Bit of a sad reading month but that happens sometimes. Seeing as I only have a couple of books to share I thought I’d sneak in a few TV and music recommendations to pad this post out a bit. Enjoy!
The Book of Dust Vol. 1: La Belle Savuage: The first in a prequel trilogy to Phillip Pullman’s iconic His Dark Materials, I’d been hesitant to read La Belle Savuage because I loved the first books so much, and didn’t want to be let down. However, my sister got a copy for Christmas so after her and my mum had read it (and given it rave reviews) I was tempted to risk it and I’m so glad it was the first book I read in February. If I’m honest, I read Volume 1 like a kid – just gobbling up the fantastical world and new characters as fast as possible – but I am planning on taking some time to do a reread at some point so I can really mull over what makes it so good. For now I’ll say that I’m very intrigued by Alice’s character and can’t wait to see where the story will take her. I also thought Malcolm was a portrayed in a very honest and lovely way – I felt like Pullman was trying to push at the boundaries of the “boy on an adventure” character and I’m very curious to see how this will develop over the next two books! If Lyra’s character development is anything to go by then I think we’re in for a treat with both Malcolm and Alice.
His Dark Materials Vol. 1: Northern Lights: After spending most of February reading The Book of Dust, and knowing it’ll be a bit of wait before volume 2 comes out, I decided to start a reread of His Dark Materials and truly devoured Northern Lights. There is something so safe and yet exhilarating about that world and it was so good to be back in it. Lyra is such an amazing young female character and I will always love her with my whole heart but it was also so nice to be reminded of the complexity of the other characters too. I was particularly struck by Lee Moresby and Serafina Pekkala’s talk about fate/free will and the coming war. It’s such a good bit of foreshadowing of how the line between right and wrong (or good and evil) is set to become more and more blurred as the books progress. Alongside that, this moment brings the threats of the book – which until then feel very centred around the children – and pulls them into the adult sphere. As an older reader you begin to realise the scape of the world Pullman has created and it feels very close to our own. In fact while I was reading it, Lyra and the kids breaking away from Bolvanga reminded me a lot of the young activists who are currently speaking up in America about gun control. Another example of how this trilogy is more than a “children’s book”. In fact, as corny as it sounds, I’d say His Dark Materials is a story for humans more than it is any other genre.
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency: I don’t know where to start with this show. It’s completely wild and all over the place but damn, I love it so much. The characters are wonderfully engaging and weird in just the right ways. It is playful in its writing, plot and world development and just expects you to accept it which means you just do. Elijah Wood’s character, Todd Brotzman, reacts to meeting Dirk how you would if you were suddenly involoved with a murder and a crazy British guy showed up claiming he’s a “holistic dectective”, and it so refreshing to watch. If you’re looking for a bit of magic but don’t want to revisit a childhood favourite then PLEASE, watch this show. Both seasons are on Netflix and I’m linking the trailer here so you have no excuse not see watch it.
Maggie Rogers: HOW DID I MISS THIS WOMAN? Ollie showed me the video of her and Pharrell recently and I fell in love with her immediately. She has the absolute perfect mix of folk, electronic and singer/song writer which results in catchy but beautiful songs that you can actually dance to! Having grown up on a scattered mix of country, folk and musical soundtracks with my Mum vs. my Dad’s weekly recommendations ranging from Lorde before she was huge and The Dø (a French/Finnish indie pop duo); Maggie feels like my ideal artist. Alaska will always be a top favourite but I also love On + Off and Dog Years.
Cyn: My little sister put Cyn on at a house party last year and I had to look her up the next day. As far as I can gather, she was signed by Katy Perry in 2017 (but could be earlier – I can’t find a concrete source) and is set to release an EP fairly soon. The three singles she has out so far are great pop tunes with poetic lyrics. I imagine if you like Maggie you could like her too.
Alrighty then, that’s all from me. Hope everyone had a good February and is looking forward to March x