Category Archives: YA Books

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! ūüôā

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
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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

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

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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

Fave Female Authors, Shovel List and More…

An Abby Wright illustration of a women reading a book outside in the snow

Hello there, fellow Bookworms!

Good evening to all of you! Happy International Women’s Day to all my fellow female bookworms! I have said on here, many a time, that it does not bother me who the author is, I just read whatever takes my fancy, and always have done, but I shall have a look at some of my favourite books by female authors. I will also be introducing you to a new concept which cropped up the other day when a character in The Chrysalids pissed me off big-time, plus I will be doing the usual updates on the Ongoing Concerns and waffling on about a few non-book matters as well, no doubt, so here goes…

If I am going to focus on books by my fellow females, I shall start with a few series I have enjoyed, and then go on to some stand-alone books. I’ve not really read that many series, but one I did read in my teens was the Kevin and Sadie series by Joan Lingard, a series of five books set in Northern Ireland and England during “The Troubles” in the 70s and which I read when I was around 15 or 16. The Twelfth Day of July starts the series, and it is followed by Across the Barricades, Into Exile, A Proper Place, and Hostages To Fortune. You can still find them in the YA section at Waterstone’s, actually, should you wish to read them. Possibly a bit dated in 2018, and might even constitute historical fiction by now as they were set in the 1970s!

Rather obviously, J. K. Rowling has to be on this list as author of the Harry Potter series, which I started reading when I was a civil servant at Albert Bridge House in town – a colleague recommended the books to me! I’m not naming all 7 books, I’ve listed them already on the Joanne’s Bookshelf list for 2018 on List Challenges, and it’s well-known enough without going through them individually. The series, of course, also gives us Ravenclaw, the house for those of wit and learning, the Hogwarts library, and a female book nerd heroine in Hermione Granger! Oh, and Flourish and Blott’s bookshop on Diagon Alley, of course!

The late great Sue Townsend is on the roll of honour for giving us Adrian Mole and his diaries! I think I have read most, if not all, the Mole books, but the first two are still my huge favourites, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 and The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole. My copies of those books have had to be sellotaped back together countless times!

Now onto female authors of whose works I have read two or three and really enjoyed them, so we have to honour Hannah Kent and thank her for both Burial Rites and The Good People, both awesome books which I would totally recommend! Still on historical fiction, I have now read and loved two books by Tracy Chevalier, both Girl With a Pearl Earring and The Lady and the Unicorn, so she joins the roll of honour and I still have a few more of her books which I have yet to read.¬† Helen Fielding gave us the brilliant and funny Bridget Jones’ Diary and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. There is another one too, but I’ve not got round to that as yet.

To bring this bit to a close before moving on with the blog, a few books which I have loved, and these are stand alone books. Last month, I read and loved Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman. Where’d You Go, Bernadette?, by Maria Semple, was also a book club book, albeit a few years ago now, and I loved it. Again, very funny! To complete a trio of hilarious reads by females, I recommend Cheer Up Love: Adventures in Depression with the Crab of Hate, by Susan Calman. I saw this in Waterstone’s in the Arndale Centre a few years ago, started reading it and had to buy it as it was too funny not to purchase it! I also recommend it if people want books about mental health.

Right, so… onto other matters and this concept came into my head the other day, at lunchtime, when I was having my lunch and reading The Chrysalids, by John Wyndham, and one character, the father, Joseph Strorm, had me absolutely fuming! As you know by now, I HATE bigotry and narrow-mindedness, so this guy being a total nutjob, utterly disgusted me. His attitude towards the so-called “mutants” is appalling, his attitude towards his own son, how he flew off the handle at David just because the lad made a very normal conditional statement that I think every human has made at times – wishing they had another pair of hands! And to strike him for simply being friends with a girl with 6 toes… I was absolutely bloody LIVID reading this! I can’t remember the last time I hated a fictional character so much – hell, not even Dolores bloody Umbridge in the Harry Potter books had me fuming this much!

I think it’s because I see the so-called “mutants” as equivalent to people with disabilities. I myself have a gland which has never worked, so I was totally incensed at Joseph Strorm’s attitude! If they’ve got 6 toes, or 4 hands, or whatever, so what?! I think, deep down, Strorm is just jealous! Who wouldn’t like another pair of hands? It would, quite literally, come in handy! I know what it’s like to have a body which doesn’t quite behave normally, due to my lazy-arsed non-working thyroid gland, so I am on their side!

Thus, I was so angry at this nutjob character, that I wanted to do something very unpleasant to the bigoted bastard! That’s when I became inspired to come up with the Shovel List. I already have the Literary Slap List, of course, for characters who are merely annoying – characters who could do with a good slap because they’re irritating or stupid, but a slap would not suffice in this instance. Needs something a bit more harsh, like being whacked on the head with a large, heavy shovel, for instance! Thus I have created the Literary Shovel List for the worst offenders in literature. Characters who get you so wound up that you would dearly love to knock seven shades of shit out of them…

In a coming blog, I will expand more upon this theme and list some characters on the Slap List, and some who thoroughly deserve to go on the Shovel List. These lists are my book-related equivalent of yellow and red cards in football… the Slap List is for characters who need a warning that their conduct or attitude is irritating or annoying me, the Shovel List is for those whose conduct or attitude disgusts me, thus they need the literary equivalent of the grand order of the early bath!

As we have been mentioning The Chrysalids, it’s time we got to the Ongoing Concerns and some recent reads. I am now on for 13/30 on my Goodreads Challenge for 2018, and have read 3 books so far in March. After finishing The Lady and the Unicorn, I have wolfed down a couple of children’s books, both of which were brilliant, fun, quick reads. Fantastic Mr Fox, by Roald Dahl, was followed by The Slimy Stuarts, from the Horrible Histories series, by Terry Deary. Those two have been Handbag books as they were slim enough to carry home that way after I bought them, but they were so quick that they never went onto the Ongoing Concerns list!

I bought a book the other day, although not a children’s book, which I feel is borderline as to whether it goes on the OCs or not. It is 128 pages long so it just about might go on the list. The book is The Word for World is Forest, by the late Ursula K. Le Guin. I have got another couple of her books in, as I have mentioned in previous blogs, but this one is pretty slim, about the same length as The Time Machine, by H. G. Wells. That did go on the OC List at the time, so this one might, but it depends how quickly I read it!

Hawksmoor remains at 49%, currently topping the OC List despite the fact that I only made it to 49% and didn’t get it beyond halfway. The Chrysalids is currently at 27% despite my wish to wallop Joseph Strorm over the head with a shovel, as documented previously in this blog, lol! The Word for World is Forest HAS gone on the list at 12% thus far, and that officially ends the OC List for now as my match day e-book is only at 3% read and my new book club book has not been started yet. I only really put books on when they reach 10%

There were three of us at book club last night, myself, Stephanie, and Alison, who is one of my council colleagues. We all loved Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, and, after a good chat, we set the date of the next meeting for 11th April, and went off to find a suitable book. We figured out that we hadn’t read a classic for quite some time, so we decided it was overdue and settled on North and South, by Elizabeth Gaskell. Nick and Diane, if they can make it, will be very happy as they love Gaskell’s writing and volunteer at the Gaskell Society!

As you may have noted, all the books on the OC List, and book due to go on if I get to at least 10%, are works of fiction, meaning I am still short of a non-fiction book for the list. Does mean I could probably have a hardback and read that at home as my other Ongoing Concerns are all paperbacks at present.

The Winter Paralympics start tomorrow, with coverage in the UK courtesy of Channel 4, so if I am distracted from reading, you will know it’s probably winter sports action on the telly getting my attention again! Saturday, I will be at Old Trafford as United take on Liverpool in a lunchtime kickoff – I hate those! 12:30 is no time to start a footy match. Saturday afternoon at 3pm is the PROPER time for football. End of! Anyway, I hope to get my ebook read on the way home and make more progress with The Man in the Middle by Howard Webb.

Sunday is Mother’s Day here in the UK, so the likelihood is that I will be out and about with my mum at various stages of the day! Eating out, that sort of thing. I might possibly blog again before Sunday, but in case I don’t, I hope all my followers here in the UK who are mums have a very happy Mother’s Day and that they receive some good books, or at least gift cards for book stores, from their offspring! Until the next time I blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Chrysalids – John Wyndham
  • The Twelfth Day of July – Joan Lingard
  • Across the Barricades –¬†Joan Lingard
  • Into Exile –¬†Joan Lingard
  • A Proper Place –¬†Joan Lingard
  • Hostages To Fortune –¬†Joan Lingard
  • The Harry Potter Series – J. K. Rowling
  • The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 – Sue Townsend
  • The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole – Sue Townsend
  • Burial Rites – Hannah Kent
  • The Good People – Hannah Kent
  • Girl With a Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier
  • The Lady and the Unicorn – Tracy Chevalier
  • Bridget Jones’ Diary – Helen Fielding
  • Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason – Helen Fielding
  • Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette? – Maria Semple
  • Cheer Up Love: Adventures in Depression With the Crab of Hate – Susan Calman
  • Fantastic Mr Fox – Roald Dahl
  • The Slimy Stuarts (Horrible Histories) – Terry Deary
  • The Word for World is Forest – Ursula K. Le Guin
  • The Time Machine – H. G. Wells
  • North and South – Elizabeth Gaskell

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Andrei Kanchelskis vs the Martians…

Me and the Manc Bee - Central Library Feb 2018

Manchester will be buzzin’ this summer! Look out for giant bees!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Welcome back to the crazy world of my book blogs! I had considered “Andrei and the Martians” as the title, but that sounds like a band name, really, doesn’t it? Like Adam and the Ants, or Florence and the Machine! Prior to book club this evening, Andrei was ahead in the early hours due to getting a fair bit of Russian Winters read yesterday, but I think the Martians overtook him again when I had a read of The War of the Worlds at lunchtime while I was at work! Thing is, the Martians would actually have had a hard job catching Andrei if it was the younger version of him – back in his footballing days he was bloody fast! He was at United from 1991 to 1995 and tied opposition defenders in knots! After we beat Oldham Athletic in the FA Cup semi-final replay at Maine Road in April 1994, the Oldham back four must have had knotted blood!

It was just Stephanie and I at book club again. Some of us have to keep it going! We both enjoyed The Red House Mystery, by A. A. Milne and I had brought a pile of books to the table for whoever else turned up to have a look at. As it turned out, it was just Steph. I’d arrived early and wandered round Waterstone’s looking for anything which took my fancy and which might interest any others. Steph saw Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman, and said she fancied reading that. I did too, I already had the hardback edition at home – got it half price in the January sales at W H Smith’s last month, lol, so we decided on that one and set the next date for 7th March, which is 4 weeks’ time.

book purchases 7th Feb 2018

As I said, I already had our new book club book, but the books either side of it were bought tonight at Waterstone’s and I also picked up a free bookmark with Moomins on it! Yay! Perhaps something else I should re-read, having re-read Mrs Pepperpot in the Magic Wood a few weeks ago, maybe Finn Family Moomintroll, by Tove Jansson, should be read again, lol! Another book I got when I was in the juniors at primary school, although possibly a bit older than when I read the Mrs Pepperpot book. The Moomins were being shown on Children’s ITV after school at the time, back in the 80s when I was a kid, and I loved it, so when Finn Family Moomintroll ended up as a choice in the book club brochure, I was able to read the stories the animated series was based on. I actually have five Moomin books, so four others besides the one I’ve just mentioned. I got them all when I was a kid, so I’ve had them since I was about 10 or so!

Anyway, getting back to the books I bought tonight, having been distracted by the Moomins, lol, I have had my eye on the Becky Chambers book for a while. I already have The Long Way To a Small Angry Planet, and I am under the impression that A Closed and Common Orbit is the sequel, although it could be a stand-alone. The other purchase tonight was The Lathe of Heaven, by Ursula K. Le Guin. I’ve used a lathe, a couple of years ago now, when I was doing wood turning at Start in Salford. Here we go, I’ll find photos for you…

lathe and wood 2016

This is a lathe, for those who don’t know – That round-looking chunk of wood would become a bowl eventually…

Woodwork and wood-turning 2016

That bowl in dark brown wood was what was on the lathe in the previous photo! The barrel tub, trees and the snowman were also made on the lathe.

So, you get science fiction books and woodwork photos, lol! I did warn you that you might see some seriously weird and random stuff on this blog! Mind you, over 70 of you are following the blog these days, so there must be a market for waffly random blogs after all!

As for crafting, I might not have done anything with wood since early 2016, but I am still making cross-stitched bookmarks on occasions, and there are a couple on the go at the moment, including the Penguin one, which just needs finishing touches, really – a bit of backstitching and perhaps a tassle of some sort. I hope to have at least that one finished soon and then I will have a bookmark to show you for the first time in a while. I think the last one was possibly the Manchester bees bookmark, although I also stitched the League Cup Winning Years one, and a few other patterned ones with 2017 on them. There will be a patterned one with 2018 on it fairly soon. Bookmarks thus bring us neatly back to books again.

Prior to book club, I had been trying to get three books read as much as I could. As you may recall, I had finished The Red House Mystery with just over a week to spare before book club, so I was focusing on Russian Winters, by Andrei Kanchelskis, The War of the Worlds, by H. G. Wells, and Hawksmoor, by Peter Ackroyd. The latter of those, Hawksmoor, has reached the 39% stage, so we are over a third of the way through it, but as I had suspected, the main battle has been between the other two books, and both of those are over halfway now, with Russian Winters at 53% and The War of the Worlds just ahead on 56% – I am pretty chuffed with that. Two books over the halfway mark. Hawksmoor might take a bit of a back seat now, as I start on Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, my new book club book, but I am still aiming to get Andrei and the Martians finished off this month! I think that is doable!

If you cast your minds back to last month’s blogs and the mention of books for Holocaust remembrance day in late January, I mentioned a book called The Librarian of Auschwitz, by Antonio Iturbe. I made some enquiries about this at Waterstone’s, but it was unavailable. However, I did manage to get it on my Kindle, so I do have it as an ebook, and therefore it is a possibility for a match day book on my way home from Old Trafford! I also looked on my Kindle for another book which I had tried to find last year, but couldn’t manage to find, that being The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler, but for some odd reason, the only ebook version I could find was in German! Well, OK, I can read SOME German, but I am not about to go downloading an ebook in the language! I want the book in English, at least first of all!

Sometimes, you just have to go online, as I did when I bought Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie, by Jordan Sonnenblick! I prefer browsing in actual bookshops, but there are times when, like Bono, you still haven’t found what you’re looking for! I was also looking for Crazy Rich Asians, by Kevin Kwan, a week or so ago, as I had seen it on List Challenges lists and on book-related items on Facebook, and couldn’t find that one while browsing, so I may have to look online for that. Drives me nuts when a book is only available somewhere else! Or when you prefer another country’s cover to that of your own country’s edition of a certain book, but don’t start me on that – it was a big complaint of mine the other year, lol!

That actually takes the list of different books mentioned this year up to 100 already! We’re only in early February, and we are in three figures! On that note, I think we’d better call it a day and get this published, so I can have a read, lol! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Russian Winters – Andrei Kanchelskis
  • The War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells
  • The Red House Mystery – A. A. Milne
  • Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
  • Mrs Pepperpot in the Magic Wood – Alf Pr√łysen
  • Finn Family Moomintroll – Tove Jansson
  • The Long Way To a Small Angry Planet – Becky Chambers
  • A Closed and Common Orbit – Becky Chambers
  • The Lathe of Heaven – Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd
  • The Librarian of Auschwitz – Antonio Iturbe
  • The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things – Carolyn Mackler
  • Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie – Jordan Sonnenblick
  • Crazy Rich Asians – Kevin Kwan

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Science Fiction and Dutch Pensioners

Hendrik Groen and scifi books

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Here again, with another blog, and this time after a 2-0 win for my lads, at home to Huddersfield Town this afternoon, thanks to second half goals from Romelu Lukaku and our new boy, Alexis Sanchez. We had actually got a penalty, which is amazing enough as it is given what a dreadful, useless ref we had, but the goalie got down and got a hand to it. Thankfully, he didn’t save it, just blocked it, and the ball came back to Sanchez so he put away the rebound. Wonder if we’ve got any of that Chilean wine in? Hmmm…. That Casillero del Diablo stuff, if you’re wondering what I’m on about…

* Chief Bookworm then buggers off down the road to Tesco and ends up coming back with a bottle of said vino (white) and some snacks… *

* raises glass to Alexis Sanchez *

Here’s to many more goals! I could actually also get round to reading that book about the Chilean miners – you remember that? Around the end of 2010, as I recall. The book is called The 33, and it’s by Jonathan Franklin. Now my club actually has a Chilean player, it’s the perfect excuse to get that one off my TBR list at last. I may have to fast track it for when I’ve finished Russian Winters by Andrei Kanchelskis. That’s my current hardback.

However, the hardback I bought the other night may also be in line for an early read, as I read The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen 83 1/4 Years Old last year, and now Hendrik Groen is back with another diary, On The Bright Side, the New Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen! Hence the bit about Dutch pensioners in my blog title! I’ve had a thing for diaries, at least amusing ones anyway, for years, two of my most-read books are the first two Adrian Mole books by the late great Sue Townsend, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 and The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole. We might not have called them Young Adult books back then, but they were, and that’s the YA stuff I was reading when I was a teenager!

Mmmm… that wine’s nice! ūüôā

Anyway, I hadn’t expected the Hendrik Groen book. I had gone into town after work yesterday because I needed my¬† bus and tram pass reloading for another month, and I had said I was going to look for books in Fopp, which I did, and I also got some from Waterstone’s too, before fetching up at Wagamama for food. I ended up with 4 books from the SF Masterworks series, all by different authors, and I am going to mention 3 of them, as one of them will tie in with my intended blog for Chinese New Year, so I will be coming back to that later this month.

Science fiction Feb 2018

Besides the earmarked book for the “dog blog”, my other purchases were The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. Le Guin, The Sirens of Titan, by Kurt Vonnegut Jr, and The Stars My Destination, by Alfred Bester. I do already have another book from that series at my disposal, on one of my towering piles of books, that being Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keyes. However, while we’re on the subject of science fiction, let’s move on to my current read in that genre, and the other two books which are currently my Ongoing Concerns…

Some bad news for Mr Kanchelskis – I’m afraid our Andrei has been overtaken by the Martians, lol! Russian Winters is at 25%, but The War of the Worlds reached 26% the other night and as I have now downloaded the H. G. Wells classic for free on my Kindle (top tip – you can get a load of old classics for nowt as e-books), I was able to read a bit more of it this evening on the way home from the match after our 2-0 win against Huddersfield! I am up to 29% at the moment – my Kindle actually gives progress in percentages. Usually, I work out how many pages I’ve read and divide it by the book’s total to work that out.

I couldn’t read an actual book in the back of the car on the way home at this time of year, it’d be too dark, hence my Kindle comes in handy. We don’t live far away, but it takes quite some time to get out of the Old Trafford car park and then a while longer to get through Trafford Park, so it is worth taking an e-reader to the match! I’m glad I took it to Wembley last year for the EFL Cup Final – on the way back, after our 3-2 victory over Southampton, the reading lights in the coach didn’t seem to be working, so I couldn’t continue with The Pie at Night, by Stuart Maconie, which I had been reading on my way down to the final, and ended up reading Premier League Years 92/93 by Andrew Hyslop on the way back to Old Trafford. Must say, though, that that was the quickest we’ve ever got back from Wembley after a win! The Pie at Night ended up being signed when I met Stuart at Waterstone’s later in the year, along with Long Road from Jarrow, which had just been published when he did his book event on Deansgate.

Hawksmoor, by Peter Ackroyd, is still 3rd, but is up to 23% read now, so not too far behind Andrei’s autobiography. I want to get all three advanced as much as possible bearing in mind that it’s book club this coming Wednesday, and I’ll then have another book to get stuck into!Munich 60th anniversary 2018

These were on our seats in plastic bags at the match today – match programme, book and pin badge. Today was the nearest home match to the anniversary of the air crash, the actual anniversary is this coming Tuesday, 6th February, and I will be having a half day at work so that I can finish at lunchtime and go to Old Trafford in the afternoon for the commmemorations.¬† Not sure the book’s got an ISBN, though, so I’m going to have an issue putting it on Goodreads, possibly. Just because it’s a commemorative book should not mean that it can’t feature on the Goodreads Challenge, though, surely?! A book is a book! If I read it, I should be able to list it, both on Goodreads and List Challenges. We shall see… If not, and I read it, we’ll just have to regard it as an extra book.

In a way it’s a bit similar to that problem I had last year when I got a free book at my book club, but it was an advanced copy, an unedited proof edition of Skintown, by Ciaran McMenamin. I acquired that in either January or February last year, but the book was not published until early April, so I had to wait a few months to find a photo of the cover of the book for List Challenges. I still have yet to read it, though, so it won’t be an issue on Goodreads anyway, but it was an issue for List Challenges – at the time, I found a photo of the author and put that in place on my list, and then replaced it in April with a photo of the cover of the published version!

Anyway, that’s about it for the time being, as I intend to get this published and then enjoy the rest of my glass of wine while watching our 2-0 win on Match of the Day! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The 33 – Jonathan Franklin
  • Russian Winters – Andrei Kanchelskis
  • The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen 83 1/4 Years Old – Hendrik Groen
  • On the Bright Side – Hendrik Groen
  • The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 – Sue Townsend
  • The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole – Sue Townsend
  • The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula K. Le Guin
  • The Sirens of Titan – Kurt Vonnegut Jr
  • The Stars My Destination – Alfred Bester
  • Flowers For Algernon – Daniel Keyes
  • The War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells
  • The Pie at Night – Stuart Maconie
  • Premier League Years 92/93 – Andrew Hyslop
  • Long Road from Jarrow – Stuart Maconie
  • Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd
  • The Flowers of Manchester – Manchester United (commemorative book)
  • Skintown – Ciaran McMenamin

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The Mutt’s Nuts, Winter Sports and Snake Day…

Penguin orange book spines

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

We start with some good news, although it does mean asking work if I can have that half day off back again! As you recall, we ended January hearing the sad news that Paul Young’s wife had passed away after a battle with cancer. Understandably, at that time, Paul put his tour on hold and postponed his February gigs, including the one I was due to see, two weeks from now, at the Preston Guild Hall, on 15th February.

However, thanks to my friend Sarah, who shared the Facebook post from the Guild Hall, I was on the bus home from work this evening when I noticed the news that the gig is now back on, and on the original date. So, I WILL be going to see Paul Young in two weeks’ time, and thus I will be returning her copy of Not Dead Yet, by Phil Collins, on that day as well, as originally planned!

The less said about the footy last night, the better, except to say that the word “shite” immediately springs to mind. That is, of course, a technical term, as you probably know by now, lol!

Anyway, the reason that “the mutt’s nuts” is part of the title of this blog should become clear soon. The day after I go to see Paul Young, thus Friday 16th February, is Chinese New Year, and we will be letting in the Year of the Dog this year! Woof! Therefore, so as not to be barking up the wrong tree, I thought we might have a canine-themed book blog to celebrate! This is advanced warning of the Dog Blog, so to speak! Book recommendations on the dog theme are most welcome! I do have a couple of books in mind to mention, one which I read a few years ago, and loved, and one which is on my infamous TBR pile along with countless others, but if any of you, my followers, wish to recommend books featuring significant four-legged furry friends of the canine variety, it would be much appreciated!

The Winter Olympics are coming up even sooner, actually – Friday 9th February marks the opening ceremony of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, so perhaps, if we can think of enough books, we could do a blog on the theme of snow and ice, and perhaps winter sports if we find sufficient reading matter, fiction or non-fiction. I wonder if “Cool Runnings” is going to be on telly again?! Actually, this year is 30 years since that Winter Olympics, in Calgary, Canada, which inspired the film! It was at the 1988 Winter Games that the Jamaican bobsleigh team made their legendary debut, although there was some artistic licence in the film at times. Love that film! The late great John Candy was brilliant as the team’s coach.

It was also the same Olympics where Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards competed for Great Britain in the ski jumping! No-one else from the UK has ever attempted it since, so Eddie still holds the national record for the sport. He may not have flown very far compared to the other jumpers, but he didn’t fall on his arse or anything. He landed well. He just didn’t cover much distance, really. But until anybugger else is brave enough to try, people should really stop being so harsh about his efforts in 1988! Yes, he was daft, lol, and the “eagle” didn’t fly very far, but he was still pretty damn brave!

Perhaps we should talk about books now? Might be a good idea, lol, as we’ve only mentioned Not Dead Yet so far. I’ve mentioned rather a lot during the course of January, and 73 different books ended up on the List Challenges list! Not all blogs mention the same amount of books, though. Sometimes lists can be short, they’re not all long lists at the end of my blogs, and there have been times when only two or three books have been mentioned. I am deliberately avoiding mention of dog-related books as I want to save those for the Chinese New Year special, so maybe this particular entry might not mention many books. Please don’t be too disappointed!

Well, good progress has been made this lunchtime with The War of the Worlds, and although I’ve read a bit further on since, I’ve not yet calculated the updated percentage. It was at 20% by the time I’d finished my lunch and returned to the office for the afternoon, though, so if I can get it to the 25% stage or better this evening, I will be very chuffed. Russian Winters is currently at 25%, but I need to get on with Hawksmoor, really, as that’s been stuck on 10% for a week or so and I want to get that up to at least 20-30% – the science-fiction and autobiography do seem quicker reads. Not that Hawksmoor isn’t worth it, but I’m finding I take more time over it.

I aim to get all three up to a pretty good percentage before my book club meeting, when another book will have to be started! I aim to finish at least a couple this month – I’d like Russian Winters and The War of the Worlds added to my Goodreads Challenge in February. Possibly others, but certainly those two. There may also be some books resumed, but we shall see. I did talk about putting Neither Here Nor There, by Bill Bryson, back on the list, and that one was at 50% when it came to a bit of a halt last year.

Apparently, it’s National Serpent Day today! You learn something new every day! I guess any of you who have been sorted into Slytherin on Pottermore might wish to celebrate! Perhaps I should have worn the Slytherin socks from my set of Hogwarts house socks, instead of the Gryffindor ones? I would if I’d known, lol! I am a Ravenclaw, though, as that’s what the Sorting Hat determined for me on Pottermore! Any of the Harry Potter series would probably do if we’re mentioning snakes, and I shall list the whole series of 7 on List Challenges now, but the first two are probably the most serpent-related books, as Harry speaks to the snake at the zoo in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and then there’s the Basilisk in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets!

Need to go to town tomorrow after work – that time again to get my bus and tram pass loaded up for another month, so I shall be heading to Fopp after I’ve sorted the public transport bit out. Fopp, in town, is across from the blood donor centre (which reminds me that I need to book an appointment to see the vampires pretty soon – I’m overdue, really, but with all that lurgy, I’ve had to wait until I am well again) and is open until 6:30 so I can make it from the GMPTE travel shop in Piccadilly Gardens over to Fopp and see what books they have on offer… I was going to look at their science-fiction ones as they have quite a selection of those, and I seem to be in the mood to attempt that genre of late, what with the H.G. Wells novels… I was thinking they might have some of Ursula K Le Guin‘s books in the SF Masterworks range, perhaps The Left Hand of Darkness. We shall see…

I have some Isaac Asimov books here by Computer Corner, actually, including I, Robot, but I am not sure where my Philip K. Dick has got to – Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? had been around here, too, but doesn’t seem to be at the moment. Perhaps I put it in the book chest last year when I swapped some books around, or it could simply be elsewhere in my room. Anyway, that’s probably it for now, so until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • The War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells
  • Russian Winters – Andrei Kanchelskis
  • Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets –¬†J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban –¬†J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire –¬†J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix –¬†J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince –¬†J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows –¬†J. K. Rowling
  • The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula K. Le Guin
  • I, Robot – Isaac Asimov
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Philip K. Dick

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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 Ibrahimovińá 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 Ibrahimovińá –¬†Zlatan Ibrahimovińá
  • 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

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