Category Archives: Rants

Science Fiction and Dutch Pensioners

Hendrik Groen and scifi books

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Here again, with another blog, and this time after a 2-0 win for my lads, at home to Huddersfield Town this afternoon, thanks to second half goals from Romelu Lukaku and our new boy, Alexis Sanchez. We had actually got a penalty, which is amazing enough as it is given what a dreadful, useless ref we had, but the goalie got down and got a hand to it. Thankfully, he didn’t save it, just blocked it, and the ball came back to Sanchez so he put away the rebound. Wonder if we’ve got any of that Chilean wine in? Hmmm…. That Casillero del Diablo stuff, if you’re wondering what I’m on about…

* Chief Bookworm then buggers off down the road to Tesco and ends up coming back with a bottle of said vino (white) and some snacks… *

* raises glass to Alexis Sanchez *

Here’s to many more goals! I could actually also get round to reading that book about the Chilean miners – you remember that? Around the end of 2010, as I recall. The book is called The 33, and it’s by Jonathan Franklin. Now my club actually has a Chilean player, it’s the perfect excuse to get that one off my TBR list at last. I may have to fast track it for when I’ve finished Russian Winters by Andrei Kanchelskis. That’s my current hardback.

However, the hardback I bought the other night may also be in line for an early read, as I read The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen 83 1/4 Years Old last year, and now Hendrik Groen is back with another diary, On The Bright Side, the New Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen! Hence the bit about Dutch pensioners in my blog title! I’ve had a thing for diaries, at least amusing ones anyway, for years, two of my most-read books are the first two Adrian Mole books by the late great Sue Townsend, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 and The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole. We might not have called them Young Adult books back then, but they were, and that’s the YA stuff I was reading when I was a teenager!

Mmmm… that wine’s nice! ūüôā

Anyway, I hadn’t expected the Hendrik Groen book. I had gone into town after work yesterday because I needed my¬† bus and tram pass reloading for another month, and I had said I was going to look for books in Fopp, which I did, and I also got some from Waterstone’s too, before fetching up at Wagamama for food. I ended up with 4 books from the SF Masterworks series, all by different authors, and I am going to mention 3 of them, as one of them will tie in with my intended blog for Chinese New Year, so I will be coming back to that later this month.

Science fiction Feb 2018

Besides the earmarked book for the “dog blog”, my other purchases were The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. Le Guin, The Sirens of Titan, by Kurt Vonnegut Jr, and The Stars My Destination, by Alfred Bester. I do already have another book from that series at my disposal, on one of my towering piles of books, that being Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keyes. However, while we’re on the subject of science fiction, let’s move on to my current read in that genre, and the other two books which are currently my Ongoing Concerns…

Some bad news for Mr Kanchelskis – I’m afraid our Andrei has been overtaken by the Martians, lol! Russian Winters is at 25%, but The War of the Worlds reached 26% the other night and as I have now downloaded the H. G. Wells classic for free on my Kindle (top tip – you can get a load of old classics for nowt as e-books), I was able to read a bit more of it this evening on the way home from the match after our 2-0 win against Huddersfield! I am up to 29% at the moment – my Kindle actually gives progress in percentages. Usually, I work out how many pages I’ve read and divide it by the book’s total to work that out.

I couldn’t read an actual book in the back of the car on the way home at this time of year, it’d be too dark, hence my Kindle comes in handy. We don’t live far away, but it takes quite some time to get out of the Old Trafford car park and then a while longer to get through Trafford Park, so it is worth taking an e-reader to the match! I’m glad I took it to Wembley last year for the EFL Cup Final – on the way back, after our 3-2 victory over Southampton, the reading lights in the coach didn’t seem to be working, so I couldn’t continue with The Pie at Night, by Stuart Maconie, which I had been reading on my way down to the final, and ended up reading Premier League Years 92/93 by Andrew Hyslop on the way back to Old Trafford. Must say, though, that that was the quickest we’ve ever got back from Wembley after a win! The Pie at Night ended up being signed when I met Stuart at Waterstone’s later in the year, along with Long Road from Jarrow, which had just been published when he did his book event on Deansgate.

Hawksmoor, by Peter Ackroyd, is still 3rd, but is up to 23% read now, so not too far behind Andrei’s autobiography. I want to get all three advanced as much as possible bearing in mind that it’s book club this coming Wednesday, and I’ll then have another book to get stuck into!Munich 60th anniversary 2018

These were on our seats in plastic bags at the match today – match programme, book and pin badge. Today was the nearest home match to the anniversary of the air crash, the actual anniversary is this coming Tuesday, 6th February, and I will be having a half day at work so that I can finish at lunchtime and go to Old Trafford in the afternoon for the commmemorations.¬† Not sure the book’s got an ISBN, though, so I’m going to have an issue putting it on Goodreads, possibly. Just because it’s a commemorative book should not mean that it can’t feature on the Goodreads Challenge, though, surely?! A book is a book! If I read it, I should be able to list it, both on Goodreads and List Challenges. We shall see… If not, and I read it, we’ll just have to regard it as an extra book.

In a way it’s a bit similar to that problem I had last year when I got a free book at my book club, but it was an advanced copy, an unedited proof edition of Skintown, by Ciaran McMenamin. I acquired that in either January or February last year, but the book was not published until early April, so I had to wait a few months to find a photo of the cover of the book for List Challenges. I still have yet to read it, though, so it won’t be an issue on Goodreads anyway, but it was an issue for List Challenges – at the time, I found a photo of the author and put that in place on my list, and then replaced it in April with a photo of the cover of the published version!

Anyway, that’s about it for the time being, as I intend to get this published and then enjoy the rest of my glass of wine while watching our 2-0 win on Match of the Day! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The 33 – Jonathan Franklin
  • Russian Winters – Andrei Kanchelskis
  • The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen 83 1/4 Years Old – Hendrik Groen
  • On the Bright Side – Hendrik Groen
  • The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 – Sue Townsend
  • The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole – Sue Townsend
  • The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula K. Le Guin
  • The Sirens of Titan – Kurt Vonnegut Jr
  • The Stars My Destination – Alfred Bester
  • Flowers For Algernon – Daniel Keyes
  • The War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells
  • The Pie at Night – Stuart Maconie
  • Premier League Years 92/93 – Andrew Hyslop
  • Long Road from Jarrow – Stuart Maconie
  • Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd
  • The Flowers of Manchester – Manchester United (commemorative book)
  • Skintown – Ciaran McMenamin
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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Fantasy Fiction, Football, Goodreads, Humour, List Challenges, Literary Issues, Manc Stuff!, Music, My Bookworm History, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Rants, The TBR Pile, YA Books

Magnifique! From foreign books to bargain books…

Cantona signing 25th anniversary 2017

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

I was going to do that in French, in honour of it being the 25th anniversary of my club signing my all-time favourite player, but bookworm translates as <<rat de biblioth√®que>> or “library rat”, which doesn’t sound all that flattering, does it?! I know some people actually prefer to be book dragons rather than book worms, even in English, so I shall forego the rodent comparisons!

Funnily enough, on one book-related group on Facebook, earlier this week, someone asked whether any of us have any books in other languages beside their own, and whether we read books in other languages. Yes, I can read in other languages, although I am much slower in French, German or Spanish than I am in English, and I would also need a dictionary or some form of translation technology handy. I guess you can probably Google verb tables for various languages these days? Anyway, back to the books in other languages, and one of my prized books in another language is Un R√™ve Modeste et Fou, the original French edition of Eric Cantona‘s autobiography. I also have the English version, My Story, both of which were signed by the King back in the mid 90s while he was still at United.

I miss those days… when United trained at The Cliff, and it was reasonably easy for a fan to go down there, watch the lads train, and then meet the players afterwards to get their autographs and have photos taken with them before they headed home! Not been the same since they started training at Carrington!

Today and tomorrow, 26th and 27th November, are the significant dates… I always celebrate the Cantona anniversary over two days because the news broke on the 26th, that Thursday evening in 1992, at around 6:30pm our time, and then Eric actually signed for United the following day. I was 19 at the time, a student, in the second year of my degree, at home with my parents and sister, but only my mum and I were at home that particular evening. My sister was at trampolining and I think my dad was away on business. I thought my mum was pulling my leg at first when she called me downstairs to tell me the news, which had just come on the telly. She wasn’t, though! It was for real! Manchester United had agreed to sign Eric Cantona from Leeds United for an “undisclosed fee” – later revealed to be a bargain, a mere ¬£1.2 million!

United marked the anniversary weekend with a 1-0 home win against Brighton and Hove Albion yesterday afternoon, amazingly a 3pm kickoff which is pretty rare for United these days, lol, and I don’t care what others say, I think Ashley Young SHOULD claim the goal as his, rather than it going down as an own goal! I am totally against the current trend of treating slight deflections as own goals! The defending team’s player does NOT want it going against him, so let the attacking team’s player claim the goal as his! It should ONLY go down as an own goal if it was bloody obvious that the unfortunate player put the ball in his own net! For example, the then Blackburn Rovers defender, Jeff Kenna, at Old Trafford in November 1997 in a 4-0 win for United around this time 20 years ago! Now, THAT was a definite own goal if ever there was one! He rolled the ball back, thinking his goalie was there. His goalie, however, was at the other side of the net, as I recall, so the ball rolled over the line and into the net at the Stretford End, 4-0 to United, and Kenna stood there wishing the pitch would open up and swallow him!

Anyway, never mind my own goal rant, back to books… and we were on for books in foreign languages, weren’t we? Besides Eric Cantona’s autobiography, I do own a few other books which are not in English, including Charlie y la f√°brica de chocolate, by Roald Dahl (I think you can work out the English title from the Spanish one in this instance, lol) and Die B√ľcherdiebin, by Markus Zusak, and I reckon you could take an educated guess at translating that from German… I bought myself that one when I was in Berlin in 2012. A good tip is to go for books you already know fairly well in your own language!

I don’t actually own copies of the books I studied for A-Level French, though. Those were Eccles College’s copies, and I never bought my own. Mind you, I didn’t want reminding. I found French literature hard to get my head around at the time, and I really went off the language for a couple of years, until United signed Eric Cantona, lol, so no, I don’t have my A Level French set texts, even though I do own copies of the books I read at high school for GCSE English Literature. Mind you, I don’t have ALL the books I read at uni for the literature half of my degree! I gave quite a few away when we moved house in 2006! If I hadn’t read them and didn’t think I was going to get around to it, I gave many of them away. My office’s charity committee were having a charity book fair at the time, so I gave a lot of books to my colleagues for that.

And now we return to our regularly scheduled look at books in English, lol! The Good People now stands at 37% read, and I am on for page 142 of 380. Over a third read, and I hope to get some more read in the coming weeks. The next book club meeting is on Wednesday 6th December, so there’s still time to get more of it read!

church fair bargains St Marks 2017

Oh, and I got some bargains yesterday! Prior to the match, I went to St Mark’s Church in Worsley for their Christmas fair. My niece is at the primary school there, and she’s in the choir, so she was performing at the event. Thus I listened to my niece and her classmates, and I also managed to get 4 books for the whopping sum of… wait for it… 50p! Yep! Bargains! It isn’t every day you get four books for 50p, is it?! And, unlike in the “Cheap Flights” song by Fascinating Aida, there are no additional extra costs – it genuinely did set me back a mere 50p to acquire the above books, lol! If you have never heard “Cheap Flights”, I suggest you look it up on You Tube! It’s a classic!

So, I picked up American Gods, by Neil Gaiman, quite a chunky monkey that one, lol, The One Memory of Flora Banks, a YA book by Emily Barr, The Odyssey, by Homer, for no particular reason, and same applies to The Pelican Guide to English Literature, edited by Boris Ford! Just seemed like a good idea at the time, lol! Actually, I’d picked two books, American Gods, and The One Memory of Flora Banks, and handed over my 50p, and the bloke said “You can take two more if you want to” so I chose the other two as well!

Flixton CBB Xmas Lights Urmston 24 Nov 2017

Blowing my horn on Friday evening in the Flixton Community Brass Band

Yep, that’s me on there, photo taken by my mum, but I took a screen shot when she uploaded it onto Facebook. It was the annual switching on of the Urmston Christmas tree lights, and our band have performed at this occasion since the Community Band was formed in 2014. Usually, it absolutely pisses it down throughout, but we actually had a spell on Friday where it stopped raining for quite a while, so it’s the least wet we have ever been, lol! Despite my dental surgery on Wednesday, I was fine playing my horn, as I found out on Thursday evening when I attempted it. Mind you, the teeth which had been removed had been at one side of my mouth, so putting my mouthpiece to my lips and blowing in it did not affect anything.

So, yes, for fairly recent followers, that is one of the other things I do besides reading books, lol! Well, I also work, of course, but I meant things I do in my spare time, when I’m not at Unity House in Swinton working as an admin officer! Oh, and as I’ve just mentioned my dental surgery from this week just gone, I meant to mention that Mum is now reading I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovińá – she started it on Wednesday, as she took it along to the hospital with her to read while I was having my dodgy teeth removed! She’s certainly enjoying it so far, finding it very amusing!

Well, I think that’s about it for now. I have covered a multitude of sins tonight, though, to be fair, lol! Eric Cantona, yesterday’s match, own goals, books in foreign languages, the latest progress of my book club book, church fair book bargains, brass bands, Christmas lights, dental surgery and Zlatan! All being well, I plan to get some Christmas shopping done tomorrow after work, so you probably won’t be getting a blog from me tomorrow – I’ll be mooching round the Trafford Centre, no doubt heading to Waterstone’s during the course of the evening, lol! So, until I do present you with the next instalment of vaguely book-related waffle, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Un R√™ve Modeste et Fou – Eric Cantona
  • My Story – Eric Cantona
  • Charlie y la f√°brica de chocolate – Roald Dahl
  • Die B√ľcherdiebin – Markus Zusak
  • The Good People – Hannah Kent
  • American Gods – Neil Gaiman
  • The One Memory of Flora Banks – Emily Barr
  • The Odyssey – Homer
  • The Pelican Guide to English Literature vol. 3 – Boris Ford (editor)
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovińá –¬†Zlatan Ibrahimovińá

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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Chunky Monkeys, European Literature, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Foreign Languages, Goodreads, List Challenges, Music, Rants, Sports, Uncategorized, YA Books

Gone for a Burton!

Life without books

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Back again for another blog! I know they’re not as frequent as previously, but having been back in work since the start of this month, that is to be expected. I will have been working for 3 weeks by the time I shut down my computer and log off from my phone tomorrow at 4:30pm UK time! I do try to get some reading in at lunchtime, although that is not always possible, so it has to be out of hours, mostly. However, I am a third of the way through Blitzed, by Norman Ohler, which is our book club book, and I have two weeks to go until our next book club, so I hope to get more of it read in the remaining fortnight.

Didn’t get my Kindle read last night, though. My reading plans had gone for a Burton, just like Burton Albion themselves, although our visitors had improved since their one and only previous visit to Old Trafford, which was in the FA Cup way back in 2006! Back then, a 0-0 draw in that cup earned them a replay up here, which was a huge windfall for them – they were able to pay for their new stadium at the time thanks to forcing that replay. We stuffed them 5-0 in the replay in 2006, and they were a non-league side then, in what used to be known as the Conference. They are actually a Championship side now, just a division below United, and we still stuffed them last night, but 4-1 was an improvement for the Brewers, lol!

The reason I didn’t get any post-match reading done on my Kindle is that Mum and I were out of the United car park fairly quickly. I should have expected it really, given that it’s the League Cup, and people opt out of it. The attendance was around 50,000, which is down on our usual 75,000 full houses, so with fewer people there, it doesn’t take as long for us to get home. I expect I will need my Kindle again at the end of this month, though, when we play Crystal Palace at home in the Premier League. One of the ebooks I have started lately is Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, by Balli Kaur Jaswal – it sounded amusing enough. I have read 11% of it so far, so it could class as an OC, although ebooks are being kept as a separate matter, they’re a football thing, lol!

While we’re still sort-of on footy, I’d just like to slap whichever killjoy arseholes are getting their knickers in a knot about the song some of our fans have come up with for our latest star centre forward, Romelu Lukaku. Since WHEN has it ever been offensive to imply that someone has a LARGE willy?! Give your heads a wobble! Fair enough, suggesting that someone is NOT well-endowed in the trouser department might be quite insulting, but a large cock is something your average bloke is quite proud of, from my understanding of the male of the species! Indeed, blokes themselves often exaggerate the size of their own, ahem, upstanding members, so singing that a footballer has a 24 inch willy is simply a bit of a laugh! NO-ONE has a two-foot cock, for crying out loud! Plus, you also have to remember that the average terrace song is invented by drunken blokes down the pub, usually on their way to an away match!

For the record, the ONLY song I know of in our fans’ repertoire which actually mentions someone’s colour is the song we had for Wayne Rooney, where we called him the White Pele! We do NOT discriminate! We have fans all around the bloody world, FFS! All colours, all faiths, all nationalities, so being a Red is NOT for narrow-minded, bigoted knobheads! I think that as long as Romelu himself doesn’t mind, and I’ve not heard any word to say he does, then there is no problem. If he did have a problem, and said so, we would stop, but I imagine there is more chance of snowballs being found in Hell…

Right, OK, back to the books. Trying to overhaul the OC list is not that easy. I did finish If I Stay for that book group on Facebook, but am not sure what to do next. They have chosen The Fault In Our Stars for this month, and I have already read that a year or two ago now. Forthcoming books are Emma, by Jane Austen, and Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline, and so I might try to get a head start on one or both of those. Like a lot of classics, there are free editions of Emma available for e-readers, as a lot of classic books were written so long ago that they are out of copyright. So, I downloaded that one on my Kindle for free, and I already own a copy of Ready Player One. I like the sound of that one, there’s supposed to be a lot of 80s references in it.

Besides the e-book about Punjabi widows, the other book for match-day e-book consideration is Gold, by Chris Cleave. I’ve had that on my Kindle for a while, actually, and recently picked up the paperback in a charity shop. This is the author of The Other Hand (known as Little Bee in some countries), which I read and enjoyed some years ago now.

I may just have to knock the OCs on the head for now, and see how much I can get through. We may or may not resume this format at some point, but with work, and with book clubs, actual and virtual, the Ongoing Concerns are not really ongoing at present, lol! Apologies to all the books on the list but right now I’m probably going to have to cut things right down, maybe to just 2 or 3 books at a time. Some of the OCs weren’t getting read anyway, so my list wasn’t truly effective. I need an ebook for home matches, whichever book I’m reading for the Waterstone’s Deansgate book club, as long as I’m enjoying that book enough, plus maybe 2 or 3 others. And that might have to be it. Perhaps one of those books could be one which is part of a series, whether that’s resuming the Shardlake series by getting on with Dark Fire by C. J. Sansom, or reading one of several YA series I own…

The books on the list before I had an overhaul could have priority for when I want to start or resume a book, I guess, but I’m going to have to cut things right down and not take on too many books. I can read a few at a time, have been able to since my uni days, but I can’t really have a massive list of ongoing books, or most of them won’t actually be ongoing!

Well, perhaps I should get down to a spot of literary action. Those books aren’t going to read themselves, are they?! Well, not unless they’re wizarding books which have had a self-reading charm cast upon them, but I’m a muggle, not a Hogwarts student, so I haven’t got any of those kind of books, sadly! Until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

P.S. Happy Birthday to Stephen King! Perhaps I should start one of his books? Maybe On Writing would be the place to start? I do have a couple of his (non-horror) novels on my TBR list, too.

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Blitzed – Norman Ohler
  • Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows – Balli Kaur Jaswal
  • If I Stay – Gayle Forman
  • The Fault In Our Stars – John Green
  • Emma – Jane Austen
  • Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
  • Gold – Chris Cleave
  • The Other Hand (aka Little Bee) – Chris Cleave
  • Dark Fire – C. J. Sansom
  • On Writing – Stephen King

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, E-Books & Audiobooks, Football, Half-Finished Books, Historical Fiction, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Rants, YA Books

Trophies, OCs, and Book Club Emergencies

Me and Mum with EFL and UEFA Cups 2017

Me and my mum at Old Trafford with the EFL Cup and Europa League trophy

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Yes, I’ve been to have my photo taken with the silverware we won last season! Had to be done! Obviously, the Community Shield has already gone back, Arsenal having won that last weekend, beating Chelsea on penalties in the traditional “curtain-raiser” to the new season. That has got under way now, with a very entertaining game to kick off the 2017-18 season, Arsenal beating Leicester City 4-3. United are at home to West Ham United on Sunday afternoon, so I shall be back at Old Trafford, in the Stretford End, and hoping for a home win and an actual proper challenge for the title this season for the first time since Fergie retired!

Still awaiting the start date for my job, hopefully I might hear something this coming week. I guess they are getting in touch with the references I provided.

Periodic Tales is now up to 82% having read a bit more of it earlier. We’re getting there, lol! It’s a very interesting book, and I am enjoying it, but it’s not one I feel I can read quickly. I have to take my time with it, and I sometimes need to look things up. Actually, what I was looking up was about sea squirts, as I had never heard of them before!

Dark Fire is up to 8%, but still not quite really enough to get it on the OC List officially as yet. However, I am unofficially adding it, and I have got 7 books on there at the moment. 2 fiction, 3 non-fiction, 2 young adult. The reason that I’ve got three non-fictions is because one of them is the book club book, and thus a “wild card” of sorts. As discussed in recent blogs, that book is The Angry Chef, by Anthony Warner, and I have got that one up to 10%. I have chosen Dead Ends, by Erin Lange, for my newest young adult addition to the OC List, a book I bought on Wednesday night, along with The Angry Chef, and My Turn, by Johan Cruyff.

Currently, the OC List looks like this…

  1. Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams. 82%
  2. Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson. 50%
  3. The Beach Hut – Veronica Henry. 35%
  4. A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard. 16%
  5. Dead Ends – Erin Lange. 11%
  6. The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner. 10%
  7. Dark Fire – C. J. Sansom. 8%

Priorities are to get Periodic Tales off the list, it’s been an Ongoing Concern for quite some time, lol! Also, to continue with The Angry Chef, and to get going with Dark Fire.

Very disappointingly, there were only two of us at book club on Wednesday night, consequently it was a bit pants!

Sorry, but you really do need a few of you there for it to be a good book club! It’s not all that much fun when there’s only the two of you, and the other is one of the least-forthcoming members! OK, in one way it was handy, as Anne was quite happy to go along with my choice of The Angry Chef for our next meeting, and to agree on the date, which will be 6th September, but sometimes I get the feeling she thinks I’m in charge of the club and that I know more than I do! I don’t! I might be a long-serving member of that book club, I’ve been in it since October 2008, after all, so 9 years this coming autumn, but I’ve not been the one to send emails round or anything like that! I have had to do the communications after this meeting, but that’s because there were only the two of us!

Anyway, I messaged Waterstone’s Deansgate on Facebook after the meeting to let them know the situation, and they forwarded the message on to Emma, who has now sent out an email. I have forwarded the email to Anne, and also replied to Emma to ask her to add Anne’s email address to the contacts list, as she has only joined in recent times. Emma’s a manager now and pretty busy, so it’s unlikely she can attend much, if at all, but she’s still happy for us to meet up there and to recommend any book ideas to us for book club reads.

I’ve also been having a problem in that my email was returned with an error message. I think I may have written Anne’s email address down incorrectly. Trouble is, as I’ve said, she’s pretty quiet volume-wise, and she does also have a bit of an accent, so I actually find it a bit hard to hear what she’s saying. All the more problematic, then, that she seems to lean on me so much. I really wish she wouldn’t. Particularly as, while I was trying to type a private message to Waterstone’s Deansgate on my iPad, therefore trying to do my best in the circumstances, and she’s there wittering on, fussing, and basically doing my head in!

Apologies for the rant, and I don’t wish to sound harsh, but she really annoyed me! I dearly wanted her to shut the hell up! Firstly, so I could concentrate on what I was typing, and also because there was no point anyone talking to me while I was trying to concentrate, because I wouldn’t really hear a word of it properly! There’s only the two of us, and if those two had been me and one of the others, I think we could have handled things evenly and fairly between us, but no chance given who the only other person was besides yours truly! So, she’s leaning on me, expecting me to do bloody everything, when I’ve never even taken full charge of a book club meeting before, but while I am ACTUALLY TRYING TO DO JUST THAT, she is bloody wittering on pointlessly, fussing, and just basically pissing me right off!

If anyone has any tips on how I can get someone to stop leaning on me and leave me alone, without being horrible to them, that advice would be much appreciated! How do I shake someone off?! I don’t want to be horrible, as I said, but I need her to get the hint and thus leave me alone. I feel I’m the last person she should be coming to, for her own good she needs to ask someone else. Especially as I feel I don’t hear her properly. I’m not deaf by any means, but perhaps I do need my hearing tested? Anyway, the fact is that I find her very difficult to hear for whatever reason, but perhaps someone else in the book club hears her perfectly and would be a much better person for her to ask?!

For the common good of the pair of us, I need a bit of help! What can I do to convince her to go to someone else?! How do I let her down gently and let her know I’m not the right person for her inquiries?!

Right, enough about book club stress, and back to other book-related matters… Picked up a few charity shop bargains in Eccles earlier, including The Chrysalids, by John Wyndham, for a mere 10p from the Mustard Tree shop, which is where I used to volunteer a few years ago! Wyndham, of course, is perhaps best known for The Day of the Triffids, the BBC TV adaptation of which, when I was a kid, scared the crap out of me, lol! I did enjoy Chocky, though, when I was a bit older, and that was adapted for a series on Children’s ITV, and I read the book because of that series.

The other bargain purchases were Foundation, and Foundation & Empire, both by Isaac Asimov, both 70p each, and Possession, by A. S. Byatt, at a mere 20p. However, there is supposed to be Prelude to Foundation, which goes before the two Asimov books I acquired.

Actually, Prelude is a prequel, so I guess it might be possible to just read those two, then find a copy of Second Foundation, to complete the trilogy if I enjoy it enough to do so. Anyway, if I ever do get around to trying these books, they certainly would make good Handbag Books! For now, though, I shall get this finished and published so you can have a good read! Until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Dark Fire – C. J. Sansom
  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner
  • Dead Ends – Erin Lange
  • My Turn – Johan Cruyff
  • The Chrysalids – John Wyndham
  • The Day of the Triffids – John Wyndham
  • Chocky – John Wyndham
  • Prelude To Foundation – Isaac Asimov
  • Foundation – Isaac Asimov
  • Foundation & Empire – Isaac Asimov
  • Second Foundation – Isaac Asimov
  • Possession – A. S. Byatt

 

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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Bookstagram, Charity Shop Bargains, Childrens' Books, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Handbag Books, My Bookworm History, Ongoing Concerns, Rants, Television, YA Books

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 Th√©riault
  • The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
  • Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert
  • The Dirtiest Race in History – Richard Moore
  • The Secret – Rhonda Byrne
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle

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

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

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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 Th√©riault, 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 Th√©riault
  • 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

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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