books, ness talks books

five books imprinted on my young mind

*and by imprinted I mean ‘impress or stamp (a mark or outline) on a surface.’ Twilight, what have you done to the modern tongue?! I had to define a word and am too lazy pained to think of another title!

Good or bad, the books that you read when you’re young stay with you. Here are five of mine.


1. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgeson Burnett

I remember some of this book so vividly that it’s as if I was there, starving with Sara, waking up to the thick rug and warm fire, or attending that birthday party which went so horribly wrong.


2. Tales of Karensa by Jean Cullop

This was a retelling of the Gospel of Mark. I recall feeling a little cheated at that particular reveal. Looking back, my feelings were something akin to that little chap in John Wayne’s The Quiet Man:

A brother and sister row into this mist and visit an island and shenanigans ensue. One of the titles was called ‘Where Dolphins Race With Rainbows’ which always stuck in my mind for some reason. Also: the brother gets a scar, their hair grows and the boy I really quite liked ended up dead. But not dead dead. But sort of dead. It was a blow.

I had great feelings about the scene displayed in the front cover above. That gurl was so stoopid! She was falling into a trap and there was something to do with butterflies. Even now, the feelings of frustrated disbelief still linger.

3. The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson


This was one of my first encounters with an unhappy ending. These things leave a mark. A MARK!


4. Rora by James Byron Huggins

I’ve already posted about this right over here. I read some of it in the car, on the way home, at night. I strained my eyes and it was a game of patience – waiting to go past street lights so that I could catch the next bit.

Reading this was a game changer. Guts! Bravery! Gore! Bittersweetness!

1494185. The Dolphin Ring Cycle by Rosemary Sutcliff

I once disliked Justin (The Silver Branch) but as the years have gone by, my like for him has increased. He’s brilliant in his kind and quiet way and I’ve lost my aversion to big ears. (Little Ness, why?!)

Do you know why my pen name is Ness Kingsley? Because of The Lantern Bearers. Ness – the brown sister – just clicked with me. She had brown hair, I had brown hair. She wasn’t very beautiful, I could empathise. She liked thunderstorms? I too could like thunderstorms.

She was a small, brown, brittle nut who decided to stay with Aquila and is the inspiration of my pen name. The Loch Ness Monster, on the other hand, isn’t.

Forgive me, Possible Mythical Creature!