all of 20p! Mind you, even that is “pricey” compared to The Chrysalids, by John Wyndham, which was a mere 10p! The freebies were the two by Erica James, The Dandelion Years, and Summer at the Lake, plus Summer Loving, by Allie Spencer.

The two Erica James books were from the Malaga Drift cafe, but I had given them ten of my books, so I don’t think it’s unreasonable that I left the cafe with two books from their bookshelf. The other freebie was from the Charities 2gether in Salford shop in Eccles precinct, as they’d not managed to sell it and it had been on the shelf for ages, so I think the bloke was happy to see anyone take an interest in it!

Amongst the many books acquired this month, there have been a few which I’d been keen to get for some time. Brilliant Orange, by David Winner, about the Dutch national football team was one of those books, plus The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, by Katarina Bivald, and 13 Little Blue Envelopes, by Maureen Johnson. Nice when you can get your mitts on a book you’ve had your eye on for a while, isn’t it?! Anyway, that about brings us to the end of this review for August! I am not listing all those books in the photos, not in this blog, it would take forever – you’ll just have to look at the photos. If you want to know what any of them are, just ask!

Until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J. K. Rowling
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Oi Dog! – Kes & Claire Gray and Jim Field
  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner
  • Manchester, England – Dave Haslam
  • Dead Ends – Erin Lange
  • The Knife of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness
  • The Chrysalids – John Wyndham
  • The Dandelion Years – Erica James
  • Summer At the Lake – Erica James
  • Summer Loving – Allie Spencer
  • Brilliant Orange – David Winner
  • The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend – Katarina Bivald
  • 13 Little Blue Envelopes – Maureen Johnson

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