What I’ve been reading

Its 1st September and I’m not entirely sure where August went. I have spectacularly failed to review the books I’ve been reading so instead  I’m going to  summarise what I’ve read instead.

So I have been reading a variety of things and really want to recommend them all.

HeartlandFirstly I read Lucy Hounsom’s Heartland which is the middle book in the world maker trilogy.

This is the second part of Kyndra’s story and I loved how it unfolded. It felt different to a lot of trilogies in that Kyndra wasn’t all that pleased to be Starborn. The powers that she has come into are terrifying for her and this novel is more about coming to terms with that.

The characters that I loved in Starborn are still there. Nediah and Breganne, Gareth.  This instalment took us places I didn’t expect and was the better because of it.  I really found it a satisfying read and I am glad I already have the final part of the trilogy Firestorm all ready to go.

one damned thing.jpgThe second book I have read recently is about as far away as you can get from Hounsom’s epic fantasy.  Just One Damned Thing After Another were recommended to me recently I have been really glad that this series has been as it is tremendous fun.

The first in a series of I think eight or nine novels and MANY short stories this is a time travel romp with lots of shenanigans and several secrets in the telling.

Its not without its flaws and the tone felt somewhat inconsistent  the pacing was all over the place and it really would have benefitted from a good editor.  It reads like fanfic and I say that with a lot of love. I will definitely read more but I want there to be a tighter narrative to make things work a bit better for me.

 

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The Importance of Being Earnest

IMG_7309I went to the press night for the new production of The Importance of Being Earnest at the Vaudeville.  Now this play is one of my favourites and one I know reasonably well I’ve seen it a number of times, not least getting to play Gwendolen as part of my A-Level in theatre studies performance element. Its a text I’m familiar with and I love the wit in the text.

Most productions I have seen have been quite restrained.  Clipped words with precision and everything being so very proper.  But this production really reinvigorated the text for me and made the play incredibly sexy and beautifully queer. Gwendolen (PippaNixon) rubs up against the piano suggestively and Cecily (Fiona Button) is not the doe-eyed ingenue but a young lady who knows exactly what she wants.

It feels like a very modern direction, everyone is very definitely inhabiting their bodies and reacting physically.  Algernon (Fehinti Balogan) is louche, decadent and intent on living for pleasure.  Jack (Jacob Fortune-Lloyd)is wound so tight, clearly adoring Algernon and so frustrated with him, often in the same speech.

But I have to single out Lady Bracknell because Sophie Thompson was amazing using her incredible vocal dexterity to wring out every nuance she could from the script yet deliberately underplayed ‘a handbag?!?’ So much so I almost missed it.  But that could also be said for the rest of the cast.  Subtext was brought to fore, everything was enunciated and inflected so that the audience could be left in no doubt what the characters were thinking.  It felt stylised but it also showcased the script so that we didn’t miss a thing and I bloody loved it.

I loved that food was important characters stress ate, fed each other often in a counter point to what people were saying.

This production shone new light on an old favourite and made it new and glorious and I would definitely want to see it again.IMG_7310

What I am Reading and why…

I’ve just checked my goodreads account and I’ve just realised I’ve got like 6 books currently on the go. I’ve gone a bit scattered at the moment. My main joy is reading fiction but I’ve also got an audio book on the go along with several books that could be described as self-help books.

book 1

book 2

The fiction I am reading Peter Newman’s The Seven which is the concluding part to the Vagrant trilogy, its a heavy hardback so its more for reading at home than for reading on the tube, but it appears I’m a huge hypocrite because I’m taking Becky Chambers Record of a Spaceborn Few everywhere with me and reading it whilst trying not to cry from the immense level of feels that I get. I’m also listening to Audible’s new recording of Arabian Nights which I am enjoying when I remember to listen to it…

And then there are the self-help books. I’m reading Susan Calman’s Cheer Up Love:Adventures in Depression with the Crab of Hate because I’ve been having a hard time recently and its been reassuring to read about someone else’s experiences and measure my own against them. Likewise Matt Haig’s Notes on a Nervous Planet because as an ever more anxious person I am always interested in other people’s experiences of it and how they cope.

Then there’s Spark Joy. I am chaos. It follows in my wake, I never feel like I can properly tidy because I can never put everything away. I’ve been reading the first couple of chapters and Yes things need to change and I’m reading this book to see if I think that this might work for me.

I’m not usually quite this scatter gun in my approach to reading but that’s kind of what’s going on at the moment. My brain feels like it needs all these different inputs and I’m kind of wanting to make lots of changes to what’s going on with me and what’s going on around me. And because I have a large amount of Herminone Granger going on inside I start with books.

One that hasn’t made it onto my goodreads list is Geting Things Done by David Allen because I have just been feeling of late that things have been getting away from me and that has to stop. there has to be control and I need to plan rather than react. Reacting to everything is exceedingly tiring. Lets kick some ass instead.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

I’ve wanted to see this since it premiered and thanks to some serendipity I am finally going to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child this evening.

I will be going in completely unspoiled.  I’ve avoided reading anything about the plot and I will be going in cold.

I’m not quite sure what to expect but I will be seeing parts one and two on consecutive nights.

I will be reporting back.  I am fully expecting to flail.  Consider this your warning.