Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K.Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne

Please Note: This is (somehow) a spoiler-free review. It took a lot of self-restraint. 

I’m going to start this review with the obligatory confession of being a huge Harry Potter geek. I realise that almost every review of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child starts with a similar sentence, so I won’t dwell too much on it; I just wanted to give some context, in case it wasn’t incredibly obvious from the review as a whole. Being a fan of the series, I was awaiting the release of The Cursed Child script with a mixture of excitement and apprehension, with the apprehension probably the stronger of the two. I was excited, of course, to be returning to this world of magic and characters that I loved. But I was apprehensive because, well, I hadn’t really ever left that world. I was seventeen when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out, shortly followed by a myriad of interviews from which we were able to piece together parts of the characters’ future lives and the ‘next generation’, and, as a teenager, I had taken these new, unwritten characters into my own imagination and become fairly attached to them. Although I was determined not to let this influence my opinion of The Cursed Child, I was worried that I would have to let go of my imagined versions of these characters that I had grown to love. Read more

Their Eyes Were Watching God

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

If you’ve ever wondered what I would do when faced with an 8-hour train journey in a different country, apparently the answer is read an American Classic which my Dad bought me years ago. I knew very little about Hurston or Their Eyes Were Watching God before starting the novel; I was aware that it had been very influential in the lives of many American women writers, but that was the extent of my knowledge. Despite knowing how influential the novel has been, I have to admit that I didn’t really get into it. Nevertheless, I still think it was an important book to have read, and I can see why it was so influential in so many writers’ lives. Read more

On Beauty

On Beauty by Zadie Smith

It may have been a few years since I read White Teeth, but I remembered enough about Zadie Smith’s writing that I was excited to get stuck into On Beauty after downloading onto my kindle. I had heard a lot about Smith’s NW, but not much about On Beauty so I didn’t know exactly what to expect from the plot, but I knew I could be confident that there would be engaging writing, full characters, and thought-provoking themes. On Beauty definitely reached those expectations and more, and this was a novel I thoroughly enjoyed not only reading, but thinking about a lot over the following days. Read more

A Country Road, A Tree

A Country Road, A Tree by Jo Baker

I was surprised that I hadn’t seen anything about this novel before I stumbled across it on kindle. Jo Baker was one of my creative writing lecturers during my undergraduate degree, and her books are usually very well advertised across this whole area because she is a local author. Longbourn is still on prominent display in many bookshops, and there is a lot of excitement about the upcoming film adaptation. Yet I had seen nothing about A Country Road, A Tree in any of the bookshops and, though I have been keeping an eye out, I still haven’t seen much about it around. My best guess is that this is due to the subject material: Pride and Prejudice is much more well-known than the works of Samuel Beckett. However, having enjoyed Longbourn, I was looking forward to reading this new novel from Baker, despite my ignorance of the life of Beckett. Read more

Compared to Her

Compared to Her by Sophie de Witt

A few years ago, Compared to Her was doing the rounds amongst some of my friends; many of them would read it together and discuss their struggles with comparing themselves to others as they went. I’ve been meaning to read it for a long time, so I am aware that I’m a little behind here. This is definitely one of those books that has sat on my shelf waiting to be read for a while now. Being someone who read a lot of Christian blogs, I’ve read a lot about contentment, but it is always a topic I am interested in finding out more about, so I’ve been enjoying getting to grips with this topic over the past few days. Read more