Summer has certainty arrived, the nights are longer, the sun is shining that little bit more and I’m spending more time outside eating ice cream. I’ve also been doing a lot of reading, but very little blogging over the past few weeks… now it’s time to get back on track.
The biggest news, of course, has been the very eagerly awaited sequel in the Harry Potter series. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has been published for an entire week, if you happened to be on a desert island the news may not yet have reached you, but to everyone else I‘m far behind. Like all Potter fans, I got my hands on a copy on Monday morning (having missed a midnight release). Yet now I have a dilemma, do I read the script now, or do I wait until I see the play?
In my mind a play can never be read as a substitution to the performance, there’s something truly magical about it appearing in front of your very eyes that the written word is unable to portray. Maybe it’s the lack of descriptive detail, costumes, props and set that make a play so much more than its many utterances and stage directions. Regardless of the individual detail, it has been written for the stage and the stage alone, to take it away from its setting will always create a gap in the text.
I know I am very fortunate in having acquired the tickets, but it’s not making this decision any easier. Three months still feels like a little while to wait and see the story expanded into a new breadth of magic. So far I’ve avoided any spoilers, but most impressively have managed to keep the book tightly shut. For now, it will sit on my bookcase, while I wait for bonfire night and the magic to appear in front of my very eyes.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is currently playing at the Palace Theatre, London.
You can find my thoughts on Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and my excitement to see the Cursed Child in London, I’m only a little Harry Potter obsessed, I promise.
Now it may not come as too much of a surprise that I like to read, and I read a lot. As such even my bookshelves are starting to overflow, piles of books are appearing around my bedroom and even I feel the books around my bed may soon become a tripping hazard.
Yet I can never feel the urge to give away, throw away or even lend out my books. I’ve invested too much time into each page, learnt to love or hate the characters and been, for a while, part of their story. Most of the time I revisit these books, wishing to be drawn back into various worlds and escape into a story.
I’m currently re-reading a vast array of my favourite novels, getting through a story week after week. It may be from the freedom of university, that once again I have the choice to pick up any book I please. I want to read stories that I’m certain I’ll enjoy – novels that are well-written, plots that are complex and character’s that I know. I don’t want to be disappointed by the next book I pick up.
I’ll continue picking up my books full of well-thumbed pages, and enjoying each story again, and again.
I may have picked up Station Eleven without a clue of what I was about to read, yet it held a twisted tale and collision of events that had me gripped throughout.
Set in a post-apocalyptic world, the tale follows the survivors of the Georgia flu virus from their first encounter at a King Lear production to year twenty of the new world. Whether it be the Travelling Sympathy, who spread music and Shakespeare to the lost civilisaion, or the community stuck at the Severn City Airport; small communities continue to exist in an empty world.
It’s a clever collection of the stories of survival, it shows how we prioritise what is left from a community to allow a new civilisaton to grow. I enjoyed seeing how these tales were woven toegther, the switch between the present and the days leading up to the epidemic to show how life was lost while hope remained.
Once started its a book you’ll struggle to put down, and you’ll begin to question what matters most to you in life.
Harry Potter has been an obsession of mine for far too many years to count, I’ve read the books numerous times, seen the film, been to the studio tour and the Wizarding World in Orlando. Yet as more Potter elements are unleashed into the world I’m as excited as I was when the publication date for the Deathly Hallows finally arrived.
I’ve gained tickets to see the eighth instalment of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child as it enters the West End later this year, although still quite a while away. But my most recent Potter acquisition is the very first story: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone has been beautifully illustrated by Jim Kay, bringing magic and mischief to Harry’s much loved world.
It’s a new awakening to a tale many of us are familiar with, yet these different faces, Harry’s in particular seem to capture more of the character then I think the films may have done. There’s a sadness in Harry’s face that truly depicts his miserable existence at the Dursley’s, Hagrid booms through the page, the very half giant of his description. I also love the settings from the quirky Diagon Alley, with shops all shapes and sizes to the enormous grandeur of Hogwarts transporting us to the magical world.
The story now contains through Kay’s illustration elements of Harry’s Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them textbook, to Hagrid’s borrowed Dragon Breeding library book. The illustrations enhance Rowling’s story, capture all the magic and suspense of the tale, it’s beautifully done and cleverly intertwines all aspects of Potter’s new-found world.
This is a brilliant book for any potter fan, or to entice those who are yet to enter the wizarding world, published by Bloomsbury and priced at £30, it’s a book to add to your shelves.
As a reviewer for The Mancunion, I got the chance to visit Manchester’s Home as it presented its first Christmas production, with the opening of Inkheart; a transformation of Cornelia Funke’s novel to the stage. Family friendly, full of humour and all the imagination of a child, this is a show to catch this festive season as an alternative to the pantomime.
It’s clearly a child directed performance, but I did enjoy being taken back to my world of imagination of bad versus good and a quest of a story. The tale was cleverly self aware, with intertextuality twisted through the story and remerged onto stage. The school group at the front of the theatre greatly enjoyed the interaction of the cast as they helped direct them to Capricorn; for a moment removed from their script with some playful interaction. Mo himself appeared on my row in search for Fenoglio, the author of Inkheart, bringing the stage closer to the audience and carrying us into the story.
The stage transformed fittingly to each new narrative of the performance, a tremendous pile of books one moment, to a beach the next before hiding Capricorn’s evil liar beneath it. Katherine Carlton, who played Meggie was passionate, determined and brilliant in her portrayal, holding the stage and delivering the tale. The cast were eager, believable and amusing, capturing many laughs from the audience while portraying a range of traits, personalities and passions.
You can catch Inkheart at Home until 31st December, a family festivity for christmas.
I’m unsure why exactly I feel as though The Night Circus can only really be read in November, maybe it’s the magic of christmas approaching and the darker nights which fit in with this book so perfectly.
Regardless of when you decide to pick up The Night Circus (although November is the time for me), you are instantly transported to a place of magic, excitement, trials and tests.
The Circus is the competition stage for a whole new trial of skills and magic, it therefore arrives without warning, departing too without hesitation, adding to its mystery. Open only once nighttime has fallen, the many tents can be explored, examined and viewed.It may be a place of magic and amusement for most, but for two it stands as the fighting ground, the place to show skill and beat an opponent.
Th novel follows the circus, from its birth as it travels around the world, but most importantly it follows the people as they explore and examine its mystery or create tents that fill it. It’s a wonderful collection of tales and experiences, from young to old the circus is a place of magic.
My only wish is that the Circus would appear near me one day, without warning so that I can live through its magic.