After Alice by ‘Wicked’ author Gregory Maguire – amusing and clever but a bit exclusive

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Alice’s friend Ada is tasked with finding the fallen child, and finds herself tumbling down the rabbit hole to find familiar faces and new adventures. Meanwhile the search for Alice continues, as her big sister and governess search fruitlessly, and their father receives a visitor with a foreign ward. The worlds above and below turn to chaos as everyone tries to find or leave home…

Hmmmmm. I was super excited to read this, though my excitement was tempered by the fact that LOTS of people had told me that Maguire’s Wicked was boring. Now, this book wasn’t boring at all. The plot was interesting, the characters intriguing, the concept brilliant. And there was a lot of Carrollian absurdity, invention and wit. But I think that the problem people have with Maguire’s writing is his elitist prose.

Why can I only find these two great literary apps?

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The world of literature has always evolved, changed, innovated and experimented. And so I have been hoping over the last few years that with apps popping up all over the place, we’d be treated to some new, exciting and experimental literature. Telling stories in new ways, using words in new ways.

But so far, I’ve only seen it done well in these two apps:

HOW DO THEY DO IT? Jane Austen Improv that blew my mind!

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Mr Pickett, a rather girly young man with a penchant for flowers, has fallen desperately in love with new arrival to Bath Clarissa Fences. She is desperately allergic to flowers, but nevertheless after a disastrous first meeting they reconvene at a bridge of flowers, only for her to be kidnapped by the notorious White brothers, one of whom she recently and scandalously married at a ceremony of dubious validity. Her Welsh, arsonist’s widow aunt Carmine, Mr Pickett and his sister Caroline all team together to find her, happily unharmed, but the White brothers who own all the newspapers have him thrown into jail. Happily our strange trio band together again, bust him out and then Mr Pickett and Mr White have a noble thumb war to the death, and the lovebirds are finally united.

I went out without my baby. I went to the THEATRE without my baby. Before the incredible theatre experience that was HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD which I’ll post about soon, I went out with my university friends to see an improvised Jane Austen play. And I’ll be honest, I had doubts. I’ve seen comedy adaptations of classical works before that have left me frustrated and disapproving. And really any adaptations are a risky game in my book. But Austentatious (company and show name) were just FANTASTIC!!


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We booked it forever ago, but it is finally the day! My secondary school friends and I are all once again meeting up to do something Harry Potter. These are the people I queued at midnight with, took flying pictures with and more.

I’m beyond excited. I suppose this sort of thing is mixing our generation’s obsession with experience with our obsession with Harry Potter. Here is the chance to have a literally one of a kind experience.

I desperately hope it’s good. I hope it’s not too much about Harry and more about his kids. I hope I can follow what is going on. I hope I’ve not forgotten all about Harry Potter (kidding. no way). I hope I don’t miss my baby too much to enjoy it.

I hope I can find some interesting things to say afterwards without any spoilers.

Here goes!

The three things I noticed on my third read of The Lord of the Rings

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I read Tolkien’s masterpiece first at ten years old, mainly to be able to tell people that I had. I read it again in the fervour and excitement of the films coming out, when my friends were learning elvish, writing in runes and we were writing stories about our lives if we were elves.

I just read it again. And I LOVED it. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it quite so much, but it was utterly fantastic. One of the best things was finding my original imagination seeping through the pictures from the film that were in my head!

Here are three quick things that I noticed this time round:

I succumbed to the adverts and read The Tearling – and once I started I couldn’t stop! 

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Kelsea Glynn is reluctant Queen of the Tearling, torn from her isolated upbringing to rule the fractured, downtrodden once-utopia of Tearling. As she attempts to right the hideous wrongs of her society she must also face the angered neighbouring Red Queen with all her powers, win the people to her, master her anger and work out what the jewels she carries are and what the strange visions that plague her mean for her nation…

Okay so I was trying to summarise two books there, hence how stuffed that synopsis is! Basically like a snob for a long time I didn’t want to read this because the heroine is called Kelsea. I mean, Kelsea. In what seems a medieval setting? But Emma Watson’s endorsement convinced me because I think she’s excellent. And I was hooked!!! And the name thing does actually make sense, for anyone else who might initially be put off by that…

Not such a Secret Chord – Geraldine Brooks’ new David story

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King David is not happy at being excluded from the battlefield. Prophet Natan has an idea to keep him occupied: to tell a true, real life story of who King David is. Natan gets the go ahead, and starts to uncover the secrets that have made him who he is, including the people he has loved, his family and more.

Hmmmmm. So you know, I’m a Christian, and believe the Bible to be God’s word – and so I approach this with interest and caution. Because at best, it could be an enjoyable read and help get a bible character and story fixed more firmly in my head. But then , it could also butcher a bible story, get lots of things that aren’t true stuck in my head, or of course, just be generally terrible. I’ve only read a couple; but could remember really enjoying a Moses life story I had when I was younger, and so decided to give it a go. And it was pretty good. I enjoyed reading it – even if, really, it just felt like the Bible story with the things that are implied elaborated on.

The latest Christie adaptation – still not quite getting Tommy and Tuppence.

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The BBC have made a new mini-series, Partners in Crime, out of the Tommy and Tuppence series by Agatha Christie. I have read before that these were Christie’s favourite sleuths to write – and I love them too! Their pluck, banter, relationship and sense of fun make their adventures a delight to read. But apparently, they’ve never quite worked.