A book I have read in one sitting …Masta La Muerte by Indigo Gurrichaga

Before starting reading I thought it was Scunthorpe legend Alex Calvo Garcia’s biography, but it is not, it is a book about football; not the glory of big teams, but a small team Scunthorpe. But the book is not just Scunthorpe it has lots of other references: to Kevin Keegan, to how the Bosman ruling came about. To John Aldridge who after playing on 15th April 1989 at Hillsbough (the tragic day in the grounds history) lost his desire to play football at Liverpool. But ended up playing in Spain. The book talks about his experience as a foreign player; an English player in Spain. Whereaes Alex-Calvo Garcia was a Spanish player who came to play in England, knowing no English.

The opening line below, is a fantastic refrain repeated several times through the book. 

……The shutters under the welcome to Glandford park sign are lifted, the club employees arrive, later the secretary and the head of security.

 I like to think that this is a book to read if you want to understand proper English football, not the premiership. The book has a fairly comical tone. Of course being a Scunthorpe fan, I’m biased.! Being a Scunthorpe fan, it is so vivid. When they say , waiting in a car at Britannia corner listening to radio Humberside whilst a referee does a pitch inspection,seeing whether to set off to an away match; I know that corner; I have listened to radio Humberside. The referee passes the pitch “Ground staff have assured me that they can drain the puddles and the wind will help”.  Instead of a supporters bus; as only 5 signed up there is just a car driven by Jerry who I know and John Staff who I also know. Also in the car is Jack who I do not know. The book says “He follows Manchester United but he draws a distinction between being a fan of a team and being a follower. When you follow a team,you watch the games on tv and you look for the results. When you are a fan, you travel over 500miles on a blustery Saturday, proudly wearing the clubs shirt, just to watch a team that is playing poorly”.  Another supporter Margaret also echoes this and my sentiment too, later in the same chapter “I like to follow the team of my town, which is a small town, so everything is more ffriendly. It’s not the same of you follow Manchester United. I like to feel part of a unique experience”

Alex Calvo Garcia provided a wonderful experience when he scored at Wembley to get Scunthorpe promoted to League 1. Although there has been ups and downs since then (that is what being a Scunthorpe fan is about), I see that as a turning point. Since that day as Scunthorpe have had two spells in the championship, scored first during cup matches away at Chelsea and Manchester City because that day showed it only takes one goal even if we are a small town. The epilogue describes some of this. Is the next chapter, to play at Wembley again in just over a month and return to the championship for next season?

Tips for Reading Olive Kitteridge by Emma Strout

  1. Read physical book rather than kindle edition. It seems the book is more suited to kindle particularly as apparently someone at my book club got confused because, it was not clear where the book ended and the abstract from next book started. Therefore they thought the abstract from the next book was the last chapter which threw them regarding what story was about. Therefore if you read on a kindle be warned.
  2. Treat each story as a separate story, do not try to make connections between stories or expect them all to tie up in the end.
  3. The key story is Tulips. If you read one story from the book; read that one. However much read of the book pay attention to Tulips; there is a lot of detail and action to take in with that story.

 

Reading short stories: Mark Haddon and Emma Strout

I do not usually find short stories fit into my prime reading time; in bed at night. Sometimes a short story is more than want to read in one night, but then next night you have barely and left, then hard to go straight into next.

Perhaps short stories are better for daytime reading? I have never taken a book of short stories on holiday.  However, whilst I was at the airport the other week I picked up Mark Haddon ‘a (famous author for Curious Dog in the Night) book of Short Stories The Pier Falls. I read the title story straight away and found it gripping, I could have stayed with the characters longer,  but equally it came to a logical end. The second story The Island, is more mythical, I enjoyed it  muchless but still devoured in the airport. The third story Bunny got the book on track, it is the story of a morbidly obese man; fantastic from first sentences ‘He loved Mars bars and kit Kats. He loved Double Deckers and Galaxy Caramels and Yorkies. He loved Reese’s pieces and Cadbury Crete eggs. He could eat a whole box of Quality Street in one sitting …right until, the very end captivating. The strangely titled Woodwo takes you on a bizzare journey that would not have been predicted from the cosy domestic setting at the start.

I have interrupted reading Hadden’s short stories to read Olive Kitteridge by Emma Stout. I was confused, after saying at book club our next book was short stories to read on the back of the book about it being a novel. In fact it is short stories but all mention the character Olive Kitteridge. The mention may be very small. The first story centred around Olive’s husband at work or the story may centre around neighbours with her just mentioned as being part of a crowd. I’m not sure whether all the stories are going to come to some sort of conclusion in the end. At the moment it is unclear whether the stories are random snapshots or whether together they will say something; they do not necessarily seem to be in chronological order. Again as each story is distinct and does not carry on from each other, it can be awakened reading these at night and not getting though a whole story in one go then having to decide to move from one story directly to the next. Interested to see whether the stories do ultimately intertwine however if they do not some of the stories have made interesting reading; so far I have particularly enjoyed the opening story.

Elephant Parade

Whilst I was in Amsterdam after my fun elephant spotting last year in Sheffield I was delighted to discover the Elephant parade.

On a wet afternoon  when we were sheltering in the Magna shopping centre we came across this elephant on the ground floor.

The mini Elephant Herd
Upstairs there was a whole shop selling elephant parade products, a table to paint elephants or you could even buy elephants to take away to paint.


Elephant parade started in 2006 when Mark Spilks saw an an elephant called Mosa at the time 7months old being fitted for a prosthetic limb in Thailand. Elephant’s in Thailand can lose limbs due to stepping on log mines whilst logging.

In 2007 Rotterdam hosted sculptures of elephants which were then auctioned to raise money for Asian Elephant Foundation.

Subsequent elephants were hosted in Antwerp in 2008, Amsterdam 2009, London 2010 and subsequently Singapore, Hong Kong, Orange County in California, Brazil and many others.

One of the elephant parade, elephants was also on a canal boat in California.


The other elephants seen in Amsterdam shop / gallery.

Top 5 Large Elephants (Children’s Hospital Trail Sheffield 2016

The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy

Presumably someone picked this book for book club,  who had not actually read it. It is based on true life murder. It is an unsolved murder,  but one with many theories and suspects so featured in various true crime books. So perhaps we will need to stray into talking about the true story.

I was put off right from the beginning. There is many chapters before the murder; not what I want from a thriller. I found the beginning very dull the font of the copy, I read was horrible. Through the book there are lots of numbers mentioned. Which floor, what time, what date, how many miles, what car registration, which number on which street etc…


The plot is very complex with lots of characters and I found I could not get to grips and engage with any characters. Not sure I can say much about it for book club.

The woman next door by Cass Green

A seemingly fairly innocuous book. One neighbor is at a computer class and the other at the hairdressers at the start of the book. The whole story is told in a casual way, but it is more twisted then it appears.


 One reviewer called it ‘gripping’ I would not say I was gripped but I was entertained and would not have predicted ending from the start. 

35 before 35 progress

Inspired by 34 Before 34 | Is That You Darling
http://isthatyoudarling.co.uk/tag/34-before-34/

A couple I have already done and some I have booked already! Scoring a Turkey I have never done; can it be done before November? 

1. Dye hair blue

Did in December.


2. Read a Stephen King book

This was a new year resolution. I have bought Insomnia.

3. Do a park run

Need to practice.

4. Go to Amsterdam

Booked.

5. Climb Arther’s seat in Edinburgh

6. See 2 more gold post boxes
Saw one in Hull need to seek another.

7. Go in a hot air ballon

8. See Bob Dylan

Booked.

9. See Greenday

Booked

10. Score a Turkey at bowling.
11. Watch love actually again

🙂 Looking Coward to

12. Watch love actually sequlae

Looking forward to.

13. Watch 8 films at the cinema

Seen:

La La Land

Manchester by Sea

Lion

50 shades

Trainspotting 2

3 more to watch! Last year only about 3 in whole year.

14. Watch Bridge of spies

15. Watch Cara Emerald 

Booked

16. Do a ramblers 15mile walk

17. Get 100 total likes on blog

Got 50 so far.

18. Try a spin class

19. Publish prompts for whole of lent about homelessness.

20. Try a yoga class

22. Go to ten belly dancing classes.
Been to three so far.

23. Go to the new gelato on west st.

24. Go to the light cinema when it opens.

25. Go to the lakes.

26. Get shed for garden

27. Once have shed tidy cellar 

28. Buy football ground jigsaw to do with colleagues

29. Go to one of Shef’s Oct festivals: comedy, beer or off shelf

30. Go to Peddlers market

31. Pass ski lesson 2.

32. Swim outside

33. Go on folk train

34. Go wine tasting

35. Go climbing

35 before 35

Inspired by 34 Before 34 | Is That You Darling

http://isthatyoudarling.co.uk/tag/34-before-34/

1. Dye hair blue

2. Read a Stephen King book

3. Do a park run

4. Go to Amsterdam

5. Climb Arther’s seat in Edinburgh

6. See 2 more gold post boxes

7. Go in a hot air ballon

8. See Bob Dylan

9. See Greenday

10. Score a Turkey at bowling.

11. Watch love actually again

12. Watch love actually sequlae

13. Watch 8 films at the cinema

14. Watch Bridge of spies

15. Watch Cara Emerald 

16. Do a ramblers 15mile walk

17. Get 100 total likes on blog

18. Try a spin class

19. Publish prompts for whole of lent about homelessness.

20. Try a yoga class

22. Go to ten belly dancing classes.

23. Go to the new gelato on west st.

24. Go to the light cinema when it opens.

25. Go to the lakes.

26. Get shed for garden

27. Once have shed tidy cellar 

28. Buy football ground jigsaw to do with colleagues

29. Go to one of Shef’s Oct festivals: comedy, beer or off shelf

30. Go to Peddlers market

31. Pass ski lesson 2.

32. Swim outside

33. Go on folk train

34. Go wine tasting

35. Go climbing

From Drag Queens to Bondage aka Everyone’s talking about Jamie to 50 Shades of Grey

From theatre Monday to cinema Wednesday.

Everybody is Talking about Jamie: Showing at the Crucible Sheffield until 25th February

The second 50 shades starts with Christian Grey and Anastasia Steel broken up. They are soon back together and the power struggle continues. He drags her away from drinks with her boss, she forces him into supermarket shopping, he buys company she works for and so on. Anasatasia is trying to find out about the mysterious man she has fallen for, maintain her independence, start her careeer whilst Christian meddles in every aspect of her life all well maintain perfect make up 24/7 including asleep and in the shower. Will Anastasia manage not to be owned? That is a question for all to make up their mind up about. Although the film plot and film are fairly similar,  you may have different answers from the book compared to the film.

Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan contains SPOILERS

The concept of the book is on par, with the impressive Gone Girl. It turns out the central character who is receiving letters from a girl who went missing 20years ago is actually that girl , but has repressed the torment. Alas not executed as well as Gone Girl. I struggle to see the character as whole because,  the book does not fully explain where she thought she had come from? Drug addict that turned into a teacher; how? and what was her childhood before that? Margot as a character was convincing before I knew about Bethany. The book splitchapters  down further into bite size segments, I think the idea was to show her confusion or at least it could have done if executed differently, as it was it just felt jerky and I found it hard to engage. For example, I also did not feel her getting into relationship with Martin was that plausible .

That been said I did have a gap, between starting Dear Amy and finishing whilst read The Girl with all the gifts for book club so, maybe they contributed to me thinking the book was slightly disjointed. Overall it was a pleasant enough read but disappointed because it had potential  to be more powerful and deeper.

The girl with all the gifts by M.R.Carey