It is July and I think it’s finally summer in England, though there are news reports of hailstones falling in Mexico which is alarming. Global warming folks.
It’s been a busy month with both work and social commitments, hence the lack of blogging but I am brimming with ideas and discussion topics which I will hopefully be able to dedicate some more time to this month. *Fingers crossed*
So, without further ado, let’s begin!
The Reading Corner
The Priory of the Orange Tree – Samantha Shannon
I spent two months reading this tome so you don’t have to. Here’s the tl;dr version of my LONG review. This high fantasy is ambitious and it’s clear that Shannon spent a lot of time creating her world, its mythology and reimagining the St. George and the Dragon myth. Yes, it’s effortlessly representative but plot and character are put to the side to show off the aforementioned research Shannon wanted to include. As a result the climax is overstuffed and rushed. Finally, for a book with a dragon splashed across the cover, Priory merely uses dragons as a backstory.
The Go-Away Bird – Julia Donaldson
How do I write 100 words about a book that’s not even that long? I read this while visiting Pan Macmillan this month as it was sitting in on display in reception and I had got there early. So naturally I had to pick it up. Written by Julia Donaldson, it has gorgeous illustrations about the Go-Away bird who scares potential friends away until one day he realises how nice it is to *have* friends. The best part was getting to the end of it and discovering that this is the name of an actual African bird – look it up!
Circe – Madeline Miller
Circe was my pick for my book club and I really enjoyed reading it! It’s a gorgeously-written tale about the witch Circe who features in Homer’s Odyssey and turns men into pigs. The lyrical writing, the ease with which Miller portrays immortal beings and their rules, whims and morals is fantastic. I love her voice. I enjoyed reading about myths I recognised and those that I didn’t. The ending somewhat surprised me though and was enough to merit this a 4-star read rather than a 5-star read. It made sense character-wise but it felt a little abrupt for my liking.
The Home Cinema
Spider-Man was my favourite superhero growing up and I love Tom Holland’s portrayal of him. The story line is refreshing too, as Peter already has his powers instead of retreading another origin story so soon after the last reboot. It’s a lot of fun, it also avoids the stereotypes of movie high schools and I love the small details. From Peter attending a science and tech school (finally a film that that acknowledges that nerd culture is mainstream) to the little notes that he leaves for people and his small failures. Plus all of his scenes with Tony Stark are gold.
Don’t put me on the pyre but I did not love Good Omens the book. I thought it was fine, but I was never a diehard fan. I did really enjoyed the show. The commentary on religion is good if a little shallow. The chemistry between Sheen and Tennant playing the demon Crowley and angel Aziraphale respectively as they try to prevent the apocalypse is excellent. This is clearly their love story. That’s part of the problem though, because the rest of the plot falls a short in comparison; Adam’s story, the under-serving of the female characters, the inevitable apocalypse.
Jessica Jones (Season 3)
I love Jessica Jones’ character and Krysten Ritter but the last couple of seasons haven’t wowed me. I enjoyed the overarching plot of this season more than the last but I felt that there are two filler episodes which essentially retell the plot from Trish’s perspective. Here’s the problem: Trish really frustrated me the entire season. Although her character development makes sense, I mostly found her unbearable. Similarly, Hogarth continues to demonstrate how awful a human being she is and I didn’t want good things to happen to her. In conclusion: not too mad about this being the last season.
Aladdin is leaving the West End this summer so my sister and I finally got our butts around to watching it. It was magical. They really put on a show, from song and dance numbers to the gorgeous sets. Special shoutout to Trevor Dion Nicholas who played the Genie and oozed humour and charisma – he even made ‘Aladdin’ break a couple of times because he couldn’t hold back his laughter. The Cave of Wonders was gorgeous but my favourite scene had to be the reveal of the flying carpet. It. Was. Magical. One complaint: the ending was a little rushed.
Around the Blogosphere
Some really good blog posts this month!
Ashley wrote about the challenges of reviewing (and specifically negatively reviewing) diverse books, seeing this as a potential way of signalling to publishers that diverse books aren’t valued. I have a LOT of thoughts on this and will inevitably write my own blog post about it in the future to continue this discussion.
Christina wrote a post celebrating World Refugee Day and has featured several books about refugees plus an excellent definition of what a refugee is.
I loved Amber’s discussion on whether we should read older, now-controversial books such as Gone with the Wind and what place they hold in today’s society.
Vicky has written yet another fantastic discussion topic – this time on the dilemma of reading problematic books and potential solutions.
How was your month? What did you read and watch? Let’s chat!