Category Archives: My Bookworm History

New Specs and the New Season

Me with new specs August 2019

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Last time I blogged was the day of the Optical Emergency, as you may recall, when I had had to book the day off work because an arm had come off my glasses in the wee small hours, and I’d had to go to the optician’s to have an eye test and get new specs ordered. Well, I collected my specs after work on Friday just gone, and those are my reading glasses in the photo above. I also have distance glasses. As I said in the last blog, I have reached Middle Age now, lol! That’s last season’s shirt, not got a new one yet, but I’ll get on to the footy later.

Anyway, I finished Sock, from the Object Lessons series, the day before I picked up my new glasses, so I was actually able to move on to Eye Chart in time to celebrate the acquisition of my new visual assistance devices! The actual standard, traditional eye chart, which starts with one big letter at the top, usually an E, was invented by a Dutch optician called Herman Snellen. Another feature of the eye test, the card which you are asked to hold at your normal reading distance, was invented by an Austrian guy called Eduard Jaeger, so you now know two of the people responsible for aspects of getting your eyes looked at!

Wonder who invented the contraptions they put all those different lenses in? You know, that bit when they ask if it looks clearer with 1 or with 2, and they pretty much look as blurred or as clear as each other and you can’t tell the bloody difference, lol! I’ve been wearing specs from a pretty young age, before I started primary school, although I don’t think it was until I started school that I wore them properly. Often, before that, I would wear them on top of my head like my Grandad D-J, lol! Thing is, when you’re little, the font size in children’s books is pretty large, so I could read it without my glasses. I can see without my specs, but as I am long-sighted, things look further away than they really are when I’m not wearing them. Also, I have a lazy left eye that doesn’t look the right way.

There is actually a suburb of Manchester called Longsight. Bearing in mind that a considerable percentage of the world’s population are short-sighted, there must be a fair few short-sighted people in Longsight, which is possibly the ultimate example of Mancunian irony, or should that be eye-rony?!

I wear my specs most of the time. I only really take them off for being in water, or going to sleep. I take them off for having a shower, or if I’m going swimming. There were also the occasional other sporting activities in my school days which necessitated the removal of my eyewear, stuff like trampolining, but I last did any of that malarkey donkey’s years ago, so it would just be swimming these days. If I am going for a workout, I hardly need to take my specs off to go on a treadmill or an exercise bike. In fact, I need them on so I can programme the damn machines for how many minutes of workout I want!

Space Invader Funko Pop

No, you’re not seeing things. That is a bright green space invader! It’s a Funko Pop, which I bought on Saturday at the Museum of Science and Industry in town. I’m going back there this weekend, though, as I’ve now booked a ticket for Power Up. That’s what I was hoping to go to, but they’d sold out, so I’m returning more prepared this weekend, lol! I probably should have the space invader here around Computer Corner, shouldn’t I?! It would be suitably nerdy!

Talking of suitably nerdy, I wore this t-shirt (above) which I saw in a shop in the Trafford Centre recently, and just had to get it! I am always using the “Not Found” error, usually if there’s any suggestion that a person can ever have too many books! I will often comment…

Error 404: “Too Many Books” Not Found.

Please Enter “Not Enough Bookshelves” and Retry.

Hopefully, I’ll wear it again this coming weekend when I return to have a mosey around MOSI and get to visit the Power Up event, which is a chance to play lots of retro video games! I’m not the greatest at video games, I tend to hit the wrong buttons and lose lives, lol, but I still like them, and they remind me of being a kid in the late 70s and early 80s, and the days when Dad used to bring computers home from work sometimes, and then we got our own computer as a family. It was Dad who showed me how to write basic programs in BASIC – essentially doing what would be called coding nowadays.

I even bought a book at MOSI, that being Lost In a Good Game, by Pete Etchells. The sub-heading is Why We Play Video Games and What They Can Do For Us.

Anyway, after my visit to the Museum of Science and Industry, I made my way from Castlefield onto Deansgate, and after visiting Forsyth’s for a few music-related bits and bobs, I entered Waterstone’s. You’re not even surprised, are you?! I can tell! You will be even less surprised to discover that books were purchased, including two more Object Lessons books, those being Burger, by Carol J. Adams, and Shopping Mall, by Matthew Newton. I also bought A Short History of Drunkenness, by Mark Forsyth. It sounded interesting, and potentially amusing, to read about the history of excessive booze consumption and people getting ratarsed through the ages!

Actually, all three of those would present opportunities for my oft-mentioned Relevant Reads idea. You could read Burger in a diner or fast-food establishment, Shopping Mall at the Trafford Centre or other similar retail outlet, and the book about drunkenness in a pub, or even a brewery! Even if you couldn’t organise the proverbial piss-up in a brewery, surely you could at least manage to read about piss-ups in said establishment?!

You could even read Don’t You Forget About Me whilst listening to the song of the same name by Simple Minds! The book is by Mhairi McFarlane, and it’s another recent purchase, although, as you can probably tell, I’m still pretty much in non-fiction mode at the moment. Still not really ventured back into the realm of novels yet. If a book shares its title with a song, though, that just makes me think about the song far too much! Any time I catch sight of a copy of I Know This Much Is True, by Wally Lamb, I instantly think of True by Spandau Ballet! It’s impossible not to if you’re an 80s nut like me!

Actually, some do it on purpose, and name their book after a song title. For instance, What’s New, Pussycat? by Alexandra Potter, which I read some years ago now. That was deliberate on the part of the author as there was a distinct theme of songs by Sir Tom Jones running through it, and the main protagonist was called Delilah! The edition I have put on List Challenges is not the one I had, but in the Google search, that one was too blurred for some odd reason, I couldn’t get a good image of it, so I have had to go with a different cover, and I don’t like doing that!

Of course, the weekend just gone marked the start of the new Premier League season, and my lads were at home on the Sunday, so it was back to Old Trafford for me, and back in my second home – the Stretford End.

As they might put it on the telly, any viewers of a Chelsea-supporting nature should look away now…

United 4 Chelsea 0 11th Aug 2019

For much of the game, it was quite close, actually, and the visitors hit the crossbar on a number of occasions. Thankfully, we have a much-improved defence, especially as two of our three new signings this summer were bought to shore up our back four! We acquired Harry Maguire from Leicester City as a centre back, and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, from Crystal Palace, as a full back, and they both impressed on Sunday! Wan-Bissaka particularly stood out for me, as he had done during pre-season games, and I have taken a considerable liking to him already!

We went ahead on 18 minutes thanks to a Marcus Rashford penalty, after Rashy had been brought down. VAR (Video Assisted Refereeing) has come in this season in the Premier League, and that was one of the incidents which was checked, but it was an obvious penalty and didn’t take long for them to say so! Even then, Chelsea still threatened, and I would have been quite happy to take a 1-0 win, but there was a spell midway through the second half when we just blew them away with two goals in quick succession, and that pretty much killed Chelsea off! Anthony Martial made it 2-0 on 65 minutes, and then only two minutes later, Marcus Rashford got his second goal of the game with probably the best goal of the match to make it 3-0, and I think our visitors got the message that it wasn’t their day!

I had mentioned that we signed three players for our first team this summer, and the two defenders started the game, but we also saw the introduction of Daniel James, a winger, who came on as a sub, and he scored our 4th goal with about 8 minutes to go! His dad passed away just before he signed for United, so he dedicated his goal to him. Coincidentally, after coming on as a sub, it took him only 7 minutes on the pitch before he scored his goal. Back in 1996-97, a new summer signing also came on as a sub in a home game, albeit against Blackburn Rovers, and he scored after only 7 minutes on the pitch. That player? Our current manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer! I hope Dan James is going to be as good as the last Welsh winger we had in our first team, a certain Mr Ryan Joseph Giggs…

It was the joint biggest win over Chelsea in a match I have been to. The previous time I saw Manchester United stuff Chelsea 4-0 was 25 years ago at Wembley in the 1994 FA Cup Final! Our first Premier League and FA Cup Double was achieved on 14th May 1994 with a 4-0 thrashing of the London side at the old Wembley Stadium, courtesy of two penalties from Eric Cantona, and goals in open play from Mark Hughes and Brian McClair.

Talking of London, I actually acquired some books in the capital back in June when we went down the day before my mum’s birthday for a visit to Hamley’s and Afternoon Tea at Claridge’s – there were a couple of bookshops at Euston Station, and we had a bit of time before getting our train back to Manchester Piccadilly, so I acquired one novel, Our Stop, by Laura Jane Williams, and two non-fiction books, My Sh*t Therapist, by Michelle Thomas, and Walk the Lines, by Mark Mason. In this book, he sets out to walk the length of the London Underground. I already have a book by the same author, Move Along Please, which I really should get around to reading, lol, and that one is about bus travel.

I think that’s about it for now. Probably covered everything I needed to witter on about. There are now 110 books on the 2019 blog list on List Challenges, so that’s not too bad considering I didn’t even start blogging this year until April, and my lads are off to a winning start as the new season gets under way. I’ve got new specs, Ole’s at the wheel, and all’s well! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Sock – Kim Adrian
  • Eye Chart – William Germano
  • Lost In a Good Game – Pete Etchells
  • Burger – Carol J. Adams
  • Shopping Mall – Matthew Newton
  • A Short History of Drunkenness – Mark Forsyth
  • Don’t You Forget About Me – Mhairi McFarlane
  • I Know This Much Is True – Wally Lamb
  • What’s New, Pussycat? – Alexandra Potter
  • Our Stop – Laura Jane Williams
  • My Sh*t Therapist – Michelle Thomas
  • Walk the Lines – Mark Mason
  • Move Along Please – Mark Mason
Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Childrens' Books, Computer Corner, Food & Drink, Football, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Music, My Bookworm History, Non-Fiction, Object Lessons, Ongoing Concerns, Sports, Travel

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

 

Leave a comment

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

Science Fiction and Cheeky Nando’s

Tallest structures in the world 2019

Hello again, fellow Bookworms,

Trying to decide what to read next! Also got to give some thought to holiday reading. OK, so my Kindle will be coming on my jollies, so there’s plenty of ebooks on that, and there is always the chance I will find some book or other while I’m away and come home with some reading matter as a souvenir, but I usually do take a physical book or two away with me.

However, there’s still some weeks to go, and I still need to decide what to read now, never mind when I’m on the plane or sunning myself overseas! So, what I could do with, and this is a concept that might be familiar to other bookworms, particularly on Facebook and particularly if you’re a fellow Potterhead… the Book of Requirement. In the Harry Potter series, I think it might be around the 5th book where this comes in, there’s a Room of Requirement at Hogwarts. A room that isn’t always there, but makes itself appear and become available when it’s needed, which it does for Dumbledore’s Army when Hermione and others form the resistance movement against Umbridge and all the dark stuff that’s going on by then…

Thus, someone came up with the idea, in a meme, that there should be a book that turns itself into whichever book it is that is right for you at that time! A book that might, sometimes, be blank, but then when you’re having one of those “I don’t know what to read next” times, you open that book, and it is whichever book is just right for you at that time. The Book of Requirement! If there was such a book, that’s what I could do with right now, lol!

patronus is a bookworm

As for the Harry Potter books, I’ve listed them all on the books mentioned in 2019 list on List Challenges, the 7 main books, anyway. I’m not going through all the spin-offs, I just wanted to raise the issue of the Room of Requirement so you got the idea about the Book of Requirement concept.

Someone once said, and I think it might have been Margaret Atwood, that the book to read is the one that makes you think. Right now, though, the book to read is the one that will make me want to continue reading and help me get back in the mood for more books! I’ve been in a book slump since November, and my dad popped his clogs in January, then the funeral was in February, so I’ve only just been in the mood for reading since April, therefore it’s not necessarily about books that make me think, although I do read a lot of non-fiction so it is pretty true that they usually make me think, but the book to read is the book that makes you want to read even more!

Decisions, decisions! Fiction or non-fiction?

If non-fiction, what to read about? If fiction, which genre? Historical fiction? Science fiction? Fantasy? General fiction? Some people on social media suggest re-reading an old favourite when in a slump, but I just feel that I should read something I’ve not read before as I have absolutely stacks of unread and partially-read books…

I may have to resort to getting a few out and selecting a book by the time-honoured method…

Ip dip do, cat’s got flu, dog’s got chicken pox, out goes you!

Sometimes, that’s the only way to make a decision! I mentioned, last time out, that Howard’s End is On the Landing was on our landing, which seems appropriate enough, lol, but there are plenty of books on our landing. There are also some books downstairs, and, of course, in the book chest in the garage. And then, there are all the books in here. There are books right under Computer Corner as well as on top of surfaces near here!

I seem to have two copies of The Music Shop, by Rachel Joyce! One hardback and one paperback. I think it’s because I couldn’t find the hardback at the time, and found a copy of the paperback in a charity shop, thinking I would need it for the work’s book club, although they would have read that as I think I was on leave due to bereavement when they were reading it. My hardback copy was from a charity shop, too, so both copies of the book were pretty cheap!

Regular readers of my blog will recall the infamous Duplicate Books List from a year or two ago now. I think I actually ended up giving the duplicates to charity shops last time I was having a clear out, so I no longer have more than one copy of those books, and there were quite a lot on the list. I think it was at 17 or even 19 books at one point where I owned two copies of the same book! A lot of it was accidental, I genuinely forgot that I already owned those particular books, saw the book on offer in a charity shop and bought it, before realising that I already owned a copy! Occasionally, though, it was deliberate, as I knew I had a copy but didn’t know where it was, and bought another copy anyway with the intention of reading it fairly soon. However, I didn’t get around to it, as you might have guessed, lol!

Let’s see which books are lurking around here…

I’ve got Who’s the B*****d in the Black? here, the autobiography of former referee, Jeff Winter. I could read that, actually! It would be the third referee’s autobiography that I’ve read, as I’ve read The Rules of the Game, by Pierluigi Collina, and The Man in the Middle, by Howard Webb, in recent years. Could take the Jeff Winter book on holiday if I’ve finished the biography of Ole by then, as it might help alleviate the notorious Football Withdrawal Symptoms which come upon me once the season is over, and it very nearly is! Final game of the season this coming Sunday for my lads, at home to Cardiff City.

Although the lads have run out of steam in recent weeks, I still reckon we’ve done much better than we would have done if the Bus Parking One hadn’t been sacked the week before Christmas. Ole did give them belief back, but I think fitness and stamina need to be worked on to get us back to the side that used to be able to play to the final whistle as they did under Sir Alex. I expect that, with those who stay, and with the new signings, Ole will make it a priority to get a side together that keeps going for 90 minutes plus stoppage time.

We’ll be in the Europa League next season, which is a bit of a pain as those games are on Thursdays, so I’ll have to miss steel pans some weeks.

Funnily enough on the covers of the referee books, Howard Webb isn’t brandishing any cards. Pierluigi Collina is showing a yellow card on his, and Jeff Winter is showing a red card on his, giving some player the grand order of the early bath!

Still deliberating whether to take Dune with me on my jollies so I can read it on a dune in June. I was actually looking at my science fiction section the other day, and considering To Say Nothing of the Dog, by Connie Willis. That one actually sounds quite amusing. I could give that a go. I think it’s a time-travel novel by the sound of the blurb. I’m still considering Resistance is Futile, by Jenny T. Colgan, on the grounds of humour. It is “a riotous cocktail of geeks” according to Matt Haig.

OMG, there’s a Nando’s receipt in my copy of the Connie Willis book, lol! It’s for an order taken at 7:17pm on 2nd March 2018, and from the Nando’s in Piccadilly Gardens! Must have been in town after work and bought the book at Waterstone’s on Deansgate, and then gone for a cheeky Nando’s before I got the bus or tram home… I am partial to a cheeky Nando’s, it has to be said! On that occasion, I had the double chicken breast wrap, with chips, and a bottomless soft drink. I also had a reward on my Nando’s card, so I actually got money off! Eat in total was £8.50 which is pretty damn good!

There is a Waterstone’s receipt at the front of my copy of The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. Le Guin. It’s dated 2nd February 2018, so I bought that book exactly a month before the Connie Willis novel. According to the receipt, I also bought a brown notebook with dotted pages on that same occasion, plus The Stars My Destination, by Alfred Bester. I probably went for a cheeky Nando’s that night as well, although there’s no evidence of my dining destination for 2nd February! Not in any of my nearby books, anyway!

I still intend to read The Priory of the Orange Tree, by Samantha Shannon, but am thinking I might wait until I’m home from my jollies before starting that one due to the sheer physical size of the book. I don’t really want to be lugging it anywhere, so it’d be one I’d read here at home, and thus I don’t want to start it now and really get into it and then feel that I do have to cart it around with me, and I certainly don’t really want to be carting it around overseas! So, we shall wait until I am back from my hols before that one is commenced!

Another one I’m not about to attempt yet is S, by J J Abrams and Doug Dorst. I got this a couple of years ago now, as I recall, from a bookshop and cafe on Lever Street in town. I think it’s called Chapter One. The idea of this book is that it’s an old library book and it’s been written in by these two people, students I think, who write comments in the margins, and there’s loads of stuff in it between certain pages. Postcards and the likes… All part of the story, so it’s going to take some kind of strategy to work out how to tackle this one when I do read it. I think the guy at the shop said, at the time, that there’s a lot of stuff online about it, so I might look for online advice and ideas when I do get around to trying it. Again, a book I will probably want to keep at home. It’s not massively chunky,  well not compared to The Priory of the Orange Tree, lol, but with all the things inside it, I don’t want anything getting lost or mislaid once I do start reading it.

I have some seriously weird and random books, don’t I?! Regular readers of my blog won’t even be surprised, though, lol, as I’m a very random person and I do waffle on about anything and everything! It will be, mostly, about books, but then other ingredients are added to a blog entry… music, food and drink, Manchester United, holidays I’ve been on or am going on, various handicrafts… Somehow, though, it hasn’t put people off as I seem to have over 80 brave souls now who follow this blog!

I’ve always read anything which took my fancy. Some people tend to stick to one thing or another. Some like romance, some like horror, some crime… my late dad was very much into spy thrillers, he certainly read a lot of Len Deighton and John le Carré novels when I was a kid. That was during the Cold War era of the “Iron Curtain” so there was plenty of material for spy novels! He also liked war-themed stuff, but then again, his dad was a bomber pilot in the RAF during the Second World War, so that’s pretty understandable. He also liked poetry, as I mentioned recently, and I certainly share at least some of that – definitely the appreciation of Roger McGough, anyway!

I’ve liked fiction and non-fiction pretty  much alike since I first learned to read. I’ve even read a lot of reference books. That’s how much of a nerd I am, lol! I remember getting an encyclopaedia for Christmas one year as one of my pressies. I think I was about 8 or so. Anyway, there was a double-page spread of Flags of the Nations. Bear in mind this was about 1981 or so. Dad went through all the flags and wrote a C next to all the countries that were communist, so there were a lot of those back then! That’s when I asked him something of a hypothetical question at the time… If East Germany and West Germany ever became just Germany again, did my dad think they’d be western like us or eastern like the Russians? My dad thought they’d be eastern like the Russians. Then again, at that time, I think we all thought it would be how it was forever, we didn’t see the Berlin Wall coming down… that all came as a massive surprise when it happened at the end of 1989!

Obviously, towards the end of this year, it will be 30 years since the Berlin Wall came down, so I may well do a special blog on it, or at least part of a blog. Having been to Berlin in 2012, I have seen some slabs of the Wall, and also where the Wall was is marked throughout the city with two lines of cobbles and metal plates bearing the words Berliner Mauer 1961-1989. Fascinating city, I would love to go back there again.

Anyway, I think that’s about it for now, so until the next time I blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Harry Potter series – J. K. Rowling
  • Howard’s End is On the Landing – Susan Hill
  • The Music Shop – Rachel Joyce
  • Who’s the B*****d in the Black? – Jeff Winter
  • The Rules of the Game – Pierluigi Collina
  • The Man in the Middle – Howard Webb
  • Ole – Ian MacLeay
  • Dune – Frank Herbert
  • To Say Nothing of the Dog – Connie Willis
  • Resistance is Futile – Jenny T. Colgan
  • The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula K. Le Guin
  • The Stars My Destination – Alfred Bester
  • The Priory of the Orange Tree – Samantha Shannon
  • S – J. J. Abrams and Doug Dorst

Leave a comment

Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Chunky Monkeys, Computer Corner, Duplicate Books List, E-Books & Audiobooks, Facebook & Other Social Media, Fantasy Fiction, Food & Drink, Football, Half-Finished Books, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Music, My Bookworm History, Non-Fiction, Poetry, Science Fiction, The TBR Pile, Travel, YA Books

Blogging I am. Read it you should.

darth vader reading

Good afternoon, fellow Bookworms!

Happy Star Wars Day! May the 4th be with you! Sad that Chewy didn’t make it to today, though, as Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca, passed away yesterday. He will now be in a galaxy far, far away, though, and reunited with Princess Leia.

Don’t go over to the Dark Side… it’s too dark to read! Stay here with a good book and enjoy this blog, lol! I shall start with poetry, as I mentioned a few poetry books in my last blog and I have added a couple to my “books read” list. Poetry anthologies are something you can dip in and out of, though. I think, if you’ve read and enjoyed a significant amount of poems in any given book, you can say you’ve read that book. It’s not like a novel where you start off and read all the way through it, or at least try to. I mean, for instance, with Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë, you start off with her at Gateshead with her mean aunt and spoilt brat cousins, and then you end up with her marrying Mr Rochester, don’t you? Poems, however, are not usually a continuation of the same story. They might be on a theme, you might have an anthology of love poems, for instance, or war poems, something I studied 30 years ago for my GCSEs, and I can recommend The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry should you wish to read any Wilfred Owen or Siegfried Sassoon.

If there’s anyone reading this at the moment who’s currently sitting their exams, good luck to you you for the remainder of your exams, hope they go well. Doesn’t matter if it’s GCSEs, A Levels, degrees, or any other qualifications. As I said, it’s three decades ago since I was sitting my GCSEs, so 28 years since my Bastard A Levels (worst exams ever) and 25 years since I was about to graduate from university.

Ice cream van’s outside, playing the Match of the Day theme as the jingle, lol! Nearly the end of the footy season now, though, ha ha! Only two more league games left. My lads are away to Huddersfield Town tomorrow, and then at home to Cardiff City next Sunday, on what would have been my grandma’s 100th birthday! She did make it to 95 and a half, though, so she did have a good innings!

Anyhow, back to books, and I have added You Took the Last Bus Home and The Luckiest Guy Alive to my list of books read in 2019, so those are the third and fourth books for this year so far. May the fourth be with you, indeed, lol!

I have a book here beside me at Computer Corner as I sit typing this blog, and it’s Jacob’s Room is Full of Books, by Susan Hill. You may recall that, some time ago, I read Howard’s End is On the Landing, by the same writer. Well, this is the follow-up! If she thinks Jacob’s room is full of books, which it may well be for all I know, and I hope it is, but she’s not seen mine! Mine is definitely full of books! A lot of them in huge piles, one or two of which, quite memorably, came toppling down one day in February a couple of years ago just after United had scored away to Leicester, lol! Never underestimate the excitement caused by a good goal, even my reading matter was celebrating!

My copy of Howard’s End is On the Landing is, appropriately enough, on our landing!

I had started the second of the Susan Hill books. Might resume that one, but am also considering The Rhine, by Ben Coates, which I have mentioned again recently. Wondering when it might be right to return to the fiction, though. Should I stick to factual stuff just to get through what is still a difficult time, or will something made up grab me?

I could actually start The Princess Diarist, by Carrie Fisher, which is here in Computer Corner, and it would be apt to start that on Star Wars Day, wouldn’t it?!

Star Wars musicians

One for Star Wars AND music nerds.

Talking of music, I’ve been playing steel pans for 6 months now, well just over that, and as part of Salford Steel, I will be off to the north-east in July, to North Shields for a steel band festival! Going to be a massed pans bit at one point, with over 100 of us all playing.

Oh, and, if you recall a couple of years ago, I mentioned on this blog the Learn to Play Day, well weekend, that Forsyths held in March – it was a national, or possibly international, thing where music shops offered free short lessons on various instruments… Well, I did that again in March this  year! You may recall I had a go on the accordion the last time, but this time there were strings attached, lol, as I had a go on the cello!

Me on the cello March 2019

I really enjoyed it! If space wasn’t such an issue, I wouldn’t mind learning the cello. It has quite a huge pitch range, around four octaves from its lowest possible note to the highest achievable note, so the register goes from the bass clef into the treble, essentially two octaves below middle C up to two octaves above it.

The keyboard is out again, been in the garage for ages, but it’s back in our house. Running on batteries at the mo as it needs a new adaptor for it to run on mains, but I was playing it the other day, attempting “Always On My Mind” and “Rent” like the Pethead that I am! I thought, seeing as my old keyboard was out again, I may as well play some Pet Shop Boys stuff and pretend to be Chris Lowe, ha ha! My niece, Charlotte, is learning the piano on keyboards, so that’s why it’s out. She’s still also learning the violin. Taking after her Auntie Jo and playing more than one instrument…

Ironically, when I watched the old Top of the Pops from 1987 the following day on BBC 4, Neil and Chris were actually on it and performing “Rent”! The Bee Gees were number one with “You Win Again” so I think we were on for some time around October 1987 at that point. Sad that there’s only Sir Barry Gibb left now. Very partial to their music, especially all the disco stuff from Saturday Night Fever that was out when I was a little girl in the late 70s!

I think that’s the music news caught up with. I am going out in a bit, to a quiz night, so this won’t be a particularly long blog compared to the previous couple, but it’ll have to do for now! I just wanted to get the Star Wars references in, given today’s date, lol! Otherwise, I know you’d find my lack of blog disturbing! So, until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

The Force was strong with these books during this blog entry…

  • Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
  • The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry – Various
  • You Took the Last Bus Home – Brian Bilston
  • The Luckiest Guy Alive – John Cooper Clarke
  • Jacob’s Room is Full of Books – Susan Hill
  • Howard’s End is On the Landing – Susan Hill
  • The Rhine – Ben Coates
  • The Princess Diarist – Carrie Fisher

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Food & Drink, Football, List Challenges, Music, My Bookworm History, Poetry, School, College & Uni Reading, Science Fiction, Sports, Television

O.U. Pretty Things!

Recent Pixelhobby designs completed – I scanned the photo of King Eric into my software for that kit and just ordered the necessary pixels.

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Well, I did say in my last blog entry that I’d show you some of my completed Pixelhobby kits, so there you have it! I’ve made some keyrings and magnets, too, but those are for another time. This time, enjoy Sydney Harbour, “Amber” the fairy, and King Eric! I have the software on my laptop, so I scanned a suitable Cantona photo into it and then printed off the charts and ordered the pixels I needed. Those other two designs, though, were kits I bought.

Hope  you can all see that and watch the ident. Last week marked the 50th anniversary of the start of the Open University! Yep, the OU has been going since 1969. Even though various members of my family, including my dad and I, have done our degrees at actual physical universities, the OU has had an indirect part in my education, and has certainly been a constant in the background when I was growing up in the 70s and 80s, because Dad was ALWAYS watching OU programmes!

Dad graduated when I was a toddler, with his Bachelor’s degree. He was on day release from work to go to Manchester Polytechnic, as it was in those days – it’s now MMU – Manchester Metropolitan University. A bit more about MMU later, but anyway, Dad did his chemistry degree alongside working, and then later also did his Master’s in conjunction with work – when he graduated from the University of Sheffield with his Master’s, I was at university myself, halfway through my degree in Bolton, although I was studying history and literature, rather than chemistry! I was at Bolton Institute, now the University of Bolton, and this summer it will be 25 years since my graduation – the ceremony was in the October, though, so this autumn will be a quarter of a century since I fulfilled my childhood ambition of wearing a cap and gown! That made Dad and I the Three Degrees, lol!

Partial credit for this ambition has to go to comic books, The Dandy and The Beano, which I read in the waiting room at our dental surgery while awaiting a check-up! I guess our former dentist, Norman Hoy, has long since gone to that great dental surgery in the sky, but he was our dentist for absolutely donkey’s years, and when I was waiting for my dental checkup, and usually those of my mum and sister in the same visit, I would be reading these comics and noticing that the teachers in comic strips such as The Bash Street Kids all wore gowns and mortar boards! I was about four years old. If I had started school, I would have been in the reception class at primary school, so I would only just have been starting my formal education, but I thought caps and gowns looked ace! I decided I wanted in on that!

So, the next thing that would have happened, probably around the same time, would have been to see actual people on the telly wearing caps and gowns, which happened one day when I was still around this young age, still only about 4… I am guessing that this might have been an Open University programme about people graduating from the courses that they ran, having watched a lot of the programmes that my dad seemed to watch for his entertainment! I guess, because he already had a degree, and worked for a chemical firm, and actually worked in the labs when I was little, the science programmes were of particular interest to him. I asked Dad if the people wearing caps and gowns were teachers. This is when he explained to me that wearing a cap and gown didn’t necessarily mean you were a teacher, although some of those graduates may well have gone on to become teachers – it simply meant they’d been to university and got a degree. So, that’s basically what started my childhood ambition!

I had no idea at that time what, if anything, I would be good at! As I said, I might not even have started school at that point, so I had no idea about school subjects. I did know that I liked books, and I was a fluent reader by the time I started school in the autumn of 1977, but I just knew I had to be brainy, and the more subjects I turned out to be good at, the more choice I would have of what I could feasibly study up to the age of 21 or more! It was indeed up to 21, and I graduated 25 years ago with a BA (Hons) Combined Studies degree in history and literature (joint). I got a “Desmond” – a 2:2, lol!

I’d better actually write something about books, hadn’t I?! However, I couldn’t go without mentioning the Open University’s birthday, as the TV programmes are part of the soundtrack of my life, part of growing up. Especially that ident and that fanfare. It is also a huge reminder of Dad.

I also suspect that it’s the OU that’s responsible for broadcasting the programme which got me into volcanoes! By that time, I think I would have been around 7 or 8, I was certainly in the first year juniors at primary school, what is now known as year 3 in the national curriculum. It was a programme which was on telly late at night, on BBC2, which makes me suspect it was the Open University, so it was probably shown for a geology degree or something. Anyway, Dad thought it would be of interest to me, and he knew I was a night owl, lol, so he let me come down to watch this programme with him. I had never seen an erupting volcano before, and I was fascinated!

There aren’t any volcanoes where I’m going on holiday (vacation) this year, which will come as a relief to many who suspect that I’m some sort of volcano goddess who goes around standing on them and causing them to erupt! Look, just because that happened when I stood on Mount Etna in 2001, that does NOT make me Volcano Woman! Reunion does have an active volcano, Piton de la Fournaise, but, as far as I’m aware, Mauritius doesn’t. Anyway, surely a volcano goddess would actually hail from a part of the world which does have at least one active volcano? That would rule out the United Kingdom, then!

Anyway, this talk of jollies, does bring me on to a book at last, you’ll be pleased to hear! I don’t know if you’re aware of Bloomsbury’s non-fiction Object Lessons series or not, but this is a series of small, short books which take ordinary, everyday objects, and delve into the history of them and popular mythology around them. The book I am reading is Souvenir, by Rolf Potts. It has an Eiffel Tower keyring on the cover. Keyrings are one of the items I tend to seek out when I’m on my travels, along with magnets and postcards. There are other items as well, but those three things usually top my list of holiday artefacts to purchase and bring home as a reminder of my jollies!

The book by Rolf Potts is most likely to be my second finish of the year. As I said in the last blog, just before my birthday, I am not doing the Goodreads Challenge this year. I hadn’t started it when 2019 started as I was in a reading slump anyway since the end of 2018. Then, twelve days into the new year, I lost my dad, so add bereavement to a book slump and it’s a recipe for not getting much read! This is why I’m only just feeling like reading a bit again now, and as with several previous slumps, it seems to be factual books which are helping me back to reading. It always seems to be non-fiction with me, although in 2015, there were two books which helped me, and one of those was fiction, that being The Art of Racing In the Rain, by Garth Stein. The non-fiction book was Why the Dutch Are Different, by Ben Coates. I actually have another book by Mr Coates, which I did start just before I went into the book slump. The Rhine, as the title suggests, is about the river which runs through a large swathe of Europe and passes through several countries, actually more countries than I suspected! We lived on the banks of the Rhine way back in 1978 when we lived in Basel, Switzerland, for six months because of Dad’s job, so I really should read that book, although it might make me sad as Dad’s not here for me to lend it to once I’ve read it, and I know he would probably have been interested.

I did mention, earlier, that I would return to the matter of Manchester Metropolitan University, and I do so now with some news from the literary world this past week. Although some posts on social media called it a sequel, the writing of Anthony Burgess which has been found at MMU is NOT a sequel to A Clockwork Orange, but more a non-fiction explanation of the novel, including how the title came about. It is not known, as yet, whether this stuff will be published, but it has at least been found, having previously been thought lost. The film version was released in 1971, but then withdrawn in 1973 at the director’s request when Stanley Kubrick heard about cases where violent incidents in the film had been copied. It was re-released in 1999 after Kubrick died.

Anyway, back to the book situation, and I will obviously have to think about what I am taking on holiday with me when I jet off, as it won’t be too long now. I will be taking my Kindle Paperwhite, so I have plenty of ebooks on that, but I’m sure there might be one or two paperbacks coming with me, and who knows what books I might find while I’m away?! It’s not unusual, as Sir Tom Jones would put it, lol, to acquire a book on my jollies! The best instance of this, so far, was in 2013 when I was in Mexico, and I found the brilliant Attention All Shipping, by Charlie Connelly, at the resort! This is a journey around the Shipping Forecast and it is very funny as well as informative, especially a certain part towards the end which mentions Faroese puffins! No more spoilers, I promise – just read it! I have actually seen it in charity shops in the past, so you might even be able to nab yourself a cheap copy of this book and help some good cause or other at the same time!

One book which probably won’t be coming on any holiday any time soon is The Priory of the Orange Tree, by Samantha Shannon, due to its extreme chunkiness! It is a true chunky monkey, that one! Beautiful cover, though! Over 700 pages of novel, over 800 pages in total given the glossaries and maps, and it’s a hardback, so, no, it’s probably not going to be going in the suitcase despite the generous weight allowance and the fact I’ll be away for a fortnight! It’s just not practical! I know I took Dune, by Frank Herbert, to Cape Verde with me last summer, but even that one was not as large and bulky as the Samantha Shannon novel! I took Dune so that I could read it on a dune in June! I suppose I could take Dune again… I’m away for quite some time this time, travelling time and actual holiday time… and the resort where we’ll be staying boasts three beaches, so there’s scope to read Dune on a dune in June, and maybe read more of it this time round…

By the way, if any of you read The Priory of the Orange Tree either at a priory, or even underneath an orange tree, feel free to post photographic evidence! I will give a mention for anyone’s Relevant Reads! Perhaps you’ve read Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy in a tailor’s shop? Maybe you’ve been reading Kitchen Confidential in a kitchen? Please do feel free to join in and interact with this blog! I couldn’t care less if it’s fiction or non-fiction. Maybe it’s a children’s book? Maybe it’s a poetry anthology? Perhaps you’ve read You Took the Last Bus Home on the last bus home?! I can recommend that anthology, by the way – you’ll probably recognise some of the poems, as they’ve appeared on social media in the past few years, written by a guy called Brian Bilston. If you like the poetry of Roger McGough and or John Cooper Clarke, you might like Brian Bilston. I happen to like all those poets! I’d recommend The Luckiest Guy Alive by John Cooper Clarke, and Watch Words by Roger McGough, which is a book of my dad’s that I bagsied when I was a kid. I discovered it by chance when I was around 10 or 11, I think, in our dining room cabinet, and that was that!

He did have an appreciation for literature, even though his degrees were scientific. He studied chemistry because that was his job, and it did obviously interest him, hence all the Open University science and maths programmes he watched, which I mentioned earlier in this blog, but Dad also had a love for poetry. I bagsied the rest of his poetry books back when he and Mum split up, back in 2004, so I have had those for a long time now, it wasn’t a case of reclaiming them after he died earlier this year.

One book of my dad’s I would have liked to have reclaimed, but it wasn’t amongst his stuff when we picked up several crates of his belongings, was the book I bought him for his 70th birthday, which was John le Carré: the Biography, by Adam Sisman. It would, however, have had to have been that copy, as I wrote in it at the front for the occasion of his Big 70 in 2017. If it’s been given away and is in some charity shop, probably in the Macclesfield area of Cheshire, could someone please alert me? Ta! Pretty unlikely that I’ll get it now, but if there is a chance, I might as well have back what I got for my dad as another reminder of him. I would have written my birthday dedication to him somewhere near the front of the book, probably inside the front cover, and it’d be dated September 2017 and wishing my dad a happy 70th birthday.

Well, I think that’s about all for now. Plenty to be getting on with, lol! So, until the next blog entry, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Souvenir – Rolf Potts
  • The Art of Racing In the Rain – Garth Stein
  • Why the Dutch Are Different – Ben Coates
  • The Rhine – Ben Coates
  • A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
  • Attention All Shipping – Charlie Connelly
  • The Priory of the Orange Tree – Samantha Shannon
  • Dune – Frank Herbert
  • Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy – John le Carré
  • Kitchen Confidential – Anthony Bourdain
  • You Took the Last Bus Home – Brian Bilston
  • The Luckiest Guy Alive – John Cooper Clarke
  • Watch Words – Roger McGough
  • John le Carre: the Biography – Adam Sisman

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Chunky Monkeys, Computer Corner, E-Books & Audiobooks, Facebook & Other Social Media, Fantasy Fiction, Humour, Manc Stuff!, My Bookworm History, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Pixelhobby, Poetry, School, College & Uni Reading, Science Fiction, The TBR Pile, Travel, Volcanoes

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Bookstagram, Charity Shop Bargains, Childrens' Books, Computer Corner, Cross-Stitch, Facebook & Other Social Media, Food & Drink, Football, Goodreads, Handbag Books, Historical Fiction, Humour, Literary Shovel List, Mental Health, Month in Review, My Bookworm History, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Science Fiction, Television, The TBR Pile

Andrei Kanchelskis vs the Martians…

Me and the Manc Bee - Central Library Feb 2018

Manchester will be buzzin’ this summer! Look out for giant bees!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Welcome back to the crazy world of my book blogs! I had considered “Andrei and the Martians” as the title, but that sounds like a band name, really, doesn’t it? Like Adam and the Ants, or Florence and the Machine! Prior to book club this evening, Andrei was ahead in the early hours due to getting a fair bit of Russian Winters read yesterday, but I think the Martians overtook him again when I had a read of The War of the Worlds at lunchtime while I was at work! Thing is, the Martians would actually have had a hard job catching Andrei if it was the younger version of him – back in his footballing days he was bloody fast! He was at United from 1991 to 1995 and tied opposition defenders in knots! After we beat Oldham Athletic in the FA Cup semi-final replay at Maine Road in April 1994, the Oldham back four must have had knotted blood!

It was just Stephanie and I at book club again. Some of us have to keep it going! We both enjoyed The Red House Mystery, by A. A. Milne and I had brought a pile of books to the table for whoever else turned up to have a look at. As it turned out, it was just Steph. I’d arrived early and wandered round Waterstone’s looking for anything which took my fancy and which might interest any others. Steph saw Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman, and said she fancied reading that. I did too, I already had the hardback edition at home – got it half price in the January sales at W H Smith’s last month, lol, so we decided on that one and set the next date for 7th March, which is 4 weeks’ time.

book purchases 7th Feb 2018

As I said, I already had our new book club book, but the books either side of it were bought tonight at Waterstone’s and I also picked up a free bookmark with Moomins on it! Yay! Perhaps something else I should re-read, having re-read Mrs Pepperpot in the Magic Wood a few weeks ago, maybe Finn Family Moomintroll, by Tove Jansson, should be read again, lol! Another book I got when I was in the juniors at primary school, although possibly a bit older than when I read the Mrs Pepperpot book. The Moomins were being shown on Children’s ITV after school at the time, back in the 80s when I was a kid, and I loved it, so when Finn Family Moomintroll ended up as a choice in the book club brochure, I was able to read the stories the animated series was based on. I actually have five Moomin books, so four others besides the one I’ve just mentioned. I got them all when I was a kid, so I’ve had them since I was about 10 or so!

Anyway, getting back to the books I bought tonight, having been distracted by the Moomins, lol, I have had my eye on the Becky Chambers book for a while. I already have The Long Way To a Small Angry Planet, and I am under the impression that A Closed and Common Orbit is the sequel, although it could be a stand-alone. The other purchase tonight was The Lathe of Heaven, by Ursula K. Le Guin. I’ve used a lathe, a couple of years ago now, when I was doing wood turning at Start in Salford. Here we go, I’ll find photos for you…

lathe and wood 2016

This is a lathe, for those who don’t know – That round-looking chunk of wood would become a bowl eventually…

Woodwork and wood-turning 2016

That bowl in dark brown wood was what was on the lathe in the previous photo! The barrel tub, trees and the snowman were also made on the lathe.

So, you get science fiction books and woodwork photos, lol! I did warn you that you might see some seriously weird and random stuff on this blog! Mind you, over 70 of you are following the blog these days, so there must be a market for waffly random blogs after all!

As for crafting, I might not have done anything with wood since early 2016, but I am still making cross-stitched bookmarks on occasions, and there are a couple on the go at the moment, including the Penguin one, which just needs finishing touches, really – a bit of backstitching and perhaps a tassle of some sort. I hope to have at least that one finished soon and then I will have a bookmark to show you for the first time in a while. I think the last one was possibly the Manchester bees bookmark, although I also stitched the League Cup Winning Years one, and a few other patterned ones with 2017 on them. There will be a patterned one with 2018 on it fairly soon. Bookmarks thus bring us neatly back to books again.

Prior to book club, I had been trying to get three books read as much as I could. As you may recall, I had finished The Red House Mystery with just over a week to spare before book club, so I was focusing on Russian Winters, by Andrei Kanchelskis, The War of the Worlds, by H. G. Wells, and Hawksmoor, by Peter Ackroyd. The latter of those, Hawksmoor, has reached the 39% stage, so we are over a third of the way through it, but as I had suspected, the main battle has been between the other two books, and both of those are over halfway now, with Russian Winters at 53% and The War of the Worlds just ahead on 56% – I am pretty chuffed with that. Two books over the halfway mark. Hawksmoor might take a bit of a back seat now, as I start on Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, my new book club book, but I am still aiming to get Andrei and the Martians finished off this month! I think that is doable!

If you cast your minds back to last month’s blogs and the mention of books for Holocaust remembrance day in late January, I mentioned a book called The Librarian of Auschwitz, by Antonio Iturbe. I made some enquiries about this at Waterstone’s, but it was unavailable. However, I did manage to get it on my Kindle, so I do have it as an ebook, and therefore it is a possibility for a match day book on my way home from Old Trafford! I also looked on my Kindle for another book which I had tried to find last year, but couldn’t manage to find, that being The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler, but for some odd reason, the only ebook version I could find was in German! Well, OK, I can read SOME German, but I am not about to go downloading an ebook in the language! I want the book in English, at least first of all!

Sometimes, you just have to go online, as I did when I bought Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie, by Jordan Sonnenblick! I prefer browsing in actual bookshops, but there are times when, like Bono, you still haven’t found what you’re looking for! I was also looking for Crazy Rich Asians, by Kevin Kwan, a week or so ago, as I had seen it on List Challenges lists and on book-related items on Facebook, and couldn’t find that one while browsing, so I may have to look online for that. Drives me nuts when a book is only available somewhere else! Or when you prefer another country’s cover to that of your own country’s edition of a certain book, but don’t start me on that – it was a big complaint of mine the other year, lol!

That actually takes the list of different books mentioned this year up to 100 already! We’re only in early February, and we are in three figures! On that note, I think we’d better call it a day and get this published, so I can have a read, lol! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Russian Winters – Andrei Kanchelskis
  • The War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells
  • The Red House Mystery – A. A. Milne
  • Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
  • Mrs Pepperpot in the Magic Wood – Alf Prøysen
  • Finn Family Moomintroll – Tove Jansson
  • The Long Way To a Small Angry Planet – Becky Chambers
  • A Closed and Common Orbit – Becky Chambers
  • The Lathe of Heaven – Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd
  • The Librarian of Auschwitz – Antonio Iturbe
  • The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things – Carolyn Mackler
  • Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie – Jordan Sonnenblick
  • Crazy Rich Asians – Kevin Kwan

Leave a comment

Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Childrens' Books, Cross-Stitch, E-Books & Audiobooks, Facebook & Other Social Media, Fantasy Fiction, Football, Foreign Languages, Handbag Books, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Music, My Bookworm History, Ongoing Concerns, Science Fiction, Sports, Television, The TBR Pile, YA Books