Books, Life

book hoarding and a buying ban: an update of sorts

As you know – or don’t, that’s okay too – I’ve embarked on a book buying ban. Namely, on my last count, I own a lot of books that I haven’t read. The number shames me. Shames! Me!

So, taking matters – and the books, though not all at once – into my own hands, I decided to read 45 of those books.

When I was telling someone from church about this last year, they asked how long it would take me to read all 45.

“Oh,” I said breezily, probably wafting my hand in the air. “Maybe a month or two.”

THREE MONTHS LATER …

At the time of writing, Book 18 is being devoured: ‘The Ministry of Truth’ by Dorian Lynskey is about George Orwell and the creation of 1984. It’s grabbed my interest and has yet to let go. So far? I highly recommend it.

But though I am in the middle of this experience, I have already been learning some lessons. Let me share them with you.

I FEEL BETTER ABOUT MYSELF

Though the list of books I wish to read at the end of this is growing, I feel much better about myself. I’m not longer buying with eyes too big for my bookreading stomach (just go with that analogy). I’m reading what I have. And – astonishingly enough – what I have is really interesting.

Who’d have thunk it, right?

This year has been marked by me trying to be more mindful of the money I’m spending, the time I waste, the books I read, the clothes I buy etc etc. This book buying ban? It’s been so very useful.

I do not need to chase after the next book, the next interesting title … I just need to enjoy the ones I have.

BLAM! UNEXPECTED DOSE OF CONTENTMENT STRIKES UNEXPECTEDLY.

look at all the books that I *didn’t* buy when I stumbled upon a booksale.

COULD BOOKSTAGRAM BE … UNHEALTHY??

Taking pictures of books and posting them to Instagram is one of life’s little pleasures. However, it has made me question my motives: am I doing it because, personally, it’s something that feels like an expression of creativity OR – more to the point – does it have a whiff of boastfulness about it? A sort of: ‘Behold! I read this book! Bow to me! I am intelligent!’

I hope it doesn’t, but I am growing increasingly wary of Instagram – what are my motives? Why am I even posting this? Is this for my ego? Or is it because sometimes I have to express myself and ramble and to get things off my chest and I use this blog and that Instagram account to do so? (also I relish taking pictures of books and thinking oh wow this has much goodness. First, Instagram – next? NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC!)

We all know that social media can be incredibly unhealthy – showing life how we want to be perceived instead of how we actually are, promoting comparisons and that general feeling of being less and having a life that isn’t quite as good as anybody else’s.

Does my validation come by the number of likes and retweets a post receives? (I mean, if that’s the case, let’s be honest … I am in deep trouble.)

I keep a book reading diary to log what I’m reading and my thoughts regarding it. I don’t update Goodreads anymore because I was so darn proud of the statistics and I just knew that that was the first stage to unabated narcissism and grandiose delusions of grandeur. I don’t post pictures of every single book I’ve read because:

  1. I’m lazy
  2. I have a crisis of what is the point does this help anyone oh gosh nothing I’ve posted about books HELPS anyone why would anyone listen to my book recommendations OH WAIT it’s fine I’ll do it anyway no I won’t I can’t be bothered OH MY WORD WHAT IF THE WORLD FIGURES OUT MY PERSONALITY BASED ON THE BOOKS I’VE READ also what if this makes people think they need to buy ALL the books am I promoting an unhealthy mindset also I think my ego is far larger than I’ve ever suspected also I think I’d be a terrible regency heroine because my ankles aren’t finely turned.
  3. I’m occasionally paranoid in a HELP BRING SMELLING SALTS kind of way.
  4. Something in this world has to be private, dang it!

Though possibly overthinking everything can also be unhealthy, it’s worthwhile to examine my motivations.

ALSO THIS PICTURE MAKES ME LAUGH AND ONE DAY I WILL HATE MYSELF FOR PUTTING IT HERE BUT HAHA BEHOLD:

Though the book was good, I assure you I was not worshiping it. Also, my armpits have never looked finer. I’M SORRY.

THE EBOOK VS PAPERBACK DEBATE HAS BEEN SOLVED FOR ME

It’s hardbacks and paperbacks and smelling the pages in front of your face. I used to read far more ebooks, but since the great ebook cleanse of December ’19 (300 novels! DELETED!) I’ve been reading almost exclusively paperbacks and hardbacks.

It’s just too easy to spend money on ebooks. In my tumultuous past, I’ve inhaled novels by the dozen. Read two or three in one day. It’s almost shocking how much money – and, more importantly, time – I’ve spent on Kindle.

This ban has forced me to take a step back. To enjoy what I have instead of chasing after what I haven’t. It’s not hoarding if it’s books, one of my cups says. But … to be frank … if I’m buying book after book after book and not reading them … it certainly feels like it is.

I’m all for building a personal library, but I want to do it in a mindful manner. Not in a frenzy of buying a stack of books I’ve haven’t read.

Happy reading!

Life

a grown up blog of sorts

I’ve always blogged – or rather, it feels like I’ve always blogged. And lately, I’ve been applying pressure on myself to take of words and books and make it more … well, coherent. Professional. Polished. Rife with blog series and regular blog posts. But – as you might have noticed by its echoing absence … that’s not what is happening here.

I love to express myself with words. (Don’t we all?) But more specifically, written words. I’ve got piles and piles of diaries going back to before I could spell. (To be honest, nothing much has changed there. Oh well. We can’t all be perfect.)

Blogs – this blog – has been my playground and I want to go back to having fun. I’ve got so many blog posts in drafts and I haven’t posted them because:

  • they’re not complete
  • I haven’t had the energy to tidy them up and make them presentable

Instead of trying to make sure that each blog post is perfect – which, haha, it never is – I’ve decided to relax. To enjoy it.

This isn’t the way I make my living. Nothing much depends on it save my own enjoyment and – possibly and hopefully – yours. It’s a place to write about what I read and how I read and when I read and what I write and what colour my toenails are and what I had for breakfast and all that sort of thing.

Any pressure – however misplaced – I put on myself, tends to ground any project to a halt. Pressure and I don’t like each other. If I met Pressure on the street, I would not say ‘good morning’ to it. I would glare at it.

like so

I’m home from Moldova now. I’m working. I’ve slowed down my freelance work because well, there’s only so many hours in the day and I’d much rather torture my own characters than describe someone else’s book.

So, here’s to a few more blog posts appearing here. Less pressure. More fun. Here’s to expressing yourself in whatever way you like. To late nights and early mornings and peppermint tea and the sun shining through afternoon rain and the tap-tap-tap of a keyboard and the curl of black ink on a white page.

happy reading and happy writing and happy living.

Books, Life

a visit from aprils past

I’ve been keeping of words and books for a long time now. It’s not long when compared to some blogs, but if you compare it to the lifespan of a mayfly … my gosh! It’s been an age.

april 2018 … i read disturbing things

I was in Canada and borrowing heavily from the library. I learned about the Opium Wars which made me think: my word, Britain, what the heck were you DOING? And then I learned about the Rape of Nanking … which is probably one of the most horrifying books I’ve ever read. I had to stop reading it on the bus because it was driving me to tears. So that was that.

april 2017 … prolific! I was prolific!

I wrote a total of FOUR BLOG POSTS IN ONE MONTH!! I know. Given my current track record, this is amazing. I wrote about two lessons I’d learned that month (novels on the high seas aren’t always my cup of tea AND IT IS POSSIBLE TO ENJOY A YA BOOK!! WOOT WOOT!)

I did a writing tag (but called it ‘the writing stag’ because it was funny), told everyone why I loved one star reviews (and then had a crisis because I felt bad for liking them) and rejoiced that a YA duology DID NOT HAVE A LOVE TRIANGLE WHAAAAATTT?!!!

april 2016 … I GOT MY EARS PIERCED

I got my ears pierced and wrote about the gory details (turns out … I REALLY don’t like getting holes pUNCHED INTO MY FLESH!!), admitted that I had read neither Pride and Prejudice or Lord of the Rings and donated some books to the charity shop – one of which was a Georgette Heyer. Do I regret it? Yes, I do.

april 2015 … a lot happened. Also – I wrote four posts AGAIN

I spent a whole weekend reading a Bronte and was VIOLENTLY unhappy about it and ranted a great deal. I read ‘The Tailsman Ring’ by Georgette Heyer and loved it. And spread the love. I drove seven hours to buy some books and I HAD AND STILL HAVE NO REGRETS. And lastly, I used a prompt from Rachel Heffington’s blog to write a short story about cupcakes – I enjoyed it immensely.

april 2014 … I WROTE FIVE BLOG POSTS WHAT ON EARTH?! HOW I HAVE FALLEN SINCE THEN!!!

I wrote a how to guide on how to acquire books without becoming penniless (and my guide still holds to this day.) I wrote about some useful links – I still listen to Dan Carlin’s podcasts by the way, and I STILL highly recommend them.

In a historic move, I merged two of my blogs and made them into of words and books so I guess April is of words and books’ proper birthday month. (Woot woot!) I once again used a prompt from Heffington and also posted some snippets from Trials of a Blacksmith – the trilogy of which … still isn’t finished. Oops!

And those are all the Aprils in which I’ve posted on my blog. How time flies! Some of these memories – reading Villette in the garden, collecting Heyers and writing about my love for them, giggling about taking a prompt of ‘travel-by-foot’ and turning it into a story about people dressing up as cupcakes – are so close that if I shut my eyes, I’m there again … basking in sunshine or tapping away at my computer with a laugh caught in my throat. However, there’s some distance.

The Ness of then and the Ness of now has changed. Grown up – a little or more than a little, who knows? But one thing hasn’t changed – I still love writing, I love reading, I adore adventures. Life is hard sometimes but life is also beautiful. And with a book in hand and a story in my soul … oh, it’s a grand adventure.

Happy Reading!

Life

i’m not dead

Time flies by, pretty quick, huh? One moment, you’re looking at the snow (IN APRIL) and really wishing winter would hurry up and leave already – the next you are nursing a nice sunburn. (This probably has more to do with my natural deathly milk white paleness English Rose complexion.)

NOOONNNN

I’ve been living in Canada for the better part of a year now, and boy oh boy, do I miss my books. (Oh. And my family. Them too.)

MY GOSH YOU’VE BEEN POSTING SO MUCH RECENTLY /s

Okay. Fine. I haven’t. I’ve drafted lots and lots of blog posts (probably five. or four. or three) – rants and ravings about winter and loathing coats and wonderful things like that, but – much like my ability to sprout wings and fly and boil eggs and that sort of thing – they never happened.

I am alive though. Even though I seem to try very hard not to be; I still sometimes look the wrong way when crossing the road. Bad idea. Very bad idea.

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PROOF OF LIVENESS. (Is it even me though?)

SO WHAT *HAVE* YOU BEEN UP TO?

This year has been like one giant working holiday. (With emphasis on the working.) I work pretty much full-time, harass colleagues with Very Bad And Punny Jokes, harass everyone with Very Bad And Punny Jokes, have a weekend adventure or two, sing, go for long romantic side-walk walks for one, visit the library, hang out with friends, speak Very Bad French, spend money wisely, and occasionally put my big girl socks on and write.

Okay. So the walk has happened twice, one of my friends deserted me for England, and I don’t visit the library all the time. Pfft. (I just get a shelf load of books out and stare at them lovingly.)

I do think that buying an expensive top which pictures a cat riding a unicorn to be a good investment. Think about it; the top is clothing. Clothing stops you from being naked. BOOM. It’s vital.

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recent weekend adventure: A tulip festival

SO YOU HAVE SOME PRETTY BIG NEWS?

Yes!!!! I do. I do.

(But, not in a marriage sense.)

I – she of the pen name Ness Kingsley – am going to a gym tomorrow. Yes. I know. WHAAAATTTT?!!!!!! How exciting. And very, very all-the-world-does-it-or-has-a-membership-they-don’t-use of you. I’ve never set a toe in a proper one before. I fully expect to develop abs on my thighs by mere osmosis. It’ll totally happen!

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WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED TO YOUR EYES?!!!

Okay. Gather round, friends – time for a quick life lesson in the form of two quotes from me:

Gee! Let me use this used make-up with its used make-up brushes! Why golly gosh! Nothing bad will happen!

me – tuesday evening

Oh. Bother.

me – wednesday morning

Infection. That’s what happens. (Infection or an allergic reaction, but probably most likely an infection.)

Infection and red, red demon eyes that look like you’ve:

  • just murdered someone
  • been strangled
  • cried buckets and buckets of soul tears because of Infinity Wars

Don’t be me, kids. Don’t use used make-up brushes or make-up. Yes, the war face you made was EPIC, but was it worth it? Was it really worth it?

No … well, probably not.

(The war face was pretty epic.)

Life

bloggers, blogging [part two]

Part One was here. This is Part Two (WHAT! IT IS?). I’ve spent a long time on the blogosphere, mostly stalking people. Here are a few more of my victims …

THE PENSLAYER

THE AESTHETIC + ‘SHE LIKES SUTCLIFF TOO?!!!’ ONE

When I was a teenager, I was slightly in awe of Jenny Freitag, because a) she was an author (A PUBLISHED AUTHOR!), b) she dripped with intellectual greatness (my humour and writing has ever been … none-intellectual. I have since learned to accept myself), and c) she read Rosemary Sutcliff’s books.

Freitag’s book The Shadow Things was the first book I bought from a blog I’d followed. (My logic was: she likes Sutcliff, therefore, her books might be flavoured with some Sutcliff-y things.)

(And it was.)DistortedBitesizedIndusriverdolphin-small.gif

I still read Jenny’s blog, but mostly I stalk her instagram where there are kittens + babies + and a beautiful aesthetic. (Which, FYI, is not pronounced as ‘anaesthetic’. Yes. I’m glaring at myself in the mirror.)

BLOG STATUS: active, still slayin’ and that instagram tho’

HOWEVER IMPROBABLE

THE ‘I HAVE TO CLICK BECAUSE OH MY WORD THAT POST TITLE’ ONE

I’d be reading a blog and if they’d have a ‘blog’s I follow’ bar down the side and followed this one? I’d have to click on Jack’s posts. Every. Single. Time.

Oh yes. I was clickbaited before it became a thing. I am a hipster clickbaited chick (?). And you know what? It’s been years now, but when I go back to my blogger homepage and I see her posts? I still get drawn in.

She uses quotes, you see. And I can’t resist a good quotation.

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BLOG STATUS: ‘What if we covered his nose and mouth” “That’s called murder.” [Actual blog title] [DO YOU SEE WHY I HAVE TO CLICK?!!]

MIRRIAM NEAL

THE ‘I BLAME HER FOR EVERYTHING’ ONE

georgette heyer
this, but maybe tripled …

I think it was Mirriam Neal’s blog that introduced me to Heyer. I blame her. Oh, do I blame her. I own a bloomin’ awful lot of Georgette Heyer’s books, have blogged about them, obsessed about them, decided to marry their heroes, quoted them, and consumed a biography and a book about Heyer’s regency world.

To sum up – Mirriam Neal has cost me a pile of money and I regret NOTHING.

And because I have no intelligence or worry that the Heyer Happening could happen again, I still follow her blog. C’mon, it’s interesting – and it’s not like when I discover a new author I buy all their books, is it? Is it?

BLOG STATUS: active, taking my life and bank account into my hands each time I click on her blog. [I’m kidding.] [I’m not.]

JUSTWAYTOOBOSS

THE ‘LIKES K-DRAMA TOO’ ONE

I think Faith first commented on my blogspot blog. (THANK YOU, FAITH) And for some reason still reads this blog – for which, of course, I adore her.

But when I stalked her – I found, to my delight, that she too liked k-dramas (!!!!!!!!). I haven’t watched a k-drama since last Christmas – but Playful Kiss, The Devil Beside You (yes, I know – not a k-drama, but a t-drama?) and Fated To Love You will always have a special place in my heart.

(And also that drama with Mike He and the bread and amnesia and the song ‘Ideal Garden’ that I love. But … I can’t remember what that’s called.)

And MY WORD isn’t Jang Hyuk’s laugh the absolute most hysterical thing you’ve ever heard?

Obviously, Faith’s blog is not allll about k-dramas – she has excellent taste in books too – but this has given me the opportunity to ramble about them, so thank you.

BLOG STATUS: active, tempting me to throw my life aside for a little while and dive into another drama.

PAPERFURY

THE ‘HOW THE HECK DOES SHE DO IT?’ ONE

Cait writes books in a flicker of an eyelid, devours books like the bookdragon she is, and blogs almost daily.

She’s really quite funny, is obsessed with cake and dragons, and also has just got a two book deal. So a huge congratulations to her.

But one day, I will find out how she does it. One day. The answer probably has something to do with dragons and I am 100% okay with that.

BLOG STATUS: active, HOW DOES SHE DO IT I AM BOGGLED.

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