Category Archives: Sports

Magnifique! From foreign books to bargain books…

Cantona signing 25th anniversary 2017

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

church fair bargains St Marks 2017

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

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

Flixton CBB Xmas Lights Urmston 24 Nov 2017

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

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

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

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

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Un Rêve Modeste et Fou – Eric Cantona
  • My Story – Eric Cantona
  • Charlie y la fábrica de chocolate – Roald Dahl
  • Die Bücherdiebin – Markus Zusak
  • The Good People – Hannah Kent
  • American Gods – Neil Gaiman
  • The One Memory of Flora Banks – Emily Barr
  • The Odyssey – Homer
  • The Pelican Guide to English Literature vol. 3 – Boris Ford (editor)
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović – Zlatan Ibrahimović
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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Chunky Monkeys, European Literature, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Foreign Languages, Goodreads, List Challenges, Music, Rants, Sports, Uncategorized, YA Books

Beach Huts, Angry Chefs, and Bargain Books!

Coffee cake and books August 2017

Coffee, cream cake, and bargain books…

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Welcome to another blog entry as August is  upon us which means I’ve been blogging for seven years now! As I think I mentioned recently, I started this blog in August 2010, shortly after I had become an auntie! The other anniversary which will be coming up very soon, this coming week in fact, will be my 10th anniversary of joining Facebook!

Not that I use it much now, but I joined Twitter in early 2009, and I think I joined Instagram some time in either 2011 or 2012. I was certainly still working in Chorlton when I first joined Instagram, so it was definitely before the summer of 2012. I post photos of various things on there, but a lot of them are book-related, I am a regular Bookstagrammer, so if any of you wish to follow me, you can do so. I’m joannedj1973 on Instagram.

Before we go any further, congratulations to Sir Mo Farah, 10k World Champion 2017!

* does celebratory Mobot *

He seemed to do it the hard way, though. Mind you, I’m more than used to seeing United do that, lol! We still need another player, a fourth signing, before the transfer window closes on 31st August, so perhaps it’s time to do some more Gnome vs Book challenges to encourage Mr Woodward to get his arse in gear once again?!

I finished the beach hut bookmark on 2nd August, but the above two photos are from when I was in the process of stitching it. I got ideas from a mixture of charts and motifs. Did consider putting something between the writing and the waves, perhaps a small shell or a crab, or something, but decided not to in the end. I was particularly pleased with the waves. I adapted them from part of a design I found. The row of waves on the chart was slightly longer than what I needed, but I could fit 3 on my design, and they make a nice border at the bottom!

The hut itself was improvised, adding the life ring and panels in the door, plus seagulls above the hut. I chose my own colour scheme, too. Usually, when I “hit the hut”, I am off for a pizza, lol, but I had actually been to a beach hut, hence the theme of the bookmark and my decision to resume Veronica Henry‘s novel.

Hit the Hut 3

This photo featuring the finished bookmark and the corresponding novel, The Beach Hut, in which I am now using the bookmark, was put on Instagram, and has been liked by the author herself, Veronica Henry even commenting to say she liked the bookmark! Yay! I have also had likes and responses on Instagram from Keris Stainton, author of One Italian Summer, which I read and enjoyed recently. Authors liking my Bookstagram posts! Woo-hoo! Our Ellie has put in a request for The Beach Hut when I’ve finished reading it, although she’s still reading I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović at the moment. My mum has recently finished reading Red, Gary Neville‘s autobiography, which she had been borrowing from me, and had read outdoors in our garden during some recent nice weather!

The Beach Hut has now been resumed, with a current slight increase to 35%. I have started A Quiet Kind of Thunder, by Sara Barnard, which is at 16%, and has thus been added to the Ongoing Concerns list. I have also started Dark Fire, the second book in the Shardlake series by C. J. Sansom, but as I’ve yet to reach the 10% stage on that one, it will have to wait a little longer to join the list. It will be our book club meeting this coming Wednesday, 9th August, so if I like what we end up reading, that could become a temporary 7th OC, but this list is not going to get out of hand like it used to do.

I also have to remember not to neglect existing OCs. I still need to make progress with Periodic Tales, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and Neither Here Nor There! I feel there is a particular need to get on with Me and Earl. Perhaps a major YA session is called for, with me focussing on the Jesse Andrews novel, along with making more progress with A Quiet Kind of Thunder.

With Book Club looming, I managed not to buy anything from Waterstone’s earlier, but I certainly made notes for future purchases! 5 YA novels and one non-fiction book caught my eye, the factual book being The Angry Chef, by Anthony Warner, which is about how so much “information” about foods and diets on the internet is a load of male bovine excrement! Some of the things which online quacks claim are good for us are either harmful or, at best, not doing us anywhere near as much good as their supporters make out! There is a review on the front of the book from Jay Rayner, whose book, The Ten (Food) Commandments, I read towards the end of last year when I could only manage non-fiction books after my epic Book Hangover which I suffered once I’d finished A Little Life! I might see if the rest of the book club can be convinced to give The Angry Chef a go – I’m pretty sure it’s been a while since we did some non-fiction.

I still intend to get around to resuming Manchester, England, by Dave Haslam, though. It is definitely on the agenda once a non-fiction book comes off the OC List! That has not changed.

Charity shop bargains August 2017

However, just because I didn’t buy anything at Waterstone’s does NOT mean I did not purchase any reading matter! On the contrary, I picked up these two bargains for 20p each from the bargain basket of the Salvation Army charity shop in Eccles! At only 20p, I thought I’d give The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair, by Joël Dicker, a chance to join my TBR list at the very least, lol! The other book, Cross My Heart & Hope To Spy, by Ally Carter, is the second in the Gallagher Girls series about the spy school, so I was particularly chuffed to pick that one up for only 20p! Epic Win!

Well, I am off to attend to my reading matter, so that’s about all for now! Until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Beach Hut – Veronica Henry
  • One Italian Summer – Keris Stainton
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović – Zlatan Ibrahimović
  • Red – Gary Neville
  • A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard
  • Dark Fire – C. J. Sansom
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner
  • The Ten (Food) Commandments – Jay Rayner
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • Manchester, England – Dave Haslam
  • The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair – Joël Dicker
  • Cross My Heart & Hope To Spy – Ally Carter

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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Bookstagram, British Weather, Charity Shop Bargains, Cross-Stitch, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Historical Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Sports, The TBR Pile, YA Books

Scope For a Bargain!

Scope shop in Eccles

The Scope shop in Eccles

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Welcome to yet another blog entry, and the reason there is a photo of one of the many charity shops in Eccles, is because yours truly is now the proud owner of the complete Shardlake series by C. J. Sansom, due to the fact that she acquired Sovereign at this very shop (see photo) earlier today for the princely sum of 50p! Epic Win!

I had had an appointment in Eccles, so after that, and a bit of lunch at Greggs’, lol, I did the rounds of most of the charity shops in the precinct. Within the precinct, there are several of these. Mustard Tree, Salvation Army, Charities 2gether In Salford, British Red Cross, and British Heart Foundation. However, I had already done the rounds of the precinct on Monday, and when you’re after something specific, and it’s not there, you might be thinking it’s not your day, and it’s time to get the bus…

Shardlake Series complete. Now I just need to read them…

But then I remembered that there is ANOTHER charity shop in Eccles, but this one’s rather at the far end of the town, bit out on a limb compared to the others, and that is the Scope shop, so off I trundled to pay it a visit and browse the shelves for books… And there it was… Sovereign! The book I was after. Book 3 of the series, but the one which I still needed in order to complete the set. It’s one of those shops which offers 3 books for £1, but if you just want one book, it’s 50p. So, the grand sum of fifty pence was handed over at the counter, and I headed for the bus home a happy little bookworm!

The one matter where I am NOT happy is the current transfer window situation where Ed Woodward, aka the Gnome, is making about as much progress as an asthmatic ant with some particularly heavy shopping, to quote from Blackadder Goes Forth! Yes, we do have ONE player, a central defender, Victor Lindelof, but we really ought to have more by now, as United head off on their pre-season tour on Sunday!

Thus, I am so pissed-off with the lack of progress made by the Gnome thus far that I am actually siding with Jose, and you KNOW my feelings on him! We’re talking about a bloke I have disliked since 2004, the night Porto knocked us out of Europe, and never wanted as our manager, a guy whose ego blocks out the sun, lol, but in the past day or two I have started to look at photos of a particularly pissed-off Mourinho and think “Yeah, Jose, me too, chuck!”

I’m starting to wonder if I should start some big chunky book, or a book series, and see how far into it I am when the damn Gnome actually signs a player for Manchester United?! Maybe if I actually start Dissolution, the first book of the Shardlake series, we can track my progress compared to Woodward’s in the transfer market… see which page I’m on by the time any player jets over for a medical, and then which page I’m on when the guy actually puts pen to paper and officially become a MUFC player?!

And one of those players had better be Alvaro Morata, or there’ll be trouble, Gnome! Got that?! You make damn sure he joins us, and that you get a few others off Jose’s shopping list as well, you lazy little shit! You’ve had that bloody list since May, and you’ve signed ONE player so far! This is no time for you to be sitting on your arse watching the rugby, the Tour de France, Wimbledon, or any other sporting event… it’s time for you to get off your arse and sign some damn football players!!! Get on it like a bonnet, Woodward!

Right, back to books, and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl has now taken over at the top of the Ongoing Concerns list! I am now 57% of the way through the YA novel by Jesse Andrews, thus it moves marginally ahead of Periodic Tales, which is on 56% at present! I really need to watch “Withnail & I”, which is referenced in Me and Earl… I am pretty sure I recorded and kept it on my Sky+ box, so I shall have to have a shufty.

* returns from shufty *

RIP Barry Norman.

Yes, Withnail & I is on my Sky+ box. Getting round to watching films, though, is not my strong point. (I make about as much progress with getting around to watching films as the Gnome makes with getting round to signing players in the transfer market, lol!)

Its not that I dislike films, but it’s a feeling of needing to put aside a big chunk of time to watch one! The average film is, I reckon, around 2-3 hours long and, while I can pause it, if I am going to watch a film, I would rather do it all in one and not be interrupted by anything. The other thing is that films usually have to be funny or have good soundtracks, or preferably both, for them to appeal to me. I would be a useless film critic, lol! The late Barry Norman, who passed away last week at the age of 83, wouldn’t have needed to worry about competition from me for his job presenting the film programme on the Beeb, which Jonathan Ross took over in the late 90s. Always did like the “Film” theme music, though!

I have a week to go until my next book club meeting, next Wednesday, and I have read a little bit more of The Power, by Naomi Alderman, but I am still not at the 10% stage yet, and still not decided whether I wish to progress and try to get it finished… As it says on a badge which I once had as a profile picture on Facebook…

The trouble with reading books is that I get distracted. By other books.

I’m sure, as fellow bookworms, many of you have the same issue! I really fancy getting stuck into a series or a really big chunky monkey of a book! Something really substantial. Actually, as I said earlier in this blog, I could do that challenge… Me vs Ed Woodward… Shardlake vs the Gnome… How much of the series can I get through while waiting for that lazy tosser to sign some more players for Manchester United this summer?!

Shardlake vs The Gnome – let’s do this!

Still got a few incomplete series knocking around, and have now kinda added to that by acquiring a couple more books in the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. I had already snapped up Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief the other week, and have now added the second and third books, Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters, and Percy Jackson and the Titan’s Curse. The fourth book is Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth, but I don’t have a copy of that as yet.

Anyway, I think that’s about it for now, that’s my book news up to date as far as I can tell, so I am off to have a good read and hope that the Gnome gets off his arse and actually signs someone! Usually, I would hate to be distracted while reading, but I would happily allow it if it meant that my club had a new signing, or at least a player coming over for a medical! That would be an improvement on the current situation where there is bugger all happening! So, until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Sovereign – C. J. Sansom
  • Dissolution – C. J. Sansom
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • The Power – Naomi Alderman
  • Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief – Rick Riordan
  • Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters – Rick Riordan
  • Percy Jackson and the Titan’s Curse – Rick Riordan
  • Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth – Rick Riordan

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Filed under Authors, Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Football, Historical Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Sports, YA Books

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