Moby Dick by Herman Melville

I always wondered what the fuss was all about when people talked about Moby Dick. I also wondered why would anyone call their book by that name. It is only later when I found out that it is the name of the whale.

I took out the book last year during vacation and it wasn’t what I expected.

I can understand why most people find this book so tiring. There are just an endless supply of poetry in the prose. What I mean by that is there is descriptive language everywhere. Most of the time I zoned out wishing the author would get to the point. Dialogue only starts on page 13!

Honestly I can’t remember the last time I hated reading a book so much. I just wanted to finish it. Sometimes I couldn’t figure out who was telling the story. The moment when Ishmael steps upon the whaling ship it’s as if he just disappears.

Then some chapters actually read like a biology book: going into detail about the anatomy and history of whales.

If you don’t care to know how they used to hunt, catch and slaughter whales then this book is not for you.

You get the sense that when Captain Ahab and Moby Dick the White Whale meet again it will lead to everyone’s doom.

What I did like about the book: I liked Ishmael’s first meeting with Queequeg, the cannibal harpooneer. Those chapters plus the last three were really the only parts of the book I enjoyed.

First published: 1851

Interesting fact: Turns out the fictional white whale got his name from a real notorious albino whale known as Mocha Dick.

Rating: 2/5*

*note: Really well-written, but I struggled to work through all those descriptions and detail.

Conclusion: Herman Melville was a dick and his book a pain in the ass.


My Hair nightmare

My hair seriously needs saving.

For normal people it would be a no-brainer. Just pick up the phone and make an appointment.

But for a person with anxiety with a trich addiction, not so much.

How do I explain to a stranger why I have so many split hairs?

This might sound weird to you, but yes I like pulling out my hair. I even like cleaning my brush every morning.

I’m afraid the hairdresser is going to say that she can’t save my hair, that my hair is beyond saving. That it will be better to just shave it off and wear a wig for the rest of my life.


It’s actually very frustrating, putting my life on hold because I’m afraid. I always think up the worst scenarios. Obviously that doesn’t help with my anxiety.

The moment when I have to make contact with the outside world and step out of my comfort zone I go into a frenzy.

I finally worked up the courage just to send a WhatsApp message. She’ll let me know. Phew!

Watter verhaal begin so?

Ek het onlangs na die verskillende maniere gaan kyk hoe van my gunsteling Afrikaanse storieboeke begin. Kan jy reg raai?

Dis somer op Sadewee.

Alie staan met haar rug teen ’n pendoringboom en kou aan ’n groot stuk blink gom wat sy teen die stam gekry het.

Wat ons, wat in die Karoo woon, die ‘Grasveld’ noem, lê tussen die berge en die see. 

’n Malende, siedende, tierende skare wat slegs in naam menslike wesens is, want vir die oog en die oor is hulle skynbaar barbaarse skepsels, aangevuur deur walglike hartstog, haat en die sug na wraak. 

Die dag toe die kind weggeraak het, het die mis vroeg begin toetrek en teen halfdag was dit of die Bos onder ’n digter wit wolk lê.

Die Sondagaand het die plan hom skielik binnegeval: hy moet ’n boek skryf. 

Kupido Kakkerlak is nie die gewone manier uit sy ma se liggaam gebore nie, hy het uitgebroei uit die stories wat sy vertel het. 

“Los!” sê haar Ouma. 

Can you guess the book?

You know that saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? Well, it’s nonsense because that is exactly what I do when I’m looking for my next book. If I don’t know the author by now and the title or cover doesn’t sell it, there is a 99% chance I won’t even bother picking it up.

The first lines of a story is usually the hook. It has to be interesting enough for the reader to want to continue reading. I went to all my favourite books to see what their first lines are.

I’m going to give you the first lines without telling you from which book it is. Some will be easier than others:

When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.

That was easy. It’s the first line from Harper Lee’s To kill a mocking bird. 

Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversation in it, ‘and what is the use of a book,’ thought Alice ‘without pictures or conversation?’

Clue: The author of this book also wrote the Jabberwocky poem.

Now see if you can guess these:

Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,” grumbled Jo, lying on the rug. 

First the Colours.

Mathilde took out her diary and wrote: The man sitting next to me has got one hell of a nerve.

There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.

Dad was a tall man, with a large head, jowls, and a Herbert Hoover collar. 

Would any of these first lines hook you?

One thing was certain, that the white kitten had had nothing to do with it: – it was the black kitten’s fault entirely.

In 1625, a young man of eighteen arrived in the town of Meung.

I have been arrested. – The second sentence will give it away.

There was once a gentleman, a tall fellow with an air of superiority about him, who made it his business to come down to the marketplace in Portsmouth on the first Sunday of every month in order to replenish his library. 

It was just three days, seventeen hours, and thirty-three minutes until Christmas in Whoville.

Sophie couldn’t sleep.

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. 

The following three is from three Agatha Christie’s novels:

Mrs McGillicuddy panted along the platform in the wake of the porter carrying her suitcase. 

Miss Jane Marple was sitting by her window. 

Mrs Bantry was dreaming. 

Another Roald Dahl classic:

In fairy-tales, witches always wear silly black hats and black cloaks, and ride on broomsticks. 

From other classics:

Call me Ishmael. 

Left Munich at 8.35pm on 1st May, arriving at Vienna early next morning; should have arrived at 6:46, but train was an hour late.

You don’t know about me, without you have read a book by the name of ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’, but that ain’t no matter. 




The most hated creature besides the mosquito (just in terms of sound), what is the point of the cricket?

It comes out at night and sends out a screeching chirp. Its chirp becomes an earworm that creeps into my ears and keeps me from my slumber.

I punch earwigs into my ears and glance around paranoid. My mind plays tricks on me. Its chirp echoes in my mind. The more I don’t want to hear it, the more I’m convinced it’s the only thing I hear.

I lie awake in bed, having visions of stomping on crickets. Oh, how glorious the day when you will meet your sticky end!

Please Mr.Cricket, can’t you go play your false violin under another window tonight?


Six Suspects by Vikas Swarup

This is the most complete book I’ve ever read. Every possible angle the story could take is covered.

What’s it about: 
‘ There’s a caste system – even in murder.

Vicky Rai, the son of a high-profile Minister, has been shot dead by one of the guests at his own party. They are a glitzy bunch, but among them the police find six strange, displaced characters with a gun in their possession, each of them steaming with a secret motive.

India’s wiliest investigative journalist, Arun Advani, makes it his mission to nail the murderer. In doing so, the amazing tender and touching, techni-colour lives of six eccentric characters unravel before our eyes. But can we trust Advani? Or does he have another agenda in mind…?’ (Backcover)

First published: 2008

What I liked about the book: The ending will blow your mind! Characters, the way the book was written each chapter dedicated to a different character.

Rating: 5/5

Q & A – Vikas Swarup


Most of you will know this book by another name. “Q&A” was the original title of the book and when they adapted it into a film they changed the name to “Slumdog Millionaire”. But it’s not just the title that they have changed.

Much of the plot differs, the names of the characters are different except for Salim.  In the film the hero is called Jalim and his love interest is Latika. In the book he is known as Ram Mohammed Thomas and his woman Nita. In the film it is Who wants to be a Millionaire? In the book it is Who wants to be a Billionaire? Remember, it plays off in India. The big prize is a billion rupees.

I recently lent this book to someone and realized I couldn’t remember what happens in the book. I mean, I know the plot more or less each chapter ends in a question asked on the show and everything before the question explains how he knew the answer. I couldn’t remember what happens to all the characters, does he get to keep the money?

This is what the book is about: 
‘A former tiffenboy from Mumbai, Ram Mohammed Thomas, has just got twelve questions correct on a TV quiz show to win a cool one billion rupees. But he is brutally slung in a prison cell on suspicion of cheating. Because how can a kid from the slums know who Shakespeare was unless he has been pulling a fast one?

In the order of the questions on the show, Ram tells us which amazing adventures in his street-kid life taught him the answers. From orphanages to brothels, gangsters to beggar-masters, and into the homes of Bollywood’s rich and famous, Q & A (Slumdog Millionaire) is brimming with the chaotic comedy, heart-stopping tragedy, and tear-inducing joyfulness of modern India.’ (Back cover)

First published: 2005

Vikas Swarup is an Indian diplomat and once worked in South Africa. In 2006 his book won South Africa’s Book Prize.

What I liked about the book: I’ve mentioned the plot, each chapter revolving around each question. I liked the characters especially Salim and Shankar.

Rating: 5/5



Self-harm vs Self-care

Some of you might remember one of my very first posts was “Skin picking and other strange disorders”.

I’ve been going to therapy ever since and this is what I’ve learnt so far:

Usually, when you say the word ‘addiction‘, the first thing that comes to mind is drugs and/or alcohol. Yes, substance abuse is a kind of addiction.

What most people don’t want to hear, however, is that the most common addiction is sugar addiction. Hundreds of people are affected by sugar by overeating, becoming obese or ending up with diabetes type 1 or 2.

You get different types of addictions: there’s the substances, sugar and then you get behavioural addictions such as gambling, porn, social media and cutting or picking.

All of these addictions are forms of self-harming and if you don’t treat it, it can spiral out of control.

Self-harming is when you know what you are doing is bad for you, but you get pulled in with the lies it tells you. It might tell you for instance that:

  • you can’t cope without it;
  • it will make you feel better about yourself;
  • it would take the pain away and help you escape from your reality;
  • you deserve this pain.

There are two worst-case scenarios your addiction can take:

The first one is when the addict is in denial: “I’m fine. I’m not an addict. I can handle this.” Or they blame their addiction on someone else: “Look at what you made me do”. When your an addict the mind-set is usually that you are the victim.

The second one is when you enter self-destructive mode. You know you should stop, but you can’t. You’ve lost all control. You don’t care anymore what happens to you. Self-destruction can often lead to suicide. You go into isolation, you cut yourself off from the outside world, your relationships go sour, you end up losing everything: finance, house, car, friends, family and ultimately your life.



The first step to recovery is to acknowledge that you have a problem and you need help. The opposite of isolation is connection. Most addictions you isolate yourself. You need to reconnect again. You need to rewire your brain.

Sometimes it is better to talk to a complete stranger, someone who is not emotionally involved like your loved ones.

You are going to have to make a decision to stop and take responsibility for your own actions. You are no longer the victim.

It is not easy. You’re going to need a support structure. People that won’t judge you and understand what you are going through.

In your recovery you need to find out what its the cause of your addiction: is it depression, insomnia, anger, hate, fear? Some underlying issues needs sorting out.

You go to one-on-one therapy or group therapy. You get the right medicine and support to get you through your recovery.


Triggers: People Places Things Time

You need to recognise possible triggers and prepare. Be on your guard. Triggers can cause you to relapse.

People: Substance abuse is a social addiction which means you are going to have to cut those people out of your life. People that you used with.

People can also be who makes you stress: a boss, a nagging mother. Take a break. Blow off steam.

Places: Avoid places where you ‘used’, drive different routes.

Things: It can be a song from your drinking days, photos, specific aisle in a store, etc.

Time: Most addicts only use at a certain time. Morning, afternoon, night, at work, after work, before work, anniversary.



Recovery means you need to rewire the paths in your brain. Find healthy substitutes. What is a substitute? What can you do instead of using that will make you feel better/able to cope?

Substitutes: Meditating, Exercise (walk, swimming), colour-in books for adults, better lifestyle (changing your diet: less sugar, more water).

With skin picking or other forms of self-harm: get a pen to write or draw on yourself, one that washes off at the end of the day.

Don’t substitute your addiction with another addiction. It’s so easy to substitute your substance addiction with smoking or overeating.

Beware: during recovery you will enter a phase when you think you are cured. Recovery takes 6 months – 2 years or as long as it takes. Do not fall for this false sense of security. This is how the addiction drags you back down.


Once an alcoholic, always a _____?

You are not the addiction. Addiction is a brain disease and has no cure. You will always have the urge to use again. You will have cravings. You will have to fight it your life long. But with your new friends and strategies and substitutes, it is possible.


  • It will take a long time to regain people’s trust. Do not fight them. Do not be impatient.
  • Relapse is not the end of the world. Pick yourself up and continue your journey of recovery.
  • Self-care also means to take care of yourself. Treat yourself. Take a spa-day. Do something fun. Play. Get a new haircut.


Self-care is when you accept yourself and start liking the person you are.


I hope this article helps someone.




The life-changing magic of not giving a fuck

I’m not one for self-help books but this one takes the cake. For all you strange, weird, pathetic people pleasers out there, this is for you!

I really needed this book, because for too long I cared too much what other people think of me. All that time, energy and money I could have saved not seeking others’ approval… Well, no more!

Sarah Knight is here to change your life forever!

Backcover: The surprising art of caring less and getting more

Are you stressed out, overbooked, and underwhelmed by life? Fed up with pleasing everyone else before you please yourself? Then it’s time to stop giving a fuck.

This irreverent and practical book explains how to rid yourself of unwanted obligations, shame, and guilt – and give your fucks instead to people and things that make you happy.

From family dramas to having a bikini body, the simple NotSorry Method for mental decluttering will help you unleash the power of not giving a fuck and will free you to spend your time, energy and money on the things that really matter.

First published: 2015

What I liked about this book: Like I said, I really needed this book. This book was a life saver. This book teaches you not to feel guilty about (possibly) hurting other people’s feelings, it teaches you to be assertive without being an asshole and it teaches you about healthy boundaries.

Sarah Knight will show you ‘How to stop spending time you don’t have doing things you don’t want to do with people you don’t like’.

Rating: 5/5 Live saver!

Can bees commit suicide?

Now I don’t know about you, but I think I witnessed a few bees commit suicide about a month ago.

I was coming home from work and printing something from my dad’s computer when I noticed two bees buzzing at the window. They seemed really angry and buzzing louder as usual. I just assumed they were trapped and needed to get out so I opened the window.

Later that afternoon when I was sitting in front of my own computer I noticed a few bees buzzing inside the windows. The weird thing is I don’t know how or where they got in, but opened the windows so they can find their way outside. I even tried to help one of them out. By this time they seemed very fatigued as if they were struggling the whole day.

It’s only when I went to the bathroom I also noticed a bee by the window, but this one was already dead. I went to check on the first few bees I’ve seen. That’s when I noticed there was a whole lot of bees clumped together:

I counted almost  30 of them. Some of them were already dead.

I thought: Is this the end of the world?

Now some background information. South Africa, particularly the capital city Pretoria, is going through a very bad drought. When I saw the bees and took the pictures it hasn’t rained in months and the whole city was put on water restrictions.

It only occurred to me (too late I might add) that maybe the bees were dying of thirst. Someone once told me we should give water to the bees by pouring a little bit of water or Coca Cola in a small container filled with marbles or pebbles and leave it nearby bees. I did that the day after, but I’m not sure if it did any good.

Now it’s more than a month later, we’ve had rain, but they say it will not be enough. A few days ago I had a strange encounter with a lone bee. I was watching television when I noticed the bee was acting rather strange. It repeatedly flew into the light, almost as if it was a moth.

When I switched off the light it immediately flew to the kitchen light doing the same thing. For some weird reason I thought perhaps the bee is afraid of the dark????

It only occurred to me later that maybe the bee thought the light was also a bee, because it was making a buzzing sound.

When I switched off the kitchen light to go to bed the bee fell silent. I searched for it, but couldn’t find it anywhere! It’s as if it just disappeared.

Now this is a crazy thought, but hear me out: Maybe when I switched off the lights the bee thought the other’bee’ died and it died as well?

I mean, after all, bees are social creatures. Maybe they can’t live without each other. Maybe if one dies, the others will follow?

I remember reading articles about bees acting strange or just dying out or attacking people for no apparent reason. There have been two cases recently where a whole swarm of bees killed a 70-year-old woman and another swarm attacked some kids at a school.

Animals are intuitive and act on instinct. I mean, they know when a storm or tornado or tsunami is coming. They act strange to warn people that something is wrong. Maybe the bees are doing the same thing?

The reason given for the attacks are that the bees don’t like hot and dry conditions. I can understand if they feel they are being threatened and they want to protect the queen. But what if they weren’t provoked by human beings?

There have been reports where a whole swarm committed suicide to protect the colony when it was infected or poisoned.

I guess my real question is: did they commit suicide? And if they did, it means it can happen again and on a much larger scale!

And the world without bees means no pollination, less food for humans and other animals aka the beginning of the end of the world!