Category Archives: Olympic Games

A Red Letter Day

Pet Shop Boys Blackpool 21st June 2017

View from the front row! Pet Shop Boys at the Empress Ballroom, Blackpool

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

I’m in the middle of a pretty busy time right now, so things may be short, this blog might be one of them, or it might be typed over a number of days, and despite the fact that Neil & Chris opined that there are “a lot of opportunities”, the actual likelihood that I will get around to having anything resembling a good read is pretty remote! I have two family birthdays, a concert with my brass band, and my nephew’s baptism over the course of the next few days! Busy weekend!

The busy period actually started on Wednesday, as that’s when I met up with Sarah in Preston and we then went to Blackpool for the evening! The weather was hot, as it has been in recent days, but it was spitting at times, so our plan to have our KFC as a takeaway and eat our bargain bucket on the beach had to go by the wayside – we had to eat in and have our chicken indoors instead! Never mind! Seagulls probably would have tried to nick our fries anyway, if we’d attempted that, lol!

The main bit, once we’d stuffed ourselves silly with chicken, lol, was to head to the Winter Gardens for the gig. The thing is, there is more than one venue within the Winter Gardens, and the previous time I had seen the Pet Shop Boys in Blackpool, on the Performance Tour back in 1991, the first time I ever saw them in concert, the gig was at the Opera House, and thus we were seated. This time, however, we were in the Empress Ballroom, and were standing. Sarah and I are not the tallest of people, roughly around the same height of 5 foot 1 or thereabouts, but other fellow fans were letting us go in front of them, so we didn’t have too bad a view…

Part-way through the gig, during The Sodom And Gomorrah Show, one very kind bloke spots the pair of us and leads us right to the front for the rest of the show, including the next number which was It’s A Sin! So, we’re right at the front for the remainder of the concert, which was quite a few songs, and also being brought cups of water by Winter Gardens staff – let’s not forget it was an absolutely boiling day! So, we got some hydration and an unimpeded view of Neil and Chris! Absolutely brilliant gig in Mr Lowe’s home town!

Whoever you were, who led Sarah and I to the front, thank you SO much!

Phil Collins Not Dead Yet

As mentioned earlier this year: Borrowing this one from my friend!

Anyway, I guess I’d better mention some books, hadn’t I? If we go back to the previous occasion Sarah and I met up, that was back in February this year when we saw Neil and Chris at the Manchester Arena, and I had been reading Gary Kemp‘s autobiography, I Know This Much, and finished it in time to give it back to Sarah, along with Faster Than Lightning, by Usain Bolt, which she’d also lent me. At that time, in at least one of my February blogs, I mentioned that she was going to lend me Phil Collins‘ autobiography, Not Dead Yet. She hadn’t finished it at the time, I think, but I can now update you all with the information that she has now lent me that particular book!

David Walliams books

An impressive stack!

I also got to see a huge stack of David Walliams books, as her son, James, is a big fan of his stories. Indeed, we bought him at least one of those books, Ratburger, for Christmas a year or two ago now! He even has duplicate books – two copies of The Boy In the Dress, as they have two different covers – I’ve had that issue with some of my books, as has been well documented in these blogs, lol! The only David Walliams book which James has not yet got is the latest one, The World’s Worst Children 2, but I think he will be buying himself that with his birthday money, as he turned 12 the other week.

Anyway, from children’s books, and books lent by friends, to my current book situation. I need to start on The Power, not even started it yet. I had plans to reduce my OC list still further, and have only 6 books on it instead of 9, but I doubt that’s going to happen! I still feel that some of the books on my OC list have been forgotten about. A lot of them need resuming, I’ve not even read a page of some of them for ages! That’s why I thought getting the OC list down even further would be a good idea, but I don’t think it’s going to happen for a while yet. Might be best to stick with 9 books for the time being.

Certainly not right now. I’ve only finished off one book this month, that being Pet Shop Boys, Literally, by Chris Heath. However, as I have reached my 30 book target on Goodreads, the Chris Heath book and any others I read this year are above and beyond my target figure, but other books might have to wait until we get into July! Or at least until this weekend is over! Maybe get some of the YA stuff off the list, it will probably be the quickest to read and finish off once I resume it, as opposed to some of the non-fiction stuff which takes a bit longer. I enjoy non-fiction, of course, but it’s a more detailed read than a lot of fiction, and I progress at a slower rate, particularly with stuff such as Periodic Tales.

Friday, 23rd June, 2017, 20:54h.

Back again! Returning to the blog, if only to finish it off while watching Glastonbury. Well, alright, listening to Glasto, ’cause I’m at Computer Corner right now so I have my back to my telly. This is clearly a very music-minded blog with a few books mentioned too!

Apparently, today is Olympic Day, so I can’t fail to bring a bit of sport into it, can I, as I’ve been an Olympic nut since I was 10 going on 11 – feel free to hold Torvill & Dean responsible for that, lol! The Winter Olympics of Sarajevo 1984 were the first Games I got into, and I’ve got far too many favourite moments to list, and I’ve also read a fair few books on the matter! On the Games in general, and about certain incidents, or certain sportspeople. In recent times, I’ve read Faster Than Lightning, Usain Bolt‘s autobiography, and also a Quick Reads book, Headhunter, by Jade Jones, Team GB’s Olympic taekwondo champion in London and Rio. Although I read this one some time ago now, as a book club book, I can also recommend The Dirtiest Race in History, by Richard Moore, which is about the men’s 100m final at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, and Ben Johnson’s positive drugs test only a day or two after the race.

Before I get this wrapped up, I shall set you an Olympic teaser – see if you know the answer to this one…

What was the significance of Jenny Jones winning bronze for Great Britain at Sochi 2014?

I don’t have any medals to hand out for anyone who does get the right answer, but you will earn my respect as a fellow Olympic nut if you know the answer to that one! I’m off to get another drink and to watch Glasto, so until the next blog entry, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • I Know This Much – Gary Kemp
  • Faster Than Lightning – Usain Bolt
  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • Ratburger – David Walliams
  • The Boy in the Dress – David Walliams
  • The World’s Worst Children 2 – David Walliams
  • The Power – Naomi Alderman
  • Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Headhunter – Jade Jones
  • The Dirtiest Race in History – Richard Moore

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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Childrens' Books, Computer Corner, Music, Olympic Games

This Book Will Change Your… Er, No It Won’t!

Row of Penguin Books

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman is now back in my handbag, ready for tomorrow’s book club meeting. Hopefully we will choose something else I will enjoy. So, no horror and no dystopia, please. No current affairs, either! I read to escape from that crap!

As well as a few other issues, I want to open up to fellow bookworms and ask if there is anyone else out there who has the same issue as me… This issue is with books which other people claim “will change your life”. I just don’t think any of them have!

I love books. I have loved books all my life. My parents read to me when I was a baby and I soon learned to read for myself. I was reading before I started school, and was thus already a bookworm by the time I started in the reception class at Monton Green Primary School in the September of 1977, 40 years ago this coming autumn! But, as an adult, I have come across several books in my general awareness of all things literary which certain people will claim are life-changers.

I have read a few of these, but I don’t feel my life has been changed!

Don’t get me wrong! I’m not saying I’ve not enjoyed them. There have been a few I have enjoyed, such as The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, and Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert, but these books have had no significant effect on my life other than to be able to say “yes, I’ve read that one” and to be able to tick it off on book lists when I go on List Challenges, lol! That’s hardly what you call life-changing, though, is it? I am that little bit more well-read than I was prior to having read that particular book, but that’s all I can honestly declare!

I’ve not changed my diet, not taken up any unusual pastimes, not changed career, and I’ve not upped sticks and buggered off around the world and off the beaten track! Isn’t that what those books are supposed to cause people to do?! Give all your possessions away and live up a tree in some remote village?! Go and climb a mountain or something?! Hell, I’ve never even climbed one of those rock walls, let alone a bloody mountain, and with my dismal track record on physical activity, it’d be a cold day in Hell before that is likely to change! In fact, Hell would have frozen over and hosted the Winter Olympics if you ever see me at the summit of a mountain, lol!

(My niece has climbed one of those rock walls, though, at some place in town!)

Have any books changed my views? Er, no. Or, if so, only slightly. The Dirtiest Race in History, by Richard Moore, did shift the focus of my disgust more towards the athletics coaches and doctors rather than the athletes themselves, but I still maintain that those athletes, the likes of Ben Johnson, were grown men, thus they could and should have stood up to their coaches and insisted on remaining clean! Not as though they were kids, like the East German swimmers, whose coaches were tricking them into cheating, taking advantage of their age, inexperience, and the fact that no-one from that particular country would want to miss out on a privilege that very few others from the DDR got to enjoy!

I’m not including so-called “self-help” books in this, though. I’ve already been over that issue before now, if I recall rightly. I have already said I find such things pretty patronising and unrealistic. They certainly don’t help me, and bear no resemblance to real life. I swear the people who write those things are living in cloud-cuckoo land where everything’s perfect and no-one has anything wrong with them which can’t be overcome! Whereas real life is full of shit, far from perfect, and the fact is that not every obstacle can be overcome!

If something sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is!

That whole law of attraction rubbish has got to be one of the biggest cons in recent years, and stuff like The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne, should be sent for recycling so it can actually be turned into something more practical or realistic to read! It’s just designed to prey on gullible people, con them into getting their hopes up, and then that just sets them up for disappointment! It’s no better than our so-called “news” papers whose sports “journalists” write a load of shite on the back pages to get fans’ hopes up about top players joining their clubs in the transfer windows!

Fortunately, things have calmed down on that front, maybe even the journalists have now realised that a certain Portuguese striker I could mention is perfectly happy at the club he’s always supported since he was a boy, and that he will NOT be returning to one of his previous clubs, but there were several seasons when I used to despair because those “journalists” were conning a load of less-intelligent “fans” to believe that a certain Mr C. Ronaldo would be returning to Old Trafford, the biggest pile of bovine excrement being the tall story in which Nike and Chevrolet were supposedly getting together to bring him back! What an absolute load of drivel!

One transfer which DOES look set to happen is the arrival of Swedish centre-back, Victor Lindelof, from Benfica, as United confirmed the other night that a fee had been agreed for the player. Of course, he needs to come over and have a medical, which I think is going to happen tomorrow after he’s been on international duty these past few days, and then agree terms and conditions. Then we should see an official unveiling of a new player.

Anyway, back to books and the matter of none of them having changed my life despite the claims of others. By others, I mean both the reviews on the covers of books, plus word of mouth mentions from people I know, or even recommendations on social media… “Oh, you should read [insert book title] – it’ll change your life!” – yeah, right! Maybe I’m just too cynical to fall for that.  Perhaps too well-educated to go along with certain daft ideas, especially if they sound particularly impractical or unrealistic!

Also, maybe part of it is my rebellion against the idea of “must reads” anyway! As far as I’m concerned I don’t HAVE to read anything! There are no specific books I NEED to read! Not since I graduated from university, anyway, and that was way back in 1994! I’ve done the school, college and uni thing, I’ve been there, done that, read the books, and worn the cap and gown at my graduation in Bolton in October 1994!

So, I’ve not had a set reading list for 23 years now! I’ve written the essays, sat the exams, underlined stuff, made shitloads of notes in my arch lever file, analysed certain passages of certain books to death… I did that when I had to, but I’ve not needed to do that for over two decades now! I read what I want, when I want, because I want! It’s all about reading for fun, for enjoyment, with books as a form of entertainment! Even with the non-fiction, where I am still learning and discovering stuff, this is out of choice, I am reading these books because I want to know more about certain subjects which I find interesting!

If any book or books DID change my life, they would have been ones I read as a little girl, the books which made me fall in love with reading and want to spend my life being a bookworm! Thus, I’m more likely to have had my life altered by The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle, than by anything I’ve read as a grown bookworm! That book was fun, enjoyable to read, and that’s the lesson that book imparted on me… Books are fun! Reading is a great way to spend your time, and you’ll be able to entertain yourself for hours on end!

I will still appreciate book recommendations, as long as they’re for the sort of books I want to read. No horror ones, please, and I’m not much of a crime or thriller reader, either, but general book recommendations are welcome. Just don’t make any grandiose claims about life-changing properties of whatever you’re recommending to me! I may well take you up on some of your recommendations, I might enjoy some of these books, as I have done in the past, but don’t bother with the “life-changing” stuff – that side of it probably won’t happen for me!

I think that’s about it for now. I just had to get that out. There may also be a forthcoming blog about other things which just don’t happen to me even though they seem to happen to other bookworms, but for now, I think we’ve covered the issue of life-changing books which haven’t changed my life, lol, so until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman – Denis Thériault
  • The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
  • Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert
  • The Dirtiest Race in History – Richard Moore
  • The Secret – Rhonda Byrne
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Literary Issues, Non-Fiction, Olympic Games, Rants, Travel

Risk It For a Biscuit!

Zlatan book April 2017

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Zlatan’s up to 65% – in the Goodreads sense, that is! As he scored our equaliser at home to Everton the other night, I decided to bring him off the bench and start making his autobiography, I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović, a more active Ongoing Concern once again! An Equal Music is still in the lead on the OC list, currently on 78%, but after quite a month of reading in March, I’ve focused on cross-stitch at the start of April, putting those finishing touches to my League Cup Winning Years bookmark, plus starting and making progress with a design featuring a girl with a book under her arm.

So, the cup bookmark has had a tassel of sorts added to it, and threads added to the handles for “ribbons” on the trophy, and it has been put into use in I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović, which is appropriate as Zlatan did score two of our three goals in our 3-2 EFL Cup Final victory against Southampton in February. Our other goal at Wembley was scored by Jesse Lingard. Actually, it was funny… for our first goal, we got a free kick after Herrera was fouled, and my mum said “That’s too far out”. So, the ref blows the whistle, Zlatan takes the free kick… 1-0, pick that out, Saints! That may have been too far out for most players, but not for Zlatan! Definitely not too far out for him!

Anyway, enough waffling about footy, for now, although I’m sure I’ll return to that subject! You can see from the photos my finished cup bookmarks, the FA Cup one from last year, and the League Cup one from this, plus the ongoing concern on the stitching front. I have included the pattern so you have an idea what the design should look like when I’ve finished it. Despite her having a book under her arm, I don’t really see that one as a bookmark. I see myself putting it in a nice frame. I could always stitch another of that same design to use as a bookmark, though.

I think I mentioned the other day the thought of having another sort-out for the charity shops. Perhaps a few I have read but am unlikely to read again, plus a batch of stuff which is either unread or only slightly-read and which hasn’t really grabbed me. I need to make room for other books, so some may need to go. Particularly as I acquired a few earlier at The Works when I was at Cheshire Oaks. It’s not so much the box set of The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, as that can probably go on a bookshelf on the landing with other box sets, but I bought a few other individual items of reading matter as well. Those are all non-fiction.

Books and chocolate April 2017

The Mortal Instruments, some non-fiction and some chocolate

I decided to risk it for a biscuit with the box set, it was quite a bargain when I worked out the price per book. City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls, and City of Heavenly Fire. They’re numbered, too, as you can see from the photo, so I know the order in which to read them! Very helpful! Saves me looking that sort of shit up on Google, lol! You wouldn’t believe how often I’ve had to look up the reading order of various series when I’ve blogged about them on here! Thing is, I think the only series I’ve actually read, certainly the only series I’ve ever read in full, is the Harry Potter series, by J. K. Rowling, so I could rattle off the correct order for those seven books off the top of my head – Philosopher’s Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, and Deathly Hallows. I’ve also read a couple of the short ones she brought out for Comic Relief some years ago – that’s when Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, and Quidditch Through the Ages originally came out!

They were “quick reads” in aid of Comic Relief, originally! I love them, especially Harry and Ron’s comments in Fantastic Beasts. For instance, when it comes to the classification of how dangerous various magical creatures are, the top 5 star rating includes all dragons, plus several other rather nasty beasties which even the most experienced wizards would find hard to handle. A comment has been added, probably by Ron Weasley, to say “or anything Hagrid likes”!

(For my readers on the other side of the Atlantic, I know it’s the Sorcerer’s Stone over in the USA, and what we call a biscuit is what you call a cookie, in case you were wondering about the “risk it for a biscuit” thing – just a little expression some of us have over here when taking some sort of minor risk or chance with something, lol!)

Other than the Cassandra Clare box set and the chocolate, the other books are non-fiction. Three about music, one about sport, the sporting one being Greg Rutherford‘s autobiography, Unexpected. Greg, as you may recall, is a long-jumper, and won gold for Great Britain on “Super Saturday” at the 2012 London Olympics. I had no idea he even had an autobiography out, but he does and I now own a copy!

He won bronze last year in Rio, but I have heard he’s been doing some winter sports, chiefly skeleton, with a view to competing for Great Britain at the Winter Olympics! If he does, and manages to win a medal of any colour, I think he’d be the first sportsperson from our country to win medals in both summer and winter Games. That would be brilliant, so I think he should go for it! I don’t think many people from other countries have had medals at both versions of the Olympics, possibly the odd one or two, but I expect it’s still a pretty rare achievement and Greg would join a pretty short roll of honour if he could end up on the podium at the Winter Olympics!

The other hardback is The Sun & The Moon & The Rolling Stones, by Rich Cohen, which is about being on tour with the band. Ziggyology, by Simon Goddard, and The People’s Songs, by Stuart Maconie, are the paperbacks. The Maconie book is “The story of modern Britain in 50 songs” – sounds good to me, and you know I have already enjoyed two of Maconie‘s books, those being Pies and Prejudice, which I read some years ago, and its follow-up of sorts, The Pie at Night, which was my Handbag Book for Wembley, and a recent Ongoing Concern, of course, until I finished it last month!

I’d seen the Ziggyology book quite prominently last year, especially early in 2016 just after Bowie had died, but at the time, I’d plumped for Starman, by Paul Trynka. I could add Ziggyology to my rainbow book pile – it’d be quite high up on that, given the orange spine, lol! It’d look good right between The City and the City, by China Miéville, and Alias Grace, by Margaret Atwood! Anyway, I could read one after the other, as I’ve not read Starman yet, so I could read both Bowie books back to back if I so wished!

Well, as I’ve got a few books to sort out, I think I’d better get away from Computer Corner and find places for my reading matter until such a time as I call upon any of these books to become Ongoing Concerns! Until the next time I blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović – Zlatan Ibrahimović
  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • City of Bones – Cassandra Clare
  • City of Ashes – Cassandra Clare
  • City of Glass – Cassandra Clare
  • City of Fallen Angels – Cassandra Clare
  • City of Lost Souls – Cassandra Clare
  • City of Heavenly Fire – Cassandra Clare
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J. K. Rowling
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them – J. K. Rowling
  • Quidditch Through the Ages – J. K. Rowling
  • Unexpected – Greg Rutherford
  • The Sun & The Moon & The Rolling Stones – Rich Cohen
  • Ziggyology – Simon Goddard
  • The People’s Songs – Stuart Maconie
  • Pies and Prejudice – Stuart Maconie
  • The Pie at Night – Stuart Maconie
  • Starman: David Bowie – Paul Trynka
  • The City and the City – China Miéville
  • Alias Grace – Margaret Atwood

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Cross-Stitch, Football, Humour, Music, Non-Fiction, Olympic Games, Ongoing Concerns, Sports, YA Books

A Tale of Two Copies

all the light we cannot see

Good afternoon, fellow Bookworms!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The geek shall inherit the earth!

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

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

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

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

Joanne x x x

Non-duplicate books mentioned in this blog entry…

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

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

Polishing Off The Pie

Pie at Night finished March 2017

Finished! The Pie has had its chips (and gravy), lol!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

That’s The Pie at Night finished! 14 books on the Goodreads Challenge now, as Stuart Maconie‘s brilliant guide to what the north does for fun joins the list of books I’ve read this year! Wahey! It can now come off the list of Ongoing Concerns, although I might want to get that list down further before adding more to it. Then again, I might not! There are plenty of books round here begging to be read, lol, so it won’t be too long before new ones are added! After all, I expect others to come off the OC list pretty soon.

Unless anything drastic happens, I’m expecting this coming Tuesday to be the last of my Tuesdays With Morrie sessions! That one is certainly a very moving and poignant book, although I am not one to cry over reading matter. Doesn’t mean I don’t experience feelings when reading, I certainly do, but not what some people would describe as “ugly crying”.or “ugly sobbing”. When I was reading A Little Life last year, I wanted to hug Jude on several occasions, and wanted to punch the living daylights out of several characters in that novel who had mistreated him! Willem was my favourite from that novel.

Moonstone will still need to be a priority as it’s for book club. Mind you, it’s only short and I’m just over halfway through it at present, so that should be off the OC list fairly shortly, and I also think Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist is making good progress. It’s not that I’m not enjoying the others on the OC list, but maybe I’ve just been more in the mood for certain books rather than others.

So, with one book off the OC list, and with others soon to follow, we need to think about which fresh books or half-read books to add to the mix! Do we opt for Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy, particularly as it’s going to be made into a film? It has to be said that I’m not much of a cinema-goer anyway, so it’s not all that important to get something read before it appears at the flicks! It’s not that I don’t like films, I do, but I really have to get my arse in gear to go and see them, and it’s not really something I lose sleep over if I miss out on seeing something – I can always get it and watch it on DVD, and even then, I’ve got plenty of those I’ve not got around to watching yet!

I think it’s the matter of wondering if I really have a couple of hours to set aside for a film. A book can be picked up and put down and picked up again. Yes, I have read books in one sitting before now, but it’s been a long time since I did that with anything other than a kid’s book! I managed The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark in one go the other day, but that’s a children’s book, it had fewer than 100 pages!

Rainbow Book Tower March 2017

The Rainbow Book Tower

What I COULD do on the OC front is tackle that rainbow pile of books from pink-covered Stargirl at the top down to The Sisters Brothers whose spine serves as the “pot of gold” at the bottom! I could add the next book from that pile any time I need a new item of reading matter on the OC list. There are also some of the runners-up from the vote to become my “Wembley Book” for the EFL Cup Final last month, the vote which was won by The Pie at Night, which I have just finished. One of the runners-up on that front was The Lady and the Unicorn, by Tracy Chevalier, so that one should be given serious consideration.

If you recall my recent blog, I mentioned a book with a “mad-looking snowman” on the cover – the anonymously-penned Diary of an Oxygen Thief – well, I took the plunge and acquired it the other day, and it has become a Handbag Book, as has Headhunter, by Jade Jones, the Olympic Taekwondo Champion from 2012 and 1016. It’s from the Quick Reads series and was written after London 2012, but before Rio 2016. As it’s a very slim volume, I expect to get through that one fairly rapidly once I decide to make a start on it! I have a couple of “chunkies” on the OC list at present, so I don’t feel remotely bad about having one or two at the short end of the scale. I also managed to pick up a book in a sale the other day, but I have not yet read Eragon or Eldest, so Brisingr is a long way off being read! The fourth book of that series is Inheritance, but I don’t have a copy of that, and that’s not a major concern right now!

I am not sure if I mentioned this in previous blogs, but I recently received documentation calling me up for jury service in April, straight after Easter. My parents, and my late maternal grandparents, have done it, and if their experiences are anything to go by, I am hoping to get some epic reading done during the fortnight I expect to be fulfilling that obligation at the courts in town! Crime is not my usual genre when it comes to books, so it’s unlikely I’ll be reading anything of a legal persuasion, unless, perhaps, I choose to read Alias Grace, by Margaret Atwood! That one’s in the rainbow tower, though, so if I decide to read books in order of coloured spines, there’d be three others I’d need to read before the Atwood!

Anyway, I think that’s about it for now! The pie has been eaten, but there are plenty more books on the menu, and it’s so hard to choose! I want a bit of everything on my plate, a sort of read-as-much-as-you-like buffet on the literary front, as it were! Hence the Ongoing Concerns – I can have a bit of YA, a bit of travel, some autobiography, and a couple of chunky helpings of general fiction… A food court but for books, so no matter what you’re in the mood for on the reading front, if you’ve got a few different types of books on your OC list, you can get on with whichever suits your mood at that time!

Until the next time I blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Pie at Night – Stuart Maconie
  • Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • Moonstone – Sjón
  • Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist – Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
  • Dumplin’ – Julie Murphy
  • The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark – Jill Tomlinson
  • Stargirl – Jerry Spinelli
  • The Sisters Brothers – Patrick deWitt
  • The Lady and the Unicorn – Tracy Chevalier
  • Diary of an Oxygen Thief – Anonymous
  • Headhunter – Jade Jones
  • Eragon – Christopher Paolini
  • Eldest – Christopher Paolini
  • Brisingr – Christopher Paolini
  • Inheritance – Christopher Paolini
  • Alias Grace – Margaret Atwood

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Filed under Books, Childrens' Books, Food & Drink, Football, Handbag Books, Humour, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Music, Olympic Games, Ongoing Concerns, Travel, YA Books

All The Books We Cannot See

Ongoing Concerns 8th March 2017

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

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

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

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

Love Is In The Air…

introvert-doodles-book-valentine

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

I love Marzi’s “Introvert Doodles” cartoons, and that one really fits the bill for bookworms on Valentine’s Day, lol! I might just curl up with the love of my life before the night is over – perhaps get a bit more of An Equal Music read, for instance!

This probably won’t be a long blog, yesterday’s was pretty massive, with my 12 books for my 12 year old self theme, so this is a fairly short bookish Valentine blog. Thing is, books ARE one of the loves of my life, along with Manchester United, chocolate and music! Oh, and food. Can’t forget food! And a good cup of tea…

* nips off downstairs to make a brew *

* returns with a mug of tea and a couple of Jammie Dodgers *

Ah, sorry, yes, where were we? The loves of my life… Books, obviously, plus MUFC, chocolate, music, food, the Olympic Games – talking of which, it’s 33 years ago today since Jayne Torvill & Christopher Dean won gold at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, skating to Ravel’s Bolero. I have the orchestral score of that, actually. Picked it up from the second-hand book stall which came to my uni…

That isn’t even the first orchestral score or book of sheet music to be mentioned on this blog, either! To me, if it’s in book form, it can be mentioned and listed on here, so musical compositions are included! The first score to figure in these blogs was Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, and I was blogging about my days at school and college at the time, because I was actually following the score for that music in the library at Eccles College when I was a teenager! Well, we should give that one its proper title… Symphony No. 6 in F Major. Pastoral Symphony is merely the nickname!

Lonely Hunter 1

* blind date with a book, from last year *

Wonder if Waterstone’s had any Blind Date With a Book events again this year for Valentine’s Day? Those are a good idea for book stores. They wrap several books up, usually identically, and just put a small clue on the paper or on a tag, and you buy a mystery book and find out what it is when you get it home and unwrap it. Perhaps some clues might be easy to guess, but other books might be a complete surprise, and it’s a good way for a store to get people to buy a book they might not normally consider. For example, you might normally read romance, or perhaps historical fiction, but you open your blind date book and you’ve got science fiction…

The above one was from last year, and turned out to be The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, by Carson McCullers. Not got around to reading it yet, though.

Talking of Waterstone’s as I was, seems another lucky guy got locked in a branch of the book store chain the other day! Pretty sure I mentioned a similar incident at a branch in London a year or so ago, and this one has also happened somewhere down south, I think. Jammy bugger! Don’t know what he was moaning about – I’d love to get locked in at Waterstone’s! Overnight at the Deansgate branch, preferably! Well, if I’d remembered to bring my phone charger with me, anyway, lol! I can always kip on one of the sofas overnight!

With advance apologies for an un-asterisked expletive in the next photo, but I saw this and it made me lmao…

voldemort-valentine-ecard

Well, it amused me, but then again, I am a Potterhead, lol!

I can’t seem to find it as yet on a Google image search, but I think it was a Purple Ronnie card from donkey’s years ago, we’re talking back in the early or mid 90s, I think, during my student days, when I first became a match-going Red, but it would make a good Valentine’s Day card for fellow football fans, regardless of allegiance… it went something like this…

Football is your passion, you really give it your all…

The true romance in your life is eleven men and a ball!

I am pretty sure I had a card or postcard with that on, back in my student days, lol! Probably lurking around somewhere. In a box in the garage, or somewhere like that. Anyway, as I said earlier, I’m going to get a bit of reading in, so I shall love you and leave you for now. I did say this was just a short one tonight! Until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • Bolero – Maurice Ravel (orchestral score)
  • Symphony No 6 in F Major (Pastoral) – Ludwig van Beethoven (orchestral score)
  • The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter – Carson McCullers

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Filed under Blind Date With A Book, Books, Music, My Bookworm History, Olympic Games