Category Archives: Rants

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

Leave a comment

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

Oh Manchester is Wonderful!

Manchester skyline dusk

Manchester at dusk

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Didn’t think “good evening” would be right after the events which started unfolding around 10:30pm last night. My thoughts go out to the 22 killed and 59 injured (the current figures, as far as I know, unless there has been a further update) after the bomb blast at the Manchester Arena last night at the end of the Ariana Grande concert. My thoughts, also, to Ariana and the members of her band, and roadies. They must be pretty shaken, too. You go on tour to take your songs around a country, provide entertainment for your fans, you don’t expect your gig to be ruined by some terrorist knobhead.

But that knob will NOT win. Message for the dickhead…

This is Manchester, sunshine! Idiots have tried before, and they have failed!

The Luftwaffe tried way back in the 40s during the Second World War. They failed.

The IRA tried in June 1996. They also failed.

And the latest batch of knobheads will also fail, as will any future knobheads!

Because we don’t put up with that sort of shit round here! Never have and never bloody will! I live on the outskirts of a very cosmopolitan and friendly city, I worked in the city centre for ten years and loved it, and I am especially proud of the way fellow Mancs rushed to help out after the atrocity.

city united against terrorism

Opening up shops and houses to those stranded in town, offering accommodation and cuppas, cabbies turning off their meters and giving people a free ride home, sandwich shops and pizza deliverers providing free sustenance to members of the emergency services to keep them going strong on what would have been the busiest and most horrific night of work many of them will ever have been called out to. Huge thumbs up to the North West Ambulance Service, by the way! One of my former classmates, whom I’ve known since primary school, is a paramedic, and was in action last night in the aftermath of the blast.

Hotels took in kids separated from their parents, I’ve heard of phone shops which opened up to let people recharge their mobiles – last thing you need when you need to let people know you’re OK and where you are is for your battery to run out, so I expect that anyone providing mobile-charging facilities was much appreciated!

This is a city which has always loved entertainment. Particularly music. Dave Haslam wrote about it in Manchester, England, and Stuart Maconie also mentioned it in The Pie at Night, which I read earlier this year, a book about what the north likes to do for fun after hours. It is also a city which welcomes people of all backgrounds. All faiths, nationalities, sexual orientations, etc, etc…

The only thing we don’t like is a narrow-minded knobhead who has a problem with us having fun and enjoying ourselves! Especially to the extent where they think it’s acceptable to blow people up at a pop concert. That is the only kind of person that is NOT welcome round here! If you have a problem with people having a good time, then you can just do one! Seriously, off you f**k! That sort of shit is out of order!

Manchester 23rd May 2017

Market Street, Manchester, earlier this evening.

The rest of us will carry on. After a day or two, we will resume going to gigs, we will resume enjoying ourselves, because we are NOT going to let the latest shower of bastards win any more than we let the previous numpties win back in the 40s or 1996…

I’m currently 84% of the way through Nul Points, on my OC list, which, as many of you know by now, is a book about the artists who have gone away from the Eurovision Song Contest completely empty-handed, without a single vote to their name. Some of those poor unfortunate singers might have felt like right losers on those occasions, but they’re not, really, are they? It is much, much better to lose at Eurovision than to lose in life by being a terrorist knobhead!

and the bees still buzz poem

Poem courtesy of the Afflecks page on Facebook.

Thought I would leave you all with the poem as this is supposed to be a literary-themed blog, and I have mentioned a few books tonight, including a couple which speak of Manchester’s love of and reputation for entertainment. I will be back to my usual, long, waffly self soon enough, and probably listing more books than you can shake a stick at, lol, but I’m sure you understand that, as a Manc bookworm, I had things to get off my chest tonight which weren’t about reading matter!

All the best to my beloved Reds for tomorrow night, as Manchester United play Ajax in the Europa League Final at the Friends Arena in Stockholm! Keep the Red Flag flying high over in Sweden and win the trophy for Manchester!

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

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Manchester, England – Dave Haslam
  • The Pie at Night – Stuart Maconie
  • Nul Points – Tim Moore

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Manc Stuff!, Music, Ongoing Concerns, Rants

Signed, Sealed, Delivered…

Tobacconist finished May 2017

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Another blog, another book finished and off the OC List! Not quite in time for yesterday’s book club meeting, but The Tobacconist has been finished off, and I can recommend it! Historical fiction without being too chunky (we all know historical fiction, as a genre, has a well-earned reputation for chunky novels!) Very well-written. So, currently, until I add another book, there are 10 books on the OC list, and now 28 on my Goodreads Challenge! Woo hoo!

Going back to my OC List, it may have occurred to you that when I give percentages for how far through any book on my OC List I have progressed, they are always at least 10% or more. Usually coming in on the list at around 12 or 13 percent. This is my OC List policy and it also means that I can try a bit and see if I like it first. If it doesn’t grab me, it’s not even going to go on the list! It’s my escape clause so that I don’t feel pressured into reading stuff which really doesn’t fizz on me, such as horror novels! So, if you WERE wondering why books had to be read, at least a little bit, before even appearing on the OC List, that is why! In case my book club chooses something which isn’t my cup of tea, or if I try one of my many books from my TBR List only to find that I can’t get into it…

New books May 2017

My latest acquisitions from Waterstone’s yesterday…

Anyway, talking of the book club, the next book, for our meeting on 14th June, is The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman, by Denis Thériault, a novella set in Quebec, Canada. The author lives in Montreal, according to the info at the front of the book, so that’s our new one, with the postman theme giving us the blog title for today! Thing is, it’s a short one. 137 pages. Thus I am debating whether it will even need to go on the OC List at all, or whether it will only take a day or two to read and I needn’t list it as an Ongoing Concern, in the same way I didn’t bother listing Diary of an Oxygen Thief as an OC.

The other book in the photo is one which caught my eye in Waterstone’s yesterday, Midnight Blue, by Simone van der Vlugt. Historical fiction set in the Netherlands, in both Amsterdam and Delft. I have been to Amsterdam, of course, been there twice, let in the new year there once, back in the noughties, but not been to Delft as yet. I believe it’s in the south of the country and not far from Rotterdam, which I mentioned on here earlier this week due to Feyenoord winning the league and due to the anniversary of United winning the European Cup-Winners’ Cup at their ground in 1991.

Anyway, back to Midnight Blue. I read the blurb on the back, and it struck me that it seemed like the sort of book I might like, having enjoyed Girl With a Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier, a couple of years ago. Actually, I really should get round to trying The Miniaturist, by Jessie Burton, sometime soon, if we’re discussing historical fiction set in the Netherlands, lol! Plus, I met her last year, and she signed it for me, along with my copy of The Muse.

Really should read some more of my hardbacks. Thing is, they’re not always the most ideal handbag books, are they? So I don’t feel as inclined to lug them around as I do with paperbacks, which I just stick in my handbag and take them around with me. Some books just come everywhere… Nul Points is still in my handbag. That’s top of the OC List now that I’ve finished The Tobacconist. Still got a lot of YA novels on there to get on with. Perhaps I need to get Nul Points finished and have a good go at the YA stuff… get it off the list and some fresh stuff on.

Talking of YA novels, anyone who knows me on FB book groups might know that I’ve recently commented that I much prefer the cover of the US edition of The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas, rather than the UK version. Very helpfully, the young lady who was working in the YA section at Waterstone’s yesterday said that the Book Depository would be the place to go if I wanted to get a copy of that book with the US cover, so when I get around to acquiring one, I shall look online at that site. The book has different publishers in different countries. I don’t dislike the UK cover, but I have to say I much prefer the US one.

Bit of a List Challenges mini rant! Grrr! Why is it that sometimes they either change the edition or put image not available?! I’ve had to find new images for a couple of books and I’ve had to put those back in where they belong on a very long list, meaning I had to scroll upwards quite a bit, not just for 11/22/63, by Stephen King, but especially for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J. K. Rowling! Very irritating, and a total pain in the arse, but covers have been found and the old ones deleted.

The other rant, although this applies to other sites, not just List Challenges, is that when you hide an advert for whatever reason, they bloody lie to you with that “We’ll try not to show that advert again” bullshit, but you know that’s not true as it crops up yet again shortly afterwards. If they are trying, which I very much doubt, then they’re NOT trying anywhere near hard enough as far as I’m concerned! Lying tossers!

The standard of advertising on the internet is subterranean to say the least! So much misleading shite! I just wish there was some kind of strict regulator, like we have the Advertising Standards Agency here in the UK. That tends to cover TV, radio, papers and magazines. Sadly, websites don’t come under their remit and there’s a load of bullshit “adverts” on the internet which would NEVER get shown on telly for a bloody good reason – they’re false and misleading and just bloody clickbait! If pigs ever fly, and I ever get to be in charge, a whole host of shite ads would get banned! Why should people’s enjoyment of time online have to be spoiled by shitty fake adverts?!

Been on the Book Depository website, but, disappointingly, it just seems to have the UK edition of The Hate U Give. Is there anywhere where I could get a copy of the edition with the cover I prefer? Anywhere at all? Not that I’ve really got the dosh right now, but on a need to know basis for when I do get around to buying it…

Well, time to get a bit more of Nul Points read, I think! So, until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Tobacconist – Robert Seethaler
  • The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman – Denis Thériault
  • Diary of an Oxygen Thief – Anonymous
  • Midnight Blue – Simone van der Vlugt
  • Girl With a Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier
  • The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton
  • The Muse – Jessie Burton
  • Nul Points – Tim Moore
  • The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
  • 11/22/63 – Stephen King
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J. K. Rowling

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, European Literature, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Historical Fiction, List Challenges, Literary Issues, Music, Ongoing Concerns, Rants, The TBR Pile, Travel, YA Books

Get The Balance Right

Zlatan book finished April 2017

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

As you can see, Zlatan is at 100% Yes, another book completed in 2017! Number 18 for this year on the Goodreads Challenge, and thus OFF the list of Ongoing Concerns! Mr Ibrahimović‘s autobiography will now be handed over to my sister so she can read it. I believe in marking off my OCs as being 100% read on my board before I take them off the list and move other books up.

I was dithering about what to add next, other than knowing it really should be some non-fiction to replace the non-fiction I have just finished, but then I remembered that blog from a couple of months ago about my half-finished tour biography of the Pet Shop Boys, and that I’d said on here I was going to finish that book as part of my celebrations of having been a Pethead for 30 years this year! Therefore, Pet Shop Boys, Literally, by Chris Heath, joins the OCs! As I said at the time, the book is already 50% read, so it is literally a Half-Read Book! It joins the list somewhere in the middle. An Equal Music, by Vikram Seth, resumes top spot on 78% now that our Swedish hero is off the list.

So, we’re back to 9 books on the OC List, of which 7 are fiction and 2 are non-fiction, bringing us on to the matter at hand and the title of tonight’s blog, which is, of course, a song by Depeche Mode, as fans of 80s music will no doubt know! The issue being that I feel I need a better balance between fiction and non-fiction on my list. The factual stuff is being outnumbered, which doesn’t seem very fair as I enjoy a good factual read as much as I enjoy a good story! Always have done since I was a kid! I am thinking, therefore, that even if the next one or two books to be finished and come off the OC list are fiction, they will be replaced on there by factual tomes! I feel I should have at least 3, if not 4, non-fiction books if I’m going to have 8 or 9 books on the OC list as a whole. It needs to be more even!

Once that is up and running, and I do have a better balance, we can have like-for-like books coming off the “substitutes’ bench” so to speak. I can certainly see some Bill Bryson being added to the OC list in the near future. I had thought about Mother Tongue, but that might not go on the OC list, as I was so near to finishing that book when I last read it that it would not take much to get it finished off, thus there is very little point in adding it to the list for just a day or two! Like with the really quick reads, I see very little point in adding certain books to the OC List – an Ongoing Concern is a book that’s going to take me more than a day or two to read, or to finish off if it is already partially-read!

There WILL be some Bryson, and it will happen fairly soon, but it’s more likely to be Down Under, Neither Here Nor There, or The Road To Little Dribbling which is added to the OC List when I need another dose of non-fiction adding to it. There will be at least a bit more Stuart Maconie, too. I have Hope & Glory lined up to be read at some point once I’ve finished The People’s Songs. I’m going to have to look to see if I own a copy of Cider With Roadies, also by Maconie, and I hope I do! He also wrote a book called Adventures On the High Teas, but I don’t own a copy of that at present. No rush as yet – let’s get my existing Maconie books read first!

John Cleese‘s autobiography, So, Anyway, is lurking in an accessible part of my room, on one of my book piles, so that is another distinct possibility! Should be pretty funny knowing Cleese! It would also be the perfect excuse to make plenty of Monty Python references in this blog. Not that I need an excuse to go all Pythonesque on you, lol!

What do we have here, lurking around Computer Corner? Hmmm…. Maarten Meijer‘s biography of Louis van Gaal, one of my half-read books. I liked Louis and wish he’d been retained to see out his three years. I still don’t like Jose Mourinho. At all. Yeah, alright, he’s good in the transfer market, but the cons outweigh the pros, and he really should STOP criticising players in public! That is NOT the United way! It is also crap man-management! If you have to give a player a bollocking, you do it in private, in your office! That’s how Fergie did it, and that’s why he was so successful! 26 and a half years as our manager, 13 league titles, 5 FA Cups, 4 League Cups, 1 European Cup-Winners’ Cup and 2 European Cups… and his reign only came to an end due to retirement.

Fergie defended his players in public, even at the expense of the media giving him a load of shit for it, but that is how he retained their loyalty and got so much out of them. He NEVER rubbished his players in the press or on telly! Also, he knew the players should get the credit and the attention far more than him, and he accepted that! Jose needs to stop being such an arrogant, egotistical little twat!

There is only one person on earth I can think of with an ego even bigger than that of Jose Mourinho, and that is a certain Tango-tinted twat who is, unfortunately, currently residing in the White House…

I would say that Jose has all the man-management skills of a dead gnat, but that would be far too harsh on the poor gnat!

Anyway, enough about that arrogant arsehole, and back to the books…

Also lurking near Computer Corner, we have The Year of Reading Dangerously, by Andy Miller. This has been one of the notorious Duplicate Books, of course, but one copy is being offloaded soon. However, that still means I will have one copy for my reading pleasure when I eventually get around to it. We also have How To Teach Quantum Physics To Your Dog, by Chad Orzel. I know bugger all about quantum physics, I only got a D for bog standard physics when I did my GCSEs at high school, lol, and that was way back in 1989, 28 years ago, but maybe reading this would help me understand more scientific stuff in an entertaining way?

I wasn’t completely useless at science, unlike PE, but I wasn’t brilliant at it either. My dad was the scientific bod in our family – my best subjects at high school were music and foreign languages, followed fairly closely by history and literature.

Still on the science books front, there’s a partially-read copy of Periodic Tales, by Hugh Aldersey-Williams, which I think is downstairs in our living room. I could always resume that one if my quest for more non-fiction and a more even balance of reading matter on my OC list calls for more science, although that would be chemistry, not physics. Chemistry really would be my dad’s area of expertise! However, as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, one area of interest for me, which my dad got me into when I was young, is volcanoes, so I could always get round to reading Krakatoa: The Day The World Exploded, by Simon Winchester. A tiny little bit of it has been read, some time ago, but only about the first 11 pages, so we can start again from scratch, really.

Anyway, I think that has drawn up a decent list of non-fiction ideas for future additions to the OC List when I need factual reads to be added! It also brings to an end this blog entry, so I shall get it finished off and published. Until next time, take care, have a Happy Easter, and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović – Zlatan Ibrahimović
  • Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath
  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • Mother Tongue – Bill Bryson
  • Down Under – Bill Bryson
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • The Road To Little Dribbling – Bill Bryson
  • Hope & Glory – Stuart Maconie
  • The People’s Songs – Stuart Maconie
  • Cider With Roadies – Stuart Maconie
  • Adventures On the High Teas – Stuart Maconie
  • So, Anyway – John Cleese
  • Louis van Gaal: The Biography – Maarten Meijer
  • The Year of Reading Dangerously – Andy Miller
  • How To Teach Quantum Physics To Your Dog – Chad Orzel
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Krakatoa: The Day The World Exploded – Simon Winchester

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Arsehole Politicians, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Computer Corner, Duplicate Books List, Football, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, Humour, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Rants, Sports, Travel, Volcanoes, YA Books

Books, Weather and Other Easter Eggstras…

Book club book April 2017

The new Book Club reading matter…

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Back again with another blog as we head into the Easter holidays, and also following on from the fact I was at my book club the other night, so we will be reading The Tobacconist, by Robert Seethaler, for our next meeting, which will be on 18th May.

We are now into the early moments of Friday, 14th April 2017, thus it is 9 years to the day that I created my book group on Facebook! I’d Spend All Day In Waterstone’s If I Could Get Away With It! If you are on Facebook and fancy joining, feel free to put in a joining request. I vet profiles to see how much of a bookworm anyone is, but I imagine I should see  plenty of evidence from any of you who follow my book blog. We stay pretty much on topic with posts about books and the world of literature and literacy, and I don’t tolerate spammers – I boot those out at the earliest opportunity if and when we have any, so you won’t have to worry too much about irrelevant posts on the group.

This is why I much prefer groups to pages on Facebook! Groups are far easier to police. Pages can be a free-for-all at times, with any Tom, Dick and Harry claiming to “like” them, but then proceeding to post a load of rubbish on them; spam, clickbait and other irrelevant shite! I’ve unliked and unfollowed several pages in recent times because I got fed up of them being targeted with spam and clickbait, and I was left wondering if those pages actually had any Admins, because they were bloody useless if they did!

Even less use than the proverbial chocolate teapot. At least you could eat one of those!

Anyway, never mind the spammers and the useless admins, let’s get back to books, with Zlatan now heading the OC list and up to 84% read! Woo hoo! The People’s Songs, by Stuart Maconie, is at 42% so I’ll be looking to get that to at least the halfway mark in the next day or so. Really enjoying that one. Of the newer additions to the list, The Tobacconist is already at 13%, with City of Bones not far behind on 12%, although I expect the Seethaler novel to progress quicker as it’s a shorter book, and it has priority because it’s a book club book.

I’ll be looking to get Zlatan Ibrahimovic‘s autobiography read, and then passed on to my sister who was first to put her request in. The Tobacconist is a relatively short read, as was the previous book club book, so I’m hoping that I will get that read fairly quickly in plenty of time for the next book club, and then I can get on with other books. I’ll have to give serious thought to what I am taking with me to read when I do my jury service – may well need something chunky, lol!

Another-Crappy-Weather-Forecast-YouTube

“And to summarise the Easter Bank Holiday weather, I’d say it’s a good opportunity to stay in with a good book or two…”

Yeah, that looks pretty much like typical British weather for a bank holiday, and we have two of those over Easter, Good Friday, which we’re in to now, and then Easter Monday, so get the kettle on, make a brew, and sit down with a good book, and some hot cross buns or Easter eggs as well! Here’s a bit more weather advice from me…

Rain: Too wet to go out, so stay indoors and read a book!

Snow: Too cold, and also wet, to go out, so stay in with a hot drink and read a book!

Gale force winds: Don’t get blown away! Stay indoors and read a book!

Hot and sunny (very rare for the UK, lol): Go outdoors and read a book!

Hope that advice helps!

Couple of old photos of me reading outside, there! Both from 2008, although one of them was from when I was on holiday in Italy, which would definitely explain the nice weather! We must have been having a nice day back home for the other photo, though, lol, as I was outside in our garden, having a brew and a read! In the photo taken at home, my book is War and Peace, and the holiday reading was The Engineer of Human Souls, by Josef Skvorecky, a Czech author whose works I was introduced to by David Hunt on Facebook. He also introduced me to Bohumil Hrabal, and I’ve read a few of his books since, including Too Loud a Solitude, Closely Watched Trains, I Served The King of England, and Dancing Lessons For the Advanced in Age. If I forgot to mention Hrabal a few months ago, when I was listing authors by whom I’ve read more than one book, that would be an oversight, given I’ve read a few of his! They’re fairly short, so make for good quick reads.

Me at Easter in the 70s

Anyway, as we’re heading towards Easter, and I’m posting some old photos of yours truly, I shall leave you with this one to enjoy, from an Easter years ago. I look about 4 so it could well be 40 years ago in 1977! Not got my specs on, so I probably was just about four or almost four. I wasn’t really convinced enough to wear my specs until I actually started school, which was in the September of that year. Children’s books usually have large-print text anyway, so I probably could read them pretty well without glasses. Can’t see any books on the table, but I am clearly enjoying a few Easter eggs. I’ve always been a chocoholic, just as much as I’ve always been a bookworm!

Actually, before I was convinced enough of my need for specs, I used to wear them on top of my head, copying my paternal grandad, the late Dennis Dixon-Jackson! Even though I didn’t see Nana and Grandad D-J as often as I saw Grandma and Grandad Bacon, Grandad D-J had clearly influenced my earliest style of spectacle-wearing, lol! I actually became quite possessive of my specs once I did see the point of them, and didn’t see the point of anyone else wanting to try them on as they were made to my prescription, so other kids would just think things looked very odd through them!

That probably is about all for now, so I shall get this published and wish you all a Happy Easter! Until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Tobacconist – Robert Seethaler
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović – Zlatan Ibrahimović
  • The People’s Songs – Stuart Maconie
  • City of Bones – Cassandra Clare
  • War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
  • The Engineer of Human Souls – Josef Skvorecky
  • Too Loud a Solitude – Bohumil Hrabal
  • Closely Watched Trains – Bohumil Hrabal
  • I Served The King of England – Bohumil Hrabal
  • Dancing Lessons For the Advanced in Age – Bohumil Hrabal

Leave a comment

Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, British Weather, Childrens' Books, European Literature, Facebook & Other Social Media, Handbag Books, Ongoing Concerns, Rants, Travel, Weather

Educational Porpoises

Books that make you happy

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Don’t you think that above photo contains some much-needed advice?! I have lost count of the times I’ve had to rant about the unnecessary issues which seem to crop up all too often in the otherwise wonderful world of books! Therefore, I’m going to offer bits of advice and some random waffle here…

Firstly, the ONLY age restriction,when it comes to books, is for erotic novels! Such “mucky books” should only be read by those of us 18 years old or over! That, for me, is the only age restriction I would ever place on any book! If the content is of a sexual nature, it’s adults only. Otherwise, anything goes! Read above your age, read below your age. You could be 77 and reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar, or you could be 7 and reading Pride and Prejudice. Whatever floats your boat!

Read books written by men, and read books written by women. If you only read one of those sets, you are missing out on some great books in the other set! Stop restricting yourself unnecessarily! It’s pointless and stupid!

The “Dead White Men” couldn’t help being white. Or male. And at least some of them may have been dead before their works finally got published! Some of them wrote some great books – don’t snub them just because you’ve heard some “right-on” person slagging them off! They didn’t choose their works to go on some literary canon or other, it wasn’t their decision, so don’t take it out on them! Try a bit of Dickens – I can recommend A Christmas Carol and Great Expectations.

PROPER diversity is about including everything, therefore in book terms, that means reading books by all sorts of authors INCLUDING some dead white men, it does not mean reading books by all sorts of authors except the DWM!

Read books by people from all around the world! Books give you the chance to “travel” when you have to stay where you are! Sometimes they can remind you of where you’ve been, or give you ideas of where you might want to go. Well, books set in real locations can, anyway. You might have a spot of bother doing this with fantasy fiction, as I’ve not yet discovered how any of us can get to Hogwarts, Narnia, Middle Earth or the Discworld! Sorry! You should still read some fantasy, though, but travel to those places is still only in our imaginations as yet. (A pity, ’cause I’d love to go to Hogwarts!)

Don’t over-analyse books and read loads of extra meanings into them! Yes, OK, you might have learned this skill at school, college or uni, and might have to apply it to certain books you are studying, but I can assure you there is NO need to apply it to any other books you’re NOT studying! I had to do it in my student days, but it’s not something I’ve bothered with since graduating! As I’ve said before, if an author describes a room as blue, it simply means the room was decorated in that colour scheme, it does not necessarily mean the author was going through a bout of depression when he or she wrote that book!

If you’ve ever read, or even heard of, A Farewell To Arms, by Ernest Hemingway, and wondered if there was such a book as A Farewell To Legs, I’m pleased to be able to tell you that such a novel does exist! It’s by Jeffrey Cohen, and it’s the second book in the Aaron Tucker mystery series. So now you know!

There’s NO shame in reading Young Adult novels when you’re an older adult! There’s some damn good stuff out there which is seen as YA – don’t be afraid to read it! Yes, even on buses, trams or trains! I was already in my late 20s when I started reading the Harry Potter series, and it was recommended to me by one of my colleagues at work.

There’s also NO shame in reading younger kids’ books, either! There’s loads of good books out there for youngsters, and you can’t beat a bit of Roald Dahl! I’ve recently read Esio Trot, one of my niece’s books.

Join a library and borrow books for free! Not just physical books, but you can also borrow audiobooks, too. You may even be able to borrow e-books which would then go on your device for a limited time, just as you would borrow a physical book from a library for a number of weeks, but you’d have to check with your local library.

Check out charity shops for cheap books! There are plenty of bargains to be had! It is still on my notorious TBR pile, but I bought The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern, from a charity shop, for a mere £1. AND it was the hardback edition! Epic Win! Also, if you do need to make space for new books, donate old ones you’ve read, or are probably not going to get around to reading, to charity shops so they can offer them as bargains to other bookworms!

As the penguin in the photo advised, read books which interest YOU! The raved-about books might not float your boat, and I myself have had issues with some of the books which have won prizes in recent years! Don’t get me started on Booker Prize Winners, lol! If you read the blurb, and the book appeals to you, read it. It doesn’t matter how popular it is, if it means something to you, that’s all you need to care about! No need to give a shit about what anyone else thinks!

If a book ISN’T grabbing you, give it around 70 to 100 pages, and if it still hasn’t done anything for you, put it down and find another book. There is NO point wasting time persisting with something you’re not enjoying, so unless you have to read it for educational purposes, or even educational porpoises, try another book. You can always try that book again later, see if it’s any better on a 2nd or even 3rd attempt, but you don’t have to finish it! Giving up is NOT a negative thing! It is a positive thing because it shows you’ve had the common sense to stop wasting your time with something you’re not enjoying, and you’ve decided to try something else instead! One day, I might try The Luminaries again, which was a book I didn’t make much progress with the first time I tried a few years ago. I swapped my original copy for a copy of Girl With a Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier, which I loved, but I have since bought another copy of the Eleanor Catton novel at a charity shop, so it might end up being given a second chance.

Educational porpoises

Are there such things as educational porpoises? Who knows?!

Read fiction and non-fiction. Find factual stuff which interests you, and read about that, as well as reading stories. As I’ve said in other blogs, when I’ve been off on a rant, the ONLY distinction we ever need to make when it comes to any book is whether it is fact or fiction we are reading! We do NOT need to worry nor care whether an author is male or female! There is absolutely NO need to budget for any flying f**ks on that front, as they do not need to be given!

If you’re learning another language, try finding a translation of a book you already know in your own language. When I was studying GCSE Spanish at evening classes in the late 90s, I bought myself a copy of Charlie y la fábrica de chocolate – I’m pretty sure you can work out which Roald Dahl book that is…

Poetry anthologies can be dipped in to. Even with a “favourite poet” you’ll like some poems more than others. I don’t think we are meant to “get” every single poem, we are to find the ones which resonate with us. So, even if you’ve only read one or two poems by that particular poet, I’d still tick off the anthology if it turns up on List Challenges! A couple of my faves are quite long poems – The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Goblin Market, by Christina Rossetti. The Raven, by Edgar Allan Poe, is pretty good too.

There’s no such thing as too many books! The most common problem amongst bookworms is having insufficient bookshelves! I definitely experience this problem, lol! I think it’s time I brought this entry to a close, as I think I have covered most issues! As long as it’s not spam, do feel free to comment on these blogs. I appreciate that a lot of people seem to enjoy them, some entries more than others, but if there’s anything you want to ask or say, please do! As I said, as long as no-one’s spamming, and people are asking relevant stuff, I don’t mind!

So, until I publish another long waffly post onto this blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books and poems mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle
  • Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  • A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
  • Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
  • A Farewell To Arms – Ernest Hemingway
  • A Farewell To Legs – Jeffrey Cohen
  • The Harry Potter series – J. K. Rowling
  • Esio Trot – Roald Dahl
  • The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
  • The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton
  • Girl With a Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier
  • Charlie y la Fábrica de Chocolate – Roald Dahl
  • The Rime of the Ancient Mariner – Samuel Taylor Coleridge (poem)
  • Goblin Market – Christina Rossetti (poem)
  • The Raven – Edgar Allan Poe (poem)

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Adult Fiction, Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Childrens' Books, E-Books & Audiobooks, Foreign Languages, Handbag Books, Humour, Literary Issues, Rants, YA Books

One Word Titles

Books and nibbles March 2017

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Been to book club this evening, so If I Could Tell You Just One Thing, by Richard Reed, has been discussed, and we’ve gone from one extreme to another in terms of book title, as Moonstone, by Sjón, is our next book, and our next meeting is on 12th April. While I was at Waterstone’s, I also purchased Ink, by Alice Broadway, as I couldn’t resist the strikingly beautiful cover of this YA novel. Thus, this blog has a bit of a theme – one word titles. Well, if it’s a good enough policy for Pet Shop Boys album titles, then it’s good enough for a book blog theme!

Technically speaking, Moonstone bears the subtitle The Boy Who Never Was, which, I think, might actually be the title of the book in other editions, perhaps overseas in certain countries. Don’t get me started on that matter! There is a book I read some years ago for book club, one which I enjoyed, called The Other Hand, by Chris Cleave, but in the USA and New Zealand, this same book is known as Little Bee.Why do publishing houses do this?! It’s just bloody confusing! It’s actually a good job I’d read this book and knew both titles, because I was once in Waterstone’s in the Trafford Centre a year or so ago, and was able to help a fellow customer who said she was looking for Little Bee by letting her know that it’s known as The Other Hand over here! Is it really asking too much for publishers to have the same title for any given book the world over?! Stop confusing bookworms! Different editions having different covers is one thing, but different bloody NAMES?! Find a title you like and stick to it!

And, while we’re at it, this latest book club book is Moonstone, and is set in Iceland, so it’s not to be confused with The Moonstone, which is a much older, and chunkier, novel by Wilkie Collins. If I make that distinction here, it means both books are on List Challenges, on the Joanne’s Bookshelf Blogs – Books Mentioned 2017 list, and therefore people will know I mean two different novels! There shouldn’t be any of that “D’ya think she meant THE Moonstone?” type of confusion. There’s a volcano in this Icelandic one, so that should be of interest to me, plus the fact that I’ve been to Iceland, so I can picture it, as I could when I read the excellent Burial Rites, by Hannah Kent.

I was actually looking for a rather long-titled book in the YA section, but couldn’t find Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, and it was while I was meandering amongst the young adult novels that Ink caught my eye – well, it couldn’t really fail to with that beautiful cover! I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover if proverbs are anything to go by, but it can’t be helped sometimes! Some covers are just too eye-catching and/or gorgeous to resist!

I’ve also got my eyes on Diary of an Oxygen Thief, by Anonymous, for a future read. Has to be said the rather mad-looking snowman on the cover attracted me, lol, and it seemed amusing and fairly short, so it would be a good potential Handbag Book.

Anyway, back to short titles… there are a fair few books I have in on my notorious TBR list which have one word titles. There’s Fishbowl, by Bradley Somer, which was one of the ones mentioned when I put books to the vote to be my Wembley Book for the EFL Cup Final last month. My sister gave that one a vote because of the title! There’s also Dumplin’, by Julie Murphy, which is hanging around on my book piles wondering when I’m going to get around to reading it! I also have a YA trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater, all three books of which have one word titles – Shiver, Linger and Forever, so if we were having a one word title book binge, that would be a good trilogy to go for! I have three books by Kate Mosse, each with a one word title, although I think Labyrinth, Sepulchre and Citadel are all stand alone novels.

Wonder, by R. J Palacio, and Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli, are another two YA books on the TBR pile, they were both in the rainbow tower I featured in a recent blog, and there’s Ghostwritten, by David Mitchell, which is on the notorious Half-Read Books list! Only thing is, last time I tried to progress with that one, I wasn’t really in the mood for it. Maybe I will be in the mood to progress with it some time soon, but it wasn’t doing anything for me the last time I picked it up. Even following it via audiobook seemed like a chore, it just wasn’t grabbing me, so it rejoined the Half Read Books list.

I’ve just looked on the Bass Amp Book Pile, but none of those books have one word titles, so that rules those out of our current theme. Just looking around Computer Corner, I see my Paulo Coelho books, and notice Brida, one I’ve yet to read, and one which would fit the bill on the one word title front. It also has an Irish setting, so would be rather apt given that it’s St Patrick’s Day on Friday. Down here, by my side, on a revolving shelf unit, I have Lolita, or “that book by Nabokov” as mentioned in the lyrics of “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” by The Police! I also have Nocturnes, by Kazuo Ishiguro, which is a book of short stories about music and nightfall. Should I want the original vampire novel, Dracula, by Bram Stoker, is close at hand, and for my volcano fix, Krakatoa, by Simon Winchester, is also readily available, and you know I like my non-fiction as much as my fiction!

Anyway, I shall see what at least one of my new books is like, as Moonstone will have to be added to the Ongoing Concerns for now, and I will be giving you an update on the others pretty soon, although none of the other OCs have one word titles, so it’s not really the time and place to do an update in this particular blog entry. Thus, I shall bring this blog to its conclusion and, until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • If I Could Tell You Just One Thing – Richard Reed
  • Moonstone – Sjón
  • Ink – Alice Broadway
  • The Other Hand – Chris Cleave
  • The Moonstone – Wilkie Collins
  • Burial Rites – Hannah Kent
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benjamin Alire Sáenz
  • Diary of an Oxygen Thief – Anonymous
  • Fishbowl – Bradley Somer
  • Dumplin’ – Julie Murphy
  • Shiver – Maggie Stiefvater
  • Linger – Maggie Stiefvater
  • Forever – Maggie Stiefvater
  • Labyrinth – Kate Mosse
  • Sepulchre – Kate Mosse
  • Citadel – Kate Mosse
  • Wonder – R. J. Palacio
  • Stargirl – Jerry Spinelli
  • Ghostwritten – David Mitchell
  • Brida – Paulo Coelho
  • Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
  • Nocturnes – Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Dracula – Bram Stoker
  • Krakatoa – Simon Winchester

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, E-Books & Audiobooks, Half-Finished Books, List Challenges, Literary Issues, Music, Rants, The TBR Pile, Volcanoes, YA Books