Category Archives: Month in Review

November Review and a bit of December too!

Flixton CBB Xmas Concert 2017

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

December is upon us, so, time to wrap up last month’s events as much as I can remember, lol, and a tiny bit of this month so far. Well, OK, yesterday and today, buoyed by the fact that my lads beat Arsenal 3-1 at the Emirates earlier this evening! Woo hoo! Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way! Oh what fun it is to see United win away! Only blot on the landscape was Pogba’s red card, meaning we’re gonna miss him for a few fixtures. Grrr! Not happy about that! He’ll be able to play on Tuesday, though, as that’s a European fixture, and the red card only affects domestic games.

Right, anyway, as we know, I didn’t make much progress with Do Not Say We Have Nothing, by Madeleine Thien, but we did manage to enjoy a good book club meeting in November as there were four of us there, which made for a decent discussion! I’m hoping for a decent turn-out this coming Wednesday, 6th December, when we meet up again to discuss The Good People, by Hannah Kent. I am now up to 63% with this novel. Good progress was made in the last few days, firstly to get halfway and then I had a good read last night, during the first half of the concert at St Clement’s Church in Urmston.

Also, while I was at the church, I noticed they had a few books which could either be borrowed, swapped, or bought for a donation, so I made a donation and picked up a couple of interesting books to bring home with me. Those were Jasmine Nights, by Julia Gregson, and We Are Not Ourselves, by Matthew Thomas. More to add to the TBR pile, lol! It takes the current number of books on my as-yet-unpublished List Challenges list for this blog to 528 different books! Joanne’s Bookshelf Blogs – Books Mentioned 2017 will be published in what is now a matter of weeks! Eek! Where’s 2017 gone?! Either I will publish the list on 31st December, or early in January 2018.

I am working between Christmas and New Year, but only one day, only the Wednesday. I am off the rest of the time! Time to read, and time to blog, I hope. Plus the inevitable lie-ins which I can have if I don’t have any reason to get up early!

I did finish a book in November, that being the excellent On Writing by Stephen King. As I have said in plenty of previous blogs, I’m not really big on horror, but he does write other stuff besides horror, and I have The Green Mile and 11.22.63 on my TBR list, so I hope to get round to at least one of those eventually, perhaps in 2018?

The main thing about November, however, was the fact that I got my dental surgery over and done with! I went for the x-ray appointment at the hospital on Monday 20th, and after I had had that, and went back to the reception to book the surgery, I was expecting to be given a date some time in the future, I was expecting January, to be honest with you! Thus I got quite a surprise when the receptionist said “We can fit you in this Wednesday afternoon at 3pm!” – I went for it, though, and booked it in. Yes, it was short notice, but I figured work would be pleased that I would be getting it out of the way as soon as possible! Work were fine about it, and thus I was off on the Wednesday and Thursday that week. Didn’t entirely feel like reading on the Wednesday, but on the Thursday I was reading and blogging again! I was a bit sore when the anaesthetic wore off, but, as I said at the time, not as “badger’s arse” as I thought I was going to be!

Flixton CBB Xmas Lights Urmston 24 Nov 2017

I was certainly up to playing my horn, as I found out on the Thursday evening, which was just as well, as I was playing at the switching on of the Urmston Christmas tree lights on the Friday evening and, as was documented, we didn’t get as wet as usual! There was actually a dry spell for a while, so not the usual non-stop rain, lol!

You know how I’ve mentioned, plenty of times, that my niece, Charlotte, is taking after me on the book front – she is the Junior Bookworm… Well, she also seems to be taking after her Auntie Jo on the music front, too! Not sure if I’ve told you this or not, although I probably have, but she’s been learning the violin for a few months now! I hope she will be entertaining us with some carols and other festive tunes this Christmas!

Well, not a lot of book related action in November, really, other than finishing the Stephen King book and starting the Hannah Kent novel, and still laughing my arse off over This is Going to Hurt, by Adam Kay, which is my book of the year for sure! I know we’ve got most of December left before 2017 gives way to 2018, we’re only on day 2 of our Advent calendars as I type, lol, but I doubt very much I am going to read anything which is even more hilarious than Adam Kay’s book about his time as a junior doctor! I dare you to read that book in public!

I went shopping on Monday, ended up loaded up at the Trafford Centre and, yes, it certainly did involve books, and visits to both Waterstone’s and W H Smith’s. However, I must stress that most of this shopping spree was for the purposes (or even porpoises, lol) of Christmas shopping. I purchased one book for my own future reading pleasure, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman, but anything else I bought can’t be mentioned on here for a few weeks yet, I’m afraid!

Not until a bloke in red and white has been… and I don’t mean a United player in this instance, lol!

Away from books, and I am getting ridiculously excited at the prospect of a branch of Tim Horton’s opening not too far away from me in the very near future! I don’t know the opening date just yet, or whereabouts on this particularly long road the branch will be located, but Bury New Road will be getting a Timmie’s! Woo hoo! Any Canadian bookworms, and any other bookworms who’ve ever been to Canada, will know what I’m on about here! Perhaps, when the branch opens, I should go there for coffee and doughnuts, or a box of Timbits, and read Doughnut, by Tom Holt?! Or, perhaps even This Book Will Save Your Life, by A. M. Homes, as that has several doughnuts on the cover!

So, that’s about it for November and early December. I think that’s all the news for now. Book club this coming Wednesday. Even if I don’t finish The Good People in time, I will have got a lot of it read by then, although I hope I will have finished it! I have also put it on my Kindle, as well as owning the paperback, so I should be able to get some read on the way home from Old Trafford on Tuesday night after our Champions League home game against CSKA Moscow. Until the next blog entry, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Do Not Say We Have Nothing – Madeleine Thien
  • The Good People – Hannah Kent
  • Jasmine Nights – Julia Gregson
  • We Are Not Ourselves – Matthew Thomas
  • On Writing – Stephen King
  • The Green Mile – Stephen King
  • 11.22.63 – Stephen King
  • This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
  • Doughnut – Tom Holt
  • This Book Will Save Your Life – A. M. Homes
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Filed under Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Food & Drink, Football, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, Junior Bookworms, List Challenges, Month in Review, Music, Non-Fiction, The TBR Pile

October Review – Better Late Than Never!

Adam Kay signing his book, This is Going to Hurt

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

I am back! First up, my apologies for not having blogged since mid-October, but you may recall that not only was I not feeling fictional, I was also not feeling very well, either! I wanted my cold to piss off and leave me alone, which it eventually has, more or less, but not without causing me to need time off work. I was in on the Monday after that blog, but even then I had a coughing fit, and stayed off the phone for the rest of that day, just doing the admin stuff – paperwork and computery stuff, and then I was too ill to be in work for the rest of that week! Absolutely streaming with a bloody cold! I did attempt to go in on the Friday, but it didn’t last long and I went home again.

I’d booked the following Monday off, and I was well enough to go out for the day, to Cheshire Oaks, and I came home loaded with a huge stash of chocolate, lol! I did buy a book, I acquired The Hate U Give from The Works for £2, although I still maintain that I prefer the cover of the US edition! Still got a bit of a cough, but I am generally a lot better than I was on the health front.

Still not feeling fictional, though! It’s book club this coming Thursday, and I have hardly read any of Do Not Say We Have Nothing. It’s not as though I dislike it, I don’t, what I have read has been fine, but I’m still not feeling it on the fictional front. I have been in the mood for factual stuff of late. I finished On Writing, by Stephen King, the other night – loved that book! I have thus finished 42 books this year, with just a bit of 2017 left to go.

The other thing is, that, while I was off sick, it was as though our internet came out in sympathy with my cold and decided to slow down! I mean right down. Really sluggish. Things taking ages to load, video clips buffering every few seconds… that sort of annoying slowness. Having given it a week or two to perk up, we contacted our providers with the results of a speed test my sister’s partner had performed for us, and they did some tests on Sunday, and then sent someone round earlier today. He did more tests and sorted things out, so we’re back up and running again! Nice and fast, as it should be. No longer fannying around, which is a technical term, by the way, but you knew that already, lol!

Anyway, you want to know about books, don’t you? You don’t want to hear my moans about how slow our broadband had been for the second half of October, do you?! You do realise, though, that this blog regularly contains large helpings of utter waffle!

The other book which was read last month, and utterly loved, was This is Going to Hurt, by Adam Kay, and I went to the book event at Waterstone’s on 27th October. He read to us from his book and then signed copies, so I had brought my copy with me for him to sign. Epic Win!

In the past few months, the only work of fiction I have finished is If I Stay, one of my YA books. I did also read one of my niece’s books, but that was fairly short, and even that was a few months ago, August, just before I started my job at the council! Since then, it’s been mostly non-fiction, having read about the periodic table of the elements, why internet food fads and diets are dangerous, how the Nazis were totally off their tits on drugs, the hilarious incidents in the life of a junior doctor, and the memoirs and writing advice of a hugely-successful author!

How do I get to feel fictional again? Why have I gone off fiction? I don’t understand what happened to cause it. I understand it in previous years. I remember a general book slump which started in 2012 and meant that I read very little from then until 2015, only managing the occasional book until around this time two years ago. 2012 was a pretty rubbish year for me, certainly the first half of it was, due to my grandad passing away and my redundancy after 13 years as a civil servant. It did pick up a bit in the summer though, as the London Olympics and Paralympics were on, and my club signed a certain Dutch centre-forward  that August at the start of the 2012-13 season, one whose goals would fire us to our 20th league title in 2013 when we would be declared champions the night before my 40th birthday! Oh, Robin van Persie! 🙂

I only managed the occasional book between those times. I loved Burial Rites, by Hannah Kent, Girl With a Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier, and Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple, but a lot of books, even with promising blurb, didn’t grab me until the end of 2015 when a fiction book and a non-fiction book both helped get me in the mood for reading again. The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein, and Why the Dutch Are Different, by Ben Coates, are to be thanked for helping me out of that slump!

Last year, I had a fiction slump, but only because I had just finished A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara, and that is one seriously epic book! So, I completely understand why I was only able to manage non-fiction for the rest of 2016 after THAT chunky monkey! However, I’ve not read anything quite so epic in 2017! Nothing to rival the 720 pages of A Little Life, that’s for sure, so why the hell am I having a fiction slump now?!

This is one reason why I’ve not even started Turtles All the Way Down, the latest book by John Green, which was published in October. I don’t want my experience to be clouded by doubts over my ability to enjoy fiction! Despite the slump, I am still acquiring fictional titles, and I even purchased a few last week when I headed off to Waterstone’s at the Trafford Centre, picking up Sabriel, by Garth Nix, What Light, by Jay Asher, a Christmas-themed YA novella by the looks of it, and the Booker Prize winner for 2017, Lincoln In the Bardo, by George Saunders. I have to admit I had no idea what the hell a bardo was. Not in the sense of that book’s title, anyway! To me, the only Bardo I knew of was the one-hit-wonder duo, Bardo, who represented the UK at the 1982 Eurovision Song Contest with a song called “One Step Further”!

That was also a bit of a risk – regular readers of my blog might recall some of my rants about prize-winning novels and how difficult they are to read! I think the only Booker Prize winner I have finished and enjoyed so far in my life was Life of Pi, by Yann Martel! But Lincoln In the Bardo sounded interesting – something to do with spirits fighting over the soul of Abraham Lincoln’s son.

I think that about brings me up to date, anyway, except for some news on the children’s book front. It seems David Walliams has a new book out, Bad Dad, so no doubt my friend Sarah’s son, James, will be wanting that one! My niece, Charlotte, the Junior Bookworm, has recently been reading and enjoying The Twits, by Roald Dahl. A classic! And on that note, I think we’ve covered everything, and I have returned to my regular waffly and very nerdy self – come on, it doesn’t get much nerdier than mentioning Bardo in the 1982 Eurovision Song Contest, does it?! So, until the next time I blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
  • The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
  • Do Not Say We Have Nothing – Madeleine Thien
  • On Writing – Stephen King
  • If I Stay – Gayle Forman
  • Burial Rites – Hannah Kent
  • Girl With a Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette? – Maria Semple
  • The Art of Racing In the Rain – Garth Stein
  • Why the Dutch Are Different – Ben Coates
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • Turtles All the Way Down – John Green
  • Sabriel – Garth Nix
  • What Light – Jay Asher
  • Lincoln In the Bardo – George Saunders
  • Life of Pi – Yann Martel
  • Bad Dad – David Walliams
  • The Twits – Roald Dahl

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Childrens' Books, Chunky Monkeys, Cross-Stitch, Football, Humour, Junior Bookworms, Literary Issues, Month in Review, Music, Non-Fiction, Uncategorized, YA Books

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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Filed under Books, E-Books & Audiobooks, Facebook & Other Social Media, Food & Drink, Football, Humour, Junior Bookworms, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Month in Review, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, Travel

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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July Review

Hendrik Groen finished July 2017

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Total number of pages read in July: 1,290

Nemanja Matic joins MUFC 31st July 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Cathedral book bench 4

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

Charlotte bookmark 2017

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

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

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

Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews

Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson

OC list end of July 2017

The new OC List as we head into August…

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

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

Lake District purchases July 2017

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

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

Joanne x x x

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

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

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June Review

Penguin orange book spines

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

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

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May Review

bee bookmark a

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

We’re on Wednesday 31st May 2017, and thus it’s time for this month’s look back at books and other stuff that’s gone on this month! A fair bit of cross-stitch has occurred, as you can see from the photos of the bee bookmark, which is still in progress. There have also been some patterned bookmarks made this month, but some books have also been read, and the total of 30 books, which I set for this year’s Goodreads Challenge, has been met.

I am going to leave things as they are and see how many more books I can read this  year. I’d really love to add some of my niece’s creations – Charlotte, the Junior Bookworm, has been busy writing a few stories of her own, and illustrating them herself! She even understands about putting some blurb on the back! In years to come, if you ever see any children’s books by a Charlotte Williams, don’t be too surprised! She also writes and spells really well. The occasional mistake, but she puts a lot of adults to shame! She’s even had a go at science fiction with a story about aliens!

Her books don’t, as yet, have ISBN numbers, so it would be tricky to put them on Goodreads, sadly, but I can say I’ve been treated to advanced readings of them!

When April came to an end, I’d just finished Diary of an Oxygen Thief, and had reached the 25/30 mark on the Goodreads Challenge, so let’s go through the five books I’ve completed in May to bring the total to 30…

Mother Tongue, by Bill Bryson, was the first of the five to be finished off. It had been almost-finished for some time, and I only had about 9 pages left to read, so I got that done! A bit of a departure from his usual books, as he is mostly known for travel writing, but this is a book about the history and development of the English language, another matter which is of interest to me.

The next book was Oi Frog! by Kes Gray and Jim Field, and was brought round by my niece for me to read! As I’ve said before, Charlotte has some brilliant books!

The Tobacconist, by Robert Seethaler, wasn’t quite finished in time for my book club, but I did finish it shortly afterwards, and I had read the vast majority of it by the time we met up at Waterstone’s, so it wasn’t as though I couldn’t discuss it! At the book club, our next choice was another short book, a novella entitled The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman, by Denis Thériault. This book was such a quick read that I didn’t bother adding it to the Ongoing Concerns list, as there was no point! It was an overnight read. Started one day, finished the next. A really good book, actually, although the postman’s colleague Robert, deserves to go on the Literary Slap List.

May is the time of the year, these days, when the people of our continent gather for the annual festival of dodgy singing, bad costumes and biased voting. Otherwise known as the Eurovision Song Contest! Congratulations to Portugal, who won for the first time ever, and also thanks and congratulations to Tim Moore for writing Nul Points, a book about all those acts since the mid 1970s up to the early noughties, who’d come away from Eurovision without a single vote to their names!

bee bookmark b

Still deciding what to do about my bookmark. I could actually fit another bee on it at the other side, facing the other way. It certainly needs a border no matter what else I add. The bee chart is diagonally symmetrical so I could turn it on one side and the bee would be a mirror image of the one I’ve already stitched.

I also need to work out a design on graph paper for stitching. When I started stitching in 1997, I did United’s honours list in cross stitch, but it’s only last week that we won the Europa League, a trophy best known to us older footy fans as the UEFA Cup. Thus I never designed a version of that for my honours list or other footy-related stitching, but I need to do so now! I intend to stitch myself a bookmark with the European Cup, European Cup-Winners’ Cup and UEFA Cup now that United have completed the set with their 2-0 victory over Ajax in Stockholm last Wednesday.

With The Tobacconist and Nul Points off the OC List, and with no new ones added as yet, we are currently running an OC List of 9 books, of which 4 are non-fiction and 5 are young adult. My next plan is to replace the next non-fiction book I finish, and the next two YA books I finish, with general fiction books, possibly including one of my “chunky monkeys” for added challenge, and then I would have 3 non-fiction, 3 general fiction and 3 young adult. This balance amongst my Ongoing Concerns is something I have mentioned in previous blog entries.

chunky books 2017

Some of my “chunky monkeys” for consideration…

Obviously, I’m not going to start ALL of these, lol, but I’m certainly giving serious thought to starting on one of them soon! Technically, given my 10% rule, and given that these books are so long – we’re talking around the 900-1000 page range here, I’d have to read around 90 to 100 pages to even get it to the 10% mark, so I could start on one for when the OC List gets another taken off it, but on the other hand, the one I start could grip me so much…

The books most likely to come off my OC List first are both non-fiction, with Pet Shop Boys, Literally, in the lead, and Periodic Tales second, and now up to 47% although I’ve had a bit of a to do on Goodreads because someone had altered the number of pages and it made it look as though I’d actually gone backwards percentage-wise! Grrrr!

Yes, I KNOW the book has more than 398 pages, but after page 398 all you have are notes, bibliography, acknowledgements and the index! Are you seriously telling me that people actually read those bits?! They’re just there for reference, for crying out loud! The main body of writing ends on page 398, so that is when I consider the book to end. When I get to that page, I will have finished Periodic Tales. I have just given someone a piece of my mind on Goodreads as I change the number of pages back again! And if Amazon says there’s 448 pages, they’re wrong anyway, as there’s only 428 even if you do include the index and suchlike at the back! I will calculate my percentages based on 398 pages, thank you very much!

Some fiction books can be like that, too. Not with indexes, of course, those are for non-fiction books, but occasionally you get additional things from the author, even extracts from some of their other novels, so the end of the book, for me, is wherever the main story ends. Sometimes you get a few pages at the back which suggest questions which can be considered if the book has been chosen as a book club book. All very well and good, but it gives a misleading impression about the length of the main book if you ask me, and might lead to similar arguments on Goodreads as the one I’ve been having regarding a non-fiction book – see above!

Anyway, what do you reckon with regard to my chunky monkeys? Which of these pretty lengthy books should I attempt? There are 6 possibilities. The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett, I Know This Much Is True, by Wally Lamb, Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts, Paris, by Edward Rutherfurd, Magician, by Raymond E. Feist, and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke. If you have any recommendations, I’d be happy to hear them, or rather read them in the comments, lol!

Another thought for when the time comes to get more general fiction on the OC List is that I should start on some of those hardbacks which are still resting in a tall pile on top of my bass amp! Possibly The Night Circus, or The Miniaturist, the latter of which is a signed copy since last summer when I met Jessie Burton at Waterstone’s in town.

Anyway, that’s about it for now, time to have another look at my bee bookmark and decide what to add to it… Until the next blog entry, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Various books written and illustrated by Charlotte Elizabeth Williams, aged 6
  • Diary of an Oxygen Thief – Anonymous
  • Mother Tongue – Bill Bryson
  • Oi Frog! – Kes Gray & Jim Field
  • The Tobacconist – Robert Seethaler
  • The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman – Denis Thériault
  • Nul Points – Tim Moore
  • Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • The Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follett
  • I Know This Much Is True – Wally Lamb
  • Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts
  • Paris – Edward Rutherfurd
  • Magician – Raymond E. Feist
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell – Susanna Clarke

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