Category Archives: Sports

A Sense of Completion

MUFC Europa League Winners 2017

Mission Accomplished: European Silverware and Goodreads Challenge…

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Welcome again to yet another blog from the most waffly bookworm in Manchester! As you can see from the blog title and the photo, there is a feeling of satisfaction and completion here. On Wednesday night, my lads delivered the goods in Stockholm, beating Ajax 2-0 in the Europa League Final to win the trophy for Manchester and complete the set of continental silverware! We have now won every trophy European football has ever had to offer at least once each! European Cup 3 times, the old European Cup-Winner’s Cup in 1991 and now the UEFA Cup (as the Europa League was known for donkey’s years) on Wednesday night in Sweden. Actually, it’s the first time we have ever kept a clean sheet in a continental final! Even in our other victories, the opposition had had a goal back, but not this time!

Yes, we’re still shocked and upset, but the best tribute to the 22 who died at the Arena on Monday night is that the show goes on… the sports, the entertainment… The athletics went ahead this evening on Deansgate and outside the Town Hall, and the Great Manchester Run goes ahead on Sunday. As it says at the end of the poem I posted in my last blog, this is Manchester, and the bees still buzz!

Anyway, on from sports to the matter of books, and United’s trophy collection isn’t the only thing being completed this month, as my Goodreads Challenge has also reached my target of 30 books! Yay! As I had mentioned after our last book club meeting, I never included our current book on the OC List. It was far too short! An overnight read as it turned out, and I finished The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman, by Denis Thériault, last weekend! This took me to 29 books for the year, and I finished Nul Points earlier today, Tim Moore‘s book of Eurovision losers, so that brings up the 30 books I had set as my target!

So, what to do next? My OC List is now down to 9 books at present, I’ve not added to it yet. It’s also a question of what to do next with the Goodreads Challenge side of it. Last year, I set the original target at 25. I met that around May or June of last year. Plenty of time to go, I thought, so I upped the target to 40, thinking another 15 books was perfectly sensible…

But then I read A Little Life. And then I had an Epic Book Hangover! Oops! For the rest of 2016, I did not feel up to reading ANY fiction at all! Nothing appealed to me. Nothing grabbed me. My final total for 2016 was 30 books, and that’s because I managed to read some non-fiction books for the rest of the year! I’d missed my target by 10 books, though, because I’d wasted a lot of time fretting about my inability to read any fiction.

However, I now know that if the same thing ever happens again, I can turn to my non-fiction reads, of which I have plenty I can be getting on with, so I am NOT going to let it bug me if I have Reader’s Block on the fiction front. It would only be a worry if I didn’t fancy reading anything at all! This has also happened in the past, so I am not going to bother upping my Goodreads Challenge total. I will leave it at 30 and see how many more books above and beyond my target number I can read by the end of 2017!

So, back to the Ongoing Concerns… Pet Shop Boys, Literally, now returns to the top spot, followed by Periodic Tales. The number of OCs is currently 9. Do I add to that, or get others off the list first before adding new ones? I really think some of the YA ones on there could do with reading! Perhaps get PSB off the list first, though. The book is at 62% and I am going to see them in Blackpool in June, so back to Chris Heath‘s account of their first proper tour back in 1989…

Just looking over at the OC pile, and the nine books consist of four non-fiction titles and five YA novels! My plan, from a previous blog, was to get the list to a balance of general fiction, non-fiction, and young adult. Three of each. So, next non-fiction to come off the list gets replaced by a general fiction title, and the next two YA books to come off the list are also replaced by general fiction, and we would get to that three of each stage. The others could be like for like replacements. So, let’s say I finish Pet Shop Boys, Literally next. That non-fiction is replaced by fiction. Next book after that is Periodic Tales, another non-fiction, but that could be replaced by another non-fiction, as we’d have got the non-fictions down to three. After that on the list are Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, followed by Finding Audrey, so those are the two YA titles which would be replaced by general fiction once those had been read, but then we’d have that balance.

So, the OC pile stays at nine. No more books are added. Next non-fiction, and next two YA novels are to be replaced by general fiction, and then we’re set.

For one of my next fiction ones, once I’ve finished with Pet Shop Boys, Literally, I have a few in mind. Obviously, Midnight Blue, a recent acquisition could be read, but then again, maybe it’s time I gave The Miniaturist a go? However, I did recently find I Know This Much Is True, by Wally Lamb, at a charity shop in Salford for £2. Bearing in mind that it’s quite a chunky book, and the RRP was £9.99, that’s still quite some bargain, even if I have had much cheaper acquisitions from the local charity shops, of which we have many in Monton, Eccles and Salford! I still can’t see that book without thinking of the Spandau Ballet song, lol!

Anyway, that’s about it for now, and while we’re still on 26th May, 18 years on from the best night of my life in Barcelona in 1999, I wish all my fellow Reds a Happy St Ole’s Day! Until my next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman – Denis Thériault
  • Nul Points – Tim Moore
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath
  • Periodic Tales  – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • Finding Audrey – Sophie Kinsella
  • Midnight Blue – Simone van der Vlugt
  • The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton
  • I Know This Much Is True – Wally Lamb

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Filed under Books, British Weather, Charity Shop Bargains, Football, Goodreads, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Reader's Block, Sports, The TBR Pile

Get The Balance Right

Zlatan book finished April 2017

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

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

 

 

 

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

The Seven OCs of Rhye

Library Cushion

Cardinal! Fetch the Soft Cushions!

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Isn’t that cushion wonderful? Just right for us bookworms, eh?! As I’ve mentioned in my blogs, I’m on a placement at the moment, and I was pricing cushions and other items of soft furnishing, so I noticed the “library cushion” and thought it would be perfect for this blog! Being in that department, I also started to think of the legendary Spanish Inquisition sketch from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, lol! Doesn’t take much to get me thinking about Monty Python stuff, but being surrounded by soft cushions in need of pricing, it was just asking for it, quite frankly! Yes, I know. You weren’t expecting the Spanish Inquisition, were you?!

NOBODY EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION!

Our chief weapon is fear! Fear and surprise. That’s two. Wait a minute, I’ll start again…

Oops! Let’s get back to books, shall we? You won’t be too surprised to learn that I’ve started on The People’s Songs, by Stuart Maconie, which I bought at Cheshire Oaks. Essentially, it’s the story of late 20th century Britain in 50 songs, and I’m already 23% of the way through it! Almost a quarter of it read already, as we head into the early 70s with its prog rock and metal…

People's Songs book

This means we now have 7 books on the Ongoing Concerns list, hence the title of tonight’s blog, a play on The Seven Seas of Rhye, by Queen! I could also have had Sailing on the Seven Seas, by OMD, from the early 90s, or even just Seven Seas, a hit in the mid 80s for Echo and the Bunnymen, but I thought we’d go with Freddie and co.

Anyway, the OCs are back up to 7, and we have more non-fiction back on the menu, as most of the others currently on the OC list are fiction, mainly YA, other than I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović, our Swedish striker’s autobiography. As I said in my last blog, I was reading some more of that after Zlatan had scored for us against Everton on Tuesday night.

(Those of a “Tractor Boy” persuasion should look away now…)

Talking of footy, our former striker, Andrew Cole, has undergone a kidney transplant, so I hope you can excuse my further football waffle as I wish him all the best for a full and speedy recovery. Although other players have since equalled the feat, he became the first player to score 5 goals in a Premier League match when he helped United annihilate Ipswich Town 9-0 on 4th March 1995 at Old Trafford. Poor Ipswich were lucky to get nil! Roy Keane opened the scoring that day, Mark Hughes contributed two goals, and our other goal which was not from Cole came from Paul Ince.

(Right, OK, it’s safe for any Ipswich Town fans to return, lol!)

Of course, we should also mention the partnership he formed with Dwight Yorke when the Trinidad & Tobago international joined us from Aston Villa in 1998, a partnership which would fire us all the way to the historic Treble in May 1999, aided and abetted by fellow strikers, Teddy Sheringham and the complete and utter LEGEND that is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer! Particularly significant moments for Cole en route to the Treble came in the semi-final second leg away to Juventus when he ensured United would be going to Barcelona for the final with our winning goal in Turin in our 3-2 victory, and he helped us clinch the first part of the Treble, with our winner against Spurs at Old Trafford on the final day of the 1998-99 Premier League campaign. He lobbed the ball over Ian Walker in the Spurs goal to give us what would be the winning goal. 2-1. Absolutely vital, as Arsenal also won that day, so it was our win which gave us the title by a point.

Alright, enough footy now. Back to the reading matter, lol!

I was looking for other Stuart Maconie books which I’ve not read, and I found Hope and Glory, which is partially-read, but I might just restart that one when I get around to it. I’m not sure whether I own a copy of Cider With Roadies or not, but I hope I do, and I hope it’s somewhere I can get my hands on it easily! May have to check my wardrobe, under Computer Corner, and in the Book Chest in the garage… At least I know which of his I have read – both of them mention pies in their title, lol!

As far as Bill Bryson is concerned, I have absolutely, DEFINITELY read Notes From a Small Island! That is for certain! I also know I have read at least one of his books where he’s back in his native USA, but I am trying to remember which one! I think it’s the one he starts with the classic line…

I came from Des Moines. Somebody had to.

This is from The Lost Continent, so therefore I have read that one. I have also read at least half of Mother Tongue, Bryson’s book on the joys and peculiarities of the English language. I have several other books of his lurking around, including Down Under, Neither Here Nor There, Made In America, and The Road To Little Dribbling, which is his return tour of the UK. And then there are two of his books on the notorious Duplicate Books List, but I’ve already mentioned those recently, lol! I shall have to do a Bill Bryson special one day…

There may yet be additions to the OC list – after all, I had eight books on there recently, and it’s currently at seven, but at least I’ve got some more non-fiction on there alongside all the YA and the chunky novels! Now I’ve got that box set by Cassandra Clare, I may well wish to start the first of those books pretty soon, see what City of Bones is like… I decided to risk it for a biscuit at The Works with that set, so I may as well see what I’ve let myself in for, lol!

For now, though, that’s about all for this blog, so until the next time I type something vaguely book-related out on this trusty laptop, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The People’s Songs – Stuart Maconie
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović – Zlatan Ibrahimović
  • Hope and Glory – Stuart Maconie
  • Cider With Roadies – Stuart Maconie
  • Notes From a Small Island – Bill Bryson
  • The Lost Continent – Bill Bryson
  • Mother Tongue – Bill Bryson
  • Down Under – Bill Bryson
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • Made In America – Bill Bryson
  • The Road To Little Dribbling – Bill Bryson
  • City of Bones – Cassandra Clare

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Computer Corner, Football, Half-Finished Books, Humour, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Sports, Television, Travel, YA Books

Risk It For a Biscuit!

Zlatan book April 2017

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

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

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

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

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

Books and chocolate April 2017

The Mortal Instruments, some non-fiction and some chocolate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

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

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

All The Books We Cannot See

Ongoing Concerns 8th March 2017

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

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

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

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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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101 Book Mentions

101-dalmatian-puppies

101 dogs for 101 blogs!

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Last night, when I clicked to publish my blog, I received a notification shortly afterwards from WordPress, that I had published 100 blogs on Joanne’s Bookshelf! Wow! I knew I’d published a lot of book blogs, but some time ago, they seemed to stop letting me know blog by blog, so I lost count, although I knew I’d written a lot of these things! Anyway, last night, I reached my century, so this is my 101st blog, hence a photo from the film version of The Hundred and One Dalmatians! Well, it had to be done, lol!

Over the previous hundred book blogs, there have been many more than 101 books mentioned, lol! In fact, when I came to list them on List Challenges, my list came to 500 books! Would have been more if I’d listed every single Discworld book, I know, but I did list a few individually, and there’s one entry to represent the series. It’s just that the late great Sir Terry Pratchett wrote so many that it’d take ages to list! With some of the other fantasy series, there are not quite so many books. The Lord of the Rings is a trilogy, both Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia comprise of seven books each, and A Song of Ice and Fire has five books at present, and there are two more to come, I believe, as George R. R. Martin has not yet finished writing the series.

dalmatian-family

In one hundred blogs, we’ve covered one hell of a lot of issues! Some literary, some otherwise. Travel, music, sports, sports books, food, duplicate books, Young Adult novels and why they’re not just for teens, how much I hate book snobs, the content of books being more important than the authors’ appearances, tributes to poets, musicians and authors who’d passed away, especially last year when the Grim Reaper was overdoing it on the bumping-off front! I still think Phil Collins was taking a massive risk calling his autobiography Not Dead Yet, lol, given the number of celebrities lost in 2016! Looking forward to reading that book, though, when Sarah lends it to me.

We’ve even had cross-stitched bookmarks, Handbag Books, the chunkiness of historical fiction novels, the concept of the Book Hangover and bouts of Reader’s Block, the occasional rant, and of course a few mentions of the Junior Bookworm, my niece Charlotte. She now has a baby brother, of course, my nephew, Reuben, who was born in October, and she is clearly passing on her love of reading to the new arrival!

charlotte-reads-to-reuben

Charlotte reading to Reuben.

Looks like my nephew is enjoying having Eva and the New Owl read to him! It’s a book from the Owl Diaries series, by Rebecca Elliott, aimed at newly-independent readers such as my niece. I’m sure she still likes having books read to her, but she’s now very good at reading them on her own, and, as we can see, reading them to her baby brother!

You might be interested to know that my piles of books were still intact this evening when I returned home from Old Trafford after watching Manchester United beat Watford 2-0 in the Premier League, so neither the Juan Mata goal, nor the Anthony Martial goal, caused my books to topple over as they did last weekend when Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored our opener away to Leicester City! Must have just been a one-off! Let’s hope so! I want my side scoring lots of goals, but I don’t want my books falling over! As I reach 100 blogs, United reach 2,000 Premier League points, which they achieved this afternoon with the three points gained in our 2-0 win. Indeed, our next league victory will be our 600th in the Premier League, another milestone we’ll be the first club to achieve! However, this can’t happen until March, as we now have Europa League and FA Cup ties to contest, plus the League Cup Final against Southampton, before we have another Premier League fixture, which will be a home game against Bournemouth.

With Premier League Years 1992/93 downloaded onto my Kindle, I have at least one suitably United-related read amongst my ebooks for my trip to Wembley on 26th February. That particular date is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s birthday, too, so more reason to hope we win the cup – it would be appropriate to do so on a Legend’s birthday. Ole will be 44, he’s a couple of months older than me. He’s one of the main reasons why Norway is on my to-do list as far as travel is concerned, although I want to see more of Scandinavia anyway!

I have been to Denmark, a very long time ago now, way back in 1991 when I was 18, but we didn’t go to Copenhagen, so I have yet to visit the capital city. I have been to and performed at Legoland though! The original Legoland in Billund. The reason I was in Denmark in 1991 was because I was playing in the City of Salford Youth Concert Band, and every two years the band went abroad and gave a few concerts as well as having a bit of a holiday.Denmark was my first tour with the band, I also went to the Netherlands, France and Spain as part of the CSYCB. I was actually helping the band out by playing baritone sax at the time we went to Denmark, although my main instrument back then was the clarinet, “main instrument” meaning that I had my own, a pressie for my 16th birthday in 1989 just before I sat my GCSEs and left high school. The baritone sax was the music centre’s instrument, as was the bass clarinet I played a few years later in the band. These days, I’m in the Flixton Community Brass Band, in which I play tenor horn.

Anyway, I was on about Scandinavia, wasn’t I?! While Denmark was a long time ago, when I had just become an adult, I have had a more recent Scandinavian visit, when Mum and I went to Reykjavik, Iceland, in 2010. I totally recommend Iceland, especially as it’s an island full of bookworms! Icelandic people are major book lovers, they even have the “Christmas Book Flood” where they all buy each other new books, which they give each other on Christmas Eve, unwrap them, and then spend that night happily reading their new books! What a brilliant way to spend Christmas! I went there before I started writing these book blogs, which commenced later that year, but you won’t be surprised to learn I came home from Reykjavik with a few books, including The Sagas of Icelanders – that one kinda had to be purchased, really! I think it’s in the Book Chest in the garage. It’s a big, chunky book, anyway, as you might expect! Obviously, they were written by various Icelandic people, but the book I own has been put together by Jane Smiley. It’s not ALL the sagas, that would require an even chunkier book, I’m sure, but it’s a substantial introduction to Icelandic history, culture and folklore, and I hope to get around to reading it some time!

Well, we’ve started off with 101 dalmations to mark our 101st book blog, and we have ended up with mention of the bookworms of Iceland! You never know what’s going to turn up in this blog… mainly because I don’t know, either, lol! I just type this stuff as I go along, and sometimes one thing leads to another! Anyway, that’s about it for now, so until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Hundred and One Dalmatians – Dodie Smith
  • The Discworld Series – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • The Lord of the Rings Trilogy – J. R. R. Tolkien
  • The Harry Potter Series – J. K. Rowling
  • The Chronicles of Narnia – C. S. Lewis
  • A Song of Ice and Fire (series) – George R. R. Martin
  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • The Owl Diaries: Eva and the New Owl – Rebecca Elliott
  • Premier League Years 1992/93 – Andrew Hyslop
  • The Sagas of Icelanders – Various (prefaced by Jane Smiley)

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