I have checked my progress in the Goodreads Reading Challenge 2018 and I am doing better than expected – much better. It also highlighted how much I read versus write. If I spent as much time writing as I do reading I could be 90% through my first draft rather than the challenge.
It also highlights this in this tweet I have seen today
Fun fact: if you #Write500aDay for the rest of the year, then on Dec. 31 you will have written 81,000 words.
That's a book, guys.
If you bump it up to 700 a day, you'll have 119,000 words. That's revisions and edits.
My trip to the pop-up Shakespearean theatre in York arrived. What an experience. Even if you are a Shakespeare novice like me if you get the chance, go – it’s worth it. The venue is inspired by the London Rose Playhouse and though the structure is made of scaffolding instead of wood, this is soon forgotten when the show starts. The atmosphere is thrilling and intimate with the superb cast only metres away and they mingle with the public in the stalls as they tell the story. You feel inclusive to the show rather than just a spectator. I could imagine the original theatre full of people in medieval dress in awe with the performance, captivated by Macbeth’s speeches, and become thrilled at the violence and gore which ensued following the witches prophecies. As I confessed here, I am a stranger to Shakespeare and never understood his appeal. I may not have fully understood who was who and what was going on but now I get it. By the second part, I had that tingle of a light bulb moment when something clicks. His words are poetry and alive with passion and feeling. I longed to have the script to follow and then watch it all again with a deeper understanding. It made me want more and learn. I never thought I would say it but if given the opportunity I would like to study Shakespeare.
The costumes are amazing – my daughter is now planning her next cosplay outfit on them.
The shows are running until September. If my money box and the diary allows, ticketsto see Midsummer Night’s Dream are being booked.
On social media the trailer of an upcoming Sky 1 series is being shared based on the novel A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. It looks good with drama, fantasy, action and magic so it must be time to catch up with the book.
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
Title: A Discovery of Witches
Author: Deborah Harkness
Genre: Fiction, fantasy, paranormal
Release Date: 29th September 2011
The phenomenal international bestseller and the first volume in the enthralling All SOULS trilogy, preceding SHADOW OF NIGHT and THE BOOK OF LIFE.
It begins with absence and desire. It begins with blood and fear. It begins with a discovery of witches.
When historian Diana Bishop opens an alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library, it’s an unwelcome intrusion of magic into her carefully ordered life. Though Diana is a witch of impeccable lineage, the violent death of her parents while she was still a child convinced her that human fear is more potent than any witchcraft. Now Diana has unwittingly exposed herself to a world she’s kept at bay for years; one of powerful witches, creative, destructive daemons and long-lived vampires. Sensing the significance of Diana’s discovery, the creatures gather in Oxford, among them the enigmatic Matthew Clairmont, a vampire geneticist. Diana is inexplicably drawn to Matthew and, in a shadowy world of half-truths and old enmities, ties herself to him without fully understanding the ancient line they are crossing. As they begin to unlock the secrets of the manuscript and their feelings for each other deepen, so the fragile balance of peace unravels…
This is the first book in the All Souls trilogy and my favourite of the series. From the moment Deborah Harkness transported me to the Bodleian library with Diana Bishop I was hooked. I could not resist; this book has always the elements I love – old dusty books, libraries and magic bundled together with descriptive pose and intriguing characters. Lots of characters to discover and love besides the main characters, Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont. There are the witches including Emily and Sarah, the extensive vampire family including Miriam, Marcus, Ysabeau and Marthe and deamons especially Hamish. They all have depth and stories beyond this series.
Diana is a character who grew as her back story was revealed throughout the book. As a witch who loves research into the history of alchemy I longed to see the imagery she was seeing in the old manuscripts. Matthew Clairmont has all the element you would expect of a fictional vampire – wealthy, unrealistically handsome, tall and strong with overprotective tendencies but he is grounded by his flaws. They make him more realistic. His back story and secrets add to the depth of character. I found it refreshing that the relationship between him and Diana was more balanced than many vampire stories. She is not your usual damsel in distress.
This a mature paranormal novel with a wonderful blend of unique characters, history, science, location and description to form an epic adventure involving romance, fear and drama. Deborah Harkness has not just created a story for Diana and Matthew she has created a world to explore so it feels as if any character could easily have their own novel. Long after I put the book down my mind would drift back to the plot and characters.
Would I recommend?
Oh yes! I love this book and is in my top 10 favourite books and is on my forever shelf. With the upcoming TV programme I predict it will go wild with discissions. As with all book versus film debates it is worth a read before the programme release. Have you read it and let me know what you think below.
Thank you NetGalley and Headline for the opportunity to read a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
The trailer is out for the highly anticipated Sky 1 drama A Discovery of Witches so it must be time to delve into a series of books I love and are on my forever shelf with endless revisits – the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness.
I will review them in separate posts to avoid any unintended spoilers for the previous books.
The series follows Diana Bishop, a witch and scholar of Alchemy as she inadvertently finds a lost manuscript hunted for centuries by the three paranormal species – witches, vampires and daemons. One of those searching is a vampire, Matthew Clairmont and as their relationship grows so does the danger and the plot thickens.
The detailed descriptions of the Bodleian library, many fully developed characters to fall in love with entwined with the paranormal and history drew me in. Her love for history shines through. Like Harry Potter and Pottermore, The All Souls trilogy is no longer just three books; Deborah Harkness has created a world for fans to explore. A community of like-minded people has grown from it with discussion groups, websites for fans and podcasts. A complete guide of the books, The World of All Souls, was released this year – it is on my Christmas list. There is even a yearly convention to attend in person or online. I have been an online attendee and they are worth a look. With insights to the characters, book readings, competitions and music it adds a new dimension to the reading experience. If you love the books, you can immerse yourself in their magic. The growth and popularity of the All Souls world is helped by Deborah being active and involved on social media sharing insights and updates into the characters and world they live.
When the programme is released I predict a sharp increase in the interest in these books and I can’t wait for the discussions that will follow. With the release of her new book Times Convert in September 2018 it is a busy year Deborah Harkness.
Day One of this July’s Camp NaNoWriMo is over and the progress I have made is zilch. Nothing. Nada. No increase in my word count nor any interesting snippets of information gathered which could be classed as research. A failure of a day except –
I have tidied my writing room and cleared my desk of clutter. Every writer needs a clean workspace right? I just need to remember where I put everything.
Are you joining in Camp NaNoWriMo? Let me know how you are getting on below.