Category Archives: The TBR Pile

Me and Earl and the Blogging Girl…

Me and Earl finished August 2017

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Welcome to yet another blog, and news of yet another book off the OC List! Yep, I have now finished Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, by Jesse Andrews, and can recommend it, especially for anyone who likes humour in their reading matter! As I said a few blogs ago, when I was part-way through this book, I like Greg Gaines, the main character, because he is such a nerd! It’s the same reason I liked Colin Singleton in An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green. Loved that book! So funny! I know everyone blathers on about The Fault In Our Stars, and that is a good book, don’t get me wrong, but I seriously think An Abundance of Katherines is very underrated and ought to receive more attention!

Anyway, The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old, is back in my purple Kipling bag ready for Book Club. I hope the others enjoyed it. I certainly did! I shall see if I can find anything at Waterstone’s which I can suggest to the group, although I definitely already have one in mind – The Angry Chef, by Anthony Warner, which I mentioned in my previous blog. I am pretty sure we’ve not done any non-fiction for a while, so I thought I might put it to them, and it is fairly topical. I aim to get there early enough to have a good mooch around the shop and see one or two things which caught my eye. The thing about Hendrik Groen, though, was that I already had it in hardback at home, and I noticed that the paperback had come out and was included in the buy one get one half price offers that Waterstone’s frequently have on, so I picked up a paperback edition and another book, and suggested them at book club, and we ended up going with Hendrik Groen.

I probably could do with us reading a Young Adult book, though, as far as my Ongoing Concerns list is concerned, or I may well end  up having a seventh book on the list. I have just finished Me and Earl, so there is a space on the OC List for another Young Adult novel, but I’ve got 2 general fiction books and 2 non-fiction books on the OC list at the moment. Oh well, what the hell?! I’ll still go for The Angry Chef, I think. We have read young adult books in our book club, and even one or two which are possibly even pre-teen books, such as The Girl of Ink and Stars, by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, which we read last year. We’ve also read Tamar, by Mal Peet, and The Foreshadowing, by Marcus Sedgwick, in recent years, and those are also young adult books.

Before I go any further, I have some news for you all – not got my start date yet, but I shall be back in work soon! Had an interview on Monday morning for an Admin Officer post, and they phoned me back at lunchtime that day to offer me the job! Woo hoo! I’ve emailed them my references, so I guess the HR department has to sort that out, but I hope to have a start date soon. It will be full time, and it’s fixed term, for the time being, until mid-March 2018. I am sure I can still get some reading done out of hours, though, and get some blogging done, too. It’s in one of the departments of my local council, and involves data input, production of letters, and taking minutes at meetings, amongst other general office duties.

The other thing is, it’s Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm, and thus my weekends are free for my brass band practice and for going to matches – the new Premier League season starts this weekend, and we’re at home to West Ham United on Sunday! Giving some thought as to shirts… I quite like the black away one this season, and it’s also a matter of deciding whose name and number to have on the back of it. Right now, I’m thinking it’ll be either Henrikh Mkhitaryan, or Juan Mata. Yeah, I’ve got a thing for attacking midfielders with surnames beginning with M, lol!

Names and squad numbers on the backs of shirts first started in the Premier League during its second season, 1993-94, and in the 90s, I had two home shirts with CANTONA and 7 on the back, both signed by the King! Then King Eric retired. After that, I didn’t have anyone’s name or number on the back for absolutely ages, until 2012-13, when Robin van Persie was leading us to our 20th league title! So, in recent years, I’ve had v. PERSIE 20, SCHWEINSTEIGER 31, and IBRAHIMOVIĆ 9, on the back of my shirts. I also have a Dutch home shirt with v. PERSIE 9 on the back of it. My next decision is probably going to be between MKHITARYAN 22 or MATA 8. An Armenian or a Spaniard will join the roll of honour alongside the existing Frenchman, Dutchman, German and Swede!

Charity shop bargains to report now, and I picked up the fourth Percy Jackson book the other day, Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth, by Rick Riordan, so I now have all four books in that series. I could possibly consider Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief for the YA vacancy on the OC List, but we’ll have to see. I shall have to have a good thunk, lol!Also picked up Unconventional, by Maggie Harcourt, so another YA book for the TBR list and possibly the OC List!

So, with Me and Earl finished, Periodic Tales returns to the top of the OC List. 72% read, I should perhaps get on with that. I’m enjoying it, but, because it’s non-fiction, and about chemistry, it’s not the fastest of reads for me. However, I’m not exactly that far from the end now. Neither Here Nor There is at the halfway stage exactly, and The Beach Hut is just over a third of the way in, at 35%. A Quiet Kind of Thunder is at 16%, but I have only recently started that, as I have with Dark Fire, but really need to get on with that to get it to the 10% and get it on the OC List officially. What I feel I should do is have some intense reading sessions with Periodic Tales (to get that even closer to completion), and both A Quiet Kind of Thunder and Dark Fire to get those further along the way. Then we can look at the Bill Bryson and Veronica Henry books, plus whichever other reading matter we’re adding to the list…

I want to get Periodic Tales OFF the OC List – it has been on for a long time, lol!

Anyway, we shall see what Book Club brings and what I end up reading! If nowt else, it’ll be material for another blog, lol! Until that next blog entry, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • An Abundance of Katherines – John Green
  • The Fault In Our Stars – John Green
  • The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old – Hendrik Groen
  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner
  • The Girl of Ink and Stars – Kiran Millwood Hargrave
  • Tamar – Mal Peet
  • The Foreshadowing – Marcus Sedgwick
  • Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth – Rick Riordan
  • Unconventional – Maggie Harcourt
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • The Beach Hut – Veronica Henry
  • A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard
  • Dark Fire – C. J. Sansom

1 Comment

Filed under Books, Bookstagram, Charity Shop Bargains, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Handbag Books, Humour, List Challenges, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, 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

1 Comment

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

July Review

Hendrik Groen finished July 2017

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Well, I forgot the tick on my wipeboard, but The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old has now been read, and I would love a sequel! Think of Adrian Mole, but imagine him as an elderly Dutch guy in an old folks’ home in Amsterdam with all his aches and pains, and various grumbles, plus a sense of adventure!

So, I have finished three entire books within the course of this past month, with Hendrik Groen’s completion following on from One Italian Summer and Dissolution which were both finished last week. During the course of 2017 so far, I have read, or at least finished off, 34 books, meaning I am 4 books over my Goodreads Challenge target of 30, which I met in May, and I feel July has been very productive on the book front!

I have read at least 50 pages of each of the six books I have read during the course of July, with Me and Earl and the Dying Girl needing more reading done on it. Only read 50 pages of that one, but with reading Dissolution, the first of the Shardlake series, that was 443 pages, so that was the most for any book I read this month. As I am listing these books here, they will not be listed at the end of the blog, although other books will be mentioned.

One Italian SummerKeris Stainton. 241 pages. (Read whole book)

DissolutionC. J. Sansom. 443 pages. (Read whole book)

The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years OldHendrik Groen. 376 pages. (Read whole book)

Periodic TalesHugh Aldersey-Williams. 88 pages read in July.

Me and Earl and the Dying GirlJesse Andrews. 50 pages read in July.

Neither Here Nor ThereBill Bryson. 92 pages read in July.

Total number of pages read in July: 1,290

Nemanja Matic joins MUFC 31st July 2017

My current distraction from reading, but July has been a good month for books!

Wow! That’s a lot of pages! After June, which wasn’t all that productive, I feel July has been a great month on the book front! Probably because I felt I had to do something while waiting for United to sign players in the transfer window, lol! Therefore I got a lot of reading done between breaking news on Sky Sports News! We have signed Romelu Lukaku, of course, and now Nemanja Matic, but the fannying about from our chief exec, Ed Woodward (aka The Gnome), was getting a bit much at times, and doing my head in, so I had to escape into a few good books while I waited for him to get his arse in gear and get signings done and dusted!

(We did also sign Victor Lindelof, but that was in June, so I’m dealing more with July’s events in this blog!)

I think this is something like my 166th book blog, but I know some things for sure. I now have 61 followers, 60 on WordPress, plus 1 via email, so thanks very much to all of you who brave my waffle on a regular basis in the hope that I mention something to do with books! The vast majority of my blogs on here are about books, but there have been one or two occasions when only one or two books have been mentioned because something has happened for me to bring up a particular news event. I am pretty sure that’s not a common thing, though. I remember having a rant at the chavs responsible for the arson and looting in 2011, and I also posted my Manchester La La La blog entry in May this year after the bomb at the Arena. I still did get a couple of book references in each of those blogs, though, but I hope you understand these things had to be said and that you knew I would get back to matters of a literary nature!

(The blog covering the arson and looting rant was in September 2011, I think, and was called If They Steal Any Books, They Might Even Learn Something! It’s either August or September’s archive from 2011, anyway, should you wish to look up that blog and have a read of it.)

Cathedral book bench 4

This month also saw the Book Benches appear around town, and they are on display up to 10th September. For those wishing to see them, they are indoors at their various locations, such as Central Library, the Arndale Centre, Manchester Cathedral and the National Football Museum. There are also many others to find! Not just in the city centre, but also dotted around various suburbs of Manchester!

Charlotte bookmark 2017

My niece, the Junior Bookworm, celebrated her 7th birthday this month, so I stitched her a cross-stitched bookmark. It is currently keeping her place in one of her books.

So, let’s get on to the Ongoing Concerns as July comes to an end. Early this month, as you may recall, I decided it was time for the OC Overhaul, and booted a few books off the list. It was actually a matter of being fair to those books as they hadn’t been read for ages, and were being overlooked and overtaken. I had about 9 or 10 books on the list, but only 3 or 4 of those were being picked up and read, so I had a cull and decided I would have six books, two fiction, two non-fiction and two young adult.

The revised list of six books was Dissolution, One Italian Summer, Hendrik Groen, Periodic Tales, Me and Earl, and Neither Here Nor There. As you know now, the first three of those books have been read, so that leaves  us with three to be continued as we head into August…

Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews

Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson

OC list end of July 2017

The new OC List as we head into August…

Two of those are non-fiction, with Me and Earl being Young Adult, so we need two general fiction books and one young adult one to get the OC list back to the half dozen. One of the general fiction books I am adding is The Beach Hut, by Veronica Henry. As that one is already 34% read, it can go straight on the OC List. It is over 10% read. The other two books are Dark Fire, by C J Sansom, the second Shardlake novel, of which I will need to read 58 pages to get to 10%, and A Quiet Kind of Thunder, by Sara Barnard, 31 pages of which should see me reach 10% and I will thus be able to add it to my OC List. With those two, of course, it all depends on that first ten percent, and whether it grabs me enough to continue!

If, for any reason, I am not enjoying them, I will have to reconsider matters, but I feel confident that I will enjoy these books.

Lake District purchases July 2017

Before I finish, a couple of mentions for some books acquired recently. As I went to the Lake District last week, I picked up The Shepherd’s Life, by James Rebanks, which had been a bit of a word-of-mouth surprise best-seller a year or so ago if I recall rightly. It’s from a shepherd in the Lake District, so it’s local to that area. Yes, there were also magnets purchased, lol, and some necessary Kendal Mint Cake! Had to be done! Today, I was just out and about locally to me, though, and picked up a 20p bargain from one of the charity shops on Salford Precinct, the book in question being The Food of Love Cookery School, by Nicky Pellegrino. It’s set in Sicily, it’s about food, and it was a mere 20p, so I decided to risk it for a biscuit!

Well, that’s about it for this month on the book front, I think that’s all my news for July, so as we head into August, I shall finish this off and get it published, so until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry (other than the original 6 OCs)

  • The Beach Hut – Veronica Henry
  • Dark Fire – C. J. Sansom (Shardlake #2)
  • A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard
  • The Shepherd’s Life – James Rebanks
  • The Food of Love Cookery School – Nicky Pellegrino

1 Comment

Filed under Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, Historical Fiction, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Month in Review, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, Travel, YA Books

Situations Vacant

July books read 2017

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Welcome to yet another blog as you get to see the shortest OC List I think I have ever had, lol! We are down to just FOUR books on the Ongoing Concerns list at present, as the two books in the above photo have been finished this week and joined the ranks of the Goodreads Challenge for 2017! I have read, or at least finished off, 33 books this year, so that’s 33/30 as I met my challenge target in May.

I know we have the rest of today to go, still a few hours left as I type, and then another three days of July, but as we’re nearing the end of the month, I was doing some adding up earlier…

I have finished One Italian Summer, which I started and finished in July. That was 241 pages long.

I have just finished Dissolution earlier today, again a book I started and finished within this month, and that was 443 pages of reading matter…

I am just over halfway with The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old, and have thus read 190 pages of that so far, all of those pages in July.

Of my other three Ongoing Concerns, I have read at least 50 pages during this month to make some progress on each of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (50 pages), Periodic Tales (54 pages), and Neither Here Nor There (55 pages), bringing the number of pages I have read this month to 1,033 with still some more days to get a bit more done! Plus, as I have mentioned above, I have read two entire books as part of that, plus I have reached at least the halfway stage with another! After the rather lightweight performance on the book front in June, I feel that a lot of reading has been done in July.

I suppose I should thank Ed Woodward for that, useless lazy gnome that he is, because I decided to see how much of certain books I could get through while I waited for him to get his arse in gear in the transfer market! We did sign Romelu Lukaku, of course, although I still reckon that owes a lot more to the persuasive powers of Paul Pogba (how’s that for alliteration, folks?!) than it does to Woodward’s dealings in the transfer market! Agent Pogba – Mission Accomplished! By the way, Paul, if you have any more mates in the football world whom you could convince to join us at Old Trafford, that would be much appreciated, chuck!

Anyway, as I got a couple of books off the list, that means one thing… Time to place a “recruitment notice” for my books, a “want ad” as our friends in the States know them…

VACANCIES! Books Wanted!

Chief Bookworm is looking to add TWO books to her Ongoing Concerns list. Candidates must be either of the General Fiction or Young Adult genres of book, as Joanne has room for one of each on her list. The successful books will undergo a probationary period which involves Joanne reading the first 10% of the book to see if it’s her cup of tea, and then, if successful, they will be added to the Ongoing Concerns list for as long as it takes for Jo to read the rest of the book, after which they will join the other books already on the Goodreads Challenge for 2017!

Actually, I already know the general fiction title, as I am reading the Shardlake series by C. J. Sansom, of which Dissolution was the first book, so we simply move on to the second book in that series, Dark Fire. Thus, one position has now been filled, thank you. Other general fiction titles will have to wait until Hendrik Groen has been completed! As that is my book club book, the next meeting is on 9th August, and I am already halfway through it, the other general fiction books should not have too long to wait until a vacancy becomes available again.

YA shortlist for the OC List July 2017

So, I am just recruiting, now, for the Young Adult book which will join my Ongoing Concerns list, and like with any company taking people on, you have to draw up some sort of a shortlist from the applicants. I have rather a lot of YA books, as you all know, lol, some part-read, some unread, and I have just drawn up a shortlist of 6 for serious consideration… Five of these have already been mentioned during the course of this year’s blogs, but there is one relatively new title to add to the mix, that being Love & Gelato, by Jenna Evans Welch. I was attracted by the cover, plus the fact I’d just finished and loved One Italian Summer, so the idea of another YA book set in Italy appealed to me.

I am still thinking A Quiet Kind of Thunder might be my next one. I bought that at the same time as I bought One Italian Summer, and, as I mentioned previously, it features a deaf character as one of the protagonists and thus there is a lot of BSL throughout the book! A chance to brush up on some sign language!

The Upside of Unrequited is actually the only one of the six which has previously been on the OC List. As and when I decide to resume that one, it has already exceeded 10%, but the other five are unread. All The Bright Places and Dumplin’ have been around here for a while, on the notorious TBR List, waiting to be read, but When Dimple Met Rishi was a recent recommendation from a member of staff at Waterstone’s Deansgate, and I purchased that one the other day, along with Love & Gelato.

Anyway, I thought I would put things out to you, see if you had any recommendations, and which of the six books I have shown in the photo should be added to the OC List first. After all, I have 61 followers now, 60 of you lovely people on this blog, and one following by email apparently, so I want you to feel involved! As long as there’s no spam, I’m happy for people to comment on my blogs. It shows you’ve read it and you have some thoughts on the matters I have raised!

And sometimes I need some help when choosing books! Like right at the moment, lol! I am often spoilt for choice, I have so many books and I don’t always know which one to read next! So, if you want to assist me with my “recruitment process” for my next YA book to be added to the Ongoing Concerns, I would appreciate that very much! This is about all for now, but I shall be back again fairly soon. After all, I will have the July Review to do shortly! In the meantime, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • One Italian Summer – Keris Stainton
  • Dissolution – C. J. Sansom
  • The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old – Hendrik Groen
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • Dark Fire – C. J. Sansom
  • Love & Gelato – Jenna Evans Welch
  • A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard
  • The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli
  • All The Bright Places – Jennifer Niven
  • Dumplin’ – Julie Murphy
  • When Dimple Met Rishi – Sandhya Menon

1 Comment

Filed under Books, Football, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Historical Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, YA Books

A Truth Universally Acknowledged

Jane Austen ten pound note 2017

The forthcoming plastic £10 note featuring Jane Austen

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

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

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

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

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

Charlotte's summer reading challenge 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

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

 

 

1 Comment

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

The Not-So-Secret Blog of a Borassic Bookworm, Aged 44 1/4!

Hendrik Groen

And here’s one I bought earlier…

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Epic Win at book club earlier! I have actually managed to persuade those present at book club to opt for a book of which I already own a copy! Yay! The paperback edition of The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old, is out, and available on a buy one get one half price deal at Waterstone’s. I’ve had the hardback for a while now, it’s been on my TBR pile, so I thought I’d put a copy of the paperback on the table and suggest it for our next book, my other choice being Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman, which was a hardback, but on offer at half price, and it looked interesting, so I presented those choices.

There were only four of us there tonight, and the others didn’t have any book suggestions. They liked both of mine, but we went with the Dutch pensioner, rather than the office worker. I might eventually get that other book. In fact, I probably will, knowing me, at some point or other… It will end up in here, in hardback or paperback, and on my notorious TBR list! Trying to be good and resist the Call of the Book at the moment, but these items of reading matter will end up here sooner or later, no doubt!

Whether I will ever get around to reading them, though, is entirely another matter! I already have a TBR pile which would take years to read through even if I had all the time in the world for the rest of my life! In fact, I still wouldn’t get around to reading all of the books I own! Crafters tend to know this as SABLE – Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy, and the same can be said for bookworms and their book collections!

Onto the other books now, and some slight inaccuracies in the previous blog. Dissolution is on for 61% as far as Goodreads is concerned, and the entire Shardlake series would involve reading 3,626 pages of plot over the course of the 6 books. Anyway, Dissolution is now at the top of the OC List, having overtaken Me and Earl and the Dying Girl slightly. That’s on for 57% and Periodic Tales is on 56%, so it’s quite close at the top at the moment. What I could do with is a new wipe board, or at least a new marker pen for it. I will have to see if they have any more at The Range. I was on my work placement when I bought that one and I was often put on the arts & crafts and stationery section, so I got to see those magnetic wipe boards frequently and just had to buy one!

One Italian Summer has also shot up on the list, past the other YA novels apart from Me and Earl. If I can get both of those polished off, I can make a start on A Quiet Kind of Thunder, and maybe also sort out some of the other Young Adult books on the OC List. Maybe return to The Upside of Unrequited. After all, I’d still like to find out how mermaids pee, lol!

Might take some books off the OC list, return them to the general TBR pile as half-read books, and resume them some other time. I have clearly lost interest, progress has not been made for ages, so I can drop them off the list, they are hardly ongoing concerns when I’ve not really been arsed with them for ages, and we can have a very trimmed-down OC List. It doesn’t mean they’re doomed, though. After all, I resumed Jamrach’s Menagerie after several years of not being read, and the same goes for Pet Shop Boys, Literally!

From part-read books on to other literary issues now…

Recently, I blogged about how books which are said to change your life never seem to have that effect on me. See my June 2017 archive for that particular blog if you wish to revisit the issue. One of the other issues with literature, which has been raised on the book groups and pages of Facebook lately, is the matter of books which cause you to cry. I’m not talking about quiet crying or the shedding of a few tears, though. I’m talking about “ugly sobbing” over a book. Again, something which I don’t ever recall doing!

In all my years as a bookworm, which is most of my life as I was reading before I started school, I don’t think I have ever ugly cried over a book. Certainly, books have made me emotional. I have wanted to slap certain characters (hence I have a Literary Slap List), I’ve wanted to punch some of them, such as those who abused Jude in A Little Life, and I’ve wanted to transfigure Dolores Umbridge into something to suit what a nasty bitch she is! Actually, I’ve wanted to send her to Azkaban and let the Dementors sort her out! Don’t bloody start me on that awful woman! As a Potterhead, I dislike Umbridge so much that I even prefer Lord Voldemort to her! At least you know where you stand with Voldy! He’s always evil. He never pretends to be nice!

So, I have wanted to slap, punch, hug, and send some characters behind bars! I have also leaked some tears, there have been occasional waterworks, but only quiet ones! No ugly, messy sobbing here! No “it’s a good job I don’t wear mascara” moments! The ugly crying doesn’t happen for me any more than the “life-changing” books happen for me! I do bear in mind other peoples’ warnings, I do have tissues handy. However, so far, nothing has made me blub that much while reading a book that I’ve actually needed them. I think the closest I’ve come, and even that was just quiet tears, was when I was reading This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen, by Tadeusz Borowski, a collection of short stories which I read some years ago thanks to a recommendation by David Hunt on Facebook.

I don’t know why this is the case. I don’t know why I don’t ugly cry any more than I know why life-changing books don’t change my life, lol, but there it is! I’ve been a bookworm for over 40 years, which is almost all my life given that I’m 44, lol, but books don’t change my life and they don’t make me ugly sob either! I love books. I find them moving at times, informative and educational at other times, but I guess I just don’t have those extreme reactions which make me bawl my eyes out or experience something life-changing after reading a certain book!

I think that’s probably about all for now, which is more than enough, lol, so until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old – Hendrik Groen
  • Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
  • Dissolution – C. J. Sansom
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • One Italian Summer – Keris Stainton
  • A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard
  • The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli
  • Jamrach’s Menagerie – Carol Birch
  • Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • This Way For the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen – Tadeusz Borowski

Leave a comment

Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Facebook & Other Social Media, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, YA Books

Chunky Monkeys

Penguin book van

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

No, I’m not actually expecting a massive delivery, but I did like that photo when I saw it on Facebook the other night, lol, so I thought I’d use it for my blog! With progress being made on Dissolution, which is currently 62% read at time of typing, lol, you can expect a bit of blogging on historical fiction and other chunky works of literature! We are talking chunky monkeys of the literary variety here, of course, as opposed to THE Chunky Monkey, who is my nephew, Reuben!

We now have Romelu Lukaku at United, but we have Paul Pogba to thank for that, rather than the Gnome (Ed Woodward), as it seems Pog is up for recruiting some of his mates, lol! We have had something of a striker swap, as Lukaku has joined us from Everton, with Wayne Rooney returning to Goodison Park after 13 goal-filled years at Old Trafford, in which he won pretty much everything! I still maintain we need more than one striker, as we let Zlatan go, too, so we’ve only got one forward in, having lost two of them. Gnome needs to pull his finger out, he can’t just expect “Agent P” to do his job for him! I personally still want us to sign Alvaro Morata. I am NOT happy that our interest in him seems to have ended. United are being stupid if that is the case!

Oh, and Michael Carrick has been named as the new United captain, as Wazza has left us. I expect this means he’ll be club captain, and will also be team captain when he plays, but, as he is almost 36 now, it certainly won’t be every game, and I guess someone like Ander Herrera might often get to wear the armband as deputy, if that is who is named as Carrick’s understudy.

Oops, before we get back to the books from the footy, I set a question a few blog entries ago, I think it was on the blog “A Red Letter Day”, and I asked about the significance of Jenny Jones winning a bronze medal for Great Britain at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The significance was that she was the first British Olympian to win a medal on snow! Her bronze came in the slopestyle snowboarding event, whereas all Britain’s previous medals at the Winter Olympics, including the others we won in Sochi, were won on the ice! So, if anyone was waiting for the answer to that little quiz, you have the answer now, and I apologise if it’s been bugging you for a few weeks!

Right then… BOOKS!!!

I Like Big Books And I Cannot Lie…

Book club tomorrow night. No, I’ve not read The Power, well, I have but not very much of it, lol, so we’ll just have to deal with that! Not saying I won’t keep it and read it in the future, that is a possibility, but I felt the need to try to tackle the OCs, plus I got distracted by footy and my challenge to Ed Woodward, which has caused me to start the Shardlake series by C J Sansom, hence my progress on Dissolution! Enjoying it very much, by the way, but historical fiction is a genre I do tend to enjoy! As I’ve said many times, I am a very random reader, lol, but I’ve read a fair bit of historical fiction in my time, and most books in that genre tend to be quite substantial, page-wise! There are the occasional exceptions, Girl With A Pearl Earring being one of those, as that’s pretty slim, but most historical fiction novels are serious door-stoppers, lol!

Another book added to the OC list, alongside Dissolution, is One Italian Summer, by Keris Stainton, which is a YA novel. Yes, yet another work of young adult fiction on the OC list! To be fair, though, YA books are great, and I have been making progress of late when it comes to Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. I had seen the Stainton novel in the YA section at Waterstone’s, and returned to it on Friday, started reading a bit and decided I had to have it.

I also bought A Quiet Kind of Thunder, by Sara Barnard, which interested me because one of the main characters is deaf, and there are bits of British Sign Language throughout the book, including the inside covers! I look forward to reading it and brushing up on my BSL – I actually have the CACDP Stage 1 qualification from way back in 1998 when I did the course at Eccles College – they were offering it as one of their evening classes back then. My BSL is a bit rusty as I’ve not really had sufficient dealings with deaf or hearing-impaired people since 1998 to keep it active and in my mind, but I can still remember a bit of it, including the finger-spelling alphabet.

It’s funny that I should have dug out a Veronica Henry novel from one of my book piles the other day, with a view to resuming The Beach Hut, as I actually found another of her books for 99p yesterday at a charity shop in Salford Precinct, the Age UK shop if I recall rightly, and thus How To Find Love In a Book Shop came home with me after my various activities in Salford yesterday! Having flicked through it, there are lists of recommended reading at various points in the book, so it may well give me more ideas, lol! It is a novel, it is fiction, but clearly some actual books are name-dropped in the plot!

Anyway, I got the calculator out earlier, well, I summoned up the calculator app on my iPad, and worked out that if I read the complete Shardlake series by C J Sansom, of which I am currently over half-way through the first book, Dissolution, I will have read 3,631 pages by the time I finish the sixth book, Lamentation! Wow! It’d be interesting to know how many pages I read when I read the Harry Potter series back in the noughties, but the first three books of that series are not very long, you only start getting the “chunky monkeys” when you get to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but you would still have read probably around two thousand or so pages at least, if you read all seven books!

So, time for me to put The Power back in my bag, even though I’ve not read much of it, lol, and have a read of some of my current OCs! I shall be finding out, tomorrow night, what’s next as far as book club reads go, but until my next blog, that’s about it for now except to say that I was over a quarter of the way through Dissolution by the time Lukaku was having his medical, and I had reached the halfway stage by the time he officially signed, so let’s see how much further I get with this series while I wait for the Gnome to make further signings! Probably best leaving that to Pogba, he seems to be doing a better job of it than Woodward, lol! I may well have started Dark Fire by the time we get news of another signing!

Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Dissolution – C. J. Sansom
  • The Power – Naomi Alderman
  • Girl With a Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier
  • One Italian Summer – Keris Stainton
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard
  • The Beach Hut – Veronica Henry
  • How To Find Love In a Book Shop – Veronica Henry
  • Lamentation – C. J. Sansom
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J. K. Rowling
  • Dark Fire – C. J. Sansom

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Books About Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Chunky Monkeys, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Handbag Books, Historical Fiction, Olympic Games, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, YA Books