Category Archives: Ongoing Concerns

Towels, Tigers, Travel and Tortoises

Towel Day

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Happy Towel Day to all you hoopy froods out there! We’ve actually got some new towels in our bathroom recently. Dark teal ones, really gorgeous shade. So, yes, I’m a frood who knows where our towels are! For those who are unfamiliar with the works of the late great Douglas Adams, I am making reference to the legendary work of science fiction humour that is The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. As 25th May was Douglas’ birthday when he was still with us, it has been declared Towel Day in his honour since he passed away.

Sadly, while on the subject of authors no longer with us, Judith Kerr passed away earlier this week, aged 95. She is particularly famous for her children’s books, one of the best known ones for young readers being The Tiger Who Came to Tea. One of those books my sister and I enjoyed when we were kids and my niece has enjoyed it too in recent years. Charlotte, the Junior Bookworm, is quite into David Walliams books these days, and has recently been laughing her way through Fing. According to my sister, Charlotte had already started reading it in Waterstone’s and had got through the first three chapters in the book shop! You know it’s a good book when you haven’t even left the store and you’re already well into it!

You won’t be at all surprised to learn that I was at Waterstone’s earlier today. Let’s face it,  you’d be more gobsmacked if I hadn’t been, lol! The big one in town, on Deansgate. I wanted some more of those Object Lessons books – you will recall in a recent blog that I bought and read Souvenir, by Rolf Potts, and I wanted more from the same series about items which interested me, so I will be mentioning those shortly. I also got some books from HMV this afternoon. Yes, I know, it’s ostensibly a record shop, or that’s what it’s famous for, but they do have books and usually on offer.

As you know, my dad passed away in January. I used to get him HMV gift cards for Christmas, I had been doing this for some time. However, he hadn’t got round to using the last two I’d got him, and Mum found them amongst his stuff the other day. I got them checked out before I bought anything and, yes, they were both still valid and with a tenner on each. I have now spent one, on some books, but I still have one to use.

Books bought 25th May 2019

Book haul from HMV and Waterstone’s.

The three at the bottom, plus White Teeth, by Zadie Smith, were from HMV, and the other five were from Waterstone’s. I did toy with getting myself another copy of Not Dead Yet, by Phil Collins, and I still might. I had read that the other year when Sarah lent me her copy. I then found a paperback edition last summer for a quid at a charity shop in Wales when I went to Conwy and Llandudno for the day in August. I then lent that copy to my dad as I thought he would enjoy it.

Although we got a lot of his stuff after he died, my Phil Collins book wasn’t amongst the belongings. It doesn’t really matter as I have read the book, but it would have been nice to have got it back anyway!

Obviously, with having my ups and downs, I am not doing the Goodreads Challenge this year, as I mentioned in a previous blog. I only just started reading again in April. Book slump, followed by bereavement, meant that I hadn’t finished a book since the end of November, until April this year. I have now finished my fifth book of the year, though, as I finished off You Do You, by Sarah Knight while I was on my lunch at work the other day! It’s the second book I have read by this writer, as I previously read and enjoyed The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k the other year.

I am very near to my sixth book, too, as I am almost at the end of the ebook version of The Girl With the Curly Hair, by Alis Rowe. You may well know her from Facebook and other forms of social media. She has Asperger’s Syndrome, so she’s on the autistic spectrum, and posts about life on the spectrum from her own experiences and in order to help others – both those with the conditions and those without. Having an invisible health issue myself, my lifelong dodgy thyroid, plus being introverted and having my run-ins with depression from time to time, there is a lot I can relate to when Alis posts on FB, so I downloaded her book on my Kindle. Other than that she is an early bird and I’m a night owl, I feel there’s a lot of cross-over and stuff in common.

I would like to get to double figures in books read by the end of the year. I know that’s a low target, but I don’t care. I also don’t care if nearly all the books I read this year are non-fiction. I have read a couple of poetry anthologies, too, but I’ve not finished any novels yet, and the books on the horizon for being finished look like being factual stuff, too. I’ve still got the book about Ole on the go, so a biography will add to the non-fiction list once that’s been read.

Anyway, as I said a few paragraphs ago, lol, I bought some more of those Object Lessons books when I was at Waterstone’s earlier. Given my impending jollies, Luggage, by Susan Harlan, was an obvious choice! I’d bought a book about souvenirs, I might as well buy one about suitcases, lol! The other two OL books are about relevant items to me due to being a bookworm and a music nut, as they are Bookshelf, by Lydia Pyne, and Personal Stereo, by Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow.

Sony launched their first-ever Walkman portable personal cassette player in 1979, so it’s the 40th anniversary this year. I had a couple of personal stereos, not branded ones, since the mid 80s, getting the first one when I was 12. I think it was for Christmas in 1985, so, yes I would have been 12. I got another at about 15, but it was in 1989, ten years after Sony launched the first model, that I saved up and bought myself a Sony Walkman. One with MegaBass, in my case, and that really served me well in the early 90s when I was a student and commuting to Bolton and back on the bus for the three years of my degree at uni! Pretty sure I still have that Walkman, and that it’s in the garage. Might even still work if fresh batteries were put in it! We still have some tapes in the garage, so if my Walkman does work, I would have something to play them on, lol!

In the past 30 years, though, audio technology has changed. I went from a Walkman and tapes to a portable CD player, and also MiniDiscs at one point, and an MP3 player, and then, of course, an iPod, and in recent times the advent of having my music on my phone so that everything is on the same device and I would notice if someone was trying to ring me while I was listening to some tunes! My tastes in music haven’t changed much, just how I listen to my favourite songs! I’m listening to music digitally, on my mobile phone, when I’m on the bus or tram, but it’s pretty much the same stuff I loved to listen to on tapes back in the day! Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, and pretty much most other 80s music, especially the synth stuff! Human League, Depeche Mode, New Order, Soft Cell, Ultravox, OMD, etc…

Tortoise, by Peter Young, is not from the same series, not an Object Lessons book, but it is from a series about different animals. I am hoping to see some giant tortoises when I’m on my holidays, so that’s why I bought the book, in case you were wondering! No, I don’t have one as a pet. I don’t have any pets. Lots of music by the Pet Shop Boys, but no pets, lol! The only time we had any pets, temporarily, was when my sister and I were at primary school and we looked after Sooty, one of the nursery class’s guinea pigs, during school holidays. We did that a few times, particularly when Ellie was in the nursery.

Well, that’s about it for now, I think, so have the rest of a Happy Towel Day, fellow froods, and I shall be back again some time soon! Might not be this side of my jollies, but I will be around again before too long! Take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
  • The Tiger Who Came to Tea – Judith Kerr
  • Fing – David Walliams
  • Souvenir – Rolf Potts
  • White Teeth – Zadie Smith
  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • You Do You – Sarah Knight
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k – Sarah Knight
  • The Girl With the Curly Hair – Alis Rowe
  • Ole – Ian MacLeay
  • Luggage – Susan Harlan
  • Bookshelf – Lydia Pyne
  • Personal Stereo – Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow
  • Tortoise – Peter Young
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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Childrens' Books, Computer Corner, E-Books & Audiobooks, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, List Challenges, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Poetry, Science Fiction, Travel

O.U. Pretty Things!

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

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

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

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

April, blog she will…

 

Birthday photo 23 04 2018

Me last year on my birthday – nearly that time again…

Hello, fellow bookworms!

Long time no blog, I know! Regulars will know this has happened before in the history of my blogs, but I’m here now. I see I have 82 people following this blog now, so thank you very much! Especially given that you’ve had bugger all to read from me since November! Got some catching up to do, fill you in on the missing months. I think you had sussed out, though, towards the end of last year, that the reading had kinda dried up a bit and that I’d gone into a book slump again. You probably won’t be terribly surprised to learn that I didn’t meet my Goodreads Challenge last year. I was two books short, having managed 28 books during the course of 2018, whereas I’d set the target at 30. I have not bothered this year.

The List Challenges lists that I promised have now, finally, been published, so if you want to go through what I read in 2018, or the Handbag Books list, or even the list of books I’ve mentioned on here during the course of last year, you can now do so. Very sorry for the delay.

So, as I said, I’d been having Reader’s Block since the end of last year. I had hoped, as we let in 2019, that my reading mojo would return but, it certainly didn’t do so in time for the new year. In fact, things got worse. When you’re already a bookworm going through a book slump, the last bloody thing you need is bereavement, but that’s what happened. On the evening of Saturday 12th January 2019, my sister came round to inform Mum and I that Dad had died. He was 71, same age as his dad had been when he died, back when I was a teenager. We knew he’d had his health issues, but didn’t think, at the time, that it was something that couldn’t be put right if he got some medical advice.

However, as I’ve probably said before on here about my dad, he was a pretty stubborn bloke, not the sort to take advice from other people, and definitely the sort who, if he did go and see a medical practitioner, would tell them a few tales and would not be honest with them about the fact that he was a couch potato and that he liked a drink or three… His second wife, Gill, had found him dead in their bathroom, she had been away. She had phoned one of Dad’s sisters, and she in turn had phoned Ellie. Then Ellie came round to tell us.

Obviously, one or two people reading this will already know, some who are friends on FB, but for the rest of you, I’m fairly sure it will explain why I’m only just blogging now for the first time in 2019. I’ve not been reading much, if anything, and finally had my first book finish of the year last night! We’re in April, a few days away from my 46th birthday, and I have actually got a finish under my belt for this year at last! Regulars won’t be terribly surprised to learn that it was a non-fiction book which did the trick! Factual stuff gets me out of slumps! I have Mark Manson to thank, as the book was The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, and I really enjoyed it! You know my opinion of most so-called “self help” books, but occasionally something comes along in that genre which I actually find I can relate to, rather than finding it patronising and ableist like I do with so many others of that ilk!

You may recall that I read a similar book in 2017, that would have been Sarah Knight‘s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k, so I would recommend both books to anyone who is not struck on the usual bog-standard self-help books and wants something a bit different, a book that does look at things in a different way to most books of that variety. Back to the Mark Manson book, however, and I certainly found that a lot of stuff was very relatable, particularly dealing with people who were very like that ex-friend of mine – you know the one, initials HLA. Reading Mark’s book made me feel vindicated that I’d kicked that toxic bitch out of my life.

I can’t even recall what was on my Ongoing Concerns back in November. All of that kinda fell by the wayside, and I don’t even know where my magnetic wipe board is at the moment, although probably in the garage. You did know about the loom knitting and Pixelhobby, though, as I’d started those activities before I went into the book slump, and had mentioned them in blogs in the autumn. I will give you a catch-up some time on the Pixelhobby projects. I don’t currently have a project on the go, although I’ve got something in mind. Recently completed a couple of 4 baseplate kits, my largest ones so far, and it would be another of that size that I have in mind and have got some of my pixels put aside so that I know what I’ve already got.

The one thing that has been good, though, came the week before Christmas, when the Bus Parking One was sacked after our 3-1 defeat away to Liverpool. Personally, I think he should have been sacked at the end of last season. I would have preferred it if he hadn’t been appointed in the first place, as I’ve never liked him and I have made that quite clear over the  years, but anyway, United finally had enough of his crap and booted him out on 18th December, replacing him, the following day, with the Treble-winning Legend that is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer! So, Ole’s been at the wheel since just before Christmas, and the immediate response at the time was for the lads to thrash Cardiff 5-1 away! Then, on Boxing Day, we had our first home game with Ole in charge, a 3-1 win against Huddersfield Town, and that was the last time I saw my dad. At least Dad got to see a match under Ole and know that United were playing the proper way again before he died.

Ole was made permanent at the end of last month, so it should be interesting to see who he buys in the summer. He has certainly got the best out of most of the lads he inherited from the Portuguese Pillock, though! That’s what the second half of this season has been about – believing in the current players, encouraging them to attack and score goals, and to be a good man-manager and keep the hairdryer treatment behind closed doors. Ole learned from Sir Alex, though, so this comes as standard. This is why we’re back to the United way. Even when results haven’t gone our way, you still see the effort, which is what you weren’t always seeing in the previous five and a half seasons, especially the two and a half under the Tax-Fiddling One!

It also brings me neatly onto one of my current Ongoing Concerns, which is the biography Ole, by Ian MacLeay, a book which first came out in 2007, apparently, which would have been when he retired as a player, but has now been updated this year to take in his return to United as our manager. While we’re on the subject of football-related books, I got Michael Carrick‘s autobiography, Between the Lines, for Christmas, so I’ve still got that to read yet. It’s Carrick, you know. Hard to believe it’s not Scholes, lol!

Sort of still footy related, although the book isn’t, my next mention is for a book which was mentioned by Juan Mata not long ago. I love reading Juan’s blogs, One Hour Behind, but this was actually an interview with Guillem Balague, and Juan mentioned that he’d been reading Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari. One of the many things I love and admire about Juan is that he’s not just a great player on the pitch, but a really lovely, and very interesting, bloke away from footy! The sort of person I’d love to have a cuppa and a chat with – a natter with Mata! I would definitely love to have a chat with Juan about books!

Sales of Notre Dame de Paris, by Victor Hugo have rocketed following the devastating fire which has destroyed the roof of the famous cathedral earlier this week. I purchased a copy from Waterstone’s at the Trafford Centre on Wednesday night, and it said, in the introduction, that the cathedral had been in disrepair before, particularly after the French Revolution, but that when Hugo’s novel was published, its popularity led to necessary repairs being made back then! Hopefully sales might help once again.

I already had one of Hugo’s works, but that’s Les Misérables, and I’ve not got round to reading that yet! I would probably end up singing songs from the musical if I did, lol!

Victor Hugo always reminds me of when I was at high school, learning French… whatever textbook you use, and we used French For Today at the time, there’s usually a unit about asking for and giving directions, and so there’ll be this map of some made-up French town with various buildings on it so you can practice asking «Pour aller à la bibliothèque, s’il vous plâit?» and other similar questions. You will note that I’ve used the example of asking how to get to the library – have to keep it book-related, lol! Anyway, when you get these pretend French towns and their maps, it doesn’t seem to matter which damn text book it’s in, you can guarantee at least two of the street names! I shit you not! There will always be an Avenue Charles de Gaulle, and there will always be a Rue Victor Hugo! I would be absolutely gobsmacked if there wasn’t!

Recently been in France, actually, as we were in Disneyland Paris at the start of April, but no Rue Victor Hugo there, even though Disney did do a film of the Hunchback of Notre Dame, so Quasimodo did become a Disney character some time ago. Not really a holiday where I could get much, if any, reading done, though. Not that sort of holiday, unlike the one Mum and I are going on in the summer. That will be a more relaxing, chilled-out holiday, and some lengthy flights, so I should get some reading done!

The blog title, by the way, is based on April Come She Will, by Simon and Garfunkel, as I saw Art Garfunkel at the Lowry Theatre last Sunday. Just in case you were wondering. Yes he sang a few of the old ones from when he and Paul Simon were a duo – I pretty much grew up with their music. Mum and Dad had the Bridge Over Troubled Water album, and also I performed a fair few of their songs in the orchestra and choir when I was at high school. He also sung Bright Eyes, which was a solo number 1 for him here in the UK 40 years ago in April 1979 when I was 6! It was used in the film Watership Down at the time, which was about rabbits. As my Dad used to say… You’ve read the book, you’ve seen the film, you’ve heard the song… now eat the pie!

He’s going on the piss with Georgie Best, my dad. That’s how I see it now. As in our terrace version of Spirit In the Sky… “Goin’ on up to the spirit in the sky. That’s where I’m gonna go when I die. When I die an’ they lay me to rest I’m gonna go on the piss with Georgie Best!”

Anyway, I think that’s about it for now. I’m back and I’ve mentioned a few books, so we’re up and running for this year. I’ve started the blog-related list on List Challenges. This is the one where I mention them whether I’ve read them or not, so there should be a decent amount of books there by the end of the year, I hope! Dunno which ones I will actually have read by the end of 2019, but hopefully a few! Trying to decide whether to try a nice big chunky bit of historical fiction, perhaps Paris by Edward Rutherfurd. I have been looking at my copy of The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. Yeah, it is over 1000 pages long, but, as I’ve said before, if a book is readable, size shouldn’t be a turn-off! World Without End, which is the sequel, has been moved to a higher position on the Bass Amp Book Tower. Just in case, lol!

Adam Kay book signing

Oh, and before I go, some news re Adam Kay. You may remember the brilliant This is Going to Hurt, which I read in 2017, my favourite book that year, and indeed I met the author that autumn when he came to Waterstone’s on Deansgate (see photo above)… Anyway, he’s just announced that he’s got a new book, also about his time in the medical profession before he became a comedian, and it’s due to be published in October. So I will probably be looking to pre-order Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas.

I think that definitely is all there is for now! That’s all folks, as they used to say at the end of Looney Tunes cartoons! Until the next time I blog, take care, Happy Easter and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck – Mark Manson
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k – Sarah Knight
  • Ole – Ian MacLeay
  • Between the Lines – Michael Carrick
  • Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind – Yuval Noah Harari
  • Notre Dame de Paris – Victor Hugo
  • Les Misérables – Victor Hugo
  • French For Today – P J Downes & E A Griffith
  • Watership Down – Richard Adams
  • Paris – Edward Rutherfurd
  • The Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follett
  • World Without End – Ken Follett
  • This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
  • Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas – Adam Kay (due October 2019)

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Talking Leaves

Hot coffee and red book with autumn leaves on wood backgroundHello there, fellow Bookworms!

A suitably autumnal photo for the time of year, eh?! Books, leaves and coffee, although you’d need to take that leaf out first, lol!

Not really been all that much to report of late, I didn’t get anything finished last month, but have just finished My Name is Book, by John Agard, which is basically an autobiography of the written word and its many formats over the centuries. I think my niece would probably like it. I certainly loved it, and it brought back some memories of my student days, back in the early 90s, as there is a poem, or at least an excerpt from a poem, by Grace Nichols in this book – Book-Heart. I studied some of her poetry when I was at uni! Pretty good stuff, actually. Trying to find which anthology includes the poem, and I think it’s called Everybody Got a Gift. I remember reading The Fat Black Woman’s Poems when I was at uni.

The title of this blog is from My Name is Book, as Agard mentions that the Native Americans call books “talking leaves”, so that gave me the idea!

While we’re on the subject of across the Atlantic from me, I shall wish all my followers in the USA a very Happy Thanksgiving for tomorrow! I can take an educated guess at some of the things for which you’re thankful… Books, bookshelves, authors, bookshops, the invention of the printing press, ink, pens, typewriters…. am I correct?!

I didn’t manage to read Elizabeth Is Missing, by Emma Healey, for our council book club, but our next one is Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson – bit of a chunky monkey at 611 pages! I took a library copy at lunchtime, but I will offer that up to any council colleague who needs it as I do own a copy of the book myself, and was able to locate it this evening after work. The book club that has been meeting at Waterstone’s has now been postponed until the new year, although that does give us more time to read Why Mummy Swears by Gill Sims. Also, we are changing the location to the cafe at Asda in Swinton. It’s nearer to where we work and they have book offers on. I have ended up going to the Asda in Trafford Park for the books, though, as the past couple of times, they’ve not had any left in Swinton for the chosen book.

The loom knitting continues apace, and that’s what I’ve been pretty busy with although only one item of that was bought from the church fair at St Paul’s. We did very well on 10th November, but I was a bit disappointed that my knitted stuff didn’t go other than a mug rug. I hope those coming to St Thomas’s on Saturday might be more willing to buy my handicrafts. I have made some mobile phone holders now to add to the knitted stuff. A small circular loom from a kit I bought at the weekend has proved just the right size to make phone holders. So, there’s not only loads of books in my room, but plenty of yarn, too! All sorts of yarn, different colours, different effects and different thicknesses from double knit to seriously chunky stuff! Loom knitting suits chunkier wool, but sometimes I do combine a few balls of double knit.

I have still got All Quiet On the Western Front on the go, actually, and that’s a Handbag Book at the moment. The Eighties: One Day, One Decade, by Dylan Jones, is still my main current read on my ebook.

Got my first gig as part of the steel band tomorrow, a Christmas Lights switch-on at Media City, Salford Quays. I think we’re performing near the BBC studios. There’s also supposed to be some giant snowmen! It’s to do with the children’s book The Snowman, by Raymond Briggs. I think it’s a special anniversary year. So there’s going to be big snowmen on the Quays, twelve of them I understand, like the twelve days of Christmas.

Not long now until I need to check my emails for the Madness tickets. That’s soon come around, hasn’t it? Only a couple of weeks now until Sarah and I go and see the Nutty Boys at the Manchester Arena! Can’t wait! Funnily enough, due to having lost just over two stone now at Slimming World, I’ve ended up with a lot of Baggy Trousers, lol! Many of them have gone to a charity shop as Mum and I sorted the kecks out the other week and I found loads of pairs in my wardrobe which may well fit me again now I’m slimmer, to replace those which are far too big for me! I will be giving Sarah her book back, but as  I now have my own copy of What Does This Button Do?, I am not panicking over getting it finished.

Went to the cinema for the first time in absolutely bloody ages on Saturday! Mum and I went to the Vue cinema at the Printworks in town, as we were doing some shopping, and I had got myself an absolute bargain from Gap (I had an offer in the post, but it had to be the Arndale store and I needed to use it by 19th November, which is why we went into town at the weekend) so we went to see “Bohemian Rhapsody”, which was brilliant! Saw a trailer for “Rocketman” which is due in cinemas next year, and is a biopic of Sir Elton John, so I already want to go and see that one when it’s released!

Yes, I admit I was singing along during the film, lol! Can’t help it! Can’t beat a bit of Queen! There’ll never be another like Freddie Mercury ever again!

Anyway, I think I’ve covered nearly everything for now. Books, poetry, book clubs, loom knitting, music, films, shopping… just don’t mention the footy. Still waiting for that idiotic manager of ours to get the sack. Should have happened at the end of last season, as I’ve said before, but certainly should have happened after we lost the derby at the council house! I don’t want any players to leave. I just want the manager to park his bus as far away from Old Trafford as possible. He can park it on the dark side of the moon for all I care!

I just want a manager who encourages an attack-minded style of play, brings players into the first team from the youth team, and who keeps criticism of players private and behind closed doors, NOT in front of the media! Is that really too much to bloody ask?!

Anyway, rant over, and blog over for now! I’ll be back again soon enough with another helping of waffle and some mention of books, lol, but for now, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • My Name is Book – John Agard
  • Everybody Got a Gift – Grace Nichols
  • The Fat Black Woman’s Poems – Grace Nichols
  • Elizabeth Is Missing – Emma Healey
  • Life After Life – Kate Atkinson
  • Why Mummy Swears – Gill Sims
  • All Quiet On the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque
  • The Eighties: One Day, One Decade – Dylan Jones
  • The Snowman – Raymond Briggs
  • What Does This Button Do? – Bruce Dickinson

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Filed under Books, Chunky Monkeys, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, List Challenges, Literary Issues, Loom Knitting, Music, Ongoing Concerns, Poetry, School, College & Uni Reading, The TBR Pile

October Review – All Quiet on the Reading Front

book-reader-1

Hello there, fellow Bookworms,

Probably going to be a short blog, this, as there’s not an awful lot to report this month. Not in terms of books, anyway. It’s not that nothing has been read, I have read some books, but I haven’t finished any off this month. I have read at lunchtimes at work, and in the car on the way home from matches sometimes, especially if we’ve been stuck in the car park at Old Trafford for bloody ages after the game – the home match against Juventus, for instance, but it’s not been all that good on the reading front.

I didn’t finish Snap, by Belinda Bauer, although I did start it, and got some of it read, and there were actually four of us at Waterstone’s on 16th October, I’m pleased to report! The book club has been revived, lol! I put my idea to the others about the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I and perhaps reading something set during the First World War, but in the end, we decided not to. As with the Bauer novel, my colleagues are influenced by what’s on offer at Asda, and so our current book is Why Mummy Swears, by Gill Sims, which we’re reading for our next meeting on 16th November, which will be a Friday night on this occasion! I have to say that Why Mummy Swears is definitely far more my kind of book! I’m about a third of the way through it so far, and have laughed my arse off on a number of occasions! It’s actually the sequel to Why Mummy Drinks, which I also bought at Asda as it was on offer in the £4 each or two for £7 deal, so I thought I might as well get both, even if I’m reading them out of chronological order!

We head into November tomorrow, need to get a poppy soon. Maybe this weekend. Might still read something WWI related anyway.

Only thing is, that it’s been balls of wool that have caught my eye more than books of late. There has been a lot of loom-knitting going on! Bags, scarves and hats. There’s also been some Pixelhobby done, as I finished my Christmas Candle kit, plus made some magnets and some keyrings. I might start on my snowglobe kit shortly. Like the candle design, it’s just a one baseplate kit. The Sydney Harbour kit can wait until the seasonal stuff is done, as that’s not Christmassy.

The Eighties: One Day, One Decade, by Dylan Jones, is still being read on my Kindle, so that’s just under half-way by now, around 45 or 46% read, so I’ve got things on the go, and there has been some reading done, but just not the finishing off of anything. I have also taken the precaution of acquiring my own copy of What Does This Button Do? by Bruce Dickinson, so that I can give Sarah her copy back in December when we go to see Madness, even if I haven’t finished reading the book yet.

I’ve finished 27 books so far this year, so I do want to get to 30 before the end of the year. Only three to go, doesn’t seem a lot, but it does when you feel more in the mood for other stuff than you feel for reading. Juggling hobbies can be tricky! What I need to remember is, though, that this year, I’ve been in work all year. I have spent all of 2018 in full-time employment, whereas, in 2017, I started the job I am doing in the September, and before that, I had got a fair bit more reading done, so I was over my Goodreads target and seeing how much more I could fit in. This year, reading has always had to be something which I’ve had to fit in around working, eating, sleeping, and doing other stuff.

So, yes, this is probably a pretty short blog just to get something published in October, lol, but I hope to be back in a reading mood sooner rather than later and raving about some books that I come close to calling must-reads! And you know I don’t call anything a must-read, I’m not into forcing anything! I figure we all have more than enough stuff rammed down our throats by other people, you must do this, you must read that, you must eat this, blah, blah bloody blah! Inevitably, a lot of those recommendations end up being disappointments after other people have raved about them only for you to think they’re not all that great! The nearest I will come is that I might strongly recommend that as many people as possible would do well to read a certain book, like with The Angry Chef last year, but I’m not a fan of force, unless it’s in the Star Wars sense of using the Force, lol! May the Force be with you!

Some book news before I go – there is now a SEVENTH book in the Shardlake series by C.J. Sansom! Tombland was published recently, and it’s seriously chunky! As I’m only on for the second book in that series, it will be a while before I’m tackling that one! I have read Dissolution, so I’m on for Dark Fire.

This next one is probably a slimmer volume, but significant to me and other Petheads… 1st November sees the publication of One Hundred Lyrics and a Poem, by Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys. I actually thought it was already out the other week, and then found, to my disappointment, that it wasn’t out yet, which would explain why the hell I couldn’t find it when I was searching all the possible shelves at Waterstone’s in the Trafford Centre! This has happened to me too many times, lol! Seems like I’m forever thinking books are available before they are! There’s been plenty of times I’ve heard about a book and really fancied it, only to discover that it’s not published yet! Usually after I have scoured at least one branch of Waterstone’s looking in vain for the damn book!

With Neil Tennant‘s book, I was like… “Is it in poetry? Is it in music? Is it in autobiography? * looks it up on her phone * Bugger! It’s not even bloody published yet!”

Ah, the ups and downs of being a bookworm, eh?!

Well, that’s about it for now, so until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Snap – Belinda Bauer
  • Why Mummy Swears – Gill Sims
  • Why Mummy Drinks – Gill Sims
  • The Eighties: One Day, One Decade – Dylan Jones
  • What Does This Button Do? – Bruce Dickinson
  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner
  • Tombland – C. J. Sansom
  • Dissolution – C. J. Sansom
  • Dark Fire – C. J. Sansom
  • One Hundred Lyrics and a Poem – Neil Tennant

 

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, E-Books & Audiobooks, Football, Goodreads, Handbag Books, Historical Fiction, Humour, Loom Knitting, Month in Review, Music, Ongoing Concerns, Pixelhobby

September Review: Books, Bags, Pixels…

Planet Earth finished Sept 2018

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Time once more for a monthly review of the stuff I’ve been getting up to, and it does include two books being finished off this month, one ebook and one paperback. It also includes a lot of loom knitting and a not inconsiderable amount of fiddly little pixels, lol! As you can see from the above photo! I am not sure when I last blogged, it might have been just before I went to the craft show, in which case you wouldn’t have known about the pixels as I discovered them by chance at the Creative Crafts Show on 8th September.

I had gone there looking for wool and for loom knitting stuff, and I certainly found some wool, but I chanced upon a stall run by The Craft Dookit, which was offering Pixelhobby kits and accessories and where you could do a make and take pixellated keyring! So, I paid the necessary and made a keyring, choosing a snowman design. I also bought some other kits while I was there, some keyrings and magnets, and the Planet Earth kit which you can see at the top. Yeah, before you ask, it did make me think of the Duran Duran song, but I guess you worked that out, knowing what an 80s girl I am, lol!

The Planet Earth kit does look very science fiction, doesn’t it?!

Not that there has been any science fiction read in September. Both the books I finished this month have been non-fiction, those being Your Eighties, by Sarah Lewis, on my Kindle, and Good As You, by Paul Flynn, in paperback, celebrating 30 years of Gay Britain and covering the three decades from 1984 and the release of both “Relax” by Frankie Goes To Hollywood and “Smalltown Boy” by Bronski Beat, to 2014 and the go-ahead for gay weddings here in the UK. Not only did I love all the 80s music references, but a lot of the book focused on events up here in Manchester, so there were plenty of mentions for places I know. As I think I may have mentioned in previous blogs, I had a work placement in the late 90s, where the office was on the edge of the Gay Village, so I am not unfamiliar with that part of town.

I really need to get on with Snap, by Belinda Bauer, as I need to get a decent amount of it read for 16th October, and have just over a fortnight. I also need to get on with What Does This Button Do? That’s the autobiography of Iron Maiden frontman, Bruce Dickinson, and it’s the one my friend Sarah has lent me, so I need to get it read before we go to see Madness in December at the Manchester Arena. Two months to get on with it. May have to do some each night. It’s a hardback, so I don’t really want to be lugging it around, and wouldn’t want anything to happen to it anyway, as it isn’t my book.

The next book for the book club at work is Salmon Fishing In the Yemen, by Paul Torday. I haven’t actually read that one before, although I’ve had a copy for some time now. All the previous work book club choices have been re-reads for me, but this one isn’t. On the Kindle, there’s a couple of books which I am reading, and may well be my post-match reading matter. I’m already reading them at lunchtime at work, though. The Eighties: One Day, One Decade, by Dylan Jones, is about the Live Aid gig on 13th July 1985, so that’s my 80s music fix sorted, and Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading, by Lucy Mangan, is a book about books, so also right up my street! I was 12 when Live Aid took place, and was watching it on my telly. I still think, however cheesy it might sound, that “Rockin’ All Over The World” by Status Quo was the most appropriate song with which to open that gig! I have the DVD set of Live Aid. It has everything on it except Led Zeppelin, as they thought their performance was so bad that they didn’t want it on the box set because they were too embarrassed!

Sometimes I feel like I would be better off reading during the bloody match, though! Just keeping everything crossed that Jose gets the boot sooner rather than later! How can the board justify him remaining as manager when we’re losing?! It’s apparently our worst start to a Premier League season. Yes, that’s right. Even worse than under Moyesy in 2013-14! And Moyes was out of his depth as our manager, so the so-called “Special One” (more like the Boring One) being worse than Moyesy…

I know you can’t entertain ALL the time, but we can and should be able to expect our team to entertain MOST of the time! The style of play is shite, to use a technical term, and it’s not even as if it’s getting the results, is it?! It’s not even effective! The players hate it, the fans hate it… and if we don’t do well enough in the league, the business partners aren’t gonna like it either, so if that’s all the bloody directors think about, they need to wake up and smell the coffee because they NEED the performances on the pitch to be winning and attractive in order for the performances on the financial front to be good too! Whatever it costs to sack Jose and pay him off would be worth it if we can get a manager in who does things the right way! Get back to attack-minded football, give our forwards and midfielders free rein to entertain and bang in the goals, bring up a few more from the youth team, and only criticise players in private!

Defend in public, throw the teacups behind closed doors! That’s how you get players on board, that’s how you retain their trust! Then they know that even if they’ve had a total ‘mare and they know they’re going to get the hairdryer treatment, as it was known when Sir Alex was manager, they know that the gaffer will stick up for them in the press conference, and the kick up the arse will only happen either in the dressing room, or in the manager’s office at the training ground. That is the way things SHOULD be done! I wouldn’t mind if the manager came out with Arsene Wenger’s old catchphrase and told the press that he didn’t see the incident! Wenger, like Fergie, knew how to treat players. That’s why he was Arsenal’s manager for over 20 years.

Pixel piano and owl

Anyway, enough of that. Back to the crafts, I think. Obviously, the pixels have been a big part of this month’s creativity, especially as one of my orders arrived on Wednesday, from Crafter’s Cavern. I’m still awaiting an order from The Craft Dookit, though, with a couple of kits. As I have done cross-stitch, there is a similarity, although you’re putting diddy little pixels onto baseplates rather than threading some floss and stitching it onto aida or evenweave. The pixel shades all have colour codes, so in that respect it’s similar to stitching! There are keyrings, which are 11 pixels by 14, little squares which are 24 by 24, and standard baseplates, which are 40 by 50 pixels. You can also get XL pixels which cover 4 prongs on a baseplate (2 by 2) and are less fiddly – you can put those in by hand rather than needing tweezers!

That’s the latest finished bag, by the way! I have now started another, although the second picture shows an earlier picture of the scarf I have started. The cream wool is now being used for my latest bag, as I’m onto brown wool on the scarf – I have two huge balls of this stuff, one cream, one brown, it has a bit of a towelling feel to it, Bernat Blanket it’s called, and I’m alternating colours, about 12cm of one, then I change over to the other. On my second lot of brown now. I think of it as coffee and cream. As well as finishing  the bag, I also finished a purple snood.

That’s the snood on the left. On the right is my niece, taking after me on the music front as well as being Junior Bookworm! I came home from work one night this week to be treated to a violin recital from Charlotte! She’s just got a new violin – gone from a quarter-sized one to a half-sized one now that she’s bigger. She’s really good at playing, really fluent with it, and played us a few tunes, including the Can Can! I will be busy this coming week getting a card and gift wrap – it’s nearly my nephew’s 2nd birthday, and we’ll be having the party next weekend! Reuben also likes books, as well as diggers and dinosaurs! I understand he is also partial to Thomas the Tank Engine! Anyway, Auntie Jo is going to be busy!

Oh, and Slimming World. Nearly forgot. I have now lost over 1 and a half stones! The Monday after the craft show, I reached that particular milestone exactly, and have dropped another 3lbs since then, so I’m only 4lbs off a 2 stone loss… that’s my next aim. I have changed my target weight. I may yet change again, but at the moment it is a weight that would give me a 2 and a half stone loss in total from what I started at when I first got on the scales on my sister’s birthday in June!

I think that’s about it for now. I’ve probably covered everything… Books, loom knitting, pixels, footy, music, Reuben’s birthday, Slimming World… yep, that’s pretty much it… Hopefully there will be a Waterstone’s book club to report on in October, everything crossed for 16th October and for a few people to turn up! Until the next time I blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Your Eighties – Sarah Lewis
  • Good As You – Paul Flynn
  • Snap – Belinda Bauer
  • What Does This Button Do? – Bruce Dickinson
  • Salmon Fishing In the Yemen – Paul Torday
  • The Eighties: One Day One Decade – Dylan Jones
  • Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading – Lucy Mangan

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Not Dead Yet!

Your Eighties finished 7th September 2018

Another book finished! This was a great read for me!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Back again with another blog, and to paraphrase a bit of Mark Twain, reports of the death of the Waterstone’s Book Club have been greatly exaggerated! Well, possibly! Thanks to some of my council colleagues, it looks like things are back on, as I was receiving emails earlier this week from a lady who I met by chance at the gym yesterday evening after my post-work workout, and she and at least one other person expressed an interest in joining the book club because they might want to read something more recent than the library service can provide for the work book club.

To cut a long story short, as Spandau Ballet sang back in the early 80s, lol, I had communications both from work and from a lady called Charlotte at Waterstone’s Deansgate, and I am set to meet Vivienne and others at the usual place at 6pm on 16th October to discuss Snap, by Belinda Bauer!

Thus, the book club, which looked to be popping its clogs last month after I ended up as Billy No-Mates at Waterstone’s on meeting night, has somehow pulled through and come out of intensive care! Hence the blog title, Not Dead Yet, which is, coincidentally, the title of Phil Collins‘ brilliant autobiography which I read and loved at the start of this year! I had to give that copy back as my friend Sarah had lent it to me, and I returned it to her when we went to see Paul Young in February at the Preston Guild Hall, as you may recall. However, I did manage to pick up a paperback copy when I was in Wales the other week, for a mere quid in a charity shop in Conwy, so I now have one of my own, and I have let my dad borrow it. I thought he would enjoy it, but didn’t think it would be right to have lent him Sarah’s copy!

I have let Charlotte from Waterstone’s know about the date and the book for the meeting, and I have now emailed a few of the people who have been in the book club in the recent past to let them know it’s back on, and to give them details of the date, time and book. Keeping everything crossed, although maybe not eyes, lol, that people turn up! Personally, I don’t give a shit how much or how little of the book they’ve read, I don’t always get books finished so I can’t call others out on it, and anyway, it’s turning up that matters right now! I just want enough people to turn up to make it worth doing!

I think, if enough of us do turn up, that I will make a suggestion for the next book club, which would probably meet some time in November. I know this will be an old book, but with it being 100 years since the end of the First World War, I think I might suggest that we read All Quiet On the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque, or something of that ilk. Talking of the centenary of the end of WWI, a large display of poppies is going to be outside the Imperial War Museum North on Salford Quays until late November, so anyone in my neck of the woods has a couple of months to go and see it.

Me with Bee United 1st September 2018

Oh, and while we’re on the subject of large items on display in my area, this brings me back to Bee In the City, which is currently still running until about 23rd of this month, so you’ve still got around another fortnight to do any more bee-spotting! That was me last weekend, when I was on my epic bee hunt – I got someone to take a photo of me with Bee United at Old Trafford. I’d been doing a lot of bee spotting with my mum on the Friday afternoon, which I mentioned in my August Review blog, and then I continued my quest the next day, albeit on my own, visiting Media City, the Lowry Outlet Mall (where there’s a lot of little bees, including one decorated by pupils from my former high school), Old Trafford and then into town.

I was getting about by tram and by foot, and as I was walking from Old Trafford football ground to the cricket ground and tram stop, I was thinking how I was now at least in a fit state to do all this walking around. If it’d been a couple of months ago, before I started at Slimming World, I would have been knackered and having to rest a lot more than I needed to last weekend! And, despite what I had to eat during my week off work, when I went to Wales, and the Lake District, and even had an ice cream on the Saturday while making my way from one Old Trafford to the other, I still managed to lose 4 and a half pounds on Monday when I weighed in after a week off! If I can get at least another pound off this coming Monday, I’ll have lost 1 and a half stone!

Right, anyway, I was back in work on Monday, and brought my colleagues some fudge from my trip to Wales. I had a lot of emails to catch up with after having been off for a week! I’d missed the August book club meeting, where Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine was discussed, but the next meeting is on 25th September, and it’s another re-read for me, as the book is Water For Elephants, by Sara Gruen, which, ironically, was the first book I read for the Waterstone’s Deansgate book club when I joined that in October 2008! After that, the October book will be Salmon Fishing In the Yemen, by Paul Torday. This will be the first one which won’t be a re-read for me, lol! I own a copy of the book, had it for donkey’s years, but not got around to reading it yet.

So, I have Water For Elephants and Snap to get on with for book clubs, plus What Does This Button Do? by Bruce Dickinson, the Iron Maiden frontman, as Sarah has lent me that one and I need to get it read so I can give it back to her when we go to see Madness at the Manchester Arena in December. Not started Snap yet, but 15% of the way through Water For Elephants and 10% read of What Does This Button Do? at the mo. I can probably skim much of the elephants one, as I have read it before, I just need to refresh myself on the story. The other two books with deadlines are new to me.

Now on to the non-deadline books, and, as you can see from the top of the blog, I’ve already finished one book this month, as I polished off Your Eighties, by Sarah Lewis, on my Kindle in the early hours of today! Not sure how I came about it – it may well have been either free or 99p on a Kindle offer, and you know what I’m like when it comes to the 1980s, so it had to be downloaded and read! This means I’m now on 26/30 on my Goodreads Challenge, only 4 more books to go to meet my target, which is pretty good considering I’ve been working a whole year now, full-time, and I got bugger all read in June and only one book either side of that in May and in July. Getting six read in August was a big help!

My current Handbag Book, besides all the ebooks on my Kindle, is Good As You, by Paul Flynn, which is a 30 year history of gay Britain from 1984 to 2014 taking in the three decades from the release of “Relax” and “Smalltown Boy” to the go-ahead for gay weddings in the UK. It’s probably the book I am most enjoying right now, and not just because of all the 80s disco music, but also because a lot of it centres around Manchester, and the writer is a Manc and not much older than me, so I know, or at least know of, many of the places in town that he mentions! I actually went to the gay village last weekend on my bee hunt, as there is a big bee in a park near Sackville Street and Canal Street. A rainbow-coloured bee, needless to say! The LGBTQ+ Queen Bee. It was moved temporarily, as I believe it was on a float during the Pride parade at the end of August, but it has returned to the park. Years ago, back in the late 90s, I had a work placement at a housing association, and the office where I was based was on the edge of the gay village.

LGBTQ+ Queen Bee

The guy in the bee’s eye is Alan Turing, the guy who cracked the Enigma Code, therefore played a major part in helping the Allies defeat the Nazis and win the Second World War. Thus, to any decent person, this guy is a hero. Unfortunately, not to our politicians, certainly not those around at the time, who had a big problem with the fact that he was gay. Some people are just ungrateful bastards, aren’t they?! One of the many reasons why I dislike politicians, especially right-wing ones.

I’ve never been bothered as to whether a couple is a man and a woman, two men, or two women. What I think is important is that people are loyal to one another in relationships. Whether that’s a straight one or a gay one is unimportant, the important thing is to be faithful and not go seeing anyone else behind your partner’s back.

Anyway, back to the books, and Good As You is 37% read, so that’s currently leading in the Ongoing Concerns list, closely followed by The Antidote, by Oliver Burkeman at 35% read. There are some other partially-read books, but they’ll have to take a back seat to some of the books with deadlines. I can return to less urgent reads later.

I’m off to the Creative Craft Show tomorrow, at Event City, near the Trafford Centre, so I’ll be taking a bit of my loom knitting with me and looking for tips, particularly regarding different stitches, and with casting off, and on Sunday I might be going to see those poppies I mentioned earlier, which are on display outside the Imperial War Museum North. I will be back with another blog entry soon enough though, but until then, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Snap – Belinda Bauer
  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • All Quiet On the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque
  • Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
  • Water For Elephants – Sara Gruen
  • Salmon Fishing In the Yemen – Paul Torday
  • What Does This Button Do?  – Bruce Dickinson
  • Your Eighties – Sarah Lewis
  • Good As You – Paul Flynn
  • The Antidote – Oliver Burkeman

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