Read Topics About Which I Know Nothing by Patrick Ness Online


Scintillating, surprising, inventive fiction from one of the most talented young writers in Britain, this is a superb collection of new short stories from the acclaimed author of The Crash of Hennington. Have you heard the urban myth about Jesus's double-jointed elbows yet? 100 per cent true. Or seen the latest reports on the 'groomgrabbing' trend -- the benevolent kidnappScintillating, surprising, inventive fiction from one of the most talented young writers in Britain, this is a superb collection of new short stories from the acclaimed author of The Crash of Hennington. Have you heard the urban myth about Jesus's double-jointed elbows yet? 100 per cent true. Or seen the latest reports on the 'groomgrabbing' trend -- the benevolent kidnapping of badly-dressed children by their well-meaning (and more dapper) elders? Heard the one about the Amazon from the Isle of Man? Or perhaps you'd like a job in telesales, offering self-defence classes over the phone? Don't worry, as long as you meet the weekly quota, you won't be sent to the end of the hall... Wonderfully original, fresh and funny, Topics About Which I Know Nothing is stuffed to the gills with dizzyingly inventive writing and warming, puzzling emotions -- a fictional guide to how the world might have turned out....

Title : Topics About Which I Know Nothing
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780007139446
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 261 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Topics About Which I Know Nothing Reviews

  • Potassium
    2019-04-17 15:49

    Continuing my trend of reading everything written by Patrick Ness, here is his collection of short stories. It is always hard to rate a collection of short stories because unless you LOVE or HATE all of them... how do you rate a book where you loved some of the stories and felt a bit meh about the others?So it gets a 4 because it is Patrick Ness and he is funny. No 5 this time though because of the meh stories... That is all. It's still a fun collection of short stories though. He does a very good job making each story totally unique from the others - whether it's by varying the writing style (series of letters vs. a newspaper article vs. a story written by ghosts vs. a series of urban legends vs. an essay, etc) or the theme or both. Highly recommend it... Then you can tell me which stories (if any) YOU think are the "meh" ones....

  • Kaethe
    2019-03-26 12:39

    In his introduction Ness says he likes stories as a way to experiment. After finishing the volume, I concur. Most are successful, but the urban legends about Jesus one soon became tedious. My favorite was "Ponce de Leon is a Retired Married Couple from Toronto" which is worth at least six stars.So, a good collection for fans of Ness, for fans of short stories, and for those who study writing. If there is such a thing as a book club comprised of all writers, it would be really cool to discuss which stories work best, and why.Personal copy

  • Natalie
    2019-03-24 16:53

    I have a confession. I have a huge, almost unlady like crush on Patrick Ness.Here's a picture of my room:Just kidding. My husband probably wouldn't allow it. However, I admire his writing so much that I would give a book full of absolute drivel two stars automatically. Not kidding.I like to think that I am not easily offended by opinions. I will not maul anyone over their religious, political, sexual beliefs. If you know you are easily offended, please know that you most likely will be while reading this book. I just thought you should know all this before I start gushing about reviewing this ten short story collection. Let's break it down!Implied ViolenceThe first story in the collection. The first (but not the last) story to remind me that Patrick Ness is so much smarter than I am. The setting is a very small office with limited seating. There is a hallway, but we don't know what is at the end of it. All we know is that you don't want to find out what is at the end of it. Except that we do want to know. The Way All Trends DoThe trend here is "Groomgrabbing" and "Fabgrabbing." "Huh?" I know, I know. Essentially adults (usually a pair of gay men) grab children and take them shopping for nice clothes/accessories OR just to have fun (such as to an amusement park). This was hilarious. Allow me to demonstrate why I was laughing out loud (you heard me - I was straight up LOLing): I was a fat little kid, and unfortunately I wasn't even that funny which is pretty much the only thing that saves you if you're a kid and you're fat. Actually, my grabbers, who weren't even black, said it's pretty much the same thing with being gay. If you're a sissy, you better fucking be funny, or you're going to get your ass kicked.In regards to parents intentionally leaving their children in solitary spots hoping they would be grabbed:Not that it mattered. Colin, in the interview quoted earlier, indicates that groomgrabbers were expert at picking out fakes: Are you kidding? We have to spend all our lives secretly looking for other gay people in things like church and work and school. Oblivious is one thing we're not.Ponce de Leon is a Retired Couple From TorontoA couple says they are not coming home after a trip. Their 39-year-old son is convinced it can't be true and that something happened to them. He cannot accept that they are staying in Australia willingly and contacts various governments (Canada, the United States, Australia). He looks straight up crazy in his investigations as we see letters from his mother and hear about phone calls. He is convinced young couples are taking the identities of old couples. Is he nuts or is he right? I loved this one. I was also pretty freaked out by it. It went from funny to chilling in the blink of an eye. See? Like THAT.Jesus' Elbows and Other Christian Urban MythsThis is my favorite part of the book. It is brilliant (per usual) and also a bit brave. It contains (mostly) fictional outrageous accounts about the Bible/religion/etc. from a variety of characters. I consider myself to be spineless and indecisive when it comes to religion, so I found this section to be exceptionally hilarious. However, I think even a good Christian could see the humor in some of this. Example 1:Dinosaurs couldn't fit on the ark, and that's why they're extinct. Duh.Example 2:For you see, the full name of the greatest leader of the greatest nation on Earth was Ronald Wilson Reagan, and if you count up the letters, you get six for his first name, six for his second name, and six for his last name. Even the lowliest of laypersons has some idea of the supernumerary significance of this particular combination of digits.Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?You want unique? Here it is. A hermaphrodite with an "impossible" name (referred to as "_______" each time he/she is mentioned) is a janitor at an office that contains books with all the languages ever known. He/she throws a old book into the incinerator, and the language that was in the book is gone. POOF. Vanished. Not just from the books, but no one in the world can speak it or remember it. This wormed its way into my head because I couldn't quite figure it out. Who is "_______?" What is the true significance (or insignificance) of one language? Of two? Of any?Sydney is a City of JaywalkersIf I had to pick a least favorite out of the bunch, this would be it. I can't explain why. And because I was underwhelmed, I am convinced that I am missing something. There is a young man who vacations to Australia and finds his "dead" brother who faked his death to escape his "previous" life. His brother keeps breaking or delaying appointments to meet up with him. Both brothers are gay (but were not openly at home). I just don't know what the point was here. WHAT AM I MISSING, NESS?! TELL ME! TELL ME, DAMNIT!2,115 OpportunitiesThis one is going to replace the corny romantic comedy that I watch every year on Valentine's Day. Or rather, it would replace the corny romantic movie that I watched every year on Valentine's Day IF that was something I actually did. This is sweet but in a Patrick Ness way and not a chick-lit way. It entails documenting different scenarios (presumably 2,115) in which a couple does or does not get/end up together. Is there such a thing as fate? How small is the chance of ending up with that "one?" The Motivations of Sally Rae Wentworth, AmazonThis confused me more than the first time I read Keats. I think the general idea was a woman comes to the Amazon with her missionary parents when she is young. Her parents are killed by Amazons, but she is spared and raised with the Amazons. There is a war in which Sally is playing both sides and giving information on the Amazons. She questions her identity: Who is she? Which means more? Blood or environment and upbringing?It sounds simple enough, but the construction made it so that this was the point in the book when I threw my hands up in the air and admitted defeat. "Patrick. May I call you Patrick? You are officially my IQ times a gazillion. I might as well start using finger paints again to express my feelings."Two A-M-A-Z-I-N-G quotes from this one: The stupid, naive, selfish, little cow.It was love clearly or at least what the young so often mistake for love and, frankly, who are we in middle age to say that it isn't love, that rush of adrenalin and hormones that feels hot and cool at the same time like a frozen creamy cocktail. Why is that not love but yes this companionable settling that we do as life goes on is? Maybe love really is only for the young and the old co-opt it as we do everything and call our watered-down if quite comfortable version the only 'real' love.I dare you to read that and not agree that every word is absolutely perfect. International Military War Games Dance CompetitionExactly what you think it is.+Plus it is written like newspaper articles. So cool. The GiftedI can't explain this one without giving too much away. This one reads a little more like a YA book and accomplishes being a little funny, a little creepy, and more than a little smart in not a lot of pages. This is the easiest to read but still open to the same interpretation as the others. This is one of my favorite short stories collections because every story is: 1. Something I will read again.2. Incredibly unique. 3. Thought provoking.4. So well written that it practically brings tears of joy to my eyes.5. Like a modern day Swift.6. Written by Patrick Ness.An absolute must read for all human beings with even a smidge of brain activity any Patrick Ness fan. FIVE/5 STARS

  • Lauren Kathryn
    2019-03-24 12:44

    If you haven't guessed already, I love this man. He is an absolute genius.Topics About Which I Know Nothing was just what I needed. It made me laugh, made me think and actually made me want to tell people about it, just so we could have a discussion about their understanding of the storylines. Honestly, I just don't know how Ness does it. He continues to surprise me with every book, regardless of the fact that this was a collection of short stories and not a series. His outlook on the world is mesmerising; I literally hang on to every word. Onward to his next masterpiece.< / fangirling >(Honestly, a restraining order isn't necessary...)

  • Christina
    2019-04-05 08:42

    3.5 stars. In general I'm not a fan of short story collections, but I can honestly say that this one is the best/most interesting one I've ever read.

  • david y biblioflick
    2019-04-10 12:55

    Just testing my new header. Review to come for each stories

  • Soumyaditya
    2019-04-17 14:53

    A collection of weird and quirky short stories. Patrick Ness is the master of crazy. A must read!

  • skippity_doo
    2019-04-19 15:40

    Fun, interesting and varied. Fab!

  • Sabrina
    2019-03-28 12:54

    4.5 Stars!

  • Emma
    2019-04-18 14:46

    It's so hard to rate this book, as I loved some of the stories and, well, didn't love, some of them. What I really did love though is that every single short-story had a unique form - an academic paper, a newspaper article, various types of playing around with language and style - there was one story compiled of ONE SENTENCE for crying out loud! ( not a short one, a two pages long one ) THIS is what I love about Ness, I love that he experiments, and that he uses the formate of the text itself to add depth to his stories - LOVE IT, ok?!Some of these novellas were a lot darker than I expected, some were funny and most of them made you think. I think my favourites were SIDNEY IS A CITY OF JAYWALKERS and 2,115 OPPORTUNITIES. The latter exploring the butterfly effect, which is something I always enjoy.

  • Cristi-Lael
    2019-04-03 13:43

    Short story collections are always harder for me to enjoy because I just have a harder time getting into the stories. However, I was pretty impressed with this one. I hadn't expected so many of the stories to be as creepy as they were, but I enjoyed that. Unfortunately, I liked the early stories much better than the last few, which had the book leaving a poor taste in my mouth. But the earlier stories were really enjoyable.

  • Virtuella
    2019-03-28 15:35

    Short story collection. They’re all quite interesting in their way, and the prose is neat, but I found most of them pointless in the end. Author seems to set up bizarre situations simply for the sake of it without any idea himself what it's all supposed to mean. An easy read, mostly entertaining, but in spite of an implicit claim to depth I found the stories ultimately shallow.

  • Josie Collier
    2019-03-27 11:38

    All I have to say is that it's strange

  • Zuki Myira
    2019-03-25 11:27

    I know I'm supposed to like it, but to me it sucked

  • Maia Moore
    2019-03-24 08:37

    Original review posted hereThis is a continuation of my ‘read everything by Patrick Ness’ binge that came about from receiving all his books for my birthday.I do prefer his young adult books (as in I love them and rave about them always) but I’ve been trying to get into his adult stuff too. I really enjoyed The Crane Wife earlier this year, and was looking forward to this one too.I worry about reading short stories like this. It’s the kind of thing we’d read in my creative writing classes at uni and I’d always worry that I wouldn’t get it or I wouldn’t be able to say anything clever about it. And for some reason that still colours my opinion when I read things like this: even though I don’t need to impress anyone with my intellectual opinion, I still worry about it.There were some stories I just didn’t get, or didn’t enjoy, and rather than worry about it I’ve just accepted it. I;m just going to write a couple of lines about each one rather than try and sum up the book as a whole.Implied Violence – this was a great start to the book and just felt like everything a short story should be: a quick snapshot of life, with fleshed out characters, a good spot of humour and an interesting premise. I really enjoyed this.The Way All Trends Do – this was in the form of a report and was a bit bizarre, but in a brilliant way. I loved the idea of ‘groom grabbing’ and the way the information unfolded was really interesting.Ponce de Leon is a Retired Married Couple From Toronto – this story was told by several letters, between a mother and son, and the son and various authorities. The ending was a little ambiguous but I quite liked that.Jesus’ Elbows and Other Christian Urban Myths – the style of these felt a little odd. They didn’t feel like your traditional written story: more like one that someone was telling you directly, in person, if that makes sense. They were really quirky though and very enjoyable, though they’re probably not for everyone (i.e. you may find it a little offensive if you’re Christian).Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodest – this falls half in the category of ‘I didn’t understand’ but there were some bits I really enjoyed too. I think the not understanding came mostly from the large amounts of Latin used, but I did follow the main story line. There was a reference to Flemish that I really appreciated, though most people won’t enjoy as much (my Grandma is Flemish so it’s a language I’m used to hearing).Sydney is a City of Jaywalkers – I didn’t really enjoy this story. There was an interesting idea in there but I got a little bored, and then confused towards the end (another where I just felt maybe I wasn’t smart enough for it).2,115 Opportunities – this story explored all the little fluctuations that can cause or not cause an event to happen: we see over 2000 different scenarios (some are grouped together as they are similar) which just show how specific every little event had to be to lead up to two people meeting.The Motivation of Sally Rae Wentworth, Amazon – I think this is probably what spoiled my enjoyment of the book a bit. I really struggled to get through it, and it stuck in my mind more than the ones I enjoyed. I just found it dull.The Seventh International Military War Games Dance Committee Quadrennial Competition and Jamboree – this was a newspaper article, and another of Ness’ more bizarre ideas, but it did make me chuckle: the idea of combining war and art in some kind of weird and dangerous performance was brilliant.The Gifted – this was another one with a bit of a weird/ambiguous ending, but I really enjoyed it. There were some strong characters and a school assignment to die for (pun intended). I could easily see this as a longer story idea too.Now That You’ve Died – the introduction said this was recorded as an immersive play, and the theatre student in me loved it. It just filled me with creative ideas and I just wanted to take it into class and workshop it with some students. It was a brilliant way to end the book.

  • Read For RNIB
    2019-04-15 09:32

    Super excited that the short story, "Now That You've Died", which Patrick wrote especially for Read for RNIB is contained in this new version of the book.The story really does take readers on an exhilarating journey into the afterlife and is another fine example of Patrick’s finesse for storytelling which is both captivating yet challenging to the reader.The story was originally performed as an exhilarating interactive theatrical experience, part of the Sense Story Series, in 2013, when RNIB brought together a highly acclaimed team including co-directors Hector Harkness (Punchdrunk), Kate Hargreaves (Gideon Reeling), producer Colin Nightingale (Punchdrunk and Gideon Reeling) and Matthias Kispert (sound composer) with the task of creating an entirely inclusive experience which could be enjoyed equally by blind and partially audiences as by everyone else. So many of us love to get lost in a good book, but experiencing a story isn’t just about the written words on a page; at Read for RNIB we want to encourage people to think differently about reading.Now, for the first time, everyone can experience and enjoy actor Christopher Eccleston bringing the audio story as well and in return we ask you to consider making a donation to RNIB to help make reading more accessible to blind and partially sighted people.Listen here Patrick said;"I’ve been lucky enough to win the Carnegie Medal a couple times, and one of most brilliant things about it is getting a braille copy of your winning book and meeting some awesome young blind and partially sighted readers. When RNIB offered me the idea of a “play without visuals”, I leapt at it. I hope it brings a huge spotlight on Read for RNIB.”

  • Scribd
    2019-03-19 08:32

    Chaos Walking, Ness’s young adult trilogy, may be one of the quirkiest, darkest, and evocative YA series I’ve ever read, so I was intrigued to discover that we have Ness’s early works (aimed at adults) on Scribd. Though the stories that comprise Topics About Which I Know Nothing take place worlds apart from the one in Chaos Walking, these disparate tales share a sense of humor that belies an ominous undertone.The best of these stories explore the way psychological games, social cues, language, and just generally being in the world forces us to engage with our fellow human beings. In “The Way All Trends Do,” a social scientist explores a now-defunct fad called “groomgrabbing,” in which gay couples “kidnapped” children they believed to be dressed poorly or otherwise in need of a confidence boost and taught them about living it up on the town. Now, years after the fact, the scientist is trying to understand the phenomenon: though most of the children who were groomgrabbed overwhelmingly consider it a positive experience, others became subject to abuse and neglect on the part of parents who hoped to get their own kids grabbed by wealthy strangers. It’s a strange scenario, but it’s executed with deftness, in a style reminiscent of Lydia Davis’s short fiction.

  • Cynthia
    2019-04-06 14:40

    'the gifted' and 'ponce de leon is a retired married couple from toronto'.

  • Anna
    2019-04-01 11:48

    Some good stories some a bit confused but overall a good book.

  • Jen Brown
    2019-04-15 09:34

    Usually I am not one for short stories. I like continuity, I’m a sucker for series in fact. But I had to give this one a try because, you know, it’s Patrick Ness. Well, the stories were fucking weird, so there’s that. It’s what I expected. But I’m not sure if I understood all the stories. When I finished some of them I felt like I needed a further explanation of what the story was about. Maybe that’s the point? I don’t know. However, the most interesting thing about this book weren’t the stories per se, but how they were written. That’s some imaginative narration right there! Every one of these stories is written in a different format; letters, articles, one of them is complete time loop (which I really enjoyed) and so on…. That was what really kept me going — how is he going to do this one?It isn’t a book I would recommend to everyone, but if you’re willing to give it a try be openminded.

  • Deidre
    2019-03-31 11:29

    I love Patrick Ness. Where was he when I was a kid? Oh yeah, not born. I don't believe it. Reading his books makes me realize this must be his 3rd or 4th incarnation. This book, as all of them, is funny, horrifying, scary, and makes you think, "why didn't I write that???"He should have won the pulitzer for More Than This. Or at least a Wentworth. But noooo, all he got was a nomination for Locus, 9th place. Makes you want to weep. Like I did when I read a Monster Calls.Read this. Read all his books. More than once. They are worth it.

  • A Meneses
    2019-03-25 10:54

    Implied violence 4☆The way all trends do 5☆Ponce de Leon is a retired married couple from Toronto 4☆Jesus' elbows and other christian urban myths 5☆Quis custodied ipsos custodes 4☆Sydney is a city of jaywalkers 4☆2,115 Opportunities 3.5☆The Motivations of Sally Rae Wentworth, Amazon 4☆The Seventh International Military War Games Dance Committee Qudrenial Competition and Jamboree 4☆The Gifted 4☆andNow That You’ve Died: This story makes me want to drop the other stories ratings because it was AMAZING! PERFECT! Just read these one please. 6☆

  • Laura
    2019-04-04 15:43

    This book is a collection of short stories all written by Patrick Ness. Some made me laugh out loud while others were harder to get through (or skipped altogether). As I've recently moved to Australia, I really appreciated "Ponce de Leon is a retired married couple from Toronto". These stories are nothing like Ness's "A Monster Calls" trilogy, but a good taste of some of Ness's other writing styles.

  • Adam Stevenson
    2019-03-29 13:39

    Strange stories, they succeed best when they are experimenting. I like the one about ‘groom grabbing’, written as a PHD thesis paper and the one where he invents fake internet rumours and completely recreates internet type speak. Another good one counts all the ways in which two people may not have met. And there was a story about Amazons running the UK. I also liked the war games one - interpretive artillery firing indeed. Bad ones were the ones that tried to tell a story.

  • Maisie
    2019-04-04 09:36

    Patrick Ness is an absolute genius! I am currently making my way through all of his books and I now only have The Crane Wife left to read. My favourite story in this was 2115 Opportunities as I thought it was so clever and amazingly written with such a cute end.I have the newer edition so it also included Now That You've Died which was beautifully written it made me cry. Patrick Ness is one of my favourite authors and he never fails to amaze me with his incredible writing.

  • Jeffrey
    2019-04-05 16:41

    What an imaginative and compelling book of short stories! Ness has such an incredible range of styles and such a raw edge too though there is plenty of humour - lots of satire - which makes this an extremely satisfying book - so different from Crane Wife and more in sync with Crash and compared to his YA work - wow! Such a talent indeed!

  • Sanne (TheBookDutchess)
    2019-03-27 15:44

    There were good stories in here, and stories that weren't so great. the good just didn't outway the bad in this case. I wasn't excited to continue reading this, and skipped 2 of the stories after reading them halfway through. This is not something I do often, but they just did not hold my attention..Too bad, I generally love Patrick Ness's books.

  • flajol
    2019-04-05 10:39

    Some of these stories are really creepy (Implied Violence and The Gifted), some downright funny. I love The Way All Trends Do with its sly footnotes, and all the different voices in Jesus' Elbows and Other Christian Urban Myths. In fact, I think I may have met some of those people!

  • Sarah
    2019-03-22 08:36

    This is my favorite of Patrick Ness' adult writing. I enjoyed each and every story. They're often slightly creepy and rather funny, which has put the idea in my head that I'd love for Patrick to write an episode of Welcome to Night Vale.

  • Biro Tomodachi
    2019-03-20 14:53

    An interesting collection of short stories. feel like the young author is experimenting with the form and conventions which results in a varied collection. A useful tool for students to see an author playing with style and convention.