Doodling

Rated 4.25/5 based on 42 reviews
After Neville Lansdowne falls off the world (because it's moving too fast), he finds himself adrift in an asteroid field full of eccentric characters and experiences some most unexpected adventures. Douglas Adams meets Lewis Carroll (with just a touch of Gulliver’s Travels) in this engaging comic fantasy. More

Available formats: epub, mobi, pdf, lrf, pdb

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Words: 17,630
Language: English
ISBN: 9781458168771
About Jonathan Gould

Jonathan Gould is a Melbourne-based writer and doodler.

He calls his stories "dag-lit" because they're the sort of stories that don't easily fit into the standard genres. Some might think of them as comic fantasies, or modern fairytales for the young and the young-at-heart.

Over the years, his writing has been compared to Douglas Adams, Monty Python, A.A. Milne, Lewis Carroll, the Goons, Dr Seuss and even Enid Blyton (in a good way).

Also in Adventures of Neville Lansdowne

Also by This Author

Reviews

Review by: Alysa H on Oct. 26, 2013 :
A clever little sci-fi-esque novellette that works as an easy parable about the modern human condition. I chuckled a lot, and I never knew what was going to happen next, but I also didn't care that much past the first half or so. One never quite gets to know any of the characters; they're all entirely symbolic apart from, perhaps, the protagonist Neville. It makes the whole thing feel a bit like an extended Monty Python sketch, which is a good thing. But unlike a Python sketch, the setting is quite hard to envision because its so very abstract.

I would agree with the official description that this is "Douglas Adams meets Lewis Carroll (with just a touch of Gulliver's Travels)" though with far less nuance, due for the most part to its comparatively short length. But that's not a criticism: _Doodling_ would never have worked as a long novel, and as a short it is really quite good.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Lynne Cantwell on March 28, 2013 :
This is another of the books that I won as a prize at the end of 2011, but didn't get around to reading 'til last year.

Neville Lansdowne is our hapless Everyman. The modern world simply moves too fast for him, so he lets go and falls off. Really. He literally lets go, and falls off into space. Pretty soon, he finds himself adrift in an asteroid field. When he spots an asteroid with a flag planted on it, he lands on it -- and that's when his adventure really begins.

This is a very much a novella -- just 68 pages on my Nook -- so it's a quick read, but but it's fun. It's absurd in the same way that Alice in Wonderland is absurd, and it's a send-up of modern life in the same way as The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I quite enjoyed Doodling -- it's a cute little book.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Lynne Cantwell on March 28, 2013 :
This is another of the books that I won as a prize at the end of 2011, but didn't get around to reading 'til last year.

Neville Lansdowne is our hapless Everyman. The modern world simply moves too fast for him, so he lets go and falls off. Really. He literally lets go, and falls off into space. Pretty soon, he finds himself adrift in an asteroid field. When he spots an asteroid with a flag planted on it, he lands on it -- and that's when his adventure really begins.

This is a very much a novella -- just 68 pages on my Nook -- so it's a quick read, but but it's fun. It's absurd in the same way that Alice in Wonderland is absurd, and it's a send-up of modern life in the same way as The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I quite enjoyed Doodling -- it's a cute little book.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Lynn Hallbrooks on Oct. 15, 2012 :
I was first introduced to Doodling on Independent Authors and Writers were I was impressed with the book page enough to give it Book of the Day: http://www.independentauthors.org/201... At some point later, Jonathan blessed me with a discount to the Smashwords version. It was on the terms that I was not seeking this from my review of his page but that I was happy for the opportunity to read and review his book with an open mind and an honest review.

Neville falls off the world and visits several asteroids. Why does he do this...well you'll have to read the book to find out.

I think this is a cross between Fantasy and Satire. Fantasy because we all know that people can't really survive in outer space without forms of protection. A Satire because there are subliminal references to society yet they are not caustic in nature.

My imagination was captivated by Mr. Gould's descriptions of the people and places. I couldn't help but wonder how this was all going to turn out. I was quite pleased when all the pieces of the proverbial puzzle fell into place in the end. In some ways it put me in mind of "Gulliver's Travels".
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: killie81 on Oct. 13, 2012 :
"Doodling" is a fun little novella by Jonathan Gould that has been influenced by the works of Douglas Adams and Lewis Carroll. It is a madcap, surreal adventure full of nonsense and rather insane characters that had me smiling multiple times. However, Gould also manages to make some deep reflections on our society in amongst this comedy which helped give the novella a sense of purpose.

The story itself follows Neville Lansdowne who one day discovers that he can’t keep up with the fast pace of the world and is flung into space. Luckily he lands in an asteroid belt where he begins to create his own world completely designed based on his ideas and dreams. Of course, he soon discovers that a life alone like this just wasn't for him and journeys to other asteroids where he meets many other travellers, with many of them being completely and utterly barking mad.

As mentioned earlier, there are a fair few wacky moments that should provide giggles and smiles aplenty alongside a sense of purpose that helps to drive the narrative along. Gould does a good job in making sure the story doesn't get lost in surreal mayhem and balances the need for contemplation and humour well.

An issue I did have with the novella though was the characters as whilst they were initially quite amusing and varied they could be a little bit cartoon like. Within two of three pages of a character being introduced I found that they got a little bit boring as there was no real depth to their strange behaviours and choices. As for Neville himself, whilst he does have a little bit of development as the story progresses I found that I didn't really know much about him so found it hard to empathise or relate to him fully.

Overall, this is an amusing novella full of imagination and fun that should keep most people entertained on some level. I actually think that it is the type of story that could be read to children who may really enjoy the short length, basic silly characters and the downright crazy almost illogical adventure.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Enora Dunham on May 07, 2012 :
Honestly, I found Doodling to be a little pointless. Ever heard someone say that Huckleberry Finn is a book with no plot? This is kind of like that. I don't mean to be harsh. The writing was pretty good, I just think Jonathan Gould can do better than this.

I was constantly wondering how old the main character was. At first I thought it was probably somewhere around the age of ten, but as the book progressed I became confused. At one point, he went to drink champange (it wasn't really champange, just dirt really) which made me again wonder how old he really was. A ten year old wouldn't drink champange.

In Doodling, all of the characters were in space. I'm still wondering how exactly the whole running or bycle think worked in space when they're jumping from astroid to astroid or chasing one. I found the main character's potential untapped and thus found him uninteresting.

Jonathan Gould could do much better if he would just use a better idea.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: John Martin on Dec. 15, 2011 :
This novella is surely the lovechild of Alice in Wonderland and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
It's a fun read (a modern fairytale with young and young-at-heart readers in mind, I read in another review -- and I'd have to agree with both those observations.
It's succinct and slickly written.
I'd recommend it to readers who enjoy this genre.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: John Martin on Dec. 15, 2011 : (no rating)
This novella is surely the lovechild of Alice in Wonderland and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
It's a fun read (a modern fairytale with young and young-at-heart readers in mind, I read in another review -- and I'd have to agree with both those observations.
It's succinct and slickly written.
I'd recommend it to readers who enjoy this genre.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Amanda chefamanda@gmail.com on Nov. 18, 2011 :
Two phrases come to mind when I read this book: "Stop the world. I want to get off," and "It's us against the world." You will never think of those words quite the same way after reading Doodling.

On the surface, Doodling is a humorous, ridiculous story about missing toasters and wayward asteroids, and is completely enjoyable on that level.

Doodling is also a cautionary tale, warning against the danger of moving too fast, doing too much. Gould reminds us that life is always better when it's taken at a reasonable pace.

I received this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Donna Brown on Nov. 14, 2011 :
I always think of doodling as something a little random, innocuous, with little meaning behind it but in truth there has long been a school of thought there suggests there’s actually more that lies beneath the simple doodle. Jonathan Gould’s novella seems to fall into a similar category. On the surface, it seems lighthearted, fun and not very serious at all. Look a little closer, however, and Doodling is full of surprises. And what remarkable surprises they are.

I empathise wholeheartedly with Neville. The world is racing and sometimes I – like many others – feel like I’m barely clinging on by my fingertips. What can we do but keep clinging? Neville experiences a rare look at the world beyond the world and the discoveries are – frankly – frightening. Strange party people who will celebrate any occasion possible in the strangest of ways. Competitive types who are utterly driven by the desire to win and never realise that not everyone can be a winner. Toaster people who desperately need something to worship and yet when their quite illogical beliefs prove to be founded, find themselves utterly lost. (What’s that Voltaire quote: “Si Dieu n’existait pas, il faudrait l’inventer” – “If God didn’t exist it would be necessary to invent him”. Some people need something to believe it but seeing it in front of you is a different ball game!)

There are a few conclusions that can be drawn at the end of Doodling including ‘It takes all sorts of people to make a world’ and ‘As hard as it is to keep the world spinning. it’s always going to be more difficult alone’. However, there’s a very clear conclusion that Jonathan Gould is a very intelligent author who can write remarkably humorous fiction with an incredibly clever streak running through it. He’s either a satirical genius and knows it or he’s a satirical genius who doesn’t yet realise it: either way, expect a literary explosion in the future. This is not the kind of writing that can be kept under wraps.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Coral Russell on Nov. 10, 2011 :
Novella for fans of The Little Prince and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It is like an adult version of The Little Prince which is what immediately came to mind when I started reading it. Humorous and light-hearted (Stop world, I want to get off!), but with profound little tidbits sprinkled throughout that leave you giggling even as you're going A-ha!
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Unicorn Productions on Oct. 24, 2011 :
this fast and funny satire reminded me of the Little Prince (although I read it many many years ago, but the traveling through planets or asteroids is similar) AND the Hitchhiker's guide to the Galaxy. A very enjoyable read.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: CathyS on Oct. 21, 2011 :
This is one of those short stories you read from start to finish with a big smile across your face……it was quirky, funny, imaginative, oddball and ingenious.

What do you do when everything in life is going too quickly for you? The world seems to be making you run too fast and you just want to shout, 'Stop the world, I want to get off'? You do exactly what Neville did. You just get off. Yes, you read correctly, you just get off the world, it couldn't be simpler. Indeed there are minor details to attend to – you have to find somewhere to live and goodness me, there are some jolly strange asteroids out there with all sorts of bizarre and eccentric people on them. Not only that, while you are asteroid-hunting, you certainly don't suddenly want to find yourself having to find a way to stop with the world escaping its orbit and hurtling into the asteroid field.

There are so many delightful elements to this short story, if I explained them all it would give far too much away. I will say, though, that it's uplifting and entertaining, and it's a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours in the company of toasterless inhabitants of an asteroid (have you any idea what it's like to live without a toaster?), a young lady who wants a book but can't read and I'm still wondering when I can go and celebrate the unmissable Venezuelan Alpaca Milking festival. Not only that, I'd love to put my finger on Everest's tip and give the world a gentle nudge.

This is probably beginning to sound like I've had a glass too many of the red stuff…..to find out whether this makes any sense, I advise you to be magically entertained for an hour or two with Neville and his asteroid-resident friends. You will love it.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: CathyS on Oct. 21, 2011 :
This is one of those short stories you read from start to finish with a big smile across your face……it was quirky, funny, imaginative, oddball and ingenious.

What do you do when everything in life is going too quickly for you? The world seems to be making you run too fast and you just want to shout, 'Stop the world, I want to get off'? You do exactly what Neville did. You just get off. Yes, you read correctly, you just get off the world, it couldn't be simpler. Indeed there are minor details to attend to – you have to find somewhere to live and goodness me, there are some jolly strange asteroids out there with all sorts of bizarre and eccentric people on them. Not only that, while you are asteroid-hunting, you certainly don't suddenly want to find yourself having to find a way to stop with the world escaping its orbit and hurtling into the asteroid field.

There are so many delightful elements to this short story, if I explained them all it would give far too much away. I will say, though, that it's uplifting and entertaining, and it's a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours in the company of toasterless inhabitants of an asteroid (have you any idea what it's like to live without a toaster?), a young lady who wants a book but can't read and I'm still wondering when I can go and celebrate the unmissable Venezuelan Alpaca Milking festival. Not only that, I'd love to put my finger on Everest's tip and give the world a gentle nudge.

This is probably beginning to sound like I've had a glass too many of the red stuff…..to find out whether this makes any sense, I advise you to be magically entertained for an hour or two with Neville and his asteroid-resident friends. You will love it.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: David Green on Oct. 21, 2011 :
A charming story about Neville Lansdowne who fell off the world as he could no longer hold on because the world is moving too fast.
However as he is searching for somewhere new to live, out in the asteroid belt, he soon realises there’s danger waiting just around the corner which he must deal with or his new found friends lives are in serious jeopardy.

This is a short story and Jonathon Gould’s writing style, with a slight mix of satire, shines through.
If you were to mix up the novels “disc world” and “Alice In Wonderland” then you would have a general idea of where this story sits.

A wonderful mix of quirky characters and an action packed plot make it a must read suitable for all ages.
I especially liked the character on the aimless asteroid.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Jessica Bronder on Oct. 21, 2011 :
Neville is struggling to get through the fast paced world when he is suddenly thrown off. When he realizes what happens, he makes his was to an asteroid field. He wants to claim one of the asteroids as his new home. On the first asteroid, he draws out the border of his little world and names it. But then he realizes that someone is going to have to run his world since he doesn’t want to be in a position of power. After appointing a rock as the leader, he leaves the asteroid and starts wandering around the asteroid belt. He meets a group of people that worship a toaster. Then he meets a lady on a strange asteroid that goes everywhere but in a straight line.

When he stumbles upon a little paradise run by an astophysist, he learns that the world is spinning so fast that it is going to fall off it’s orbit and go straight through the asteroid belt. Now Neville has to find some way to stop that from happening.

This was a cute little story. I loved the different people that Neville meets and what keeps them entertained. It shows how everything is going by so fast that sometimes we need to stop and smell the roses. Neville, the reluctant leader, even steps up. I’m going to keep my eyes out for more stories from Jonathan Gould.

I received this book for free from the author.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: wistfulskimmie on Oct. 06, 2011 :
This is a wonderful tale of a man – Neville – who found the world was moving too fast and fell off. He found himself in an asteroid field with all manner of quirky and interesting characters. Then he finds out the world is moving too fast and is going to leave it's orbit and fly straight into his new found home and friends. Does Neville stop the world and save the asteroids? Well that would be telling wouldn't it?

This was a quirky little story. Neville mad me think a bit of Arthur Dent with his no nonsense approach to that which made no sense. It was funny in places and endearingly heart warming. Underneath it all was a deeper message to take things slowly and not let life rush you by.

I loved this. It is a nice quick read and would appeal to all ages I think.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Dirk Jeremy on Sep. 25, 2011 :
Doodling is a whimsical fantasy about a man's journey through space. It has intriguing characters who interact with Neville - the man who fell off the world. If you have ever wanted the world to stop, then Neville is your man. Who is Jonathan Gould? Where did he come up with the idea? What is his next book about....?
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Sarah (Workaday Reads) on Sep. 23, 2011 :
This is a fun short story.I was a little concerned that it would be too fanciful, but it was actually quite delightful. The characters are definitely a quirky collection. Each of them was unique in their own humorous way.

I found that there were some very important themes in the story: finding your purpose in life, and making time to slow down to enjoy the moment. The whole idea that Neville let go of the world because it was just moving too fast sounds like something most people can relate to at one time or another. I loved the way he took the time to have a few moments to himself before deciding to do something he considered to be important. It is definitely a lesson to be remembered.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: A. F. Stewart on Sep. 21, 2011 :
Doodling by Jonathan Gould is absurd, quirky, breezy, fun and a total delight to read. It is also a witty little metaphor for today’s social climate, without being preachy or heavy-handed. The book makes some subtle observations while maintaining its air of entertainment.

The book begins with Neville Lansdowne falling off the world. Literally. After the shock wears off he sets out exploring a nearby asteroid field, and finds out he’s not the only one who fell. From there his adventures just commence.

The premise of Doodling is unusual, surreal and not the least bit scientific, but from the moment you begin reading, the book enchants with its style. It weaves an alluring charm with its eccentric farce that amuses and captivates. Odd characters and fantastic situations abound, flit through your imagination with verve, before settling around you in a warm, clever cosiness. I couldn’t help but imagine this book as a wonderful animated film.

Doodling is a thoroughly pleasing book and I highly recommend it.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Rebecca A on Sep. 08, 2011 : (no rating)
Doodling is a light, fast-paced novella that while seemed to have a humorous element to it, was actually quite deep at its core.
Neville falls off the earth because it is going too fast. From there, he encounters a few little worlds on asteroids created by others who have also fallen off the earth due to it going too fast. I got a few laughs out of some of the goings on.
Of course, all the events point to the idea that sometimes when things get a bit hectic and a bit crazy, it’s a good idea to take time out and focus on something little that makes you happy.
Overall, I would say that Doodling is a really neat little story and I really enjoyed reading it. I liked that it seemed to be a light, funny read but at the heart of its core was a message. It’s definitely worth a read. Not to mention, I also really love the cover. The simplicity of it and the pretty colours just make me absolutely love it.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Coreena McBurnie on Aug. 22, 2011 :
I loved this story! It was fun, well written and imaginative. Doodling is a short book of 36 pages about a man named Neville who finds the world is moving too fast and he cannot keep up any more, so he jumps off into an asteroid belt where he meets a variety of different characters.

This is a type of cautionary tale, with the silly, funny story of Neville roaming through the asteroid belt trying to figure out a way to stop the world from crashing into them. Then there is the allegorical story, with its deeper meaning and engaging questions about human beings and their priorities. Gould questions in a simple way why and how we do things, but is not preachy or judgemental. I found his writing to be observant, witty and engaging.

Doodling is well worth the read, especially if you want something different and thoughtful, as well as a good laugh. It will entertain and get you to think at the same time.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Amy Eye on Aug. 11, 2011 :
The things in life have a tendency to make your head spin. I have dreamed many times of just letting it all go, leaving it all behind. Neville gets this opportunity, and he made the most of it.

Since life on Earth is no longer appealing to Neville, in fact, he let go and watched it fly away. Things were just going to fast for him. So he looks to the asteroid belt to build his new life. After an attempt at a solo asteroid, he realizes that complete control over everything just wasn't for him. So Neville starts an adventure across the asteroid field and meeting several different types of unusual people on the way.

This book is great for younger readers looking for something amusing to read. It is a shorter book, so it is something they would be able to tackle on their own, while still feeling they accomplished something when they finished it. The characters in this book would amuse many younger children as some of them are fairly silly. This would also be a good book to read to your favorite young person!! :-)
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Adva on Aug. 10, 2011 :
"They were toast"

This is a fun and quick read. You can really feel the influence Douglas Adams, Alice in Wonderland and The Little Prince had in this story. There are some truly giggle-worthy moments in the book, mostly in the tradition of said influences - nonsense uttered in complete seriousness, and completely mad characters.

However, there were some things that bothered me. First, the book needs more proofing - there is the occasional missing or misspelled word and there are some grammar issues that just need careful tending. The short length of it only emphasizes the few problems.

Secondly, it was lacking in show, not tell and general background information. To this moment, I have no idea how Neville looks like, how old is he, or who he is. Worse yet, one character is described as "about his age and about his height", which tells us nothing. The action scene at the end is also baffling, and I can't picture it. I think quite a few ideas could have been expanded, like the movement in space, for example. The way they are presented now creates holes in the plot and deus-ex-machina moments. It could have been viewed as nonsensical, if it was used more profusely and if the wording was different.

Third, and I'm not a big science geek or anything, but even within the book there were inconsistencies in logic (even the nonsense in Alice had some internal logic to it). I had a few huh?! moments that weren't appeased at all, and some I had to think over and find the logic myself. Something the reader could avoid doing with better showing. Inconsistencies weren't only in logic, but also in story telling - one moment an object is held in place, and the next it moves without it being let go.

I have to be honest, I missed the allegories and the satire until I read some of the other reviews. I may have caught on myself in a 2nd or 3rd reading, but once I read the other reviews it was easy to spot. So catching on late is probably my fault :p.

All in all, although it has its flaws, Doodling is a cute story and a fun, fast read. If it had been longer: 1. Maybe most of the issues would have been resolved and thus it would have received a higher rating, 2. if not, it would have gotten a lower one.

"The roar of the world was like the sound of a hundred rock bands all playing at the same time, only much, much louder"

Received the ebook for free through the summer hop giveaway at Jonathan Gould's blog Dag-Lit Central.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Katy Sozaeva on Aug. 06, 2011 :
On its surface, “Doodling” is a surreal and rather silly story about a man named Neville who, upon losing his grip on the ever-more-rapidly spinning Earth, falls off and winds up in an asteroid field. After meeting several very strange people on different asteroids – and a failed attempt to set up his own country, which he calls Bolivia, on his own asteroid with the large rock 27 meters to his right as president – he stumbles across the lovely Helen. Helen has created a garden on her asteroid, which she tends constantly in order to maintain it against the effects of outer space. She also warns him that the Earth, which continues to increase its insane pace, is about to snap free of gravity and will go through the asteroid field like a bowling ball through pins – but with a much more serious effect, since the Earth will disintegrate everything in its path. Neville must come up with a way to stop this disaster.

I said “on its surface,” because underneath, “Doodling” is anything but silly – there are deeper meanings here. There are messages about the dangers of the ever-increasing pace of life; about the need to cease the sort of divisiveness that currently has caused so many wars based upon ridiculous things like who has the better deity; about how the need to constantly win brings nothing but wheel-spinning; about the need for people to learn to put aside their differences, embrace the unique abilities of others, and work together for the common good. And Mr. Gould has squeezed all of these ideas into a very entertaining and well-written novella (my edition is 65 pages). My hat is off to this most talented writer, and I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone – if you like to read, you will love this book. BUY IT – NOW! You will not regret your decision.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Tahlia Newland on July 26, 2011 :
Doodling is just 37 pages. A quick, fun read about a man who wants to get off the world because it’s spinning too fast. It strikes me as one of those mad ideas you get when an idle comment sets off a visual image, in this case probably someone shouting, ‘stop the world, I want to get off!’ The beauty here is that Gould has actually written this whimsical little book that speaks to the part of ourselves that wants to get away from our crazy world. If you want something light yet poignant, something that makes you look at people and the world through a different lense, then this is a good one. I recommend it for reading when you’re waiting for a doctor, a dentist, a lawyer or for that girl to show up for your date, anything. It’ll bring a smile to your face and a lightness to your heart.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Judy Cox on July 21, 2011 :
This was definietly an interesting book. I can't imagine even thinking about falling off the edge of the world and finding all these other people. I am so glad I read this, it also makes you think:)Really would recommend everyone read for the entertainment of it.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Christina Daley on July 19, 2011 :
Once I'd suspended my meager understanding of natural law and physics, I thought this short story was rather clever. Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery and The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll came to mind often while I was reading it, though there are no children involved in this story. I believe there is a great deal of inside jokes in the characters and situations that, as an outsider, I was not privy to understand. And I didn't quite understand the purpose of the title until the end, and I wonder still if another title would have been more fitting. All in all, I found Doodling to be a light and clever read, but like Alice in Wonderland, perhaps not necessarily a memorable one.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Laura Ashlee on July 14, 2011 :
I think the synopsis has a great description in "Douglas Adams meets Lewis Carroll." Similar styles to the authors are definitely present in Gould's charming story about a boy wandering an asteroid field, looking for a purpose, and finding himself a hero to the people living among the asteroids.

I was never into science, so anything that may have been incorrect or stretched as far as the universe or physics are concerned was over my head. I think that's probably a good thing for me. I probably enjoyed it more than I would have if I had been questioning the science.

As it is, I think this is a fun story with an easy enough plot to follow and even a little depth. I liked Neville's need to find his purpose. I think that's a good message, and in a story that I think could easily be transformed into a good children's book, it's well placed. I almost wish it had illustrations of Neville as he meets all the strange people living on the asteroids. That would have made it the perfect experience of the story for me.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Gail M Baugniet on July 06, 2011 :
Whether allegory or metaphor, author Jonathan Gould's novel, Doodling, is masterfully written with subtle touches of humor and thought-provoking insight.

I didn't realize until the story ended that it was a short story (18K+ words) but within those several thousand words, Mr. Gould thoroughly covers every aspect of the story he chose to tell.

When we first meet protagonist Neville Lansdowne, he is running to keep up with a forever faster spinning world. He finally loses his grip and tumbles, not unlike Alice, into another world. Unlike Alice, he moves from one world spinning out of control into a world that almost ceases to move.

As Neville explores his choice of asteroids to select a new home, he encounters people both strange and likeable. My favorite group consists of the bicycle triplets: undistinguishable from one another though probably not related. I immediately thought of NFL football, played for decades by teams eager to win and each year demanding a do-over, saying the winning "didn't count" because they weren't the team that won.

Though Neville is content to take leave a world spinning out of control, he soon learns that every situation or living arrangement develops some form of leadership paradigm. by accepting the role thrust upon him to save lives and asteroids, Neville moves one step closer to coming full circle in his own life.

Brilliantly executed, Mr. Gould. For originality alone, you have earned your 5-star rating.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Sharon Gerlach on July 04, 2011 :
admit I read this twice to fix the allegories in my mind. The references to life spinning out of control and worship of a material nature rather than a spiritual nature were subtly and rather brilliantly rendered. From the Aimless Girl to the Toaster People to the Party Couple, Gould presents a believable representation of humanity and the struggle to motivate people, while in astrophysicist Helen he shows the constant care the world needs to thrive.

A very enjoyable story.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Jennifer Bruck on July 04, 2011 :
I got through this book really quickly and giggled out loud quite a few times during it. I loved the social commentary but also the fictional story of the world about to fling itself out of orbit and one determined person willing to step up, rally together all the misfits, and save everything from being destroyed.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Brandy Hunt on July 04, 2011 :
I'm still trying to sum up all the reasons I like this book. It is a satire, which I like. Mr. Gould has interesting things to say about people who think that life is a race you win, about people who think that the right appliance brings happiness, and about those people who need a reason to celebrate everything.

Then there is the world spinning out of control, flinging people off willy nilly and then... well there are spoilers after that.

This book is a satire about more than one thing, kind of like an onion. It is thought provoking and makes me want to not think at the same time.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Emily on July 02, 2011 :
I don't think I've ever described something as a "romp" before, but the word definitely applies to the experience of reading Doodling. As a lifelong fan of Douglas Adams and The Phantom Tollbooth and that style of writing and sense of humor, Doodling was a true joy to read.

That in and of itself is high praise, but the wry humor and deadpan delivery were spot on, and I laughed from the beginning of the book until the end. Through all the laughs, though, is a message that definitely rings true- as chaotic and fast-moving as life can be sometimes, we can slow it down by focusing on little things that make us happy.

The hero of our story is Neville and the repercussions of his decision to get off the world. From starting his own country on an asteroid (and leaving it when he realizes that a rock is simply not a proper president) to discovering a colony of people who worship toasters to ultimately having to save the world from its own breakneck pace, Neville finds himself in the thick of things.

I've read other reviews that say that this would make an excellent illustrated book and I wholeheartedly agree. Despite being a very short story, the descriptions of the people and events were vivid and I could totally imagine some of my favorite illustrators having a field day.

This is the perfect story to unwind with after a long, trying day. Short, sweet, and to the point, there's a lot to love here.

Check out more reviews and other fun stuff at whatbookisthat.com!
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: John Poindexter on June 30, 2011 :
This was a quick, easy read that makes you stop and think, if I could only step off for a day, what would happen?

You won't want to miss reading this story of Neville's.

Great entertainment!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Bookblogger on June 11, 2011 :
Doodling by Jonathan Gould is the story of Neville Landsdowne, a man who falls off the world. When the world begins to move to fast for Neville he loses his grip and ends up wandering around an asteroid field trying to find a place that will make him happy. On his journey he meets a lot of people who were also thrown off the world and have adapted to it in various, mostly crazy, ways. As he tries to find somewhere to belong he discovers that the world will soon destroy the asteroid field he is wandering through killing everyone he has just met. Even though when he fell off the world he wanted nothing more than a nice slow paced life, he finds himself rushing to enlist the aid of everyone he can to save to asteroid field.

The characters Neville meets have a wide variety of personalities and seem to show various methods of escapism that people utilize when their world becomes too much for them. This story is a quick fun read that seems to be hiding a deeper meaning and may be able to make you look at your life a little closer. Remember to always make time for Doodling.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Portmanteau Press LLC on June 09, 2011 :
When I first started reading this novella, I couldn't tell if Neville was actually falling off the world or if Gould was using this as a metaphor for trying to keep up with the fast nature of the modern world we all live in. I am happy to say that, after completing the book, I still am not sure if the entire novella was just a long extended metaphor for dealing with the struggles of keeping up. I believe it is and I say bravo to Mr. Gould for such an outstanding piece of work.

Clearly, Jonathan Gould is channeling the spirit of Douglas Adams in his clever wordplay, ironic similes, and even with his simple-minded everyman of a main character who accepts the absurdities that he faces with such aplomb that you have to wonder if he is daft or brilliant.

Gould takes jabs at patriotism, organized religion, modern technology, and numerous other examples of the absurdities of modern life in very a delicate way. Some satirists paint their satire with the bluntness of a can of spray-paint. Gould does it with a fine-tipped brush.

My favorite part of the story was the "aimless" asteroid that Neville visited. The fast-paced dialogue was good for a few laughs but also made me think about how many times I've had such aimless conversations with people about things that were really serious, or at least seemed as though they were at the time.

Ultimately, the reader is left with a simple message after experiencing Neville's travel through the asteroids and his quest to save the world: "Slow down. It'll be okay." I am glad Neville learned this lesson and I hope I remember it the next time I feel like I need to fall off this fast-moving world.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Siobhan Muir on June 08, 2011 :
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to just step off the world into the asteroid field off the shoulder of our planet? Here's your chance. Whimsical and well written, Doodling takes the reader in the wide universe of appliance worship and unending races. It certainly gives a new definition to "catch a falling star".
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Cassie on May 31, 2011 :
Doodling is something I most likely would not have read under normal circumstances. Since I was given a copy to review, I was happy to try it out. I have to say, it was truly delightful!
Doodling best falls under the category of comic fantasy. It rides the waves with A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and an inkling of Gulliver’s Travels. The writing is creative and perfectly paced—quite comparable to Lewis Carroll. The book is chockfull of metaphors, if you care to notice them. Although, you might just want to sit back and enjoy the wit (think a rather G-rated Monty Python production).
At times it reminded me of one of my son’s favorite Nickelodeon television shows, The Upside Down Show. The quirky humor and fun, inventive resolutions fall right in line with that show’s aim at both comical entertainment and education. I think it is something that my kids would enjoy reading when their attention spans are slightly more extensive. I was able to zoom through this short read in just a couple reading sessions, but it certainly did not lack in amusement!
Bravo to Mr. Gould!
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Rachel Greenwall on May 31, 2011 :
Entertaining. Quick, easy read, but still makes you think. Sometimes it would be nice to fall off the world, or find a way to slow things down.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: PATRICK OCONNOR on April 28, 2011 :
Doodling, by Jonathan Gould, is science fiction, perhaps, if that literary form contains a sub-genre wherein Ray Bradbury collaborated with John Lennon and they found a happy compromise somewhere over on John's side of the playground.

It's not illustrated, but in the right hands, I think it would make a dandy graphic novel. Like the voyages of Gulliver, Gould's protagonist Neville Lansdowne has adventures that could be read by children as an entertaining and enjoyable odyssey, and in which adult readers will see a metaphorical look at the difficulties of life in the fast lane.

At the start of the story, Neville opts out of the rat race in the only way possible. He falls off the world. Finding refuge in the asteroid belt, but deciding the solitary life is not for him, Neville's first encounter with other people leads to the (inevitable?) question, "I don't suppose you brought a toaster?"

Are all of the expatriates who have fallen off the world madmen? It appears so. When Neville finds one who's not, in the end, he decides it's his job to rescue the asteroid belt, and the world, too, in the bargain.

Ideal for readers of any age from primary school to drooling senility, it's a fun read that I enjoyed, and which I can picture my 8-year-old grandson enjoying just as well.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Barney Rubble on March 13, 2011 :
Good entertaining read. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
Well done.
Brian
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

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