Category Archives: The TBR Pile

September Review, Four – Nil Again!

Books bought 1st October 2017

OK, just bought these today 1st October, but I will review last month as well, lol!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Time for the monthly review, and September has been very busy as I started my new job on the 4th, and I’ve been adjusting not just to being back in work, but also to the fact that it’s full-time. A lot of learning, a lot of information to take in, so this could well be why my OC List has gone completely to shit! Well, that might have something to do with it, anyway, as well as the fact that books on the list just weren’t being read. It’s one thing to have a selection of books on that list, and quite a good variety too, but I never seemed to be in the mood for any of them, so the OC thing has effectively stopped for now, certainly in the form that it had taken.

I have realised there is NO point fussing about having a balance if it’s totally fake and you’re just not in the mood for certain kinds of books! I came to realise that if I simply wanted to read all non-fiction, or all fiction, or all young adult, then I should just do that and sod balancing things out. I don’t owe it to anyone to maintain balance! It’s about what I feel like reading. I’m not doing it for anyone else, this blog of mine is personal, it’s not a situation like Nick Hornby‘s where he was blogging for a book reviewing publication, the results of which you can read in The Complete Polysyllabic Spree, and I would recommend it!

Anyway, before we bring you up to date with the first of October’s book-related activity, let’s get September sorted on the review front. Two books were finished this month, those being The Angry Chef, by Anthony Warner, which had been a book club book, and If I Stay, by Gayle Forman, which I read for an online book club of sorts on Facebook. The sequel, Where She Went, is still to hand, and perhaps I should read it while the first book is still relatively fresh in my mind.

Book club is this coming Thursday, 5th October. Thankfully, the politicians will have buggered off back to London after their conference, so it shouldn’t be a problem. I don’t even want ANY party coming to Manchester, even if it had been a left-wing one, because it’s a bloody nuisance and inconvenience to us, but I really didn’t want who we’ve got! ALL parties should have their conferences in London, as I’ve probably said in blogs before now, because it’s the only damn place most politicians give a shit about! They’re about as welcome around here as a fart in a wetsuit, as Sir Billy Connolly would put it!

The book club book is Blitzed, by Norman Ohler, and I am at 60% read on that one. This is Going to Hurt, by Adam Kay, his diaries from his days as a doctor, is at 40% read, and On Writing, by Stephen King, at 23% so clearly I am in a non-fiction mood of late. It’s not unusual, to quote the Sir Tom Jones song! My current e-book read on my Kindle, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, by Balli Kaur Jaswal, is now at 20% having read some more of it yesterday evening while in the car park at Old Trafford, and in traffic in Trafford Park, following our 4-0 win over Crystal Palace. Yes, yet another 4-0! If last season was the 1-1 draw season, which it certainly seemed to be in the league at home, then we’ve started this campaign with quite a few nice 4-0 wins!

On this occasion, a quick opening goal from Juan Mata, two goals from Marouane Fellaini, and one from Romelu Lukaku near the end gave us the win. Poor Palace can’t defend and they still can’t score! They are yet to score a goal in the Premier League this season! You won’t be terribly surprised to learn that they have lost all 7 of their fixtures thus far and are at the bottom of the league, completely pointless.

On Friday, after work, I headed into town to enjoy the Manchester Food and Drink Festival. I had a drink and a read of This is Going to Hurt while I was in a coffee shop, as I recharged my phone! Then I went over to sample the grub, having some pasta with pesto sauce, some churros and chocolate, and then a rhubarb gin and ginger ale, all of which I can recommend! I will visit again, at least on Thursday, as I can eat at the festival after book club! Epic Win!

Maybe some more people will join us on Thursday? There were three of us last time.

Also coming up shortly, next Sunday in fact, is my nephew’s 1st birthday! Reuben, the Chunky Monkey, will be a year old! Doesn’t time fly?! Charlotte is 7 and now in the juniors at primary school, and Reuben is almost one! I shall report back on the birthday after the event, but that’s coming up on 8th October.

Charlotte is definitely taking after her auntie, and on the music front as well as the books! She started learning the violin in the previous school year, and now she’s in the juniors, she’s joined the school choir!

Right, onto the books I acquired earlier… The footy one is one which is published every year, and is full of stats for the previous season. I haven’t always bought it every year, but given that my lads did win both the EFL Cup and the Europa League last season, I definitely thought it was worth getting on this occasion! It’s probably not going on List Challenges, but the other two are, as they’re fiction, and they caught my eye, even if it does seem a bit daft having a title which seems like a spoiler, lol! John Dies at the End, by David Wong, is the book in question, although I’ve also heard of a book, published a few years ago now, called Skippy Dies, by Paul Murray, and you’d think the author wouldn’t really want to give the game away like that, wouldn’t you?! The thing which always gets me with that one is that the Skippy in question is a human – even though the TV show was a little before my time, I am so used to thinking that Skippy was a kangaroo, lol!

I have to admit that if an author goes and calls his novel Doughnut and puts a photo of said item of bakery on the front cover, that is VERY likely to attract my attention! You know by now what a foodie I am, and that I’ve always had a sweet tooth, and I am VERY fond of doughnuts, so it was rather inevitable that this book by Tom Holt caught my eye. It is NOT the only book I own with doughnuts on the cover, either, as I also have This Book Will Save Your Life, by A. M. Homes on my notorious TBR pile! I picked that one up some time ago from a charity shop, probably in Salford, and it’s a wonder I hadn’t already mentioned it in a blog, but seemingly I haven’t as it wasn’t previously on my List Challenges list – if it had been, I’d have got a message saying “item already exists” but I didn’t get that error message!

So, a couple of doughnut books! Just right for reading if you’re enjoying the said items at Krispy Kreme, lol. Perhaps, also, at Timmie’s, if the Manchester branch or branches of Tim Horton’s have opened up yet? I enjoyed coffee, doughnuts and Timbits when I was in Canada in 2009, so I was delighted at the news earlier this year that they were opening up in the UK. I shall have to look up as to where Timmie’s is in town.

Mmmmmm…. Doughnuts!

Anyway, never mind my Homer Simpson moment, lol, back to the matter in hand. The badge you can see in the photo was from Waterstone’s and says “I believe in tea & books”, thus just right for me! Sometimes tea, books and music as well, although it depends what I’m reading. If I feel the need to concentrate on the book, I am better off without the music and have to pause it, but on other occasions I can happily have some tunes on while I read, or have a music channel on, such as Vintage TV.

Anyway, I think that’s we’re we’ve got to for now. The book situation is up to date, and into October we go! I may yet return to stuff which used to be on the Ongoing Concerns of old, but for now I’m reading what I’m reading and it’s mostly factual! Some of it is pretty funny, especially the Adam Kay book! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

And, yes, before you ask, I probably will feel the need for a doughnut in the next day or so! I blame Tom Holt and A. M. Homes, lol!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Complete Polysyllabic Spree – Nick Hornby
  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner
  • If I Stay – Gayle Forman
  • Where She Went – Gayle Forman
  • Blitzed – Norman Ohler
  • This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
  • On Writing – Stephen King
  • Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows – Balli Kaur Jaswal
  • John Dies at the End – David Wong
  • Skippy Dies – Paul Murray
  • Doughnut – Tom Holt
  • This Book Will Save Your Life – A. M. Homes
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Filed under Books, E-Books & Audiobooks, Facebook & Other Social Media, Food & Drink, Football, Humour, Junior Bookworms, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Month in Review, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, Travel

Necessary Adjustments

can't buy happiness can buy books

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Welcome to another helping of utter waffle! You can’t say you’re not used to it by now, lol! We’re almost at the end of September, I’m on for week 4 of my new job, and I am enjoying it very much, even if it does take a lot out of me at times. There have been times when I have come home and needed naps! I think it’s the amount of information I’m taking on board at times. Office jobs might not be physically demanding, but they can be taxing on the ol’ grey matter! Eventually, although there’ll still be things to learn, it will probably plateau out on that front and my brain cells might not feel quite so overloaded by the time I log out and shut down my computer!

For now, though, while I’m still very new, there will be necessary adjustments, and that affects the book-reading and the blogging. This blog might not be all that long, and it might be started one day and continued another. It probably won’t be the only blog where this happens, either.

I’m up to 45% of Blitzed, by Norman Ohler. Need to get on with it, book club is next Thursday, 5th October. As with certain other non-fiction books, I am enjoying it, but I feel the information can’t be rushed. I was going to say that the Nazis were a right bunch of Ben Johnsons, and make the comparison with the cheating sprinter from the 1988 Olympics, but Ben Johnson actually won on drugs before he was found out. I need another example of people cheating and still not managing to win, so I can compare the Third Reich’s pill-poppers with other cheating losers!

They took drugs, and the RAF still sorted them out! Ha! Serves them right!

As I was saying earlier, when I was telling my mum about this book, the Pervitin, which the Germans were practically wolfing down like sweets, is essentially the exact same substance we know these days as crystal meth! Sure, it kept them awake for ages at a time, but one of the other side effects of such substances is to give the user extreme confidence to the point where it becomes arrogance, and that, therefore, probably brought about their downfall. Early successes in France at the start of WWII just added to this cockiness. Some officers were expressing concerns, but those who did were often outnumbered, and just laughed-off by others who could only see the perks of Pervitin.

Anyway, enough about High Hitler and his narcotic-addled officers, there are other books to be mentioned. We are nearing the end of the month, meaning the September Review will probably be occurring this coming weekend. Probably Sunday, as United are at home to Crystal Palace on the Saturday afternoon. In all likeliness, with a full house expected, we will be back to the traffic problems in Trafford Park, and I will get some reading done on my Kindle on the way home from the match. Time to continue with Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows on my way home from Old Trafford. I had read 11% of that one last time I checked.

One of the recent acquisitions, which was bought at Waterstone’s after my last book club meeting, has been started, and I must say how much I am enjoying On Writing, by Stephen King! 23% of that has been read of that so far, so almost a quarter of the book already! It’s actually pretty funny in parts, particularly when he recalls some amusing incidents from his childhood! King might be most famous for writing horror novels, but he also has the capacity to be amusing! He’s also pretty nifty at trolling the Tango-Tinted Tosser on Twitter! Well he was until Fart sulked, stamped his little foot, and blocked the author! Donald’s maturity level wouldn’t even earn him a Happy Meal.

King wasn’t the only one turning 70 recently, though. In fact, my dad beat him to it by a few days, as his birthday was the previous weekend, turning 70 on 17th September. United won 4-0 against Everton to mark the occasion, and I gave him the biography of John Le Carré, by Adam Sisman. You may recall I’d found it and bought it a few months ago. Dad’s always enjoyed spy thrillers, particularly by John Le Carré and also by Len Deighton. Back to the Everton match for a moment… Antonio Valencia’s opening goal after 4 minutes… pure class! A volley Paul Scholes would’ve been proud to score!

I just had to post that. Goals that good deserve repeat viewings!

Anyway, I have read two full books this month. The Angry Chef, by Anthony Warner, and If I Stay, by Gayle Forman, so despite the new job and the naps, some reading has been done, lol! I might start Where She Went soon, while the first book is still fairly fresh in my mind. But I think I must be on a non-fiction fix at the moment, what with the Norman Ohler book about the Nazi druggies, and Stephen King’s book about writing books!

I think that’s about it for now. Apologies that this is quite a short one, but I think I’ve mentioned all the books I’ve focused on lately! Bit of non-book news to round off the blog… The Manchester Food & Drink Festival starts this coming Thursday! Yay! Might have to pay one or two visits to town after work… Still waiting for the dental appointments for the x-ray and extraction, though. I hope the letter comes soon, at least for the damn x-ray! So that’s my news for now. Until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Blitzed – Norman Ohler
  • Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows – Balli Kaur Jaswal
  • On Writing – Stephen King
  • John Le Carré: The Biography – Adam Sisman
  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner
  • If I Stay – Gayle Forman
  • Where She Went – Gayle Forman

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Books About Books, E-Books & Audiobooks, Food & Drink, Football, Manc Stuff!, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, YA Books

Bookworms Wanted!

Blitzed by Norman Ohler

Our next book club book – Blitzed by Norman Ohler

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Sorry about the infrequency of blogging, but I am adjusting to being back in work again, and full-time at that, so it’s not just that I am having to fit in my reading when I can, but it’s that it has taken a fair bit out of me being back in a job, and I am still getting used to it. I have a lot of new stuff to learn, so that can actually be quite mentally draining and I have nodded off a few times of an evening during the past week. I also think I’ve picked up a cold from someone at work, came down with a sore throat last night/this morning, so that doesn’t help matters, does it?

Book club met on Wednesday, and there were three of us, so a slight improvement on the previous month when it was just myself and Anne. We also had Anna on Wednesday, so a trio of us discussed The Angry Chef which we found enjoyable and a pertinent read. I had picked up a fair few books of different kinds prior to the meeting, so I put a selection on the table. This is Going to Hurt, by Adam Kay, caught the eye, but as it’s a hardback, it was felt maybe it would be better waiting until it was in paperback, thus Anne and Anna thought Blitzed would be an interesting choice – which was pretty good news for me as I had already bought it the other week!

We really could do with some new members, though! I have messaged Waterstone’s Deansgate on Facebook again to let them know the date and book for the next meeting, which will be Thursday 6th October, and I have also put a notice on the council’s internal social media site at work, and by going home time on Friday, I had 4 likes and a serious expression of interest, so I may well have managed to recruit a new bookworm!

Books bought on 6th September

I did come home from Waterstone’s with some books, though, despite already having acquired Blitzed. I decided to get the Adam Kay book – he’s a former junior doctor here in the UK, writing about his days as a member of the medical profession. My other choices are On Writing, by Stephen King, and Noah Can’t Even, by Simon James Green, the latter of which is a UK YA novel, and sounds pretty funny, so I thought I’d add it to the notorious TBR list! There’s plenty of YA on that, as you no doubt know!

One book which has come off the YA TBR is If I Stay, by Gayle Forman, as I am currently reading that for a virtual book club – a book group I joined recently on Facebook has chosen it as their current book and the date for discussions is 15th September! So, I’m trying to get through it. To be fair, it’s not that long, and it’s pretty good, so it shouldn’t take too long to finish. Only 210 pages of actual story. Yes, there are more pages afterwards, but those are extras – acknowledgements, music playlists inspired by the plot, bits about the making of the film version, and a sneak preview of the sequel, Where She Went, but I also have that book, so I can just go onto that one when I’ve finished the current one.

So, looks like I’m having another OC overhaul. Books for book clubs, in person or on Facebook, will be a separate matter now, and will have priority. Then there will still be a selection of Ongoing Concerns, plus there will also be the Match Day Book, which will be an e-book on my Kindle.

We’re now in autumn, so even afternoon kickoffs will mean it will be getting dark when we’re coming home from Old Trafford and getting stuck in the inevitable traffic – as I said in a previous blog, Trafford Park is a total arseache at the moment and will be for at least a few years while they prepare parts of it for the trams! And, with European footy starting up again, plus domestic cup matches, certainly in the League Cup (we don’t enter into the FA Cup until January), there’s going to be a fair few evening kickoffs, so if I am going to be reading in the car before or after a match, I would either need to use the flashlight on my mobile phone to read a paperback, which might not be the best idea if I need to save the battery, or use my Kindle, as it has an inbuilt light in the holder, so the sensible option is to take my Kindle and read e-books.

My lads drew 2-2 away to Stoke yesterday, our first dropped points, although we are top of the league, as we still have the best goal difference. Four matches played, 12 goals scored, 2 conceded. Won three, drawn 1, lost none, so we have 10 points, as do our neighbours from across town. We now have three home games on the trot. Firstly, FC Basel come to Old Trafford this Tuesday for our first group game in this season’s UEFA Champions’ League, then we are at home to Everton in the Premier League on Sunday 17th September, and then on Wednesday 20th September, we welcome Burton Albion in the 3rd round of the League Cup, now the Carabao Cup, sponsored by some energy drink, but that cup’s had more sponsors than you can shake a stick at.

Oh, and I was able to have another Belgian chocolate seashell, as Romelu Lukaku was one of our goalscorers at Stoke, the other being Marcus Rashford.

Right, that’s the footy updated, back to books, lol!

So, what about some of those I didn’t bring home on Wednesday, but were still put on the table for Anne and Anna to look at? One was Midnight Sun, by Trish Cook. I think it’s on a similar premise to Everything Everything, by Nicola Yoon, in that the protagonist is a girl with a medical condition which means she’s unable to leave the house, although in this case, the condition is probably one of those photosensitive ones, as she can’t go out in daylight. Perhaps I should have bought Midnight Sun so I could read both books and compare? That might be a future blog post actually, or at least part of one!

The Good People, by Hannah Kent, was one of the other books I picked up, and I must say what a gorgeous cover it has! Regular readers of my blog will know that Hannah is the author of the brilliant novel Burial Rites, and that when that book was first published in hardback, back in 2013, she came to our book club, read from her book, signed copies for us, and explained how she came to be writing historical fiction set in Iceland – she’s an Aussie, but went on an exchange programme to live in Iceland and while she was there, she found out about the last woman to be executed in Iceland, and it piqued her interest. Burial Rites is based on that case and how things may have been for the woman, and for the family she was placed with prior to her execution. The Good People is set in Ireland, though, not Iceland.

The other book I placed on the table was The Hidden Life of Trees, by Peter Wohlleben, well that’s the other book I remember picking up. Not sure if I picked any others, but I put a good few on the table before putting some back after the meeting.

can't buy happiness can buy books

Buying books certainly makes me happy!

Buying them for ridiculously cheap prices makes me even happier, and on the occasions where I have acquired books for free, my joy is uncontainable, lol!

Anyway, that’s nearly about all for now, I have to sort out this latest OC Overhaul, plus do a bit of reading, and work out when I’m going to fit in Fathomless Riches, by the Revd Richard Coles. Perhaps, on my new OC List, there should always be a biography or autobiography – I have got plenty to be reading, so it might be an idea! Plus, my mum also wants to read it after me, so it should be one I read soon, along with Not Dead Yet, by Phil Collins, as my friend Sarah lent that one to me in the summer when we went to see the Pet Shop Boys in Blackpool. And with that information, I shall get this finished off and published so you can have a shufty while I get ready for work in the morning… Until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner
  • This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
  • Blitzed – Norman Ohler
  • On Writing – Stephen King
  • Noah Can’t Even – Simon James Green
  • If I Stay – Gayle Forman
  • Where She Went – Gayle Forman
  • Midnight Sun – Trish Cook
  • Everything Everything – Nicola Yoon
  • The Good People – Hannah Kent
  • Burial Rites – Hannah Kent
  • The Hidden Life of Trees – Peter Wohlleben
  • Fathomless Riches – The Revd Richard Coles
  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins

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Filed under Books, E-Books & Audiobooks, Facebook & Other Social Media, Food & Drink, Goodreads, Handbag Books, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, YA Books

The Farce Is Strong With This Bus!

Stationery at work

My stationery “welcome pack”

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there was a number 2 bus! Well, it must have been in a galaxy far far away, as it sure as hell wasn’t turning up anywhere near my place of work when I needed to get home this evening! I ended up getting a lift home after my first day in my new job, and I hope the bus problem was a one-off and that I will be able to get a bus home in decent time on most occasions, especially when United have evening home matches, as they will do next week and the week after…

As Yoda might put it with regards to this bus…

Come it did not.

Off I am pissed.

Yes, mmmm….

Despite the bus problems, I had a good first day as an admin officer in my new job, and I was given that stationery pack as part of the welcome! I had actually brought a notebook, best to be prepared and all that, but I didn’t need it, as they provided me with two, one A4 and one A5, plus a pen and a pack of highlighters! Epic Win! The Force was strong with the stationery, if not the public transport, lol!

Anyway, book club looming on the horizon, two days to go – actually, at this time on Wednesday, I’ll have been to book club and got the next book, whatever it is we end up deciding upon for our October meeting, and I’ll probably be in town having something to eat, but for now, we’re still on The Angry Chef, although I am nearing the end, and managed to get a bit of reading done at lunchtime, taking the percentage up to 81%. I feel I can get this finished in time for the meeting. I just hope that more than two of us turn up this time! I want a decent discussion about this one, which is what I didn’t get about The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old.

Please let there be more than two of us this time! Even if it means we end up with something which isn’t my cup of tea on the reading front! I just don’t want it to be two of us again, especially not like last time! I really don’t want someone latching on to me, especially when I find it hard to hear what that person’s saying due to quiet volume and an accent.

Anyway, other book matters now… After this Saturday, when my lads are away to Stoke, we will have 3 home games on the trot, two of them midweek games, one in Europe and one in the League Cup. Due to the traffic situation in Trafford Park, which I have mentioned in previous blogs as being an arseache, I took a book with me to the home matches against West Ham United and Leicester City last month. Thing is, two games will be at night, and even though the Everton game is in the afternoon, we are now into the autumn and it will be getting darker earlier, so I think I might have to take my Kindle and read e-books as my match day reading, particularly when we’re stuck in traffic for ages coming home from Old Trafford after the match!

With that in mind, looks like I might get into regular use of my Kindle throughout the autumn and winter. I’ve certainly got plenty of reading matter to choose from. There are some books which are just samples, but there are plenty of full books which I have downloaded over the years since I got my Kindle towards the tail end of 2011. If you wish to read about THAT saga, check out my archives from 2011, particularly from the summer onwards until the Kindle finally arrived, which was in the November as I recall! People who’ve followed my blogs for some years might already recall that ongoing saga, but newer followers may be unfamiliar with the story which started that summer when I was working in Chorlton and found a free book when I was having lunch at Barbakan Deli…

The book was How To Leave Twitter, by Grace Dent. Anyway, you can check out my old blog entries and read it for yourselves, so I won’t give any more spoilers!

So, anyway, if I am going to be doing some more e-reading, perhaps I should incorporate that into the Ongoing Concerns? I can keep track of e-books just as I can keep track of physical books, although maybe just the percentage read for an e-book rather than also giving the page numbers which I sometimes do for my paperbacks or hardbacks. At the moment, there are 7 books, 6 books and a book club wild card, so to speak. I should look to narrowing things down a bit more, really. Maybe one fiction, one non-fiction, one YA, one e-book (any category), the latest book club book, and perhaps one more?

By the way, your Chief Bookworm is now enjoying a G&T. Relieving bus-related stress from earlier today, so to speak!

So, back to the e-books now, and what the hell have I actually GOT on my Kindle?! A damn good question! Perhaps Dorothy Must Die, by Danielle Paige – I got that as a freebie some time ago, I think, possibly a Kindle daily deal or something. There’s plenty of other things on there, some recent, some which I’ve had on for ages and not read, lol! An electronic TBR List to go along with my physical TBR List Just like my physical books, it’s a very random collection of reading material, a mixture of fiction and non-fiction alike, and stuff for children, adults and young adults.

* England 2 Slovakia 1. Marcus Rashford puts England ahead. Not that I’m biased, lol, but a United player gives the national team the lead… Stick that on your needles and knit it, ABU knobheads! *

Anyway, sorry, where were we before young Mr Rashford’s goal?! Discussing the total randomness of books on my Kindle, which shouldn’t really be a surprise as it mirrors the total randomness of physical books in my possession anyway! Unread, partially-read and fully-read, fiction and non-fiction, books for young and old… whichever format they’re in, that’s what I’ve got! A couple of my recent downloads include The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, by Becky Chambers, and Caraval, by Stephanie Garber.

Wonder if there’s any free books around? Classics are often free as e-books because they’re so damn old now that they’re out of copyright. Yep, there’s a few classics floating around as free e-books! So I am going to see what I can get, and I shall leave things there for now. England have won 2-1, the full time whistle has just gone, so until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner
  • The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old – Hendrik Groen
  • How To Leave Twitter – Grace Dent
  • Dorothy Must Die – Danielle Paige
  • The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet – Becky Chambers
  • Caraval – Stephanie Garber

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Filed under Books, Chunky Monkeys, E-Books & Audiobooks, Facebook & Other Social Media, Food & Drink, Football, Junior Bookworms, Manc Stuff!, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, Travel, YA Books

August Review

Life without books

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

You can thank Liz Craig for the above photo – she sent it to me in FB Messenger, and it seemed right for this blog! 1st September is here, which for Potterheads means it’s that epilogue at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, 19 years on… Albus Severus Potter is on platform 9 3/4 ready to head to Hogwarts…

Anyway, we’re ready to head to the review of all things bookish that went on chez moi during August 2017, and it’s been a pretty busy month, and a successful month on a lot of fronts. Let’s start with finished books from last month, and two of them came off the Ongoing Concerns list after having spent quite some time on there. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, by Jesse Andrews, was finished in August, as was Periodic Tales, by Hugh Aldersey-Williams. As I read one of my niece’s books on Wednesday when we had the day trip to St Anne’s on Sea, Oi Dog! by Kes and Claire Gray and Jim Field completes the trio of books finished in August.

The Angry Chef was chosen by Anne and I at book club as we were the only two there last month – I do hope we’re going to have a better turnout this coming Wednesday! I am 53% of the way through this book, so I hope to get more finished over the weekend. Has to be said, though, that I am busy, especially with the events which unfolded since the end of July, events which mean I’m starting work on Monday!

I’d been booked onto a jobs fair in Swinton, which I attended on the last Friday in July. At this event, a lady from the local council spoke to me and asked me for 2 copies of my CV (for my transatlantic followers, I believe you call it a resumé in the States) as she said there may be some openings coming up… The following week as we head into August, I get a phone call from a lady called Gail, inviting me for an interview on Monday 7th August at Unity House, which is part of the civic centre complex in Swinton.

So I go to this interview on the Monday morning, and am interviewed by Gail, who was due to retire, and Michelle who was succeeding Gail, and that lasted around 20 minutes, and then I headed on my way to Salford for a couple of appointments, with a fairly decent feeling that “things went about as well as they could have done, although you can never be sure with interviews…”

Anyway, I’ve got time to get my lunch before my appointments, and I’m sat in KFC on Salford Precinct’s car park, having had my food, and I get a phone call, and it’s Gail calling me back to offer me the job! Chuffed to bits, to say the least! So, this month has been a bit busy with all that! I’ve had to provide references, then provide an alternative reference because one of the people I’d named was on sick leave and they needed someone else pretty quick as they were keen to get me started as soon as possible. I have also had to email scans of my passport and a bank statement for proof of ID and address, and complete and return medical forms, so there’s been a fair bit to do for me, and for them, before they could get me started. They needed to get me a staff pass, get me put on their computer systems, and that sort of stuff, plus check the things I had sent to them and make sure they were OK. However, this Tuesday just gone, I got my start date, and thus I will be back in work this coming Monday.

So, that’s work, and then there’s been the start of the new football season! 2017-18 is under way, and United’s Premier League campaign has started with us ending August top of the league with the only 100% record in the top flight! This is unusual. Normally, after only 3 matches, you’d expect about 3 or 4 clubs to have maximum points, 9 out of 9, but everyone else has dropped at least two points already, and we’re the only ones with the full 9 points. We’ve also kept 3 clean sheets, winning 4-0, 4-0 and 2-0, so you couldn’t really ask for a much better start, except to ask for better linesmen than one of the numpties we had for the Leicester match who wrongly ruled Juan Mata offside in the first half! I know I always say our players are never offside, but Juan definitely wasn’t!

The transfer window has now closed, that shut at 11pm last night, and doesn’t re-open until January, but we didn’t need to do anything on the last minute. We’d got our players, three new ones plus the re-signing of Zlatan Ibrahimović who will resume action when he’s fit again after his knee injury from last season. Still trying to decide who I want on my next United shirt, but I won’t be getting that just yet, I’ll be waiting until I’ve had at least one payday in this new job, so it might not be until October before I have to make that tricky decision, which still looks like being between Mata, Matić and Mkhitaryan at the moment! Have to say, though, that Pogba’s had a great start to this campaign so far. The signing of Matić has helped, as he is a defensive midfielder, so his job has freed up Agent Pogba to venture further forward and add to our attacking line-up. The performances have been much more like the United of old, not the tedious crap from a lot of home games last season!

Anyway, books… back to the OC List… As I have said, The Angry Chef is top of the list, with 53% read thus far, so I have read at least half of it, and am really enjoying it. Due to being busy, I might not finish it in time for book club, but I certainly want to finish it. With two books having come off the OC list last month, Manchester England, by Dave Haslam, has been put on the list for the purposes of resuming this book which I started years ago. There was also a vacancy for a YA novel, and Dead Ends, by Erin Lange, filled that position.

Went a bit mad yesterday, actually. Unlike the footy, there are no deadlines for books unless they are library books, lol, but I thought I’d have my own “transfer activity” on transfer deadline day, seeing as United wouldn’t be farting around on the last minute, lmao, and I had a bit of a clear-out come book replacement session, giving two batches of books away, one to a cafe in Eccles, and the other to a charity shop in Swinton. The piles of books you can see in the photos are those I gave away. The latte in the first photo is a giveaway that those books went to the cafe. So, I cleared out 21 books in total. However, I did acquire quite a lot of replacements, and ended the day with 15 “new” items of reading matter, 11 from Eccles, 4 from Swinton. I say new in speech marks as many of them were second-hand apart from a couple of the books in Swinton, but they’re all new to my considerable collection!

Books acquired 31st August 2017

These are the books I ended up bringing home. August has been a mad month for books, though, as this batch of 15 just adds to the book buying I did last month. There have been a lot of purchases! A lot of them are charity shop books, though, so it’s not like I’m paying full RRP on that many of them. Occasionally there have been some freebies, plus the odd one or two ridiculously cheap ones, such as The Knife of Never Letting Go, by Patrick Ness, one of the 15 from yesterday, which set me back all of 20p! Mind you, even that is “pricey” compared to The Chrysalids, by John Wyndham, which was a mere 10p! The freebies were the two by Erica James, The Dandelion Years, and Summer at the Lake, plus Summer Loving, by Allie Spencer.

The two Erica James books were from the Malaga Drift cafe, but I had given them ten of my books, so I don’t think it’s unreasonable that I left the cafe with two books from their bookshelf. The other freebie was from the Charities 2gether in Salford shop in Eccles precinct, as they’d not managed to sell it and it had been on the shelf for ages, so I think the bloke was happy to see anyone take an interest in it!

Amongst the many books acquired this month, there have been a few which I’d been keen to get for some time. Brilliant Orange, by David Winner, about the Dutch national football team was one of those books, plus The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, by Katarina Bivald, and 13 Little Blue Envelopes, by Maureen Johnson. Nice when you can get your mitts on a book you’ve had your eye on for a while, isn’t it?! Anyway, that about brings us to the end of this review for August! I am not listing all those books in the photos, not in this blog, it would take forever – you’ll just have to look at the photos. If you want to know what any of them are, just ask!

Until the next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J. K. Rowling
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Oi Dog! – Kes & Claire Gray and Jim Field
  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner
  • Manchester, England – Dave Haslam
  • Dead Ends – Erin Lange
  • The Knife of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness
  • The Chrysalids – John Wyndham
  • The Dandelion Years – Erica James
  • Summer At the Lake – Erica James
  • Summer Loving – Allie Spencer
  • Brilliant Orange – David Winner
  • The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend – Katarina Bivald
  • 13 Little Blue Envelopes – Maureen Johnson

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From St Anne’s With Books

Books bought in St Anne's 30th August 2017

My stash from St Anne’s on Sea

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

August nearly over, soon be time for the monthly review, soon be time for book club once again – that’s on 6th September so a week to go, and the good news is that The Angry Chef now tops the OC List! I am just over halfway through this important book, 53% read, and really loving it! You know how I am about books, or you probably should do if you’ve read my blogs for long enough… You know I am loathed to say anything is a “must read” – I don’t attach compulsion to books, as a rule, as I think people should read whatever books they enjoy as long as they are reading books and keep doing so!

However, I would like to attach a “Strongly Recommended” to The Angry Chef, as I really do think a hell of a lot of people need to read this book! Especially those who might otherwise fall prey to internet quackery regarding diets and weight loss! I don’t fall for ANY of that crap, I’m probably one of the most cynical old gits on the planet and I think if anything sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is!

It may seem like a long slog, especially for impatient people, but if anyone really does want or need to shift some weight and then keep it off, the best bet is to join either Weight Watchers or Slimming World. Both focus on gradual loss over a period of time, don’t insist on you cutting anything out of your diet, but focus on portion control, minimising intake of saturated fats, and burning at least some of it off! There are no quick fixes – it’s a hare and tortoise situation when it comes to weight loss, or it is if you want to maintain that new lower weight! I did Weight Watchers back in the early noughties, so I have some experience of successful loss in the past.

Don’t waste your time or money on internet fads! They might get a quick result to start with, but then leave you dissatisfied and then you put the weight back on because whichever internet fad the unsuspecting dieter has fallen for has instructed them to cut out several things they really enjoy eating, and probably several things they actually could do with retaining in their diet for the purposes of energy… So after the initial loss, as Anthony Warner explains in his book, the dieter stops seeing such good results, and also probably feels ridiculously hungry and tired because they’re not eating enough… so then they resort to comfort eating and the pounds go back on! Better to spend pounds on this book, £12.99 RRP, than to waste plenty more on various fads and gimmicks and end up hungry, tired, miserable, and with a garage full of white elephants such as some mini blender or juicer used once or twice and then left to gather dust!

Chief Bookworm’s Food & Drink Advice… Some of this is a bit obvious, other bits not so, but this is 44 years’ worth of life, and of stuffing my face with food, lol!

DO NOT drink alcohol if  you’re on antibiotics! By the way, those ONLY work for infections! They do NOT work for viruses, so if you have a cold or the flu, stick to the Beechams Flu Plus or Night Nurse capsules, or whatever, but don’t go pestering your GP for antibiotics ’cause they won’t work and they will cause your body to resist them when you actually DO need them! (Other cold & flu capsules are available, lol!)

NEVER drive or operate heavy machinery under the influence of alcohol, or any other mind-altering substances for that matter!

There is NO need to cut anything out of your diet unless your body actually rejects it, or you simply dislike the taste of it!

If you simply dislike the taste of something, DO NOT claim to be allergic to it! Just be honest that you don’t like the taste! Allergies should NOT be treated as trendy! Those who genuinely DO suffer from food intolerances have a difficult enough time as it is! I know someone who is genuinely allergic to fish and seafood, which, if she eats it by accident, causes severe stomach cramping and vomiting. I am pretty sure she wishes she could eat it without being ill, but she can’t. It is no fun having anything wrong with you, and that includes allergies, so if a food doesn’t make you ill, just tell the truth – you don’t like it. I like a broad range of food, but there are still one or two things I don’t like!

While we’re on the subject, DO accept it when someone else tells you they don’t like a certain food! DO NOT try to force them to try it! And, yes, that includes children! Our taste buds change over the years. When we’re young, there may be many things we don’t like, but we might like them when we’re older. Gently encourage kids to try a small bite every now and then to see if they do like it, but don’t make a big song and dance about it if they don’t! When I was a kid, even as old as 11, I didn’t want anything on a burger! I just wanted a burger in a bun and that was it. NO dressing, no relish… nothing! I was about 14 when my tastes changed and I started liking Big Macs and other burgers like that!

Reuben feeding Mum at St Anne's August 2017

Feeding time! Reuben feeds my mum…

Right, anyway, back to books, and as I mentioned under the photo, I’d been to St Anne’s on Sea earlier, with my mum, sister, niece and nephew, and books were acquired! I also had the pleasure of reading one of Charlotte’s books, which she had brought with her for me to read! The book in question was Oi Dog! by Kes and Claire Gray and Jim Field, and it is the sequel to Oi Frog! which I have also read!

My own purchases were a couple from WH Smith’s and a couple from one of the many charity shops in St Anne’s – Pop Co, by Scarlett Thomas, and a quick read, Geek Girl: Geek Drama, by Holly Smale. My purchases from WH Smith’s were Letters To the Lost, by Brigid Kemmerer, and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, by Jenny Han. I’ve acquired quite a lot of books during the course of August, amazing I still can keep partial track of them! Sadly, I did end up with a duplicate the other day, because I forgot that I already had Reaper Man, by Sir Terry Pratchett! I really must find my Discworld list or make a new one to have with me so that I know which ones I already own!

Other recent acquisitions include Blitzed, by Norman Ohler, which is about drugs in Nazi Germany – spoiler alert here, sorry, but essentially Hitler and co were all high as kites! Stoned out of their minds on what we now know as crystal meth! The Three Musketeers, by Alexandre Dumas, was a recent purchase, as was the paperback Ravenclaw edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – the first in the series has been re-issued in house editions (in hardback and paperback) to celebrate the fact that 2017 marks 20 years since the first Harry Potter novel was published, way back in 1997!

This does mean that Philosopher’s Stone will be on my List Challenges list twice, but when I publish it at the end of 2017, you can check off the ordinary version if you have that, and if you have ANY of the four house-coloured editions, you can check off the blue-covered Ravenclaw edition I’ve put on the list. I’ve been sorted on Pottermore, and I’m in Ravenclaw, so I have put my house’s edition on there, but feel free to tick it off even if you’re in Gryffindor, Hufflepuff or Slytherin! If so, you’re clearly a fellow Potterhead, and that’s fine by me!

Anyway, that’s about enough waffle for now! Transfer Deadline Day is now upon us as I type – we’re into the early hours of 31st August now, even though I started this on the 30th! I do a lot of late night blogging, lol! I don’t think we’ll be signing anyone. We’ve already got Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matić, Romelu Lukaku, and we have re-signed Zlatan Ibrahimović who will return when he is fit again after his injury, so if we do sign anyone on deadline day, I will be surprised! I am also surprised that, after only 3 games, we are the only side to maintain a 100% win record! Usually there are still 3 or 4 clubs who’ve won all their games after 3 matches, but no, United are the only side with 9 points out of 9 thus far!

I shall be back fairly soon, as it’ll be time for the August Review shortly, lol, so until then, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner
  • Oi Dog! – Kes & Claire Gray and Jim Field
  • Oi Frog! Kes Gray and Jim Field
  • Pop Co – Scarlett Thomas
  • Geek Girl: Geek Drama – Holly Smale
  • Letters To the Lost – Brigid Kemmerer
  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – Jenny Han
  • Reaper Man – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • Blitzed – Norman Ohler
  • The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Ravenclaw pbk) – J. K. Rowling

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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

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