Fandom Friday – HELP, I’M STUCK IN A BOOK! (and not in the fun way!)

So if you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably seen me complain about struggling to get through Dune by Frank Herbert. I’ve described the book as ‘Space Game of Thrones’ to several people, and incidentally I had the same problem while trying to tackle the A Song of Ice and Fire series.

Dune

 

It’s not that I’m not enjoying the book – the premise is interesting and it’s very well written, but it’s so long and so heavy. I could quite happily read a 1000 page novel, but the pacing has to be right. For me, a large amount of action for long periods of time just doesn’t work; I need breaks, slower moments. I’m about 320 pages in, and this enough for me – I can only handle so much of the heavily detailed, jam-packed writing Herbert uses.

So what do I do? I don’t like putting down books and reading others, as I find that I give up on the first one too easily (just ask A Storm of Swords, it’s been left half finished on my Kindle for at least a year), but I’m not reading because if I do I’m getting nowhere. Maybe in the future I should have a page limit on books I intend to review. I read the last three books I’ve reviewed (The House I Loved, The Book of Other People and Junk) in about two weeks, so I thought I’d tackle a longer book – and one that I’ve been meaning to read since I got it 3 years ago.

Have you ever been in this situation? How do you tackle it – do you plough through or take a break; or give up entirely?

See you soon,

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600 PAGES, MAN. 600.

Fandom Friday – My 5th Nerdaversary

I grew up in a world where being passionate about something, almost anything in fact, was enough to label you a ‘nerd’ – and a nerd wasn’t something you wanted to be; John Green was a name only known on YouTube, and geek culture wasn’t a fashion trend, it was something to laugh at. Reality wasn’t like the Disney movies, where you had to be some kind of ugly science genius to be a nerd (and even that was bad enough) – you just had to care about something.I don’t know if that’s just part of being a teenage girl, if it was just another shitty side effect of 2009 or what, but it sucked. Being a fairly smart kid with a thing for books, this wasn’t the lifestyle I wanted – pretending not to like anything is exhausting. Being ‘cool’ was more important than anything, even to the adults in my life.

Continue reading Fandom Friday – My 5th Nerdaversary

Harry Potter and Social Issues -Could JK Rowling Have Gone Further?

It is undeniable that the Harry Potter series deals with social issues in many ways – they are written into the text in such a way that has shaped the way generations have and continue to view the world. Millions of young people have grown up with Harry, often looking to the Wizarding World for guidance. It is unsurprising, then, that as we and our society develop, that we both appreciate the ways the series explores social injustice and acknowledge the aspects that are unsatisfying. While the series tackles many issues in an immensely overt way, there are things that could be improved.

Hermione, for instance. In the current stage show, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Hermione is played by Noma Dumezweni. Many were unhappy with the idea of a black actress playing her. Others however, myself included, feel that Hermione as a black woman adds to Hermione’s story. She faces racism in the wizarding world for her ‘blood status’ – she’s a muggleborn, which is frowned on by some “purebloods” – wizards born into wizarding families. She faces immense prejudice at the hands of Draco Malfoy and other purebloods, and in the film series has a racial slur, “mudblood”, carved into her arm by Bellatrix Lestrange (Deathly Hallows, Part 1).

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Noma Dumezweni. Found here

In the novels, JK Rowling doesn’t specify the colour of Hermione’s skin. While I believe that writers should limit character descriptions and leave the reader to garner their own impressions of the characters, stating that Hermione had dark skin could have strengthened the impact her struggle with racism stronger.

Another aspect I feel could have been explored was Dumbledore’s sexuality. Rowling revealed on a book tour for the last novel in the series that Dumbledore was gay. Many LGBT+ people look to the series for it’s messages of acceptance and love, and relate to struggles such as Hermione’s. A gay character further opens up the world to LGBT+ people, however Rowling chose not to write in Dumbledore’s sexuality – at least not overtly. Of course it would be difficult to publish a children’s book, particularly in the 90s and early 00s, with an openly gay character – but considering the immense success of the Potter series, I seriously doubt sales would have been that affected if she had written it into one of the later novels.

In a book series that has taught me and so many others about acceptance, love and equality it is disheartening that some things like these examples that could have easily been included were left out. At the same time, the series isn’t solely a social commentary, and manages to balance discussion of several important issues with magic, dragons, mermaids, Dark Lords and even the odd Quidditch match. We can make several real life comparisons and learn a lot from the series, even if it isn’t perfect.

See you soon,

Ro x

Featured Image by Vondell Swain