Category Archives: YA Books

It’s The Wrong Book, Gromit!

Wallace-and-Gromit-10

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

First of all, congratulations to J. K. Rowling on being made a member of the Order of the Companion of Honour in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List! She has been recognised for her work in literature and philanthropy. Not only am I a biased bookworm, but I am also a Potterhead, as many of you know, lol, so I’m very chuffed Harry Potter‘s creator has been given a gong. Also very chuffed that the Big Yin, Billy Connolly, has been knighted, been a huge fan of his for years, since I was a little girl, and seen him a few times, November last year being the most recent. Arise Sir Billy!

Anyway, I’m blogging because, earlier today (we’re still on Friday here, just about, as I type) I did my first stint at St Denys’ Bookshop at the Manchester Cathedral Visitors’ Centre, which mostly involved familiarising myself with the shop and its stock, but I did get to help Jed with unpacking a box or two of books and checking we’d been sent the correct reading matter!

As you can imagine, this is a church bookshop, so our orders are going to be stuff such as Bibles, hymn books, prayer books and other reading matter of a religious or at least spiritual nature… Jed and I are checking off what we’ve been sent from one publishing house, both the titles of the books and the quantities of each book we should have been sent. All going well so far… Six copies of The Shack, by William P. Young, as ordered, 4 copies of this Bible, 2 copies of that one, et cetera, et cetera, and then we have a problem… Not only are we a book short in one of the titles we’d ordered (one copy received instead of two), but we find a copy of The Guest List, by Melissa Hill!

Oops! The Guest List is NOT on our inventory! OK, the plot is about a wedding, but that’s as close to religion as it gets, really! I think one would class this novel as “chick lit”. It’s certainly romantic fiction if nowt else! We’ve had to put the book on one side, and the publisher’s will have to be contacted to report the error. I expect the book will be returned and a second copy of the book we only had one of needs to be sent. It did get me wondering, though, if some other poor bookshop’s staff were a copy short of The Guest List, and had instead received some non-fiction book in the religious category?!

Hence my “wrong book” blog title and a nod to Wallace and Gromit as a tribute to the late Peter Sallis, the voice of Wallace, who passed away recently, aged 96. He was also famous as Cleggy in the BBC sitcom Last of the Summer Wine.

Years ago, and I DO mean years ago as in back in the 1980s when I was a teenager and my paternal grandparents were both very much with us and had popped over from Dublin, we visited the village where Last of the Summer Wine was set! We even had cuppas and sticky buns in the cafe! As it was over in West Yorkshire, it was on the way to Bridlington where we were actually heading to take Nana and Grandad to Grandad’s RAF reunion do. We did a fair bit of visiting TV show locations in the late 80s, lol, particularly as Granada Studios Tour was open back in those days so you could walk on the set of Coronation Street, and that was just in town so very convenient for us! We also went back across the Pennines, though, in 1989, to visit the Emmerdale Farm set as my mum was still very much a fan of that soap back then.

Anyway, never mind British TV Series of the 1980s, let’s get back to the books, shall we?!

Pet Shop Boys, Literally, is now up to 85% as I made more progress with it earlier. I plan to get that one read as I go to see Neil and Chris this coming Wednesday at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, Chris Lowe’s home town. It is my own copy of the book, though, so it’s not one I’ve borrowed from my friend Sarah, unlike the Gary Kemp autobiography I was reading earlier this year before the previous PSB gig at the Manchester Arena in February. Gary Kemp is, of course, the guitarist of Spandau Ballet, but as I Know This Much was my friend’s book and I was going to the gig with her, I was getting it read so I could give it back to her, along with Faster Than Lightning by Usain Bolt, which she’d already lent me in 2016.

So, my aim is to get the Chris Heath book finished off, get another off the OC List, but I also need to make a start on The Power, by Naomi Alderman, which is our current book club book. I need to give it at least a try up to the 10% mark, whichever page that happens to be, and see if I’m enjoying it enough to add it to the OC List. If I get the PSB book polished off, I can just class The Power as the general fiction replacement in my quest to balance my OC List in terms of general fiction, non-fiction and young adult. Otherwise it might just go down on the list as a temporary 10th book.

Other books to be getting on with are Periodic Tales, and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. Then we can take a look at some of the others on the OC List, particularly some of the YA books which have not been read for a while and focus on those. Finding Audrey, for instance.

We’re now in Saturday morning, as I type, but most of this blog has been typed on the Friday, lol! I won’t go into the transfer idiocy too much, except to say that the little benny Cristiano Ronaldo is currently throwing will eventually calm down and he’ll stay at Real Madrid, as he always has done after each of his previous bennies since 2009! It’s not even an issue with them, anyway, it’s about being accused of fiddling his taxes, so this is about the Spanish equivalent of the Inland Revenue, it’s not one of his “Real Madrid are having a blip so I’m going to have a bit of a mope” sessions, which is what normally happens, lol!

He’s 32 now, anyway, so there’s no way he’d come back to us at the amount of money he would cost. Far too much to shell out for someone the wrong side of 30. If he were on a free transfer, as Zlatan Ibrahimovic was last summer, it would be a different matter, and probably very likely he’d come back if he truly had had enough in Spain, but I think things will get smoothed over anyway, and he’ll stay. All it is, as far as I can see, is like when any of us gets some particularly bad or worrying news – we have a bit of a panic and throw a wobbler before we chill out and look at things a bit more rationally! That’s all that’s happening with Ronny right now. He’s at the initial stage of that process.

There’s no more actual proper official news at the moment, anyway. We’ve signed Victor Lindelof from Benfica, and we’re still waiting on further progress on other players we’d like to get, but no more deals have been done yet. I think the aim is to get 4 in, as it was last summer, and I’m sure a few will be leaving, but none have done so as yet. Some interesting news I have seen on BBC Sport, though, is that Robin van Persie might actually be heading back to Rotterdam to rejoin Feyenoord after a couple of seasons in Turkey at Fenerbahce. I think that sounds like a pretty sensible move, really, especially as he’s now 33 nearly 34, so he’ll go back to his hometown club to play for a season or two before he retires.

Ah, I miss Robin! I have very fond memories of his time with us, particularly the 2012-13 season when he helped us win our 20th league title! Especially as we were declared champions the night before my Big 40 with his hat-trick at home to Aston Villa! Boy was I on the stroopwafels that night!

Anyway, before I start waffling on about my appreciation of Mr van Persie, lol, I’d better get this blog finished and published so you can have a good read about my first day volunteering at the cathedral bookshop! Until the next time I blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Harry Potter series – J. K. Rowling
  • The Shack – William P. Young
  • The Guest List – Melissa Hill
  • Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath
  • I Know This Much – Gary Kemp
  • Faster Than Lightning – Usain Bolt
  • The Power – Naomi Alderman
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  • Finding Audrey – Sophie Kinsella

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Filed under Books, Football, Humour, Manc Stuff!, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Television, Travel, YA Books

Pigeon English

Pigeon English book

Did our feathered friend come in to read this one?!

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Not every day you get a pigeon flying in to a bookshop, but it was a little too late for book club if that’s what it came in for! I was actually coming down the stairs at Waterstone’s Deansgate with a couple of books and heading for the tills to make an enquiry about another book I was interested in, when a pigeon flew in to the store from the main entrance on Deansgate! I shit you not! Doors open, a few human customers come in to browse, and a damn pigeon flies in and perches on top of a set of bookshelves at the other end of the store! As a member of staff goes over to the bird, it takes off again, whooshing past yours truly (still on the stairs and gobsmacked at what I’m witnessing here) and perches on a handrail near the first floor!

I then headed to the checkout to ask about my third book, which a member of staff went off to find for me, so I guess the pigeon was at least on the first floor somewhere, and staff were fetching ladders and stuff in order to assist the pigeon out of the shop! It was still there when I was paying for my books and leaving the shop, so I hope the staff did manage to help it on its way back out into the glorious warm evening here in Manchester! As I said when I was paying for my reading matter, maybe it came in for a read. Perhaps the Stephen Kelman novel, Pigeon English?!

Anyway, back to book club matters… The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman had a mixed reception from those of us at the meeting, some of us liking it, but some thought it was awful. Personally, I quite enjoyed it, it was a pretty quick read, too, but I did want to slap one of Bilodo’s colleagues, so Robert joined the Literary Slap List. Our next book is The Power, by Naomi Alderman, which is supposed to be sci-fi or dystopia about women being in charge and having actual electrical power over the blokes. To me, that only sounds like dystopia if you’re a bloke! Our next meeting is 12th July, which, funnily enough, reminds me of a book, or rather a series, which I read when I was a teenager! The series is by Joan Lingard, best known as the Kevin and Sadie series, and the first book of that series is The Twelfth Day of July.

I also bought Hot Milk, by Deborah Levy, which comes recommended by Emma who works at Waterstone’s and runs the book club, and the book I was making an enquiry about, which was Republic Or Death!: Travels In Search of National Anthems, by Alex Marshall. I had looked around for that one myself, but it’s a bit tricky when a book’s subject matter could put it in a number of categories! I looked in music, as it was about national anthems, I looked in politics, I looked in history… When I gave up and went to ask at the counter, the Waterstone’s employee who found the book for me said he’d found it under Travel Writing! It should have been in world history, so I was actually right in looking in the history department! I’d seen the book in hardback a while ago, at the Trafford Centre branch, and it looked like the sort of book I’d enjoy!

The national anthems book will have to join the waiting list for the OC List, though. Need to get at least a couple of non-fictions off the list to get a new one on there, as the next non-fiction to be finished needs to be replaced by a general fiction book. I am going to have to decide what to do about Book Club Books, as they are obviously a priority, providing I enjoy them enough to read beyond the first 10% of any given book! Maybe I might have to have it as an extra 10th OC book regardless of genre.

If the Book Club Book (hereafter BCB) is short enough to be read quickly, it doesn’t even need to go on the OC List at all.

If the BCB is not my cup of tea, I shall leave it unfinished and it won’t go on the OC List.

If the BCB IS my cup of tea and I read it in its entirity, it goes on the OC List as a 10th book regardless of whether it’s fiction, non-fiction, YA or whatever! The other nine on the OC List shall be 3 general fiction, 3 non-fiction, and 3 Young Adult once I have got that balance adjusted!

Therefore, I could start The Power now, and get on with it, and still have 9 others on the OC List, even if I enjoy The Power and read beyond the first 10 percent of it, which is my criteria for it going on the OC List in the first place. The ten percent thing, as I mentioned a few blogs ago, is my literary insurance policy against books which don’t float my boat!

Hot Milk could possibly be one of the general fiction ones to be read next once a suitable vacancy arises on the OC List, although I still plan to start one of my “chunky monkeys”, possibly The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett. The national anthems book will join the list of non-fiction books on the waiting list, but when a suitable vacancy arises, I shall be resuming Manchester, England, by Dave Haslam, and using the bee bookmark I stitched recently to keep my place in it.

I’ve got my eye on these two for future acquisition…

The above books are on my radar! I think I’ve alluded to The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck before now, pretty sure I mentioned it in at least one blog earlier this year, or at least the concept of it, but The Last Volcano was new to me when I spotted it tonight while looking around for that book about national anthems which I mentioned earlier! Thanks to my dad and a late night Open University programme donkey’s years ago when I was about 7 or 8, I have had a fascination for volcanoes for most of my life, as I have definitely mentioned in several book blogs over the years since I started blogging in the summer of 2010! Check my archives, and I’m pretty sure there are several entries which mention our lava-spewing chums and my interest in them since I was in the juniors at primary school.

Before I wrap this up and get it published, I think I’d better mention that I posted a recent blog entry on a book group on Facebook the other day as someone was asking if any of us wrote book blogs, so I posted the link to mine. I have warned them I am very waffly and random, though, lol! I currently have 54 followers, 54 brave souls who put up with my epic drivel every time I send one of these things to be published, but it could possibly attract one or two more intrepid bookworms who are willing to sift through all the randomness and football mentions to find the book-related stuff! Talking of football, Victor Lindelof has become our first signing of the summer, a Swedish central defender nicknamed The Iceman. I look forward to seeing him in action!

Anyway, I shall call it a day for now, so until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Pigeon English – Stephen Kelman
  • The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman  – Denis Thériault
  • The Power – Naomi Alderman
  • The Twelfth Day of July – Joan Lingard
  • Hot Milk – Deborah Levy
  • Republic Or Death! Travels In Search of National Anthems – Alex Marshall
  • The Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follett
  • Manchester, England – Dave Haslam
  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck – Mark Manson
  • The Last Volcano – John Dvorak

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Filed under Books, Football, Literary Slap List, Manc Stuff!, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Television, The TBR Pile, Travel, Volcanoes, YA Books

Signed, Sealed, Delivered…

Tobacconist finished May 2017

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Another blog, another book finished and off the OC List! Not quite in time for yesterday’s book club meeting, but The Tobacconist has been finished off, and I can recommend it! Historical fiction without being too chunky (we all know historical fiction, as a genre, has a well-earned reputation for chunky novels!) Very well-written. So, currently, until I add another book, there are 10 books on the OC list, and now 28 on my Goodreads Challenge! Woo hoo!

Going back to my OC List, it may have occurred to you that when I give percentages for how far through any book on my OC List I have progressed, they are always at least 10% or more. Usually coming in on the list at around 12 or 13 percent. This is my OC List policy and it also means that I can try a bit and see if I like it first. If it doesn’t grab me, it’s not even going to go on the list! It’s my escape clause so that I don’t feel pressured into reading stuff which really doesn’t fizz on me, such as horror novels! So, if you WERE wondering why books had to be read, at least a little bit, before even appearing on the OC List, that is why! In case my book club chooses something which isn’t my cup of tea, or if I try one of my many books from my TBR List only to find that I can’t get into it…

New books May 2017

My latest acquisitions from Waterstone’s yesterday…

Anyway, talking of the book club, the next book, for our meeting on 14th June, is The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman, by Denis Thériault, a novella set in Quebec, Canada. The author lives in Montreal, according to the info at the front of the book, so that’s our new one, with the postman theme giving us the blog title for today! Thing is, it’s a short one. 137 pages. Thus I am debating whether it will even need to go on the OC List at all, or whether it will only take a day or two to read and I needn’t list it as an Ongoing Concern, in the same way I didn’t bother listing Diary of an Oxygen Thief as an OC.

The other book in the photo is one which caught my eye in Waterstone’s yesterday, Midnight Blue, by Simone van der Vlugt. Historical fiction set in the Netherlands, in both Amsterdam and Delft. I have been to Amsterdam, of course, been there twice, let in the new year there once, back in the noughties, but not been to Delft as yet. I believe it’s in the south of the country and not far from Rotterdam, which I mentioned on here earlier this week due to Feyenoord winning the league and due to the anniversary of United winning the European Cup-Winners’ Cup at their ground in 1991.

Anyway, back to Midnight Blue. I read the blurb on the back, and it struck me that it seemed like the sort of book I might like, having enjoyed Girl With a Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier, a couple of years ago. Actually, I really should get round to trying The Miniaturist, by Jessie Burton, sometime soon, if we’re discussing historical fiction set in the Netherlands, lol! Plus, I met her last year, and she signed it for me, along with my copy of The Muse.

Really should read some more of my hardbacks. Thing is, they’re not always the most ideal handbag books, are they? So I don’t feel as inclined to lug them around as I do with paperbacks, which I just stick in my handbag and take them around with me. Some books just come everywhere… Nul Points is still in my handbag. That’s top of the OC List now that I’ve finished The Tobacconist. Still got a lot of YA novels on there to get on with. Perhaps I need to get Nul Points finished and have a good go at the YA stuff… get it off the list and some fresh stuff on.

Talking of YA novels, anyone who knows me on FB book groups might know that I’ve recently commented that I much prefer the cover of the US edition of The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas, rather than the UK version. Very helpfully, the young lady who was working in the YA section at Waterstone’s yesterday said that the Book Depository would be the place to go if I wanted to get a copy of that book with the US cover, so when I get around to acquiring one, I shall look online at that site. The book has different publishers in different countries. I don’t dislike the UK cover, but I have to say I much prefer the US one.

Bit of a List Challenges mini rant! Grrr! Why is it that sometimes they either change the edition or put image not available?! I’ve had to find new images for a couple of books and I’ve had to put those back in where they belong on a very long list, meaning I had to scroll upwards quite a bit, not just for 11/22/63, by Stephen King, but especially for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J. K. Rowling! Very irritating, and a total pain in the arse, but covers have been found and the old ones deleted.

The other rant, although this applies to other sites, not just List Challenges, is that when you hide an advert for whatever reason, they bloody lie to you with that “We’ll try not to show that advert again” bullshit, but you know that’s not true as it crops up yet again shortly afterwards. If they are trying, which I very much doubt, then they’re NOT trying anywhere near hard enough as far as I’m concerned! Lying tossers!

The standard of advertising on the internet is subterranean to say the least! So much misleading shite! I just wish there was some kind of strict regulator, like we have the Advertising Standards Agency here in the UK. That tends to cover TV, radio, papers and magazines. Sadly, websites don’t come under their remit and there’s a load of bullshit “adverts” on the internet which would NEVER get shown on telly for a bloody good reason – they’re false and misleading and just bloody clickbait! If pigs ever fly, and I ever get to be in charge, a whole host of shite ads would get banned! Why should people’s enjoyment of time online have to be spoiled by shitty fake adverts?!

Been on the Book Depository website, but, disappointingly, it just seems to have the UK edition of The Hate U Give. Is there anywhere where I could get a copy of the edition with the cover I prefer? Anywhere at all? Not that I’ve really got the dosh right now, but on a need to know basis for when I do get around to buying it…

Well, time to get a bit more of Nul Points read, I think! So, until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Tobacconist – Robert Seethaler
  • The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman – Denis Thériault
  • Diary of an Oxygen Thief – Anonymous
  • Midnight Blue – Simone van der Vlugt
  • Girl With a Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier
  • The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton
  • The Muse – Jessie Burton
  • Nul Points – Tim Moore
  • The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
  • 11/22/63 – Stephen King
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J. K. Rowling

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Filed under Books, European Literature, Facebook & Other Social Media, Football, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Historical Fiction, List Challenges, Literary Issues, Music, Ongoing Concerns, Rants, The TBR Pile, Travel, YA Books

OCs Eleven

darth vader reading

Happy Star Wars Day! May the 4th be with you!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Finished my jury service on Tuesday, so that’s now over and done with, and I can’t be called up again until at least two years from now! I actually managed to get reading another book on my final day at Manchester Crown Court, which is how my infamous Ongoing Concerns list has now expanded to ELEVEN books! Hence OCs Eleven as today’s blog title, lol! The book which caught my eye was by Carl Honoré, and entitled In Praise of Slow, which is about how too many people are doing everything much too fast but there are movements out there formed by people with the good sense to try to slow things down a bit to a sensible pace!

Which is wise, because if you go too fast, you’re at more risk of making mistakes, and also of burning yourself out! The best speed to go at, when working, is the fastest speed you can go at while still remaining accurate! If mistakes are creeping in, you’re going much too fast! Besides which, sometimes our computers cannot keep up with us, even if we’re NOT going like the clappers, so we might as well take our time – our technology will thank us for it!

OCs Eleven 4th May 2017

OCs Eleven – the expanding list of Ongoing Concerns…

So, with that, onto the subject of the OC List, and progress is being made on as many books as possible! I had a thought while I was preparing to blog, actually it occurred to me while I was taking the above photograph for the benefit of posting a #bookstagram photo on Instagram… As I get through the current OC List and get books off the list, I am planning to get the list to 9 books, and perhaps maintain it at that. I thought nine books because then I could have 3 general fiction, 3 non-fiction and 3 young adult on the OC List and that would make for a pretty decent balanced diet in reading terms!

I’ll have some work to do to get it to that stage, though. Not only have I got eleven books on the list at present, so I need to reduce it by two, but there is only one general fiction book currently on my OC List, that being my current book club choice, The Tobacconist, by Robert Seethaler. My other books are 5 non-fiction and 5 young adult! Eek! Alright, Pet Shop Boys, Literally, is a biography, and Neither Here Nor There is, technically, an autobiography, and also travel writing, but the main thing is that they’re all factual, thus they all come under non-fiction for the purposes of my OC list.

(That’s purposes, not porpoises, lol! We have had Educational Porpoises, though – a few blog posts ago! You want the March 2017 monthly archive for that one, and scroll down a bit!)

Oh, and a couple of things I forgot to mention in the April Review, but it seemed too late to go back in and edit it once I’d remembered… Firstly, that I now have over 50 followers, although I think I did mention that during at least one blog in April before the month ended and I did my review, and secondly, that I did finish off the League Cup winning years bookmark. Not sure if I mentioned that I’d put the finishing touches to it or not, but I have. Thank you to everyone who follows this blog and puts up with my waffle!

Anyway, I was on about the non-fiction reads on my OC List, wasn’t I? I have two about music – one about my favourite duo and the other, Nul Points, about the Eurovision Song Contest, one book about chemistry, Periodic Tales, one piece of travel writing, Neither Here Nor There, and one about the benefits of not going like the clappers, In Praise of Slow. The chemistry one, examining the elements of the periodic table, was a former book club book from some years ago, and one which I had been reading and got about a third of the way through it before other books distracted me, lol! It is now being resumed, though!

On the Young Adult front, I also have five books on the OC List, three of which, as far as I’m aware, are stand-alone novels, but the other two are both the first book of six in their respective series. I have City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare, which is the first of the Mortal Instruments series, and I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You, by Ally Carter, which is the first of the Gallagher Girls series. It is also, most probably, the longest book title of anything I’m likely to read during the course of 2017, lol! I doubt we’ll have any advance on a 13 word title!

I’ll probably have to adjust the balance of the OC List before I reduce it in number. I could, however, increase the list to 12, and have four general fiction, four non-fiction and four young adult, but I don’t really want to increase the OCs, I just want to get the balance right, as Depeche Mode would put it! It could be, though, that it goes up to twelve before it comes down to nine. Just to sort the balance out before we start reducing.

I’ve currently got 11 books. 1 general fiction, 5 non-fiction and 5 YA. To get to what I want, I’d have to lose 2 non-fiction and 2 YA, but add 2 general fiction. Currently at the top of the list are two of the non-fictions, those being Pet Shop Boys, Literally, and Periodic Tales. So, I could just not replace those with like books when I finish them. That would get things down to nine books. However, the next on the list is The Tobacconist, my book club book, and I will need to finish that for my book club meeting in a fortnight’s time. I would definitely have to replace that with another general fiction just to keep some general fiction on the OCs!

Two out of the next three are young adult, so I could just replace those with general fiction, and then we would have 3 of each and 9 books in total. Nul Points, currently in the middle of those YA books, would be replaced by another work of non-fiction.

Then again, when I’ve finished reading certain books, all this could go by the wayside and I could have changed my mind about the balance of books and could have decided not to give a shit! And with that thought, which is highly likely, I think that’s about everything covered for this blog entry, so until I blog again, take care and Happy Reading! May the Fourth be with you!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • In Praise of Slow – Carl Honoré
  • The Tobacconist – Robert Seethaler
  • Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • Nul Points – Tim Moore
  • Periodic Tales – Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • City of Bones – Cassandra Clare
  • I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You – Ally Carter

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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Football, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, Travel, YA Books

April Review

Cross stitched book girl in frame

Another good month on the book front…

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Welcome to the monthly review for April 2017! A month in which I have managed to finish off 8 books and reach the 25/30 stage on my Goodreads Challenge for this year. A matter of an hour or so ago, I finished Diary of an Oxygen Thief, by Anonymous, which it only took me a day to read. Wasn’t a particularly long book, only 151 pages. There was no point putting it on the OC List, as I felt it would be a quick read, which it proved to be. Likeable in an odd sort of way, rather in the way I enjoyed Fight Club last year!

While I accept that two of the eight books I’ve polished off this month were the kids’ books I read in Waterstone’s the other day, six of my finished reads during the course of April have been grown-up reading matter, lol! I have got quite a few long-term ongoing concerns off the list! Some of that is thanks to being on jury service, although I finished I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović before Easter and passed it on to my sister.

I also finished the cross-stitch of the girl with the book before Easter, as seen in the photo at the start of this blog!

Skintown, by Ciaran McMenamin, was published on 6th April, so I was finally able to find a photo of the actual cover for the purposes of List Challenges! This was a book which I had got as a freebie in February at a book club meeting, because it was an uncorrected proof copy.

That was also the day I was at Cheshire Oaks, and acquired a few books at The Works while I was there. While I don’t need to list all of them here, a couple of them were added to the OC List this month, those being The People’s Songs, by Stuart Maconie, which I have since finished, and City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare, the first of the Mortal Instruments box set of 6 books, which I am still reading at present.

12th April was my book club night, and our chosen book for our next meeting, to be held on 18th May, is The Tobacconist, by Robert Seethaler, so that is currently one of my ongoing concerns.

Four of the five missing books were found on 14th April in part of my wardrobe unit, Good Friday proving a very good day for locating stray paperbacks, lol! Of those books which I had listed as missing in previous blogs, the only book still AWOL is The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy. I still haven’t a Scooby where that one buggered off to, as it used to be in Computer Corner! It went walkabouts some time ago, though.

An Equal Music, by Vikram Seth, was the first of the books I finished while on jury service. Also coming off the list thanks to my time at Manchester Crown Court were The People’s Songs, The Saffron Trail, and Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist.  The Stuart Maconie book hadn’t been on the OC list for long, but the other three had, so some of the long term OCs are finally off that list!

The OC List, as things stand at the end of April, has eight books on it, and this is the present state of affairs…

Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath – 62%

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews – 34%

The Tobacconist  – Robert Seethaler – 32%

Nul Points – Tim Moore – 30%

Finding Audrey – Sophie Kinsella – 29%

City of Bones – Cassandra Clare – 21%

I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You – Ally Carter – 15%

Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson – 13%

Nul Points is, as you can imagine, a book about the acts which have failed to register a single vote from any country at the Eurovision Song Contest. I added this book in April, along with the Ally Carter book, the first in the Gallagher Girls series of YA novels about girls at a school for spies, and Bill Bryson‘s tour of Europe. I also added the book about the Pet Shop Boys, which I had mentioned earlier this year. That was already half-read, so it’s just a matter of resuming it, which I have now done. As I have listed the current OCs above, they will not be listed again at the end, just the other books I’ve mentioned in this blog which are not currently ongoing concerns will be listed in my usual bullet points.

I am now a 44 year old bookworm, by the way, as I celebrated my birthday last Sunday, 23rd April. Have to admit that I had a day off from the reading. It was a day for eating, and also for celebrating a 2-0 away win at Burnley for my lads. I just wish more of the home performances were better, I feel short-changed! We’ve had far too many draws this season, especially at Old Trafford, and I am not impressed! Too many wasted opportunities. Anyway, less about the footy and back to the books…

On Saturday, I read Tidy, and The Day the Crayons Came Home, which accounts for the two children’s books added to the Goodreads Challenge this month, and on Sunday I polished off all 151 pages of Diary of an Oxygen Thief, as I mentioned at the start.

So, as we head into the merry month of May, there are more books to be read, more to be added to the OCs, and hopefully more to come off that list, too! I will probably add at least a book or two to the OC list to get it back up to ten. I just need to decide which books to choose! Got plenty of possibilities! Maybe The Upside of Unrequited, by Becky Albertalli, just in case she actually lets us know how mermaids pee, lol! Maybe I might even find The God of Lost Books, er sorry, The God of Small Things?! Stranger things have happened, like Leicester City winning the league last season, but that book must be around somewhere! I’m pretty sure I didn’t give it away!

Oh well, I think that’s about all my book related waffle for now, so I’ll get this published so you can read my review of April’s book-related activity! Until my next blog, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry (other than the current OCs)…

  • Diary of an Oxygen Thief – Anonymous
  • Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović – Zlatan Ibrahimović
  • Skintown – Ciaran McMenamin
  • The People’s Songs – Stuart Maconie
  • The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • The Saffron Trail – Rosanna Ley
  • Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist – Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
  • Tidy – Emily Gravett
  • The Day the Crayons Came Home – Drew Daywalt
  • The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli

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Mermaid Mystery

Books bought 29th April 2017

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

“I’m on the toilet at the 9:30 Club, and I’m wondering how mermaids pee.”

Isn’t that a brilliant opening line?! People get drawn to books because of their covers (we know we shouldn’t judge books by their covers, but we still do, lol), and often because of the blurb, but a good opening line can do it for you as well! It’s what attracted me to The Upside of Unrequited, by Becky Albertalli, when I was in Waterstone’s yesterday! She is also the author of Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, which is on my notorious TBR list. Indeed, it’s in the rainbow tower of books!

The other book in the photo, Anna and the Swallow Man, by Gavriel Savit, is set in Poland in 1939, so a WWII setting, with a child separated from her parents, certainly from her father, early on, so not unlike The Book Thief in that respect. Anyway, as you can see here, from this photo, Savit’s novel came with a freebie…

Book and bookmarks 29th April 2017

Actually, my copy had TWO free matching bookmarks in it, and I also picked up the free postcard while I was in Waterstone’s, although that’s for a completely different book, Checkmate, by Malorie Blackman. Must admit I’ve yet to read any of her books, but I’ve certainly heard of them, Noughts & Crosses for definite. The postcard will no doubt end up being used as a bookmark anyway, lol! Offering free matching bookmarks is a pretty common promotional method, usually for the book shop to put one in each copy or put a pile on the table alongside the book they are promoting, although occasionally a book might actually have a detachable bookmark, such as the time I bought The President’s Hat, by Antoine Laurain, a book club book a few years ago. (That was a novel about the former French president, François Mitterrand, by the way, NOT about Washington Wiggy!)

I got another couple of books read while I was in Waterstone’s, so I am up to 24/30 on my Goodreads Reading Challenge. I admit these were kids’ books, as seen above, but I read widely anyway, from children’s books to epic novels, and I’ve recently got a few long term ones off my notorious Ongoing Concerns list, so why not read a couple of quickies in Waterstone’s?! They were Tidy, by Emily Gravett, and The Day the Crayons Came Home, by Drew Daywalt, which is the follow-up to the brilliant The Day the Crayons Quit, which I have also read, probably last year! I’ve mentioned it on my blog this year, though.

Charlotte is now moving on, though, more towards books which take more than a day to read, books with chapters. As mentioned recently, they’re reading The Wind in the Willows, or certainly parts of it, at her school. I don’t think I’ve ever read it, but I certainly remember the animated TV adaptation in the 80s, as I’m pretty sure Mr Toad was voiced by the legendary Sir David Jason. Then again, in a year or so, it’ll be Reuben’s turn for some of those books from which Charlotte is moving on. Reuben’s on the board books, he’s 6 months old at present. He has his mum, dad and big sister reading to him, so hopefully my little nephew will also love books as much as my niece does.

Obviously, in the next day or two, I’m going to have to do the April Review on here, so I’m not really focusing on the OCs right now as that’ll be a big part of the monthly summary of bookworm activity, but I’ve been making some progress with Pet Shop Boys, Literally in recent days, Chris Heath‘s account of the duo’s first tour in 1989. At the last count, I was on for page 212, and had thus read 62% of the book. I mentioned in a previous blog, earlier this year, that 2017 marks 30 years since I became a Pethead during the course of 1987, so it’s part of the anniversary celebrations of 3 decades of yours truly appreciating the musical talents and output of Neil Francis Tennant and Christopher Sean Lowe!

The OC list is still currently standing at 8 books, as I have still not decided on the books to replace The Saffron Trail and Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. I did think, though, about honouring a couple of authors, one who’d passed away recently, and one who would have celebrated his 69th birthday on 28th April, but who passed away in 2015. We have recently lost Robert M. Pirsig on 24th April, the author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, while the late great Sir Terry Pratchett would have turned 69 on Friday, so I was giving some thought to Mort, the fourth book of the Discworld series.

I’ve still got Diary of an Oxygen Thief, an anonymous novella, on my TBR pile, but I shall have to check again how long it is, or rather, how short, as it could be a one-day read which would not need to join the OC list any more than those children’s books I read at Waterstone’s! The Ongoing Concerns are books which are going to take me at least a while to read, they’re not going to be one-day or even overnight reads.

I might just read that one I bought earlier, though, the Becky Albertalli book… It would be my YA replacement for Nick & Norah and, after all, I’d also like to know how mermaids pee! Until the next time I blog, which won’t be very long in coming, lol, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli
  • Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli
  • Anna and the Swallow Man – Gavriel Savit
  • The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
  • Checkmate – Malorie Blackman
  • Noughts & Crosses – Malorie Blackman
  • The President’s Hat – Antoine Laurain
  • Tidy – Emily Gravett
  • The Day the Crayons Came Home – Drew Daywalt
  • The Day the Crayons Quit – Drew Daywalt
  • The Wind In the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
  • Pet Shop Boys, Literally – Chris Heath
  • The Saffron Trail – Rosanna Ley
  • Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist – Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – Robert M. Pirsig
  • Mort – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • Diary of an Oxygen Thief – Anonymous

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Filed under Authors, Autobiography/Biography, Books, Childrens' Books, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Historical Fiction, Junior Bookworms, Music, Ongoing Concerns, Television, The TBR Pile, Travel, YA Books

Good Morning, Judge!

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

The joys of jury service, eh?! Last week, I wasn’t on a case, this week I am, but there’s still a lot of hanging around in the jurors’ lounge and thus plenty of reading time to keep bookworms happy, lol! Especially if a point of law needs to be raised and the judge doesn’t need us jurors for that… Thus, long lunches and plenty of book time! Therefore the OC List might be unrecognisable soon with some long-standing books coming off the list at last! You’ll remember that I finished off An Equal Music last week, along with The People’s Songs, and now another couple which have been on the list for some time, along with the Vikram Seth novel, have also been finished and joined the ranks of the Goodreads Challenge instead!

By the way, tonight’s court-themed blog title comes courtesy of a hit by 10CC back in the 70s! I’m not expecting the case to go on too long, which is a good thing because I’m not sure how many more legally-themed songs I can think of! We’ve had Love In The First Degree, All Rise and now Good Morning Judge! Talking of Love In The First Degree, it’s quite a co-incidence that I should use a Bananarama song title for a blog title last week and then we hear the news that Bananarama are making a comeback! I’m sure that’s just a fluke and we’ll not be hearing similar news for Blue and 10CC!

If I hadn’t been going through legally-themed titles, I might have gone with A Little Respect for today’s blog, as it’s the birthday of Andy Bell from Erasure, and I have loved them since my teens, back in the late 80s – second only to the Pet Shop Boys as far as my musical favourites go, and I’ve seen Andy and Vince in concert several times, almost as many times as I’ve seen Neil and Chris!

Right, anyway, so, where were we?! Ah, yes, finishing off books and getting them off the OC list because I’ve had a lot of time to kill on jury service, lol! So, yesterday I finished off The Saffron Trail at last, a really great book with a really good plot twist near the end! I’d actually got that book in October last year because I wanted something set in Morocco, or at least partially set in Morocco, to take on my jollies with me to Marrakech, and a Google search of “books set in Morocco” threw up that one along with a few others, the blurb looked good, and I managed to get a copy of Rosanna Ley‘s book from W H Smith’s in the Trafford Centre. Waterstone’s had some novels by the same author, but not that particular one, but WH Smith had a copy, so I was in luck. I got a bit read before and during my jollies, but I have read most of it since then, and it has reminded me of my time in Morocco in November.

I still want to slap Ted Robinson from The Saffron Trail, though! Well, actually, punch his lights out for being a total arsehole, or asshole as they’d say in the States, as he’s one of the American characters in the plot. He’s on the Literary Slap List, that’s for certain!

That one had been on 55% for a while, along with Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, but I finished that one off today, before making further progress with City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare, the first of the Mortal Instruments series, which is now up to 21% according to Goodreads.

Before we come on to the usual “what the hell should I read next?” dilemma, lol, I saw an interesting book-related question on Facebook earlier, concerning books which you may have originally hated, or at least not liked very much, first time around, but then you read them again later and really enjoyed them. Not sure I’ve experienced that as such, yet, but there is one book I remember having to read when I was at high school, round about 30 or 31 years ago now, the academic year of 1986-87, anyway, when I was in my third year at high school (year 9 as it’s known these days).

It was one of those instances where the whole class reads the same book. The book was The Gun, by C S Forester, and it didn’t really float my boat as a 13 or 14 year old. However, this is now 2017, I am now 44 years old, and if I were to get hold of a copy, I might try it and see if it grabs me this time round. I think they picked the book at the time in the hope it would appeal to the lads. I was a teenage girl and the thought of reading about some huge-arse cannon used in some silly battle or other didn’t seem like the sort of reading matter which would be up my street.

As I said before, though, we’ve moved on 30 years or so, I’m an adult, and a very random reader with pretty broad tastes! I read quite widely, I like to think, although there’s some stuff which really doesn’t appeal to me – such as horror or books by known right-wingers, as I have no wish to read something that’s either going to scare the living crap out of me or annoy me and get my blood pressure up! I’m not too thrilled about crime fiction, either, although I’ll give it a go as long as the plot isn’t too gory or scary!

I think I need a brew. On second thoughts, no. I KNOW I need a brew! I shall be back shortly with a cuppa… cannot possibly decide what to add to the OC List next unless there’s some tea inside me…

Right, back again with a brew and the remainder of my birthday cake. Oh, and a special thank you to all of you who follow my blog! 50 of you now! Not bad at all for something I just started up in 2010 in order to amuse myself and see if anyone else was undeterred by my waffle! I do go on a bit! You may have noticed, lol!

So… let’s not put it off any longer… Having just finished another couple of books in the past couple of days, we go back to that age-old question of what the hell to read next! The eternal bookworm dilemma…

Let’s look at what I’ve just finished. We have The Saffron Trail, which is general fiction, and Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, which is YA. So, if I were to replace like with like, we’re looking at one general fiction and one young adult to come off the sub’s bench, so to speak! But I could just disregard that and pick two completely different books to those which have come off the list. I could go with some fantasy and resume my Discworld progress with Mort, by Sir Terry Pratchett. It would give me a good laugh and be a really good size for my handbag. I’ve got I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov, here by Computer Corner, and that’s around the same size, physically, as Mort, so if I wished to attempt a bit of science fiction, there’s always that. Out on the landing, on one of the bookshelves, I have Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline, which is supposed to have an 80s setting to it, or at least a lot of 80s references in it.

Then again, there’s some of the “Prodigal Books” – those which once were lost, but had been found, lol! You may recall that four out of five of my “missing books” turned up. Just don’t start me on The God of Small Things, as I haven’t the foggiest when that disappeared, let alone where the hell it is! If you wish to revisit the sorry tale of my books going walkies, go back in the archives, you’ll probably need either February or March of this year, and blogs entitled Missing Words, and All The Books We Cannot See. However, there was a happy ending in Four Out of Five Ain’t Bad!

Of the Prodigal Books, most had been at least started, other than All The Light We Cannot See, plus the still-missing novel by Arundhati Roy (see above) but there’s three partially-started books – The English Patient, Thirteen Reasons Why, and A Man Called Ove. It occurred to me that if I were to resume Thirteen Reasons Why, plus either the Ondaatje or Backman, it would be a like for like substitution for the general fiction and YA I’ve just finished. However, for the general fiction, there’s the temptation to go with All The Light We Cannot See on the grounds that I could make serious inroads with this fairly chunky one while I’m still on jury service! Shorter reads can wait their bloody turn, lol!

Anyway, I’d probably better give some thought as to what to put in my bag for tomorrow. Perhaps I should take some which need getting on with… The Tobacconist, as it’s my current book club book, probably should be one of them, but we’ll see… I’m off to sort my books out, so if you wish to know which books I end up adding to the OC List, you’ll have to keep your eye out for email notification of my next blog, lol! Until then, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
  • The People’s Songs – Stuart Maconie
  • The Saffron Trail – Rosanna Ley
  • Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist – Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
  • City of Bones – Cassandra Clare
  • The Gun – C. S. Forester
  • Mort – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • I, Robot – Isaac Asimov
  • Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
  • The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
  • All The Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
  • The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje
  • Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher
  • A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman
  • The Tobacconist – Robert Seethaler

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Filed under Books, Computer Corner, Facebook & Other Social Media, Fantasy Fiction, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Historical Fiction, Humour, List Challenges, Literary Slap List, Music, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile, YA Books