Category Archives: Mental Health

A Right Spectacle…

Eye Chart Object Lessons book

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Doctor, doctor, I think I need glasses.

You’re dead right, mate! This is a fish and chip shop!

Excuse the bad joke, but it seemed apt, as I need new specs! OK, in my case, I already wear them, and I know to head to an optician’s rather than a chippy, lol, but it all started in the wee small hours, just after midnight, when I had an optical emergency – the left arm came off my glasses! There is no such thing as a good time for your specs to break, but there are some seriously inconvenient times, such as weekends, bank holidays, and stupid o’clock in the morning! I also had a lens fall out of my specs once, when I was at high school, and I was in an English lesson at the time, doing a reading comprehension exercise, so that wasn’t the best time for my specs to be knackered, was it?!

(Weekends aren’t too bad now, as there are places I could go to on Sundays if the breakage were to occur during opening hours. Just that it didn’t. It was silly o’clock.)

The other thing is, that specs were easier to fix back in the day. Dunno how they make them now, but you can’t seem to screw them back together anymore, not certain pairs, anyway, so if an arm breaks off, that’s it, you’re buggered and you need new specs. I don’t have a spare pair. Mum superglued the arm back on, and they are wearable, but I had to phone up my manager and get the day off work so I could go to the optician’s and get this sorted out. She wears specs, too, so I knew she’d be fine about this.

So, the upshot of all this is that your Chief Bookworm has now reached that stage of her life where she needs two pairs of glasses, one for reading and one for distance. Another sign that I am officially middle-aged, I guess! It’ll be brochures for Saga Holidays next, lol! Actually, it probably will, but not for a few more years yet, as you have to be 50 for that! That and the Sun Life guaranteed over 50s plan, ha ha! From 2023, I will have all that kind of spam and junk mail to look forward to, won’t I?!

Anyway, I get to collect my new specs on 9th August, and will be going for them after work, so I just have to put up with these ones, with their non-folding arm, for a week and a bit, and then it’s off to Boots in the Trafford Centre again to pick up my new glasses!

In terms of reading matter, I am still on for Sock, from the Object Lessons books, so no change there, but today’s optical drama has determined my next OL book for when I have finished reading about footwear. I felt that there was really only one relevant book I could choose next… Eye Chart, by William Germano. Could it really have been any other book? Unless there actually is one about specs, but I don’t recall seeing one about glasses, or I would have bought it by now if I had done.

There has been a book on my desk at work for some time. Well, not on my desk, but in a document holder on my desk, and I am not even sure how it got there. Did I pick it out of the book box? Did I put it in the book box in the first place, but then put it on my desk? Or did someone else use my desk and leave it there? Perhaps it was put there while I was off work quite a bit earlier this year due to bereavement? I was off during January, parts of February, and pretty much all of March as I initially went back too soon, and needed to go off again as I wasn’t ready mentally after Dad died. So, quite feasibly, someone could have been using my desk for a bit while I was on sick leave, and picked the book up and put it on the desk meaning to read it… The book is The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair, by Joël Dicker. Bit of a chunky one. Does sound interesting, but I’m not sure I’m ready for fiction yet, and, as I said last time, I think I might attempt a return to fiction with some comedy.

As I said in the last blog, I returned to the staff book club at work last week, and we are going to be reading A Taste of Honey, by Shelagh Delaney, but prior to that, the book had been Where My Heart Used to Beat, by Sebastian Faulks. I didn’t get around to reading it, but did manage to get a copy. In fact, I think I got it at the St Thomas’ Church Summer Fair at the end of June when Mum and I were also running a stall. I got quite a few books from the book stall on that fair, about half a dozen, lol! In terms of this blog, I class church fairs in the same category as charity shop bargains, as the books are cheap and sold for a good cause.

One of the other books I bought at that fair in June was Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope, which also has the distinction of being the title of a song by the Pet Shop Boys from their 1992 album, Very. I do recall this being mentioned at the time of the song’s release. Not sure whether the book is any good or not, but I got it quite cheaply, so if I try it and it’s not my cup of tea, I’ve not wasted much dosh.

Marcus Rashford Funko Pop

This is definitely my cup of tea – a Marcus Rashford Funko Pop! Got it earlier today from the Hallowed Ground. We went there as well as the Trafford Centre, as United had asked Mum to prove she’s over 65, even though she’s been over 65 for five years now as she’s just turned 70! So, after we’d been to the ticket office so that they could see that Mum is definitely eligible for her concessionary-price season ticket, we went into the shop, and I found the Funkos. The only issue was that the others they had were Romelu Lukaku who certainly seems to be on his way out, and Alexis Sanchez, and I imagine that he will probably leave too! In the collection of Funkos, the others for United are David de Gea, and Paul Pogba, but those weren’t available. I’d definitely consider buying a DDG Funko, but I don’t know if Pog is staying or going. If they were to make a Juan Mata Funko, I’d buy that, but they haven’t got one of the Special Juan. A glaring omission, if you ask me!

They should do some United old boys as Funkos – especially King Eric with his upturned collar! A Cantona Funko would be awesome! Perhaps even a Fergie Funko, with Sir Alex looking at his watch, lol! Perhaps Teddy and Ole Funkos, as a set, with the Treble trophies… sorry, just getting carried away with United players I’d like to see as Funko Pops!

Back to books now, and I mentioned earlier this year, in my blogs, that I had a book about the Rhine. Which I do. It is The Rhine, by Ben Coates. However, when it comes to European waterways, I actually have THREE books about the Danube! Not kidding, either! If I ever go on a river cruise on the Danube, I will definitely have to read those if I haven’t done so by then. I have Danube, by Claudio Magris, The Danube, by Nick Thorpe, and Danubia, by Simon Winder! I also own Germania, by Simon Winder, and I’ve not read that yet! It is described as “a personal history of Germans ancient and modern” – should be a good read when I eventually get around to it, lol!

See? I told you I was random, didn’t I?! Every now and then, when I realise I’ve acquired a few more followers for this blog, I welcome them to Joanne’s Bookshelf, but warn them that I do tend to waffle on, and go off at tangents, and I also warn them that I witter on about some of the most random books that anyone is ever likely to mention in a blog!

I have been blogging for nearly 9 years now, I started this book blog in August 2010, not long after I had become an auntie to Charlotte. Junior Bookworm has just turned 9 and is still very much an ardent reader. In that time, since my niece arrived in this world, I have blogged about pretty much most literature on here… Novels, novellas, short stories, poetry, plays, literary theory (usually about how boring those particular modules were when I was a student, lol), plenty of subject matters for non-fiction, and plenty of genres for fiction… I have covered everything from books suitable for babies and toddlers right up to books only suitable for adult readers, everything from The Very Hungry Caterpillar through to Venus In Furs, if you like!

Occasionally, I have had themes. I did a blog on football autobiographies once, and early in 2018, to celebrate the Year of the Dog, I did a blog on books with dog-related titles and/or dogs in starring roles for a Chinese New Year special. However, most of the time, my blogs are very random, as this one is, lol! I think one of my favourite themed blogs was the one I did a couple of years ago after getting the idea from a book group post on Facebook. The idea was to go back in time with 12 books to give to your 12 year old self, and I really enjoyed doing that! I think that was in February 2017 if you want to check the archives! I may have called it Back In Time For a Good Read, or something along those lines! Anyway, I take you right back to the summer of 1985 by which time I had clocked up a dozen years on the planet, so if you like books and fancy a bit of time-travel right back to the mid eighties, look that blog up and see which books I chose for the 12 year old version of me!

It’s not quite Back to the Future, there’s no sports car time machine or Marty McFly, lol, but there’s the 1985 FA Cup Final and Live Aid, and me travelling back to my own past with a dozen books for my younger version!

Anyway, the 2019 version of me, the 46 year old bookworm, is now off to get a bit more reading done, lol! Got socks to read about! Until the next blog entry, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Sock – Kim Adrian
  • Eye Chart – William Germano
  • The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair – Joël Dicker
  • A Taste of Honey – Shelagh Delaney
  • Where My Heart Used to Beat – Sebastian Faulks
  • Can You Forgive Her? – Anthony Trollope
  • The Rhine – Ben Coates
  • Danube – Claudio Magris
  • The Danube – Nick Thorpe
  • Danubia – Simon Winder
  • Germania – Simon Winder
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle
  • Venus in Furs – Leopold von Sacher-Masoch

 

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Filed under Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Chunky Monkeys, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Manc Stuff!, Mental Health, Music, My Bookworm History, Non-Fiction, Object Lessons, Ongoing Concerns, Plays, Reader's Block, School, College & Uni Reading, Sports, Travel

April, blog she will…

 

Birthday photo 23 04 2018

Me last year on my birthday – nearly that time again…

Hello, fellow bookworms!

Long time no blog, I know! Regulars will know this has happened before in the history of my blogs, but I’m here now. I see I have 82 people following this blog now, so thank you very much! Especially given that you’ve had bugger all to read from me since November! Got some catching up to do, fill you in on the missing months. I think you had sussed out, though, towards the end of last year, that the reading had kinda dried up a bit and that I’d gone into a book slump again. You probably won’t be terribly surprised to learn that I didn’t meet my Goodreads Challenge last year. I was two books short, having managed 28 books during the course of 2018, whereas I’d set the target at 30. I have not bothered this year.

The List Challenges lists that I promised have now, finally, been published, so if you want to go through what I read in 2018, or the Handbag Books list, or even the list of books I’ve mentioned on here during the course of last year, you can now do so. Very sorry for the delay.

So, as I said, I’d been having Reader’s Block since the end of last year. I had hoped, as we let in 2019, that my reading mojo would return but, it certainly didn’t do so in time for the new year. In fact, things got worse. When you’re already a bookworm going through a book slump, the last bloody thing you need is bereavement, but that’s what happened. On the evening of Saturday 12th January 2019, my sister came round to inform Mum and I that Dad had died. He was 71, same age as his dad had been when he died, back when I was a teenager. We knew he’d had his health issues, but didn’t think, at the time, that it was something that couldn’t be put right if he got some medical advice.

However, as I’ve probably said before on here about my dad, he was a pretty stubborn bloke, not the sort to take advice from other people, and definitely the sort who, if he did go and see a medical practitioner, would tell them a few tales and would not be honest with them about the fact that he was a couch potato and that he liked a drink or three… His second wife, Gill, had found him dead in their bathroom, she had been away. She had phoned one of Dad’s sisters, and she in turn had phoned Ellie. Then Ellie came round to tell us.

Obviously, one or two people reading this will already know, some who are friends on FB, but for the rest of you, I’m fairly sure it will explain why I’m only just blogging now for the first time in 2019. I’ve not been reading much, if anything, and finally had my first book finish of the year last night! We’re in April, a few days away from my 46th birthday, and I have actually got a finish under my belt for this year at last! Regulars won’t be terribly surprised to learn that it was a non-fiction book which did the trick! Factual stuff gets me out of slumps! I have Mark Manson to thank, as the book was The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, and I really enjoyed it! You know my opinion of most so-called “self help” books, but occasionally something comes along in that genre which I actually find I can relate to, rather than finding it patronising and ableist like I do with so many others of that ilk!

You may recall that I read a similar book in 2017, that would have been Sarah Knight‘s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k, so I would recommend both books to anyone who is not struck on the usual bog-standard self-help books and wants something a bit different, a book that does look at things in a different way to most books of that variety. Back to the Mark Manson book, however, and I certainly found that a lot of stuff was very relatable, particularly dealing with people who were very like that ex-friend of mine – you know the one, initials HLA. Reading Mark’s book made me feel vindicated that I’d kicked that toxic bitch out of my life.

I can’t even recall what was on my Ongoing Concerns back in November. All of that kinda fell by the wayside, and I don’t even know where my magnetic wipe board is at the moment, although probably in the garage. You did know about the loom knitting and Pixelhobby, though, as I’d started those activities before I went into the book slump, and had mentioned them in blogs in the autumn. I will give you a catch-up some time on the Pixelhobby projects. I don’t currently have a project on the go, although I’ve got something in mind. Recently completed a couple of 4 baseplate kits, my largest ones so far, and it would be another of that size that I have in mind and have got some of my pixels put aside so that I know what I’ve already got.

The one thing that has been good, though, came the week before Christmas, when the Bus Parking One was sacked after our 3-1 defeat away to Liverpool. Personally, I think he should have been sacked at the end of last season. I would have preferred it if he hadn’t been appointed in the first place, as I’ve never liked him and I have made that quite clear over the  years, but anyway, United finally had enough of his crap and booted him out on 18th December, replacing him, the following day, with the Treble-winning Legend that is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer! So, Ole’s been at the wheel since just before Christmas, and the immediate response at the time was for the lads to thrash Cardiff 5-1 away! Then, on Boxing Day, we had our first home game with Ole in charge, a 3-1 win against Huddersfield Town, and that was the last time I saw my dad. At least Dad got to see a match under Ole and know that United were playing the proper way again before he died.

Ole was made permanent at the end of last month, so it should be interesting to see who he buys in the summer. He has certainly got the best out of most of the lads he inherited from the Portuguese Pillock, though! That’s what the second half of this season has been about – believing in the current players, encouraging them to attack and score goals, and to be a good man-manager and keep the hairdryer treatment behind closed doors. Ole learned from Sir Alex, though, so this comes as standard. This is why we’re back to the United way. Even when results haven’t gone our way, you still see the effort, which is what you weren’t always seeing in the previous five and a half seasons, especially the two and a half under the Tax-Fiddling One!

It also brings me neatly onto one of my current Ongoing Concerns, which is the biography Ole, by Ian MacLeay, a book which first came out in 2007, apparently, which would have been when he retired as a player, but has now been updated this year to take in his return to United as our manager. While we’re on the subject of football-related books, I got Michael Carrick‘s autobiography, Between the Lines, for Christmas, so I’ve still got that to read yet. It’s Carrick, you know. Hard to believe it’s not Scholes, lol!

Sort of still footy related, although the book isn’t, my next mention is for a book which was mentioned by Juan Mata not long ago. I love reading Juan’s blogs, One Hour Behind, but this was actually an interview with Guillem Balague, and Juan mentioned that he’d been reading Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari. One of the many things I love and admire about Juan is that he’s not just a great player on the pitch, but a really lovely, and very interesting, bloke away from footy! The sort of person I’d love to have a cuppa and a chat with – a natter with Mata! I would definitely love to have a chat with Juan about books!

Sales of Notre Dame de Paris, by Victor Hugo have rocketed following the devastating fire which has destroyed the roof of the famous cathedral earlier this week. I purchased a copy from Waterstone’s at the Trafford Centre on Wednesday night, and it said, in the introduction, that the cathedral had been in disrepair before, particularly after the French Revolution, but that when Hugo’s novel was published, its popularity led to necessary repairs being made back then! Hopefully sales might help once again.

I already had one of Hugo’s works, but that’s Les Misérables, and I’ve not got round to reading that yet! I would probably end up singing songs from the musical if I did, lol!

Victor Hugo always reminds me of when I was at high school, learning French… whatever textbook you use, and we used French For Today at the time, there’s usually a unit about asking for and giving directions, and so there’ll be this map of some made-up French town with various buildings on it so you can practice asking «Pour aller à la bibliothèque, s’il vous plâit?» and other similar questions. You will note that I’ve used the example of asking how to get to the library – have to keep it book-related, lol! Anyway, when you get these pretend French towns and their maps, it doesn’t seem to matter which damn text book it’s in, you can guarantee at least two of the street names! I shit you not! There will always be an Avenue Charles de Gaulle, and there will always be a Rue Victor Hugo! I would be absolutely gobsmacked if there wasn’t!

Recently been in France, actually, as we were in Disneyland Paris at the start of April, but no Rue Victor Hugo there, even though Disney did do a film of the Hunchback of Notre Dame, so Quasimodo did become a Disney character some time ago. Not really a holiday where I could get much, if any, reading done, though. Not that sort of holiday, unlike the one Mum and I are going on in the summer. That will be a more relaxing, chilled-out holiday, and some lengthy flights, so I should get some reading done!

The blog title, by the way, is based on April Come She Will, by Simon and Garfunkel, as I saw Art Garfunkel at the Lowry Theatre last Sunday. Just in case you were wondering. Yes he sang a few of the old ones from when he and Paul Simon were a duo – I pretty much grew up with their music. Mum and Dad had the Bridge Over Troubled Water album, and also I performed a fair few of their songs in the orchestra and choir when I was at high school. He also sung Bright Eyes, which was a solo number 1 for him here in the UK 40 years ago in April 1979 when I was 6! It was used in the film Watership Down at the time, which was about rabbits. As my Dad used to say… You’ve read the book, you’ve seen the film, you’ve heard the song… now eat the pie!

He’s going on the piss with Georgie Best, my dad. That’s how I see it now. As in our terrace version of Spirit In the Sky… “Goin’ on up to the spirit in the sky. That’s where I’m gonna go when I die. When I die an’ they lay me to rest I’m gonna go on the piss with Georgie Best!”

Anyway, I think that’s about it for now. I’m back and I’ve mentioned a few books, so we’re up and running for this year. I’ve started the blog-related list on List Challenges. This is the one where I mention them whether I’ve read them or not, so there should be a decent amount of books there by the end of the year, I hope! Dunno which ones I will actually have read by the end of 2019, but hopefully a few! Trying to decide whether to try a nice big chunky bit of historical fiction, perhaps Paris by Edward Rutherfurd. I have been looking at my copy of The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. Yeah, it is over 1000 pages long, but, as I’ve said before, if a book is readable, size shouldn’t be a turn-off! World Without End, which is the sequel, has been moved to a higher position on the Bass Amp Book Tower. Just in case, lol!

Adam Kay book signing

Oh, and before I go, some news re Adam Kay. You may remember the brilliant This is Going to Hurt, which I read in 2017, my favourite book that year, and indeed I met the author that autumn when he came to Waterstone’s on Deansgate (see photo above)… Anyway, he’s just announced that he’s got a new book, also about his time in the medical profession before he became a comedian, and it’s due to be published in October. So I will probably be looking to pre-order Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas.

I think that definitely is all there is for now! That’s all folks, as they used to say at the end of Looney Tunes cartoons! Until the next time I blog, take care, Happy Easter and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck – Mark Manson
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k – Sarah Knight
  • Ole – Ian MacLeay
  • Between the Lines – Michael Carrick
  • Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind – Yuval Noah Harari
  • Notre Dame de Paris – Victor Hugo
  • Les Misérables – Victor Hugo
  • French For Today – P J Downes & E A Griffith
  • Watership Down – Richard Adams
  • Paris – Edward Rutherfurd
  • The Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follett
  • World Without End – Ken Follett
  • This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
  • Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas – Adam Kay (due October 2019)

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July Review – Out of the Slump

Book finished July 2018

Hello there, fellow Bookworms!

Last day of July, so it’s review time, and this makes it a 3rd blog for the month! Yay! Plus a book finished and a bookmark made – that being the red woolly one I made on my afro comb, which you saw with my copy of Wigs On the Green, by Nancy Mitford, in my previous blog! That book, as I mentioned recently, is a third of the way through, 34% read, and there are two weeks to go to my book club at Waterstone’s on Deansgate, or there will be tomorrow, anyway! Next aim for that one is to get it to 50% read.

Anyway, I finished Ego Is the Enemy, by Ryan Holiday, so for the first time since early May, I’ve had an addition to my Goodreads Challenge list, now at 19/30, and it has been worth doing some Bookstagramming! I have also had to update unpublished lists on List Challenges, besides the one I do for this blog, which you will get to see either at the end of December or the start of 2019! The list is already over 200 books long, 227 as I type this part, but I will be adding to that with this blog, probably.

Yesterday, 30th July, Emily Brontë would have been 200! I studied Wuthering Heights when I was at uni, way back in the early to mid 90s, but have to admit I found it a struggle, and when it comes to works by the Brontë sisters that I have read, I must say I found Jane Eyre, by her sister Charlotte, an easier read. I read that one way back when I was in the 3rd year at high school, what would now be known as Year 9. When it comes to Wuthering Heights, I do like the song by Kate Bush, lol! Kate herself had a special birthday yesterday, too – her Big 60!

Right, anyway, never mind all that, time to get on with the book review for July… I’m thinking of taking Hawksmoor off the OC List or only mentioning it if I make any further progress with it. It’s been stuck at 58% read for ages now, so unless I move it on a bit, is it really worth mentioning? With the new footy season almost upon us, there’s every likelihood that I’ll be returning to Twisting My Melon, by Shaun Ryder, which was at 55% after the last time I read some of it, but if we have to wait ages in the car to get out of the Old Trafford car park after a match, then I can see Shaun getting off my OC list by the end of the calendar year, and another ebook being finished. As I mentioned in my previous blog, my season ticket arrived last week – a sure sign that another Premier League campaign is on the horizon!

Talking of United, Shaun Ryder and all things Manc, the bees are in town! I know I have mentioned this earlier this year, but now town is a hive of activity due to Bee In the City! I know we often say that town is “buzzin'” but it really is at the moment, and the giant bees are here until around 23rd September. I shall have to go into town and have a shufty! Perhaps this weekend.

Returning to ebooks for a moment, Fire Woman by Josephine Reynolds is on 25% read, that being the account of Britain’s first female firefighter. The other book that I’ve got ongoing as an ebook is one where I’m doing it part ebook part paperback as I have both formats for this novel – that book being The Man I Think I Know, by Mike Gayle, which I discovered recently thanks to the Zoe Ball Book Club on telly (Sunday mornings on ITV – I record it on Sky+ as I’m usually having a lie-in, lol!). The Mike Gayle novel is at 18% at the mo, although I’m thinking that’s what I’m going to read once I’ve finished this blog! I am giving books a bit of a push… how much of a particular book I can read in half an hour, that sort of thing…

I mentioned Notes on a Nervous Planet, by Matt Haig, in my last blog, and I started reading that last night, getting 22% of it read in the wee small hours, and improving slightly on that before starting this blog, by getting it to the 26% mark! Also at 26% is French Revolutions, by Tim Moore. This is the guy whose book, Nul Points, about the acts which failed to register any votes in the Eurovision Song Contest, I read and enjoyed last year, and in this one, which had been knocking around my room for a while, he gets the mad idea to cycle the Tour de France route! As we’ve just had the Tour de France, won by Welshman, Geraint Thomas, I thought it would be an appropriate read.

Woolly stuff 2018

As well as my red bookmark, this is some of my other stuff – ongoing items on my improvised looms. This just gives you an idea of some of the other things I get up to when I’m not reading! One of the other things I’m up to is making some attempt at shifting the pounds, and I had lost two and a half pounds yesterday evening at Slimming World, and need only two more pounds off to have lost my first stone!

Recent purchases 25 July 2018

Some recent purchases there, which I forgot to mention in the previous blog, apart from the Mike Gayle book. As with Gayle‘s novel, Dark Pines, by Will Dean, is also one of the books which has been reviewed on Zoe Ball’s TV programme. That one is in the “Scandi crime” genre, and features a deaf protagonist, which is an unusual angle. Three Things About Elsie is the second novel by Joanna Cannon, who I met a couple of years ago when she was signing copies of her début novel, The Trouble With Goats and Sheep. You might also be familiar with the name of Mohsin Hamid, as he has had a few novels published, most notably, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, which I read and enjoyed some years ago now. Exit West piqued my interest because of its plot, in which black doors are rumoured to appear and people who walk through them leave one city and enter a different one! Sounds intriguing!

Books and coffee July 2018

Technically, we’re now on for 1st August, but this is still the July Review, and I still have a few more books to mention before I get this published. I think I may have listed a book called The Note not too long ago, a novel by Zoë Folbigg. Anyway, The Distance, also by the same author, was one of my purchases last week, along with The 1,000 Year Old Boy, by Ross Welford, and The Boy At the Back of the Class, by Onjali Q Rauf. Those two are essentially children’s books, but you probably already figured out how many shits I give about stuff like that! If it sounds like a good read, I’m up for it! The only books which need an age restriction are ones containing adult material – erotic novels, in other words, but unless there’s a lot of sex involved, the beauty of most books is that they’re open to all ages!

That’s about it now for the July Review, I’ve mentioned a lot of books, and given progress updates, so until the next blog entry, take care and Happy Reading! Oh, and keep cool, as the heatwave’s supposed to be returning!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Wigs On the Green – Nancy Mitford
  • Ego Is the Enemy – Ryan Holiday
  • Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë
  • Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
  • Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd
  • Twisting My Melon – Shaun Ryder
  • Fire Woman – Josephine Reynolds
  • The Man I Think I Know – Mike Gayle
  • Notes On a Nervous Planet – Matt Haig
  • French Revolutions – Tim Moore
  • Nul Points – Tim Moore
  • Dark Pines – Will Dean
  • Three Things About Elsie – Joanna Cannon
  • The Trouble With Goats and Sheep – Joanna Cannon
  • The Reluctant Fundamentalist – Mohsin Hamid
  • Exit West – Mohsin Hamid
  • The Note – Zoë Folbigg
  • The Distance – Zoë Folbigg
  • The 1,000 Year Old Boy – Ross Welford
  • The Boy At the Back of the Class – Onjali Q. Rauf

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Instructions For a Heatwave

Recent purchases July 2018

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Ooh, it’s sticky weather, as Peter Kay would say! It’s just gone 10pm here, as I start this blog entry, and it is still boiling. Hence the blog title, Instructions For a Heatwave, which is actually a novel by Maggie O’Farrell. I think that book is set 42 years ago, back in 1976, which is what this year is being compared with, lol! Talking of reads set in the Long Hot Summer of ’76, there’s also The Trouble With Goats and Sheep, by Joanna Cannon, and Summer of ’76 by Isabel Ashdown. So, grab a cold drink, possibly an ice cream or a lolly, and chill out with a good book! Get some 70s music on, too! Bit of Abba should do the trick, lol!

Right, so… World Cup’s over, won by France, and what a brilliant final they and Croatia served up, eh?! Best World Cup Final for bloody years, unlike some of the boring ones of recent times which had just one goal and went to extra time before that happened… It wasn’t coming home, though, for England, sadly, but under Gareth Southgate (and his M&S waistcoat), the Three Lions equalled their best World Cup finish in my lifetime, and the joint-second-best of all-time, finishing 4th, as they had done way back in the summer of 1990! The previous time we’d got to the semis in the World Cup, it was taking place in Italy, I was old enough to learn to drive, but not quite old enough to drink or vote until the following April! I was at Eccles College and coming towards the end of my first year there, so halfway through my Bastard A-Levels! For anyone who doesn’t know, A-Levels are awful! They certainly were back in the early 90s when I was doing mine. My degree was easier!

They are also a very good example of why getting out of your comfort zone is NOT always a good idea! I know I went off French at A Level, but I look back at the other subjects I did at college, which were totally new to me in the autumn of 1989 when I started there, and I think I should have stuck to what I knew. If you do stray from that comfort zone, don’t go far. Imagine the comfort zone to be a house and a back garden. At the bottom of the path alongside the lawn, there is a fence and a little gate. Even if you undo the latch and open the gate to step outside, you are still in familiar territory. Do new stuff, but stuff which isn’t too dissimilar from things you already know how to do! Out of your comfort zone, but not out of your depth.

Take, for example, me learning another new musical instrument. I would have to learn the notes and the techniques for playing the new instrument. However, as I can already read music, and have had plenty of experience of playing in ensembles before, it would not be a completely new thing for me, and I would think, with my track record of learning instruments, that I would be able to reach a decent standard of proficiency.

Right, anyway, after the mini slump since early May, you’ll be pleased to learn that I have recently finished another book! Ego Is the Enemy, by Ryan Holiday, was finished off last Saturday, making it book number 19 for this year. Funny how non-fiction seems to help me get out of book slumps! Three years ago, towards the end of 2015, when I finally got out of quite a lengthy book slump, it was a book called Why the Dutch Are Different, by Ben Coates, which got me in the mood for reading again. Back to the book about ego, though, and I think there are a lot of people who really could do with reading this and taking on board the message. I’m thinking particularly of an orange-faced bloke with a bad wig and childish demeanour, a bus-parking Portuguese football manager, and a certain female ex-friend of mine who failed to take the hint even after I blocked her arrogant arse on all social media platforms two years ago!

As I’ve just mentioned a bit of footy again, I should mention that my season ticket came on Wednesday! Yay! I do wish we’d get a manager who plays attractive, attack-minded, entertaining football, though! And who doesn’t criticise his players in public. Surely there must be a new Fergie out there?! Someone who would go back to having the lads play the United way instead of all that tedious bus-parking shite?! (By the way, in case you’d forgotten, shite is a technical term!)

Let’s have a look at the other books on that photo at the top of this blog… The Mermaid, by Christina Henry, is a reworking of a fairy tale, The Fire Court, by Andrew Taylor, is historical fiction, and the sequel to The Ashes of London, which I read and enjoyed last year, and Notes On a Nervous Planet, by Matt Haig, is non-fiction and deals with mental health issues and the increase in stress and anxiety levels worldwide. The thing with Matt Haig is that he writes both fiction and non-fiction!

The Nancy Mitford novella, Wigs On the Green, is my current book club book and I am 34% of the way through it with a couple of weeks to go before my next meeting at Waterstone’s Deansgate, which will be on 15th August. The red bookmark is one that I have made using my afro comb as a knitting loom, lol! Think it has come out quite well! Wigs On the Green sends up fascists, hence the reason Stephanie and I chose it. Anything taking the piss out of the far-right is fine by me!

Earlier this month, it was my friend Sarah’s birthday, so I popped up to Preston with her pressies and card. Her main pressie is that we’re going to see Madness in December at the Manchester Arena, and I can tell you all now because she knows! Anyway, she was able to lend me What Does This Button Do? by Bruce Dickinson, the Iron Maiden frontman and qualified pilot, so I have started that and I want to have read it in time to return it to her when she comes for the Madness gig. I know December’s a bit of a way off, but if I don’t get started, it’ll be upon us all too quickly. Only just started that one, though so it’s not technically an OC yet until it reaches 10%. Islander by Patrick Barkham, as I may have mentioned previously, was picked up on my jollies in the Cape Verde Islands last month. That’s up to 14%, but it has now been overtaken by The Man I Think I Know, by Mike Gayle, which I discovered thanks to the Zoe Ball Book Club on telly. I am already on 17% and I only got it on Wednesday night when I was at the Trafford Centre. Really enjoying it already!

On my Kindle, there are a couple of ongoing concerns, those being Twisting My Melon, by Shaun Ryder, currently on 55%, and Fire Woman, by Josephine Reynolds, on 25% – that one being her true account of how she became Britain’s first female firefighter. I read an article not long ago, and ended up downloading the book for my Kindle Paperwhite.

I would continue, I do have more recent books to mention, lol, but sitting here at my laptop is doing NOTHING to cool me down at all! Therefore, I shall have to do another blog and mention some more recent purchases, but at least I have got a second blog published for this month and I have finished at least one book, so a considerable improvement on June, lol! Until the next time, try to keep cool and hydrated, and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Instructions For a Heatwave – Maggie O’Farrell
  • The Trouble With Goats and Sheep – Joanna Cannon
  • Summer of ’76 – Isabel Ashdown
  • Ego Is the Enemy – Ryan Holiday
  • Why the Dutch Are Different – Ben Coates
  • The Mermaid – Christina Henry
  • The Fire Court – Andrew Taylor
  • The Ashes of London – Andrew Taylor
  • Notes On a Nervous Planet – Matt Haig
  • Wigs On the Green – Nancy Mitford
  • What Does This Button Do? – Bruce Dickinson
  • Islander – Patrick Barkham
  • The Man I Think I Know – Mike Gayle
  • Twisting My Melon – Shaun Ryder
  • Fire Woman – Josephine Reynolds

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March Review and Childhood Cookbooks

Word for World is Forest finished March 2018

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Another month, another 5 books finished! I can’t guarantee I will be this consistent all year, but so far in 2018 I have finished 5 books and published 6 blogs each month! This means I am now on at 15/30 on my Goodreads Challenge – half way to my target and we’ve only had three months so far. Also, a third of the way to matching the total of 45 books which I managed to finish off in 2017!

There’s another bookmark on the way. Might just about get it finished before the month is over, but not in time for this blog. It is nearly done though. Only needs the back-stitching finishing and a tassel of some sort adding.

So, anyway, we’re at the end of March 2018, I have 77 followers now, so thanks to all of you for putting up with my random waffle, and welcome to some of the new followers who have discovered this blog of late. These blogs go right back to August 2010, so feel free to mosey around in the archives. I have published over 200 book blogs, and have been pretty prolific in the last year or so. Before that, it was rather inconsistent.

Time to move on to the actual books now, lol, and let’s look at what I’ve finished off in March. My first finish for the month, and it seems like ages ago now, was The Lady and the Unicorn, by Tracy Chevalier, which was a brilliant read. A couple of quick-to-finish children’s books came next, Fantastic Mr Fox, by Roald Dahl, and The Slimy Stuarts, by Terry Deary, the latter being a book from the Horrible Histories series. I had picked up a few Horrible Histories books at a charity shop in Swinton after work one night!

Towards the end of this month, in the past week or so, two more books have taken my monthly total up to five. First up was my ebook, The Man In the Middle, by Howard Webb, which had started off as my match day book as I had been reading it to pass the time in the car while stuck in the car park at Old Trafford, or in Trafford Park, on the way home from one of our home games, but I ended up reading it on days when I wasn’t heading to the Hallowed Ground, and finished it off at home one night last week!

Finished books 29 March 2018

Bringing my monthly total to a consistent five, I finished off The Word for World is Forest, by Ursula K. Le Guin, last night, thus adding another science-fiction book to my read list, and Don Davidson to my Literary Shovel List! Whilst I didn’t find him quite as anger-inducing as the bigoted nutjob Joseph Strorm, Davidson certainly needs a good thwack on the head with The Shovel, and he has to be added to Humans In Science Fiction Novels Who Are An Embarrassment To The Species! As with my feelings of sympathy towards the mutants in The Chrysalids, I quickly took the side of the “Creechies” in Le Guin’s novella. I think, once I’d have given Davidson the Shovel treatment, I would then grab him warmly by the throat and yell “Stop showing us all up, you arrogant knobhead!”

At least, for now, the interplanetary embarrassment is only in works of fiction. Bad enough that, in real life, there are too many dicks here on Earth who embarrass the species as a whole, and their part of the planet in particular, without going to new planets and behaving in that manner! The novella was written in the late 60s and early 70s, being first published in 1972, the year before I came into this world. It’s easy to see it as a damning criticism of some of the worst atrocities committed during the war in Vietnam, but it’s still pretty relevant now, especially with the concept of male privilege – you could see some of the “yumans” in the plot, Davidson in particular, exhibiting what might be called Earthling Privilege, lording it over the poor Creechies whose planet they’d invaded and buggered up ecologically! Having screwed their own planet up in the first place, they’ve buggered off to mess some other planet up as well and piss off the inhabitants.

Don Davidson definitely joins the Shovel List. By contrast, I liked Raj Lyubov, who was one of the few who made an effort to treat the Creechies with respect and learn about their way of life.

Will I continue with The Chrysalids? Maybe, but it is on hold for now. I might even make some attempt at North and South, a final go to see if it does grab me, but if it doesn’t, no point plodding on with it. I will just have to accept it is one of those which hasn’t fizzed on me. Won’t be the first, and I doubt very much it will be the last. I do not persist with books I’m not enjoying. As you already know, I don’t agree with all that bullshit about not giving up. Sometimes, giving up is the wisest thing you can do. If you’re making no progress at something, and not enjoying it, time to pack it in! You might have to try a bit harder if you need to read a book for the purposes of your academic or professional attainment, but if you don’t have to read it for education or employment, and you’re not enjoying it, time to put it down and find a different book!

Hawksmoor‘s still hanging around, and I plan to get some of that read this weekend, another chapter at least, get it past the halfway stage. It’s been on 49% for a while, so time we took it beyond 50, especially if I just accept that North and South isn’t doing it for me. The other book whose title you can see on the wipeboard on the top photo of this blog is Six Little Miracles, by Janet Walton. I found it at a charity shop in Swinton the other day. For those of us who were around in the UK in the 1980s, you may recall the birth of the Walton Sextuplets, the six girls born in 1983 – well, this is their mum’s autobiography, the memoir of growing up, meeting her husband, and trying for a baby – then ending up with half a dozen of them at once!

Childhood cookbooks

My first recipe books!

Talking of growing up, Veronica Henry, author of The Beach Hut and How To Find Love In a Book Shop, amongst other novels, posted a photo on Instagram the other day which had me going back to my childhood, as it featured a book I’d received when I was a kid, either a birthday or Christmas present – a recipe book called My Learn To Cook Book – funnily enough, I still have it, alongside The Mr Men Cookbook! Both of those have some damn good recipes in them! The former is by Ursula Sedgwick, and the latter by Roger Hargreaves. Mr Topsy-Turvy’s Upside Down Pudding is particularly good!

SF purchases March 2018

Onto recent purchases now, and then we can think about What To Read Next, that great bookworm dilemma, lol! I was in town yesterday, essentially to get my bus and tram pass sorted for another month, but any old excuse to do a spot of retail therapy while there, eh?! The books you see in that photo are Ammonite, by Nicola Griffith, Neuromancer, by William Gibson, and the one at the top of the pile there, Resistance is Futile, by Jenny T. Colgan. That comment by Matt Haig on the cover amused me enormously! “A riotous cocktail of geeks” – there’s a recommendation if ever there was one!

I’ve read a couple of his books, actually, both very different, but both great – The Radleys, and Reasons To Stay Alive. The former is fiction, and very funny, and the latter is autobiographical and a good read, especially if you’re looking for books relating to mental health issues. Also, I have How To Stop Time, and The Humans, right here by Computer Corner, on my science fiction row between the robot bookends!

I could always read one of the new purchases. After all, I’ve finished the Le Guin, so there’s room for some more science fiction on the OC List. Non-fiction is accounted for, of course, with the Walton sextuplets book I mentioned earlier. I will also need a new choice of book on one of my e-readers for match day, so I will have to have a shufty on my Kindle and my Sony Reader to see if there’s anything I really fancy reading or resuming!

I could read The City and The City, by China Miéville, which is about to be dramatised in a 6 part series on the BBC starting just after Easter. That’s a paperback, though, not on my e-readers. I also had my eye on The Cellist of Sarajevo earlier today. I’d previously had two copies, it was one of my notorious Duplicate Books, lol, so I took one in to work with some other books, so that my colleagues can borrow and swap them, but I was giving some thought to reading my remaining copy of the Steven Galloway novel.

Well, I think that’s about it for now. Easter Long Weekend starts here! I will be back again with another blog before too long, lol, but until next time, have a lovely Easter, hope you get plenty of eggs and maybe some books, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Lady and the Unicorn – Tracy Chevalier
  • Fantastic Mr Fox – Roald Dahl
  • The Slimy Stuarts (Horrible Histories) – Terry Deary
  • The Man In the Middle – Howard Webb
  • The Word for World is Forest – Ursula K. Le Guin
  • The Chrysalids – John Wyndham
  • North and South – Elizabeth Gaskell
  • Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd
  • Six Little Miracles – Janet Walton
  • The Beach Hut – Veronica Henry
  • How To Find Love In a Book Shop – Veronica Henry
  • My Learn To Cook Book – Ursula Sedgwick
  • The Mr Men Cookbook – Roger Hargreaves
  • Ammonite – Nicola Griffith
  • Neuromancer – William Gibson
  • Resistance is Futile – Jenny T. Colgan
  • The Radleys – Matt Haig
  • Reasons To Stay Alive – Matt Haig
  • How To Stop Time – Matt Haig
  • The Humans – Matt Haig
  • The City and The City – China Miéville
  • The Cellist of Sarajevo – Steven Galloway

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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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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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