books, ness talks about life

whatcha reading?

I dreamt that someone dared me to follow them as they grabbed a killer whale’s fin and dove into the dark, cold depths of the ocean. I followed and took huge breaths underwater. I didn’t drown. It was a weird dream.

Everyone should gasp in awe though, because clearly I’m destined to be a mermaid now.

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Reading The Hobbit has stalled. The fault does not lie with Tolkien, but rather with myself. I haven’t charged my kindle, therefore, I cannot read The Hobbit.

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yes, my reasoning is very lazy

10975327I’m part way through Samurai, The Last Warrior by John Man. It … wasn’t quite what I’d expected, but so far, three things have been learned:

  1. Satsuma is an actual place.
  2. The Samurai had guts. (And yes, that was a terrible pun and a dreadful reference to seppuku.)
  3.  The book is centered around Saigo Takamori. I would have known this if I’d read the back cover when I bought it.

During my lunch break, I either pick up Samurai, attempt to eat melons, or read Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford on my phone.

GKATMOTMW (I’m shortening its title. To make it easier) is quite fascinating. And long. It’s really long. But that’s okay. The subject material is one that I enjoy.

My interest in Genghis Khan was first piqued when my elder brothers started to read The Conqueror series by Conn Iggulden, and was cemented by listening to the truly excellent Wrath of the Khans podcast series by Dan Carlin.

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it’s not about *that* khan

You can’t say that Genghis Khan was a good man. The death that followed in his wake was immense. (Millions. Millions died because of him.) His methods were brutal. But he was brilliant. Utterly, astoundingly brilliant.

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I’d highly recommend the Wrath of the Khans series. (Head’s up though – it’s not for the weak of stomach.) Dan Carlin’s podcasts are always my go to listening material.

Well, I have work this evening and there’s quite a bit to do before I get there. Editing. Editing and organising and not stopping to read a book.

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can’t … resist … the pull …

happy reading!

ness talks books

Beowulf and I are at loggerheads.

21413663Beowulf has kicked me to the reading curb. Or rather, Tolkien’s commentary on it has – which is one part fascinating and two parts here-lemme-gouge-my-eyes-out.

Some things are easy to read in the early mornings. Other things aren’t. It’s isn’t that I’m lacking in intelligence [well …] it’s just that some things are not meant for early mornings.

Tea? Yes.

A course in Old English?


And it’s not just the early mornings either; I can read this at any other time of the day and my reactions are still the same.

I feel as though I ought to pretend I’m enjoying it; to write a review with a smug little ‘I understood every jot of Tolkien’s commentary and my doesn’t ‘dugan’ have such a lovely abstract noun.’

However, honesty forces me to admit that no, I’m not enjoying abstract nouns, I’ve no desire to know about abstract nouns and I simply do not care about these abstract nouns.

I’ve felt the urge to throw the book at a wall. I haven’t. You can’t throw books at walls in the car. Or in a coffee shop. ’tis bad form.

Why continue? you ask. Life is short, DNF, swallow your pride, ignore the commentary, and pass on to that other translation of Beowulf.

I can’t. I see glimmers of hope. I want to read Sellic Spell, and when Tolkien starts explaining the cultural context/hidden meanings/subtle jests which the prose conceals, I start getting excited.

I read the tale in a new way. I see new things. A light shines with glorious illumination upon the text. All is fluttering butterflies and slain giants.


… the grammar rolls in, Tolkien goes off on a tangent, and a barrage of ancient words that looks like someone’s slammed their head against a keyboard assults my suffering eyes.

Still, I persevere.

a) because it will give me a better understanding of the tale

b) because Sellic Spell will surely be good


c) I’m avoiding Dickens.

… but at what cost?!