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text 2017-12-23 19:10
16 Tasks of the Festive Season - Square #12: Festivus
The Spy Who Loved Me - Ian Fleming
The Unexpected Guest - Charles Osborne,Agatha Christie
Courts of Babylon - Peter Bodo
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - J.K. Rowling,John Kerr Tiffany,Jack Thorne
Two Serious Ladies - Jane Bowles

 Tasks for Festivus: Post your personal list of 3 Festivus Miracles –OR– post a picture of your Festivus pole (NOTHING pornographic, please!), –OR– Perform the Airing of Grievances:  name 5 books you’ve read this year that have disappointed you - tell us in tongue-lashing detail why and how they failed to live up to expectations.


2017 has brought a great many books and thankfully most of them were good or entertaining or at least ok. However, there have also been some real stinkers*, and of those the following tomes have taken the proverbial Christmas cookie:


(* I have only considered books that I read in full. If I had considered DNF's, this list would be much longer.)



1. The Spy Who Loved Me - Ian Fleming


I thought I had already read the worst that Fleming could dream up when I tried to suppress to throw up all the way through From Russia With Love but this was nothing compared to the sick-fest that was The Spy Who Loved Me. I seriously would have liked to hit Bond and his creator with a shovel, repeatedly, hard, when reading that book. Even thinking about the book still brings up feelings of rage and nausea. 



2. The Unexpected Guest - Charles Osborne


I refuse to cite Agatha Christie as the author of this. She may have written the original play, but Osborne managed to destroy the original work as only Osborne can - with gusto and beyond any hope of repair. Even if Dame Agatha's works are sometimes a bit twisted, Osborne managed to turn this one into a farcical hot mess. Again. Like the other Christie books he turned his hand to.



3. The Courts of Babylon - Peter Bodo


Boy, oh boy, oh boy. This was the book that tried to set a new record of how many dumbass comments one author can cram into a book. I have no motivation to find out whether Bodo really did set a record here, and I am sorely disappointed that not only Bodo represented sports and sports reporting to thousands of viewers, readers, listeners who have over the years been subjected to his self-congratulatory, patronising, imperialist, sexist, and bigoted comments, but also that I actually finished reading this book.



4. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - John Tiffany & Jack Thorne


Well, this will be brief: the author's got pretty much all of the HP characters wrong and their plot had some serious holes. This was fan-fiction at best, which is an insult to fan-fiction because this was really bad fan-fiction. No, seriously, just give it a miss and enjoy a re-read of the original HP books. 



5. Two Serious Ladies - Jane Bowles


I don't even know what this book was. I'm still more puzzled that this book apparently made Jane Bowles into some sort of adored writer. I don't get it. At all. This was one of the most boring, underwhelming, inconsequential books about drama-lama main characters who were so wrapped up in their first-world not-even-close-to-real-problems that ...

Nah, I can't even be bothered to waste energy airing my grievances about this one.


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review 2017-10-20 22:19
Playing with the Past
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts I and II (English)(Hardcover) - John Tiffany & J K Rowling Jack Thorne

Harry and Ginny are married and have three children together. The middle child is having a hard time adapting. He feels like he doesn't really belong and where he fits in, he is the Slytherin House. He has a friend in Draco Malfoy's son, Scorpius. Scorpius also doesn't feel like he belongs. He is rumored to by Voldemort's child. One day before their third year, Albus overhears a conversation between Cedric Diggory's father and his own father, begging for Harry to use an illegal Time-Turner to go back and save his son. 


They are prodded on by Delphi who claims to be Cedric's cousin. She keeps getting them to go back, in hopes of changing the past so much that she can make a prophecy come true. 


Scorpius points out that because it is predicted, doesn't mean it has to happen. The boys go back in time twice together and Scorpius 2 more times without Albus and once more with Delphi. 


This book looks at teens going through life changes, trying to figure out who they are and where they fit. The relationships between the teens and their parents, in this case, the sons and fathers. It also looks at the relationship between Draco and Harry. They come together and learn how each felt about the other and help each other with finding their sons. 


I loved the Harry Potter books when they first came out and I have reread them many times. It was fun to see how things continued after Voldemort died and how the main characters grew and changed themselves. 

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quote 2017-10-20 16:23
Those that we love never truly leave us, Harry. There are things that death cannot touch. Paint . . . and memory . . . and love.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - J.K. Rowling,John Kerr Tiffany,Jack Thorne

I love this thought that someone never leaves us. 

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quote 2017-10-19 01:49
People say parenting is the hardest job in the world —they’re wrong —growing up is. We all just forget how hard it was.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts I and II (English)(Hardcover) - John Tiffany & J K Rowling Jack Thorne

I am reading this on the Kindle and can give an approximate page - about 41%.  


This is is Draco to Harry and Ginny. Growing up is hard, trying to find your way. Figure out who is a true friend and who would take you out as soon as they can. 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-07-20 08:31
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling & John Tiffany, Jack Thorne
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts I and II (English)(Hardcover) - John Tiffany & J K Rowling Jack Thorne

Albus Severus Potter is sorted into Slytherin, and his only friend turns out to be Scorpius Malfoy, whose paternity is rumored to be Voldemort himself. Add to that the estrangement between Harry and his son, another uprising of dark powers, the emergence of a Time-Turner, Amos Diggory turning up at Harry's doorstep with a desperate request, and Harry's scar burning again which leads to ill-spoken words during a quarrel and hasty decisions - and perhaps the downfall of the wizarding world.


First of all, this story is told in script-form which takes away quite a bit regarding the inner motivation of characters. Most of it felt extremely like bad fanfiction, Hermione as Minister of Magic (and apparently only her marriage to Ron enables her to do that), Draco's suddenly the trio's friend, bringing back Cedric as some kind of focal point, the idea of Voldemort's child etc. And this is perhaps the greatest flaw: I didn't quite understand why Albus would attempt to restore Cedric back to life in the first place? Granted, he's unhappy, feels misunderstood and unloved by his father, but change history, probably even erasing himself from history?


And let's not mention all the other head-scratch moments: Amos Diggory would come to ask for Cedric's return 22 years after he'd died? Grief can do strange things, I'll grant you that. But why doesn't anyone question his motives, and especially the strange niece no one has seen before? In one of the changed timelines Albus and Scorpius humiliated Cedric during the 2nd task of the Triwizard Tournament which turns Cedric towards the Death Eaters... Really? He had a lot going for him, he was head boy, had tons of friends, and all this wouldn't count for anything because he was humiliated during the TriWi-Tournament? We're not talking about Harry, Albus or Draco here, after all, we're talking about a boy who had everything, loving parents, adoring friends. I don't buy that. (And let's not forget that when the boys try to correct their interference with the past, it's never told that they also correct that mistake, just somehow they find themselves back in the lake.)


Essentially, this is the story of parents and children: parents who lost their children, parents who can't connect with their children (and vice versa), and children who lost their parents, all this covered in prophecies and ridiculous time-travel. Had this been a novel I'd have expected more focus on the emotions, the relationships - and maybe then, the story would have worked better and the existence of Delphi would have been better explained: no one knew about the lovechild of Bellatrix and Voldemort?


But as is, the most relatable characters are Draco and Scorpius with a little helping of a Snape-cameo. The others are mere copies of their younger selves (especially when in alternate timelines Ron and Hermione restart their will they-won't they-routine). I liked the epilogue of Deathly Hallows, and I thought back then that Harry showed hard-earned maturity in advising Albus essentially to be who he is. Unfortunately he loses that maturity here altogether. Of course, all ends well, harsh words are forgiven and bridges built.


But while it was good to have another glimpse into the Potter-verse, I'm also somehow disgusted at such a blatant attempt at milking the cash cow just a bit further. Because let's be honest, The Cursed Child lacks detail, it lacks coherence and characterization. Quite frankly, JKR should have stopped while she was ahead instead of being lured again into the spotlight by the call of fame and money.

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