[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!

[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.

Well-read

What constitutes as well read to you?

For me, when I picture a well-read book I think of broken spines and the indescribable smell of paper.

A book that is well-read has the signs of being read and loved.

As a younger reader, I used to loathe the idea of breaking the spine on a book and the thought of bending pages on it would send a shiver up my spine, but there’s also something special about a book that has obvious signs of reading.

A book can tell a story, but it can also tell a story about the reader. It can show your reading habits, how much you’ve enjoyed the book and how much you’ve taken from a book. A book that sits on your shelf or next to your bed looking too read is just as amazing as a book that looks untouched.

I remember once going to a book convention in London, and I apologised to the author who was signing my book about how unkempt it looked. But they told me it showed them I had enjoyed.

There is always another side to the story, and what you take from it. I used to be so bad about preserving my books the way I’d bought them, but now I don’t mind so much when they end up a little worse for wear.

Do you have any unbreakable rules when it comes to looking after your books? I find a lot of people differ on their views on books than I do, and it leads to an interesting discussion!