Category Archives: My Bookworm History

I Spy

Le Carre bargain book

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

I spy, with my little eye, something beginning with B…

B for bargain, obviously! Regular blog readers might know that I have tried to get my dad to get his arse back on Facebook, but that pulling his finger out and doing something about anything is not really his strong point, lol! He had been on FB, briefly, but his place of work weren’t happy about their staff being on it. However, he has been retired since April 2010, so I really don’t see why he can’t get his arse back online, and there are plenty of things I could share with him if he did.

Then again, there is ONE advantage to him NOT being on Farcebook… It does mean that if I get anything which is supposed to be a surprise for him, I can share it with others on FB knowing he won’t see it! Hence the book in the photo, John Le Carre: The Biography, by Adam Sisman. Not a charity shop book, but an epic bargain nevertheless. Mum and I had gone to Blackpool for the afternoon, and happened to pop into a branch of The Works.. and there it was. Full price would have been £25, but it cost me all of £3! Dad has always been a fan of spy thrillers, I grew up seeing him read books by John Le Carre and Len Deighton, as I may well have mentioned in my previous blogs about my family’s tastes in books, so I thought this would be the ideal birthday pressie for him for his 70th birthday in September!

I doubt very much he reads blogs, and he’s not on Facebook, as I said, so I’m hoping I am safe in letting you lot know that I’ve got him this for his birthday. If you DO know Kevin Dixon-Jackson, not a word to him about this, please! It’s a surprise!

Right, what else is there on the book front? Apparently, according to a new study, bookworms are nicer, kinder, and more empathetic people. Yay! However, I would argue there is a proviso to this… We are nice people except when you interrupt our reading! Just don’t even think about doing that to us, and we’ll be nice, lol!

Still reading Nul Points, by Tim Moore, as one of my OCs, and the Eurovision Song Contest is coming up this Saturday! Woo! I actually braved listening to a couple of entries which Tim had mentioned in his book. And I mean “braved” listening to them. Having exposed my eyes and ears to YouTube clips from the 1983 Eurovision Song Contest of the Turkish and Spanish entries for that year, I have to say that I can understand perfectly well why those entrants went home from Germany without a single point to their names! Particularly the Spanish entry. I’m very sorry, my Iberian chums, but that is 3 minutes I will never get back! It’s not just the wailing attempt at a “song”, in which she asked umpteen times as to who was steering her boat, but it was what she was wearing! A blue, white and grey stripy shower curtain would have been an approximation to her “dress” that night! Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear…

Makes me wary of trying to look up some of the other nul point entries, but I guess I’ll end up doing so, even if it’s purely out of morbid curiosity, to see if they are any worse than the two I’ve already endured, lmao!

While we are on the subject of Eurovision, it seems that my family were ahead of their time! Many people these days hold Eurovision parties and make a big event of watching the contest. Nothing new for us – I can recall Eurovision nights in the late 70s and early to mid 80s where Mum, Dad, me and Ellie would be round at Grandma and Grandad’s and the six of us would be watching the Eurovision Song Contest in their living room, with my dad “translating” the non-English songs! For some reason, known only to Dad, most of these foreign warblings seemed to be about nuns with bicycles stuck up their arses! Especially the French entries! Those were ALWAYS about nuns with bikes stuck up their bums, according to my dad! Google Translate?! Pah! Who needed that in the early 80s when you could have my dad telling you what the songs were about?!

We used to go round to Grandma and Grandad’s on a frequent basis, anyway, when my sister and I were little, particularly for tea on a Saturday evening, so it wasn’t that surprising that we would be watching Eurovision round there. One point that I’ve not mentioned about those Turkish and Spanish entries who ended up with nul points in 1983, was that the contest that year took place on 23rd April, thus these poor pointless creatures were going away from Eurovision with the proverbial wooden spoon on my 10th birthday! So maybe, that year, I might have been watching Eurovision at home while stuffing my face with birthday cake!

Maybe the Turkish guy could have got a point or two, but… sorry, Spain, but that woman did you no favours in 1983! I’ve seen it on YouTube, as I said earlier, and it is bad. I mean BAD! We’re talking bad singing AND a terrible outfit! Just asking for nul points, quite frankly! Oh well, with singing that bad, just as well she was over in Germany, and not at our house singing happy birthday to me on the day I reached double figures, lol! Thankfully, I don’t recall much if anything about that year’s Eurovision, so clearly her bad singing didn’t spoil the day I completed an entire decade on the planet!

Without Tim Moore’s book, about the only thing I probably would have been able to figure out was that it would have been in Germany as Nicole had won in 1982, so the ESC is in the country of the previous year’s winning entry. I remember 1981 ’cause that’s when Bucks Fizz won with Making Your Mind Up, and I remember 1982 as the UK hosted it and Nicole won for Germany (West Germany as it was then) with Ein Bisschen Frieden, but I have a bit of a blank for a year or two until 1985 which I remember because there was a massive shock when Norway, who’d previously become infamous for getting nul points, actually won the Eurovision Song Contest that year!

Norway, however, were relatively lucky, compared to other multiple nul-point countries such as Finland and Turkey! Norway won the Eurovision Song Contest as early as 1985, and have since won it twice more, in 1995, and in 2009. Their ignominious failures of the early days have actually been outweighed by their ESC successes in more recent times. Turkey and Finland both had to wait much longer to be making headlines for the right reasons, with Turkey finally winning in 2003, and Finland three years later in 2006. To date, those have been the sole successes for the countries in question.

This is probably going to be one of those blogs where few books are mentioned. It happens from time to time. I am sure, though, that I’ll return to the usual long list of reading matter in coming blogs, so it’s nothing to worry about if I have only mentioned a couple of books in this one!

Update on the nul point recipients I have watched. I have now seen Jahn Teigen’s performance from 1978 which earned Norway one of its big fat zeroes. I can see why. What the hell was he wearing, and what the hell did he think he was doing with those on-stage antics? The pulling of his braces! That jump! WTF?! I am thinking the song itself wasn’t too bad, I’ve heard much worse, but if anyone was thinking of awarding him any points, his cringeworthy antics on stage probably cost him a few votes!

Video unavailable for Finn Kalvik, another nul-pointer from Norway, from 1981, sparing his blushes at least for now, but maybe I will find that somewhere else on the internet?

Onto Finland’s Kojo in 1982 and Nuku Pommiin. Oh dear! Not the greatest of songs, and what was with that red leather suit? It’s admirable enough to sing a song protesting about nuclear missiles, but there are probably better ways of going about it, chuck! Look at Nicole. That same year, she sat on a stool with her big guitar and sung about wanting a little peace. She won!

I’ve already dwelt upon Turkey and Spain and their pointless performances in 1983. We move on to 1987, then. and, sorry, Turkey, but it’s you guys again! The 1987 contest gave us an Israeli entry whose title translated as Lazy Bums, but their own country were a bit more upset about that than the others as it did receive at least some votes! Cetin Alp would no longer be the only Turk to have come away from Eurovision pointless after this contest… Not actually a bad song in 1987, although maybe too much hyperactive jigging about on stage was considered offputting? Maybe it got zilch because other songs were just much better, or it got forgotten about as more memorable acts caught the imagination and won the votes?

Clearly the late 80s were a rich source of nul-pointers. Consecutive ESCs in 1987, 1988 and 1989 each saw an act go home without a single vote. As mentioned above, Turkey got the wooden spoon in 1987, with Austria receiving it in 1988 and Iceland in 1989. Wilfried Scheutz for Austria… Lisa, Mona Lisa…  Nein. Nicht gut! Keine Punkte, mein Herr! You need something a bit more cheerful for Eurovision, matey! Something a bit upbeat and boppy! Or at least not so bloody gloomy-sounding! Daniel made a pretty similar mistake the following year as Iceland got the cold shoulder from the other countries’ juries.

Well, I’d better call it a day. Otherwise I’ll end up getting nul points for this blog! Or nul likes, more to the point! More utter waffle will probably follow in my next blog, but for the time being, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • John Le Carre: The Biography – Adam Sisman
  • Nul Points – Tim Moore

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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Humour, Music, My Bookworm History, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns

Love In The First Degree

An Equal Music finished 18 April 2017

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

First day of jury service done and dusted, and very successful on the book front as I wasn’t called to serve on any of the four juries for which they were selecting people today. I have phoned up, and I am not needed tomorrow, so I just need to phone again after 6pm tomorrow to see if I am needed on Thursday. Otherwise, I have a day off. I still plan on reading, though! I am seeing this whole jury service thing as a major opportunity to get through a lot of books!

An Equal Music is now finished! Yep, the orchestra has played the final chord on that one, and it was a mostly-enjoyable read, although some bits puzzled me, as in wondering if they led to anything or if I needed to remember that little detail, was it really significant to the plot? Having finished a work of fiction with a musical theme, I then decided to make further progress with a non-fiction book on music – Stuart Maconie‘s The People’s Songs. That’s now up to 59% in Goodreads terms.

As I said in the previous blog, I feel a pull towards more non-fiction on my Ongoing Concerns list, and I am thinking of adding Tim Moore‘s Nul Points to the collection. It’s a partially-read non-fiction book about acts which have failed on an epic scale at the Eurovision Song Contest! Acts which did not receive a single vote from a single country! It goes up to 2005, so, yes, it’s a bit old now, but should be a good read and it is coming up to the Eurovision time of year anyway, so good timing, I think! I was up to page 98 the last time I read it and that is out of 378, so we’d be talking over 25% when I check Goodreads and then put it on my OC Board and in my handbag to take around with me.

* marks the book as currently reading and that she is on page 98 of 378, and Goodreads has informed her that she has read 26% of the book thus far… *

The other books mentioned the other day, on the non-fiction front, are still possibilities for the OC list in the very near future, but we shall go with Nul Points with Eurovision on the horizon.

Wind in the Willows 8 Editions

After we had been informed, this afternoon, that we were no longer required to stay, I left the courts and headed for Waterstone’s. Yeah, I know… you’re so gobsmacked about that, aren’t you?! NOT! Rather a good job I was in my natural habitat as I got a message from my mum asking me if I owned a copy of The Wind In the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame. Unfortunately, not something I have actually ever read, although I recall the animated TV adaptations on Children’s ITV in the 80s, with Mr Toad being voiced by the legend that is Sir David Jason. However, at the time of being messaged, I was in the children’s and young adults’ section at Waterstone’s so I offered to get a copy… and that is when I found out that the Deansgate branch boasted no fewer than EIGHT different editions of the classic children’s novel! I shit you not! EIGHT different editions of The Wind In the Willows! Weighing in at a range of prices from £5.99 to a whopping £16.99! See the above photo for the eight editions lined up!

I challenge any of you to find me ANY instance where ANY branch of ANY book shop, worldwide, has MORE than eight different editions of the same book! I think you’d be hard-pushed to beat eight different editions of Kenneth Grahame‘s novel at Waterstone’s Deansgate in Manchester!

Wind in the Willows 2

I bought the Oxford Children’s Classics edition on the right in this photo.

There are still seven different editions left at that branch, although I did buy a copy. It’s for the Junior Bookworm, Charlotte. Looks like they’ll be reading it at school. I expect schools still do have multiple copies of certain books, but I know my niece and what she’s like with books. I know she’ll want one of her own! I also saw another interesting book while I was in the children’s department, The Bookshop Girl, by Sylvia Bishop, which might also appeal to my niece.

On the YA front, I admit I am still after Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, and have not seen a copy in store yet. I might just have to bite the bullet and get it ordered some time. but I saw yet another book whose title made me think of a song (I’m often finding books which do that for me, lol!) – The Bombs That Brought Us Together, by Brian Conaghan. I am pretty convinced the title is inspired by lyrics from “Ask” by The Smiths, although slightly paraphrased from the original words of Morrissey…

So ask me, ask me, ask me!

Ask me, ask me, ask me

Because if it’s not love, then it’s the bomb, the bomb, the bomb, the bomb, the bomb the bomb…

The bomb that will bring us together.

See? Definitely inspired by Smiths lyrics if you ask me! (See what I did there?!) The title of this blog, however, is from a Bananarama song, lol! I just wanted the title of a song on a “legal” theme given that I’m on jury service! I know I’m not needed tomorrow (well, actually today as it’s just gone midnight here as I type), but I have to phone up later and see if my presence is required on Thursday. In the meantime, the reading marathon will continue!

Well, I think I’d better either get on with some reading or catch up on Pointless! Perhaps I should delete some or I’ll never get round to watching them. I think they’re repeats anyway – pretty sure I’ve seen some of the contestants before! It’s very hard, with quiz shows, to know if they’re running a current series, or just old ones, especially when they’re on every weekday, and with Pointless Celebrities on Saturdays! (I can think of a lot of “celebs” these days whom I would regard as pointless, lol!) In Pointless, of course, the whole aim of the game is to score 0 points, which is the exact opposite of the Eurovision Song Contest! And with that, I shall get this published and return to Nul Points! Until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • The People’s Songs – Stuart Maconie
  • Nul Points – Tim Moore
  • The Wind In the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
  • The Bookshop Girl – Sylvia Bishop
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benjamin Alire Sáenz
  • The Bombs That Brought Us Together – Brian Conaghan

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Filed under Books, Childrens' Books, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, Humour, Junior Bookworms, Music, My Bookworm History, Ongoing Concerns, Television, YA Books

Assorted Book Bits…

Cross stitched book girl in frame

Girl With a Book – stitched and framed.

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Moonstone is back in the handbag. Mind you, that’s because it’s Book Club tomorrow night, so I’m getting ready. I’ll be at my placement prior to that, so I’ll have to head to town from there – well, go back into Eccles and get a tram, anyway. Thus, I have to take the book with me. The girl in the photo is taking her book with her, although we don’t know which book, lol! I finished stitching her on Monday night, and put her in the box frame which I bought from The Range. I felt the frame suited the design of the stitching and the material I used, which was a hessian square from a Docrafts “bare basics” pack.

Skintown cover

You may recall, a few months ago, that I picked up a freebie at book club, because it was an uncorrected proof copy of a book yet to be published at that time. As Skintown, by Ciaran McMenamin, was published on 6th April, and we are on 11th April today, I have now been able to get a proper photo for it on a Google image search and amend my list on List Challenges accordingly. It will now show the above cover, rather than a photo of the author, which had been used to hold the book’s place in the right order on my list of books I’ve mentioned on this blog during the course of this year!

The cover of my copy is not like that, but as I got it before it was actually published, it’s to be expected that things get changed before a book actually comes out properly compared to when advanced proofs get issued! Having said that, when I got The Chimes, by Anna Smaill, as an uncorrected proof freebie a year or two ago, that actually pretty much retained the same artwork on the cover when the book was published.

Maybe I should try to get Skintown as our next book club book when we meet tomorrow? I would really like it if, even just once, we could read something I’ve already got in so I wouldn’t have to fork out! Also, I think that proposed cull, and taking of books to charity shops, might well be happening. It will get a lot of stuff out of the way. At least some of the Duplicate Books might go, too. I doubt I’ll ever read them in tandem with someone else, so one set of them can leave the building!

Anyway, onto a discussion on Facebook earlier, concerning The Catcher In The Rye, as someone else had just read it. I read Salinger‘s novel a few years back now because of a debate going on on my book group – On Friday it will be 9 years since I started it! 14th April 2008 was the date I’d Spend All Day In Waterstone’s If I Could Get Away With It! was created, and my friend David Hunt was the first to comment on the group’s wall! I remember, during the Catcher In The Rye discussions, Lizzie Harvey had been one of the ones who wanted to punch Holden Caulfield, lol!

Thing is, that I came to see Caulfield as a typical teenage lad – I just thought he was like a lot of lads I knew when I was at high school and sixth-form college, particularly high school… the sort who can’t be arsed with school, either fail their exams or don’t do as well as they could if they’d made more effort, they’d bunk off from school, and they would definitely try to get in pubs and clubs and get served with booze while they were still under-age! I didn’t have a very high opinion of teenage lads when I was a teenage girl – most of them were stupid arseholes, and a lot of the others, even if they were alright, were still not the most mature of creatures! At 16, I knew I wanted to go to uni, I didn’t have time for dickheads!

Actually, my ambition to go to uni started when I was about 4 or 5, but at that age, I had no idea what I would want to study. I had no idea what I’d be good at, if anything at all. I did know I loved books, though, which was obviously going to be to my advantage, lol!

Current OCs April 2017

Zlatan Ibrahimović, he is our Swedish hero…

My current OCs with Mini Zlatan on top! The People’s Songs, by Stuart Maconie, has now moved up a place since that photo a few days ago. Zlatan‘s autobiography is now at 75% so getting nearer completion. Well, he did help his own cause further by scoring our opening goal against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Sunday afternoon in our 3-0 win over the Mackems! Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marcus Rashford scored the other two goals. I was at my placement at the time, but thankfully, my book towers were still intact when I got home – they hadn’t fallen over as they did when we beat Leicester City in February, lol! Clearly, Mkhi’s opening goal against the Foxes that day got my books all excited! To the extent that I’ve become a bit wary of my reading matter before matches, particularly away ones, and I’ll look at my book towers and ask them nicely not to fall over, even if anyone scores a particularly spectacular or important goal for United, lol!

My niece in her natural habitat – Waterstone’s!

You have my sister to thank for these! Junior Bookworm in her natural habitat! It’s school hols at the moment for Charlotte, so she was at the Trafford Centre the other day, in Waterstone’s, choosing some new books for herself, and one for Reuben, which she was going to read to her baby brother!

Charlotte choosing books April 2017b

Charlotte and her daddy having a good read!

That look of concentration as she focuses on her book! A true bookworm, and definitely taking after her auntie! Not biased, not at all, lol! Thanks, Ellie, for these photos, and Zlatan will be with you fairly soon now, as I’ve not got too much more of his autobiography to read, as I mentioned earlier!

Now, you’d think that, with book club tomorrow, I’d wait and see what the next book is for that before adding anything to my OC list, wouldn’t you? That would be the sensible option. However, bookworm tendencies can override common sense and can make you go ahead and start another new book anyway, even though you’ll be starting another newbie soon enough, and thus you’ll end up with 9 books on the OC list… Then again, with both An Equal Music, and I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović heading for the finishing line, why the hell shouldn’t I add new books to the list?  It’s my OC list, after all! City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare, is being added. As I mentioned previously, it’s the first of the books in the Mortal Instruments series, the box set of 6 books I got at Cheshire Oaks last week.

Well, this has been an assortment of book-related bits and bobs, hasn’t it? After tomorrow evening, I’ll know my new book for our book club, so that will probably be one of the main items on my next blog, but for now, that’s about it, so until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in today’s blog entry…

  • Moonstone – Sjón
  • Skintown – Ciaran McMenamin
  • The Chimes – Anna Smaill
  • The Catcher In the Rye – J. D. Salinger
  • The People’s Songs – Stuart Maconie
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović – Zlatan Ibrahimović
  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • City of Bones – Cassandra Clare

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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Cross-Stitch, Duplicate Books List, Facebook & Other Social Media, Fantasy Fiction, Football, Free Books, Handbag Books, Junior Bookworms, List Challenges, My Bookworm History, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, YA Books

Brillo pad! It’s Adrian Mole’s Big 50!

Adrian Mole

Gian Sammarco as Adrian Mole in the TV adaptation.

Sunday, 2nd April, 2017.

Hello again, fellow Bookworms! Couldn’t possibly blog today without noting the fact that one of my favourite characters from the world of literature, Adrian Albert Mole, is hitting his Big 50 today! Brillo pad, as Adrian himself was noted for saying in his diaries, penned by the late great Sue Townsend! Such a shame she didn’t live to see her most famous creation celebrate this milestone birthday.

For me, Adrian is a character very close to my heart, and only 6 years older than I am – he’s 50, I’m only a few weeks away from turning 44. We shared an enormous dislike of and ineptitude for PE and pretty much had a crap time at school all round, although I did have music to get me through my lousy time in compulsory education, particularly at high school! The first two Adrian Mole books were the YA books of my 80s childhood and adolescence! I was around 11 or 12 when I first read them, in my first year at high school, some time around 1984 or 1985, and back then, they were very contemporary – they were set in the early 80s, so only a few years previously, spanning a time period which included such events as the Royal Wedding, the Falklands Conflict, and the start of Channel 4!

Much as I’ve also enjoyed the later ones, it’s those first two books, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, aged 13 3/4, and The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole, which are probably my all-time most-read books! They’ve had to be sellotaped back together several times! They were my coming of age books as I went through some of the same shit as Adrian, particularly the spots and the general awfulness of high school.

(Probably why I still like nerdy lads in today’s YA novels, such as Greg Gaines in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and Colin Singleton in An Abundance of Katherines. It’s that sense of being in the same boat as them, I can relate to their difficulties in fitting in. I’d be able to relate to nerdy girls, having been one, too, but it seems most nerds in fiction are lads, so I have to make do with my male equivalent!)

Over the years, as I’ve read and re-read these books, and the subsequent volumes of Adrian’s diaries, I’ve got more and more out of them. There were things in those books that maybe I didn’t “get” when I first got those books, although I loved them from the start. I made the same mistake as Adrian on one score, actually. I also thought Evelyn Waugh was a woman! Evelyn was a woman’s name, as far as I was aware – had no idea until much later that it could also be a bloke’s name! One of the other literary amusements which I understood later was when Adrian borrows Pride and Prejudice from the library, but finds it very old fashioned and comments that he thinks Jane Austen “should write something more modern”!

Having read that novel for GCSE English Literature in my high school days, I can say that Pride and Prejudice was actually quite modern for its day, dealing with such contentious issues as circulating libraries, which were a big deal back then! However, Miss Austen is unable to write anything we would see as modern, Adrian, because she popped her clogs in July 1817, two hundred years ago this summer!

(Unless, of course, Adrian might fancy reading that mash-up edition, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, lol!)

I have not read ALL the same books as Adrian, but I know we have at least another one in common, without even getting my paperback or e-book editions out. Adrian definitely reads Animal Farm, by George Orwell, at one point, a book which I also read at high school for GCSE English Literature.

Wonder if the TV series based on the first two Adrian Mole books is on YouTube? The title song, Profoundly In Love With Pandora, was recorded and performed by the late great Ian Dury. Gian Sammarco played Adrian, his mum, Pauline Mole, was played by Julie Walters in the first series, and Lulu in the second. Beryl Reid played May Mole, Adrian’s grandma.

I’ve been known to keep diaries, on and off, over the years, particularly on holidays, and these blogs are diaries in a way, although not secret ones, obviously, lol! These are an account of my lifelong love of books and my adventures in the world of reading matter… books I’ve heard of, books I’ve read, books I skimmed when I was at uni because I needed to note the important bits for essays and exams but didn’t really have time to read the entire novel… I guess this blog, if we’re doing it in the style of Adrian Mole, would be entitled something like this…

The Not-Remotely-Secret Bookworm Diary of Joanne Dixon-Jackson, Aged 44 In 3 Weeks’ Time!

But that’s a bit long-winded, so Joanne’s Bookshelf it is, lol!

Since August 2010, I’ve blogged about books I’ve loved, books which have had me laughing my arse off in public and getting some odd looks (Fever Pitch, by Nick Hornby springs to mind here!), books which grew on me, books I’ve thought were alright, the occasional book I’ve not enjoyed and have left unfinished because it wasn’t floating my boat… Life’s too damn short to be reading stuff which doesn’t grab you when there are hundreds of thousands of other books out there which might be your cup of tea!

I shall get this published so you can spend Adrian’s birthday reading it and, hopefully, enjoying it! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 – Sue Townsend
  • The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole – Sue Townsend
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jess Andrews
  • An Abundance of Katherines – John Green
  • Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith
  • Animal Farm – George Orwell
  • Fever Pitch – Nick Hornby

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Filed under Authors, Books, Humour, Music, My Bookworm History, School, College & Uni Reading, Television, YA Books

A Tale of Two Copies

all the light we cannot see

Good afternoon, fellow Bookworms!

It was a charity shop bargain. Only a quid. At that price, it’s worth it to risk it for a biscuit! I firmly believe I already have a copy, but it’s in the Missing Books List, as mentioned a few blogs ago, lol, and so All The Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr, also joins the notorious Duplicate Books List. That’s how some of my others on that list came to be on it… because I either thought I’d lost it or given it away to a charity shop, or that I had it but not in a place I could put my hands on it easily, so I went and bought a copy cheaply at one of the local charity shops around here, and then the original copy turns up eventually, and I have two of them… The Sisters Brothers, by Patrick deWitt, ended up on the Duplicate Books List in this manner!

So, having bought the Doerr novel, I was wondering where the original was, decided to make a certain part of my wardrobe unit accessible by shifting the stuff in front of it… I open the door and find out that Shakespeare, by Bill Bryson, now needs to join the Duplicate Books List! Aargh! And it’s not the only Bryson book of which I have two copies, either! I have two copies of The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, too! So, I think we now have n-n-n-n-nineteen books on the Duplicate Books List! Oh dear!

Yes, just checked. I have found my Word document from this time last year, when I listed my 17 duplicate books, so we do have 19 now, and they are as follows…

  • The Year of Reading Dangerously – Andy Miller
  • The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov
  • The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – John Boyne
  • Attention All Shipping – Charlie Connelly
  • The Joy Luck Club – Amy Tan
  • Anita and Me – Meera Syal
  • Manual of the Warrior of Light – Paulo Coelho
  • The Bone Clocks – David Mitchell
  • The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid – Bill Bryson
  • The Sisters Brothers – Patrick deWitt
  • The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency – Alexander McCall Smith
  • The Rotters’ Club – Jonathan Coe
  • A Passage To India – E. M. Forster
  • Lady Chatterley’s Lover – D. H. Lawrence
  • The Notebook – Nicholas Sparks
  • The Periodic Table – Primo Levi
  • A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
  • All The Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
  • Shakespeare – Bill Bryson

Some were different editions with different covers, so I was completely unaware that I already had a copy – The Year of Reading Dangerously, and Lady Chatterley’s Lover definitely come into that category.  Saw them on offer, couldn’t resist, completely unaware of the fact that these very books were already amongst the reading matter in my room, and then I eventually discover that I have two copies of the same damn book… Oh bugger!

The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan, was a half-read book from my student days, so I probably thought I’d given my first copy away to a book sale at work when Mum and I were moving house to our present address in 2006 and I had to have a major cull of my books. Thus I was VERY surprised to find that I still had my first copy!

Usually, at the end of my blog, I list the books I’ve mentioned in that blog, but I’m not going to do that with this one, as I’ve already listed them above. So, unless I mention any books which are not on the Duplicate Books List, you’ll have to refer to the list above. There might be one or two if I mention my Ongoing Concerns, but there’s unlikely to be a big list as I’ve already done that for this blog and I’m not bloody listing them all at the end as well! I’m no parrot- I’m not repeating myself!

Some blog news now, and a guy called Jack Faivish commented on my last blog, Tuesday Night’s Alright (For Reading), inviting me to contribute to his blog, tvandcity, which was very kind of him, although I suspect my televisual interests are very retro and I’m not really into much in terms of current telly! I’m not a fan of much stuff which is on the box these days – far too much rubbish which doesn’t appeal to me at all!

When I tend to mention telly, the only current stuff I usually bother with is Pointless, Masterchef, footy matches, occasional other sports (usually the Olympics and Winter Olympics when those are on), and music videos. Maybe a documentary every now and then if it’s something which interests me, such as volcanoes, but that’s not really a lot, is it? Besides which, I don’t watch soap operas, I don’t watch most reality tv shows, I don’t watch those serials from the States which are always being plugged on Channel 5, Sky One or Sky Atlantic… I really don’t follow anything like that, so I doubt I’d be of any use to a television blog unless they are into the old stuff from the 70s and 80s, when I was a kid, there weren’t many channels, but what was on them was much better than the crap we see today!

And today’s stuff is too dumbed-down for the most part. People called the television the “idiot box” when I was younger, but it really is in this day and age. At least when I was a kid, you had a lot more informative stuff on the box, particularly when BBC2 showed Open University programmes late at night and at weekends! My dad used to watch loads of those! Now, the OU is online, but they’re not on telly any more, adding to the sense that there’s little of any real value on the box. Then again, that means I’m not missing much by reading instead!

“I find television to be very educational. Every time someone switches on the set, I go in another room and read a book!” – Groucho Marx.

Right, anyway, back to books of which I only own ONE copy, at least as far as I’m aware, lol! An Equal Music now heads the Ongoing Concerns charts and completion level is now at 78% so it shouldn’t be too long before that particular “chunky” has been read. The number of OCs is currently 6, as Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, by Jesse Andrews, has been added to the list. I had a cursory read the other night, liked what I read, and decided that it should join the list. I must like nerdy lads in YA novels, lol, as I liked Colin Singleton in An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green, when I read that one last year, and Greg Gaines makes me lol for pretty similar reasons. I don’t think he’s quite as geeky as Colin, but he’s definitely a nerd, and that seems to amuse me.

The geek shall inherit the earth!

Well, maybe, maybe not, lol, but certainly the act of having a geeky character in a book seems to appeal to me. Audrey’s brother, Frank, in Finding Audrey, by Sophie Kinsella, also makes me laugh, and he’s definitely a geek!

More books may well be added to the OC list fairly soon, but at the moment, we have six on there while I decide which of my countless unread or partially-read books should enjoy a larger share of my attention! I love YA, as you know, but I’m conscious of the fact I’ve already got a fair bit of that on my OC list – my current list of 6 is half YA at present, with Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Finding Audrey, and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl representing that category of books! I had already compared books to food in recent blogs, saying you don’t want the same thing all the time, you want some variety. Just as much as you fill a plate with various bits and bobs from an eat as much as you like buffet, you need a balanced diet in general. Even if you love a certain meal, you wouldn’t have it every bloody day, would you? So, I need other books on my OC list, not just young adult novels with geeky lads in them, lol!

I still intend to start on Dumplin’ fairly soon, and the idea of reading through that “rainbow tower” of books still appeals to me, and that would start off with Stargirl, so that would be YA. I think I should finish at least Nick & Norah, though, before any more YA makes its way on to the OC list! Some general fiction, rather than YA, could go on my list, or perhaps some non-fiction. Another autobiography, perhaps? I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic is on my list at present, though, so maybe non-fiction which isn’t autobiographical, or at least less autobiographical. Perhaps some historical fiction, too. Those are usually amongst the “chunkies” of the book world, but there’ll certainly be space on my plate for a chunky novel once An Equal Music has been read. Perhaps I should give Gould’s Book of Fish a go, or even re-try The Luminaries?

Anyway, I’m off to close the wardrobe door and put things back where they were. Maybe the missing books I blogged about earlier this month are hiding out in another part of that unit? We don’t have time for that episode now, but it will probably crop up in a future blog! For the time being, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Non-duplicate books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • An Abundance of Katherines – John Green
  • Finding Audrey – Sophie Kinsella
  • Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist – Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
  • Dumplin’ – Julie Murphy
  • Stargirl – Jerry Spinelli
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
  • Gould’s Book of Fish – Richard Flanagan
  • The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton

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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Duplicate Books List, Football, Humour, Literary Issues, Music, My Bookworm History, Olympic Games, Ongoing Concerns, Television, The TBR Pile, Volcanoes, YA Books

My Family and Other Bookworms

Family Photo March 2017

Ellie, me, Auntie Andrea with Reuben, Charlotte on Mum’s knee, and Auntie Jenny…

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

That photo was taken this afternoon after we’d got back from lunch. My aunties are two of Dad’s sisters, and they’ve been over to see him and also keep an eye on him, lol, and make sure he actually starts taking advice about his health and looking after himself! But they also came to meet up with the rest of us and have some lunch at Vintage Ambiance here in Monton, which was lovely! My aunties are bookworms, particularly Jenny, although she’s had a bit of a problem and needs to contact lost property because she left her Kindle on the plane! I hope she can get it back!

Reading to Reuben 2017

That’s not my tractor! Its engine is too bumpy…

Reuben was treated to some reading time while we were out, Ellie reading to him from That’s Not My Tractor, from the Usborne series of touchy-feely books for babies. Charlotte had quite a few of those books when she was a baby, and she is a right bookworm, so I hope her little brother will also have a love of reading. He certainly seemed to enjoy being read to by his mummy at Vintage Ambiance. I, for my part, borrowed Esio Trot, and have already read it! It’s a very quick read, actually, which is quite ironic given that it’s about tortoises, lol!

I’ve now got 12 books on the Goodreads Challenge for 2017. OK, I admit the last two were children’s books, but all books count! When your niece is a bookworm, you get to read her books as well as your own! It’s research – you need  to know what sort of stuff she’s into on the book front, so I make no bones about having some kids’ books on my Goodreads Challenge and therefore on my List Challenges lists! If family members are reading books, there’s every chance I will blog about it, no matter how young they are!

As well as making swift work of Esio Trot, there’s more progress on the Ongoing Concerns front from the past night or two. I’m over halfway through The Pie At Night now, 53% of it completed according to Goodreads, putting it level with I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic at the moment, and An Equal Music is now up to 68%, so I have 4 out of 7 books on the OC list which are over halfway on the reading front, the other being The Saffron Trail – that’s at 55% if my memory serves me well. This coming Tuesday will see a return to Tuesdays With Morrie as the main focus, see how much more progress I make on that. I am just over a quarter of the way through it already having only had one Tuesday session with it, so I hope to make more good progress in the week ahead.

Rainbow Book Tower March 2017

Reading Rainbow: Selection of books in one of my TBR piles…

What can I say about the above? I was bored, I saw a photo on Facebook of some books arranged in a rainbow, and decided to have another reshuffle of my book piles, lol! Actually, most of those were already in that particular pile, the only one I added was Prince, by Matt Thorne, as it had a purple spine and I needed that for my rainbow tower! The Sisters Brothers, by Patrick deWitt, is just underneath as the “pot of gold” at the end of the rainbow due to it having a gold spine! Technically speaking, The Sisters Brothers is a partially-read book, and also on my notorious Duplicate Books List, but all the other titles in that photo are definitely unread as yet!

Sisters Brothers

Great cover, isn’t it?! Funnily enough, my very good FB friend, Liz Craig, has borrowed The Sisters Brothers from her local library and is loving it thus far, and she said it was the cover which caught her eye. It is, I think, one of the best book covers I’ve seen in recent times, although another excellent one is that of Look Who’s Back, by Timur Vermes, which I read and enjoyed last year, and would definitely recommend!

Let’s have a look at some of the other books on that rainbow tower of reading matter… China Mieville gets two entries, as does Vanessa Greene. Technically speaking, so does Stephen King, as one of his books is lurking at the bottom of the photo under the “pot of gold” so we should include 11/22/63 as well as The Green Mile, which is definitely in the rainbow! The City and The City, and Un Lun Dun give Mieville his two entries in the book rainbow, while Greene‘s books are both on the theme of cuppas, with The Vintage Teacup Club, and The Seafront Tea Rooms appearing in this literary spectrum! Actually, mention of those books makes me want a cuppa, so if you don’t mind, I’ll just nip down and get a brew! Won’t be long…

* goes downstairs to put kettle on, returns with mug of tea… *

Right, back again! Sorry about that, but I made myself thirsty mentioning books about tea! That’s given me an idea for a themed blog, though, so stay tuned for that in the coming days!

Back to our reading rainbow and YA is well-represented in this colourful tower of books. At the top, with pink and red spines, we see Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli, and Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda, by Becky Albertalli. Then we have a couple amongst the yellow-spined books, with Boy Meets Boy, by David Levithan, and Eleanor & Park, by the aptly-named Rainbow Rowell – only right and fair that we had at least one book by Rainbow Rowell in a rainbow of books! Then, in the blue corner, as it were, we have Wonder, by R. J. Palacio, and Paper Towns by John Green. Those are NOT my only YA novels, either, there’s quite a bit more where that came from knocking around in my room for when I’ve finished a few more of my Ongoing Concerns, lol! There’s a couple of YA novels on the OC list as it is!

As I’ve said before, I’m in my 40s, I read YA books, and a flying shit is not given!

* flicks the Vs at any book snobs *

Anyway, back to our reading rainbow… There are three books outstanding we have not yet mentioned to complete our literary spectrum, and the first of those is Alias Grace, by Margaret Atwood, with the fetching orange spine. I think I bought that one not long after I’d read the brilliant Burial Rites, by Hannah Kent,  so probably about 4 years ago now. Just below that one is Capital, by John Lanchester, and the one remaining book, with a blue spine, is English Passengers, by Matthew Kneale, one of those books I seem to have had for absolutely donkey’s years and really must get around to reading some time!

And that concludes the votes of the Swedish jury, as they used to say during the Eurovision Song Contest, lol! In other words, we’ve mentioned a considerable amount of books tonight! Lengthy reading list coming up! Therefore, I’ll bring this to a close for tonight, so until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • That’s Not My Tractor – Fiona Watt & Rachel Wells (Usborne series)
  • Esio Trot – Roald Dahl
  • The Pie At Night – Stuart Maconie
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • The Saffron Trail – Rosanna Ley
  • Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom
  • Prince – Matt Thorne
  • The Sisters Brothers – Patrick deWitt
  • Look Who’s Back – Timur Vermes
  • 11/22/63 – Stephen King
  • The Green Mile – Stephen King
  • The City and The City – China Mieville
  • Un Lun Dun – China Mieville
  • The Vintage Teacup Club – Vanessa Greene
  • The Seafront Tea Rooms – Vanessa Greene
  • Stargirl  – Jerry Spinelli
  • Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli
  • Boy Meets Boy – David Levithan
  • Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell
  • Wonder – R. J. Palacio
  • Paper Towns – John Green
  • Alias Grace – Margaret Atwood
  • Burial Rites – Hannah Kent
  • Capital – John Lanchester
  • English Passengers – Matthew Kneale

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Filed under Books, Childrens' Books, Duplicate Books List, Facebook & Other Social Media, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Junior Bookworms, My Bookworm History, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, YA Books

All The Books We Cannot See

Ongoing Concerns 8th March 2017

The Ongoing Concerns – NOT missing books, obviously, lol!

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Don’t you just know it?! You do a blog, claiming that four of your books have gone walkies, and then, after you’ve published it, you’re checking off books on someone else’s list on List Challenges, and you remember there’s ANOTHER book you can’t bloody find! Typical! All The Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr, needs to be added to the infamous Missing Books List, which therefore takes our total to 5 at the moment and gives us the title for tonight’s blog!

  • The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
  • The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje
  • A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman
  • Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher
  • All The Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr

Oh, and this week is apparently British Pie Week – you learn something new every day, lol! I had a pie for my evening meal tonight, and in keeping with British Pie Week, I got a bit more of The Pie At Night read when I was out and about in town earlier, and intend to continue with it later, and probably at least for the rest of this week now I know how apt the title is! The other Ongoing Concerns can wait! Zlatan can bloody wait until after his next goal for us, lol! I love him, but he’s been a tad disappointing these past couple of matches, and he’s got a 3 match ban coming up domestically, although he’s still eligible in the Europa League even while he sits out FA Cup and Premier League matches. So, if he scores against Rostov next week in the 2nd leg, I shall get a bit more of I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic read! Plus, my sister has put in a request to read it after I’ve read it. Pull your socks up, Ibra, and give us a goal next Thursday, my Swedish chum!

I may have some missing books, but I noticed a few earlier, down the side of my bed, which I’d forgotten about, lol! I have found the illustrated edition of A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness, plus two books about the Olympic Games! Woo hoo! I don’t just read about Manchester United when it comes to books about sport, lol! The Olympics are a huge love of mine and have been since February 1984, when Torvill & Dean won gold for Great Britain in the ice dance at the Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. I have found The First London Olympics 1908, by Rebecca Jenkins, and The Games: A Global History of the Olympics, by David Goldblatt. A turn-up for the books, quite literally, lol! I am pretty chuffed, and it makes up at least a little for my Missing Books problem with certain other titles I own…

It’s all swings and roundabouts around here! You mislay some books, you find others…

Pretty sure some of the missing books will make a miraculous reappearance some time when I am looking for something else – maybe other books, maybe even something which has nothing to do with literature… As I said last night, though, it’s not as though I’ve not got any books on the go right now, is it?! I have seven Ongoing Concerns, so even though I would love to find the missing reading matter, it will have to wait a while to be read anyway!

I have got my copy of Round Ireland With a Fridge back, my dad had finished reading it when he was still in hospital, and I have recently lent my mum The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer. I’d read that one some years ago now for book club and really enjoyed it. Mum and I had been enjoying the recent BBC2 series Back In Time For Dinner, and I thought she’d like the book as she enjoyed that series. As for any other books of mine out on loan, I think there’s only Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, but I know that’s with my friend Sarah in Preston and has been for ages! Perhaps I should stop being such an utter Muggle and cast a summoning charm on it, lol?! Accio libro!

I, for my part, am going to have to ask my niece if I can borrow Esio Trot. I have read a few Roald Dahl books when I was a kid, as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, but there are still quite a lot of his books I’ve not read, and I would quite like to read that one! I’ve read quite a lot of Charlotte’s books, actually! Some because I had a read when I was buying them for her, and others because I was round at my sister’s and Charlotte was showing me her books and recommending them to me! She is most definitely taking after me as a bookworm, she has been for years, even when she was still very much a baby! A couple of particular favourites of mine from the Junior Bookworm’s library are Hairy Maclary From Donaldson’s Dairy, by Lynley Dodd,  and The Day The Crayons Quit, by Drew Daywalt. My niece has some seriously awesome books!

Anyway, I feel the need, the need for tea! So, I shall head off to put the kettle on and make a brew, and get a bit more of The Pie At Night read! Until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • All The Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
  • The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
  • The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje
  • A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman
  • Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher
  • The Pie At Night – Stuart Maconie
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
  • A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness
  • The First London Olympics 1908 – Rebecca Jenkins
  • The Games: A Global History of the Olympics – David Goldblatt
  • Round Ireland With a Fridge – Tony Hawks
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J. K. Rowling
  • Esio Trot – Roald Dahl
  • Hairy Maclary From Donaldson’s Dairy – Lynley Dodd
  • The Day The Crayons Quit – Drew Daywalt

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Filed under Books, Childrens' Books, Computer Corner, Food & Drink, Football, Junior Bookworms, List Challenges, Literary Issues, My Bookworm History, Non-Fiction, Olympic Games, Ongoing Concerns, Sports, Television, The TBR Pile