books, ness talks about life

your eyes are like dirt // an amalgamation of things

Why concentrate on one thing when you can concentrate on several?


I don’t think I’ll ever forget it either, Ali Smith

Occasionally, I have been known to read literary fiction. It is always memorable, this one was a deeply tragic story of a Senegalese soldier’s deteriorating mental health as the savageness of a brutal war wages around him. I listened to it via audiobook and I have to say that was probably a bad choice. Perhaps reading it would give me a different impression.

However, I wasn’t sure if the final scene was a metaphor for the brutality of the trenches in World War I (as suggested by one reviewer), or a rape scene, so you see, I’m afraid it wasn’t quite my cup of tea.


I trooped off to Iceland and it was quite glorious. It is a place of extremes – of weather, and of landscape. (And of sleep deprivation.)

I do not think I’m hardy enough to live there, so perhaps it’s fortunate that no one has asked me to. I brought two books with me. Yes. I know. Pitiful.

One of those was How To Stop Time by Matt Haig. And … here’s the thing – the concept is very intriguing (a man! who has a disease that makes him age v e r y s l o w l y), the writing is very thoughtful, however I couldn’t connect with the main character. I tried. It didn’t work. C’est la vie, this book was not for me.

at the window – a towel to mop up the condensation on the window, and the blinds that I DID NOT panic over, thinking that I’d broken them


This was another audiobook, and a bit more of a success. In fact, I consider this to be a glorious, glorious choice. My loved ones probably don’t consider it as such. I messaged a brother, informing him that squid have donut shaped brains. He responded with ‘lol what’.

(‘A prophet is not welcome in their own country‘ comes to mind.)


A fascinating book that’s quite short and is the spiritual successor to The Gospel of Eels that I read last year. (I say spiritual successor … this is a very loose description. And also utterly inaccurate. But shush … please go with it.)

I think I must be very lucky in that I’m surrounded by very, very patient people. My colleagues received a daily dose of what I liked to call (enthusiastically call) ‘SQUID FACTZ!’ Some were very kind and enjoyed them. Others looked bemused, and some, a little bewildered. (‘And GET THIS – the oesophagus goes through the donut hole!‘)


Who, I ask you – actually cares about ‘cringe’? Life is too short, and there’s nothing wrong with sincerity. (In fact, let’s have more of it, please and thank you.)

So in light of the above, please see the below.

if only you could see yourself // how other people do

(However, this song will have the side effect of making the line ‘your eyes are like DIRT’ pop into your head at inopportune times. You are welcome.)

books, ness talks about life

the bookworm’s guide to reading on a budget

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I’m currently Saving Money For The Greater Good Of My Future. It’s a trial, but I’m just about bearing it. Here’s how …

The Open Library

for those who like to enjoy the wonder of the library from the comfort of their home (AKA those who avoid other humans at all costs)

You have to sign up for this website, but once you’ve done it – huzzah! You’ve entered a secret cult of booklovers and teadrinkers just accessed a library with zonks worth of books that are yours to read FOR FREE!

walking in bluebells

Project Gutenberg

for those who do not wish to sign up for anything. and like older books. you rebels you.

I’ve spent countless hours using this website. In fact, I read the great majority of G.A Henty’s books on Project Gutenberg and I regret nothing; for now I, too, can write a tale of an honest looking youth – not handsome, mind – around the age of fifteen who is VERY VERY COURAGEOUS! and has MUCH PLUCK! (not the kind of pluck one would do on a chicken’s feathers) and lives an exciting life interspersed with a droning, monotonous voice that says Lord So and So moved his armies to such and such a place in the year something or other.

(If you have ever read a Henty, you will appreciate the very great wit which I have just employed. Probably.)

I also read The Rose-Garden Husband, discovered what a love triangle was (SPOILERS: the heroine chose Bill. Or was his name Bob?), and found Sir Walter Scott’s The Bride of the Lammermoor to be disgustingly miserable.

Also – it’s been over eight years and I still can’t spell Gutenberg correctly. I add an extra ‘u’.

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for those who cannot afford Audible. and don’t mind listening to strangers talking. for hours.

LibriVox is the spoken form of Project Gutenburg Gutenberg. Some of them are awfully good. I once tried to persuade my brothers that The Scarlet Pimpernel was a magnificent book of magnificent proportions.

It is, and it was, but I didn’t realise that a) Marguerite had so. many. emotions and b) the emotions took up such a great deal of space. I had to reassure my poor brothers that the really AMAZING AND AWESOME PART was coming up soon. It did not, in fact, come up soon. It was at the end of the book. They were not overly impressed.


The Library. Your Local Library.

for those who are willing to leave the shelter of their homes in search of books. introverts around the world salute you.

I have nine books out right now. Nine. One of which is the hefty five book trilogy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Do you know how much money that would have cost me to purchase? A fortune. A massive fortune.

Do you know how much money I spent? Nothing. NOTHING.

I ordered a book in the other day – instead of buying the ebook version for £4.74, I spent 45p ordering it. FORTY-FIVE PENCE.

It is a universal truth that libraries make you feel good about yourself. They are peaceful places – unless there is a mother and child group in the children’s section. In which case you will be serenaded by the sweet, sweet sounds of The Wheels On The Bus (Go ‘Round and ‘Round). 

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Since making the agonising decision to save money on books (it is painful, I can assure you) no less than THREE books have been published by authors I quite enjoy. But if one must have principles, one should probably stick to them. I am using three libraries – my personal one (if I can call my kindle collection, and bookshelves that), my local one, and the online version.

It can be done, my friends. It can be done.

happy reading!