Screened

I’ve been incredibly absent lately, but I’m sure you all understand. Life grabs you by the hand and you ain’t got much choice but to follow where it leads. And it’s lead to some pretty amazing things, but it’s left me with very little time to update this blog. I guess there are two major updates in my life: I’m now dating an incredible girl, and I’m going to China for two weeks in December (and my uni is paying for most of it) to work with Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou in an English-language creative writing programme over there. Has anyone else got any exciting news? Any life updates in general (exciting or not)?

I have been doing a little bit of writing as part of my course, so I’ll leave you with one of my ‘microfictions’ (which can also be found on deviantART). I’d love to hear what you have to think!

Screened

I park parallel to the gutter, turn the car off, and sit a moment. The engine ticks slowly cool and I watch a couple of cars pass by me and find spaces further down the street. My car is comfortable and quiet and I have forty-five minutes to kill before I should head to class. I pull the lever on the side of my seat so I can lounge back as though I am in Dad’s armchair at home.

It is overcast and the sun has only been out for maybe two hours. Everything looks greyer.

From my new vantage point, I can see a construction site about thirty metres in front of me. I wonder what they’re building—it looks very square, and as though it will be tall. Maybe a block of flats, but who am I to know? Flats would make sense. It’s uni students living here, mainly. House sharing and renting from folks who make money off the fact that people will pay more to be able to wake up later and get home earlier. Flats will mean more people in the same amount of space, which equals more money. Flats would make sense.

Movement on the second floor catches my eye. A portly man is waving his arms about. He looks like Dad. He pauses, takes off his hardhat and wipes his brow. He looks angry. Scaffolding stretches up past him, blocking the view of whatever is around him. He is framed, as though in a television screen. He is too far away for me to hear anything. The grey light makes me feel as though I am looking at something almost black and white. Mildly bemused, I feel like Dad in his armchair watching one of his old films. All I need is a beer slick with condensation.

The man has replaced his hardhat and is now gesticulating at someone I can’t see. I could probably crane my neck to see around the scaffolding, but I like it like this. More mysterious. The man takes off his hardhat again so he can rub his sleeve against his forehead, but does not replace it. This worries me slightly, but I’m sure he knows what he’s doing. He looks like he’s in charge. Maybe he’s going off at one of his workers. Probably an apprentice.

Or a son.

Maybe the other workers are pretending not to notice, hoping the worker can leave with his humility at least partially intact. Though, if it’s the angry man’s son, there’s no chance of that. He can’t escape the man’s disapproval at home if this is how he’s treated at work.

He should go to uni or TAFE, move into a different field of expertise, one his father knows little to nothing about, one he can talk about at family dos without fear of being interrupted by a man who thinks he knows everything, who can’t bear being smaller than anyone else, a man who thinks it’s his God-given right to belittle everyone else, to ignore everyone else, a man who is such an arrogant prick that he thinks his son wants to be like him, when in fact it’s the exact opposite…

I close my eyes and take a deep breath. Time to go. Killing time at the coffee shop near my classroom is suddenly much more appealing.

back2black

I recently just finished watching the second seasons of two of my very most favourite shows: Orphan Black and Orange is the New Black. Both very different, but both mesmerising. (Coincidentally, they both have an IMDb rating of 8.5.)

 

Orphan Black is a sci-fi thriller about a woman who discovers she’s a clone. Before you think that it’s been done before—not like this. The characterisation of the clones is superb. Tatiana Maslany is an acting phenomenon, playing (to date) twelve different clones, at least five of them regularly. Although they are played by the same person, not once do you get the characters confused, so clearly are they depicted by the flawless Maslany (unless it’s one clone pretending to be another clone—it happens, trust me; these scenarios may also have made me love Maslany even more. Sometimes one clone might have to step in for another, and we know what’s happening, which makes it even more entertaining to watch a streetwise Londoner pretend to be an uptight American soccer mom). She holds her body differently, speaks differently, acts differently for each of the different clones she plays. If you watch Orphan Black for anything, watch it for her.

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(Above: Alison fixing Sarah-acting-as-Alison.)

The plot, as well, is entrancing. At turns edge-of-your-seat anxiety, and at others heartbreakingly tragic, and at yet others painfully funny. The atmospheres are handled masterfully, and everything ties into the greater mystery of how and why the clones came to be. Season two did not disappoint, picking up where season one left off, but steadily introducing even more minor mysteries that are actually part of the larger web. It mixes the stuff of science-fiction dreams with Greek mythology seamlessly, and is an incredible experience to be taken along for the ride. A little bit of violence, but nothing unwarranted (I don’t think). Highly recommended.

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(Above: Tatiana Maslany as Cosima comforting herself as Sarah.)

Orange is the New Black, on the other hand, is a drama set in a women’s prison. The first season followed, primarily, Piper Chapman, as she was sentenced guilty for a crime she committed ten years ago. I think we were meant to feel sorry for her, but I could never connect with her. However, apart from the early episodes of each season, each episode follows a ‘minor’ character, delving into their backstory and showing who they were before they were imprisoned, and why they ended up here.

Image(“V” trying to give The Fault in our Stars—a book about kids with terminal cancer—to Miss Rosa, a woman dying from cancer.)

The characterisation in this show, too, is phenomenal. Characters I’d dismissed as just quirky background noise suddenly became clear, and they had a voice. It was amazing to learn more about these characters, and they were presented magnificently (I think all of the actresses and actors in this show deserve an award). I think what was most satisfying though was that at the end of both seasons, all that you learnt about the characters tied in to the finale’s climax. The last scenes of the second season are still quite vivid in my mind (I think I’m still processing, although I finished watching it on Thursday!). I can’t recommend this show enough, although the sex (and sexual references) is quite gratuitous, so if you don’t like that, I’d steer away. There is violence, but it didn’t seem over the top or gratuitous (to me). Definitely, definitely recommend.

(Below, to leave you: Morello trying to describe Toy Story from her…unique…perspective.)

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So that’s what I’ve been doing when I should have been studying for my Modernism exam tomorrow. Whoops. Also, I’ve been cast as Mr. Teavee in a local production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It’s going to be a lot of fun, but I have to put on an American accent (not a forte of mine). What have you guys been up to? Has anyone else seen Orphan Black or Orange is the New Black? What do you think of them?

Odes to the Things I Love

Hi! It’s been a little while, but I haven’t read or seen anything that merits a review (or rather: I don’t have the time to write a review). So I thought I’d upload a few of my poems — whether that’s good or bad, you can decide! (I’d love to hear what you think in the comments!)

Ode to the Feeling You Get When You’re Going Somewhere with Your Life               [6.5.2014]

The scent of clods of packed earth
—almost mud—hangs in the air, mossy,
mouldy like a cave wall, and although
I’m in the open, outside,
it smells like I’ve crawled somewhere
cold and ancient and safe.

That woollen beanie, black
and scratchy as a witch’s cat, toasts
my ears like a slow kettle,
powered by the pounding of
heartbeats in eardrums,
(Talk about natural thermal energy.)

by the thrum of many motors moving,
some mass exodus towards
God-Knows-Where (everywhere).
But I understand my destination;
feel the power beneath
my feet, and the control squelching
like clotted boredom between
my fingers.

The cold-pressed glass is dotted with
dust, and the glaring sun
thrusts itself, unwanted,
unasking for consent, into
my presence. I change glasses
to cloud, not my judgement, but
the brightness from my vision.
I see clearer for the added dullness.

 —

I Hunger for the Chill of Your Embrace               [6.5.2014]

I treasure your bone-nibbling
insight, that soul-cutting knife
of yours that seesaws through
skin. I cradle your trembling
floorboards, breathe in your
tendrils of wood fire smoke
creeping out of chimneys.
I fall asleep rocking you in numb
limbs, my child, enveloping your
blood-pounding lethargy in
arms I can’t tell apart from yours.

I yearn for you, Winter, but
only when you’re not here.

Technology, eh?                   [6.5.2014]

An ode to you; a grateful nod to Snapchat

You sent me a Snapchat from Engadin St. Moritz,
a phone message from the Swiss Alps, thinking
of me in the midst of there, of all places:

wish u were here xx

The picture was beautiful, but only because
the frame was filled with your face.
Eight seconds wasn’t enough to
take it all in, but afterwards I could still see
you with my eyes clenched closed:
a smile like lime juice—fresh and stinging and sweet—
lips the blood of berries—made that way
by the cold, no doubt—lips I wanted to trace with
my tongue, lips I wanted to pore over like
a map of somewhere I wanted to go—no, somewhere
I needed to go—and a nose long and straight but the kind
of nose that means we don’t have to tilt our heads
when we kiss—it just squishes aside, ever so politely—
smeared with a constellation of freckles like the
pattern you get on your bare calves when you ride
your bike through mud—except they’re the colour
of stovetop toffee the instant it starts to harden, the
instant before it’s too late and it’s gone bitter—your
freckles are the perfect instant, captured frozen in
stained ceramic skin—skin the colour of a polaroid
just as it, too, changes; ceramic not because you’re
fragile, but because I don’t ever want to see you
shatter, no matter the reason, because I couldn’t
bear to see a shard of you lying discarded on
the floor, or worse, swept into a pile of dust and
dead dreams. No, eight seconds wasn’t long
enough to stare into the forest-galaxy depths of
your eyes, the verdant foliage of your mind, the
wind-tousled nature of your psyche. And no, eight
seconds was not enough to run my hand through
your russet hair, feeling the fibres ‘twixt my fingers,
so at odds with the rusty appearance—the first time
I smoothed your hair I half-expected brittle, metallic
strands to crumble away—so how could it be
enough to satiate my sight? Oh, to look at you
for longer than eight seconds. I’ve heard
absence makes the heart grow fonder, but
it’s this teasing technology that makes me crave
you. Why did you not set the timer for ten seconds?

An ode to my backyard (and the wildlife therein)                        [8.5.2014]

When I look at you, I see:
a trio of ducks that rapid-fire-rifle
through muddy water with
a sound like machine guns;
a mother’s meeting of slow-
clucking hens, hunched over
and hands behind backs as
though they’re heavy with
secrets (but really it’s just
eggs, one each, eight a day), and
I wonder if we had four more,
would we need a religious rooster
to lead these apostles to peck
their own sharp-beaked way
to a heaven most fowl;
two dogs, the odd couple,
one large and shaggy, the other
small and wiry, both the colour
of sand; three cats—two black,
each hating the other because
they can see more clearly in
their enemy that which they
hate in themselves, and one
white-and-grey, lounging in the
sun-hugged dirt (white no more).

When I watch you, I feel
as though you could go
on forever, verdant and lush
and slush at times, but yellow
and coarse and crackling at others,
but always full of life—baking snakes,
and splendour-weaving spiders
making constellations that occasionally
tangle in my hair, and chirruping frogs
singing in harmony with the thrumming
crickets, and birds I don’t know the name of
thundering by overhead while fish thunder
by in your dam where it’s cold and murky
but free, and before I know it, it’s
night, and you’re a tiny expanse
underneath the gaze of galaxies,
weathering that nocturnally ancient stare
as easily as you do mine.

Symbols of Aniseed

A Sestina

She gives him kisses of aniseed
like liquorice roses held out,
or thunder cascading in the distance
heralding rain, signifying
the needling downpour to come.
Hungrily, he takes them.

He turns them
in his mouth like aniseed
humbugs, sticking to the inside of his cheeks. “Come
closer,” she thinks out
loud, and so he gives her white wine thoughts signifying
nothing like so many drunken nights spent staring into the distance.

But there is no distance
between them,
which has to be signifying
something, surely, apart from aniseed
breath, pushed out
onto the man who tries to come

closer in degrees of infinity. “Come
here,” he murmurs, afraid that the distance
between them is too much and he will wear out
his welcome in her arms, but she can’t imagine anything but them
and, to show this, she proffers aniseed
lips, hopefully signifying

her undying love, signifying
something more than their inability to come
closer together ever would. And so aniseed
is the scent that steals the distance
from between them,
that untangles them from gradual infinities, gets them out

from under the gaze of impossibilities, out
from symbols signifying
meaninglessness. There is only them.
“Come—”
He presses his finger against her lips, staring into the distance
of her eyes and tasting the remnants of aniseed.

Out of wherever they come,
signifying distance,
for them there will always be love in the taste of aniseed.

Also found on deviantART and tumblr.

Yet Another Reading ‘Slump’

So, I’ve only read one book this year, which is pretty atrocious considering it’s now April. Though I’m forty pages away from finishing three of my uni books, so hopefully I’ll get through those soon(ish).

BUT, to make up for the lack of reviews and general bloggy stuff, here’s a pantoum I attempted to write. Let me know what you think!

ANXIETY

You close your laptop, hungry for
discs of cabanossi and cheddar shavings,
and aching in the throes of indecision.
Yet here you are, shut up completely.

Discs of cabanossi and cheddar shavings
flow in abundance at parties like these
yet here you are, shut up, completely
lost in daydreams and nightmares, which

flow in abundance at parties like these—
well, you should know, except you don’t:
lost in daydreams and nightmares, which
more or less, for better or worse…

well, you should know. Except you don’t.
You close your laptop, hungry for
more or less, for better or worse
and aching in the throes of indecision.

Other than that, I’ve been pretty busy with uni and work (i.e. tutoring kids), but I’ve got a few musicals lined up over the next couple of weeks (Oklahoma!Chicago, and my absolute favourite musical of all time in its Sydney premiere: Next to Normal. So excited!) and plays in the coming months (not least of which is Alan Bennet’s The History Boys.) So much to see, so much to read, so much to DO!

How are you all doing?

But that’s not the world I live in

“Dear Diary, it’s easy to be brave and it’s easy to be confident…if you look good, if you feel sexy, and if you fit in. But that’s not the world I live in.”

Rae Earl being straight with you.

So my friend recently (and inadvertently) got me into a fantastic, amazeballs TV show called My Mad Fat DiaryIf you haven’t seen it or heard of it, it’s basically an English YA drama about a fat girl who has recently had a spell in a mental hospital for self-harming. Her name is Rae Earl, and the series is based off the published diary of a real Rae Earl (try saying that ten times fast!). Over the course of the show, you sympathise, empathise and fall in love with her. Her struggles are real and raw, and the character development (not just hers) is astounding. I have fallen in love with so many of the characters, and wonder if a TV show will ever hit me in the same way again (knowing me, yes, I’m sure there will be plenty more, but I’m in a bit of a fan-craze haze at the moment).

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Upon talking to a bully who regularly teases her about her weight…

It deals with issues of emotional vulnerability, teenage sexuality, and a host of other cliché themes…but in a way I’ve not encountered before (or, if I have, in a way I’ve not encountered very often before). We see the effects of Rae’s crippling self-esteem issues as she struggles to deal with her largeness and own self-identity in the world of Lincolnshire, 1996.

I want to take this opportunity to applaud the acting ability of Sharon Rooney, a relative newcomer. She practically bares all to showcase Rae’s vulnerabilities and struggles, and does so magnificently.

Sharon Rooney

Sharon Rooney being sexy as.

There are so many aspects of this show that I venerate (and could indeed go on about for quite a while), but I wanted to give a brief list of some of my favourite:

  • The female sexual experience is the focus, and not the male’s (in one scene in particular, Rae’s boyfriend is pleasuring her—instead of using her to pleasure himself, as is usually the case in most film and television)
  • The fat girl, normally depicted as the outcast, the comic relief, or simply a minor character, is the protagonist: she is the main focus, and we find ourselves not laughing at her, if we laugh at all, but with her
  • I’ve heard it said from several females on the larger side, that this show is very realistic and captures certain experiences accurately—indeed, painfully so
  • The entire cast is stellar, and the acting is just breathtaking
  • It’s set in 1996, and has a wicked 90s-themed soundtrack (I’m in love with most of the songs they play already, but there are a few new—to me—ones that I’ve added to my iTunes)
  • I don’t really know what else to say except that you should really watch it. Like seriously. What are you even still doing here? Okay fine, I’ll show you a couple more images…
Fluffy Bastard Cloud Kittens

This scene made me choke on my tea.

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Hey look! It’s Professor Quirrell giving life advice! What’s not to love?

I'm devastated, Rae

I still tear up every time I see this scene. Superb acting.

What are Friends for?

And by Friends, I mean the TV show.

So, I know I’m a little late to this particular party (too late even to call it fashionable), but I have finally been convinced to watch the twenty-year-old show (how old do you feel now?) known as Friends — because that’s what it’s called, and that’s what it’s about. I put off watching it for so long because canned/studio laughter really grates on my nerves. But, putting that pet peeve aside, this is a really clever and funny show. (Just for the record, I still don’t know why there has to be audience laughter; if it does its job well enough, we should know when to laugh…shouldn’t we?)

I recently finished the first season (courtesy of a friend of mine — thank you!), but I’m now nearly finished the second season. And, seeing as I promised a review to several of my friends on the first episode, I think it’s high time to actually sit my bum down and write something about this crazy, witty, intelligent show.

The first episode begins when five friends become six: Rachel (Jennifer Anniston) leaves her fiancé at the altar, and finds Monica (Courteney Cox), her brother Ross (David Schwimmer), her friend Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) and neighbours Chandler (Matthew Perry) and Joey (Matt LeBlanc) at their hangout, the coffeehouse Central Perk. We follow these six friends as they explore the uncertain terrain that independence brings them: the ability to make their own decisions, the navigation of confusing relationships, and, of course, their own developing friendships with each other.

The six friends sippin' on two milkshakes: you do the maths.

Aw, look at these lovelies. I wish they were my friends as well.

Each episode is short — but the pithy kind of short. The kind of duration I like. Concise, but powerful. Like Ernest Hemingway and his short stories, I guess. But I digress. I just wanted to say I love love love this show, and I haven’t even finished the second season yet (so no spoilers, please!). Anyone out there have any fond Friends memories? Any other similar TV shows you think I might like?

[Also, because I know I’ll get into this somewhere, my favourite characters are Chandler (I love his sarcasm, amongst other things) and Phoebe (why she so whacky? I love it!). And who, may I ask, are yours?]

And so it begins…

So, it’s just after 1AM on the 1/1/2014. I’m a little late writing this post (should have scheduled it or something, but whatevs) but just wanted to wish my lovely followers the best for 2014. For most of you, the New Year is tomorrow, so I’ll leave you with this quote:

Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one. — Brad Paisley

All the best for the year ahead...thought I'd give the internet another snapshot of me, at 1AM on 1/1/2014.

All the best for the year ahead…thought I’d give the internet another snapshot of me, at 1AM on 1/1/2014.

Christmas Wishes

With two and a half hours of Christmas left, I thought I’d better jump in and say, “Merry Christmas!” But, I mean, it’s probably in the early hours of Christmas morning everywhere else. Gosh, you guys are slow.

So, I got mainly books, but also a beard trimmer and some clothes. I’m a happy man. Hope your Christmas finds you well, and leaves you even better.

Post-HP Rowling: Does She Still Have It?

JK Rowling

The incomparable Jo Rowling, one of my heroes (or heroines, whatevs).

Hello, my followers and friends (or random visitor — hopefully a potential follower and/or friend)! Sorry I haven’t uploaded anything lately: I’ve been so busy lately finishing my first year of uni, and it’s just getting busier with Christmas approaching, but I’ve made myself sit down and write this double-review that I’ve been meaning to do for ages.

J.K. Rowling, author extraordinaire, has released two novels since she finished her global phenomenon that is the Harry Potter series. You might be wondering, are they any good? How can you compare anything to Harry Potter? Why would you even try? Well, I’ll try my best to answer these questions (and more!) in my reviews of The Casual Vacancy (2012) and The Cuckoo’s Calling (2013).

Published firmly in the genre of contemporary/literary adult fiction, The Casual Vacancy was never going to escape the limelight that Harry Potter had created. Never. Not in a hundred years. It’s a sad, but true, fact that Rowling will never be judged solely on her writing ability any longer (she even tried to write under a pseudonym — which lasted all of three months), that she can never escape from her own shadow. It’s the saddest part of fame, I think. And, for that reason, The Casual Vacancy has got a disgusting rating on Goodreads, and is overall viewed as a disappointing next-novel from such a literary great.

That said: I don’t agree at all! I think it is a magical novel, with a charm all its own. I think it isn’t very well liked because people pick it up for the wrong reasons. They pick it up because it is by J.K. Rowling, and not because it is something that sounds interesting to them, or is part of a genre they enjoy. I guess I’m one of the lucky few (or so it seems) that thoroughly enjoys well-written fantasy AND contemporary/literary fiction (or, anything well-written, really).

The Casual Vacancy cover

I am in love with this cover…though I’ve always been a sucker for both English landscapes/cityscapes/villagescapes and curly lettering. It’s a pity I have a different edition…

The characters are so clearly drawn, so amazingly crafted, I feel as though I know them. I feel as though I could pass them on the street, wave at them as they put the bins out across the road from me, smile at them as they serve me my food, cry at their funeral…

Everything ties in together blissfully. I get excited when seemingly trivial details become important later on, and I especially loved how different characters’ stories intertwined (one of my absolute favourite parts includes a girl, a river and a computer — not to be too explicit for those of you who are still to read it). And yet, everything ties in together realistically. I think that’s important in a novel claiming to be contemporary fiction — fiction doesn’t mean that you can make anything up, it still has to remain consistent and plausible. I think Rowling does this wonderfully.

There is one thing that I got slightly annoyed with in the book, and that is the use of parentheses. Rowling apparently loves to use parenthetical asides, and long ones at that. There’s nothing wrong in itself about that, but there were times when she should have been using parentheses (I thought) but she didn’t. Maybe I was missing the point of them? Aside from that (which wasn’t really that big a deal, just me being a pedant as usual), I absolutely loved this novel.

I don’t want to say too much for fear of spoiling the magic (of a different kind) that is this novel, but please, if you haven’t read it and it does sound like something you’d enjoy (a heavy, populated novel focussed on the politics and passions of a supposedly idyllic village) please do read it. And if you have read it, please leave me a comment below! Do you agree or disagree with my judgement? I’d love to hear from you!

How JK Rowling came up with the name Robert Galbraith?

I know this is completely stupid, but it made me chuckle. Apparently Rowling’s always liked the name Robert, and Galbraith was just a surname that had stuck with her since childhood. Funny how it turned out to literally translate as ‘famous stranger’.

And now onwards, to review “Robert Galbraith” and his debut foray into crime fiction. I must say, I would never have picked this up if it hadn’t been revealed that it was Rowling in disguise, so I am kind of glad for that. But I’m not glad that a lawyer from the firm of solicitors she uses (presumably in her publishing contracts and rights of reproduction and whatnot) was the one that leaked her secret to the world, through Twitter. Shame on them, whoever they are. I hope they don’t feel good about themselves (although they probably do). It really wasn’t fair to blurt out somebody else’s secret, one which had been expected to remain confidential for at least a little while longer.

BUT, like I said, if it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t have picked the book up. And not just because I’m not big on crime fiction, although I do love a good Agatha Christie or Dorothy L. Sayers (yes, shut up, I like golden age stuff, what of it?), but mainly because I hadn’t even seen it in bookstores yet. I’d never heard of The Cuckoo’s Calling before she was outed. She wasn’t even given half a chance. Not even a year, or enough time for it really to gain a following. And it makes me grieve that Robert Galbraith died before he really had a chance to live.

Enough doom and gloom, though, eh? Except, well, this novel is about a lot of doom and gloom. There is a lot of death (though none of it happens during the story: it’s all about the consequences of death). There is a lot of brokenness, and the characters felt whole and rounded out, and Rowling did her trick again of bringing these people to life, like they could actually be living, breathing human beings. And I think, for her, they are, which is maybe one of the reasons why I love her and her writing so much.

It’s so hard to review this book without giving away anything crucial or repeating what’s on the blurb already, but, I must say, I love the chemistry between Strike and Robin. So not cliché, and everything it should be. Just perfect. It was agonisingly slow to get started, but the payoff was worth it, and it makes sense that the plot has to be set up so the reader feels comfortable in the created world. I mean, I got why it was so slow, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Hopefully the sequel (and Rowling herself did say a sequel is coming out next year) will be better, without having to set up the protagonists as well as everyone else. I really am looking forward to the sequel, even though I struggled a bit to get through the first third.

The Cuckoo's Calling cover

The Cuckoo’s Calling…the cover doesn’t give much away, but I do love it.

Would I recommend it? Mm, hard to say really. If you like crime fiction in general, if you like crime fiction that it’s possible for you to solve as well (like a Sherlock Holmes story, the clues were all there), if you like descriptive writing and characters as compelling as the plot…if you like any or all of these things, then you’ll like the novel. But, if you wouldn’t ordinarily pick up a crime novel, then it’s probably not your cup of tea. Then again, if you’re wanting a book to read that’s a bit outside your comfort zone, I’d say give it a go. I’m not that into crime fiction, and I still thoroughly enjoyed it. Have you read it? Did you like it? Please, leave a comment below!

So, has Rowling still got it? I think she most definitely has, and I look forward to many more novels with much excitement. Plus, I can’t wait for The Casual Vacancy BBC1 TV series that seems to be in the works, and I don’t understand why she can’t write a sequel to that as well (she might be, I don’t know, but it doesn’t seem like it). I mean, if they can do a season two of Broadchurch, why not a sequel to The Casual Vacancy? And I’m sure there’s probably going to be an adaptation of The Cuckoo’s Calling somewhere along the lines. In other, slightly related news, I am so unbelievably excited for the film version of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It’s going to be fantastic!

The Casual Vacancy: ★★★★★ 5 stars

The Cuckoo’s Calling: ★★★★☆ 4 stars

Happy reading! May all your Christmas presents be books and things you love!