[engaging headline to encourage people to read]

I’ve always been fascinated by regression… going back to those things we find comfort in particularly when times are hard. There’s a psychological basis for it I’m sure but I won’t pretend to know what I’m talking about there. For me, it’s as simple as comfort food, comfort tv and comfort books. Last week I got ill and found myself watching Danger Mouse then marathoning the Star Wars movies… because apparently, despite being forty (and falling apart) I have never actually grown up. The difficult thing for me this week, though, has been the fact that I have found it almost impossible to read for any length of time. I just can’t concentrate, I feel nauseous and it brings on a migraine. That has been horrible. As my sister-in-law affectionately (I think) called me when we first met, I’m… a fucking book reader. So being off work for a week (nightmare, I love my job) and not being able to read has been particularly shit.

DISCLAIMER: it is about a week since our little late night scramble to the hospital and I am feeling much better… but this post has taken the better part of an entire day to compose. Never mind the lack of focus, there are just too many awesome new episodes of Danger Mouse and Duck Tales to watch!

Despite being unable to read or concentrate for any great length of time, my brain hasn’t got the memo to switch off. I might be lethargic but – to abuse a quote from Messrs. Pratchett and Gaiman – my mind is…

… gayer than a tree full of monkeys on nitrous oxide

Good Omens

Being unable to “switch off” is both a blessing and a curse. When you’re in an Emergency Room at 330am and some fucker is watching cat videos on their phone without headphones and a televangelist is screaming at you from the tv while you’re trying to keep your brain from oozing out your ears and the rest of your insides on the inside, it is alarming how many variations of Middle-Aged Man Rampages in Waiting Room Because… headlines flit through your mind. This is why Stephen King writes horror, right? Because if he did any of the things in his head he’d be banged up quicker than Amber Heard trying to bring those dogs back to Australia. But the positive side is the ideas. A whole montage of what ifs flitting across the inside of my eyelids when I’m trying to rest. To a writer, they’re gold dust. But also… somewhat annoying. Kind of like Homer in The Simpsons episode where he communes with the animals and they just won’t leave him alone.

Scene from Homer the Heretic

So in this situation I retreat (regress… hide…) in the pages of my favourite book. Nation by Sir Terry Pratchett. It has to be the audiobook of course because the words make my eyes swim and my belly attempt a flop without a pool, but thankfully the narration by Stephen Briggs is superb. The strange thing about this book, however, is that it is not a childhood favourite. I had never even heard of it until I was in my 30s, but magic doesn’t give a shit about age and Nation is pure magic.

In fact, this post was supposed to be a book review.

(Note to self – having ideas is good. Writing them down is better.)

I had intended to write a series of reviews about my favourite books and what they mean to me – this was supposed to be the first – but as I’ve already waffled on for a small eternity and only just mentioned the damn thing I think I’ll end it here and try again when I feel better.

And anyway, that last season of Duck Tales isn’t going to watch itself.

So, erm, yeah… Nation by Terry Pratchett. It’s really good. 5 nitrous monkeys out of 5.


Nation by Sir Terry Pratchett. Read by Stephen Briggs.

What the hell am I going to call this post?

Published by A.B. Finlayson

I write stuff

I'm always keen for a natter...