Category Archives: School, College & Uni Reading

A Truth Universally Acknowledged

Jane Austen ten pound note 2017

The forthcoming plastic £10 note featuring Jane Austen

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a person in possession of one of the new £10 notes will find a picture of Jane Austen on it! This week marked the 200th year since Austen passed away, so it does make it rather appropriate that when the new plastic tenners come out this autumn, she will be on them. At least the Bank of England have got things right this time, actually bringing a note out featuring a certain famous person in an appropriate anniversary year, as opposed to a few years ago when they actually phased out the £20 notes with Sir Edward Elgar on them a year or two before a significant anniversary regarding one of our most famous composers! I expect, after the strident complaints received from disgruntled classical music buffs over their Elgar error, they have learned from their mistake and chose 2017 to actually launch the Jane Austen ten pound notes. And, as you can probably tell from the title and the opening sentence of this blog, yes I did study Pride and Prejudice when I was at school!

The OC Overhaul is working well, getting the list down to six was one of my better ideas, lol! Today I have been making progress with our latest book club book, The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old, and am presently up to 37% of the way through the book. If you can imagine Adrian Mole, but elderly and Dutch and in a nursing home in Amsterdam, you can probably get a fair idea! The diary is set in 2013, and I am up to the end of April, or early May, I think, so I’ve just gone past a significant time for me – not that Hendrik mentions it, he doesn’t, but April 2013 for me was about United’s 20th league title and my 40th birthday! As many of you know, our 20th title was clinched the night before my Big 40, thanks to Robin van Persie’s hat-trick at home to Aston Villa, the second goal of which was an absolute beauty and definitely one of the best goals I have ever seen!

Talking of goals, it was good to see Romelu Lukaku get off the mark with his first goal for us the other night as we came from behind to beat Real Salt Lake 2-1 in our second game of our pre-season tour in the USA. I know we have got Lindelof and Lukaku, but we still need more players this summer! The Gnome is being very tardy, and Jose has had to mention it a few times in press conferences – you can tell Mr Mourinho isn’t happy about it! He gave Ed the “shopping list” in May at the end of the season we’ve just had, and we have got two players, but Jose has said we need four! I would say we need at least four! I am not best pleased that Morata’s going to Chelsea, I thought we should have gone for him as well as Lukaku! We need all the strikers we can get after not scoring anywhere near enough goals last season, especially in the league!

So, some of the progress I have been making in recent days with both Dissolution and the Hendrik Groen book has been as part of a challenge to see how much I can get read while I wait for that useless Gnome to get his finger out of his arse and make some more signings! Dissolution is up to 75% read now! Serious progress, and I am really enjoying it, so I hope the other books in the Shardlake series are as good! Of course, when I finish Dissolution, Dark Fire will be next.

Charlotte's summer reading challenge 2017

My niece’s summer reading challenge – I’m sure she’ll complete this!

My sister posted that photo on my timeline on Facebook earlier. It’s Charlotte’s summer reading challenge from her primary school. As she takes after me on the bookworm front, I’m sure she will excel at this! The Junior Bookworm will be 7 this weekend – yes, I know! Time flies, doesn’t it?! Seven years since I became an auntie! I had been an “honourary auntie” to friends’ kids prior to 2010, but I became an actual auntie that summer, and I remember having to phone in to work and speak to my boss to get that day off – my niece was born at a silly time in the morning, and I hadn’t had much sleep when I woke up to phone work – thankfully my boss, Dawn, could tell I sounded utterly knackered, congratulated me on becoming an auntie, and gave the go ahead for my leave. I then went back to sleep, as you can imagine!

Actually, next month will be my 7th blogging anniversary! I have been doing this Joanne’s Bookshelf blog since August 2010. August will also mark my 10th anniversary on Facebook! I joined on either 9th or 10th August 2007, not quite sure which date, but I am sure FB will let me know next month with my “10th Faceversary” video, lol! One of my long-time FB friends, Robert Rush, recently celebrated his 10th FB anniversary, although I think it was probably around the September of 2007 when I became friends with him thanks to a group called A Cup of Tea Solves Everything!

Of the charity shop bargains lately, there have been a couple of chunky monkeys by Charles Dickens which have ended up chez moi – The Pickwick Papers set me back a mere 50p on Monday when I was in Salford, and Nicholas Nickleby wasn’t much more expensive when I acquired it in Eccles earlier today for 99p. You can get some of the classics really cheaply, I have noticed! I once got Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes, for a mere 20p! It was when I was volunteering at The Mustard Tree in Eccles, I think. And that’s a real chunky monkey of a book! It weighs in at 785 pages in the edition I own! 785 pages of novel for a mere 20p?! A snip, as they used to say in the legendary pop magazine Smash Hits back in the day!

Well, I shall be at Waterstone’s tomorrow evening… the book event with Stuart Maconie has soon come around, hasn’t it?! Hence I will be meeting one of my favourite non-fiction authors. I think I will take either The Pie at Night or The People’s Songs with me just in case, but I intend to buy Long Road From Jarrow anyway, so I can certainly get him to sign that. I must remember that if there are any drinks, as there often are at these things, I can’t have any of the vino, unfortunately! I’ve got a dental infection and I’m on the “uncle-biotics”, lol, so no booze for me for a few days! Will have to stick to juice.

Talking of which, I must remember to have my third and final one for today, three a day for five days, so I shall get this blog finished and published, and then I can attend to my medication. I will be back again soon enough with another blog, lol! Hopefully a photo or two from the Stuart Maconie event! Until then, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  • The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old – Hendrik Groen
  • Dissolution – C. J. Sansom
  • Dark Fire – C. J Sansom
  • The Pickwick Papers – Charles Dickens
  • Nicholas Nickleby  – Charles Dickens
  • Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes
  • The Pie at Night – Stuart Maconie
  • The People’s Songs – Stuart Maconie
  • Long Road From Jarrow – Stuart Maconie

 

 

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Filed under Authors, Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Chunky Monkeys, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Handbag Books, Historical Fiction, Junior Bookworms, Manc Stuff!, My Bookworm History, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, School, College & Uni Reading, The TBR Pile

Dissolution and Distraction

Shardlake selfie 1

Shardlake Series Selfie: Already over 25% of Dissolution read…

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

You’ve had Pride and Prejudice, you’ve had Sense and Sensibility… now meet Dissolution and Distraction, lol! Well, in so far as I’m reading Dissolution, while hoping that United will provide the distraction by signing players! It nearly worked, too! There was some actual interest in the transfer window! However, Everton are denying that they accepted a bid for Romelu Lukaku, from ourselves, and part of me is hoping that it might be a ploy to worry Real Madrid and get the price of Alvaro Morata lowered!

Personally, I’d like both players at Old Trafford! Not just because, as one guy tweeted, you could fit both names (Lukaku, Morata) in a terrace chant to the tune of Hakuna Matata from The Lion King, lol, but because we bloody well need at least a couple of centre-forwards! We’ve already released the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and it looks very likely that Wayne Rooney will be heading back to Everton after 13 seasons at United and more trophies than you can shake a stick at! Maybe not the numbers of trophies won by Giggs and Scholes, but Rooney will be up there on the list amongst the well-decorated players, and he also holds the club goalscoring record, of course, having overtaken Sir Bobby Charlton’s 249 goals this season just gone. Wazza scored 253 goals for us, so that looks like it will be the new total to beat, and that will take some doing! It took 44 years for anyone to beat Sir Bobby’s record!

So, back to Dissolution, for a moment, and it seems my book challenge had an effect! It’s like the days when I couldn’t read while in a vehicle which was in motion, which was the case back in my student days at uni, and I could only get a book out and read on the bus if the driver had stopped for a 5 minute break. They seemed to sense that someone who couldn’t read while in motion was reading, and they took that as a signal to get their arses, and their buses, back in gear, and get moving again! In a footballing sense, my Shardlake Series challenge seems to have had that sort of effect on The Gnome! Perhaps Ed Woodward can sense that a bored and pissed-off Stretford Ender has got fed up of the lack of activity and decided to read a particularly chunky series of historical fiction novels?! Thus he thinks “Oh shit! I’d better get a move on and sign someone!”

Dissolution has joined the Handbag Books list, and the Ongoing Concerns list, and is currently at 27% read as I type, so I’ve already got through a quarter of the novel since I started it yesterday evening after my previous blog!

Not got band practice this coming Saturday, so a potential reading opportunity presents itself… Still need to decide what I’m doing regarding The Power. Going to get on with Dissolution as I’ve started the Shardlake series as a challenge to the Gnome (see above) and I’m enjoying it, plus I’ve regained interest in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, so I can make some progress with that, get that one read and off the OC List. Maybe even look at some of the other YA books on there and get some of those read… Finding Audrey hasn’t been read for ages.

Talking of books that haven’t been read for ages, you will probably know by now that I have many half-read books lying around, some of which eventually come back onto my radar and join the OC list. One such book could possibly be The Beach Hut, by Veronica Henry, which has been lying around near Computer Corner for ages! The only reason it has come back into my mind is because of a forthcoming event for which a beach hut has been hired for a day. It was something Mum mentioned to me, and it reminded me that I had a book called The Beach Hut!

While we’re on forthcoming events…

STUART MACONIE IS COMING TO WATERSTONE’S DEANSGATE!!!

Sorry! Please excuse my excitement, but I am going to an event on 20th July at the Waterstone’s branch in town as one of my favourite non-fiction authors has a new book out! Woo-hoo! I hope he might also sign some of my other books of his if I were to take them along, such as The Pie at Night, and The People’s Songs, which I read earlier this year! I think Pies and Prejudice is in the book chest in the garage. Read that one some years ago now.

The forthcoming book from Mr Maconie is Long Road From Jarrow, and it is an account of his retracing of the route 80 years on from when 200 men from the Tyneside town of Jarrow marched down to London in 1936 to protest against the destruction of their towns and industries.

https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/1109317/long-road-from-jarrow/

I have included the link for any interested readers. The book is published on 20th July, which is actually the same night that I shall be seeing Mr Maconie launch this book at the Deansgate branch in town! He is one of my favourite non-fiction writers, along with Bill Bryson and also Nick Hornby‘s non-fiction stuff! Fever Pitch is on my list of all-time favourite books, so I couldn’t forget Hornby!

I was good, and didn’t buy any books today, but that’s not to say I didn’t spot some potential future reading material, including One Italian Summer, by Keris Stainton, which is a YA novel, and Around Britain By Cake: A Tour of Our Traditional Teatime Treats, by Caroline Taggart. Before you ask, yes, the latter of those DOES feature Eccles Cakes and contains a recipe for them! Sounds like the sort of book to read while enjoying a cuppa and a good big slice of cake! Actually, most books can be enjoyed with a cuppa and a cake. You might not want to eat if you were reading horror novels, they might become too gory and put you off your food, but as I don’t read horror, because I don’t want the living shit scared out of me, that’s not an issue in my bookworm life!

Anyway, it’s been warm again, and I’m not getting any cooler sitting at my laptop, so I shall get this published and then I can chill and return to my reading! Until the next helping of waffle, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  • Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
  • Dissolution – C. J. Sansom
  • The Power – Naomi Alderman
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • Finding Audrey – Sophie Kinsella
  • The Beach Hut – Veronica Henry
  • The Pie at Night – Stuart Maconie
  • The People’s Songs – Stuart Maconie
  • Pies and Prejudice – Stuart Maconie
  • Long Road From Jarrow – Stuart Maconie
  • Fever Pitch – Nick Hornby
  • One Italian Summer – Keris Stainton
  • Around Britain By Cake – Caroline Taggart

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Computer Corner, Football, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, Historical Fiction, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, School, College & Uni Reading, Television, The TBR Pile

You’re a Wizard, Harry!

Harry Potter series

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

“Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”

Yep! 20 years ago today, back on 26th June 1997, readers were first able to see that opening line in print as the first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published! Further books had come out by the time I was actually introduced to the series a few years later, some time around 1999 or 2000, by one of my colleagues at Manchester DBC. I shall admit now that, at first, I had thought they were for kids, but as it was a fellow adult who recommended them to me one day at work, I decided to give them a go and thus I became a Potterhead! I was on holiday (vacation) in Las Vegas in the summer of 2007 when the final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was published, and went to a party at Borders in a shopping mall near the Strip!

I have also read two of the mini books which were published originally to help Comic Relief – Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, and Quidditch Through the Ages. I need to read Tales of Beedle the Bard, which was brought out after Deathly Hallows, as that was a book which was in Dumbledore’s will. Personally, I still think there is more mileage from some of the other books which are mentioned within the Harry Potter series, some of the other set texts which are on the reading lists of witches and wizards at Hogwarts would make good books. Particularly Hogwarts, A History. Hermione quotes from it in Philosopher’s Stone, showing how much swotting up she’d been doing since she got her Hogwarts letter, and I think it’d be a good accompaniment to the main series and give a good back story to the founding of the wizarding school. So, if there’s any way of passing on that suggestion to J. K. Rowling, that’d be great…

Right, on to other stuff now, and I still need to start on The Power, by Naomi Alderman. It’s our book club book, so I’d better get a move on, really! At least enough to see if I like it. As I’m back in Salford again tomorrow morning for another appointment, I guess I could always pop it in my bag as a Handbag Book and take it along with me.

Need to do an assessment of the OC List, too, and continue with Periodic Tales and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. Those are the top two on my list at present, but still some way to go in both of them before I finish them.

Picked up Revelation, by C. J. Sansom this afternoon at the British Heart Foundation shop in Salford, so that’s another of the Shardlake series acquired. The fourth in the series, as I recall. Still numbers 3 and 6 to go, but as I said previously, not in a major rush at the moment, so there’s time yet! Charity shops are so good for bargain books. For my readers across the Atlantic, I understand such shops are known as thrift stores in the USA, and that there are bargains to be had in those, too!

As you no doubt know, I’m on Facebook, have been for almost ten years now – joined in August 2007, so not far away from my Farcebook Anniversary, lol, and as you can imagine, I go on a lot of groups and pages for bookworms! I even run a book-related group, as some of you regular blog readers will know! Anyway, on one of these many groups or pages of a literary nature, there was a quote, which I think was from Margaret Atwood…

The book to read is the book which makes you think.

To an extent, yes, but that kind of assumes that you’re quite a reader already and up for the challenge of some reading material which will make you sit up and take notice! Therefore, I would say that there’s a piece of advice which should precede Atwood’s…

The book to read is the book which makes you want to read!

First things first, Ms Atwood! Get people reading in the first place! Get more people reading more books! The way to do that is not to get all picky about what those people are reading! There is no room for book snobbishness! The last thing we want to be doing is to put people off reading.

It doesn’t matter if what people read is lightweight and fluffy! Chick lit, holiday romances, cosy crime fiction… People need to find things they enjoy reading, the books which make them want to read other books…

Further down the line, there MIGHT be scope for assessing what people are actually reading and maybe trying to encourage them to get out of their so-called “comfort zone”, but I’m not one to advise risking that! After all, who bloody cares if someone just reads holiday romances, or cosy crime novels?! Reading SHOULD be fun! It should be seen as something people can enjoy purely for entertainment, NOT just as something you have to do at school, college or uni!

Also, we may well be dealing with grown-ups who were put off reading when they were at school! They might have had books foisted upon them as class readers, books which were not their cup of tea, and that may have put them off books! Having to write essays about those books, having to sit exams and write about those books in some boring school hall for 2 to 3 hours, such events may well have put a lot of people off reading when they were at school!

You really need to have been a bookworm from an early age to be able to withstand the occasional set text you don’t enjoy! I was, so I have remained a bookworm throughout my life despite the occasional tedious “class reader” book, and despite having to over-analyse various books at school, college and uni – don’t forget I had to experience French Literature when I was at college and doing my bastard A-Levels! How many bloody variations on the past tense does a language actually NEED?! It sure as hell doesn’t need a version of the past tense which is only actually used in literature! Yes, past historic, I am looking at you!

So, the book to read is the book which makes you love reading and want to read more books! Let the “fluffy” readers read their “fluffy” books. They might eventually try something a bit deeper. They might not. Not everyone’s going to be on the same intellectual level, and that’s fine. There are books out there for everyone. The trick is not to be so bloody high-handed about it! Stop being so prescriptive! We’ve got light readers, non-readers and reluctant readers to try to help… we can’t afford any form of literary snobbery.

It’s shouldn’t be “You must read this!”

It should be “What sort of things do you enjoy? Which television programmes? Which films? What music do you like? Do you follow any sports? Which team do you support? What are your hobbies?” – from those questions, we might be able to figure out the sort of books people might enjoy! Perhaps they might enjoy autobiographies by various celebrities? I enjoy autobiographies, particularly by musicians and sports stars. Can’t wait to get stuck into Not Dead Yet, by Phil Collins!

In short, these people need some bibliotherapy! They need a “book prescription” which suits their interests, reading suggestions which might get them reading on a more regular basis and help them find their genre(s). Just like with regular medicine, what you or I might take for our various conditions would not necessarily be right for another patient, so that’s why I warn against foisting your own likes on a light or non-reader! If we bookworms are to serve as “book doctors” or “book coaches”, the patient’s tastes in other matters will help guide us as to what we recommend for them. Getting hold of a copy of The Novel Cure, by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin, may also help, as might Book Lust, by Nancy Pearl – the subtitle of which is “recommended reading for every mood, moment, and reason.”

Have a trawl through the archives of this blog of mine! My book mentions are many and varied! I am a very random bookworm, lol! I do a recap at the end of each blog, listing the books I mentioned in it, so you might get some ideas from those, and don’t be put off even if I didn’t like that book. You might enjoy it! You might even enjoy that one I read a couple of years ago and thought of as just a pity party in writing, lol! Some time around this time of year two years ago, so May or June 2015, if you want to look it up!

Anyway, I’m off to see where my Hogwarts letter’s at, lol! Where’s an owl when you want one, eh?! Until the next time I blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J. K. Rowling
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them – J. K. Rowling
  • Quidditch Through the Ages – J. K. Rowling
  • Tales of Beedle the Bard – J. K. Rowling
  • The Power – Naomi Alderman
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • Revelation – C. J. Sansom
  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • The Novel Cure – Ella Berthoud & Susan Elderkin
  • Book Lust – Nancy Pearl

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Filed under Authors, Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Handbag Books, Historical Fiction, Literary Issues, My Bookworm History, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, School, College & Uni Reading, The TBR Pile, YA Books

Brillo pad! It’s Adrian Mole’s Big 50!

Adrian Mole

Gian Sammarco as Adrian Mole in the TV adaptation.

Sunday, 2nd April, 2017.

Hello again, fellow Bookworms! Couldn’t possibly blog today without noting the fact that one of my favourite characters from the world of literature, Adrian Albert Mole, is hitting his Big 50 today! Brillo pad, as Adrian himself was noted for saying in his diaries, penned by the late great Sue Townsend! Such a shame she didn’t live to see her most famous creation celebrate this milestone birthday.

For me, Adrian is a character very close to my heart, and only 6 years older than I am – he’s 50, I’m only a few weeks away from turning 44. We shared an enormous dislike of and ineptitude for PE and pretty much had a crap time at school all round, although I did have music to get me through my lousy time in compulsory education, particularly at high school! The first two Adrian Mole books were the YA books of my 80s childhood and adolescence! I was around 11 or 12 when I first read them, in my first year at high school, some time around 1984 or 1985, and back then, they were very contemporary – they were set in the early 80s, so only a few years previously, spanning a time period which included such events as the Royal Wedding, the Falklands Conflict, and the start of Channel 4!

Much as I’ve also enjoyed the later ones, it’s those first two books, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, aged 13 3/4, and The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole, which are probably my all-time most-read books! They’ve had to be sellotaped back together several times! They were my coming of age books as I went through some of the same shit as Adrian, particularly the spots and the general awfulness of high school.

(Probably why I still like nerdy lads in today’s YA novels, such as Greg Gaines in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and Colin Singleton in An Abundance of Katherines. It’s that sense of being in the same boat as them, I can relate to their difficulties in fitting in. I’d be able to relate to nerdy girls, having been one, too, but it seems most nerds in fiction are lads, so I have to make do with my male equivalent!)

Over the years, as I’ve read and re-read these books, and the subsequent volumes of Adrian’s diaries, I’ve got more and more out of them. There were things in those books that maybe I didn’t “get” when I first got those books, although I loved them from the start. I made the same mistake as Adrian on one score, actually. I also thought Evelyn Waugh was a woman! Evelyn was a woman’s name, as far as I was aware – had no idea until much later that it could also be a bloke’s name! One of the other literary amusements which I understood later was when Adrian borrows Pride and Prejudice from the library, but finds it very old fashioned and comments that he thinks Jane Austen “should write something more modern”!

Having read that novel for GCSE English Literature in my high school days, I can say that Pride and Prejudice was actually quite modern for its day, dealing with such contentious issues as circulating libraries, which were a big deal back then! However, Miss Austen is unable to write anything we would see as modern, Adrian, because she popped her clogs in July 1817, two hundred years ago this summer!

(Unless, of course, Adrian might fancy reading that mash-up edition, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, lol!)

I have not read ALL the same books as Adrian, but I know we have at least another one in common, without even getting my paperback or e-book editions out. Adrian definitely reads Animal Farm, by George Orwell, at one point, a book which I also read at high school for GCSE English Literature.

Wonder if the TV series based on the first two Adrian Mole books is on YouTube? The title song, Profoundly In Love With Pandora, was recorded and performed by the late great Ian Dury. Gian Sammarco played Adrian, his mum, Pauline Mole, was played by Julie Walters in the first series, and Lulu in the second. Beryl Reid played May Mole, Adrian’s grandma.

I’ve been known to keep diaries, on and off, over the years, particularly on holidays, and these blogs are diaries in a way, although not secret ones, obviously, lol! These are an account of my lifelong love of books and my adventures in the world of reading matter… books I’ve heard of, books I’ve read, books I skimmed when I was at uni because I needed to note the important bits for essays and exams but didn’t really have time to read the entire novel… I guess this blog, if we’re doing it in the style of Adrian Mole, would be entitled something like this…

The Not-Remotely-Secret Bookworm Diary of Joanne Dixon-Jackson, Aged 44 In 3 Weeks’ Time!

But that’s a bit long-winded, so Joanne’s Bookshelf it is, lol!

Since August 2010, I’ve blogged about books I’ve loved, books which have had me laughing my arse off in public and getting some odd looks (Fever Pitch, by Nick Hornby springs to mind here!), books which grew on me, books I’ve thought were alright, the occasional book I’ve not enjoyed and have left unfinished because it wasn’t floating my boat… Life’s too damn short to be reading stuff which doesn’t grab you when there are hundreds of thousands of other books out there which might be your cup of tea!

I shall get this published so you can spend Adrian’s birthday reading it and, hopefully, enjoying it! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 – Sue Townsend
  • The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole – Sue Townsend
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jess Andrews
  • An Abundance of Katherines – John Green
  • Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith
  • Animal Farm – George Orwell
  • Fever Pitch – Nick Hornby

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Missing Words

Eric the Seagull

Eric the Seagull – he’s following the trawler!

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Those who have ever read at least the first book of the Discworld series, The Colour of Magic, by the late Sir Terry Pratchett, will know of a character called The Luggage, which is a wooden treasure-style chest on a lot of little legs. I am beginning to think some of my books have similar little legs as I can think of quite a few in my collection which I cannot put my hands on and I haven’t a Scooby where they’ve got to!

I know I had a bit of a clear-out last year, taking a number of books to charity shops in the local area, but I am pretty convinced that the books I have in mind as being AWOL were not amongst those taken and dished out to help local causes in 2016! Thus the Missing Words title of this blog – also, as music fans will know, a song by ska band The Selecter, in the late 70s or early 80s. (It was 1980 – I’ve just looked it up.) Fronted by Pauline Black, whose autobiography, Black By Design: A 2-Tone Memoir, should be available from all good book shops, as the saying goes!

Anyhow, onto the missing books themselves, and the first, which has been AWOL for some time, is The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy. I have absolutely NO idea where that has got to! It used to be around here, near Computer Corner, but it hasn’t been for some time now and I am at a loss as to where it has got to. It could be in the Book Chest, but I can’t remember seeing it when I went in the garage the other week.

The English Patient has also gone walkabouts, and I don’t mean discharged from hospital, lol! In my case, it’s actually part of a box set of  various Picador books, the rest of which are on our landing, in their box, and I have read one of the books from that set, that being Holidays In Hell by P. J. O’Rourke. I had started on The English Patient, by Michael Ondaatje, but I can’t continue it at any time in the near future unless I actually get my hands on the damn book!

A Man Called Ove is also amongst the disappeared! The Fredrik Backman novel about Sweden’s answer to Victor Meldrew is nowhere to be seen! I know I’ve got this book somewhere , but the fact that it has gone missing is enough for me to do a Victor Meldrew impersonation and exclaim loudly I DON’T BELIEVE IT!!!

The fourth and final book of the quartet of missing reading matter is one of my YA novels, Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher. Again, I’d started the damn thing, and I now haven’t got a Scooby where it’s buggered off to! In fact, apart from The God of Small Things, I had actually started the other three on this list, which makes it even more bloody frustrating that I haven’t a clue where they are! They could well be in hard to get to places, they could be lurking in a dark corner of my room. They are not in Computer Corner, that’s for sure. If they were round here, they wouldn’t be missing as I’d have found the little buggers by now!

That reminds me, I had a bookmark when I was a kid or at least a teenager, and I think it was a Forever Friends one with one of those teddies on it… I probably still have it somewhere. Anyway, it had a little rhyme on it, which went…

If this book should chance to roam

Box its ears and send it home!

Well, there are at least four books of mine right now which could do with a clip round the ear for doing a runner on me! I know there was a time, a few years ago when I thought I had a book but didn’t know where it was, but it turned out I didn’t have that book, however, one of my Facebook friends very kindly sent me a copy! The book in question, in that instance, was Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and the irony is that I DO know where that book is, even if I can’t find these four others which are clearly having a game of hide and seek with me, and are very much winning right now, lol!

Ongoing Concerns 8th March 2017

The Ongoing Concerns

With seven books on my Ongoing Concerns list, I’m not really in a major hurry to add any of the Missing Books to the list and resume them, but I still want to know where the damn things are in good time for when I get a book or two finished and need some new ones on the OC front!

As yesterday was a Tuesday, I made good inroads with Tuesdays With Morrie, and it is now part of the OC list, as seen in the above photo! I still need to decide if I’m just going to read it on Tuesdays, or going to get it finished off sooner and not care what day I read it. I want to get some more finished, and the short ones are a decent bet, especially as they make for good Handbag Books, so there’s always a chance I can do some reading when out and about. My current placement, though, is pretty local, so, as I think I said the other day, unless I’m stuck in particularly heavy traffic coming home from Eccles, there’s little chance of getting some epic Bus Reading done! I’m not there tomorrow, though, and have to go to town, so that’s a better bet for a bit of reading on the bus or tram!

No need to go to Wythenshawe now, however, as my dad is back home in Macclesfield. Hopefully looking after himself, but I know what he’s like and he is going to have to change the habits of a lifetime and get off his arse a damn sight more than he had been doing! He is such a stubborn git, always has been, and won’t be told! He thinks advice doesn’t apply to him and that he can do what he wants and he’ll be fine. Over the years, my sister has tried her hardest to get it through to him that his lifestyle has been doing him no favours, but he wouldn’t listen to her. The one sensible thing he did do was when he gave up smoking back at the end of 1987, so this December, just before Christmas, it’ll be 30  years since he gave that up!

He used to smoke a pipe, but that particular December, he had the flu and was having a massive coughing fit any time he tried to light his pipe, so he decided to pack it in while he was ill. By the time he was well again, probably early in January 1988, he realised he’d not smoked for about 2 or 3 weeks and just didn’t go back to it!

Fake gnus

Anyhow, enough of that waffle about my dad! Back to the books! I am well aware that today is International Women’s Day, but I have said in countless previous blogs that we should move away from fussing over whether authors, or even main characters, are female. There is only one true distinction we need to make when considering any book… Is it non-fiction or fiction? Or, as The Fart would put it, does the book contain facts or alternative facts?! This is 2017 – we shouldn’t be caring about what an author looks like, we should be more bothered about what he or she has put in their books!

There is no need to over-analyse! Yeah, I’ve been to school, college and uni, I learned to read things into books, and into poems, and I’m not saying it’s completely useless once you graduate, but it’s mostly unnecessary! It’s a skill which comes in handy AT TIMES, like working out what some lying arsehole politician is not telling us, for instance, lol, but I truly believe analysis of literature is done to death and it’s annoying and actually gives a false idea that people even care about these things!

If an author writes that the room was blue, can we not just accept that as a description, without reading anything else into it?! The room was blue, as opposed to being red, or green, or cream, or whatever alternative colour scheme you choose! It does NOT mean the author was depressed! He or she could be as happy as Larry, but they were simply describing a room in a house which had clearly been furnished and decorated with a blue colour scheme!

And, for crying out loud, STOP over-analysing children’s books! Especially those for young children nowhere near going to college or uni yet! They should just be encouraged to enjoy books, reading whatever takes their fancy. They generally couldn’t give a toss if the main character is a girl, a boy, a polar bear, a hippopotamus or even a damn caterpillar! And why the hell should they?! There’s plenty of years ahead, when they’re much older, for all that shite, but for f**k’s sake let them develop a love of reading so that they’re not put off reading when they are in their teens and have to suffer that obsession with analysing every damn word of a novel or poem which they’ll probably be forced to do when they are working towards their GCSEs!

Look, I fulfilled my childhood ambition in 1994 when I graduated, I wore my cap and gown and I am still proud of that, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have issues with education as a whole. There is so much unnecessary rubbish we seem to need to learn in order to get those qualifications which we will never or rarely need again once we’ve got them! And don’t even start me on that crap about it preparing you for work – it does nothing of the sort!

Why the hell is education such a big long test of how good one’s memory is?! I’m lucky that I have a very good memory, but others aren’t so fortunate. But you can’t take notes into a test or an exam because that’s “cheating”. Why?! Seriously, why?!

When you’re in work, you are ACTIVELY ENCOURAGED to take notes! You are also ACTIVELY ENCOURAGED to take notes into interviews in order to try to get a job! People do NOT expect you to memorise stuff! Companies are perfectly happy for you to make notes, in fact it’s expected! They KNOW you’re not going to remember everything, and there’s a lot of important stuff for you to know, so you have to write it down and have it with you the first few times you perform a certain procedure, or if you’re doing something you don’t need to do very often. Yes, you’ll get used to some things which you’ll need to do every day, or at least quite frequently, in your job, but you will need those notes you made in training and, seriously, no-one is going to mind at all! They’d rather you had your notes than you forgot how to do something important, or you forgot some vital piece of information because you didn’t write it down!

If you REALLY want to make education a good preparation for work, you need to make a lot of changes, mostly in your attitude towards those at school! Have a dress code, perhaps smart casual, as not everywhere has uniforms. Sure, some places still do, but not everywhere. Plus, that old tale about school uniforms being a great leveller is just a load of bullshit! They’re not. They don’t prevent bullying for a bloody start-off!

Don’t make a big fuss about hairdos or jewellery except where there are hygiene or health & safety concerns. I was a civil servant for 13 years, and worked with some great colleagues, some of whom were long-haired guys. Some of my colleagues had multiple piercings and tattoos. Didn’t stop them getting hired or doing a bloody good job once they were in work! So stop trying to knock the individuality out of kids! They need to stand out at least a little bit in order to get noticed and chosen, so stop doing them a disservice!  And, for crying out loud, stop expecting them to rely on memory! They wouldn’t need to in work, so why the hell should they have to at school?!

I guess you could argue that school assemblies prepare you for being bored out of your arse in meetings, though, so that is SOME preparation for working life, lol!

Anyway, I really should stop waffling on and get this published! Just had to get a few things off my chest, but having done that, I can bring this to a conclusion until next time when, maybe, the Missing Books might have turned up. Stranger things have happened, lol!

So, until that next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Colour of Magic – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • Black By Design: A 2-Tone Memoir – Pauline Black
  • The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
  • The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje
  • Holidays In Hell – P. J. O’Rourke
  • A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman
  • Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher
  • Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom

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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Computer Corner, Facebook & Other Social Media, Literary Issues, Music, My Bookworm History, Ongoing Concerns, Rants, School, College & Uni Reading, The TBR Pile, YA Books

The Literary Slap List

An Abby Wright illustration of a women reading a book outside in the snow

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Message for Goodreads:

No, I haven’t “just started” Finding Audrey, by Sophie Kinsella. I’m on for page 44 now, as I type! I actually started reading the damn book while I was still stood in W H Smith’s at Wythenshawe Hospital, after I’d been visiting my dad! Hence I am using my Metrolink tram ticket as a bookmark! Off-peak adult return between Cornbrook and Roundthorn. (I have a bus and tram pass, but only certain tram lines are covered, for others I need a ticket.)

My dad had a heart attack last week, but could feel it coming on, so thankfully he was able to get himself home and call for an ambulance, and he was taken to hospital. Wythenshawe is a heart specialist hospital, if you get my drift. Dad lives in Macclesfield, but having had this heart trouble, it’s brought him back in the Manchester area for now. He’s due to have a double bypass on Thursday.

Anyway, enough about my dad’s dodgy ticker for now, and back to the books. Actually, he had a pretty huge history book when I went to visit him – my sister’s partner had lent it to him. History, whether it’s fact or fiction, seems to result in some pretty huge books! I’ve mentioned chunky works of historical fiction on many occasions, as regular readers will know, lol!

Finding Audrey, which I found myself reading at W H Smith’s at the hospital, is a YA novel, set here in the UK, although I’m not currently sure if it’s set in any specific part of these shores. Audrey is the middle child of Chris and Anne Turner in this particular story, with both an elder and a younger brother by the sound of it. She has two brothers, anyway. Whilst I will try not to spoil things, Audrey has mental health issues, and personally, I can see why she and her brothers are like they are when you consider that their mum reads the Daily Fail! Enough said, methinks! Perhaps Ms Kinsella wrote this book to poke fun at the sorry excuse for a “news” paper?! I might only be 44 pages in, but I sense that the author is having a significant dig at Daily Fail readers!

This means that Anne Turner has the dubious distinction of being added to my notorious Literary Slap List! This is my list of characters from various books who could all do with a damn good slapping because they are all seriously annoying in one way or another! As we add our latest candidate to the list, I shall now run through the list of characters who are already on there, and we shall start with Jane Austen‘s classic novel, Pride and Prejudice

I had to study Pride and Prejudice when I was at high school, it was one of my set books for GCSE English Literature. Whilst it did grow on me eventually, and gives us some good characters, I’m afraid to say there are actually FIVE characters in this novel who feature on my Slap List, and Mr Darcy is NOT one of them! Mr Darcy is just a bit misunderstood. I think he’s probably an introvert, and doesn’t really enjoy all those balls he is compelled to attend. He’d rather just be in the company of one or two other people instead of the whole damn town!

However, Mrs Bennet and her two youngest daughters, Kitty and Lydia, are most definitely on the Slap List! Kitty and Lydia are just a pair of airhead bimbos, and their mother is an overgrown airhead bimbo who encourages her two youngest in this tarty behaviour! She’s more than old enough to know better! Mr Collins joins them on the list – can we say “obsequious little toad”? Yes, I thought we could! Elizabeth was right to turn him down! The fifth member of the Pride and Prejudice cast list to be added, but by no means least, is Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Two-faced, hypocritical old bag with serious double standards! Wants every other young lady to have a list of accomplishments as long as her arm, but makes every excuse under the sun as to why her own flesh and blood hasn’t got any strings to her bow!

After that, there were no more additions for years, although there were times when I was doing A Level French at Eccles College when I would have liked to have slapped Jean-Paul Sartre because trying to get my teenage head around the concept of existentialism was NOT an easy thing to do! I’d also like a word with whoever it was who came up with the Past Historic tense in the French language! Seriously! How many versions of the past tense does any bloody language need?! Do you really need a version of the past tense which you only actually use in works of literature?! No, I don’t bloody think so! So, grrrr at French for inflicting this upon us! Grrr at whoever invented A Levels as well, come to think of it!

We have to go to The Catcher In The Rye, by J. D. Salinger, next, as our next entrant on the Slap List is none other than Holden Caulfield. This caused much debate on my book group on Facebook, I’d Spend All Day In Waterstone’s If I Could Get Away With It, when we discussed this way back in around 2008, but plenty of people were in agreement that he was a very whiny, moaning teenager who really ought to stop sulking and realise how lucky he actually was! Just to amuse you, though, I recall reading that book, due to the kerfuffle it had caused on our Facebook group, and I kept misreading Pencey Prep as Poncey Prep! I guess Holden might have seen it as poncey, lol!

Dolores Umbridge absolutely HAS to be on this list! Ghastly woman! We first meet her in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and she is just such a vile two-faced character that I actually prefer Lord Voldemort! At least you know where you stand with Voldemort! He doesn’t disguise it. He’s a nasty piece of work, but he makes no pretence at being nice, which is fair enough, whereas Umbridge comes over all simpering and pretending to be nice, when she’s actually a right nasty bitch! The other thing about two-faced people is that you don’t know which face to slap first!

This next one is actually non-fiction as it is autobiographical, but I really want to slap the author, Elizabeth Smart, for what basically amounts to a pity party in writing! Two years ago, as one of our book club choices in 2015, I had the misfortune of encountering By Grand Central Station I Sat Down And Wept. This may have been a short book, but it really wasn’t short enough! She loved this poet guy, and actually paid for him and his wife to move over to the States. Thing is she did it in the hope that he’d leave his missus for her. She just wanted to get in his pants and basically sulked because he was spoken for and carried on like some whingeing teenage girl. As I think I said at the time, save yourself the time and money… just listen to “Love’s Unkind” by Donna Summer, and you’ll get the general idea!

And now, that brings us back to Anne Turner, Audrey’s mum in Finding Audrey, by Sophie Kinsella. The fact that this character is a Daily Fail reader, and a pretty typical, annoying one, is absolute proof that she needs to be on my Slap List! Probably needs to be at the top of it, actually, even above the irritants I’ve just been mentioning!

The novel may well be coming to Wembley with me, though, along with I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Round Ireland With a Fridge, as chances are I may still be reading both of those come Sunday. I’ll certainly still be reading Zlatan‘s autobiography. and probably the Tony Hawks book as well. Not finalised the list yet, will have to see what still needs reading come Saturday, but as the EFL Cup Final approaches, things become clearer on the book front.

I’m clearer on my need to get some kip right now, as we’re in the wee small hours as I type this, so until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Finding Audrey – Sophie Kinsella
  • Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  • The Catcher In the Rye – J. D. Salinger
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – J. K. Rowling
  • By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept – Elizabeth Smart
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
  • Round Ireland With a Fridge – Tony Hawks

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Filed under Books, Facebook & Other Social Media, Goodreads, Handbag Books, Literary Slap List, Mental Health, My Bookworm History, Non-Fiction, School, College & Uni Reading, YA Books

Back In Time For A Good Book!

1985-fa-cup-winners

Nine men and Norman, we won with nine men and Norman...

Good afternoon, fellow Bookworms!

Fancy a bit of time travel? I hope so, as I have an idea for a blog, inspired by something I saw on Facebook this morning, on one of the book groups I belong to. The idea is thus: If you could take 12 books and go back in time to meet your 12 year old self, which books would you give to him or her?

So, for me to go back to the 12 year old version of Joanne Dixon-Jackson, we need to set the co-ordinates on our literary time machine to go back 32 years…

Year: 1985, Date: From 23rd April onwards…

So, the summer of 1985 will do nicely. The 1985 version of Joanne is 12 years old and lives in a semi-detached house in Monton, with her parents and younger sister, Ellie, who’s 9. She’s coming to the end of her first year at high school (Year 7 as it is known these days), and only has to walk round the corner to go to school as the lower building is right nearby!

1985-number-one-singles

UK number one singles in 1985

“Frankie” by Sister Sledge is number one, which Ellie has bought on 7″ single. Live Aid has just taken place at Wembley Stadium and in Philadelphia. M****e T******r is Prime Minister here in the UK, Ronald Reagan is President of the USA. 12 year old Joanne is still a year away from her first perm, lol, has Dangermouse wallpaper in her bedroom, has had a telly in her room since her 11th birthday in 1984 and loves staying up late, watching it. She is especially fond of Spitting Image on ITV on Sunday nights.

Everton are league champions (these are still the days of League Division One, before the Premier League, which doesn’t start until 1992), and Manchester United are FA Cup Winners, beating Everton in the final, 1-0 in extra time thanks to Norman Whiteside. This was achieved despite the fact United were reduced to ten men in normal time when Kevin Moran became the first player to be sent off in an FA Cup Final. Barry McGuigan is world champion at his weight in boxing and will be the BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 1985, and Dennis Taylor is World Snooker Champion, having beaten Steve Davis in an absolutely legendary final!

The 12 year old Joanne is very much a bookworm, and has been since before she even started school, so at the age of 12 she is pretty much reading teenager’s books and her favourites back then would be the first two Adrian Mole books by Sue Townsend, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4, and The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole. So, when we go back to 1985, we might find Joanne watching Live Aid, or reading about Adrian being profoundly in love with Pandora, lol!

So, which 12 books does the current version of Joanne, aged 43 going on 44, take to her 12 year old self in her time machine as she heads back to 1985?

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J. K. Rowling. I could, of course, take all the Harry Potter books, but that would take up seven of my twelve books, and I don’t even know if 12 year old Joanne is much into witches and wizards. Going back to my high school days, I remember our class reading Elidor, by Alan Garner, and at that time, I wasn’t really into it, so I think I am going to have to persuade my 12 year old self by emphasising the character of Hermione Granger and highlighting what a bookworm she is! That would probably convince my younger version to give it a go!

The Colour of Magic – Sir Terry Pratchett. OK, another book with wizards in it, but I’m going to stress how funny this series is to my 12 year old self. I’m going to tell the 1985 version of Joanne that she’ll like this series because she liked The Hitch Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams. (She will also like Red Dwarf on telly, although I don’t think that starts until 1988, so there’s another 3 years to go before she discovers the delights of that particular comedy!) Yes, there are definitely elements of humour in the Harry Potter series, but the Discworld series is full of comedy, and she’d love it!

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak. Right, 12 year old Joanne, you’re going to love this one! Definitely suitable for a 12 year old, and it’s a book featuring books. It’s set in Germany, just before and during the Second World War, and it is brilliant. It is quite sad, but there are some funny bits with reference to Jesse Owens, so that should appeal to your love of the Olympics! In years to come you will get to go to Berlin and visit the stadium where Jesse won his four golds and inspired Rudy in The Book Thief to do what he does…

Under The Frog – Tibor Fischer. You will love this and laugh your head off! It’s set in Hungary during the Cold War era. OK, for you, it’s still the Cold War era, of course, as it’s 1985, and the Berlin Wall is still very much up. But that’s going to come down in another 4 years! No, I shit you not, Joanne! The whole Iron Curtain thing has only got a few more years to run! The Berlin Wall will come down in 1989, East Germany and West Germany will become just Germany again in 1990, and will be “Western” like us, despite what Dad thought when you asked him years ago, and the USSR will cease to exist at the end of 1991! For real! I’m from your future, remember?! I know what happens, at least up to February 2017, which is where I’ve come from in time!

In years to come, you’ll be able to get to know lots of other people via computer. It will be called the internet, and there’ll be a site on it called Facebook. You’ll make lots of friends, and some of your friends will recommend books to you. One of your friends will recommend Under The Frog, plus a fair bit of other literature from, or at least set in, what you now know as Iron Curtain countries. A guy called David Hunt will recommend that one to you. It’s a way off now, I know. You’ll be in your 30s and working in an office in town by then!

Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson. This is from an American guy who’d been living here in the UK for years and, before he takes himself and his family back to the States, he goes off on a tour round this country, marvelling at what makes us tick. It’s VERY funny! As you’re in 1985, it’s not even going to be published for another ten years! Accurate at the time, but a year after the book is first published, the Arndale Centre will have to be rebuilt and will finally lose those awful yellow tiles! (Pity it will be because of a bomb going off in town in June 1996, but the silver lining will be the regeneration of Manchester afterwards and the redesign of the Arndale in particular.)

Odd Man Out – Brian McClair. A football autobiography, and one of the best, and funniest, ever written! You won’t know Choccy yet, but you will come to know and appreciate him when you start going to Old Trafford in 1991! Yep, I know… in another 6 years’ time, you’ll become a match-going Red and will end up as a Stretford Ender, singing your heart out for the lads at home games, and also cup finals…

My Story – Eric Cantona. Another football autobiography, this one purely because it’s Eric Cantona. Watch out for this guy! You won’t know him now, of course, any more than you’d know Brian McClair. Right now, you only really know Bryan Robson and Norman Whiteside, lol, but this French bloke is going to play for United from 1992 to 1997, and he will become your all-time favourite player, and you will still love him to bits years after he’s retired!

The Good Soldier Svejk – Jaroslav Hasek. Another of those Iron Curtain Country reads, although this was set long before then, during the First World War in fact, but it is VERY funny, goes off at a tangent at times, and has some great illustrations! Another book which was recommended to me on Facebook by David Hunt, and you will love it! It isn’t actually finished, really – Hasek died without bringing it to an obvious conclusion. He was a bit of a pisshead, actually. Yeah, rather like certain people I could mention! This one’s set in Czechoslovakia as you’d know it. That country splits up in 1993, quite peacefully, into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, but there’s another 8 years to go yet before you see that happen on the news!

Penguins Stopped Play – Harry Thompson. Yeah, I know, you’re going to wonder why the hell I’m bringing you a book about cricket! Going to be years before you finally get your head around one of our national sports! But it’s not really about the cricket, it’s about the travelling and the mishaps which befall the team, that’s what makes this book so hilarious! Travel is funny. Very funny. You will see some seriously daft shit on your travels, such as a wall with eyes on it, which looks like it has a face!

Fever Pitch – Nick Hornby. And back to football again. No, he’s not a Red, he’s a Gooner – an Arsenal fan, and it’s about him growing up supporting Arsenal and waiting for them to win the league again after a pretty long wait. They’d won in 1971, but then he had to wait until 1989 before his team were champions again. Your older self first read this book in 1994, on a day when she wasn’t at uni herself, so she was going round Sunderland Uni with Mum, Dad and Ellie, as it would be Ellie’s turn to go to open days.

I picked this one because I was at university at the time, in my final year, so you now know that you get to fulfil your childhood ambition of wearing a cap and gown – you will graduate in the summer of 1994. Also, you will have seen United win the league by the time you read this book, and United will end an even longer wait for a league title  than Arsenal do in this book, when they win in 1993, a 26 year wait will be over when the Reds are crowned inaugural Premier League Champions in May 1993. 8 more years to go for you, yet…

The Story of Music – Howard Goodall. Yeah, I know, you do have that copy of Introducing Music, by Otto Karolyi, which Dad gave you, and that will certainly help you work out the pitch ranges for various instruments when you have to compose music for your exams in later years at high school. By the way, it won’t be O Levels, it’ll be these things called GCSEs, which will replace O Levels and CSEs a couple of years before you sit your exams and end your compulsory education. Oh, and Winton High School will be merged with Ellesmere in 1987, and become Wentworth High School, so there’s a change of school name and uniform in two years’ time! However, in years to come, the school’s name will revert back to Ellesmere Park High School, but not for a bloody long time, lol!

You’re going to get an A, anyway – along with foreign languages, music is one of your best subjects, but I’m bringing you a copy of this from the future as I know it will be of interest and of use to you, both as a musician and a music fan. You currently play the recorder and are attempting the oboe. Those double reeds are a pain in the arse, though, aren’t they?! Never mind, though, as you’ll be better off with single reeds, as you’ll find out in a year or so when you try the clarinet instead and have rather more luck with that one! It’s hard to curl your lips around two reeds, one reed is much more manageable!

Prepare to play quite a few different instruments during the course of your life! Music will play a big role in your spare time over the years. You’ll do a bit of singing, too, but mostly playing musical instruments.

And finally, book number 12…

Attention All Shipping -Charlie Connelly. I’ve brought you quite a few books to make you laugh, and this is one of them! You know when you’ve stayed up late at night to discover how television channels and radio stations close down for the night? I know it’s not your usual choice of station, as you’re definitely a Radio 1 girl, and will be for some time to come yet, but you know how Radio 4 has that Shipping Forecast late at night just before the national anthem and close down? Well, this guy goes on a tour of all the places mentioned in the Shipping Forecast and it is VERY funny! Especially a bit near the end about Faroese puffins!

Not only is this book very funny and informative, but it is a souvenir of what will be your 40th birthday holiday in Mexico! I know you’ve lived in Switzerland, and that you went to the USA for the first time last year, but you’re going to do a lot more travelling when you’re older! By the end of the 80s, Ellie’s trampolining will cause us to go to France and Switzerland for competitions, but from 1991 onwards, once you turn 18, you are really going to go to a lot more places on a far regular basis, and you will love it!

Oh, and in about 25 years from now, 2010, the fact that computers will let you make contact with other people around the world electronically will prompt you to start writing regularly on the internet about books, and some people will start to read and even enjoy what you write about those books! I know! Mad, isn’t it?! Madder than a box of frogs!

So, these are my 12 books I am bringing you from the future, Joanne! Happy Reading!

  1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J. K. Rowling
  2. The Colour of Magic – Sir Terry Pratchett
  3. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
  4. Under The Frog – Tibor Fischer
  5. Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
  6. Odd Man Out – Brian McClair
  7. My Story – Eric Cantona
  8. The Good Soldier Svejk – Jaroslav Hasek
  9. Penguins Stopped Play – Harry Thompson
  10. Fever Pitch – Nick Hornby
  11. The Story of Music – Howard Goodall
  12. Attention All Shipping – Charlie Connelly

Other books mentioned during this blog…

  • The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 – Sue Townsend
  • The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole – Sue Townsend
  • Elidor – Alan Garner
  • The Hitch Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams
  • Introducing Music – Otto Karolyi

smash-hits-live-aid-1985

* Joanne gets back in the time machine and heads back to February 2017… *

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