space, eels, and a mouse called algernon

My current read is The Gospel of the Eels which differs greatly from The Gospel of Loki which I’ve recently loaned to my uncle. It’s a cosy book and did you know that Aristotle and Freud were both obsessed with eels? These are the facts humanity needs to know. You’re welcome.

But I’ve read other books too.


Take Star Trek: The Original Series and write a novel about one of their off screen adventures. You’d think that this would be an instant hit in Le Monde de Ness. It was, and then it wasn’t.

I think that the show works best as a TV show – with the charm and charisma and sheer madness of the characters/sets/dialogue. The book bounced around between – I think – three or four points of view which was a little disorientating for me.

It was great to hang out with old friends but I think I’d much prefer the show itself. I haven’t learned my lesson because I’m reading another Star Trek novel right now. It’s got Evil!Spock (?) and Kirk is dead and it happens in the first chapter?!

Also, side note: William Shatner is going into space????

Interesting. I wonder if it will be anything like he imagined when acting as Kirk.

THE PLANETS // andrew cohen & professor brian cox

I loved this book. It filled me with wonder and, indeed, awe. To think that Saturn has lightning, and Jupiter, storms. I learned so much. (And, some would say, retained so little. But some shouldn’t say that. Boo them.)

FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON // daniel keyes

Basically, if you want to see me cry – ask me: have you read Flowers For Algernon? and I will dissolve into a puddle and weep.

I cried. Repeatedly. At the end of the book. Retelling it to my Mum. Attempting to talk about it with someone else.

I haven’t read the short story yet. Emotional devastation isn’t something I’d typically seek out on a Monday. (It seems a more Thursday kind of thing.)


Two words: corpse soldier.

No! More words: ex-ship corpse soldier.

I liked it. There. I said it. I liked the side character who tags along. I could picture everything quite clearly.

Will I read the sequel? Maybe but probably not too. (There’s a clear answer for you!) I liked being in the world but the stakes are going to be even higher probably in the next book and my poor nerves won’t take it.

Wait. Waaaait. I should rephrase that: I liked reading about the world but I’d rather not be in it. ‘Zero privacy and Big Brother Is Watching You and oh! I know a new career plan you could be trapped in your own body as a star ship uses it to do ship stuff‘ aren’t on my ‘To Visit’ list. (I don’t have a ‘To Visit’ list just yet but if I had this wouldn’t be in the top fifty-seven destinations. Fifty-eighth at a push but no more.)

(Once again I will state in the annals of this blog: I should totally be a professional book reviewer. Ah-hem. I’m really very good at this gig.)

happy reading!


recountings: the gift of fear

Welp. I’ve read an array of factual books. My gosh. What is wrong with me?!


The Gift of Fear: And Other Survival Signals That Protect Us From Violence

by Gavin De Becker

In this empowering book, Gavin de Becker [..] shows you how to spot even subtle signs of danger – before it’s too late. Shattering the myth that most violent acts are unpredictable, de Becker [..] offers specific ways to protect yourself and those you love, including: how to act when approached by a stranger; when you should fear someone close to you; what to do if you are being stalked; how to uncover the source of anonymous threats or phone calls; the biggest mistake you can make with a threatening person; and more. Learn to spot the danger signals others miss. It might just save your life

I am a worry-wart. There. I confessed. My imagination often leaps to the most dire and illogical consequences and presents them to me in technicolour glory: do this, it says, and you’re probably definitely going to die.  

As a perennial worry-wart and self-targeting-fearmonger, reading this book was rather freeing. I learned some things …

1 // Say No.

Mean The No.

I am a polite person. I hate embarrassment and hurting someone’s feelings. But sometimes you have to say no. It doesn’t matter if you come across as impolite or rude … what matters is this:

you don’t owe anybody anything

If you’re a) asked out or b) approached with a question that makes you uncomfortable … you can say no. You don’t need an excuse. You don’t need to apologise for not wanting to do something. Say no. It’s okay.

2 // Listen To Your Gut

Image result for listen to your gut gif

It’s common sense – but if you get a certain prickly sense of this person is bad news ABORT SITUATION ABORT!! then you should probably listen to it. Don’t reason the feeling away. Investigate the matter. At a distance. A very distant distance.

However, if your gut tells you: I need a bar of white chocolate STAT … then that’s your stomach calling and you need a bar of white chocolate STAT.

3 // …

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The Abusive Person Checklist Reminds Me Of Some Romance Novels Leads

‘… he had a bad childhood/his mum didn’t love him enough’ is not an excuse for abusive behaviour. It may be a reason or a cause, but by golly, abusive behaviour should never be excused, but, so often, it frequently is.

The course of true love shouldn’t be covered with mental and/or physical bruises – Shakespeare (Possibly.)

I’m sorry, Phantom. You have problems.

so. many. problems. you need ALLL the therapy

borrow // buy // steal

books, ness talks books

Recountings – Villette: an Adverse Reaction


Disclaimer: This was, for the most part, written the Day After Reading, when the trauma was still fresh and painful in my mind.


by Charlotte Bronte

– Here be Spoilers –

Perhaps I should have looked a little more closely at the reviews I read weeks before starting Villette. Perhaps I should have opened the spoilers.

But no, I didn’t. I wanted to be surprised. I wanted this to be a book adventure that was unmapped. After all, I’d read Jane Eyre and loved it – why should this be any different?

Ha. Why, indeed.

While I affectionately – and somewhat irreverently – nicknamed Jane Eyre ‘Foiled Attempts at Bigamy’ I would do the same to Villette: ‘Failed Attempts at Happiness’.

It took two days to read the five hundred odd pages. I’d become attached to M Paul Emanuel. I liked the dark little Frenchman with his moods and great heart. And then … then someone kicked my puppy. Someone took my beautiful strawberry cupcake and stamped on it in a muddy pool.

Villette, it has been said, is a largely autobiographical account of the Author’s life. Poor Charlotte Brontë. How deeply you felt. But this isn’t a recounting of her life, ‘tis the recounting of an adventure I went on in one of her books.

I’m afraid that I can’t be much of an intellectual book lover. Not for me is it to praise the prose or the endless wanderings of unhappiness and ten such gloomy moods. Not for me to relish each paragraph and delight in each beautifully turned poetic phrase.

Oh no.

You see, I reached the end … and I, well, I wasn’t pleased with it. At all.

I’d read Jane Eyre, you see, and I thought that all the misery of Villette would result in a worthy ending. An ending in which all the heartache and loneliness would be soothed by a gleam of happiness and the promise of future peace from pain.

Yeah. About that.

I am a reader who enjoys light heartedness. I can take sadness in a book as long as it is tempered with a little happiness to contrast. I like bittersweet endings. I like realistic ones.

That said, Villette (and its ending) … wasn’t for me.

Perhaps when I am in a dreadfully depressed mood, I will pick the book up again. But otherwise I won’t, for on the contrary, I’m sure it will send me into a dreadfully depressed mood.

I finished that final page and the cleverness of the end was lost to me. I ranted. I raved at anyone who could hear. “Five hundred pages!” I said in disbelief, my voice ringing with a mixture of outraged sorrow and wrath. “Five hundred pages and-“ [Here you must insert incoherent rantings of the troubled mind of a person who had dedicated their weekend to a book which wasn’t quite what they expected.]

I’m sure Villette will continue to be a classic. Well and good. But I have only so much time on this earth and I do not wish to spend it in deep, dark depression reading of nuns in attics or … or … shipwrecks. (That shipwreck!)

It may well be the path of the intellectual to read such books. It may be that the true intelligent reader will revel in the wonder of Villette and bask in the glory of the Brontës.

Reader, I haven’t the heart for it.

I can’t cultivate happiness (as Dr Bretton suggests) but I sure as potatoes can fling a gloomy book across the room.

Look ‘ee here, you too can, er, enjoy Villette – for free here and for your bookshelves here.