[Book Discussion] Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman details the lives of two sisters as they grow up, from living with their aunts to finding their own lives.

Personally, I enjoyed the novel, it was light and entertaining. It wasn’t entirely what I expected it to be from the description, but was enjoyable.

I liked how the novel played with the ideas of love, betrayal and magic. The novel was really ambiguous in its use of ‘magic’. I felt like I was constantly questioning whether their magic was real, or whether it was just truly bad luck that kept bringing all these misfortunes on these women.

The writing style of the novel was fairly simplistic for the most part, but there was certain parts that stood out. It was written like a storyteller, you were getting all the information from some omniscient narrator who always knew just a little more than the reader and the characters in the novel. Perhaps in a more metaphorical sense, this was the magic speaking.

Hoffman knows how to write about love, or perhaps, knows how to make use of the feelings of love, as this is perhaps the biggest theme of the novel. Love centred everything, love between sisters, love between family and finally love between partners. Hoffman described the frustrations of love between family, and the scorching love between partners. At first it was sightly off putting, but in the end, I did kind of enjoy the overdramatic descriptions of love, particularly between Gillian and Ben Frye.

Overall, I would recommend it to someone, but perhaps only for someone looking for something within a certain genre.

What did you think of Practical Magic? Let me know!

Your May Book Thoughts!

Hello!

This is just a small prompted reminder that it’s almost the end of the Month!

Wow, this month has gone by super quickly! I hope everyone’s enjoyed Practical Magic! I’ve submitted my post on here, and it should (fingers crossed!) appear on the 31st of May!

This month has been a massive learning curve for me and this book club, and hopefully, I can make next month more interesting for everyone. I know this month might have been slightly disappointing, and I’m slightly disappointed in myself at how this month has gone. As they say, life sometimes gets the better of you.

I’ve started planning out some stuff for next month, and the winner of the June Book Poll (if you haven’t already voted, you can find the poll on this post) will be announced soon!

I’m quite excited for next month! I will be on holiday for the first two weeks, but I’ll try and get a few posts in for when I’m away!

[Book Review] Release by Patrick Ness

Patrick Ness has always had a way with words and infusing reality with the unreal. This is clearly shown through Release.

Release is a bildungsroman of sorts. It takes place over one day, and follows one boy called Adam Thorn as he navigates friendships, love, relationships and coming out to his parents.

The other half of the story follows Katie, or Queen as she wanders after she wakes up from her murder.

Ness builds a relationship with his characters, and his writing style flows through the day, only giving you the information you need to know. Not all the plot points are cleared, but it never leaves you frustrated with this. It’s a simple look into the way that the teens are growing up.

The other half of the story deals with vengeance and retribution, told in parallel to Adam Thorn’s story. I did not really understand how the two stories would intertwine until the end of the novel, but thematically, the two halves of the story blend well. One deals with the desperation and the need for vengeance, the other deals with the act of growing up and realising that you need the help from others, and learning where your family lies.

Both sides of the story are truly heartbreaking.

Despite not being an intricately written tale, or a tale where there is a lot of guess work and wondering how things will end. Personally, I would recommend Release, it is insightful, and a pleasant read.

[Book Review] The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is a well reviewed and well received novel already. First published in 1985, Atwood’s novel has continued to be at the forefront of fiction and feminism since it’s release.

The novel has gained a new interest with the release of the television series with the same name, and it’s readership and understanding continues to grow.

I am one of the readers who’d heard so much about the novel, but had never sat down to read it. I saw the television series and wanted to read it, and I have now finally managed to complete it.

The Handmaid’s Tale was everything I thought it was going to be. The narrative of the story is interesting, it’s written as if the narrator is talking to you through the story. She guides you through the story with an eloquence one can only achieve through the subconscious.

I personally enjoyed The Handmaid’s Tale, it brought up a lot to think about. The tale talks of love, loss, grief, rebellion and many others. The novel is open-ended and doesn’t really draw to any conclusion and only briefly mentions how things came to be the way they were. For me, this was both a positive and a negative, as I so badly wanted to know how this dystopian future even came about, but it also made it feel real. The narrator spoke to you as if you knew how these events happened, and maybe how they ended.

That was both infuriating (in an I really need to know kind of way), and pleasant.

Overall, I enjoyed the novel. The writing flowed well, and talked about some really interesting things that relate scarily to what is happening in our modern times, despite being over thirty years old, and in a dystopian setting.

Would I recommend the book? Yes. Definitely. It would be interesting to discuss with people what they thought of the novel, and what they thought as I know that opinions on this novel vary greatly.

Literary Adaptation

“All adaptations express or address a desire to return to an ‘original’ textual encounter; as such, adaptations are perhaps symptomatic of a cultural compulsion to repeat.” Rachel Caroll (Adaptation in Contemporary Culture)

I’m sure throughout our lifetimes, everyone has read an adaptation of something, or watched an adaptation of something. Adaptation of literature is such a massive thing. It can be from novel to film, from novel to theatre, even from novel to novel, myth to something else.

Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Jane Eyre. These days everything has an adaptation.

For many of us, this can be a good thing or a bad thing. Sometimes that film adaptation just isn’t want you thought it was going to be. I’ve experienced that, too.

Rachel Caroll’s statement in her introduction to her book is interesting to me. Perhaps for some of us, when we finish reading that amazing novel we think ‘gosh, I’d love to see a film of that’. I know I’ve done it in the past.

It’s strange, because when I was studying on my undergrad in English literature, there seemed to be a general rule of ‘film versions of books are crap’, and I always found it a little odd. A lot of people would judge the film based on the fact that it was being adapted for screen, as if changing the way to appreciated the plot changes how well the plot is delivered.

If we use film adaptations as our base here, then the film is limited to a directors interpretation of the written word. We have this one person’s view on what the book should be like, whereas a novel can hold thousands of different interpretations based on the reader.

So what compels us to watch a film version of a book? Or even a comic book? For example, Marvel Cinematic Universe has become such a large industry over the last few years, and this is based on the adaptation of their comic book predecessors. What compels people to watch these films of the comic books?

What compelled people to watch the film adaptations of Harry Potter? What compels people to watch the TV adaptation of Game of Thrones? The Handmaid’s Tale?

Personally, I enjoy watching film adaptations of novels, I like seeing things from a different perspective. But, I also understand that some of them are not the best they can be.

What do you think about adaptations? Do you enjoy the films of your favourite books?

Do you have a favourite adaptation of a book? It doesn’t have to be a film! Have you seen an interesting theatre adaptation of a novel? A favourite musical?

Don’t forget to vote in our June Book Poll. There’s some really interesting choices this month!

Your Favourite Place to Read

Do you have a favourite place to read?

I’d like to think that everyone has a favourite place they like to sit down and relax when they read. Reading for me is therapeutic, and there’s no point being uncomfortable as I read.

For example, do you enjoy reading in bed? With a cup of tea? At the library? By the beach?

Over the course of the years, I’ve changed the ways I read, and the ways I enjoy reading.

Personally, I enjoy sitting on the sofa with a book. I can usually fit myself in the corner of the sofa with my book and I can sit there for hours lost in a book. I don’t usually tend to eat or drink anything, because I’m usually too lost in my book.

Do you have a favourite place to read? I’d love to hear them!