Bookworm’s Progress and All Manner of Reading Matters…

Not Dead Yet finished Jan 2018

Phil Collins and also H G Wells finished this week!

Good afternoon, fellow Bookworms!

Been a good week on the book front, although some sad news has meant it will be longer before my friend and I meet up and I return her book to her. As you can see from the photo above, the brilliant Not Dead Yet was finished earlier this week, and I then polished off The Time Machine the following day! As I planned, I am lining up The War of the Worlds to go on the Ongoing Concerns list, one H G Wells science fiction novel replacing another. Well, novellas, actually, as neither book is particularly long. Even The War of the Worlds is under 200 pages long!

While we’re on science fiction, we have to mention the sad news from earlier this week, as Ursula K. Le Guin passed away on Monday, aged 88. I have not yet read any of her books, but I might look into them, The Left Hand of Darkness being one of the best-known of her novels. Rest in Peace, Ursula. ūüė¶

Priority lies with The Red House Mystery, though, as that is my book club book and I need to get on with that before 7th February. My 15th February deadline which I set for Not Dead Yet is irrelevant as I have finished the book in good time, but I won’t be giving Sarah the book back on that date. She and I were due to see Paul Young at the Preston Guild Hall. However, Paul’s wife sadly passed away yesterday after a battle with cancer, so Paul has understandably postponed his February concerts, which will be rescheduled for later this¬† year. I will have to see if I can cancel the half-day leave I booked, as I won’t need it on that date now, and I might need it whenever the new date for the concert might be if it’s also a midweek gig.

Blogging today, I do realise I am too late for an Australia Day special, might have to do one of those next year if I remember in time. Would have to do it on 25th January here, though, so that it would be 26th January Down Under. That way I could mention any books set in Australia, and also some by Aussie authors, such as Hannah Kent, who has already given us two awesome novels, Burial Rites and The Good People. If I am not mistaken, Markus Zusak is also an Aussie, so I could mention The Book Thief, which is on my list of favourite books, and which I gave out for World Book Night in 2012 on my 39th birthday! Someone remind me to do an Aussie-themed book blog in 2019! I did an Irish special last year for St Patrick’s Day, so if you want to read that blog, check out the March 2017 archives!

The thing about these internationally-themed blogs is that I only need a few examples from any country to make up a blog. Where would I even start with my own?! So many English authors to choose from, and probably all the usual suspects anyway, such as the Bront√ęs, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens! Besides which, our patron saint, St George, has his day on 23rd April… which also happens to be Chief Bookworm’s birthday! I tend to spend the day having a lie-in, unwrapping pressies and going out to eat… Whether I could fit a blog in on my birthday is another matter, or even whether I’d want to…

While we should never rule anything out completely, I would say that it would be highly unlikely that you would have a blog from me on my 45th birthday later this year…

Right, anyway, I need some hydration, so I shall just get myself a drink, and I shall return shortly…

* Chief Bookworm pops downstairs for a drink *

Right, I’m back! Sorry about that! Hot Vimto in my Cantona mug on a coaster on top of the printer as I sit here at Computer Corner, tapping away on my laptop!

I might have been too late for Australia Day, but it is Holocaust Memorial Day today, so we can at least mention a few works of fiction set around that terrible time, including The Auschwitz Violin, by Maria Angels Anglada, which I read a couple of years ago – pretty sure it’s on my Goodreads Challenge of 2016. The Boy In the Striped Pyjamas, by John Boyne, is an obvious mention as well, and The Book Thief also touches on those sent to concentration camps, although not actually based around a camp. One other book, one which I read some years ago now, is a collection of short stories based on the author’s experience, and it was recommended to me, on Facebook, by David Hunt probably about 9 or 10 years ago now. The book is by Tadeusz Borowski, and it’s called This Way For the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen. It’s what he doesn’t say, what is implied, which gets to you. One which should be read, but maybe not in public as you might find it too upsetting.

There’s actually one I mean to get, The Librarian of Auschwitz, by Antonio Iturbe, and I shall have a look for it next time I am in a book shop, which won’t be long off knowing me! There’s also The Tattooist of Auschwitz, by Heather Morris, another recent book, only just published earlier this month. That one’s based on the true story of a concentration camp tattooist, and as we’re on for books based on true stories of World War II, we need to mention Schindler’s Ark, by Thomas Keneally, which inspired the award-winning film Schindler’s List.

I was going to mention some more of the books I’ve acquired in recent times, and I have some charity shop bargains to mention, but first, we go back to my childhood, and I found a book the other night which had my name in it, and it was one I have had since I was in the first year juniors at primary school, what is now year 3, and that’s the year my niece is in at school. The book is Mrs Pepperpot in the Magic Wood, by Alf Pr√łysen, a Norwegian author who passed away in 1970, before I was even born, but his stories of this little old lady who shrunk to the size of a pepper pot at inconvenient times were read to us by our teacher, Mrs Lloyd, when we were in that first year junior class at Monton Green Primary School, which would have been the academic year of 1980-81. So the book turned up on the Puffin Club book catalogue and it was bought for me as I had enjoyed some of the stories in class.

Mrs Pepperpot book

So, this is my book from when I was Charlotte’s age, and I am going to re-read it, and then perhaps my niece might like to borrow it! After all, I enjoyed it when I was 7 going on 8, so it’s probably the right age range for Junior Bookworm! Mrs Lloyd was great, one of the best teachers I ever had. Years later, she even bought me some chocolate to celebrate when Mum and I met up with her in a supermarket shortly after I’d graduated from uni in 1994!

Right, as I promised, the charity shop books which I didn’t mention the other night because I already had a pretty long list of books to mention by the end of that blog, lol! One of the charity shops on Swinton Precinct had a four books for a quid offer, essentially making these items of reading matter 25p each… I chose Playing With Fire, by Gordon Ramsay, which I think is the follow up autobiography to Humble Pie, which I already owned.

East of the Sun, by Julia Gregson, was one of the four books. I also have another of hers on the notorious TBR list, Jasmine Nights, which I either got from a charity shop or a church fair. Either way, it was a cheap acquisition.

Broken Music, by Sting, was another of the four books. It’s his autobiography. Useless fact time here, folks… Sting went to the same school as Neil Tennant from the Pet Shop Boys! Sting would have been two years above Neil. They both attended St Cuthbert’s RC Grammar School in Newcastle Upon Tyne. So there you go! I know this because I’ve been a Pethead for years, but I’m also partial to the music of The Police and some of Sting’s solo stuff, particularly Fields of Gold and Englishman In New York – that latter one, of course, providing the melody for our terrace song about Henrikh Mkhitaryan who has gone to Arsenal in the swap deal which saw Alexis Sanchez come to United!

He had a good debut last night, actually, setting up two of our goals as the lads won 4-0 away to Yeovil Town in the 4th round of the FA Cup. The goals came courtesy of Marcus Rashford, Ander Herrera, Jesse Lingard and Romelu Lukaku, giving us a convincing win and a place in the draw for the 5th round, which will be made on Monday.

Anyway, back to the four books, which brings us to the fourth, that being Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. It sounds like a humorous one – after all, the late great Sir Terry was the author of the Discworld series. The edition I picked up at the charity shop was actually a World Book Night edition from 2012, which was the same year I was giving out special copies of The Book Thief¬†for free at the Trafford Centre! Go back to my blog archives from early in 2012 and you’ll read about my preparations for that!

Oh, and I picked up Ulysses, by James Joyce, at one of the other charity shops in Swinton the other day. That’s a right chunky monkey, though. Might have to find some sort of guide to the novel before attempting it. I have read some Joyce, previously, but only Dubliners, which is a book of short stories set in the Irish capital.

This pretty much brings my book news up to date. Just a thought… We’re not even at the end of January and the list of books mentioned so far in 2018 is already at 66! Of course, as things go on, books get repeat mentions, and they’re already on the list, but plenty of previously unmentioned books get added and last year’s list was over 500 books long when I came to publish it at the end of December! If you’re on List Challenges, and you like big lists and you cannot lie, lol, check out Joanne’s Bookshelf – Books Mentioned in 2017 and see how many you’ve read from all the books I mentioned on here last year!

So, that’s it for now, I’m off for a reading session! Until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • The Time Machine – H. G. Wells
  • The War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells
  • The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula K. Le Guin
  • The Red House Mystery – A. A. Milne
  • Burial Rites – Hannah Kent
  • The Good People – Hannah Kent
  • The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
  • The Auschwitz Violin – Maria Angels Anglada
  • The Boy In the Striped Pyjamas – John Boyne
  • This Way For the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen – Tadeusz Borowski
  • The Librarian of Auschwitz – Antonio Iturbe
  • The Tattooist of Auschwitz – Heather Morris
  • Schindler’s Ark – Thomas Keneally
  • Mrs Pepperpot in the Magic Wood – Alf Pr√łysen
  • Playing With Fire – Gordon Ramsay
  • Humble Pie – Gordon Ramsay
  • East of the Sun – Julia Gregson
  • Jasmine Nights – Julia Gregson
  • Broken Music – Sting
  • Good Omens – Sir Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
  • Ulysses – James Joyce
  • Dubliners – James Joyce
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A Russian Birthday Boy and a New Number 7…

Andrei Kanchelskis book Jan 2018

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

You’ll be pleased to learn that the Lurgy is on its way out! At long bloody last, eh?! The voice isn’t quite back to normal yet, and there are still occasional coughs, but it’s nowhere near as bad as it has been. So, I am at Computer Corner without coughing my head off, lol, and wishing our former winger, Andrei Kanchelskis, a very happy 49th birthday! This is why I have decided I am going to make a start on Russian Winters, his autobiography, and add it to the Ongoing Concerns, as I’m pretty much starting that back up again.

I just hope to keep it manageable this year. It kind of went to pot last year, didn’t it?! Books just weren’t being read, and it defeated the object of them being ongoing concerns if some of them weren’t exactly enjoying any ongoing progress! Anyway, Comrade Kanchelskis, birthday boy today, is being added to the current list. Pretty sure I still have his original autobiography, Kanchelskis, translated by George Scanlan, his interpreter at Manchester United, which was published in the early to mid 90s when Andrei was still at Old Trafford. In fact, not only am I certain I have this book, I am pretty sure I got it signed by Mr Kanchelskis, either at a book signing or at The Cliff. I think there was a book signing for it, so it was probably at one of the book shops in town.

I did do a book blog special on footballers’ autobiographies some¬† years ago, actually. I think it was when I’d just met Paul Scholes, who was signing copies of his book, My Story, at Selfridges in the Trafford Centre. Scholesy was quite used to getting booked on the pitch, lol, but on this occasion, his name was going in a lot of books without a yellow card being shown! But, when I did my blog, I issued a few red cards to some publishers for a few glaring errors which should not have got past the proof-readers! I think it was Heading For Victory, by Steve Bruce, which had a few mistakes in it and I felt the proof-reader was guilty of persistent fouling! Even Brucey himself, who went in where angels feared to tread during his playing days, would not have been as clumsy as some of the editing had been in his book!

This is turning into something of a Footballers’ Books Blog, isn’t it?! I’ve read plenty of them, so it’s a genre of book I am well-qualified to comment on, lmao! Last year I added I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovińá to the list. I could probably do a List Challenges list on Football Autobiographies I’ve read! Actually, that sounds like a really good idea! Throw in a few biographies too, where they’ve been written by others about players or managers, and I could have quite a list. I have TWO editions of Eric Cantona‘s autobiography! I have the English version, My Story, and the original French edition, Un R√™ve Modeste et Fou. Both signed by King Eric, I might add! Well, he IS my all-time favourite player!

Also, I have studied French to A Level, so don’t be too surprised at me having books in other languages. I have some books in German, and some in Spanish, too. I’ve studied both those languages to GCSE level. I have a copy of Charlie y la F√°brica de Chocolate, by Roald Dahl, and Die B√ľcherdiebin, by Markus Zusak, amongst my books in other languages, and I expect you can work out what the English versions of those books are!

Back to footballers for a moment, as the “Great United and Arsenal Player Swap of 2018” finally happened yesterday evening after work permits were renewed! What was originally just going to be a case of shelling out a lot of money for another club’s player turned into a swap deal as they were after one of ours whom, while I was very sad to see him go, I can understand his departure as the manager had messed him around somewhat and not had faith in him despite him being one of Jose’s own signings!¬† I can see why a manager might not always want some of the players he’s inherited from previous managers, but when you buy a player in the transfer window and then muck him around, that’s a bit odd, quite frankly! You signed him, you must have thought he was right for the club!

So, farewell, and good luck, Henrikh Mkhitaryan! I will miss you, and I thank you for your all too brief time at Old Trafford, and for helping us win the EFL Cup and Europa League double last season, particularly for scoring one of our two goals in the Europa League final as we beat Ajax 2-0 in Stockholm in May last year. I will miss singing about our midfield Armenian to the tune of “Englishman in New York” by Sting! Just don’t score against us, please, Mkhi!

On the other hand, Welcome to Old Trafford, Alexis Sanchez! ¬°Bienvenidos! The Chilean striker has joined United in a straight swap with Arsenal, and will wear the legendary number 7 shirt, as previously worn by the likes of George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo! Quite a bit to live up to, so I hope he manages to do that!

Ongoing Concerns 23rd January 2018

And back to books! I haven’t started Russian Winters yet, although I have read the foreword by Ryan Giggs, so I look forward to starting on the main book from Andrei himself. Progress has been made, however, on the other books on my Ongoing Concerns list… Not Dead Yet tops the pile, Phil Collins‘ autobiography is at the 76% read stage now, so just under a quarter of it left to read before I give it back to Sarah when we go to see Paul Young at the Preston Guild Hall next month. I might have to get my own copy of Not Dead Yet so I can lend it to people, as I’ve been recommending it of late, including to my dad when we went out for a Japanese meal at Sapporo Teppanyaki in town last week. Wouldn’t be right to lend the book I have now, as that’s Sarah’s and she’s lent it to me, but I am really loving it and want to share that enjoyment of a really good book!

The Time Machine, by H. G. Wells, is next on the list, been reading more of that earlier today, and that’s now up to 68% so we’re over two thirds of the way through that one with a good chance of getting that finished soon along with the Phil Collins book. I think, when I have finished The Time Machine, I’m going to replace it with another by the same author and give The War of the Worlds a go!

My book club book, The Red House Mystery, by A. A. Milne, is next up, and that’s 27% read now, so I’m over a quarter of the way into it, and it’s pleasant and readable enough! As I may have said before, I’m not really one for crime fiction, and I’ll be coming back to that matter shortly, but get me the right book in that genre and I might be persuaded! Book club is 7th February, so I’ve got about a fortnight to get it finished. It may have to become a priority along with Phil Collins.

Hawksmoor, by Peter Ackroyd, is at 10% so I’ve made a start and got my head around the writing style which looks a bit “olde English” in parts. It’s meant to be that way, as some of it is set in 1711 or thereabouts. Other bits are set in 1985, I think it goes back and forth in time. It was mentioned by Duncan Jones when he launched the David Bowie Book Club, and it sounded interesting. I might not read all the books for the DBBC, and I might not get them read in time, but if some sound interesting, I will read them. There are a few unread ones on the list which I already own, such as The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz, so it would make sense to attempt those at least! And there are one or two I have already read, such as 1984, by George Orwell, so those are already ticked off the list! I read that one when I was 17, way back in 1990!

So that then brings us to Andrei Kanchelskis and his Russian Winters which I might make a start on in a short while. By the end of this evening, anyway.

Anyway, some recent acquisitions now, even if that means tonight’s list at the end of the blog is going to be pretty long, lol! Friday saw me at the Trafford Centre, ostensibly to sort out a problem on my phone, which was indeed my first reason for being there after work, and I got that sorted with an O2 Guru before I headed off to my natural habitats… book shops! WH Smiths and Waterstone’s were visited and books were acquired! The Raw Shark Texts, by Steven Hall was on sale for just ¬£3 at WH Smiths. A slight tear in the cover, but what the hell? Let’s go for it! The Impossible Treble, by Steve Bartram, Paul Davies and Ben Hibbs, was a necessity for a Stretford Ender like myself. That had to be purchased! We also have The Long and Short of It, by Jodi Taylor, The Note, by Zo√ę Folbigg, a tale of a woman falling in love with a book-reading bloke she sees on the train on her daily commute, and also Sirens, by Joseph Knox, which was actually written in the staff room of Waterstone’s Deansgate, where the author was working at the time, and is set in Manchester city centre! As I have said earlier, crime fiction isn’t really my thing, but with the Manc setting, it just might persuade me to give it a go.

I acquired some more books today, 4 for a quid at a charity shop in Swinton, but I think I’d better leave mentioning those until the next blog, as I’ve already listed a fair few books this evening, haven’t I?! I shall get this finished off and published while it is still Andrei’s birthday! Until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Russian Winters – Andrei Kanchelskis
  • Kanchelskis – Andrei Kanchelskis
  • My Story – Paul Scholes
  • Heading For Victory – Steve Bruce
  • I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovińá –¬†Zlatan Ibrahimovińá
  • My Story – Eric Cantona
  • Un R√™ve Modeste et Fou – Eric Cantona
  • Charlie y la F√°brica de Chocolate – Roald Dahl
  • Die B√ľcherdiebin – Markus Zusak
  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • The Time Machine – H. G. Wells
  • The War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells
  • The Red House Mystery – A. A. Milne
  • Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao – Junot Diaz
  • 1984 – George Orwell
  • The Raw Shark Texts – Steven Hall
  • The Impossible Treble – Steve Bartram, Paul Davies & Ben Hibbs
  • The Long and Short of It – Jodi Taylor
  • The Note – Zo√ę Folbigg
  • Sirens – Joseph Knox

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Lurgy, Martians and Expanding Books…

Book board Jan 2018

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Good evening! Just over a week since I last blogged, and the lurgy is still there… my voice has gone now. Not completely, but it’s obvious that my voice isn’t right at the moment. Probably going to have to miss the match tomorrow evening after work. We’ll see how it goes, but I might have to settle for staying home and watching on the box instead of being in the Stretford End. I’m certainly not in a fit state to sing, unfortunately. Probably because I’ve been coughing my head off so much these past few days.

Anyway, due to the fact that there’s a lot of this damn lurgy going around, there was only myself and Stephanie at book club on Wednesday. Nick, Diane and Michelle couldn’t make it due to being ill. Thus it was a pretty short meeting, Stephanie hated Hot Milk and said there were “plot holes big enough to drain pasta through” – I had finished the book at lunchtime at work on that Wednesday, so just in time for book club, and it means I am now up and running with my Goodreads Challenge for 2018 – I have finished at least one book. I feel better now, lol! Well, I mean better in the sense of happy and satisfied, having finished a book, not medically better – still waiting for this cough to bugger off for me to be better in that sense! And for my voice to return to normal, obviously!

After our brief discussion, Stephanie and I wandered around Waterstone’s to find a suitable book for our next meeting, and we ended up in the crime fiction section on the first floor and with a book called The Red House Mystery, by A. A. Milne. Yep, you read that right… A. A. Milne. As in the author of the Winnie the Pooh books! However, I can confirm that there is no mention of Tigger or Eeyore in this book! I am currently around 14% into the new book club book. Crime fiction is not my usual reading material, but it’s not bad so far.

I am really loving Not Dead Yet, Phil Collins‘ autobiography! A thoroughly good read! That one is at 42% now, so making considerable progress with that, and I would like to get it to at least the halfway stage before the end of tonight. As I mentioned previously, my aim is to get it read before 15th February as that is when I’m going to see Paul Young in concert with my friend Sarah, and ’tis she who has lent me this book! Thus, I am aiming to get it back to her. She has mentioned lending me Bruce Dickinson‘s autobiography, What Does This Button Do? – also looking forward to that as I really fancy reading it!

I am also making decent progress with The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells. This piece of science fiction, a short novella at only 125 pages, had been near Computer Corner for a while along with The War of the Worlds, by the same author, which is still here near my laptop. However, I decided, the other day, to pop The Time Machine into my handbag, and started reading it one lunchtime at work – I am now 24% of the way through it, so just under a quarter of it read already. It makes an ideal Handbag Book! O h damn! I knew that would happen… I am now thinking of the tune “Eve of the War” from the Jeff Wayne version of War of the Worlds! “The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one they said…”¬†* imitates the music as best as she can with a croaky voice, lol *¬†Yeah, sorry about that! I know it’s probably an earworm for you now!

The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one… but still, they come!

Oops! Sorry! Right, where was I?! My dad’s got that music in his car, actually. Er, sorry, we were supposed to be moving on from The War of the Worlds, weren’t we?! Right, enough about Martians and that malarkey, although I will probably end up reading it soon enough, where were we up to with this blog? I’ve covered my completed read so far this year and my three current reads, so what’s next?

Mort is no longer in the handbag, although that does not mean I have forgotten about it. I will get around to the fourth book of the Discworld series by Sir Terry Pratchett eventually. One book which I have put in the handbag with intent to read soon is Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah. It crops up on a lot of lists on List Challenges, and I read the blurb and it sounds pretty interesting, and funny in parts. It is his own account of growing up in South Africa with a black mum and a white dad when Apartheid was still very much the way of things there.

I have a few box sets on the landing, and one of them is a Picador box set of 10 books, of which, to date, I have only read one. That book being Holidays in Hell, by P. J. O’Rourke, which I quite enjoyed some years ago now. Having said that, though, it wasn’t quite as good as The Dark Tourist, by Dom Joly, which I absolutely loved, and which was along pretty similar lines. I did start on another of the books in that box set, that being The English Patient, by Michael Ondaatje, which I had started, and then it was one of several books which went missing, as you may recall from my blogs last year! The books were eventually found, although I have yet to resume or start any of them. I probably should return The English Patient to the box, although there’s that thing once you’ve read a book or two… books seem to expand even if only ever so slightly, and you can’t fit them back in…. When you read a book, you seem to make it that bit bigger!

One book remained missing for a while longer, that being The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy, but I did eventually find that in our garage! It is still in there, but at least I know where it is! It had previously been around here, near Computer Corner, which is why I was baffled as to why I couldn’t find it. I couldn’t remember having shifted it elsewhere!

Some people make lists of what they’re going to read, and tick them off. I can’t make those lists. I never know what I’m going to read! Firstly, with my book club, I don’t know until I am there and we are discussing the next book and choosing it between us, and that’s going to account for around 11 or 12 books a year, and even amongst my own books, where I just decide for myself, I am very random and don’t know what I’m going to be in the mood for!

Anyway, I’m off to get on with the Phil Collins book, so until next time, when I hope I will be well again, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this book blog…

  • Hot Milk – Deborah Levy
  • The Red House Mystery – A. A. Milne
  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • What Does This Button Do? – Bruce Dickinson
  • The Time Machine – H. G. Wells
  • The War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells
  • Mort – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • Born a Crime – Trevor Noah
  • Holidays in Hell – P. J. O’Rourke
  • The Dark Tourist – Dom Joly
  • The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje
  • The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy

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Brock’s Posterior Strikes Again!

Natural Born Bookworm!

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

Not sure how long this is going to take, or how long it will be, but as you can see from the title, I’m under the weather yet again. Badger’s Arse Syndrome strikes again! This time, catarrh and a general achy feeling all over. Came down with a sore throat overnight, too, which put paid to returning to band this morning – would have been back blowing my horn again, but I wasn’t in any fit state to do that, unfortunately. I was fine yesterday, though. Other than the leftover cough from the previous cold, I had been fine at work, and then at the match, as I watched our lads score two late goals to beat Derby County 2-0 at Old Trafford and book our place in the 4th round draw for the FA Cup.

The way their goal was leading a charmed life, though, it was going to take something special to get the ball in the net. The post and crossbar came to Derby’s rescue a few times, along with their goalie being forced into some pretty nifty saves, particularly from free kicks taken by Juan Mata and Paul Pogba. However, once the returning Marouane Fellaini had come on as a sub with about 10 minutes to go, that seemed to be the breakthrough United needed, and Jesse Lingard scored an absolutely belting goal on 84 minutes! He’s scored some right crackers this season! Then, just as they were announcing how much stoppage time would be added on, Romelu Lukaku played a great 1-2 with Anthony Martial and then Rom finished it off to make it 2-0 and pretty much confirm our place in the draw.

So, I was fine last night at the match, and in good voice, but started getting a bit of a sore throat later, when I was back home. On the Strepsils. Good job I have a decent stash of them. Anyway, throat still felt rough this morning, and body felt achy, and my body still feels achy now. Throat feels better, but this catarrh and achy feeling have led to another sense of Badger’s Arse-ness. Getting pretty fed up of this!

I’ve got Book Club on Wednesday, and I am now, roughly, about a third of the way through Hot Milk. Would have liked to have made more progress, but this is what feeling under the weather does to you… you need a lie-down and some zeds, and that reduces potential reading time. I know we’re only on 6th January, but I’ve not finished a book yet. Nothing to show for this year’s Goodreads Challenge. ūüė¶

My original plan for today would have been to go to band, and then to get my bus and tram pass later (I did go into Eccles for that this afternoon, so that bit is sorted) and then perhaps some shopping and a visit to Waterstone’s, either in town or the Trafford Centre, but that was ruled out by me feeling like shite (and, yes, that is a technical term, as you probably know by now, lol!)

We had a bit of author news at the end of 2017, which I forgot to mention, two items of news, one sad, one happy. The first being that thriller writer, Sue Grafton, passed away in late December. She had been writing a series of thrillers for every letter of the alphabet, but as they won’t be having anyone else writing in her name, the alphabet, in this case, will end at Y is for Yesterday. Rest in Peace, Sue.

The other news is that it’s Arise, Sir Michael Morpurgo! The author of War Horse was knighted in the New Year’s Honours List.

Also, at the end of 2017, Duncan Jones decided he was going to launch the David Bowie Book Club in honour of his father, who he described as a “beast of a reader” – indeed, I read something not long after Bowie passed away, which said that he used to take a library of around 300-400 books on tour with him whenever he went on tour! Clearly an epic bookworm, and thus much missed for that as well as for his music, which formed part of the soundtrack to which I grew up in the 70s and 80s. Duncan said the first book would be Hawksmoor, by Peter Ackroyd. I got as far as looking it up on Google the other day, and it does sound quite interesting to me. As I do like a bit of historical fiction, I might check it out. I was going to do so this weekend if I hadn’t woken up feeling like crap today! Damn you, Badger’s Arse!!!

So, what else shall we look at? Perhaps some of those Books That I’ve Had Knocking Around For Bloody Ages And Still Not Read Yet?! Gould’s Book of Fish springs to mind here, lol! I bought this book, by Richard Flanagan, absolutely AGES ago now. I might even have had it at Hawthorn Avenue, I dunno, but I do know that I have had it a bloody long time and still not read it yet! I’ve not had The Versions of Us, by Laura Barnett, for anywhere near as long as that, lol, but that one has also been hanging around for quite some time. It’s right here by Computer Corner. We can’t mention Books That I’ve Had Knocking Around For Bloody Ages without mentioning Memoirs of a Geisha, by Arthur Golden – that’s been hanging around for some years, as has Salmon Fishing In the Yemen, by Paul Torday! The English Passengers, by Matthew Kneale, has also been lingering around for many a year, and I’ve still not got around to reading that one yet!

If I DID have Gould’s Book of Fish when I lived at Hawthorn, I will have had it before October 2006! That’s a bloody long time! I know I did have a clear out and give pretty much half my collection to a charity book stall at work at the time when we were moving house, but that still means quite a lot of books did come with me in the move. I’m pretty sure I must have thought I was going to read it though. I gave away stuff I’d already read or felt I was unlikely to read or to finish. A lot of the books I skimmed at uni went to charity. I had graduated back in 1994, and by 2006, I still hadn’t felt inclined to read them all the way through, lol, so they went to a good cause.

I know The Beach, by Alex Garland, would have been given away, as I had read that one. I enjoyed it very much, but I had read it. I am not really much of a re-reader. It’s not that I dislike the idea, there are plenty of books I have loved to bits, and would happily read again and again, but I tend to want to get on with books I haven’t read yet and discover even more favourites amongst those! I’ve probably not done much re-reading since I was a kid, certainly a teenager, but if any books of mine have been read to bits, it would be the first two Adrian Mole books by the late great Sue Townsend! Both The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 and The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole have been sellotaped together countless times!

So, I think that’s about it for now, and you’ve got a fair idea that there are some books I’ve had for absolutely donkey’s years without reading yet. It’s all about the potential for reading, though! Don’t be ashamed of your unread books. The fact that you have them means that you could always get around to reading them some time… they are there, ready and waiting for when you’re in need of them! And, on that thought, I shall finish this off and get it published, and hope that my body is less achy soon! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Hot Milk – Deborah Levy
  • Y is for Yesterday – Sue Grafton
  • War Horse – Sir Michael Morpurgo
  • Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd
  • Gould’s Book of Fish – Richard Flanagan
  • The Versions of Us – Laura Barnett
  • Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
  • Salmon Fishing in the Yemen – Paul Torday
  • The English Passengers – Matthew Kneale
  • The Beach – Alex Garland
  • The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 – Sue Townsend
  • The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole – Sue Townsend

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Filed under Authors, Books, Computer Corner, Football, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Literary Issues, Music, My Bookworm History, School, College & Uni Reading, The TBR Pile

New Year’s Blog 2018

New Year's Day Book Board 2018

Hello again, Bookworms and Book Dragons,

Happy New Year from Joanne’s Bookshelf! You’ll be pleased to learn that there’ll be none of that new year new me crap from Chief Bookworm! I’ll still be the same sarcastic, cynical, foodie, footy-loving, 80s nut and bookworm that you’ve always known! Not giving up any booze or going vegan or any of that malarkey!

I think, if you are doing one of those things, it would actually be best NOT to tell anyone. Firstly, so that no-one thinks you’re a bore about it, and secondly, I find that if you tell people your plans, they all seem hell-bent on ruining them for you! So, do what you want to do anyway, give up what you’re giving up, but don’t tell people unless you can trust them not to be an arsehole to you! They can’t rain on your parade if you don’t tell them the route!

Anyway, the Goodreads Challenge is in place for 2018, and the List Challenges lists were set up in the wee small hours! 2017’s lists have been published and 2018’s have been created. Obviously, the Joanne’s Bookshelf Blog one is the main one connected with my waffle on here – any books I mention on here during the course of 2018 go on that list and then the list is published at the end of the year. Also, my new Handbag Books list has been created, as has Books Jo Read in 2018, although obviously that’s a blank at the moment until I finish off some reading matter.

I have put a few books in the handbag, though! The current book club book, Hot Milk, by Deborah Levy, is in there, and I have also added The Time Machine, by H. G. Wells, and Mort, by the late great Sir Terry Pratchett, the 4th Discworld novel, to the purple Kipling bag. Those are fairly small and slim. I suppose I could fit Not Dead Yet, by Phil Collins into the handbag, but it’s a hardback, and quite chunky, so that’s staying here. I still intend to get through it in time to give it back to Sarah when she and I go to see Paul Young next month.

Half time at Goodison Park: Everton 0 Manchester United 0. Zzzzzzzzz!

Yawn! Jose has to go. Sick to death of this “bus parking” crap! I think the players are, too! We need a manager who lets the players go forward and attack – that’s the United way! I was hopeful at the start of this season, when we had some nice 4-0 wins, that things were going to be better than last year’s tedious shite (don’t start me on all those 1-1 draws), but in recent times, we have gone back to being shite again, and that’s a technical term! As I can’t really expect Sir Alex to come out of retirement, I feel we need someone else who is Red to his boots to come in and sort things out. Just that change of manager, someone with hunger and desire for the club to be back to winning the league again, would be enough to filter through to the players. They would respond positively to this and give opponents a damn good stuffing, as they are capable of! Yes, defend if you absolutely have to, but otherwise we should be attacking as often as possible!

Anyway, back to the books, and obviously the priorities are the Deborah Levy and Phil Collins books, but what else should I read in 2018? As I’ve mentioned, I’ve put a couple of books in the handbag, fresh ones I’ve not previously started, but I will aim to get some others resumed and finished off this year which I started previously. I started, so I’ll finish, as Magnus Magnusson used to say on Mastermind, lol!

Second half under way at Goodison Park. Come on you Reds! Come on, stick the ball in the net, you know you want to!

Sorry, yes, books…¬† Thinking of some of the books which remained unfinished last year, I could go back to Neither Here Nor There, by Bill Bryson, and A Quiet Kind of Thunder, by Sara Barnard. I had also said that I would resume Manchester England, by Dave Haslam, but that didn’t happen in 2017.

Sings: All we are saying…. is give us a goal!

I could read Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling. That one sounds quite funny, and not too long. I am back in work tomorrow. I’m going to have to fit reading in around being back in the office full-time. I have set a Goodreads Challenge target of 30 books, which is what I set for 2017.

Yesssss! Get in! Everton 0 Manchester United 1 – Anthony Martial 57 minutes! ūüėÄ

Tony Martial came from France, English press said he had no chance! Fifty million down the drain… Tony Martial scores again!

Er, sorry, where was I?! Yeah, the Goodreads Challenge and the fact that I’m back in work tomorrow. My cold is mostly over, although still some catarrh, so I might have to go to Boots after work for catarrh pastilles, and an annoying cough yet again. I can be OK for a while, but then have an epic coughing fit and wonder when it’s going to stop!

I’ve just had a look at the bass amp book tower. Quite a lot of the books on my bass amp are hardbacks in need of either reading, or resuming! I’ve already got a hardback as an Ongoing Concern at the moment, though, that being Not Dead Yet, by Phil Collins. However, I could do with getting more of that pile read. Possibly Anger Is An Energy, by John Lydon, as I started that some time ago and got some way into it before being distracted by another book or suffering a reading slump. Another hardback autobiography, albeit not on the bass amp, is Chapter and Verse, by Bernard Sumner, of Joy Division, New Order and Electronic fame. As with the John Lydon book, I started it some time ago, and it needs to be resumed, lol!

If United could get a second goal, that would be very nice. Hint, hint, Reds!

Talking of football, there’s one book on the bass amp which I HAVE read, it was on my 2016 list, that being The Rules of the Game, by Pierluigi Collina, the former referee. I actually also have Who’s the B*****d in the Black? by Jeff Winter, a paperback, lurking near Computer Corner.

GOAL!!! Everton 0 Manchester United 2! Jesse Lingard 81 minutes. ūüėÄ

So, there I am, waffling on about referees’ autobiographies and Jesse Lingard doubles our lead! Excellent! Just noticed on the covers of those ref books… Collina is only giving someone a booking, showing a yellow card, but Jeff Winter is brandishing a red card, giving someone the order of the early bath! Parking the bus should be given the red card! Oh, and Pogba needs to play further forward ALL THE TIME from now on!

Full-time: Everton 0 Manchester United 2 ūüôā

Probably about time I also blew the final whistle on this blog entry and got it published, so until the next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Hot Milk – Deborah Levy
  • The Time Machine – H. G. Wells
  • Mort – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • Neither Here Nor There – Bill Bryson
  • A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard
  • Manchester, England – Dave Haslam
  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? – Mindy Kaling
  • Anger is an Energy – John Lydon
  • Chapter and Verse – Bernard Sumner
  • The Rules of the Game – Pierluigi Collina
  • Who’s the B*****d in the Black? – Jeff Winter

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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Computer Corner, Facebook & Other Social Media, Fantasy Fiction, Football, Goodreads, Half-Finished Books, Handbag Books, Humour, List Challenges, Music, Non-Fiction, Ongoing Concerns, The TBR Pile

December and 2017 Review

Books 44 and 45 of 2017

Hello again, fellow Bookworms!

With a few days of 2017 left, the ol’ Badger’s Arse Syndrome has struck again, and I have a cold, which I need to shift by the weekend as United are at home again on Saturday, against Southampton, and then Sunday is New Year’s Eve, so I’m out for a meal with Mum to let in 2018! This cold can, quite frankly, do one! Bugger off, cold! I really don’t need this crap! I already had a cold in October and needed time off work, so just sod off and leave me the hell alone! Take your stinking germs and piss off!

I have been productive on the book front in recent days, though, getting a couple more finished off, hence I have reached 45 for the year. I think that’s fair enough really, especially as my Goodreads Challenge was originally 30, so I have exceeded it by another 15! Not sure about the coming year. I will probably only set a low target, as I am working full time certainly up to and including March, and I hope that they will want me to stay on after that. Work provides the money to buy books, but it does mean that you have to fit the actual reading around your working life! Thus I will not be setting a big target for 2018. Possibly 25 or 30.

Anyway, let’s get on with what I have read this year, and to round off the reading, I finished off Mr Dickens and His Carol, by Samantha Silva, and The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k, by Sarah Knight. This has taken me, as I said, to 45 books for the year. I could probably publish my list of books read this year on List Challenges now. I can’t see myself finishing a 46th book before we let in 2018! I guess, if I hadn’t come down with a cold, I might have felt I could manage another one and make it 46, but realistically, even if I’d not been germ-ridden, I could start a book, but it probably wouldn’t be finished until some time in January at the earliest.

I can get on with Hot Milk, by Deborah Levy, I guess, if I am feeling up to it, and get going with that. It’s only a fairly short book, but book club is on 10th January, so I should get cracking, really!

Perhaps I should make a start on Not Dead Yet, by Phil Collins – Sarah lent it to me in the summer when we went to see the Pet Shop Boys in Blackpool, and I have got another gig on the horizon thanks to my friend – my main Christmas present from Sarah was a ticket to see Paul Young at the Preston Guild Hall on 15th February! I have already booked a half day off work for that day, so I can finish at lunchtime, go home and get ready to go to Preston later. China Crisis are the support act, so all very 1980s, which is how I like it, lol!

I bought a few books for members of my family for Christmas, and I got a Waterstone’s gift card, so I can go out and get more books, lol, but that’s fair enough – Those who know me well know that I have rather a lot of books (a slight understatement, lol), so it’s best to get me a gift card rather than buy me a book I might already own. One of the books I bought was Only Fools and Stories, by Sir David Jason, for my mum. I couldn’t exactly mention that in any pre-Christmas blogs, but I can mention it now! My sister certainly reads my blogs when I share them onto Facebook. At times, especially when Reuben was very little and she was up at silly o’clock feeding him, she would read my blogs then! I got him a couple of Christmasssy books from the Usborne “That’s Not My…” series, namely That’s Not My Santa, and That’s Not My Elf.

So, what were my favourite reads of 2017 from the 45 books I managed to read, or at least finish off during the course of the year? Here are some stats for the year and some favourite books…

Goodreads Challenge Set: 30

Books Read in 2017: 45

Authors Met in 2017: 2, Stuart Maconie and Adam Kay

Favourite Non-Fiction: This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay

Favourite Fiction: The Good People – Hannah Kent

Favourite Young Adult: One Italian Summer – Keris Stainton

Favourite Children’s: Esio Trot – Roald Dahl

Reminder of a Holiday: The Saffron Trail – Rosanna Ley. Reminded me of my holiday in Marrakech, Morocco, in November 2016.

Wembley Books: The Pie at Night – Stuart Maconie, and Premier League Years 1992/93 – Andrew Hyslop, read on the coach going to and coming back from the EFL Cup Final in February, which United won 3-2 vs Southampton. Two goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovińá and one from Jesse Lingard. Zlatan’s second goal, three minutes from time, was the decider, as we had gone 2-0 up only for the Saints to take advantage of our decidedly dodgy defending by getting back to 2-2.

Having looked back on 2017, we need to look ahead. I know I have already mentioned two books, one for my book club, and one my friend lent me in the summer, but what else do I think I might read in 2018? There will, of course, be other book club books, and there is no accounting for what those might be, lol, but of the stacks of stuff I have here, what should I read? Perhaps some relatively short books, such as The Outsiders, by S. E. Hinton, which I did make a start on this year, and possibly some H.G. Wells – I have both The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds lurking here near Computer Corner, lol!

At the other end of the size scale, there are a few chunky monkeys I could attempt, and I could always return to the Shardlake Series by C. J. Sansom, having read Dissolution earlier this year, and get on with the second in that series, Dark Fire. Maybe some classics, maybe some modern classics, perhaps 2018 will be the year I finally read some books which have been hanging around for years waiting for me to read them?! Maybe I will read I Know This Much Is True, by Wally Lamb – probably while thinking of the Spandau Ballet song “True” as I think of it every time I even SEE my copy of that book, so I will probably think of it all the time if I am actually reading it!

As I’ve said many times, I’m an 80s nut, so it’s to be expected, really! Actually, talking of Spandau Ballet, I’ve got Martin Kemp‘s autobiography, True, lurking in my room, so I could read that as well. I read Gary Kemp‘s autobiography, I Know This Much, earlier this year, which Sarah had lent me, so I could always read his brother’s book in the coming year! As I said earlier, though, I think the Phil Collins autobiography would have to be a priority.¬† One book I like the sound of, but have yet to purchase, is the Bruce Dickinson autobiography, What Does This Button Do? I have a feeling that my friend might have that one, so I could always end up borrowing it from her some time in the not too distant future!

Anyway, I have just looked at my list of books mentioned on this blog during the course of 2017, and the Bruce Dickinson autobiography takes us up to a whopping 541 different books mentioned this year! So, when I publish this list, as I will be doing shortly, there should be a nice long list on List Challenges for you to get stuck into! A huge, very random list of books with probably something for everyone! Fiction, non-fiction, autobiographies, biographies, young adult, children’s books, science fiction, classics, comedy, football, music…¬† I will be starting a new list in the new year for everything I mention on here in 2018, so until I blog again, as it is very unlikely to be before January, lol, I wish you all a Happy and book-filled New Year! Take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry…

  • Mr Dickens and His Carol – Samantha Silva
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k – Sarah Knight
  • Hot Milk – Deborah Levy
  • Not Dead Yet – Phil Collins
  • Only Fools and Stories – Sir David Jason
  • This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
  • The Good People – Hannah Kent
  • One Italian Summer – Keris Stainton
  • Esio Trot – Roald Dahl
  • The Saffron Trail – Rosanna Ley
  • The Pie at Night – Stuart Maconie
  • Premier League Years 1992/93 – Andrew Hyslop
  • The Outsiders – S. E. Hinton
  • The Time Machine – H. G. Wells
  • The War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells
  • Dissolution – C. J. Sansom
  • Dark Fire – C. J. Sansom
  • I Know This Much Is True – Wally Lamb
  • True – Martin Kemp
  • I Know This Much – Gary Kemp
  • What Does This Button Do? – Bruce Dickinson

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Filed under Authors, Books, Bookstagram, Computer Corner, Facebook & Other Social Media, Food & Drink, Football, Goodreads, Handbag Books, List Challenges, Month in Review, Music, Non-Fiction, The TBR Pile

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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