Review of the Year Part 2

#Time for part two of my review of 2018! This time, I’ll be looking at the theatre I’ve managed to get to and the books I’ve read.

Play of the Year

Over 2018, I’ve been to the theatre more than in any other year, and I enjoyed all the plays I saw – you can read more about them here

: (Wicked) (Les Mis) (Matilda) (War Horse) (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child)

Although I had read the script for the Cursed Child before and I’ve seen the film and read most of Les Mis (apart from the digressions into French history which I skipped) I hadn’t seen any of them on stage before. It’s difficult to choose a favourite because I’m not comparing like with like – three musicals and two more straightforward plays aren’t really the same. The staging and lighting for all of them was really impressive, and although they were very different, that was a common thread running throughout. The one which exceeded my expectations most was the Cursed Child – most of the things that really didn’t work in the script did on the stage, and I’ve never been more terrified than when the Dementors appeared. My favourite was probably Wicked though – I was familiar beforehand with a lot of songs, but it was a very good production and plot.

Book of the year

I haven’t read as much this year as I would have hoped to – in 2019, I’m going to try and set myself a reading challenge to try and get back into it. I haven’t actually read all that much since writing this post ( – but there’s been a few new additions, most notably Jonathan Coe’s new book, Middle England. As someone who spent her teenage life in Birmingham, the Rotters Club trilogy is so evocative of that for me, and there’s a very beautiful description of the Queen Elizabeth II hospital (where I seem to have spent a fair amount of 2018!) in the new one, amongst all the Brexit chat.

As a fairly fast reader, I often forget the plots of books but well-written characters tend to stay with me much more. They also tend to make me enjoy reading books more – if I can empathise with the characters, whether they are like me (one of the people in Jonathan Coe’s Middle England, Sophie, worked at a university as an academic and I felt a particular affinity with her) or completely other to me.

For my book of the year, then, I’d have to say Middle England (or Record of a Spaceborn Few) if I’m restricting myself to works published in 2018, Otherwise, any of those I mentioned in the post linked above are ones which have stayed with me. As always, any further recommendations are welcome (even if my to-read list barely even fits on my bookshelf!

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