In his essay The Death of the Author, Roland Barthes argued that the only way to read a book was to separate it from its author. According to Barthes, authorial context and intent wouldn’t provide insight into the meaning of the text. Instead, it would limit the amount of meaning a reader could take from it. For Barthes, the meaning of a book wasn’t dependent on who the author was but on who the reader is. As we can never really be sure of what an author intended, trying to understand a novel based on who they were as a person would always be flawed. The author, thus, becomes not a God but merely a “scriptor”. They aren’t imposing meaning but merely transcribing the message on paper for the reader to untangle themselves.
Even though I’ve gone off J.K. Rowling a bit in recent years, I still appreciate the impact that she had on my life. The Harry Potter books were a big part of me becoming the reader that I am today. I guess it’s no stretch to say that they were a big part of the person I am today. Yes, I’ve grown up to realise that Rowling isn’t the great writer that I thought she once was. Yes, it bugs me that she keeps going back and altering her work for stupid reasons. Yes, I think she was massively wide of the mark when it comes to diversity. Yes, some of her personal views and opinions are just wrong. But she’s also done a lot for a lot of people. Her first two Harry Potter spin-off books were released to raise money for Comic Relief. Her latest charitable release came in the form of an Audible audiobook. The third book in the wider Potterverse is being read by stars like Jude Law, Evanna Lynch, Warwick Davies, and Jason Isaacs to raise money for the Lumos Foundation. Of course, I ended up getting it for free as an Audible member, so I’m not sure how that works. Still, I knew I had to check it out.
So, I’m not going to lie to you. Yet again, I haven’t finished a book. It’s been a hectic week and I’ve been feeling shit. So, reading has taken a bit of a backseat. I’m away this weekend and I wanted to get ahead with posts so I didn’t have to worry about anything. I’ve been writing and taking photos in every spare second. Because I’m away in London this weekend. I’m finally getting to see Hamilton and I have no words for how excited I am. I can’t… WAIT FOR IT. Geddit? Aaah. Anyway, in the absence of a review and, needing to write something, I decided it was the perfect time to do the Hamilton Book Tag. This is a super old tag but if I’m not going to do it now when am I? I found this on DreamlandBookBlog but I think it was created on YouTube by Maureen Keavy. Either way, I’m doing it now.
We’re only 6 days from Christmas day and I’m feeling anything but festive. Forget one of my dark days, it’s been a dark week so far. I understand that the idea of being completely happy in your job is a lie that we’ve been fed since childhood but I was, at least, hoping the happy moments would outweigh the sad. Not this week. Out of the 4 shifts I’ve done so far this week, I’ve come away wanting to sit in the dark and cry after 3 of them. Which has had a massive knock-on effect on my reading so I’m nowhere near finishing Murder on the Orient Express. It’s a rereading so, realistically, I could still have written a review of it but, to be honest, I just want to go to bed and forget this week ever happened. So, I went searching for an easy book tag to fill in the space in my schedule and even that proved to be too draining. And now I’m sat here feeling defeated and quite pathetic for letting this get to me so much. I hate being the kind of person who constantly moans about work and who gets so upset about it. But, unfortunately, some days there are just so many frustrating things that, instead of washing over my head, they just end up drowning me. Still, I’d hate myself just as much if I didn’t get a post up, so I searched the internet for an appropriately Christmassy tag. Let’s see how this goes.
There probably won’t be many people out there who still remember the days when I tried to write a Top 10 list every week. Yep, in the not too distant past, I struggled to come up with a coherent list of 10 things related to a specific book or film related top 10. I did it every Wednesday cause, you know, I fucking love to make things rhyme and it always stressed me out. I could never think of a topic and I could never pick 10 things. I think I threw about 6 fake dinner parties for fictional characters in the space of 4 months and the guests were pretty much the same every time. I don’t know what I was thinking. But, I’m obviously a glutton for punishment as I’ve been thinking about starting a new weekly series on a Friday. I’m already struggling because my journey home tonight took me over 3 fucking hours so I’m too tired and pissed off to be writing anything. But, I’m still really angry about this film so this has to happen somehow. I guess it can’t be that bad… and it’s not as if it’s got anything to do with dinner parties. Yet, anyway. So, without further stalling for time, I present the top 5 things I think made The Crimes of Grindelwald a bad film. These don’t include the changes to the canon that I mentioned in my post on Wednesday. Nor do they mention, though it took all of my strength not to, Jude Law’s annoying and laughable Irish moments. I get that he was paying homage to Michael Gambon but who seriously heard him speak his lines and said “yep, that’s exactly how he should say that”? It’s so distracting!
Yesterday I posted my spoiler free review of The Crimes of Grindelwald which probably ended up being one of the longer posts I’ve written lately. And there was definitely more I wanted to say. Despite coming out of the film feeling fairly positive, in the week since I watched it I’ve become more and more angry about certain things. Driving home on the evening I was bemoaning the changes in timeline and it’s something that hasn’t stopped since. So, I’ve done the unthinkable and purposefully broken my book review streak in order to get some stuff off my chest. I have a history, on this blog, of ranting about J.K. Rowling and this year has been a good year for angry content about her. That was mainly concerned with the fact that Johnny Depp continues to star in the blockbuster franchise despite his worrying personal life. Not only the possibility that he is a domestic abuser but also has a constant struggle with drugs and alcohol. I found it sad that a writer who wrote a series about not letting entitled bullies get their own way would allow an actor to get away with such troubling behaviour and still get paid a shit-ton of money. But, let’s be honest, he pulls in the viewing numbers and, these days, that’s all that seems to matter.
You know that thing where you’ve been saying something for years and then everyone jumps on the bandwagon? I feel like that about JK Rowling. I’ve been ranting about that woman and the damage she’s causing the Harry Potter series for years and now, all of a sudden, it seems that people are finally catching up with me. It was way back in 2012 that I first started complaining about her ability to fuck shit up. Then, with every passing year and every new revelation, I’ve continually begged her to just leave the series alone. I was definitely in the minority back in those days. Now? Now I’m reading articles in The Guardian saying exactly what I’ve been saying. It’s really infuriating. But also good, I guess. It helps to know that I’m not just being petty. That I’m not just targeting a famous and successful writer to make myself feel important. I’m just a fan who is sick of this dead horse being flogged for everything it’s worth. A fan who went into the new Fantastic Beasts film expecting to come out in an absolute rage because I’d already reached my limit thanks to the Nagini and McGonagall news. Plus, you know, Johnny Depp.
So, this week definitely got away from me somewhere. I expected to be finished with another book by this point but I’m still reading both of the books I’ve got on the go. I should have Matt Haig’s Notes on a Nervous Planet by next week but, for now, I’m having to find something random to fill out this post. Thankfully, it’s nearly October and I’ve been trying to get into the spirit of Halloween all month. Last week I posted a Nightmare Before Christmas themed post on Instagram so when I discovered this book tag everything seemed perfect. It helps that I love both the book and the film A Nightmare Before Christmas. But who doesn’t? It’s the perfect film to start you off on your journey to Christmas as early as October. Why wait until advent to start watching Christmas films when Tim Burton has you sorted? And why watch the film when you can do the book tag? Yeah? No? Okay. Well I’m invested now.
Last Monday I was lucky enough to see Bianca Del Rio perform in Manchester. It was something I addressed last week in my review of Hurricane Bianca so you may well be wondering why I’m bring it up over a week later? Well, I’m currently writing this the week before I go on holiday so I can schedule it to be uploaded whilst I’m away. It’s a level of dedication I’ve never strived for before and it feels weird. Good but weird. So, I’m still on a bit of a drag high. I mean I’m always on a bit of a drag queen high. I definitely thought I would hate Drag Race when a friend suggested I watch it but I was, as she predicted, quickly obsessed. I’ve watched all but the first season of the show at least three times in the last 12 months. Okay, I’ve not rewatched season 10 yet but Eureka annoyed the fuck out of me. I can’t go through that again. So, yeah, I love a bit of drag. And, as it’s on my mind, I decided to try to see if there was a Drag Race book tag. For one thing, there’s a book tag to do with anything these days. And, for another, I needed something to bosh out quite quickly. Luckily, I’m not the only Drag Race loving book nerd.
So this is the official end of my run of book reviews. I was doing so well and now I’ve lost it again. It’s been a super hectic week and I’ve not had much time to read. Plus, I’ve been trying to get ahead with my posts and stuff before I go on holiday. I think I can just about manage it but it does mean I’ve had to put aside reading to get things done. I’ll definitely make up for it whilst I’m away but it does mean my next two Wednesday posts will be kind of bullshit. Well, hopefully not bullshit but not what they could have been. I even started reading The Hate That U Give in the hope that I could finish it in time. I didn’t. But I hopefully will soon. I’m enjoying it much more than I expected but that’s mainly just due to my general mistrust of YA fiction. Something that I could go into now but I have bigger fish to fry. Bigger fish like Johnny Depp… again. After all, the second Fantastic Beasts trailer was released a matter of days ago. And, unsurprisingly, I had a lot of thoughts about it.