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What I read in October 2017

Well October sped by didn't it! Here are my thoughts on the books I finished this past month.

Let me know what you've been enjoying reading lately :)

HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE - JK Rowling (audio)
★★★★★
This year I'm working through the Harry Potter books for the first time (yes, I know). As with all of them so far I loved this, but especially the nature of the tournament and things getting darker and grittier.

HOW NOT TO BE A BOY - Robert Webb (audio)
★★★★
Robert's memoir is cleverly crafted and heartfelt. He moves between periods of time to tell the story of his life, while exploring the pressures of masculinity and gender roles generally.

I feel like his honest discussion, as a man, of his experience with grief, mental health and his relationship with alcohol, will help so many. It's also an enjoyable read with the humour you'd expect from him.

THORNHILL - Pam Smy
★★★★★
I read this all in one go over an evening, and it was such a wonderful, unique rea…
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What I read in September 2017

With getting back to studying I'm currently trying to suss out how I can keep sharing my reading when I don't have as much spare time. While I'd love to keep making videos, my temporary solution is that I've started a Facebook page for reading updates, though I'll keep sharing wrap-ups on here too.

Anyhow, here's what I finished reading in September!

BORN A CRIME - Trevor Noah (audio)
★★★★½
Trevor Noah is such a brilliant storyteller. You get a real sense of his childhood but also of South Africa during that time. While the book was lovely to listen to, with lots of funny anecdotes capturing adolescent awkwardness, it also taught me a huge amount about Apartheid and South Africa generally. Some really powerful moments too that had me gripped and in tears at one moment. Really glad I listened to this one.

HUNGER - Roxane Gay (audio)
★★★★

This is a memoir of Roxane's body and life - both of which changed forever when, aged 12, she was raped by her boyfriend a…

What's on at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2017

While going to the Edinburgh Fringe at the end of the month means I get jealous seeing everyone already up there, it also means I get the benefit of all the buzz and reviews - making my list of shows I'd like to see ever longer.

So I thought I'd share some of the shows I love the sound of. If you've seen any of these, or have any other recommendations, let me know!

TheatreFirst a couple of shows I know I can recommend as I've seen them before (meaning you may well have heard of them too)...
Theatre Ad Infinitum have won countless awards and critical acclaim for their stunning show Translunar Paradise - a story of love, loss and letting go, beautifully played out through mime and mask, and more moving than I could have imagined.

Uplifting but honest about depression and a one-of-a-kind theatrical experience, Every Brilliant Thing is back at the Roundabout for a limited run from 23-27 Aug.

The Big Bitesize Breakfast Show is a great way to start the day, kicking off at 10.…

school memories

pulling on winter tights. uniform a little too large, room to grow.

new stationary. the idea of choosing a 'cool' pencil case. friendships formed on silly jokes and an unspoken solidarity. trying not to be embarrassing. bunsen burners and lab coats, and a smell of a substance I hadn't bothered to learn the name of. sandwiches not eaten. a packet of crisps and a penguin. well-intentioned assemblies with meanings I was too bored to grasp. playing sports, unwillingly, out in the cold. the smell of the changing rooms. coach trips. having so much to take in and it being completely normal, all we've ever known. teachers that felt unknowable - and not caring, and teachers that felt nearly knowable, and all kinds of wonderful. parents' evenings, presuming the worst.

gathered together to receive news of events we were too young to understand.

safety in stories, in english class, in putting your hand up because you knew or wanted to know, all about it. the click of a cart…

Jesus Christ Superstar review, Open Air Theatre

Jesus Christ Superstar started with the music: a concept album from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, that led on to endless adaptations all facing the challenge of bringing this epic story (that ends in a crucifixion) to life.

This new production takes on that challenge with a real sense of excitement and energy, with fresh eyes and a stunning outdoor space to work with, and - a focus on that music that began it all.

After brilliant reviews including from critics where I wouldn't expect a positive reaction, I went in with perhaps dangerously high expectations, then came out with mixed feelings.

Where the show succeeds is in the musicality, the production values and Drew McOnie's choreography. There were so many clever touches throughout that made me smile with their simplicity and innovation: Judas' hands turn silver with the taking of his reward and his guilt, apostles pause into the Da Vinci Last Supper pose, and a microphone cord hangs in place of Judas himself.

There…

1984 review, Playhouse Theatre

Adaptation can be a story straight from page to stage. The first line is the first line, the structure remains, scene to scene we see what we expect to see. Or, it can be something more. Something capturing the spirit of the story. Something that knows it can't bring the book to life without really bringing it to life and letting it breathe, and play, in this new space. This is that.

As such, it messes with you. It knows what you come in expecting and it doesn't hand it over without a fight. It's intense, surreal and really rather impressive. It's not an easy ride.

We open with a man and his diary, a nervous act, and a group discussing a book. I think it's one thing then it's another. It's 1984 itself ("it changes everything, and yet the world is still the same?"), it's the book within the book, it's another book altogether. It's all of the above or none of the above: it's doublespeak in action.

I worried a little we weren't …

What to see at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2016

With the festival kicking off this week I thought I'd share what I'm most excited about and can recommend. I'm heading up the last week of the Fringe so any suggestions do let me know!

Theatre

Shows I can recommend as I've seen and loved them before include...

Vamos Theatre's Finding Joy tells a story of a lovely old lady called Joy who has dementia. Through mime, the production flits between the present (the relationship with her grandson is just beautiful) and her past. It was so much more moving than I ever could have anticipated.

Exploring depression in a funny and uplifting way, Every Brilliant Thing is performed by Jonny Donahoe. We watch his character grow up and navigate life and mental illness, both within his family and also his own. It's playful and profound.

If you're looking for big laughs check out Kill the Beast's He Had Hairy Hands. They're outrageous but also very clever - it's theatre that is fun while also impressive in how it …