Category Archives: World Book Night

Joanne D-J and the Forty Bookworms

book-selfie-march-2017

Book selfie: Reading The Pie at Night, now finished, of course!

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Over 100 blog posts, just over 200 likes, and now 40 followers! Thank you for all the likes and follows! Much appreciated! I’m glad you enjoy my vaguely book-related waffle on the internet which has been coming in the guise of these blogs since the summer of 2010!

As far as my Goodreads Challenge for 2017 goes, I am now halfway towards my target of 30 books! I read Headhunter, by Jade Jones, yesterday while I was at band practice, my 15th read of the year. So far, things are going well as we head towards the end of March. However, this blogger is taking nowt for granted, especially after the bout of Reader’s Block she suffered last summer once she’d finished Hanya Yanagihara‘s epic novel, A Little Life! That was one hell of a book! I really enjoyed it, but it certainly took a lot out of me on the reading front, and I didn’t read any more fiction for the rest of 2016 after that! Just couldn’t get into anything which wasn’t factual! Managed some non-fiction stuff about music, food, and a few autobiographies, but my appetite for fiction had gone! I was stuffed after a 720 page epic! The literary equivalent of Mr Creosote in the Monty Python film, The Meaning of Life! I couldn’t even have managed the “wafer-thin mint” of a short story or novella, lol!

I tried reading fiction after A Little Life, but, no matter what I tried to read after that, it was like… nah… this is just not going to happen. Can’t get into this at all…

So, non-fiction it was. Good job I like factual books as much as I like fiction!

As for fiction, I’ve said this before, but let’s get away from the idea of “must reads” – people have enough of that during their education, and I think that puts a significant number of people off reading. Not a lot can be done about the fact that there’ll always be required reading during education, so the best bet is to encourage a love of reading from birth! If a child is a bookworm before he or she starts school, if that child associates reading with fun and with love, the chances are that they will always love books and will be at less risk of being put off by the occasional book foisted on them at school which doesn’t float their boat!

It’s OK to read books for fun, even when you also have to read some for school, college, university, or even work! Read a bit of what you need to read, then treat yourself with something you actually WANT to read! That would be my advice for those of you who are still at a “required reading” stage of life.

Yes, I DID enjoy some of the stuff I actually had to read during my time at school, college and uni, and the likes of Jane Eyre, Great Expectations and Pride and Prejudice will probably always feature on set lists for literature coursework! However, it’s time to focus on more recent works and maybe decide on some newer classics! We’re in 2017, so by now, anything written in 1997 will be 20 years old, anything written in 1987 will be 30 years old, anything written in 1977, which is the year which saw me start school that autumn, will be 40 years old! Music from these decades is featured on such channels as Vintage TV, so we’re talking about A Bloody Long Time Ago Now!

Even a novel such as The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak, is 12 years old this year, published back in 2005, and it was 2008 when I first read it and fell in love with it enough to want to give out copies for World Book Night in April 2012 on my 39th birthday!

Books knocking around for a while

Books which have been knocking around for quite some time, lol!

In order to celebrate having posted over 100 blogs, having gained over 200 likes, and having acquired 40 followers, what should we do? Perhaps we could look at some of the books I’ve had knocking around for seemingly donkey’s years, books which include Memoirs of a Geisha, by Arthur Golden, and Gould’s Book of Fish, by Richard Flanagan. The fishy one, with a pot-bellied seahorse on the cover, weighs in at just under 400 pages, so maybe when one of the “chunkies” on the OC list is finished, I could start Gould’s Book of Fish. Perhaps once I’ve finished An Equal Music, as that’s nearer to being finished than The Saffron Trail.

I could read To Major Tom: The Bowie Letters, by Dave Thompson, which has been knocking around for a while since I picked it up as a charity shop bargain. It would be rather apt given that Royal Mail have issued a set of David Bowie album cover stamps this month! With books set to come off the OC list, and one already having done so, I need new ones to go on there, lol, so I am weighing up the options!

Looks like there’s a couple of charity shop bargains on that photo! People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks, and Fingersmith, by Sarah Waters have been hanging around Computer Corner for quite some time, along with A Prayer For Owen Meany, by John Irving. That’s quite a chunky one, but having said that, let’s not forget I’ve got jury service coming up in April, so as long as no-one’s wanting me to actually sit in on a case in court, I should be able to get some epic reading done in that fortnight! That’s what I’m hoping for, anyway!

Book and bookmark rediscovered March 2017

Not only did I find one of my books, but also one of my bookmarks!

The other two books on that photo of “books which have been knocking around for a while” are non-fiction, with the autobiographical Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls, by David Sedaris, as pictured above, and A History of Modern Britain, by Andrew Marr, making up the selection on the photo. It was also nice to discover one of my cross-stitched bookmarks in the Sedaris book – I’d wondered where that one had got to, clearly it was keeping my place somewhere early on as I started to read about diabetes and owls, lol!

Talking of cross-stitched bookmarks, just in case you were wondering, yes, I have started on a bookmark to celebrate United’s EFL Cup victory in February! I’ve stitched the five years we’ve won the trophy, but actually need to stitch the cup, and obviously some sort of rudimentary border around it, but the League Cup Bookmark has been started! Obviously, it’s not as long as my FA Cup Winning Years bookmark which I stitched last year, but then we’ve won the FA Cup 12 times, we’ve only won the League Cup 5 times.

Anyway, time I got either some reading or stitching done, so that’s about all for now! Until the next time I blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Pie at Night – Stuart Maconie
  • Headhunter – Jade Jones
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
  • Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
  • Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  • The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
  • Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
  • Gould’s Book of Fish – Richard Flanagan
  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • The Saffron Trail  -Rosanna Ley
  • To Major Tom: The Bowie Letters – Dave Thompson
  • People of the Book – Geraldine Brooks
  • Fingersmith – Sarah Waters
  • A Prayer For Owen Meany – John Irving
  • Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls – David Sedaris
  • A History of Modern Britain – Andrew Marr

Leave a comment

Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Books About Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Computer Corner, Cross-Stitch, Football, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Literary Issues, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Reader's Block, Television, The TBR Pile, World Book Night

Put The Kettle On!

Tea and coffee books 1

Nothing quite like a brew and a good book, is there?!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

You may recall yesterday’s blog, and the rainbow tower of books, which contained two books by Vanessa Greene on the theme of tea, those being The Vintage Teacup Club, and The Seafront Tea Rooms. I mentioned, at the time, before I went downstairs for a brew, that I had had an idea for a themed blog. Well, here it is… I would definitely advise you to put your kettle on and make a hot leaf or bean-based beverage, because my theme for tonight is books about tea and coffee! I hope you enjoy this blog – I’ve been into part of my wardrobe unit to get some books and teas out for the photos, and I’m now having a mug of Maple Tea. As you can imagine, I purchased the tin of Maple Tea when I was in Canada, which was October 2009. The maple teabags were in a bag within the tin, though, and so they seemed OK!

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me” – C. S. Lewis

In recent blogs, I also mentioned a non-fiction book on the discovery and history of coffee, that being The Devil’s Cup, by Stewart Lee Allen, and, as I like both tea and coffee, I thought I’d do a blog about books on a theme of those drinks. One or two books are non-fiction, plus a few fictional works with mention of either beverage in the title.

Tea books 1

The Maple Tea is a souvenir of Canada, the other tin was in a set from a shop in Manchester’s Chinatown!

Obviously, we have the two Vanessa Greene novels, dealing with vintage teacups and with tea rooms in seaside resorts. I have yet to read these, and I have also yet to read The Tea Planter’s Wife, by Dinah Jefferies, but I expect I will get round to them. Ooh, that maple tea is nice! Anyway, sorry, where was I?! Ah, yes, unread novels about tea, lol! I have, however, read the non-fiction books about tea in this photo, those being A Taste of Tea, by Brian Glover, The Book of Tea, by Kakuzo Okakura, and Tea: The Drink That Changed The World, by John Griffiths. At the back of that book, in the sources list, as I’ve read this particular tome, is a bookmark from Niagara Falls, so I obviously acquired that in 2009 and must have been reading that book some time shortly after I came home from Canada. I doubt very much I was reading that book when I was in Toronto or Montreal on that particular holiday, as it is a chunky hardback and thus not really the most ideal reading matter for overseas travel!

On the first photo, at the top of this blog, you will also see the spine of The Story of Tea, by Mary Lou Heiss, another non-fiction guide to the history, preparation and world traditions surrounding tea. You can tell I like a cuppa, can’t you?!

So, that’s the tea sorted, now the coffee, lol! Obviously, my non-fiction book for this beverage is the Stewart Lee Allen book, The Devil’s Cup, a fascinating read about the discovery and history of coffee. It was discovered by Arabs who, being practising Muslims, found the plant’s berries and beans were great for keeping them awake and alert for their night-time prayers! Thus were the joys of caffeine discovered! I was actually reading Allen’s book when I was still working in town, so that shows you how long ago that was! That particular office closed in 2009, so it’s at least 8 years, probably more, since I read The Devil’s Cup! I was on some course or other in our meeting room, possibly a fire & bomb warden refresher session which I had to have every two or three years, and we were having a break from our training, so I was having a read while I could.

One of my younger colleagues didn’t seem to get why I loved reading. I find it hard to understand why people don’t love reading! Well, I can understand it if they have dyslexia, or some similar issue, but if you have no actual difficulties in reading, you just need to find a book you like! There’s plenty out there for everyone!

Along with the factual coffee book, I have put my hands on two fiction books with coffee in their titles, although how much either book focuses on the java remains to be seen as I have yet to read one of them, and have only read a very small percentage of the other. The one I have yet to read at all is The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul, by Deborah Rodriguez, and the other book is Last Bus To Coffeeville, by J. Paul Henderson, of which I have read a smidgeon, but not really much. Can’t really call it an ongoing concern as yet. It was a free book I acquired last year at Chapter One in town, a giveaway for World Book Night.

Anyway, it’s a start. A selection of tea and coffee books, some factual, some fictional, and if you have any suggestions for books about either drink, feel free to mention them in the comments! I’m quite happy for people to comment, as long as I don’t get spammed! I don’t like spam! (Just don’t get me started on Monty Python sketches, or we’ll be here all bloody night, lol!)

“I’m a lumberjack and I’m OK! I sleep all night and I work all day!” – Oops! Sorry!

You’ll probably be ready for another cuppa now, so I suggest you put your kettle on, make yourself a brew, and until next time, Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Vintage Teacup Club – Vanessa Greene
  • The Seafront Tea Rooms – Vanessa Greene
  • The Devil’s Cup – Stewart Lee Allen
  • The Tea Planter’s Wife – Dinah Jefferies
  • A Taste of Tea – Brian Glover
  • The Book of Tea – Kakuzo Okakura
  • Tea: The Drink That Changed the World – John Griffiths
  • The Story of Tea – Mary Lou Heiss
  • The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul – Deborah Rodriguez
  • Last Bus To Coffeeville – J. Paul Henderson

P.S. Which one of you’s called Brian?!

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Food & Drink, Free Books, Historical Fiction, Humour, Non-Fiction, Television, The TBR Pile, Travel, World Book Night

The Bookworm On The Bus

bus-reader

The bookworm on the bus goes read, read, read… all day long!

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

If there isn’t a verse of “The Wheels on the Bus” dedicated to bookworms on the bus, then there bloody well should be! That gentleman was reading on the 33 bus when I was on my way home from Eccles earlier this evening. The book he was reading was We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, by Karen Joy Fowler, of which I also own a copy. Mine being a 99p charity shop bargain, actually, as it’s still got the price label on it, lol!

I imagine our bus bookworm had a rather longer commute than I did. As I am currently based at the West One retail park, near Eccles, I am not far from where I live, which is a good thing, but it doesn’t really present much of a reading opportunity for me unless the traffic is particularly shite and then I might get the chance to get one of my Handbag Books out and have a good read as the bus crawls its way along at the speed of an arthritic ant with some particularly heavy shopping, to paraphrase from Blackadder!

The book being read, the novel by Karen Joy Fowler, was from a few years ago now, when a lot of book covers seemed to be yellow and black! Not sure what the current trend is, but a yellow and black bandwagon was clearly being jumped upon by publishing houses some time around 2013 and 2014! I can understand why The Bees, by Laline Paull, had a yellow and black cover, that made perfect sense given the theme of the novel, but why did nearly every damn book which came out around that same time go for the same bloody bee-like colour scheme?!

We are now on 1st March, so Happy St David’s Day to any Welsh bookworms reading this blog, and I expect many kids up and down the UK are preparing for World Book Day at school tomorrow! My niece, Charlotte, is going as Verruca Salt from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl. Charlotte is very much like me – a bookworm and a chocoholic, so it’s not too surprising she chose a character from that particular book.

The actual World Book Day, for most of the world, is 23rd April, St George’s Day here in England and in a few other countries and regions too – Catalonia in Spain springs to mind, and it is also my birthday. It is still World Book Night for anyone participating in that event, as I did back in 2012, when I gave out copies of The Book Thief at the Trafford Centre. However, the thing about 23rd April, from an academic year perspective, is that it often falls during the Easter holidays every few years, so in order to use World Book Day to promote literacy and a love of books in UK schools, they had to choose a time which would be term time every year, thus early March got the nod.

As I’ve said previously, I’m in several book groups on Facebook, and I have one of my own, which I started in April 2008, so we’re coming up to the ninth anniversary of the creation of I’d Spend All Day In Waterstone’s If I Could Get Away With It! on 14th April! I usually just refer to it as the Waterstone’s group for short! At the time I started that group, I was still a civil servant, and still working in town, not far from the massive Deansgate branch of Waterstone’s, which would explain why my flexi-time at work was often up shit creek without a paddle, lol! I didn’t really want to return to the office after lunch – I just wanted to stay in Waterstone’s all day and read books!

Two weeks to go to my next book club meeting, in which we will be discussing If I Could Tell You Just One Thing, by Richard Reed. As mentioned in a previous blog, it’s one of those which can be dipped into, as it’s various famous people giving bits of advice. Emma, who currently runs the book club, emailed the other day. She was apologising, rather unnecessarily, for having been ill when we last met up, and reminding us to bring suggestions for our next book. I have told her that I’m prepared to try most books with the obvious exceptions of horror, dystopia, and current affairs!

I’m not really all that crazy for thrillers, either, to be honest. Loads of other readers go mad for the latest thrillers – books such as Behind Closed Doors, by B. A. Paris, or The Girl On The Train, by Paula Hawkins, get raved about online, and people talk of long waiting lists to borrow those books from libraries, but I’d be the one calmly looking at other books and not caring that everyone else is in a queue! I will take a passing interest and make a mental note of its popularity, but I will leave it for other readers if it’s not my cup of tea. I don’t get put off by the popularity. Other books are popular too, and I might buy them if they appeal to me. After all, the Harry Potter series is hugely popular, and I love those books!

Ten years ago, while I was on holiday in Las Vegas, the final book of the main series came out, so Mum and I went to an event at the branch of Borders in a mall just off the Strip, and that’s where I got my copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. So, popularity of book does NOT put me off! It just depends on the book! I’m a very random reader, though, and I guess I’m programmed differently to many other bookworms. I don’t really have a favourite author or genre. I just look at random books and see if the blurb makes me want to read them or not! And I know they say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but there are some seriously good covers out there, and they DO attract readers! One of the best covers in recent times was the cover of Look Who’s Back, by Timur Vermes, and that was a brilliant book, too! Very funny.

So, I read a lot of different books to many people, but I still don’t hold with Haruki Murakami‘s line from Norwegian Wood

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”

Not necessarily, Murakami san! Sometimes you HAVE to read the same books as others, such as when you’re at school and your whole class is reading the same book. However, that does NOT mean you’re all going to feel the same way about that book! Some will love it, some will hate it, and others will just think it was OK but nowt special! I’ve had plenty of set books at school, college and university in my younger days, so I’ve been in plenty of classrooms with other people who were reading the same books as myself. I am fairly certain we all got different things out of those books!

I don’t recall disliking any, but there were a few which I have forgotten all about, lol, so they were clearly not resonating with me all that much to begin with. I may have skim-read those in a hurry for certain weeks of certain modules. I think my main complaint about any of the books would have been that some of them were dull, and those were usually the textbooks from literary criticism modules! Since I graduated, which was back in 1994, I have needed literary criticism about as much as I’ve needed A = pi r squared since I sat GCSE Maths in 1989! In other words, not at all, lol!

I don’t doubt that it is OCCASIONALLY useful to look deeper into a novel and work out if the author was telling us anything between the lines, but there is such a thing as overdoing it, and literature courses at degree level definitely overdo it! I think people read far too much into books, they look for all sorts of possible symbolism, but what if the author genuinely hadn’t given a shit about any of that nonsense?!

Maybe the curtains being blue had bugger all to do with depression, maybe the lady’s dress being green had bugger all to do with environmental issues, but you can bet your life that if some people are at a lecture at uni right now, reading some novel where there’s a lady in a green dress in a room with blue curtains, they’ll be over-analysing the author’s descriptions and reading stupid shit like that into the story!

Anyway, no need to read anything into the fact that I need a brew, other than the fact that I’m thirsty! So, I shall bring this to a close and go and make myself a cuppa! Until the next blog entry, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves – Karen Joy Fowler
  • The Bees – Laline Paull
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
  • The Book Thief  – Markus Zusak
  • If I Could Tell You Just One Thing – Richard Reed
  • Behind Closed Doors – B. A. Paris
  • The Girl On the Train – Paula Hawkins
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J. K. Rowling
  • Look Who’s Back – Timur Vermes
  • Norwegian Wood – Haruki Murakami

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Childrens' Books, Facebook & Other Social Media, Handbag Books, Literary Issues, World Book Day, World Book Night

Zlatan Ibrahimovic Is Not In The Book Chest!

I Am Zlatan

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

You’ve heard of Howard’s End Is On The Landing, by Susan Hill, which, appropriately enough is on the landing here at home, but tonight’s book blog is named in honour of this evening’s search for a football autobiography and the realisation that it was not where I thought I’d put it! Don’t even ask me how many books I own! Hundreds of them, at the very least! They are everywhere! I have more books than I have storage space, and enough to last me several lifetimes! Even if I were a cat and had nine lives, I’d probably have more books than I could read in all nine of those!

Anyway, with constant talk of the Swedish international footballer being linked with a free transfer to the club I love, I thought I would have I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic a bit closer to hand, and I headed out to our garage to look in the book chest. I found plenty of books of interest in there, but no Zlatan! Oh Zlatan, where art thou?! I brought in a couple of short novels by Andrey Kurkov – Death And The Penguin, and Penguin Lost, in exchange for One Day, by David Nicholls, which I have read some years ago, and I found a few interesting items of non-fiction, including Stasiland by Anna Funder, Nothing To Envy by Barbara Demick, and The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad, but no sign of Mr Ibrahimovic!

Actually, when I was reading Nick Hornby’s book, which I finished the other night, he mentioned both Stasiland and Nothing To Envy, which reminded me that I had those books. I knew I certainly had Stasiland, and thought I also had the one about North Korea, and indeed I have! As I said, I’ve finished Stuff I’ve Been Reading, and I made further inroads with The Guest Cat this afternoon. I’m not too far from the end of that one now. It’s a nice book, as I’ve said, quite sweet, but it doesn’t really pull me back in the way some other books do. Perhaps because it’s Japanese and too polite to make demands of me! It never seems to say to me, “Oi! Joanne! When are you gonna get on with me again?!”

Some books do that to me, and others don’t. A Little Life beckons me over every few days at least for another lengthy session. The Guest Cat just waits around patiently for me to get it out of my handbag and have another read, whenever that might be! On the other hand, The Guest Cat possibly knows it has the advantage of being a slim book which has been in my handbag for months, it knows how portable it is, therefore it knows I can easily read it on the go somewhere. A Little Life is a big chunky wodge of a book and, even though I also have it on my Kindle, I’d have to find where I was up to between the two editions I own (paperback and ebook) and update each. So that is a different matter entirely, which means when I am home and reading A Little Life, I read it in bigger chunks at a time to compensate for not really reading it on the move, apart from when I was going to Wembley for the FA Cup Final.

Before we return to the whereabouts of Mr Ibrahimovic, or at least the whereabouts of the Swedish footballer’s book within our house, I’d just like to let off steam about the fact that some people are still more bothered about authors than what they’re actually writing! By that, I mean, some people are still rather too bothered about whether a book is written by a man or a woman, whether they’re black, white, or whatever, whether they’re gay or straight, what nationality they are, what faith… Seriously, who bloody cares as long as they write well and you enjoy what they have to say in their books?! It’s 2016, for crying out loud, not the bloody Victorian times! Why should it still be a big deal about the gender of an author? I honestly couldn’t give two shiny shites!

I give a shit about the plot if it’s fiction, or the subject matter if it’s non-fiction, and whether a book is readable or hard-going. Are they writing about something which floats my boat, such as music, books or football? (Or volcanoes – I have had an interest in those since I was about 8.) Can I get through the book fairly quickly, or is the writing style such that I feel like I’m wading through treacle? Have they researched their subject well, or are there glaring inaccuracies? Has it been proof-read or are there any spelling errors or grammatical errors which the publishing house should have corrected before going to print? Is it an interesting read, or a bit chalk-dry and a cure for insomnia? THESE are the concerns I have when it comes to books!

Does the book make me laugh? Humour is a big plus as far as I’m concerned, and I’ve found it just as much in non-fiction as I’ve found it in fiction! Some of the funniest books I’ve ever read have been factual! Fever Pitch, by Nick Hornby, springs to mind! I laughed my head off reading that! Not literally, obviously, as I still have a head, lol, but you know what I mean! I totally recommend Fever Pitch, and you don’t even have to be a Gooner to like it. I’m not a Gooner, and I loved it! If you’re a match-going football fan, you’ll find things to relate to! I think it may even have been a World Book Night book a few years ago! Just looked up previous World Book Night books, and it wasn’t. Perhaps I was getting mixed up with The Damned United, by David Peace, which WAS a WBN book in 2012, the same year I gave out copies of The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak, as a Book Giver on my 39th birthday! Oh well, Fever Pitch SHOULD be a World Book Night book!

I’ve not read The Damned United, although I own a copy somewhere, and I have seen the film, starring Martin Sheen as Brian Clough. It’s about Cloughie’s very short time as manager of Leeds United way back in the early to mid 1970s, he was in charge for 44 days if I’m not mistaken, and Leeds did utterly shite while he was in charge, so for those of us who detest LUFC, it is actually very funny! Cloughie’s time in charge of Leeds makes even Moyesy’s time at Old Trafford look good! And that’s saying something, ’cause most of 2013-14 was bloody awful!

So, I was going to return to the whereabouts of Zlatan, or at least the whereabouts of his autobiography, wasn’t I? When I was in the garage, looking in the book chest and not finding what I was looking for, as per the U2 song, lol, I was thinking it must be in my room somewhere. And it was. Thankfully, the first place I checked was in part of my wardrobe unit, and it was on the shelf in there, so I have got it out, ready to have to hand should Mr Ibrahimovic fancy a couple of seasons at Old Trafford before he hangs up his boots or does the MLS thing like a load of old footballers seem to do these days when they get a bit too long in the tooth for the Premier League and the other major European leagues of any importance! (Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A, etc…)

Of course, this actually depends on Zlatan’s choice, which he has not yet made. I’d quite like to see him at United, even if he is getting on a wee bit, but we’ll have to see. In the meantime, I am getting on with The Rules of the Game, by Pierluigi Collina, the former referee, the guy who reffed our European Cup Final vs Bayern Munich when we won the Treble in 1999. I was going to mention something, but, no, I won’t give away any spoilers, but let’s just say there’s quite an interesting revelation from him about his preparation for that night in the Nou Camp… Now, you’re all going to have to order copies and read it for yourselves, aren’t you?!

Time I got off my computer and got some reading done! Until I blog again, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry:

  • Howard’s End Is On the Landing – Susan Hill
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
  • Death And the Penguin – Andrey Kurkov
  • Penguin Lost – Andrey Kurkov
  • One Day – David Nicholls
  • Stasiland – Anna Funder
  • Nothing To Envy – Barbara Demick
  • The Bookseller of Kabul – Asne Seierstad
  • Stuff I’ve Been Reading – Nick Hornby
  • The Guest Cat – Takashi Hiraide
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • Fever Pitch – Nick Hornby
  • The Damned United – David Peace
  • The Rules of the Game – Pierluigi Collina

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Football, Literary Issues, Rants, Sports, The TBR Pile, World Book Night

P-Pick Up A Penguin!

Penguin orange book spines

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Apparently, according to Farcebook at least, today is World Penguin Day! Therefore, I thought there was only one way to celebrate this as a bookworm… with some Penguin books! Of course, Penguin Books were celebrating all last year, as it was their 80th birthday since the publishing house was started in 1935!

I may well be picking up a Penguin or two soon enough, although that depends which books take my fancy. I reached the ripe old age of 43 on Saturday and one of my pressies was a £20 Waterstone’s gift card. Add to that the fact that I met up with a couple of my aunties the previous weekend, and got a National Book Tokens gift card from Auntie Andrea! Yay! That one’s for £15, so I have £35 worth of book-related gift cards! I also received The Road to Little Dribbling, by Bill Bryson, which I am looking forward to reading! So, all in all, a pretty good birthday on the book front.

I finished American Housewife last week, which was pretty good, very funny in parts, and the first book club choice I’ve finished in absolutely ages! Progress has been made with How Steeple Sinderby Wanderers Won the FA Cup, which is rather appropriate given that my lads added to my birthday celebrations by booking their place in this year’s FA Cup Final with a 2-1 victory over Everton at Wembley. We did it in the traditional United manner, too… last-minute winner, three minutes into stoppage time! As with 1990, we will play Crystal Palace in this year’s FA Cup Final on 21st May.

Actually, in terms of birthday and books, the bookfest started the previous day, on 22nd April, when I was in town. After my appointment, it was time to wander to Chapter One, a cafe and book shop on Lever Street in the Northern Quarter of Manchester. Ahead of World Book Night, the following night, they had a few free books on the table, one per customer, although Liam, the owner, let me take an extra book when I mentioned my birthday! Of the free books, I selected Last Bus to Coffeeville, by J. Paul Henderson, and Treachery, by S. J. Parris.

I also bought a couple of books while I was there and got a bit of discount off those, as they were the last remaining “reading copies” of each book. Chapter One has lots of brand new copies, wrapped in shrinkwrap, but there are reading copies available for anyone to sit and read while they’re having a drink and perhaps something to eat. If they are down to that last reading copy, and you wish to buy it, you get 20% off because it’s been opened and read. I bought Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne, and Viper Wine, by Hermione Eyre.

A lot of books have come and gone in recent times, although the mass exodus to the charity shops of Greater Manchester has calmed down for now. Thing is, although I have offloaded plenty of books, a fair few new ones have made their way in return! When I say new, some of them might be brand new, some might be second-hand, but if they are new to me, that is what counts. Having said that, I recently bought one at a charity shop which I had previously tried and not got in to. It was a former book club choice, and a Booker Prize winner, actually… The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton. Thing is, I now don’t know if I couldn’t get into it because of the writing style, or whether it was simply a case of not getting into anything much at that time because I had reader’s block. I didn’t really feel like reading much back then. This was around 3 years ago, and my mind was not really on books, other than Attention All Shipping, which I read and loved on holiday in Mexico that October, so perhaps I should give some book club books another go to see if I like them second time round.

This is why I have not parted with some former book club books. Indeed, The Sisters Brothers is on my notorious Duplicate Books List! Other books I still have, which were Waterstone’s Deansgate book club choices, (although I only have ONE copy of these, or at least I think I do, lol), include The Axeman’s Jazz, by Ray Celestin, and High-Rise by J. G. Ballard, which was the recent book before American Housewife.

The next book club meeting is on 12th May, so a couple of weeks away yet. Having already read the book, it gives me a chance to get others finished and start new ones. In my recent book reshuffles, a couple of chunky Ken Follett books have made their way into my room from the book chest in the garage. Steven, who has been helping me at Remploy, recommended The Pillars of the Earth. He said even though it’s a chunky book, it is very readable. I have made a start on When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi, and on Treachery, by S. J. Parris, which, as I mentioned earlier, was one of the free World Book Day titles I picked up on Friday.

So, with that, I think I shall go and pick up a book, whether that is a Penguin or not, and listen to a bit of Prince. I seriously can’t believe this year! The Grim Reaper really needs to take a chill pill and stop bumping people off! If they’re in their late 80s or have reached their 90s, you can say they’ve had a good innings, but far too many talented people are being taken from us far too young this year, including Victoria Wood at only 62, and Prince at the ridiculously young age of 57! What the hell is Death playing at?! It’s NOT big, and it’s NOT clever! Give over with taking people from us! We are not amused!

Anyway, until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry:

  • The Road to Little Dribbling – Bill Bryson
  • American Housewife – Helen Ellis
  • How Steeple Sinderby Wanderers Won the FA Cup – J. L. Carr
  • Last Bus to Coffeeville – J. Paul Henderson
  • Treachery – S. J. Parris
  • Am I Normal Yet? – Holly Bourne
  • Viper Wine – Hermione Eyre
  • The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton
  • Attention All Shipping – Charlie Connelly
  • The Sisters Brothers – Patrick deWitt
  • The Axeman’s Jazz – Ray Celestin
  • High-Rise – J. G. Ballard
  • The Pillars of the Earth  – Ken Follett
  • When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Football, Free Books, Historical Fiction, Humour, Music, World Book Night

The Right Books

Right Book

Good afternoon, fellow Bookworms!

Well, we lost another author at the weekend, didn’t we?! 2016 has got a lot to answer for. Barry Hines, most famous for A Kestrel For A Knave, which was made into the film “Kes”, passed away yesterday. He had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2009. He wrote several novels and television scripts, but it’s probably A Kestrel For A Knave for which he will be best remembered. I have never read that one, but I do know it has long been a set text at high school, so plenty of people will have had to study it for O Levels and GCSEs.

Before we go much further with this blog, let’s remember the authors we have lost so far this year and ask that there be no more departures during 2016!

Harper Lee

Umberto Eco

Louise Rennison

Anita Brookner

Barry Hines

Thank you for your contributions to the world of literature, and may you all rest in peace.

Now, on the more positive side, as well as my lads winning the derby yesterday (I think we’ve discovered a new star in Marcus Rashford!), I also got a couple of books finished off! Sound Bites, by Alex Kapranos, is now out of the handbag. A really good read, especially if you’re a foodie! If you love eating out, and trying interesting grub in interesting places, I would search out Sound Bites. It’s not a long read, but it’s a good one. Kapranos was himself a chef before he formed the band Franz Ferdinand, and in his book, he mentions Kitchen Confidential, by Anthony Bourdain – one of my other favourite books! Another one to read if you love your food!

I also finished off Look Who’s Back, by Timur Vermes. A brilliant read and very funny! At times you have to think “Hang on a moment, this is Hitler…” but he has a hard time getting others to believe it’s actually him. Most of them just think he’s a brilliant impersonator!

I now need to choose more books, lol! Maybe get some more finished. I am still reading The Story of Music by Howard Goodall. I regularly read posts on Facebook from Book Riot, and they have some good blogs about how it matters not what kind of reader you are, the important thing is that you are a reader. There are books out there for everyone. I am a Random Reader, I guess, lol! I read fiction and non-fiction, and I don’t really go off genres and authors. I just read whatever I fancy. Sure, there are some authors of whose output I have read several works – Roald Dahl, J. K. Rowling, Paulo Coelho, and Sue Townsend spring to mind here. However, I mostly read anything which takes my fancy, and I couldn’t care less who wrote it!

Anyway, today is World Poetry Day, so let’s think about poems we’ve read and enjoyed. A favourite of mine, which I discovered when I was at uni, is Poet For Our Times, by Carol Ann Duffy, the current Poet Laureate. It’s from her anthology, The Other Country, and is about the headline writer for a tabloid newspaper, and the eye-catching headlines he comes up with for the news. When I was at high school, I had to study some war poetry for my GCSEs, a fair bit of Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. If you’re interested in that, I can recommend The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry. I would also recommend Selected Poetry by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, even if it’s only for The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. That alone is worth reading! It’s a long one, as is Goblin Market, by Christina Rossetti. Try Goblin Market and Other Poems for that one, although I’m sure it’d be in most anthologies of her poetry.

Going right back to when I was young, though, I discovered the books of Roger McGough’s poetry which my dad owned, and bagsied Watch Words for myself! I am pretty sure I was still at primary school when I claimed that one, or very early on at high school. I loved the way McGough strung words together in his poems. When Dad was caught playing away from home in 2004, and my parents split up, I claimed the rest of his poetry books as well, plus Catch 22, by Joseph Heller! He didn’t bother taking any of his books with him, so I helped myself to those I wanted.

We moved house in the July of 1983, a few months after I had turned ten.So, that September, I started my final year at primary school. There is thus still a chance that I discovered that Roger McGough book before I started high school, as I’m fairly sure we were at our new home when I found the book in the dining room book case. I still have it – in a cupboard in my room, with most of my other poetry books, although the Coleridge anthology is right here near Computer Corner!

Anyway, as you can see from the above photos, another bookmark was finished at the weekend! I completed the stitching of the actual design on Friday, and finished the bookmark completely on Saturday with the border, buttons, and beaded tassel.As I think I said previously, it was a filet crochet chart originally, which I discovered on Pinterest, but I converted it to cross stitch. At the moment, the knitting Dutch lady bookmark is in my copy of The Miniaturist, by Jessie Burton, although I have yet to decide if I am going to start that one. I probably will, even if I have got plenty of half-read books around already! The dragon bookmark, another recent creation, is in Eragon, as I hinted it would be.

I was going to bring this to a close, but I just thought I’d mention that I was catching up with Pointless on my Sky+ box the other day, and they often have literature rounds in that quiz show. There was one such round the other day, and it was about World Book Night books! They didn’t mention The Book Thief, which is what I gave out in 2012, but they did mention plenty of books I knew, including Girl With A Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier, which I read in the past year or two and really enjoyed. Perhaps, next time, we could have a look at what’s being given out this year, as it’s getting close. April is not too far away now!

Until then, though, that is about all for now on the book front, so take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry:

  • A Kestrel For a Knave – Barry Hines
  • Sound Bites – Alex Kapranos
  • Kitchen Confidential – Anthony Bourdain
  • Look Who’s Back – Timur Vermes
  • The Story of Music – Howard Goodall
  • The Other Country – Carol Ann Duffy
  • The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry – Various
  • Selected Poetry – Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • Goblin Market and Other Poems – Christina Rossetti
  • Watch Words – Roger McGough
  • Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
  • The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton
  • Eragon – Christopher Paolini
  • The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
  • Girl With a Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier

Leave a comment

Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Cross-Stitch, Food & Drink, Humour, Music, My Bookworm History, Poetry, Television, World Book Night

World Book Day

charity shop books 3rd March

Good afternoon, fellow Bookworms!

For those here in the UK, especially if you have anyone who’s gone to school today in costume, Happy World Book Day! My niece has gone as a cat. Apparently, she wanted to go as a frog, but my sister somehow managed to persuade her daughter to go as a cat as she did already own a cat outfit! Not sure if it’s in honour of The Cat In The Hat, Mog The Forgetful Cat, or the other Mog, the witch’s cat from Meg And Mog, but I’m sure I’ll find out which literary feline Charlotte was representing!

Of course, for most of the world, World Book Day is actually 23rd April, my birthday, but I think the reason we have it in early March over here is because they wanted a date when children would be in school in any given year. As I know well, 23rd April can sometimes fall during the Easter holidays – there were quite a few occasions, growing up, when I was celebrating my birthday without having to go to school that day.

When they chose early March, I don’t think they minded so much that the actual World Book Day of 23rd April is also St George’s Day here in England, as there are actually book-related traditons in other parts of the world which also celebrate on that day. In Catalonia, where St George is known as Sant Jordi, books are given as pressies, as well as roses, and there are book stalls and book fairs on that day. I think  the people behind WBD in the UK simply wanted to ensure that our event tied in with encouraging a love of reading in schools.

World Book Night is still on 23rd April over here, though. That’s when people act as Book Givers and give out free copies of certain selected books that evening to encourage people to read if they don’t normally read much. I was a Book Giver four years ago, handing out copies of The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak, on my 39th birthday in 2012. I was giving them out at the Trafford Centre. I had thought, initally, it’d be to shoppers, but it tended to be members of staff as things turned out. Those who worked in the shops, refreshment stands, eateries, and the customer information centre under the main dome. It was a Monday night on that occasion, it was pretty quiet, really, so a lot of them were pretty bored at work with few customers to serve, and were actually glad of some mad bookworm coming along with a suitcase full of books, giving out free copies! If you check out my blog entries from around the autumn of 2011 up to and including April 2012, you’ll probably find a lot of mentions of World Book Night and my preparations for it!

Anyway, not that I need an excuse, but I used World Book Day as an excuse to bag a few bargains at charity shops in Salford before I headed home after my woodwork. I am especially impressed at having been able to bag a hardback copy of The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern, for a mere quid at the British Heart Foundation shop! Epic Win! I also got After The Ball, by Nobby Stiles, and To Major Tom: The Bowie Letters, by Dave Thompson, from that shop, although those were £1.50 each. Still not too bad, though. The other two books on that photo were 99p each and were from the Salford Charities shop, I think. I got H Is For Hawk, by Helen Macdonald, and The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul, by Deborah Rodriguez.

sahara book

When I got home from my crafting and book-shopping exploits in Salford, I found a book had been added to the books on the landing, near our bathroom. Laid on top of the existing books was Wheelbarrow Across The Sahara, by Geoffrey Howard, who had previously been the vicar at St Thomas’ Church in Pendleton, Salford, where my Grandma and Grandad used to go to church, and actually pretty near to where I had been hanging out this morning, doing my woodwork, then having lunch and buying bargain books, lol!

The above book would actually qualify as a Handbag Book, due to it being quite slim. As to the existing literary contents of my handbag, I reached page 91 of Breakfast At Tiffany’s over lunch, so I’m over halfway through the book and almost at the end of that particular story, although there are three shorter stories after the main one. While I’m on the subject of short stories, there are a couple of books knocking around here which are collections of short stories, and both would be decent Handbag Books. I have The Last Dance and Other Stories, by Victoria Hislop, and I also have Nocturnes, by Kazuo Ishiguro, which contains “five stories of music and nightfall” – that actually sounds quite promising, particularly regarding the music! I’ve not read any Ishiguro previously, but I have read one of Victoria Hislop’s novels, The Return, and I really enjoyed it. That one is set in Spain, these short stories are set in Greece.

the-maker-of-swans-front-cover-final1.jpg

I was about to bring this to a close when an email alert on my laptop told me I had an email from Book Depository – our editors’ top picks for March. One of them is quite intriguing and has a lovely cover! I am considering The Maker of Swans, by Paraic O’Donnell. Don’t you think that’s a great cover?! Certainly enough to make me want to find out more and see if it was my cup of tea or not. Obviously, I go off the blurb for that, to see if it’s the sort of book which would interest me, but that cover really does stand out! Not decided whether or not to go for it, as yet, given that my TBR list is already ridiculously long (with each book laid end to end, it could probably reach the moon, lol), but I could see myself being the owner of a copy at some stage.

Anyway, I am off out for a ruby murray in a bit. There’s an Indian restaurant on Salford Quays, which is a good job, as our old one at the bottom of our road is no longer a curry house. It’s La Turka now, and very nice it is too, but it used to be the Passage To India, which thus had a very literary name. I do have a copy of A Passage To India, although that is on my never-ending list of books I’ve yet to get round to reading! Until my next instalment of book-related waffle, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry:

  • The Cat In the Hat – Dr. Seuss
  • Mog, the Forgetful Cat – Judith Kerr
  • Meg and Mog – Helen Nicoll and Jan Pienkowski
  • The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
  • The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
  • After The Ball: My Autobiography – Nobby Stiles
  • To Major Tom: The Bowie Letters – Dave Thompson
  • H Is For Hawk – Helen Macdonald
  • The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul – Deborah Rodriguez
  • Wheelbarrow Across the Sahara – Geoffrey Howard
  • Breakfast At Tiffany’s – Truman Capote
  • The Last Dance and Other Stories – Victoria Hislop
  • The Return – Victoria Hislop
  • Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall – Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The Maker of Swans – Paraic O’Donnell
  • A Passage To India – E. M. Forster

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Charity Shop Bargains, Childrens' Books, Food & Drink, Handbag Books, Junior Bookworms, Music, World Book Night