Category Archives: Travel

The Force is Strong with these Books…

SF Introduction finished May 2018

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

I probably should have blogged yesterday so that I could have wished you Happy Star Wars Day, but never mind! I hope the Force was strong with all of you!

I also hope the Force is strong with Sir Alex Ferguson. Just as I was about to start this blog, I saw the news that our legendary former manager has had emergency surgery for a brain haemorrhage, so I shall keep everything crossed for a full and speedy recovery.

The less said about the current side at United, and last night’s match, the better, so we shall move swiftly on and celebrate the fact that I have now finished my 18th book in 2018! It was Science Fiction: A Very Short Introduction, by David Seed, and an interesting book it was too, giving me some ideas for further reading. I also have some more wipeboard markers and they seem to be a bit more bold than my other set. I think you should be able to see the words more clearly on my book board. Also, you can see my magnets, as I forgot to put my Harry Potter and Charlie Bucket Funko Pops on the photo. I am hoping to get more magnets when I go on holiday, as well as flags. It is somewhere I haven’t been before, so I will need some souvenirs, lol!

Boa Vista Sunset

So, before I set off to see gorgeous sunsets like the one above, I need to sort out things on the book front. Having finished a book earlier today, it frees me up to focus on the book club book in time for 30th May, and thus get on with The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas, which is currently at 11%. As I have done previously, I might try to trim down the OC list before I go away, and not add any new books to it until just before my hols. I want to get The Hate U Give read, and then perhaps see if I can move both Hawksmoor and The Cellist of Sarajevo on a bit, percentage-wise. Maybe also my ebook, Twisting My Melon, by Shaun Ryder.

Technically, that is my match day ebook, but there’s only one home game left this season, against Watford, so I will have to read it whether I’m on my way home from Old Trafford or not! Otherwise, it wouldn’t be back in action again until the new season starts in August! I could always take it on the plane. Even if I don’t take my Kindle on my jollies, my iPad will be coming and I have the Kindle app on that, so I could read ebooks on my travels should I wish to.

Mum was looking at her books and thinking about her holiday reading earlier. Looks like Thinking Out Loud, by Rio Ferdinand, might be coming with her as one of her books. If Ellie has finished Six Little Miracles before we go away, she said she’d like to take that one with her, too. I’m still thinking I will take Dune, despite its chunkiness, so that I can read Dune on a dune in June! Opportunities like that do not present themselves all that often, so it has to be done, lol! My other book choices are yet to be determined!

Nerdy bookworm photo 2018

A very nerdy photo, I’m sure you’ll agree! Some of my science fiction books, and some postcards from the Museum of Science and Industry (MoSI) in Manchester on the magnetic noticeboard behind them. You can see what a chunky monkey Dune is, can’t you?! One of those postcards shows the first computer, so I thought it was apt for putting on display near Computer Corner! There’s also a few robots, Tim Peake, and Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space.

I still think Resistance is Futile might be read soon, it sounds funny. Could take that away with me. THE great science fiction comedy, however, is The Hitch Hiker’s Guide To the Galaxy, by the late great Douglas Adams, and why shouldn’t space be a laugh?! Robots and aliens needn’t be scary, even if the Vogons did write the third worst poetry in the universe, and wouldn’t save their own grandmother from the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal! On 25th May, 20 days from now, it will be Towel Day in honour of Douglas Adams – a hoopy frood who definitely knew where his towel was!

Actually, while we’re on all things geeky, nerdy and computery, how about this start to a cover letter for a job application…

Dear Sir or Modem,

LOL! That’s from a book called Crap CVs , by Jenny Crompton. “There are plenty of books on how to write the perfect CV – but none at all on what not to write. This is that book.” – It’s a great laugh and one of those books you can dip in and out of. I do think, however, that companies SHOULD take on people who have been observant enough to spot typos on their vacancy adverts – someone who can spell and proof-read would make those companies that little bit more professional, surely?! Not that my last interview was due to an advert, as it wasn’t – I was approached at a job fair last summer for a couple of copies of my CV as there might be an opening coming up. That led to the interview, and to being phoned up a couple of hours later and offered the job!

When you read through the examples in Crap CVs, you can see why some people have had considerable difficulty in gaining paid employment! Reaching level 58 on Flappy Bird might be a computer skill, but not really one which is required in a place of work! I do think, though that someone who lists, amongst their special skills, the fact that they bring in doughnuts on Fridays, should certainly be considered, at least for an interview! I’m sure there must be places of work where someone would say that constitutes being a good team player!

For my followers across the Atlantic, a CV is what you call a resumé. CV stands for curriculum vitae, and is probably used because it sounds a lot more fancy in Latin than it would in English, lol! Then again, resumé is French, so we’re all more willing to use a foreign word or two because it sounds fancy and a bit more short and to the point than putting the heading “Education and Employment So Far In My Life” at the top of the paper, even though that’s basically what it is, isn’t it?! We needed something that isn’t so long-winded! I couldn’t find it in the book, but I could have sworn that I read something somewhere about how not to apply for jobs, where a person had quoted Bon Jovi lyrics either in their application or at their interview, and told the prospective employers, “I’ve seen a million faces and I’ve rocked them all!”

Actually, if it was me sifting through a shitload of applications, and someone had put something like that on their CV or cover letter, I would be inclined to at least invite them for interview, even if it was simply for giving me something interesting and amusing to read during what must be a very tedious process! Well, providing they’d met the other criteria, lol, but a sense of humour from an applicant would go down well with me!

Anyway, I think that’s about it for now, so I shall get this published so you can all enjoy a good read. It’s a bank holiday weekend here, so a nice long one, and, for once, the weather is sunny and warm instead of the typical bank holiday rain, so you might want to go out somewhere, or perhaps have a barbecue, but maybe you’ll still find time to enjoy this waffle! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Science Fiction: A Very Short Introduction – David Seed
  • The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
  • Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd
  • The Cellist of Sarajevo – Steven Galloway
  • Twisting My Melon – Shaun Ryder
  • Thinking Out Loud – Rio Ferdinand
  • Six Little Miracles – Janet Walton
  • Dune – Frank Herbert
  • Resistance is Futile – Jenny T. Colgan
  • The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
  • Crap CVs – Jenny Crompton
Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Chunky Monkeys, Computer Corner, E-Books & Audiobooks, Football, Foreign Languages, Goodreads, Humour, List Challenges, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Science Fiction, The TBR Pile, Travel

April Review – Birthday and other news

Birthday photo 23 04 2018

Me on my birthday at Patisserie Valerie in town

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Here we are at the end of April, and it’s been pretty busy, hence the low number of blogs and low number of books finished off this month! After three months on the trot where I finished off 5 books and published 6 blogs, we’re down to two books and three blogs, but that’s how these things go. I might get a month where I get loads of books finished off, so there’s time yet to meet, and then exceed, my 30 book target on Goodreads.

I finished off The Vile Victorians, from the Horrible Histories series by Terry Deary, which was a quick read at the start of April, and the other book I read this month was Six Little Miracles, by Janet Walton, about her sextuplets, who are now in their thirties! My sister is now reading this book.

6 Little Miracles finished

Shortly after Easter, I was taking advantage of a guest pass which my mum had for her gym, where I could go for up to 14 days, so I was going to David Lloyd in Trafford Park quite a bit in early to mid April, and either going for a work out on the exercise bikes and treadmill, or going for a swim, which may also contribute to the lower book tally this month. I do need to look at joining a gym, to burn off at least some of the stuff I eat at work, lol, although it will probably be the council-run leisure centres who get my membership, especially as I would get staff discount on the monthly cost, and wouldn’t have to pay a joining fee – perks of where I work!

Talking of work, I am there until at least the end of July, although there are certainly hints of continuing beyond then, as my manager said if I wanted to book any time off in August, I should get my requests in. We are awaiting the outcome of a review, which is why they can’t make anyone permanent at the moment, but it might be possible once we have that review. As long as they still want me, which they seem to do, that’s the main thing!

Therefore, once I knew I was going to be working until at least the end of July, I decided that it was time jollies were booked! Mum and I last went away at the end of 2016, going to Marrakech, Morocco, in October-November 2016, which we really enjoyed. This time, we’ll be chilling out in the Cape Verde Islands and it’ll be rather sooner than the autumn. After the footy season’s over, though!

I can’t bloody believe we’re nearly at the end of yet another season! Where the hell do they all go?! Yesterday, when we beat Arsenal 2-1 at Old Trafford, that was our penultimate home game for 2017-18! We have two away games, against Brighton and Hove Albion, and against West Ham United, and then we end the Premier League season at home to Watford! Of course, we do have the FA Cup Final to look forward to, as well, when we will play Chelsea at Wembley on 19th May, but my last fixture of this season will be that Watford game. Not going to Wembley this time, too near my jollies, really, and it’s not as though I’ve not been in recent times! So, there won’t be the blog about which books I should take down to Wembley, but there may well be a blog about which books I should pack in my suitcase!

It was also the last time Arsene Wenger would be the visiting Arsenal manager at Old Trafford, having recently announced that he was stepping down at the end of this season after 22 seasons in charge of the Gunners! It won’t be the same without him telling the media that he didn’t see the incident, lol! He got a commemorative silver vase, which was presented to him by Sir Alex Ferguson before the kick-off yesterday, a move which Arsene has described as “classy”. Truly the end of an era. I hope that the Gooners can end the Wenger era on a high note by winning the Europa League so that Arsene bows out with silverware! I know they’ve got to win away after a 1-1 draw in the home leg against Atletico Madrid, but they can do it!

We definitely need to score far more goals next season, though, especially if we have any serious ambition to bring the Premier League trophy back to Old Trafford! (It’s high time we did! 2013 is getting to be a bit too long ago now!) Parking the bus does NOT win the league over here! That might work in a defensively-minded league such as Serie A in Italy, but English football is about an attack-minded game and entertainment! Parking the bus should be restricted to a temporary tactic for the first 15 minutes of a European away game, where it is a good idea to keep the home team quiet and thus shut their fans up, lol, but other than that, it should be attack, attack, attack!

I know some Reds moaned that LvG’s style of play was boring and there was a lot of going sideways rather than forward, as though our players were crabs in a past life, but the same can easily be said about these past two seasons under Jose Mourinho. I have failed to notice any significant difference in the level of entertainment! There have been some more comebacks from losing positions, which is promising, and a reminder of the Fergie days, but that needs to happen ANY time we are not winning – there needs to be that urgency in all matches – you can’t just pick and choose which games you make an effort in!

Some more of my match-day ebook was read yesterday on the way home from our late win over the Gooners, and I have now reached 30% of Twisting My Melon, by Shaun Ryder, putting it level with The Cellist of Sarajevo on the Ongoing Concerns list. Hawksmoor, at 58% read, has now been overtaken by Science Fiction: A Very Short Introduction, by David Seed, which is at 61%. I’ve got 30 days until my next book club meeting, as that is on 30th May, but I have now started The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas, and have reached the 10% mark, so we’re up and running! It’s the first YA book for a while, and it’s a current Handbag Book.

Birthday pressies from work 2018

Birthday pressies from my colleagues! 🙂

Obviously, as well as all the Easter eggs, gymming, footy and occasional bits of reading, lol, April means Chief Bookworm’s Birthday, and I am now the grand old age of 45! You’ll be pleased to learn that there were some Waterstone’s gift cards amongst my pressies, one from my colleagues on the admin team at work, and one from our friends the Wisemans, so more books will be acquired. OK, books will be acquired anyway, but especially when there’s gift cards…

Ah, now I remember something else from the last time I’d blogged… I’d just got a new mobile phone, I’d upgraded after almost four years of my Sony Xperia Z2, and got myself the Sony Xperia XZ1, which is a lovely phone. However, at the time of blogging, I had a slight problem – the sim card was too big for my new phone! Hence one more night of the old one. The following day, I went to the O2 shop after work and got my new mobile sorted out and all up and running – have I ever said on here how much I love O2 Gurus?! They’re bloody brilliant! One of them helped me out online that first night and explained that I would need a smaller sim for my new phone and what I needed to do, and then another Guru helped me out in the shop when I was at the Trafford Centre the next night!

Before I wrap this up and finish the monthly review, I shall mention a few books I have acquired of late. Because Patisserie Valerie on Deansgate is right next to Waterstone’s, there was no way I could be in town on my birthday without at least a browse in my natural habitat, lol! I ended up coming away with Kindred, by Octavia E. Butler, a bit of science-fiction of the time travel variety, and The Senility of Vladimir P, by Michael Honig, which seemed like it might be a good laugh! That one actually brings us up to 200 books mentioned on this year’s blog list on List Challenges! Of course, you won’t see that until the very end of this year or the start of next year, but we’re up to 200 different books mentioned already!

Also should mention that I have an Arndale Centre gift card. Not technically a birthday pressie, although I did pick it up on my birthday, but it was from the Volition course at the Manchester Cathedral visitors’ centre – if you recall, I was on a course there last summer prior to starting my current job in the September, and it was to do with getting in a job and still being in one earlier this year when they got in touch with me. I have got a lot left on the card, but I did treat myself to a couple of books, as there is a Waterstone’s in the Arndale! I think the only places in the Arndale which don’t accept the card are the key-cutting kiosk and some of the pound shops, but everywhere else accepts it.

I bought myself Dune, by Frank Herbert, and The City and the Stars, by Arthur C. Clarke. Dune is a bit of a chunky monkey of a book, but I am still quite tempted to take it on my jollies with me, if only to say I’ve read Dune on a sand dune, lol! I could start a theme here – Relevant Reads! So, if you’ve ever read War Horse while sitting on a horse, or The Beach while sunning yourself on a beach, do let me know! If you’ve got photographic evidence, even better!

Anyway, that is about it for now! Let’s see what May brings, particularly on the book front, but until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Vile Victorians (Horrible Histories) – Terry Deary
  • Six Little Miracles – Janet Walton
  • Twisting My Melon – Shaun Ryder
  • The Cellist of Sarajevo – Steven Galloway
  • Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd
  • Science Fiction: a Very Short Introduction – David Seed
  • The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
  • Kindred – Octavia E. Butler
  • The Senility of Vladimir P – Michael Honig
  • Dune – Frank Herbert
  • The City and the Stars – Arthur C. Clarke
  • War Horse – Sir Michael Morpurgo
  • The Beach – Alex Garland

Leave a comment

Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, E-Books & Audiobooks, Food & Drink, Football, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, Humour, List Challenges, Month in Review, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Science Fiction, The TBR Pile, Travel, YA Books

One More Night…

books and phone brochure April 2018

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

In two weeks’ time, Chief Bookworm will be halfway to ninety! Yep, yours truly will turn 45 in a fortnight, I’m officially middle-aged, lol! Still a mad bookworm, and it’s book club on Wednesday, but we all know it’s hardly been read. Hoping for better luck with the next book and hoping it grabs me more than North and South. It just didn’t grab. Other books were more enticing. That’s the way it goes with some books. Not everything is going to float your boat, even if you read widely.

Oh, well! On with the show! Got up to the 34% stage of Six Little Miracles at lunchtime today, so we’re a third of the way through Janet Walton‘s autobiography of becoming mum to six baby girls in 1983! I am up to 26% of The Cellist of Sarajevo, so doing fine with that one, too! Twisting My Melon is at 25% and I hope to get more of that read on Sunday on my Kindle when I’m on my way home from Manchester United vs West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford. Back to the footy shortly, but I shall round off the OC update by mentioning that we’re at 58% with Hawksmoor. I might have been up to that stage the other day, I can’t remember, but I know I am definitely over the halfway point with that one now.

In the top photo, you might see Ready Player One – that’s the audiobook, so it’s a set of 14 CDs. I will eventually put them onto my computer, and then possibly onto other devices, so I can have a listen. Maybe read along, as I do have the paperback, which I did start some time ago. I’m on for page 47, the start of chapter 4 when I’m ready to resume, although I might just let myself be read to. Thing is, I’m not sure what, if anything, to do when listening to an audiobook. Perhaps do some cross stitch? But part of me thinks I should just be listening to it. I am not that used to using them, although I do have a few. I have heard, as well as read, Look Who’s Back, by Timur Vermes, and that’s really good. I can definitely recommend that book! I read it two years ago, it’s on my List Challenges list of books I read in 2016.

Also in that photo, you’ll see a travel guide – I now know I’ll be at work into the summer, and thus I am able to enjoy some time off from it, lol! Well, I will be doing so in a couple of months. The other book, the chunky one, is The Complete Robot, by Isaac Asimov, which is a book of his robot stories. I remember when my dad used to get a monthly magazine called Complete Car, and I used to think it’d be a bit silly if it were called Incomplete Car, lol! Like as though it was missing something… wing mirrors, steering wheel, indicators.. actually, a lot of people seem to drive as though they’re missing their indicators, lol! Many’s the time I’ve been in the car with my mum and we’ve seen at least one dickhead who must think we’re Mystic Meg and Claire Voyant, as they clearly haven’t been arsed to tell us that they wish to turn left or right!

Enough ranting about drivers from the Stevie Wonder School of Motoring, lol, and back to other matters! Obviously, besides being chuffed about booking jollies, the weekend’s footy saw my lads come from behind to win the Manchester Derby 3-2! Apart from the fact that our second half goals came earlier in the game on Saturday than they did almost a quarter of a century ago, there are a lot of comparisons with our 3-2 comeback victory at Maine Road on 7th November 1993 when two goals from Eric Cantona and one from Roy Keane saw United overhaul a 2-0 half-time deficit to come back across town with all three points! This time it was another Frenchman, Paul Pogba, who bagged the brace, before Chris “Mike” Smalling scored what turned out to be our winner at the Etihad.

I was in the Trafford Centre while the derby was going on across town, and thought the lads were just throwing it away when they went two goals down in the first half, so I buggered off into Waterstone’s to look at books and take my mind off the footy, plus I needed a travel guide, of course, having a holiday to prepare for. When I came out of Waterstone’s and bothered to glance at my mobile, fearing the worst, we were into the second half and on level terms, 2-2 thanks to Monsieur Pogba. Merci beaucoup, Pog! I headed for the O2 shop to look at mobile phones in a much better mood, lol!

I’ve had my current one for nearly 4 years now, having got my Sony Xperia Z2 in July 2014, so I had been entitled to an upgrade for some time, and I went in to have a word with the staff and get their advice. I decided on the Sony Xperia XZ1, and the guy in the shop said to phone up customer services, which I did today after work, and they could get me some money off my new tariff, which they did, and I collected my phone after I’d been to the gym for a bit…

The only thing is that I feel like I’m in some technological fairy story… Goldilocks and the Three Sims! My sim card for my current phone won’t fit in my new one! I need an even smaller sim, which I am going to sort out at the phone shop tomorrow. So I tried some previous phones, but the sim bit in those is too big for the current sim! Eventually, I managed to get the damn thing back in my current phone, so we have an operational mobile, which I will be using as my main phone for one more night, as Phil Collins once sang, lol, hence the title of tonight’s blog.

sci fi and new phone April 2018

Got a couple of charity shop acquisitions earlier, having popped in to the Headway shop on Swinton Precinct after work. The Giant Book of Science Fiction Stories, edited by Isaac Asimov, written by numerous different authors, and The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, by Philip K. Dick. Alongside the books, you can see my new phone. Hopefully, it will be working and fully operational by this time tomorrow night!

The City & The City started on Friday, although, typically, I’ve not got around to watching it yet. Need to do so, really, before this Friday. At least I am ahead of the game for something coming up later this year – I read an article on Facebook the other day which said that the BBC have adapted The War of the Worlds, and it will be on telly in the autumn! Not like me to be ahead of things, lol, but for once I will be as I read the H. G. Wells novel earlier this year!

I think that’s about it for now, though, I’m pretty sure I’ve told you all the news there is to know, lol, so until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • North and South – Elizabeth Gaskell
  • Six Little Miracles – Janet Walton
  • The Cellist of Sarajevo – Steven Galloway
  • Twisting My Melon – Shaun Ryder
  • Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd
  • Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
  • Look Who’s Back – Timur Vermes
  • The Complete Robot – Isaac Asimov
  • The Giant Book of Science Fiction Stories – Various (Edited by Isaac Asimov)
  • The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch – Philip K. Dick
  • The City & The City – China Miéville
  • The War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells

Leave a comment

Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Charity Shop Bargains, E-Books & Audiobooks, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Handbag Books, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Science Fiction, Television, Travel

E-Readers, Dutch Books, and Eye Tests

Man in the Middle ebook finished March 2018

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Last week of March coming up, and I got another book finished off on Friday night, my first e-book finish of the year. I had originally meant The Man In the Middle, by Howard Webb, to be my match day ebook for journeys home from Old Trafford, but I got so into it that I decided I couldn’t wait between home games and just got on with it! Does mean I’ll have to choose a new ebook for the home game against Swansea City on Easter Saturday, lol, but it’s another book on my Goodreads Challenge list – I am now up to 14/30 and if I can get another book finished off before March ends, I will be halfway to my target after just three months of this year! It would also maintain my consistent rate of 5 books a month so far in 2018.

I hadn’t read the book on the way home from the FA Cup 6th round victory over Brighton and Hove Albion because I was too bloody freezing after that game! It wasn’t just that it was snowing big time, but also that it was unbearably, bitterly cold, and the football was shite (a technical term that I need far too often under Mourinho, unfortunately!) so I was so cold and pissed off by half-time that I spent the second half in the concourse watching on the TV screen. We won 2-0 but, really, it was one of those games that we really should have won by a bigger scoreline, and would have done so under a more positive and attack-minded manager – someone who would do things the United way, as opposed to that boring, bus-parking pillock!

I really do hope he gets sacked as soon as possible, so that we don’t lose too many players – he’s pissing everyone off! Even players that he actually bought! Bad enough that he forced out the likes of Wayne Rooney and Bastian Schweinsteiger, who came to OT under other managers (Fergie and LvG respectively), but he’s even falling out with players that he actually signed, and he needs to go ASAP so that our remaining players might be persuaded to stay! I do NOT want a mass exodus of players! The style of play is awful, we’re far too many points behind 1st place and he doesn’t seem to care, and he’s driving players away. He has to go!

So, after the Brighton game, I just needed to thaw out, lol! Coffee was the order of the day when we got back in the car after that match! Hot coffee and plenty of it! Also, it didn’t take us too long to get home, which was another reason why I didn’t get my ebook read on the way home from that game. So I read it the next day instead, at home, and thought “why just reserve ebooks for when I’m coming home from a match?!”

Ebook devices March 2018

So, I now need a new choice of ebook, and I also need some more non-fiction for my Ongoing Concerns. Talking of ebooks, I found my old Sony Reader device the other day, and have managed to get it recharged and working again! I am not even sure when I got that, or even when I put those books on it! It doesn’t have WiFi, unlike my Kindle, so I can’t download onto that one – I think I had to put them on via USB from my computer. I apologise for the poor picture quality, but I took that photo during Earth Hour yesterday evening and it’s a tad blurred, especially on my Kindle.

What gets me is the variety of books that are on it – and for some strange reason, there’s a couple of books on my Sony Reader which are in Dutch! How on earth did that happen?! I can’t even remember uploading some of those books, let alone the foreign ones, and my foreign languages I can read in (well, read at least a little bit in) are French, German and Spanish! Those are the ones I’ve studied to some level or another, as opposed to picking up little bits and bobs of a language for holidays! I studied French to A Level, and German and Spanish to GCSE, so as long as I have a dictionary handy, I can read a bit in those languages and understand the main gist of it. So I still don’t get why I have two books in Dutch on there! I can work out some Dutch words if they look like German words I know, but even so, I’ve not done a GCSE in the language (I’m not even sure if the language is offered at GCSE level at any high schools), and much as I’ve loved a fair few Dutch footballers who’ve played for United over the years, it still doesn’t explain why there are a couple of Dutch books on my Sony Reader! Even accounting for the fact that, at the time I acquired that particular device, United still had the legendary Edwin van der Sar in goal, it still doesn’t explain the Dutch books!

I got my Kindle in 2011, I won it, and those of you who’ve followed my blog for quite some time might recall the ongoing saga of my Kindle from the summer to about November when I actually received the device! If not, feel free to read the archived blogs from 2011. About August 2011 onwards, I think. Possibly as far back as the July of that year, but certainly August 2011, just before I went on my jollies to Turkey that year. Sometimes I think the battery goes down quite quickly, even though my Kindle is off, and when it is on I usually have it in aeroplane mode unless I am downloading a book and put WiFi on temporarily. Perhaps I need a new model of Kindle? I would have to look into the prices and the specifications of current models of Kindle, though. Transferring the books shouldn’t be too much of an issue, but it would be which device to get.

Looking at the photo from Earth Hour, The War of the Worlds is on both devices, lol! Mind you I read that in paperback earlier this year! Venus In Furs, by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, is on my Sony Reader. I actually read that some time ago, on that device! I mentioned that book on my blog donkey’s years ago, too! Been doing this blog since August 2010, so it was probably around that time. I think I was sticking it to the book snobs at the time, in one of my blogs, and saying that the advantage of an e-reading device if you’re out and about and reading on it, for instance on public transport, is that it is much harder for nosy and judgemental arseholes to know what you’re reading, thus it reduces the risk of snide comments and dirty looks! Essentially, if you want to read erotica on the bus, get an e-reader! Also, if you want to read YA but you don’t want sniffy tossers giving you weird looks for reading “kids’ books”, electronic reading devices are ideal!

Not that it’s anyone else’s concern, of course, but I think there are too many rude and nosy people in the world these days, and they really need to learn to mind their own business! Impertinent bastards! OK, that person on the bus might be reading The Fault in Our Stars when they don’t exactly look like a “young” adult, or they could be reading Fifty Shades of Grey, or The Da Vinci Code. So what?! We all have different tastes in books, we have our different reading abilities, and our favourite genres… No excuse for being a book snob in my mind! I think snobbishness is one of the main reasons which scares some people off reading, which is why I am so against it! I want everyone reading! I want everyone finding at least some books they can read and enjoy reading, so I don’t want snotty bastards getting all judgemental about other people’s choices of reading matter! I couldn’t give a flying shit if a grown adult is reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar on a bus or tram! It’s a damn good book anyway, so I can’t blame them!

I especially don’t blame them as I have got until 11th April to make any semblance of progress with North and South, but I’m not feeling it. There are just other things I’d rather read than classic literature! Even though I have read one or two classics when I’ve not had to, I guess it still does remind me of when I have had to read such stuff. Just because I have a degree, half of which was in literature, does not mean that I find “classics” any easier than other bookworms who didn’t take their education to that level! They can still be dry, dull and hard to get into, even for graduates!

Even when I was at school and studying Pride and Prejudice, it took me a while to warm to it! Things which were a big deal in Jane Austen‘s day just seemed like a big fuss over nothing important to me! I was reading this book in around 1987-88, thus around 30 years ago now, when I was 14 going on 15, and the idea that you should have to get married in age order just sounded totally pointless and unnecessary to me! As far as I was concerned, you don’t even have to get married at all if you don’t want to, and who bloody cares if your younger sisters tie the knot before you do even if you do get married?! 30 years on, I still feel that way. And as we’re now in 2018, a woman could just as easily fall in love with and marry another woman. I would not see that as a big deal, either. People can’t help who they fall in love with.

So, maybe my reluctance to go back to classics is partly because I really can’t be arsed with some of the backward and pointless ideas of those times!

Back to these times, then, and before we look at the Ongoing Concerns, such as they are, lol, I will now move on to the eye test I had on Thursday afternoon at work. As I have mentioned recently, I am coming up to my 45th birthday, so it shouldn’t really be too much of a surprise that it probably won’t be long before I will either need varifocals or two pairs of specs, one for distance and the other for reading. I have actually had a few chats with other friends who wear specs, and it might be better to have the two pairs, especially as the reading ones will be particularly strong, and it’s not just books I’m reading… I read books, I read stuff on computer screens both at home and at work, and I also read music, particularly when I’m at band on a Saturday morning, so as a musical bookworm and a computer-user, reading glasses might be the way to go when the time comes that I can’t get away with single prescription any more!

So, Ongoing Concerns, and the only one which is ongoing right now is The Word for World is Forest, by Ursula K. Le Guin, of which I have now read 41%. I think I am going to have to put The Chrysalids on hold, and North and South has been relegated from the OC list anyway, as I am not even up to 10% read and my disinclination to read it puts in doubt the likelihood that I’ll ever get up to that much of it read. I am therefore going to focus on the Le Guin novella, and get that finished before this month is out, and maybe find some other short books! Perhaps make a bit more progress on Hawksmoor, seeing as my book club book isn’t grabbing me. I’m not abandoning The Chrysalids, and might still retain it as a Handbag Book, but I don’t yet feel ready to resume it after the occasion where Joseph Strorm fuelled such an angry feeling in me! I might just put it to one side and try and resume it some time in the future. Not like I’ve not got other science fiction on the go, anyway, is it?

So, I’ve got science fiction, and historical fiction (I would class Hawksmoor as historical fiction as it jumps between 1711 and 1985, both of which are some time ago now, even the 1980s, lol!) but I need some non-fiction and another ebook for reading in the car after football matches when we’re stuck in the Old Trafford car park or in a post-match traffic jam in Trafford Park! I will try to sort something out by the next time I blog, which will probably be the monthly review next week, but until then, I think that’s about it for now, so take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Man In the Middle – Howard Webb
  • The War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells
  • Venus In Furs – Leopold von Sacher-Masoch
  • The Fault In Our Stars – John Green
  • Fifty Shades of Grey – E. L. James
  • The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle
  • North and South – Elizabeth Gaskell
  • Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  • The Word for World is Forest – Ursula K. Le Guin
  • The Chrysalids – John Wyndham
  • Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd

Leave a comment

Filed under Adult Fiction, Autobiography/Biography, Books, E-Books & Audiobooks, Football, Foreign Languages, Goodreads, Historical Fiction, Manc Stuff!, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Rants, Science Fiction, Travel, Weather, YA Books

February Review – Read Amid The Winter’s Snow 2018

February Finishes 2018

February Finishes – 5 books and a bookmark

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

I know there’s a day to go, we’re not quite done with February yet, as our current weather is proving to us, lol, but I finished another book off tonight to make it 5 finishes this month and 10 in total so far this year, and the likelihood of me finishing another book off in the day we have left of this book is about as remote as my chances of NOT falling on my arse if I were ever to attempt any snow sports! Even attempting to walk to work once I’ve got off the bus is precarious enough for me in snowy and icy weather!

As you no doubt know, this “Beast from the East”  has brought significant amounts of snow to the UK for the first time since that bad winter of 2009-2010, which is all well and good if you’re a Team GB athlete who has just got back from the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang and could feasibly ski or snowboard down the streets in this weather, but the rest of us are not exactly cut out for wintry weather! Couldn’t see myself doing any “big air” events. Big hair, yes, lol, but not big air!

The last time we had such snowy weather, I had a particularly bad fall near the car park not far from where I was working at the time, in Chorlton, bumped into a lamppost as I slipped and hurt my ribs – they were sore for several months after that, so I do NOT want a repeat of that eight years on, ta very much!

Anyway, it’s time for the monthly review, so, as well as the “Penguin Classics” bookmark, what else did I manage to finish off in February? Well, it started with the Martians getting finished off as my first February Finish was The War of the Worlds, by H. G. Wells. The other four books kinda came in pairs within days or even hours of each other. Around 20th to 21st February, I finished off Mort, by Sir Terry Pratchett, and hot on the heels of Mort was Russian Winters, by Andrei Kanchelskis. Less than a week later, two more books were polished off.

Yesterday, I finished Neither Here Nor There, by Bill Bryson, which I had decided to resume, having started it last year and got exactly half-way before it kinda stalled as an Ongoing Concern of 2017. Anyway, I resumed it and was glad I did. The usual Bryson fare, witty and snarky as ever! Oh, and he mentions the 1984 Winter Olympics when he gets to Sarajevo! Epic Win! Not that I’m biased or anything, lol, but… 14th February 1984… Torvill & Dean… Ravel’s Bolero – one of my all-time favourite sporting moments, and the start of me becoming an Olympic Nut!

Today was the turn of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman, to be brought to a conclusion on the reading front, and another excellent read. As this is my current book club book, and the meeting is on 7th March, I have just over a week now before the meeting to get on with other books and give them a serious chance to make significant progress without having a book club book to prioritise.

I have added an e-book to the mix as well, although I only just started that on Sunday on the way home from our 2-1 victory over Chelsea at Old Trafford, so it’s only at the 3% read stage yet. The book is The Man In the Middle, by Howard Webb. I figured I might as well read something on my Kindle which was footy-related so the ref who officiated at the 2010 World Cup Final was as good a choice as any. Not the first referee’s autobiography I’ve read though, of course, as I read The Rules of the Game, by Pierluigi Collina, a couple of years ago. That’s on my 2016 Goodreads Challenge, lol! One of the few books I managed to read for the rest of that year once I’d finished A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara! That book gave me an EPIC Book Hangover! Couldn’t read any fiction for the rest of 2016, but I did manage a few non-fiction books!

There are a few home games coming up in March, though, so I hope to get a bit more of Howard Webb‘s book read in the coming month. We have home fixtures against Liverpool (Premier League), Sevilla (Champions League), Brighton & Hove Albion (FA Cup), and Swansea City (Premier League), so I would expect to make decent progress on the ebook front!

February 15th saw me off to Preston to see Paul Young in concert, and thus I was able to give my friend Sarah her book back. She had lent me the brilliant Not Dead Yet, by Phil Collins, which had been my second finish of this year, back in January! A great gig, by the way. Wonder if Paul has an autobiography? He’s had a pretty long career, after all, and, like Phil Collins, he was involved in Band Aid – indeed, he sung the opening lines of “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” back in 1984. (The original and still the best version!)

medallistsmontage-2018

L-R: Dom Parsons, Izzy Atkin, Laura Deas, Lizzy Yarnold & Billy Morgan.

Considering February is a short month, and also considering that I spent a fortnight of it rather distracted by events in PyeongChang, I am quite amazed that I finished off 5 books again this month, same total as January. This is also my 6th blog of the month, so in terms of books and blogs, I have started consistently!

The five people in that montage are Team GB’s medallists at the Winter Olympics, five medals is a national record for us at a Winter Games, beating our previous best of 4 medals in both 1924 and 2014. Plenty of firsts for us in South Korea… First British medallist on skis (Izzy Atkin), first British bloke to win a medal in the skeleton (Dom Parsons), first British athlete to retain a title at a Winter Olympics (Lizzy Yarnold), first time we’ve had two athletes on the same podium at a Winter Olympics (Lizzy Yarnold and Laura Deas), and a new national record medal tally achieved when Billy Morgan won bronze in the men’s snowboarding big air event!

Funnily enough, though, we could be in line for another bronze from Sochi! With all the positive drug tests by Russian athletes, and retrospective reallocation of medals, we are awaiting confirmation that the standings from the 4 man bobsleigh final of 2014 are to be amended. Great Britain’s GB1 bob team finished 5th originally in Sochi. However, two of the bobs who finished higher than our lads were Russian crews. One team of Russians won the gold, and their other team came 4th. With those records removed from the books, the IOC look set to upgrade the bobs in 2nd, 3rd and 5th place, thus meaning that Great Britain’s 4 man bob team should receive bronze medals. That would actually make Sochi our best Winter Games, as our four medals won at the time were 1 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze. In PyeongChang, we didn’t win any silver medals – it was 1 gold and 4 bronze.

Penguin books and bookmark 2018

The “Penguin Classics” bookmark was finished off this month, so I decided to do a Bookstagram display featuring a couple of classic Penguin books! I have yet to read either Everything Is Illuminated, by Jonathan Safran Foer, or The Chrysalids, by John Wyndham, but I may yet get round to reading either or both of them in the fullness of time! Pretty decent chance of The Chrysalids, actually, given that I have already enjoyed some science fiction this year.

So, now I shall start to turn my attention towards March. With my book club book read with a week to spare, I might read a bit more of Hawksmoor, try to get that to at least 50% or more. I will also continue with The Lady and the Unicorn, by Tracy Chevalier, which is now my main Handbag Book at present. Hawksmoor is currently still on 39%, the Chevalier novel is on 19% at present, but I am reading that at lunchtimes at work, and will probably read a lot more of it at home. I might wait before adding other books to the Ongoing Concerns. One will have to be non-fiction to replace the Bryson. I might also, whether fact or fiction, look to finish more books off which I have started previously.

Then again, I am still itching to read that book about national anthems, Republic or Death! by Alex Marshall. It could, feasibly, become a Handbag Book. Born A Crime, by Trevor Noah is also factual, though, and slimmer than the book about anthems. Whatever I decide, you will find out in the coming blogs! Until that time, though, by which time I hope the weather has improved, lol, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells
  • Mort – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • Russian Winters – Andrei Kanchelskis
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
  • The Man In the Middle – Howard Webb
  • The Rules of the Game – Pierluigi Collina
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • Everything Is Illuminated – Jonathan Safran Foer
  • The Chrysalids – John Wyndham
  • Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd
  • The Lady and the Unicorn – Tracy Chevalier
  • Republic or Death! Travels In Search of National Anthems – Alex Marshall
  • Born A Crime – Trevor Noah

Leave a comment

Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Bookstagram, British Weather, Charity Shop Bargains, Childrens' Books, Cross-Stitch, E-Books & Audiobooks, Football, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, Humour, List Challenges, Month in Review, Music, Non-Fiction, Olympic Games, Ongoing Concerns, Science Fiction, Travel, Weather

Outside of a Dog…

Year of the Dog 2018

Year of the Dog. Photo courtesy of my friend Charity on Facebook. 🙂

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Kung Hei Fat Choi! Wishing all my followers happiness, prosperity and plenty of good books in the Year of the Dog, which has started today! As I had mentioned earlier this month, this is the Dog Blog to celebrate Chinese New Year, so I will be mentioning some books with prominent canines, and also a few others on a generally Chinese theme. There’ll also be some of the usual stuff, such as updates on the Ongoing Concerns, and mention of the Winter Olympics, where Team GB are now on the medal table in PyeongChang, I’m pleased to say!

Can’t say the Year of the Dog has got off to the best of starts for me, though, I seem to have another cold, a bit “ruff” you might say, and I’ve not seen one of my best online friends on FB yet today, so I hope she’s OK and whatever is causing her not to be online is resolved as soon as possible. I hope she’s not ill, and perhaps it’s a power cut or an internet problem.

So, then… On with the dog books, before you all go barking mad, lol…

By the way, the title of this blog, as you may have guessed, comes from quite possibly my all-time favourite quote, which is a classic from Groucho Marx…

Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend.

Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read!

K9 from Doctor Who

K9 on Doctor Who (early 80s, at a guess)

So, there you have it! And let’s take a look at some books with notable four-legged friends of the canine variety, or even K9 if you’re a robot dog, like the one on Doctor Who years ago when I was a kid, lol! One of the obvious dog books is Marley & Me, by John Grogan, about a pooch who requires a fair bit of training. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London, however, sees a dog become a sledge dog up in the frozen north! The dog in White Fang, also by Jack London, is part wolf, but we won’t let that stand in the way of his canine credentials on this blog!

The editions of those Jack London books which I found on List Challenges are Puffin Classics, so that indicates they are children’s books, which brings me very neatly on to a dog-filled book for younger bookworms, one my niece recommended to me a few years ago, that being Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy, by Lynley Dodd! I loved this one, so thank you, Charlotte! Harry the Dirty Dog, by Gene Zion, also needs a mention while we’re on children’s books, and I’m sure I read that one when I was younger.

If we’re going to mention classic dog-filled books for younger readers, we have to mention The Hundred and One Dalmatians, by Dodie Smith. Probably best known as the Disney film, but it was a book originally! The Incredible Journey, by Sheila Burnford, sees two dogs, and also a cat, make their way across Canada to be reunited with the family who own them. I admit, I’ve not read those two, but I have most definitely read, and loved, this next one – in fact, it helped get me out of a reading slump back in late 2015…

The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein, is a wonderful book, in which the dog has a huge part to play! It is on the list of books I often recommend. Oh, and, if you recall a blog or two ago, when I was mentioning science-fiction purchases, and I said I was going to save one book to mention in the Dog Blog, well that book is Sirius, by Olaf Stapledon, about a canine with human capabilities.

I also can’t do a dog blog without mentions of There Is No Dog, by Meg Rosoff, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon, Don’t Let’s Go To the Dogs Tonight, by Alexandra Fuller, and Even the Dogs, by John McGregor. I think I’ve given you plenty of dog books and dog-titled books to be getting on with!

As far as Chinese-themed books go, there are plenty around, but after the long list of dog books, I’ll just settle for a few I know well enough to mention. One I enjoyed some years ago now is Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, by Dai Sijie. There’s The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan, centred around Chinese families in the USA, which I half-read at uni years ago. I still have a copy, so I might yet read it properly, rather than having to skim it as I did in the early 90s during my degree course. I also have Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, by Lisa See, which I have yet to read. I actually have the audiobook on my computer for that one, so I could listen to it. There is also Sweet Mandarin, by Helen Tse, a true account of a family who move from China to Hong Kong, and then to the UK, and Helen was born here in Manchester. That one is about food and the restaurant business, so ties in nicely with going out for a meal to celebrate Chinese New Year!

So, after all the dogs, and the Chinese-themed reading material, how are the Ongoing Concerns getting on? Quite well, as it turns out! Russian Winters, by Andrei Kanchelskis, is at 72%, Mort, by Sir Terry Pratchett, is rapidly catching up and is now on 66% as I have been reading that one on my lunch at work and feel I will soon get it finished. Hawksmoor, by Peter Ackroyd, is on 39%, and my book club book, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman, is on 30% already. Really enjoying it, and am amused by the references to Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë – I’ll not spoil things for you, but let’s say that if you are familiar with Jane Eyre, you’ll find some characters’ names familiar if you read Eleanor Oliphant! I read Jane Eyre twice – firstly in my third year at high school (which is now known as year 9), and then again at university, so I was laughing when I got to one particular bit of my book club book and thinking “I know where you got THOSE names from!”

I’m looking to finish Russian Winters and Mort fairly soon, before this month is out, preferably, and also to get on with Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. If I get my book club book read before 7th March, I might read a bit more of Hawksmoor, move it on another chapter. I am enjoying it, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not a quick book to read, and it’s not high up on my reading priorities, really.

Oh, and Not Dead Yet was given back to Sarah yesterday, as I went to Preston to meet up with her and go to the Guild Hall to see Paul Young, supported by China Crisis. Yes, very 80s, which is how we like it, lol! A great night, but a shame about the journey home – damn roadworks on the motorway closing off some of our regular exits, thus we ended up coming off near Prestwich, and thus having to go through Prestwich, into Salford, and eventually chez moi, but it took us about an hour to do so, double the time it usually takes if Sarah’s bringing me home from Preston! It also took her a while longer to get back home, too.

There seemed very little warning, too. Did not expect to be snarled up in traffic so late at night! Not like it was rush hour, or anything! It reminded us of one time when we went to see the Pet Shop Boys at the Apollo, here in Manchester, possibly 2002 or some time around then, and without any warning, the Mancunian Way was shut when the time came to be picked up after the gig! No warning at all that night, either!

dom-parsons-bronze-skeleton 2018

Didn’t they do well?! The men’s skeleton medallists with their cuddly toys!

And, before I love you and leave you for now, on to the Winter Olympics, and although I’m not sure if he’s actually received his medal yet, Dom Parsons has put Great Britain on the medal table in PyeongChang by winning bronze in the men’s skeleton! That’s him on the right with the red had and blue coat, proudly holding his cuddly toy tiger with the other medal-winners. The gold-medallist is from South Korea, and that was his local track they were sliding down, so he definitely made home advantage count! I think the guy who got the silver was one of the Olympic Athletes from Russia, in other words a Russian who has been confirmed as drug-free, thus not a cheat, and allowed to take part.

I hope we can get a medal or two in the women’s skeleton. We’re halfway through that as I write. They’ve had 2 runs, and Lizzie Yarnold, the reigning champion from Sochi 2014, is in 3rd, with Laura Deas in 4th, and fractions of a second separating the top 4, so there is a chance for both to improve and both to end up on the podium if they perk up and slide well later!

So, that’s about it for now, as I head off to have another read and a rest, and watch some more action from the Winter Olympics when it starts up again in an hour or so for another day of mad stuff on snow and ice, lol!  I love the snowboard cross – as Christopher Dean described it on the Beeb the other day, it’s a bit like short-track speed skating but on snowboards! If you’ve never seen it, you’re missing a treat! 6 snowboarders go off together on this course, and they often crash into one another! Look it up on YouTube! One of the best events to be added to the Winter Olympics in recent times!

Talking of Christopher Dean, Valentine’s Day was the 34th anniversary of him and Jayne Torvill winning gold for us at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, one of my all-time favourite sporting moments! I still can’t hear Ravel’s Bolero, even the full 17 minute version, without thinking of those two in their purple costumes, on the ice in Sarajevo. That’s what got me into the Olympics! I was 10 going on 11 and I became an Olympic nut thanks to Torvill & Dean in February 1984!

Right, that’s definitely all for now, before I just waffle on about the Olympics, lol! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Marley & Me – John Grogan
  • The Call of the Wild – Jack London
  • White Fang – Jack London
  • Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy – Lynley Dodd
  • Harry the Dirty Dog – Gene Zion
  • The Hundred and One Dalmatians – Dodie Smith
  • The Incredible Journey – Sheila Burnford
  • The Art of Racing in the Rain – Garth Stein
  • Sirius – Olaf Stapledon
  • There Is No Dog – Meg Rosoff
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – Mark Haddon
  • Don’t Let’s Go To the Dogs Tonight – Alexandra Fuller
  • Even the Dogs – John McGregor
  • Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress – Dai Sijie
  • The Joy Luck Club – Amy Tan
  • Snow Flower and the Secret Fan – Lisa See
  • Sweet Mandarin – Helen Tse
  • Russian Winters – Andrei Kanchelskis
  • Mort – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd
  • Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
  • Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Childrens' Books, E-Books & Audiobooks, Fantasy Fiction, Food & Drink, List Challenges, Manc Stuff!, Music, Olympic Games, Ongoing Concerns, School, College & Uni Reading, Science Fiction, Sports, Television, Travel

Book Review of the Year…

Hello there, fellow Bookworms!

There is less than a fortnight left of 2017, ladies and gentlemen, Sir Mo Farah was crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year at the weekend, so I think it’s only fair if we do some sort of Book Review of the Year round about now! I might just get one or two more books read before the year is out, as I am currently enjoying The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k, by Sarah Knight, and I have started on Mr Dickens and His Carol, by Samantha Silva, so I could get to 44 or even 45 books before we let in 2018! I finished The Good People a few nights ago, so that took me to 43 for the year. I’d quite like at least one more, to make it 44 so I’ve read my age in books, lol!

As most of you probably know by now, I’m hardly the world’s biggest fan of self-help books, but when a book comes along to encourage people to stop giving needless f**ks about things they really don’t care about, or don’t want to do, I am all for that! Indeed, I feel that I’ve already been reducing the number of f**ks I give since I hit my 40s! So I am happy to get on board with that! Also, it’s not ableist. Whether fully able-bodied, or with any kind of disability or health condition, anyone is capable of ceasing to give a f**k about completely pointless things! Things they can’t do, things they don’t enjoy, things they don’t want to do, things they don’t want to know about! You don’t need to be fully-able bodied in order to give zero f**ks about the Kardashians, for instance!

I started the year off by finishing off Pear Shaped, an e-book autobiography by Adam Blain, I think I’d got it for free on my Kindle. Anyway, he was writing about his brain tumour, hence the title, but he has since recovered, I am delighted to say. There have been a few books which I have started in a previous year, but finished off in 2017, most notably Jamrach’s Menagerie, by Carol Birch, Mother Tongue, by Bill Bryson, Periodic Tales, by Hugh Aldersey-Williams, and Pet Shop Boys, Literally, by Chris Heath, which I read this summer to coincide with my 30th anniversary of becoming a Pethead! Also, I saw them twice in concert this year – in February here in Manchester, and in June in Blackpool, home town of keyboard player, Chris Lowe.

Actually, today, 19th December, it is 30 years since “Always On My Mind” hit the top spot in the UK charts to become the Christmas Number One for 1987! Other notable 30th anniversaries in December are the release of my all-time favourite Christmas record, “Fairytale of New York” by the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl, which reached number 2 in the charts behind Neil and Chris, and it is also 30 years since one of the most sensible things my dad ever did… 30 years since he gave up smoking! He had the flu at the time, a really bad strain of it, and lighting his pipe gave him an epic coughing fit, so he gave up to get over the flu, and by the time he was well again, in early 1988, he realised he hadn’t smoked for about 2 or 3 weeks, and he just never went back to it.

February saw me going down to Wembley, as you may recall, to see Manchester United beat Southampton 3-2 in the League Cup Final, and when United booked their place in the final, I was trying to decide which books to take down with me on the coach for the journey to Wembley, and the return to Old Trafford. The book I read on the way down was The Pie at Night, by Stuart Maconie, but with the coach’s reading lights not working on the journey home, I had to resort to my Kindle, and thus Premier League Years 1992/93 by Andrew Hyslop was my reading matter on the way back, detailing Manchester United’s first Premier League title as we ended our 26 year wait to be champions.

I later got The Pie at Night signed, along with Long Road from Jarrow, when I met Stuart Maconie at Waterstone’s in July. Not read the Jarrow book yet, but I did read The People’s Songs earlier this year, so two books by Mr Maconie made my Goodreads Challenge list!

* Excuse me a mo… Chief Bookworm needs a drink – back shortly *

Right, back again! Sorry about that! Anyway, March was notable for my decision to read Tuesdays With Morrie once a week, each Tuesday! April brought about Billy Ocean in concert, jury service and my birthday, making me an old gimmer of 44, lol! I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović was finished off that month, as was An Equal Music, by Vikram Seth. Adrian Mole, the diary-writing character created by the late great Sue Townsend, celebrated his  50th birthday in April, and Penguin actually published a book of the poems Adrian wrote! The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 starts off in January 1981, so he was 14 on 2nd April that year. I was 8 three weeks later in real life! Thus, yes, Adrian is 6 years older than me. The first couple of Adrian Mole books are around 33 years old, or so, as they came out around 1984 if I’m not mistaken. I probably got my copies of the first two books around 1985, aged 12. Pretty sure that one of the kids at Salford Trampoline Club recommended them to me, possibly Tammy, as my sister had started training there by then.

Actually, earlier in 2017, around February, I revisited my 12 year old self in a blog thanks to an idea from Facebook. Someone had asked which 12 books would you give to your 12 year old self, so Joanne from 2017 visited Joanne from 1985 with a dozen books from her future!

From early July to early September, we had the Book Benches scattered around Manchester with a trail map so that you could go and find them. I was actually volunteering at Manchester Cathedral’s bookshop at the time, so was right at the heart of things, and saw book benches in the cathedral, in the Arndale Centre, and in the National Football Museum. Pretty sure I saw a book bench the other week, actually – at the Lowry outlet centre on Salford Quays, so maybe one or two have stuck around after the event, as we’re in December now and it’s nearly Christmas! The book bench event actually ended just after I started my job at Salford Council in early September. Watch out for the giant bees in town in the summer of 2018! Manchester will be truly buzzin’!

I read a few children’s books this year, as you might expect given that my niece, Charlotte, aka Junior Bookworm, likes her auntie to know what she’s reading, and wants me to enjoy some of her books! In 2017 I was able to add Esio Trot to the list of Roald Dahl books that I have read! Charlotte was reading The Twits not long ago, which was one of Ellie’s favourites as a kid! Sadly, we said rest in peace to Dick Bruna back in February when the Dutch author, famous for the Miffy books, passed away. As with the Roald Dahl books, Bruna’s tales of Miffy the rabbit were part of mine and my sister’s childhood, albeit before the Dahl… Miffy books were borrowed from Eccles Library when we were little and first learning to read.

On the other hand, we wished many happy returns to Stephen King, as the prolific author, famed particularly for his horror novels, hit his Big 70 in September, shortly after my dad hit his Big 70! As you may recall, my pressie for my dad was that big chunky biography of spy thriller author, John le Carré. I hit the hundred book blogs milestone earlier this year, back in March, I think, and I currently have 72 followers, so thank you to all of you who subscribe to this blog full of book mentions and other mad and random waffle, lol!

A few YA books made my Goodreads Challenge list, as I read One Italian Summer, by Keris Stainton, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, by Jesse Andrews, and If I Stay, by Gayle Forman. Although I don’t have an out and out favourite genre, unlike many bookworms, I will say that I like a bit of historical fiction, and there were a few novels on the list which come into that category, including The Ashes of London, by Andrew Taylor, Dissolution, by C. J. Sansom, and The Good People, by Hannah Kent. That is my most recent finish, of course, but as I said earlier, I am hoping for one or two more before the year is over.

I had quite a non-fiction binge in the autumn, but I do like factual reads anyway! It was that which led to my second author event of the year and my choice for favourite book of the year… the wonderful This is Going to Hurt, by Adam Kay. Moving in parts, but utterly hilarious in others, you would be taking a huge risk by reading it in public, unless you don’t mind some odd looks while you laugh your arse off! The Angry Chef, by Anthony Warner, was a very good, quite witty, and pretty important book, one which as many people as possible should read in order that they stop falling for faddy diets and other con tricks on the internet!

Well, those are most of the highlights of my year in books. I hope to get at least a few more blogs in before the month, and the year, are over. I have actually blogged every month this year, which is a first. Prior to 2017, my blogging had been very patchy at times, long times went by without a blog. However, there have been blogs every month. I shall now bring this particular entry to a close, so until I blog again, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k – Sarah Knight
  • Mr Dickens and His Carol – Samantha Silva
  • Pear Shaped – Adam Blain
  • Jamrach’s Menagerie – Carol Birch
  • Mother Tongue – Bill Bryson
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath
  • The Pie at Night – Stuart Maconie
  • Premier League Years 1992/93 – Andrew Hyslop
  • Long Road from Jarrow – Stuart Maconie
  • The People’s Songs – Stuart Maconie
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović – Zlatan Ibrahimović
  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 – Sue Townsend
  • Esio Trot – Roald Dahl
  • The Twits – Roald Dahl
  • One Italian Summer – Keris Stainton
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • If I Stay – Gayle Forman
  • The Ashes of London – Andrew Taylor
  • Dissolution – C. J. Sansom
  • The Good People – Hannah Kent
  • This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
  • The Angry Chef – Anthony Warner

Leave a comment

Filed under Authors, Books, British Weather, Childrens' Books, Chunky Monkeys, Facebook & Other Social Media, Food & Drink, Football, Goodreads, Handbag Books, Historical Fiction, Humour, Junior Bookworms, Manc Stuff!, Music, Ongoing Concerns, Sports, The TBR Pile, Travel, Weather, YA Books