Category Archives: Non-Fiction

Mystic Mince Pies, Hot Milk, and Traffic Jams…

Hot Milk and Mr Dickens

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the books are so delightful! Yep, we’ve had some snow today at Bookworm Central, lol! Some actual snow, as opposed to the usual attempt to snow in the UK. We have a kind of weather which I would describe as “Trying To Snow” which is when there’s a very minor flurry but nowt else, lol! However, at several times during the course of the day so far, it has been snowing. There has been some rain in between times so that has washed it away, but we have had snow. Not enough to build a snowman, not round here, unless you make a mini snowman on a garden wall or something.

Been a busy old week, and not over yet considering it is scheduled to be the Manchester Derby tomorrow at Old Trafford – snow permitting, of course! Anyway, I was at the match on Tuesday as United played CSKA Moscow in our final group game. Prior to the game, Dad came round for tea as we were going in his car, as has happened frequently this season. After our chilli con carne, we had some mince pies and squirty cream, and when Dad squirted cream on his pies, it looked like a 2 on one pie, and a 1 on the other, so he said that would be the score that night…

Not best pleased at half-time when we were trailing to a blatantly offside “goal” which should never have stood. Thankfully, in the second half, we turned things around in the space of three minutes midway through the half, with Romelu Lukaku equalising before Marcus Rashford put us ahead… and that reminded me of the pies and squirty cream, lol! 2-1 it remained, so when I got back in the car with Mum & Dad, the talk was of the Mystic Mince Pies, lol! Never mind your “Paul the Octopus” predicting winning sides in the World Cup, we had Mystic Mince Pies predicting the scoreline in United’s Champions League match!

So, we have won our group and we are through to the knockout stages, which start in mid-February. European football has a winter break, although we will find out on Monday who we have got in the first knockout round. As we have won our group, we will be away in the first leg, and at home in the second. It’s better that way, because if you don’t get a particularly good result in the first leg, you know you’ve got home advantage which can really help to turn things around in the second leg! Having said that, when we did the Treble in 1999, our quarter final and semi final ties against Inter Milan and Juventus saw United have the home leg first, and away leg second, and we still ended up winning the trophy!

Right, that’s the footy done, on to the books, lol!

Didn’t get any more of my book read in time for book club the next night, but I did get 70% read, so was mostly able to participate in the discussions, and I will finish it off – after all, I have just under a third left to read of The Good People. After our discussion, for which there were five of us, with Stephanie rejoining the fold as well as the four of us from last month – myself, Michelle, Nick and Diane, we discussed the next book and whether we should read something Christmassy, or deliberately un-Christmassy, and I said perhaps we should make it something reasonably short as we might not get a lot of time to get some reading in over the festive season! So, with a couple of us already owning a copy, we went for something fairly short and set in the summer, Hot Milk, by Deborah Levy. Our next meeting is on 10th January to give us a bit more time to read after Christmas and New Year!

Prior to the start of the book club, I met up with three of my colleagues from my days at Manchester DBC – June Padley, Anne Emmott, and Martin Biddles! It was great to be able to have a chat with them again and catch up a bit, also to be able to let them know I am working again at the moment. It was Martin’s birthday, so I guess that’s why they had met up. I said I’d seen one colleague fairly recently, Janice, as she volunteers at one of the charity shops here in Monton, and I am still in touch with quite a few people from my decade at Albert Bridge House on Facebook, and one or two on Instagram.

Right, anyway, I already had Hot Milk, as I said above, but I did buy myself something rather festive on the book front while I was at Waterstone’s, that being Mr Dickens and His Carol, by Samantha Silva. Something suitably seasonal, especially if our stupid weather insists on giving us the white stuff this year!

Chocs and books 2017

Thursday night, after work, Mum and I went off to the Lowry Centre on Salford Quays, as we had a voucher for Pizza Express, so we went in the shops first before we dined, and I stocked up on chocolate from the Cadbury’s shop, as you can see, lol, and a couple of cheap books from The Works, picking up The Snow Globe, by Sheila Roberts, and Hygge and Kisses, by Clara Christensen. Maybe not quite Christmassy as such, but certainly a plot which suggests cosiness, and that’s what many of us want at this time of year!

Then we come to yesterday, and the reason I ended up having to get a bus into Eccles today after my hairdo – I had to get my bus and tram pass, which was what I intended to do after work yesterday, and I got on a bus in decent enough time in Swinton, and headed on into town… except that when the bus actually got into Manchester, it was just bloody crawling along Bridge Street and taking an eternity! I knew I wasn’t going to be able to make it across town to the travel shop in Piccadilly Gardens before it closed at 6pm, so I was a bit pissed off to say the least! But, I was in town, so I thought I might as well do the other stuff, in other words get myself something to eat from the Christmas markets, and as I was on that side of town, and the shop was open for a while yet, I went in Waterstone’s.

Traffic jam compensation books December 2017

Yes, I know. But I was so damn annoyed at the traffic jam that I felt I needed some retail therapy, so off I went into my natural habitat, lol, and came out with three books – Furiously Happy, by Jenny Lawson, The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k, by Sarah Knight, and Warcross, by Marie Lu. I have mentioned the “not giving a f**k” book before, I think. I already like to think that I give fewer “flying ones” than I used to, but I felt this book would be good anyway! It would be a vindication of my general reduction of f**k-giving, so to speak!

Most of the stuff on telly these days is hardly worth giving a f**k about, especially reality TV shows! Unless they’re about food. I like Masterchef, although I probably shouldn’t watch stuff like that. Cookery programmes make me hungry, lol! I remember watching Ken Hom’s Chinese Cookery late at night on BBC2 when I was a teenager in the late 80s, and that used to make me ridiculously hungry! I absolutely LOVE Chinese food! Always have done since I was very little!

I have half a mind to read Warcross and Ready Player One back-to-back as I feel the premise of both books is pretty similar, and Furiously Happy is a book I have seen on a lot of lists on List Challenges, and people have said, in reviews, that it’s very funny.

I was going to add that, if you want “very funny”, you should definitely read This is Going to Hurt, by Adam Kay, but I’ve been saying that already for a few blogs now, lol! Been saying it since about September or October! Another book I would recommend if you want a good laugh is Cheer Up Love: Adventures in Depression with the Crab of Hate, by Susan Calman. I came upon that one by chance – I just happened to notice it a year or so ago when it was out in hardback and was being promoted in the Arndale Centre branch of Waterstone’s…

One of those times when you start reading a book in a bookshop, and you just know you’re going to have to take it to the counter and buy it because it’s too good not to buy! I didn’t even know who the author was at the time, turns out she’s a Scottish comedienne, but the fact that it was at least a bit about depression interested me – I’ve had a few bouts of that over the years, so I have experience of how shite it is when you’re going through it, and the “Crab of Hate” part of the title amused me, so I picked a copy off the shelf and started reading… and started laughing! It is on my list of books which have made me laugh my arse off, so if you want a good giggle, give it a try!

(Shite is a technical term, by the way!)

I think that’s about it, although I did pick up a couple of cheap books at the Rotary Club shop in Eccles this afternoon as I was waiting for the travel shop to re-open after their lunch break, lol! I picked up Unholy Night, by Seth Grahame-Smith, and The Spy Who Came For Christmas, by David Morrell. Both sounded suitably seasonal. Seth Grahame-Smith is the same guy who did the Austen-reworking, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, lol! Anyway, until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Good People – Hannah Kent
  • Hot Milk – Deborah Levy
  • Mr Dickens and His Carol – Samantha Silva
  • The Snow Globe – Sheila Roberts
  • Hygge and Kisses – Clara Christensen
  • Furiously Happy – Jenny Lawson
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k – Sarah Knight
  • Warcross – Marie Lu
  • Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
  • This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
  • Cheer Up Love: Adventures in Depression With the Crab of Hate – Susan Calman
  • Unholy Night – Seth Grahame-Smith
  • The Spy Who Came For Christmas – David Morrell
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Filed under Books, British Weather, Facebook & Other Social Media, Food & Drink, Football, Humour, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Mental Health, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Television, The TBR Pile, Travel, Weather

November Review and a bit of December too!

Flixton CBB Xmas Concert 2017

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Flixton CBB Xmas Lights Urmston 24 Nov 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Do Not Say We Have Nothing – Madeleine Thien
  • The Good People – Hannah Kent
  • Jasmine Nights – Julia Gregson
  • We Are Not Ourselves – Matthew Thomas
  • On Writing – Stephen King
  • The Green Mile – Stephen King
  • 11.22.63 – Stephen King
  • This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
  • Doughnut – Tom Holt
  • This Book Will Save Your Life – A. M. Homes

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Filed under Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Food & Drink, Football, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, Junior Bookworms, List Challenges, Month in Review, Music, Non-Fiction, The TBR Pile

My Idea of Fun

Lee Sharpe - My Idea of Fun

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Welcome to yet another blog, and it is fair to say that blogging can be included in my idea of fun, along with countless other things. In particular, reading books (obviously), buying books, finding bargain books in charity shops (I picked up the Lee Sharpe autobiography, My Idea of Fun, in a charity shop in Swinton after work yesterday evening), having a lie-in, stuffing my face with food, playing music, listening to music and, as is well-documented on here, watching Manchester United. Sharpey is one of our old boys from the late eighties into the mid nineties, his career interrupted in mid flow by viral meningitis in the early 90s, but he did make a comeback once he’d recovered from the excessive tiredness the illness had left him with for some time. Should be an interesting read.

Anyway, progress is being made with The Good People, I am on for page 74, the start of chapter 4, so this is a considerable improvement on the fiction front given my recent fiction slump which I’ve mentioned in recent blogs. Perhaps that’s it… Perhaps it’s the fact that this book is by an author whose previous novel I really enjoyed a few years ago, because this is the same lady, Hannah Kent, who wrote the brilliant Burial Rites.

The other progress made lately isn’t actually of the book variety, but of the dental variety… As regular bloggers might know, I had been awaiting an x-ray at the hospital ahead of a dental extraction. Well, I had that x-ray yesterday morning before heading in to work for the rest of the day, two neighbouring teeth will be coming out, and when I went to reception to book the actual surgery, they offered me Wednesday, i.e. tomorrow! Thus I will be back at the hospital tomorrow afternoon to have my two dodgy teeth taken out! Woo hoo! It does mean I’ll probably feel like shite afterwards (shite being a technical term, of course, lol) but at least it means that needing Wednesday and Thursday off work results in two days where I won’t have to worry about waiting for a damn bus!

Traffic was a bloody ‘mare coming home from work tonight. According to my sister, there was a car on fire on the East Lancs Road, meaning the traffic around Swinton, where I work, was utterly Donald Ducked! It took a long time before a bus turned up, and with no number 2 seemingly forthcoming, I had to resort to the 484. This bus goes between Swinton and Monton, but takes the, ahem, “scenic route” and goes all round the houses to get next door, as the saying goes! So I was eventually on a bus home, but then that got stuck in traffic for quite a while during its Grand Tour of Swinton! So, I read a bit of The Good People while I was on the bus and managed a fair few pages before nearing home.

It’s November, it’s cold, it’s dark, it was raining (probably still is), and the journey home from work was a bit of an arseache! Oh well, at least I had some books with me, and at least I don’t have to get a bus for the next two days! My mouth might not be at its most comfortable after tomorrow afternoon’s surgery, lol, but the complete lack of necessity to hang around at bus stops waiting for one of those damn vehicles to be arsed turning up will be a consolation! Two days without that palaver – yeah, I can go for that!

I just hope I will still be able to play my horn, though. Got the switching on of the Urmston Christmas Lights on Friday, an annual fixture in the gig calendar of the Flixton Community Brass Band, so I shall see, some time on Thursday, how I feel about playing a brass instrument after my dental extractions the day before. See how my face feels. Perhaps try buzzing on my mouthpiece on Thursday, see how that goes. If it’s OK, I’ll be up to playing my tenor horn.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/nov/21/doctors-diary-this-is-going-to-hurt-wins-public-vote-for-book-of-the-year?CMP=twt_gu

Congratulations to Adam Kay! The absolutely brilliant This is Going to Hurt has won the Books Are My Bag readers’ choice award! It has also won the non-fiction category as well as the overall award. As I have said before, I cannot recommend this book enough! I would exercise caution as to where you read it, though! Probably not best to read it in public, unless you’re really daring or you simply don’t give a shit about getting funny looks from others when you laugh your arse off!

It definitely wins MY award for book of the year!

Sorry that I’ve not really got any fresh mentions other than My Idea of Fun, by Lee Sharpe. I know some of you really like my blogs which are full of different books, as it gives you ideas to add to your TBR piles. Oh well, I guess this one is giving your TBR list a bit of a break by covering mostly old ground. Also, we’re coming up to that time of year where everything gets reviewed, lol! A time for looking back over 2017, the books we read, those we half-read, those we added to our TBR lists but have still not got around to yet… and some which were added to that list donkey’s years ago, and we have to admit we STILL haven’t got around to reading them, lol!

Has a book ever given you that sense that it’s saying “You KNOW you want to read me”?! It happens in book shops, sure, but then it happens with books on your TBR list… There’ll be one which is saying “Pick me next!” and I am getting those vibes from Republic or Death! Travels in Search of National Anthems, by Alex Marshall. It is in quite a prominent place in my room, on top of a pile of books, and it is non-fiction, and it involves travel, history and music, so obviously that held great appeal to me and caused me to buy it in the first place, which was some time ago now, earlier this year I think, and it keeps catching my eye of late!

In the meantime, I shall get this finished and published and return to The Good People. Until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • My Kind of Fun – Lee Sharpe
  • The Good People – Hannah Kent
  • Burial Rites – Hannah Kent
  • This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
  • Republic or Death! Travels in Search of National Anthems – Alex Marshall

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, British Weather, Charity Shop Bargains, Food & Drink, Football, Music, Non-Fiction, The TBR Pile

October Review – Better Late Than Never!

Adam Kay signing his book, This is Going to Hurt

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

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

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

Not Feeling Fictional

Books that make you happy

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

This one might be quite short. Chief Bookworm has a cold and is still feeling a bit rough. It was a “badger’s arse” situation earlier, but it’s still not good. I might curl up with a good book, although it will definitely be something factual, and I’ll probably continue with On Writing, which I’m really enjoying.

I doubt it’ll be any work of fiction. I’m having one of those times where I’m just not feeling it on the fiction front. I can briefly feel fictional, but it seems very fleeting and I am just not wanting stories right now for whatever reason. I have got a little way into Ready Player One, and have enjoyed what I’ve read thus far, thanks to the 80s references, but even that has failed to turn my head the past few days when I’ve thought “Which of my partially-read books should I get on with?” – it’s been back to Stephen King and his writing advice!

I have just about started my book club read, Do Not Say We Have Nothing, and that, too, with its music references, should appeal to me, indeed it caused me to listen to Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto earlier this evening, which was a pleasant experience – good piece of music for you to look up on YouTube, but it’s still not pulling at me like On Writing is. Maybe I should just get the Stephen King book read? Then read something else? But when I finish the King, will I just want another non-fiction book?

Music to read books to… Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto.

I understand why I had a bit of a non-fiction binge last year… I’d just read A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara, last summer, and that book takes a lot out of you! I really enjoyed it, but it’s a chunky monkey, 720 pages long, and very emotional in its content, so after I had finished that, I didn’t feel like reading any fiction for the remainder of 2016! Non-fiction saw me through the rest of the year, including a couple of sports autobiographies, The Rules of the Game, by Pierluigi Collina, and Faster Than Lightning, by Usain Bolt.

However, I fail to understand why I’ve gone off fiction at the moment. I can’t recall reading anything particularly epic this year. Even the historical fiction I’ve read in 2017 has been under 500 pages long, as I recall, having read The Ashes of London, by Andrew Taylor, and Dissolution, by C. J. Sansom, so it’s not been massive even if it was substantial.

Hope you like the music, by the way! I’m not just an 80s nut, although that is my absolute favourite decade for music! I love a huge chunk of classical stuff. I say classical in this sense to differentiate between that and pop or rock or any other genre, although I know perfectly well that within “classical” music, only some of it is actually Classical… There’s several periods in music, including Baroque and Romantic, and then there’s opera and ballet, so no-nitpicking right now! I can be as pedantic as hell myself, but I’m not in the mood right now, I just wish this stupid cold would piss off and leave me alone!

Perhaps I should read books about books? Essentially, that is what I’m doing with the Stephen King book anyway, lol, so more non-fiction about the joys of reading might be the way to go until I actually fancy reading some fiction again? Perhaps consulting Book Lust, by Nancy Pearl, will help suggest some good reading matter? Maybe The Novel Cure has a cure for not feeling fictional? I doubt it, though.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I like both fiction and non-fiction, it certainly helps matters when you don’t feel like reading one type of book that you can always read the other unless you’re having a complete book slump, and not wanting to read anything at all. (In such instances of Complete Book Slump, perhaps consider seeking medical advice, as it might be due to depression, especially if you normally love to read.) However, it is a concern when your current book club book is a work of fiction but you only want factual stuff!

Well, as I said earlier, I’m sorry this is on the short side tonight, but I need to snuggle up with a hot drink, cold & flu capsules and a good book, so that’s about it for now! Hopefully I will be feeling up to a longer and more waffly blog the next time I publish something on here! Until then, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • On Writing – Stephen King
  • Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
  • Do Not Say We Have Nothing – Madeleine Thien
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • The Rules of the Game – Pierluigi Collina
  • Faster Than Lightning – Usain Bolt
  • The Ashes of London – Andrew Taylor
  • Dissolution – C. J. Sansom
  • Book Lust – Nancy Pearl
  • The Novel Cure – Ella Berthoud

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Filed under Books, Computer Corner, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns

Your Book Club Needs YOU!

Do Not Say We Have Nothing

Book and a G&T – and I needed that after book club!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

My nephew, Reuben, is one year old today (8th October)! Hence we’ve been busy with birthday celebrations this weekend, but it’s now time for me to come over to Computer Corner and tap away at my laptop for a bit to bring you yet another dose of waffly blog which might just mention a book or two, lol! Actually, it WILL mention books, and some rather worrying developments. Basically, the Waterstone’s Deansgate book club is in a critical condition!

When I say that “we” met up on Thursday evening, I mean just me and Anne again! It is bloody ridiculous! I ended up going to speak to Alice, the current store manager, to ask for more publicity for the book club! We need it! You can’t have a book club with only 2 members, you need around half a dozen or so to make it a good club. That way you get some decent debate and discussion, a better mix of opinions, and more ideas for recommendations when it comes to deciding the next book!

So, like the Lord Kitchener posters in World War I, I am putting out this appeal if you’re a bookworm in the Greater Manchester area…

YOUR BOOK CLUB NEEDS YOU!

If you are able to make it to Waterstone’s Deansgate on Thursday 9th November 2017 at 6pm, get yourself a copy of Do Not Say We Have Nothing, by Madeleine Thien, published by Granta, RRP £8.99 (although it’s a former shortlisted book for the Booker Prize, so you may find a much cheaper copy in a charity shop if money’s too tight to mention like Simply Red once sang), get reading as much as you can of it, and get your bookworm backside to the coffee shop on the top floor of Waterstone’s on 9th November and join in the fun! Please! Pretty please with a cherry on top! WE NEED BOOKWORMS URGENTLY!!!

I’m not saying the book club is dead, it’s not yet an ex-book club, but let’s just say it’s in intensive care and desperate for a fresh injection of book lovers to bring it back to good health and keep it going into 2018. I have emailed those who have been in the past, let them know the club is still going, what we are reading next and for when, so I hope some of them will be persuaded to return, but I am also trying to get some new bookworms, including some of my council colleagues! We have an in-house social media thing called “Yammer” so I have mentioned the book club on there to try and get some new members.

Alice did say she’d try to get some publicity on Facebook and Instagram, but I might also try to raise awareness. Certainly with a bookstagram post on Instagram… get some new bookworms that way…

Anyway, I had finished Blitzed in time for book club, and the other day, I finished This is Going to Hurt, by Adam Kay and I was sad to finish it because I bloody loved it! I won’t spoil it for you, but I will advise that there are some parts you really shouldn’t read in public unless you want some funny looks when you’re laughing your arse off! Adam is coming to Waterstone’s Deansgate on 27th October to talk about his book, so I got myself a ticket for that event, and I shall bring my copy with me for him to sign. This also gives you lucky blog followers another book event to read about later this month, lol! Don’t say I never give you ‘owt!

Current reads October 2017

Well, we’ve dealt with the book club book, and you know about my e-book – that one’s for match days and our next home games are not until the end of this month, so there won’t be further progress on Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows until the Spurs match, and then the Champions League home game vs Benfica on Halloween.

On the grounds that I am exactly halfway through it, the Bill Bryson tour of Europe that is Neither Here Nor There makes my photo arrangement. While I’d scrapped the Ongoing Concerns list, essentially, it seemed unfair to Bryson to forget about that one given the significant progress made with it. Also, On Writing by Stephen King will be continued. Manchester England makes the list on the grounds that I am 17% of the way through it and I DID say I was going to resume it this year due to what happened here in May at the Arena. I will be using my “And the bees still buzz” bookmark in that one, as I said in previous blogs this summer.

So, that leaves Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline, which I have had for some time now and I must have bought in the first place due to the promising blurb on the back of it which mentioned that there are a lot of 80s references in it, so I thought I should give it a go. The author himself is only a year older than I am, a 1972 baby as opposed to 1973, and thus the creator of the OASIS virtual reality world which is the basis of this novel is also a 1972 baby. It definitely feels like a book for my era based on the start I have made on it. I’m more a pop music nerd than computer game geek, but I do remember some video games and stuff like that from when I was a kid – when Atari systems first came out, with games like Asteroids and Space Invaders!

By the way, when it comes to the end of this year, and I’m publishing the List Challenges list of all the books I have mentioned on these blogs during the course of 2017, it will be a pretty long list, lol! Do Not Say We Have Nothing was the 500th different book I have mentioned! If you’re like me, you prefer the longer lists on List Challenges and feel a bit short-changed if a list only has a few books on it! There will be at least 13 pages for Joanne’s Bookshelf Blogs – Books Mentioned 2017, so something to look forward to in a few months’ time!

Jane Austen tenner 2017

Just before I call it a night, I thought you might want to see one of the new £10 notes which came into circulation here last month. I know many of my followers are not on the same side of the Atlantic as myself, so you probably won’t be in possession of our new tenners with Jane Austen on them, thus I thought you might want to see one! The quote on the banknote reads “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!” – I couldn’t have put it better myself, Jane!

With that in mind, I’ll get this published, and you can enjoy this helping of literary waffle! Until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Do Not Say We Have Nothing – Madeleine Thien
  • Blitzed – Norman Ohler
  • This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
  • Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows – Balli Singh Jaswal
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • On Writing – Stephen King
  • Manchester England – Dave Haslam
  • Ready Player One – Ernest Cline

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Filed under Authors, Books, Bookstagram, Charity Shop Bargains, Computer Corner, E-Books & Audiobooks, Facebook & Other Social Media, Food & Drink, Football, Goodreads, Handbag Books, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns

September Review, Four – Nil Again!

Books bought 1st October 2017

OK, just bought these today 1st October, but I will review last month as well, lol!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Time for the monthly review, and September has been very busy as I started my new job on the 4th, and I’ve been adjusting not just to being back in work, but also to the fact that it’s full-time. A lot of learning, a lot of information to take in, so this could well be why my OC List has gone completely to shit! Well, that might have something to do with it, anyway, as well as the fact that books on the list just weren’t being read. It’s one thing to have a selection of books on that list, and quite a good variety too, but I never seemed to be in the mood for any of them, so the OC thing has effectively stopped for now, certainly in the form that it had taken.

I have realised there is NO point fussing about having a balance if it’s totally fake and you’re just not in the mood for certain kinds of books! I came to realise that if I simply wanted to read all non-fiction, or all fiction, or all young adult, then I should just do that and sod balancing things out. I don’t owe it to anyone to maintain balance! It’s about what I feel like reading. I’m not doing it for anyone else, this blog of mine is personal, it’s not a situation like Nick Hornby‘s where he was blogging for a book reviewing publication, the results of which you can read in The Complete Polysyllabic Spree, and I would recommend it!

Anyway, before we bring you up to date with the first of October’s book-related activity, let’s get September sorted on the review front. Two books were finished this month, those being The Angry Chef, by Anthony Warner, which had been a book club book, and If I Stay, by Gayle Forman, which I read for an online book club of sorts on Facebook. The sequel, Where She Went, is still to hand, and perhaps I should read it while the first book is still relatively fresh in my mind.

Book club is this coming Thursday, 5th October. Thankfully, the politicians will have buggered off back to London after their conference, so it shouldn’t be a problem. I don’t even want ANY party coming to Manchester, even if it had been a left-wing one, because it’s a bloody nuisance and inconvenience to us, but I really didn’t want who we’ve got! ALL parties should have their conferences in London, as I’ve probably said in blogs before now, because it’s the only damn place most politicians give a shit about! They’re about as welcome around here as a fart in a wetsuit, as Sir Billy Connolly would put it!

The book club book is Blitzed, by Norman Ohler, and I am at 60% read on that one. This is Going to Hurt, by Adam Kay, his diaries from his days as a doctor, is at 40% read, and On Writing, by Stephen King, at 23% so clearly I am in a non-fiction mood of late. It’s not unusual, to quote the Sir Tom Jones song! My current e-book read on my Kindle, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, by Balli Kaur Jaswal, is now at 20% having read some more of it yesterday evening while in the car park at Old Trafford, and in traffic in Trafford Park, following our 4-0 win over Crystal Palace. Yes, yet another 4-0! If last season was the 1-1 draw season, which it certainly seemed to be in the league at home, then we’ve started this campaign with quite a few nice 4-0 wins!

On this occasion, a quick opening goal from Juan Mata, two goals from Marouane Fellaini, and one from Romelu Lukaku near the end gave us the win. Poor Palace can’t defend and they still can’t score! They are yet to score a goal in the Premier League this season! You won’t be terribly surprised to learn that they have lost all 7 of their fixtures thus far and are at the bottom of the league, completely pointless.

On Friday, after work, I headed into town to enjoy the Manchester Food and Drink Festival. I had a drink and a read of This is Going to Hurt while I was in a coffee shop, as I recharged my phone! Then I went over to sample the grub, having some pasta with pesto sauce, some churros and chocolate, and then a rhubarb gin and ginger ale, all of which I can recommend! I will visit again, at least on Thursday, as I can eat at the festival after book club! Epic Win!

Maybe some more people will join us on Thursday? There were three of us last time.

Also coming up shortly, next Sunday in fact, is my nephew’s 1st birthday! Reuben, the Chunky Monkey, will be a year old! Doesn’t time fly?! Charlotte is 7 and now in the juniors at primary school, and Reuben is almost one! I shall report back on the birthday after the event, but that’s coming up on 8th October.

Charlotte is definitely taking after her auntie, and on the music front as well as the books! She started learning the violin in the previous school year, and now she’s in the juniors, she’s joined the school choir!

Right, onto the books I acquired earlier… The footy one is one which is published every year, and is full of stats for the previous season. I haven’t always bought it every year, but given that my lads did win both the EFL Cup and the Europa League last season, I definitely thought it was worth getting on this occasion! It’s probably not going on List Challenges, but the other two are, as they’re fiction, and they caught my eye, even if it does seem a bit daft having a title which seems like a spoiler, lol! John Dies at the End, by David Wong, is the book in question, although I’ve also heard of a book, published a few years ago now, called Skippy Dies, by Paul Murray, and you’d think the author wouldn’t really want to give the game away like that, wouldn’t you?! The thing which always gets me with that one is that the Skippy in question is a human – even though the TV show was a little before my time, I am so used to thinking that Skippy was a kangaroo, lol!

I have to admit that if an author goes and calls his novel Doughnut and puts a photo of said item of bakery on the front cover, that is VERY likely to attract my attention! You know by now what a foodie I am, and that I’ve always had a sweet tooth, and I am VERY fond of doughnuts, so it was rather inevitable that this book by Tom Holt caught my eye. It is NOT the only book I own with doughnuts on the cover, either, as I also have This Book Will Save Your Life, by A. M. Homes on my notorious TBR pile! I picked that one up some time ago from a charity shop, probably in Salford, and it’s a wonder I hadn’t already mentioned it in a blog, but seemingly I haven’t as it wasn’t previously on my List Challenges list – if it had been, I’d have got a message saying “item already exists” but I didn’t get that error message!

So, a couple of doughnut books! Just right for reading if you’re enjoying the said items at Krispy Kreme, lol. Perhaps, also, at Timmie’s, if the Manchester branch or branches of Tim Horton’s have opened up yet? I enjoyed coffee, doughnuts and Timbits when I was in Canada in 2009, so I was delighted at the news earlier this year that they were opening up in the UK. I shall have to look up as to where Timmie’s is in town.

Mmmmmm…. Doughnuts!

Anyway, never mind my Homer Simpson moment, lol, back to the matter in hand. The badge you can see in the photo was from Waterstone’s and says “I believe in tea & books”, thus just right for me! Sometimes tea, books and music as well, although it depends what I’m reading. If I feel the need to concentrate on the book, I am better off without the music and have to pause it, but on other occasions I can happily have some tunes on while I read, or have a music channel on, such as Vintage TV.

Anyway, I think that’s we’re we’ve got to for now. The book situation is up to date, and into October we go! I may yet return to stuff which used to be on the Ongoing Concerns of old, but for now I’m reading what I’m reading and it’s mostly factual! Some of it is pretty funny, especially the Adam Kay book! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

And, yes, before you ask, I probably will feel the need for a doughnut in the next day or so! I blame Tom Holt and A. M. Homes, lol!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Complete Polysyllabic Spree – Nick Hornby
  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner
  • If I Stay – Gayle Forman
  • Where She Went – Gayle Forman
  • Blitzed – Norman Ohler
  • This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
  • On Writing – Stephen King
  • Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows – Balli Kaur Jaswal
  • John Dies at the End – David Wong
  • Skippy Dies – Paul Murray
  • Doughnut – Tom Holt
  • This Book Will Save Your Life – A. M. Homes

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