Category Archives: Non-Fiction

OCs, Match Day Books, and Recent Charity Shop Bargains…

Periodic Tales finished

Elementary, my dear Bookworms! Periodic Tales finished at last!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Book number 36 finished off for 2017, Periodic Tales finally came off the Ongoing Concerns list in the early hours! As I’ve said before, I HAVE enjoyed this book. The reason it has taken some time to read it is because it’s not one of those books you can read quickly. I’m not a scientist, my dad was the chemist in our family, not me, so to take in all the information Hugh Aldersey-Williams was providing in his book meant reading it slowly.

I’ve also got other books on the go, including The Angry Chef, which is a priority as it is the current book club read, and I’ve also been preoccupied with awaiting further developments regarding my forthcoming job. I was actually contacted yesterday, and received the medical forms and suchlike via email, so I have completed and returned those to HR. Hopefully, I WILL be getting a start date very soon!

Dental pain has been another issue. I am currently awaiting an x-ray and then an extraction, but still have to put up with this stupid tooth for the time being, and getting through painkillers. Some times it’s fine, other times it’s really giving me grief, and I just want it taken out of my mouth as soon as possible. It has also affected my reading. Not only in preventing me from focusing on a book if it is hurting, but also because it has sometimes caused disruption to my sleep, and then I am tired later and not really wanting to read.

Mata retro United shirt

The Special Juan – Mr Mata modelling a retro United shirt from 1982…

Seeing as I’ve featured a very important Mata wearing a retro United shirt, there’s another match coming up this weekend, as my lads are at home to Leicester City on Saturday evening. As with the West Ham match, I shall be taking a book with me for the car journeys to and from Old Trafford. Quite likely to be The Angry Chef again, although who knows? Having now finished Periodic Tales, I have added Manchester England, by Dave Haslam, to the OC List, one non-fiction book replacing another. I am on for page 54 of 311, so 17% of that book has already been read and it joins the list in the middle of the pile. I will be using my Manchester bees cross-stitched bookmark in that one, as I also mentioned in previous blogs earlier this year.

Going back to the Special Juan for a moment – that shirt is actually older than Mr Mata! The home shirt he is wearing dates back to 1982 when we first had sponsors on our shirts. Juan wasn’t born until April 1988! I had just turned 15 when he came into the world! As I have mentioned previously, he is one of the players in contention for having his name and number on the back of my next United shirt when I get around to buying it. I still think it’s going to be between Mata 8, Matić 31 and Mkhitaryan 22. A Spaniard, a Serb or an Armenian. Waiting until after the summer transfer window closes, and I start my job, anyway…

New OC List 23rd August 2017

The OC List as it stands now…

Neither Here Nor There, by Bill Bryson, is now top of the list, but as it’s 50% read, I’ve got a way to go with all my current OCs. Going to have to have a good look at the current OCs and sort out some kind of reading strategy. The Angry Chef is the main priority as a book club book, but I need to get on with all of them, really.

Not that that has stopped me acquiring other books, been going a bit mad in the local charity shops of late, lol! We have so many round here, and thus there are plenty of bargain books to be found, including 13 Little Blue Envelopes, by Maureen Johnson, for a mere 49p, and Brilliant Orange, the neurotic genius of Dutch football, by David Winner, a book I’d had my eyes on for some time, which I got in a 3 for £1 deal at the Scope shop in Eccles. The Maureen Johnson book was in a shop in Salford Precinct, and is a YA novel which had caught my eye in recent times.

Do Not Pass Go, by Tim Moore, only set me back a quid. You may recall that I read Nul Points, by the same author, earlier this year, to tie in with the Eurovision Song Contest back in May, as it was a book about the acts which had failed to win a single vote at the ESC over the years. In Do Not Pass Go, Moore is in London, visiting all the locations on the Monopoly board, which sounds like a great idea for a book! I’m hoping it will be as good a read as it sounds!

As I have mentioned, on many occasions, I have a thing for books about books, so you won’t be surprised that one of my recent charity shop bargains was Dewey, by Vicki Myron, the true tale of how an abandoned kitten became adopted by the library of a small town in the USA.

Another recent purchase – yes, there have been a LOT of those, as I said, I’ve been going a bit mad in charity shops in recent times picking up any books which seemed like a good idea at the time, lol, and thus a copy of Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling ended up coming home with me in recent weeks! Not that it had a long journey home, it was from one of the charity shops on Monton Road, as I recall, so I probably popped in while I was on my way home. From the chemist’s, I expect, after picking up my painkillers for my stupid dental pain…

The Music Shop, by Rachel Joyce, and Goodbye To Berlin, by Christopher Isherwood, were picked up at the Oxfam shop in town last week, the former of those a hardback and set in a record shop in the 80s, thus it sounded like my cup of tea, and the latter is the book which formed the basis of the musical Cabaret, starring Liza Minelli. This next one isn’t technically a charity shop book, as it was from W H Smith, but they were having Blind Date With a Book in aid of three charities, and thus my acquisition of The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, by Katarina Bivald,  has helped Cancer Research, Mind (the UK mental health charity) and, if I recall rightly, the Literacy Trust. Once again, folks, books about books…

Anyone who wants more photos of books and bits of waffle to tide you over between blog entries should get on Instagram if you haven’t already done so. I am on there, have been for five and a bit years now, since early 2012, posting as joannedj1973 and a lot of my posts, especially in recent times, are #bookstagram posts. Feel free to check out my posts – lots of piles of books, lol!

Just looking at my unpublished lists on List Challenges… There are quite a few of these lists, especially ones which are ongoing throughout the year and can’t really be published until New Year’s Eve at the earliest, or in the first day or so of 2018. For example, the list of books I have finished in 2017, and the list which goes along with this blog… the seriously massive list of every book which gets a mention on this blog during the course of the year! It doesn’t matter if I don’t even own a copy of it, let alone if I’ve read it or not… loads of books get mentioned and if they do, they go on a huge list on List Challenges. Joanne’s Bookshelf Blogs – Books Mentioned 2017. Come 31st December, or early in January 2018, I will publish this list so anyone can then see what I’ve mentioned during the course of 2017 and how many of those books they have read!

At the moment, the list stands at 464 books! So, yeah, it’s gonna be a long one, lol! At 40 books per page when a list is published, there will be at least 12 pages worth of books and that’s just at the current state of affairs as of 23rd August! It could well be even longer by the time we get around to Christmas and it’s nearly time to publish the damn thing!

There’s all sorts of stuff on that list… General fiction, young adult, children’s books, fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, and there’s all the non-fiction stuff I’ve mentioned… music, history, travel, football, other sports, autobiographies, languages, tea, coffee, and all sorts of other mad crap! It’s simply a review of all the books mentioned on here, so you’ll see four or five hundred covers representing the books I have mentioned in these blogs during 2017. If you can’t wait for this one to be published, there are some previous ones knocking around on List Challenges. Shorter lists featuring books I’ve mentioned in previous years’ blogs.

Well, I think that’s about it for now, so I shall get this published so you can read my utter waffle and wonder if the charity shops of Monton, Eccles, Salford and Manchester actually have any books left in them, lol! They do, by the way! I haven’t bought up ALL their supplies, however many charity shop bargains I appear to mention on here! Until the next time I blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner
  • Manchester, England – Dave Haslam
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • 13 Little Blue Envelopes – Maureen Johnson
  • Brilliant Orange – David Winner
  • Do Not Pass Go – Tim Moore
  • Nul Points – Tim Moore
  • Dewey – Vicki Myron
  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? – Mindy Kaling
  • The Music Shop – Rachel Joyce
  • Goodbye To Berlin – Christopher Isherwood
  • The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend – Katarina Bivald

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Filed under Blind Date With A Book, Books, Books About Books, Bookstagram, Charity Shop Bargains, Cross-Stitch, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Handbag Books, List Challenges, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, YA Books

Matchday Reading and Belgian Chocolate Seashells

Lukaku brace United 4 West Ham 0 August 2017

A great start to the new season – 4-0 win and some reading done!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Well, that was pretty emphatic yesterday! The 2017-18 Premier League season got off to an excellent start for my lads with a resounding 4-0 home victory over West Ham United, hammering the Hammers with two goals from Romelu Lukaku, one from Anthony Martial, and one from Paul Pogba. Man of the Match was our new Serbian, Nemanja Matić, thus giving me another name and number for consideration when I get around to getting my new shirt! I’m still going with a theme of midfielders beginning with M, though, lol! Mkhitaryan 22, Mata 8 or Matić 31. Decisions, decisions!

matic 31 magnets

Serbian footballers called Nemanja are pretty damn good… 😀

One thing was pretty evident before the match, that the traffic in Trafford Park was going to be an arseache. There’s going to be at least three years of roadworks, much of it near the Hallowed Ground, as they prepare new tram lines for the Metrolink service. A new tram route, or at least a new branch of it, will eventually bring trams near Old Trafford, the Imperial War Museum North and the Trafford Centre, and they’re hoping that will be completed by 2020, but in the meantime that means a lot of arseache of the roadworks variety! Road cones everywhere, you get the picture!

Coupled with this, we have now been moved to a different car park at Old Trafford after years of N2. We’re now in W2, which basically means we park behind the Stretford End! However, this means going to the match, and going home, a completely different way to the way we’ve been doing our match-going routine for years now! So, I decided I’d take a book with me! No, not in case there was a penalty in the last minute, lol, although those of you who share my appreciation for the comedy legend that is Sir Billy Connolly will no doubt get that reference!

But, I wasn’t bringing Wuthering Heights with me, lol! Nor was I taking my book into the ground, I was simply going to read it on the way there, leave it in the car, and read some more on the way back. I took The Angry Chef, my book club book, and got a decent amount of that read while we slowly made our way to the match! Got there just about in time for kick-off! Anyway, great results all round, as United won 4-0 and I am now 20% of the way through my book club book!

Therefore, I think a matchday reading plan has been hatched! If the traffic is going to be this shite for the forseeable future, bringing a book with me to read and making further inroads with my Ongoing Concerns list is a good idea and I can get some good reading done in traffic jams, lol! Periodic Tales, if I haven’t finished it soon, might be a Trafford Park Traffic Tome in coming weeks, lol!

The Belgian seashells were acquired yesterday evening from Tesco on Monton Road! When we had RvP, I used to have stroopwafels when he scored goals, but I needed something Belgian rather than Dutch, now our main striker is Romelu Lukaku, so chocolate seashells it is! Actually, this Thursday, 17th August, it will be five years since Robin van Persie joined us from Arsenal! I miss Robin. Still, I did get to enjoy rather a lot of stroops while he was sticking the ball in the net for us, especially the night before my 40th birthday when he scored that hat-trick at home to Aston Villa which meant we’d won our 20th league title!

Still awaiting my start date for my new job. Was at one of the places at which I volunteer this morning, and Nicola informed me she’d provided a reference and emailed it back. I just hope the other referee has done likewise, so that I can have some news as soon as possible. Start date, and also, preferably, salary too. I will also need to see how I can fit my reading in around work. How long will I get for lunch? If an hour, I might possibly get to read at lunchtime. If not, it’ll probably be a case of reading on the buses, or simply in the evenings or at weekends.

It’s not really going to be a long bus journey to work, though. Swinton is not that far away. A little bit further than going into Eccles, but not the longest of journeys. That’s good in terms of the working day, it doesn’t add too much on to that, but the one thing which could be said for my civil service days, particularly when I worked in Chorlton for three years, is that I could get some good reading done on those journeys!

Back to the footy a moment, though, for those of you who didn’t get the Billy Connolly reference. It’s from one of his stand-up shows which we’ve had on video and DVD for years, and about football matches, how people learn terrace songs, how they know when to start one off (“when your assassin goes after their smartarse”), and when people say the stupidest things at matches… the scenario is that a penalty is awarded late in a match, but the daft numpty taking it has missed… Cue Billy talking about the eejit next to him at the match…

Eejit: Did ye see that?

Billy: No, I was reading Wuthering Heights! I just couldnae put it down! I always bring a good book with me in case there’s a penalty in the last minute!

And then he comes out with the molten-bronze droplet of soccer wisdom…

Eejit: If that’d gone in the net, it would’ve been a goal!

Billy: [sarcastically] You don’t say! I can see you’ve studied the game of football in some depth!

So, that bit is what I was on about earlier, hence the references to Wuthering Heights and last-minute penalties, lol! There weren’t any penalties in our 4-0 thumping of West Ham, though. There was a free kick, so Lukaku’s second goal came after we were awarded a set piece, but the other three goals were from open play. Pogba’s goal was in the last minute of normal time, but wasn’t a penalty.

Before I finish, a brief update on the OC front. The Angry Chef moves up to 4th as it is now on 20% after yesterday’s pre-match reading session! It overtakes A Quiet Kind of Thunder and Dead Ends. Dark Fire still needs to reach the 10% stage. Work to be done there, methinks, plus trying to finish off Periodic Tales.

I shall get this finished off and published, then you can all have a read of my match day reading arrangements, lol! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë
  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard
  • Dead Ends – Erin Lange
  • Dark Fire – C. J. Sansom

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Filed under Books, Bookstagram, Food & Drink, Football, Goodreads, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Travel

Me and Earl and the Blogging Girl…

Me and Earl finished August 2017

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Welcome to yet another blog, and news of yet another book off the OC List! Yep, I have now finished Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, by Jesse Andrews, and can recommend it, especially for anyone who likes humour in their reading matter! As I said a few blogs ago, when I was part-way through this book, I like Greg Gaines, the main character, because he is such a nerd! It’s the same reason I liked Colin Singleton in An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green. Loved that book! So funny! I know everyone blathers on about The Fault In Our Stars, and that is a good book, don’t get me wrong, but I seriously think An Abundance of Katherines is very underrated and ought to receive more attention!

Anyway, The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old, is back in my purple Kipling bag ready for Book Club. I hope the others enjoyed it. I certainly did! I shall see if I can find anything at Waterstone’s which I can suggest to the group, although I definitely already have one in mind – The Angry Chef, by Anthony Warner, which I mentioned in my previous blog. I am pretty sure we’ve not done any non-fiction for a while, so I thought I might put it to them, and it is fairly topical. I aim to get there early enough to have a good mooch around the shop and see one or two things which caught my eye. The thing about Hendrik Groen, though, was that I already had it in hardback at home, and I noticed that the paperback had come out and was included in the buy one get one half price offers that Waterstone’s frequently have on, so I picked up a paperback edition and another book, and suggested them at book club, and we ended up going with Hendrik Groen.

I probably could do with us reading a Young Adult book, though, as far as my Ongoing Concerns list is concerned, or I may well end  up having a seventh book on the list. I have just finished Me and Earl, so there is a space on the OC List for another Young Adult novel, but I’ve got 2 general fiction books and 2 non-fiction books on the OC list at the moment. Oh well, what the hell?! I’ll still go for The Angry Chef, I think. We have read young adult books in our book club, and even one or two which are possibly even pre-teen books, such as The Girl of Ink and Stars, by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, which we read last year. We’ve also read Tamar, by Mal Peet, and The Foreshadowing, by Marcus Sedgwick, in recent years, and those are also young adult books.

Before I go any further, I have some news for you all – not got my start date yet, but I shall be back in work soon! Had an interview on Monday morning for an Admin Officer post, and they phoned me back at lunchtime that day to offer me the job! Woo hoo! I’ve emailed them my references, so I guess the HR department has to sort that out, but I hope to have a start date soon. It will be full time, and it’s fixed term, for the time being, until mid-March 2018. I am sure I can still get some reading done out of hours, though, and get some blogging done, too. It’s in one of the departments of my local council, and involves data input, production of letters, and taking minutes at meetings, amongst other general office duties.

The other thing is, it’s Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm, and thus my weekends are free for my brass band practice and for going to matches – the new Premier League season starts this weekend, and we’re at home to West Ham United on Sunday! Giving some thought as to shirts… I quite like the black away one this season, and it’s also a matter of deciding whose name and number to have on the back of it. Right now, I’m thinking it’ll be either Henrikh Mkhitaryan, or Juan Mata. Yeah, I’ve got a thing for attacking midfielders with surnames beginning with M, lol!

Names and squad numbers on the backs of shirts first started in the Premier League during its second season, 1993-94, and in the 90s, I had two home shirts with CANTONA and 7 on the back, both signed by the King! Then King Eric retired. After that, I didn’t have anyone’s name or number on the back for absolutely ages, until 2012-13, when Robin van Persie was leading us to our 20th league title! So, in recent years, I’ve had v. PERSIE 20, SCHWEINSTEIGER 31, and IBRAHIMOVIĆ 9, on the back of my shirts. I also have a Dutch home shirt with v. PERSIE 9 on the back of it. My next decision is probably going to be between MKHITARYAN 22 or MATA 8. An Armenian or a Spaniard will join the roll of honour alongside the existing Frenchman, Dutchman, German and Swede!

Charity shop bargains to report now, and I picked up the fourth Percy Jackson book the other day, Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth, by Rick Riordan, so I now have all four books in that series. I could possibly consider Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief for the YA vacancy on the OC List, but we’ll have to see. I shall have to have a good thunk, lol!Also picked up Unconventional, by Maggie Harcourt, so another YA book for the TBR list and possibly the OC List!

So, with Me and Earl finished, Periodic Tales returns to the top of the OC List. 72% read, I should perhaps get on with that. I’m enjoying it, but, because it’s non-fiction, and about chemistry, it’s not the fastest of reads for me. However, I’m not exactly that far from the end now. Neither Here Nor There is at the halfway stage exactly, and The Beach Hut is just over a third of the way in, at 35%. A Quiet Kind of Thunder is at 16%, but I have only recently started that, as I have with Dark Fire, but really need to get on with that to get it to the 10% and get it on the OC List officially. What I feel I should do is have some intense reading sessions with Periodic Tales (to get that even closer to completion), and both A Quiet Kind of Thunder and Dark Fire to get those further along the way. Then we can look at the Bill Bryson and Veronica Henry books, plus whichever other reading matter we’re adding to the list…

I want to get Periodic Tales OFF the OC List – it has been on for a long time, lol!

Anyway, we shall see what Book Club brings and what I end up reading! If nowt else, it’ll be material for another blog, lol! Until that next blog entry, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • An Abundance of Katherines – John Green
  • The Fault In Our Stars – John Green
  • The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old – Hendrik Groen
  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner
  • The Girl of Ink and Stars – Kiran Millwood Hargrave
  • Tamar – Mal Peet
  • The Foreshadowing – Marcus Sedgwick
  • Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth – Rick Riordan
  • Unconventional – Maggie Harcourt
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • The Beach Hut – Veronica Henry
  • A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard
  • Dark Fire – C. J. Sansom

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Filed under Books, Bookstagram, Charity Shop Bargains, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Handbag Books, Humour, List Challenges, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, YA Books

July Review

Hendrik Groen finished July 2017

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Total number of pages read in July: 1,290

Nemanja Matic joins MUFC 31st July 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Cathedral book bench 4

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

Charlotte bookmark 2017

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

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

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

Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews

Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson

OC list end of July 2017

The new OC List as we head into August…

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

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

Lake District purchases July 2017

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

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

Joanne x x x

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

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

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Filed under Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, Historical Fiction, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Month in Review, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, Travel, YA Books

Long Blog From Joanne!

Stuart Maconie at Waterstone's July 2017

Stuart Maconie at Waterstone’s, Deansgate

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

We’re now in the early hours of Friday morning, but I’m hoping to get on with this blog and report on a great evening at Waterstone’s yesterday, when I met one of my favourite writers, Stuart Maconie, who was promoting his brand new book, Long Road from Jarrow, in which he retraces the route from Jarrow to London taken by 200 men from the north-east town in October 1936 to try to petition Parliament to create some jobs in their local area.

Eighty years to the day, Maconie set off from Jarrow in October 2016, taking in what had changed and what was still similar all these years later. As he said himself, during the talk, things have changed so quickly even since last autumn that even some of the events of last year seem very out of date already, but you can’t just go round putting in amendments in all the books – you just have to accept that that’s how things were when you finished writing! An occupational hazard of non-fiction writing, especially when it comes to history!

The lady with Stuart was from BBC Radio 6 if I recall rightly, and was leading the interview-style event prior to Stuart taking questions from the audience. This was in one of the event rooms at the book shop, although Stuart did the book-signing session in the cafe on the 2nd floor, so that was out in the main part of the store again.

If any of you have read and enjoyed his books, he is as witty in real life as when he writes. There were a lot of similarities between 1936 and 2016, despite the eighty year gap. The media was just getting going back then, but the marchers used what forms of communication they had at the time to plan their route, find some accommodation and get some mentions in local papers along the journey! A lot of people felt politicians had turned their backs on them and abandoned them, which is pretty much the feeling a lot of people have even now.

Me with Stuart Maconie July 2017

Me with Stuart Maconie

I didn’t put any questions to him during the Q&A session, but did have a bit of a chat while he was signing my books – he signed my copy of Long Road from Jarrow, and also The Pie at Night, which I had brought with me. I mentioned that I’d got a lot of that read on the way to Wembley in February – it seemed an apt book to take to the EFL Cup Final as football is one of the major things we northerners enjoy as entertainment. He’s a Wigan Athletic fan, so 2013 was a special year for them, as well as my lads. Although they were sadly relegated from the Premier League that season, they did win the FA Cup so it was still a happy memory!

Long Road from Jarrow may have to wait, but hopefully not too long – it depends on the progress of the current non-fiction books on the OC List, but as Periodic Tales is now at 64% and Neither Here Nor There is now at 33%, it shouldn’t be too long before Dave Haslam and Stuart Maconie are on the OC List! Manchester England is being queued up as the next non-fiction to join the OCs, so Long Road from Jarrow can be next after that! They’re both books about (mostly) 20th century British history, popular history of northern England to be exact, but not completely the same. One is specific to my local area, concerning the city’s entertainment history, and the other is the re-tracing of a famous march route down to London by 200 job-seeking Geordie fellas.

My signed book, plus promotional postcard and badge

As I said earlier, he also signed my copy of The Pie at Night, but the photos are of the new book, and the promotional stuff – nice when you get matching freebies, isn’t it?! Plus, it gives me extra things to #Bookstagram about! And there’s plenty to #Bookstagram about when you’re a mad bookworm on Instagram, let me assure you, lol! Particularly when authors of YA novels are liking your posts! I got a like from Keris Stainton when I featured One Italian Summer in one of my Bookstagram posts! Woo-hoo!

I’ve also made friends on Instagram with one of the Waterstone’s ladies – she works in the children’s and young adult’s section, and she’s the one who recommended One Italian Summer to me. She has also recommended When Dimple Met Rishi, by Sandhya Menon, which I certainly like the sound of, but I have yet to acquire a copy.

Super scrumptious story bench

The above photo is a taster of a blog to come, as I plan to do a more thorough mention of the Book Bench Trail shortly. I have found the benches in Manchester Cathedral, and in the National Football Museum, so I will be featuring more photos very soon from around town. It’s just that I wanted to concentrate on the Waterstone’s event with Stuart Maconie in this blog. I don’t mean to over-Manc you all, I know that my followers are pretty spread out – the last time I checked, I had 58 of you following my book blog, so thank you for being brave enough to do that, lol! – and I also know it can be irritating to read about book events you can’t get to as they’re nowhere near where you live! I’d love to go to some of those book fairs I see mentioned on Book Riot’s Facebook page, but they’re all in the USA and I’m on the other side of the pond!

I mean, I’d quite like to go to Hay-On-Wye, which is a famous book town in Wales, well known for having a lot of book shops, and that visit is not beyond the realms of possibility as it is in the UK, so I feel that is an achievable thing for a British bookworm and that I might eventually be able to tick it off from my “to do” list! Not saying I won’t ever get to a book fair or convention in the States, but it’s a more remote possibility than visiting a book town based on the same island I inhabit!

Thus, if there’s book-related stuff happening right on my own doorstep, here in Manchester, I’m going to be having a shufty and reporting on it in this blog! However, for the time being, I’m going to have to call it a night for now and get this thing published, so, until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Long Road from Jarrow – Stuart Maconie
  • The Pie at Night – Stuart Maconie
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • Manchester, England – Dave Haslam
  • One Italian Summer – Keris Stainton
  • When Dimple Met Rishi – Sandhya Menon

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A Truth Universally Acknowledged

Jane Austen ten pound note 2017

The forthcoming plastic £10 note featuring Jane Austen

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a person in possession of one of the new £10 notes will find a picture of Jane Austen on it! This week marked the 200th year since Austen passed away, so it does make it rather appropriate that when the new plastic tenners come out this autumn, she will be on them. At least the Bank of England have got things right this time, actually bringing a note out featuring a certain famous person in an appropriate anniversary year, as opposed to a few years ago when they actually phased out the £20 notes with Sir Edward Elgar on them a year or two before a significant anniversary regarding one of our most famous composers! I expect, after the strident complaints received from disgruntled classical music buffs over their Elgar error, they have learned from their mistake and chose 2017 to actually launch the Jane Austen ten pound notes. And, as you can probably tell from the title and the opening sentence of this blog, yes I did study Pride and Prejudice when I was at school!

The OC Overhaul is working well, getting the list down to six was one of my better ideas, lol! Today I have been making progress with our latest book club book, The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old, and am presently up to 37% of the way through the book. If you can imagine Adrian Mole, but elderly and Dutch and in a nursing home in Amsterdam, you can probably get a fair idea! The diary is set in 2013, and I am up to the end of April, or early May, I think, so I’ve just gone past a significant time for me – not that Hendrik mentions it, he doesn’t, but April 2013 for me was about United’s 20th league title and my 40th birthday! As many of you know, our 20th title was clinched the night before my Big 40, thanks to Robin van Persie’s hat-trick at home to Aston Villa, the second goal of which was an absolute beauty and definitely one of the best goals I have ever seen!

Talking of goals, it was good to see Romelu Lukaku get off the mark with his first goal for us the other night as we came from behind to beat Real Salt Lake 2-1 in our second game of our pre-season tour in the USA. I know we have got Lindelof and Lukaku, but we still need more players this summer! The Gnome is being very tardy, and Jose has had to mention it a few times in press conferences – you can tell Mr Mourinho isn’t happy about it! He gave Ed the “shopping list” in May at the end of the season we’ve just had, and we have got two players, but Jose has said we need four! I would say we need at least four! I am not best pleased that Morata’s going to Chelsea, I thought we should have gone for him as well as Lukaku! We need all the strikers we can get after not scoring anywhere near enough goals last season, especially in the league!

So, some of the progress I have been making in recent days with both Dissolution and the Hendrik Groen book has been as part of a challenge to see how much I can get read while I wait for that useless Gnome to get his finger out of his arse and make some more signings! Dissolution is up to 75% read now! Serious progress, and I am really enjoying it, so I hope the other books in the Shardlake series are as good! Of course, when I finish Dissolution, Dark Fire will be next.

Charlotte's summer reading challenge 2017

My niece’s summer reading challenge – I’m sure she’ll complete this!

My sister posted that photo on my timeline on Facebook earlier. It’s Charlotte’s summer reading challenge from her primary school. As she takes after me on the bookworm front, I’m sure she will excel at this! The Junior Bookworm will be 7 this weekend – yes, I know! Time flies, doesn’t it?! Seven years since I became an auntie! I had been an “honourary auntie” to friends’ kids prior to 2010, but I became an actual auntie that summer, and I remember having to phone in to work and speak to my boss to get that day off – my niece was born at a silly time in the morning, and I hadn’t had much sleep when I woke up to phone work – thankfully my boss, Dawn, could tell I sounded utterly knackered, congratulated me on becoming an auntie, and gave the go ahead for my leave. I then went back to sleep, as you can imagine!

Actually, next month will be my 7th blogging anniversary! I have been doing this Joanne’s Bookshelf blog since August 2010. August will also mark my 10th anniversary on Facebook! I joined on either 9th or 10th August 2007, not quite sure which date, but I am sure FB will let me know next month with my “10th Faceversary” video, lol! One of my long-time FB friends, Robert Rush, recently celebrated his 10th FB anniversary, although I think it was probably around the September of 2007 when I became friends with him thanks to a group called A Cup of Tea Solves Everything!

Of the charity shop bargains lately, there have been a couple of chunky monkeys by Charles Dickens which have ended up chez moi – The Pickwick Papers set me back a mere 50p on Monday when I was in Salford, and Nicholas Nickleby wasn’t much more expensive when I acquired it in Eccles earlier today for 99p. You can get some of the classics really cheaply, I have noticed! I once got Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes, for a mere 20p! It was when I was volunteering at The Mustard Tree in Eccles, I think. And that’s a real chunky monkey of a book! It weighs in at 785 pages in the edition I own! 785 pages of novel for a mere 20p?! A snip, as they used to say in the legendary pop magazine Smash Hits back in the day!

Well, I shall be at Waterstone’s tomorrow evening… the book event with Stuart Maconie has soon come around, hasn’t it?! Hence I will be meeting one of my favourite non-fiction authors. I think I will take either The Pie at Night or The People’s Songs with me just in case, but I intend to buy Long Road From Jarrow anyway, so I can certainly get him to sign that. I must remember that if there are any drinks, as there often are at these things, I can’t have any of the vino, unfortunately! I’ve got a dental infection and I’m on the “uncle-biotics”, lol, so no booze for me for a few days! Will have to stick to juice.

Talking of which, I must remember to have my third and final one for today, three a day for five days, so I shall get this blog finished and published, and then I can attend to my medication. I will be back again soon enough with another blog, lol! Hopefully a photo or two from the Stuart Maconie event! Until then, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  • The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old – Hendrik Groen
  • Dissolution – C. J. Sansom
  • Dark Fire – C. J Sansom
  • The Pickwick Papers – Charles Dickens
  • Nicholas Nickleby  – Charles Dickens
  • Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes
  • The Pie at Night – Stuart Maconie
  • The People’s Songs – Stuart Maconie
  • Long Road From Jarrow – Stuart Maconie

 

 

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Filed under Authors, Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Chunky Monkeys, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Handbag Books, Historical Fiction, Junior Bookworms, Manc Stuff!, My Bookworm History, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, School, College & Uni Reading, The TBR Pile

OC Overhaul, Book Benches and an Emergency Book!

OC Overhaul July 2017

Bullet journal documenting my Ongoing Concerns overhaul…

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Yes, I have gone and done it! I have taken decisive action on the notorious Ongoing Concerns List, and trimmed it down! I decided it was unfair on certain books which were not being read, I hadn’t touched them for weeks, if not months, and I thought let’s just take them off the list, at least for now, and put them back on some time later if I CAN be arsed reading them instead of leaving them on there for decoration without them making any ounce of progress as far as Goodreads percentages are concerned.

Several YA books are therefore back in the TBR pile as partially-read books, with receipts or travel tickets in them as bookmarks so I know where I’m up to when I do decide to resume them at any time in the future. There are now two YA novels on the new OC list, those being Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, by Jesse Andrews, and One Italian Summer, by Keris Stainton. She actually liked one of my posts on Instagram the other day! I am a frequent Bookstagrammer on there, most of my posts on Instagram are about books! There are some which aren’t, but I’m very much into the whole Bookstagram thing.

One non-fiction book has been returned to the TBR list, but Periodic Tales, by Hugh Aldersey-Williams, and Neither Here Nor There, by Bill Bryson, remain on the OC List as our current representatives of factual reading matter! This coming week, on Thursday, I will be meeting one of my favourite non-fiction writers, Stuart Maconie, who is coming to Waterstone’s on Deansgate to promote his new book, Long Road From Jarrow, which will be published that day. That one will have to join the TBR pile though, as I’ve got two non-fictions on the list, and I said I was going to resume Manchester, England by Dave Haslam as my next non-fiction selection on the OC List once one of the current factual books has been read, and will be using my “and the bees still buzz” bookmark in it!

It’s all go on the book front in Manchester at the moment, and I shall return to the matter of Mancunian book-related events shortly, once I have covered the fiction section of my new trimmed-down OC List, lol!

OC Wipeboard July 2017

The OC Wipeboard – cleaned and tarted-up with the new list. The magnets have been on for a while, from Berlin, Chichen Itza, and Marrakech respectively. The blue thingy is a wipeboard eraser, and is magnetic. I might just plonk that on the top and put a few more magnets on, or sometimes change them around. I needed a new pen for it anyway, as the one it came with had gone funny. The board itself needed cleaning, too, but I sorted that out, so it looks pretty good now, and I have a few colours I can use on it. I’m sure non-permanent OHP pens would also work on it…

So, the fiction section… Obviously, this currently consists of Dissolution, by C. J. Sansom, the first book of his Shardlake series, and my current book club book, The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old. I am now 12% through that so it has joined the list because I have read at least 10% of it. Thus the OC list is at six, with a nice balance of 2 fiction, 2 non-fiction and 2 young adult. If I find even that is too much and things are not being read, I will have to trim it down further, but it’s a lot better than it was!

Bookbench trail map

Bookbench Trail Map

I did promise you more book-related goings-on in Manchester, so this is what I was on about, the Bookbench Trail. A bit like when we had Cowparade in the noughties, but with sets of benches in the shape of books, decorated by various groups and schools, and dotted around Manchester, both in the city centre and out in various suburbs. This is on for 2 months from 10th July to 10th September, so it just started this Monday just gone.

The above photos are from some of the benches in the Arndale Centre in town. The crayons remind me of some of Charlotte’s books, actually, lol! I’m thinking about The Day the Crayons Quit, and The Day the Crayons Came Home, both by Drew Daywalt. If you haven’t read these books, you really should! They’re brilliant and very funny!

Anyway, one foolish thing I did yesterday was that I forgot to put any books in my handbag! Oops! I was going in to town for my volunteering, and also to give blood afterwards, although it turned out that my haemoglobin was low, so I couldn’t donate a pint of my O positive on this occasion. I realised in the morning, after leaving the house to get a bus to Eccles, that I had forgotten to bring any books with me. I was not best pleased, as you can imagine! Chief Bookworm had no Handbag Books! Oops!

Emergency Book July 2017

Emergency Book!

Bearing in mind I’d be volunteering in the morning, and that I’d be doing the sudoku in the newspapers while on the tram to town, I wasn’t so much bothered about not having a book for the outgoing journey, but I figured that, if I was going to be giving an armful to the vampires, I would need a book to pass the time during my donation, so just before I went to the donor centre, I nipped into Fopp, where they have a selection of cheap books as well as music and films, and picked up Life After Dark, by Dave Haslam, for £3 to take with me. Hence the bit in the title of this blog about the Emergency Book!

So, I took the Emergency Book with me to the donor centre, only for me to turn out to be a bit low on iron and unable to give blood! Oh well, never mind! The book is a history of British nightclubs and music venues, as you might expect from a DJ, and I read a little bit of it on the bus on the way home from town, although the rest of it will have to wait, at least until after I have finished with one of his other books, and that’s still not on the OC list yet, anyway!

Didn’t have a fellow bookworm on that bus, but the previous day, I had a fellow bookworm on the tram to Eccles when I was coming home from town. I was reading Dissolution, she was reading The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry, which she said she was enjoying. I said it was on my TBR List. She said she’d read and enjoyed Dissolution! My copy of The Essex Serpent is in the pile of books, mostly hardbacks, known as my Bass Amp Book Tower!

Well, I shall now go and get myself a brew, and do some reading perhaps. My lads have their first game of the pre-season tour later, at what is silly o’clock for us here in the UK, but that’s not too much trouble as I can always watch it in bed and I am a night owl, so I will probably be awake for most of it anyway!

Wonder when the Gnome will get his finger out of his arse and get some more players off Jose’s shopping list?! I don’t think the manager is very chuffed at the extremely lethargic “speed” at which Gnome is progressing with this task, and we fans certainly aren’t! We need more players, and we need to be buying them, not letting other players go in exchange! Especially not strikers, as we don’t have enough as it is! No, Inter Milan, you cannot have Anthony Martial! We don’t have enough forwards! We might possibly have some spare defenders or something, if you need anyone in those positions at the back, but we need all the strikers we can get!

We have practically exchanged Rooney for Lukaku, so we have Lukaku, Martial and Rashford. That in itself is not enough strikers. We need at least one more, because we cannot bank on Zlatan returning. If he comes back mid season and manages to bang in the goals despite his age and despite having had a serious knee injury, that should be considered a bonus!

Anyway, that is about all from me for now, you’ll be relieved to learn, lol! So, until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • One Italian Summer – Keris Stainton
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • Long Road From Jarrow – Stuart Maconie
  • Manchester, England – Dave Haslam
  • Dissolution – C. J. Sansom
  • The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old – Hendrik Groen
  • The Day the Crayons Quit – Drew Daywalt
  • The Day the Crayons Came Home – Drew Daywalt
  • Life After Dark – Dave Haslam
  • The Essex Serpent – Sarah Perry

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