How I Tackled The Dreaded Dissertation

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Hello fellow bookworms! It’s Sunday, so I decided to prepare a discussion style post for today. It’s not necessarily completely book related, but more a helpful hints and tips post for all you university students out there. As many of you know, I’m in my final year of university, which means I was required to write a dissertation. For those of you who don’t know what a dissertation is, it’s basically an extended piece of writing, like an essay but quadruple the length. Due to the fact that I study a creative course, I also have to complete one last project, the Final Major, which means I had slightly less time to concentrate on my dissertation (but it also meant it was a bit shorter than most!) I wanted to share a few things I did throughout the research and writing process which might help some of you, whether you’re just starting uni or panicking about essay writing (yes, these hints will hopefully help with essays too!)

Just a quick note to say I only handed my dissertation in early last week, so I don’t have my marks back yet, so if I end up failing I’ll let you know so you can completely ignore all the things I say in this post!

Start thinking of ideas over the summer

You know you have to write a dissertation, so why not start getting ideas about what you want to write about while you have the time to think and not drowning in other work to do. You might already have a rough idea what you want to do, but you have to have a fairly specific topic, but still open enough so you can conduct extensive and in depth research on it. Not too big, but not too small! Your supervisor can help, if you present them with some ideas, they can assist you in narrowing down the field of study.

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Begin researching straight away

As soon as you have that rough idea, and you’re back at uni with the resources available to you, start researching. Gather quotes that interest you around the topic, and find books that might be of note later on. I did some reading before my first meeting with my supervisor, and I ended up actually using some of the quotes I found in that research session in the final dissertation! Get a head start, you won’t regret it!

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Engage fully with your supervisor

It is so important to go to every meeting with your supervisor, and if you have a question about anything you are unsure of, email them, or organise an extra meeting with them if it’s quite a complex question, or if you are confused. They are there to support you every step of the way, so make sure you take advantage of them being there while you can. When it’s one week from the deadline and you are asking questions you should have known weeks ago, they probably won’t be too pleased! Your supervisor and your connection with them throughout the dissertation period will be invaluable, so make sure you get on well with them, and ask as many questions as possible. Pick their brains, because they know what they’re talking about!

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Keep up with the workload

I’m not going to lie by saying a dissertation isn’t hard, because it is, but it’s even harder if you don’t keep up with the work. If you can, do a little bit every day, and write down everything that comes into your head, even if you think it might not be relevant in the end. Do some research, even if it’s just half an hour a day, you will soon see your research and collection of quotes growing. The more you read, the more questions you can ask your supervisor as well, which means they can point you in the right direction. if you don’t keep up with the research, how are they meant to know how to help? It will also save a lot of stress in the long run.

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Get to know the guidelines

Most supervisors will tell you before you even start meeting with them that the dissertation will have to be formatted in a certain way. This includes making sure you have the correct font size, line spacing, and chapter system. Nailing the formatting, and knowing exactly how it needs to be presented in the first few weeks of researching will save a lot of stress at the end, because it’s one less thing to worry about.

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Immerse yourself

It’s no good writing about a subject half-heartedly. To write a really good dissertation, just like any essay, you really have to immerse yourself in your topic. Try to know everything about this small corner of the world you have decided to research, know it so well that you don’t stumble if someone questions you about it. Getting to know your topic inside out will make you more confident when it comes to writing the dissertation.

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Know when to stop researching

Even when I started the writing process, I still came across a few things I needed to research or get quotes to back up my argument, but it is so important to know when you have enough research to start writing, otherwise you really could be stuck researching forever. Set yourself parameters for everything you think you need to know about your topic and research them in as much depth as possible. Once you feel all bases are covered, start writing! Starting the writing process is the scariest part but it also feels so good, because you are on the home stretch. Researching and finding the information you need to form your argument can be the most stressful part!

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Use the holidays

You’ll hate me for saying this, but you need to make use of your Christmas holidays. Personally, I wrote my first draft over Christmas, and while it meant I didn’t have a lot of free time to relax, I was ahead of schedule when I got back in January. This also means that, as soon as the first draft is written, that’s it. All of your ideas are down on paper, and editing is a breeze compared to everything you have tackled up until then! But please make sure you do take time to relax as well, to keep the stress levels down (if possible!)

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Writing the first draft

Don’t write in chapter order. I always leave the introduction until last, because even though you have an idea of what you want to talk about in each section, your writing can take you to wild places, and you can end up discussing some things you didn’t initially plan to discuss. Write the main chapters first, and make sure you form a strong argument. They say the reader shouldn’t have to read a sentence twice to understand it, so make sure the writing is clear. I learnt a great argument structure in school, which was known as P.E.E. Some of you may know it, but it stands for Point, Example, Explain. You need to go slightly further with a dissertation considering the level of work that is expected, so I swap the Explain for Analyse (P.E.A, it still works!). Make your point, give an example in the form of an visual or description, and then analyse that point. That structure was really helpful for me to make sure I was fully explaining my arguments. Do this for every point you make, making sure you back up everything you say with quotes, and you’re on the right track. I recommend finishing your first draft slightly under the word count, so when you come to edit, if you’re adding loads in, you don’t tip over the maximum (I was so close to doing this, but I managed to keep it under the max word count by about 100 words in the end!)

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Editing

Once the first draft is written, editing feels a lot easier. All of your ideas are there, and you just have to make sure they are explained clearly, and you are getting your point across without using too many words. Simplify it right down, and get others to read parts you are unsure of. You have just spent 4 months researching and writing, you know the topic so well it makes absolute sense to you, but someone who knows nothing about the topic needs to be able to understand the point you are trying to make. Now no offence to any members of your family, but get them to read it, because if they can understand it, it means you have done a good job! In the end, I completed about 5 edits of my dissertation, each one taking about a week to complete. There is so much to keep in your mind when reading through your writing, so it’s sometimes easier to just focus on one thing at a time, for example, does everything make sense, have I explained this clearly, have I backed up my argument, etc. These are all key things to be on the lookout for. Whilst editing, make sure you make a note of any parts you are unsure about, and get your supervisor to read through them in your meetings. They will be able to see if there is anything missing, or reassure you that it does make sense and you are just overthinking it (which happened to me quite a bit!)

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Print and finish early

It may seem like a waste of time, but printing early and handing in even a few days before the deadline saves so much stress on your end. Make sure your printing is fairly good quality, and all the pages are in the right order. If you need to bind the dissertation, make sure this is done in good time in case something goes wrong and you have reprint and rebind it. Giving yourself that extra time means you have leeway if things go wrong. You also feel a lot less rushed, which means less stress (and it also makes you look super organised if your ready to hand in days before anyone else!)

And once you’ve printed, bound, and slotted your piece of blood, sweat and tears dissertation into your supervisor’s pigeon hole, all will feel right with the world, and a weight will be lifted off your shoulders…until it’s time to start the next assignment!

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For those of you who are writing your dissertation now, or getting to the point where you are thinking about writing, even if you’re not writing it until next year, I wish you all the best of luck, and I hope you found these hints and tips on how I tackled the dissertation helpful to your own studies. Feel free to leave comments if you want to know anything else, and I will try my best to help. Of course, I am only a student, but I can advise the best I can based on my own experience!

Until next time…

Jade 🙂

All gifs from giphy.com

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Hamilton // An American Musical in London

Hello fellow bookworms! I was extremely lucky in January 2017 to get tickets to the one of the greatest musical of our generation! Yesterday, the day had finally arrived for my sister and me to journey up to London to see Hamilton! Leading up to the day, having had the tickets for almost a year, it still unbelievable that we were actually going. It wasn’t until we were outside the theatre that it really hit me that we were seeing it in a few hours! It was one of the best musical experiences of my life, and I wanted to share everything I loved about it with you (with minimal spoilers, of course)!

Listening to the recording vs. Seeing the musical

I’ve been a massive fan of Hamilton for a while now, and until yesterday, I only had the soundtrack to tell the story. In case you’re not that familiar with Hamilton, it is an all-music musical, which means there’s no scripted speech in between. This meant that I could get a pretty good grasp of the story without having seen it live. That said, going to see it, and having that soundtrack you know so well come to life, you really can’t compare it with any other feeling. All those times you wish you knew what that scene looked like, and now you can listen and visualise to your hearts content! The only real difference was the recording is Original Broadway cast, and we saw the Original West End cast. It was great to see how they kept it so close to the original songs, but still out their own spin on things!

The Actors and their Characters

Alexander Hamilton

We were lucky enough to see Jamael Westman as Hamilton, and I couldn’t find fault with his performance! He was on par with Lin-Manuel Miranda as the lead character, and it was such a pleasure to see someone take on this massive role, step into Lin’s shoes, and do a phenomenal job! (Also he was super tall so he towered above everyone else in the cast!)

Aaron Burr

Pardon me, are you Aaron Burr, sir? We saw Sifiso Mazibuko, principle standby for Aaron Burr, and he was amazing! The power in his voice was incredible, and Wait For It, which is one of my favourites in the musical, was great. There was so much emotion in his character, and Dear Theodosia broke me as well!

John Laurens/Philip Hamilton

What can I say apart from the fact that Cleve September’s voice is incredible! It certainly belongs on stage, and he played Philip very, very well, I cried a lot in Stay Alive (Reprise)!

Lafayette/Jefferson

Jason Pennycooke was hilarious! Lafayette is such a character, and man, he can rap! I knew is would be difficult to follow in Daveed Diggs footsteps, and Pennycooke didn’t disappoint. His role as Jefferson was played just as well, Jefferson has a massive personality, and he really made the character his own, which made it special and unique for the audience as well!

Hercules Mulligan/James Madison

Wow, what a voice! Mulligan always had to have a powerful voice, and Tarinn Callender was made for this role! The visual representation of Madison was different to what I expected, but his relationship with Jefferson was great, and will change the way I listen to his character sing in a good way.

George Washington

Another extremely powerful voice, he really belted out every word! One Last Time was a lot more emotional than I thought it would be, and Right Hand Man was brilliant with the entire cast! Obioma Ugoala stepped up to the challenge of President and most certainly achieved the goal!

King George

Oh my gosh! King George has so much characterisation that the person playing can’t be afraid to make the songs their own! The best thing about Johnathon Groff on the recording is he is an American singing with a British accent, which made almost more accented and pronounced, and really funny. Michael Jibson did just that! He put a unique twist on all of King George’s songs, and the facial expression and little movements along with it absolutely made his role what it was! I couldn’t wait for him to reappear on stage each time, and he even appeared in a few songs towards the end in the background, which added a but of comedy to the performance! A magnificent performance! (He also singled out my sister and pointed at her at one point, my sister went mad!)

Eliza Hamilton

Rachelle Ann Go was such a great choice for Eliza! There was so much emotion behind everything she sung, which is definitely needed in a role like this. Burn was exceptional, and the Finale really got to me as well! Very well cast, brilliant vocals and acting!

Angelica Schuyler

Angelica needs both a sweet, musical voice, and a quick, witty voice. Rachel John delivered both! I was surprised how soft her voice was at times, but she really put power behind it when it was needed! Again, a lot of emotion, especially in It’s Quiet Uptown!

Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds

Even though Peggy is seen as a slightly smaller role, it was amazing to see it characterised, especially at the beginning of the Schuyler sisters! What was really special about Christine Allado’s performance was when she took on the role of Maria Reynolds. Say No To This is a pivotal song in the musical, detailing Hamilton’s cheating on Eliza, and this is the song that really showed off her voice! There are some very long, sustained and powerful notes in this song, and Allado definitely delivered!

The Ensemble

A lot of the time, you focus on where the action is, the main characters singing and doing whatever. However, the ensemble are so important in Hamilton, and I spent a lot of time actually watching them instead of what was going on! They are what really make the visualisation of the soundtrack real, and to be able to hold harmonies in the big group numbers was insane! The choreography was absolutely fantastic, I couldn’t fault a single one of them, they were always in character and always in perfect synchronisation when they had to be! I always wanted to play a main role when I did musical productions, but I would happily be in the ensemble of Hamilton over any main role, just for that choreography!

Summary

Overall, Hamilton makes my top 3 musicals of all time (it was up there before seeing it, but it just superglued it’s place)! I couldn’t fault it at all. It made me feel all of the emotions, it made me so happy, it made me laugh, it made me hysterically sob (pretty much from Burn onwards), but I cannot recommend seeing it enough (if you can get hold of tickets!), and I really can’t put into words how magnificent it is! If you have tickets to see it already, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did (just take plenty of tissues, you’ll need them!)

Until next time…

Jade 🙂

Questions I Frequently Get Asked as a Reader

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Hello fellow bookworms! I haven’t posted a Time for Tea in a while, and I’ve had this idea sitting in my drafts for a while, so I thought it was about time I actually posted it! How many times do family and friends comment on your reading habits? Are they awestruck by your commitment to literature, or annoyed by your devotion to something fictional? Either was, we all get those questions from people who just don’t understand what it’s like to be one of us, so I’d like to share some of those I frequently get asked…

How do you find time to read so much?

I don’t find time, I make time. Between university, part time job, and seeing family and friends, it is crucial I make time for myself. I have certain points in the day when I know I can get some reading time in, so I use them wisely!

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Why don’t you just watch TV?

I find it a lot more difficult to stay focused on what’s going on in a TV show than I do staying focused on a book. I am actively engaged in what I’m reading, whereas staring at a screen seems a bit mundane for me. Don’t get me wrong, I do watch TV, but it probably averages out to about 4-5 hours a week! This is also ties in with the next question…

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Why read the book when you can just watch the movie?

I like to have read a book before I see it as a movie, whether that’s before it’s even announced as a movie, or whizzing through it before a cinema showing. Reading a book beforehand allows me to use my own imagination for character appearances and setting, and seeing the movie definitely ruins this for me! Once I have my own image in my head, even if I then go and watch the movie, I still have my own imagined scenarios if I come to re-read the book.

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Why do you not get rid of your books?

I’m sorry, what? Shall I ask you why you don’t get rid of stamps from your stamp collection? Or a rubber duck from your rubber duck collection? I am a collector of books, and each book on my shelf, whether read or un-read, has a meaning to me. It might be where I got it from, or who gave it to me, or why I chose to pick it up in the first place. I am also a designer, so I have some books I picked up purely because I like the cover. There’s a reason behind each book on my shelf, and no, I won’t get rid of them! (I do occasionally unhaul books I know for a fact I won’t read, and I’m keeping for no particular reason, but my unhauls are few and far between!)

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It would be so much easier to use a Kindle, wouldn’t it?

I own a Kindle, I just don’t use it. I’ve had one for quite a few years now, in fact, I’ve two Kindles in my lifetime, and I did use them religiously at first. It was actually book blogging and bookstagram that took me away from eBooks and back to physical copies. I just love the feeling of a book in my hands, and looking at them all lined up neatly on my shelf. They smell amazing and they’re pretty. What more is there to say?

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Why do you keep re-reading [insert book title here]?

Re-reading my favourite books is so important to me! It gives me somewhere to go, somewhere I trust will make me feel better whatever mood I’m in. Reading new books is great, but you never know until you finish a book if it’s going to turn out the way you want, so it’s important to have those books you know and understand, the same as they know and understand you. For me, Harry Potter is an obvious choice, but I also turn to The Fault In Our Stars a lot as well (I’ve read this a total of 5 times now!) because there are messages within it that are quite comforting for me.

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You read how many books a year?!

Again, this comes back to the first question. Making time to read means I get through a lot more books than most people I know, but I also know there are people out there who read a lot more than I can manage! I am devoted to my Goodreads Reading Challenge cause, and particularly now, towards the end of the year, I am focused on cramming those books in to try my hardest to reach my goal (although it doesn’t look good for me at the moment!) My reading goal is important to me because it gives me something to accomplish and feel proud of at the end of the year, and also gives me an aim to beat the following year.

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Is it just me? Or does anyone else get used these questions so frequently you have an organised answer in your head for each? I’d love to know what questions you get asked as a reader, let me know in the comments!

Until next time…

Jade 🙂

All gifs from giphy.com

How I Make Time For Reading…

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Hello fellow bookworms! It’s Sunday, which means it’s discussion time. This is when I write to think more deeply about books, why we read, and why literature is so important in our lives. To be quite honest with you, I felt my previous discussion topics for this month wasn’t really exciting me to write, so I’m just winging it for now until I find my feet. I’m back at uni, and being in my final year means I’m already drowning in work, so I thought today’s post should be something I’m thinking about a lot lately… how am I going to find time to read? People often say ‘how to you find the time to read that many books?’, but I don’t find time, I make time. I AM THE CREATOR OF TIME! Honestly though, if you want to be reading 50+ books in a year, you have to make time to sit and read, and not just read as a last resort. Here are some of the ways I make time in my busy schedule for the all important literature in my life…

Read During Breakfast

I know a lot of people don’t eat breakfast, but I wake up hungry, so eating is one of the first things I do in the morning. While I’m having my morning toast and cup of tea, I like to immerse myself in a book. I wake up slightly earlier than I need to, so I can make sure I have plenty of time to do this, even if it’s just a few pages. Some people I’ve spoken to don’t like reading and eating because they get crumbs in their book, but I have become skilled at avoiding this. Practice makes perfect (I’ve learnt this after staining several books with Marmite!) It’s also great for when you’re home alone and don’t really have anything else to do during meal times (I used to read whilst eating lunch and dinner as well when I was living away from home).

Read in the Bath

I tend to only bath once a week now (and before you say it, yes, I do shower every day, I don’t just wash once a week!) but it provides great time for reading! What else are you going to do sitting in a bath? If I’m really into a book, and don’t really have a lot else going on, I can allow myself 40 mins to 1 hour just chilling in the water with a novel. Doing this once a week is great for some alone time as well, and time away from any work/school worries you may have. Grab some nice bath oils or take a trip to Lush for a bath bomb, and immerse yourself in bubbles and a really good book!

Be Early

I leave for uni in the morning at 7:30AM, and arrive between 8:30 and 8:45, depending on traffic. My classes don’t start until 10AM, but if I don’t get there early, I can wave goodbye to any chance of getting a parking space! This is perfect for me though, because it means I can either go to the library to get some work done, or spend and hour and a half sitting in my car catching up on some reading. Pack a pillow and spread out on the back seat, cherish the peacefulness of your vehicle, and get reading! This is the same being early for anything. If I’m early for work, I can chill in the staff room with my book, or meeting a friend, there will always be time for a few pages if they’re running late!

AudioBooks

A few months ago, this heading would never have made an appearance in a post like this, but I have recently come to the conclusion that audiobooks are remarkable things. I found I could never really concentrate on them if I was doing something else, and this is still partly true. However, walking to work takes about half an hour (perfect for a chapter or two), and as I said earlier, it takes me a good hour, if not longer, to drive to uni. That’s an extra 2 hours of ‘reading’ a day that I’m getting through, without having to pick up a book! Some people don’t count it towards actual reading, and I never used to, but it’s pretty much exactly the same, instead of reading the words, your listening to someone else read them for you. It’s just like to listening to your own voice reading them in your head… kind of! I know my way to uni like the back of my hand now, so apart from concentrating on traffic and what’s going on on the road, I can still pay attention to the story playing through my radio. It’s also much more preferable to listening to music I’ve heard several thousand times over (apart from Hamilton, no one gets sick of listening to Hamilton!)

Read in the Evening

Dedicate your day to working. Get all of your school work done during the day, and commit to as little or as much time as you want, so then, when it comes to the evening, you don’t feel guilty about snuggling down in bed early with your current read. Don’t laugh at me, but most days, I can be in bed by 8PM, which gives me a good 2 hours before I have to think about going to sleep. I know that I’ve worked my socks off during the day, and this is my treat at the end of it!

So all in all, let’s break down how much potential reading time I have in my day, as well as keeping up with uni work (not counting the bath, I’m not lucky enough to have the luxury of time every day!):

Breakfast- 30 mins

Being Early- 1 hour

Car Journey- 2 hours

Evening- 2 hours

So even with my packed schedule, I can still have a good 5 and half hours of reading in the day. I’m not saying I get that every day, because life gets in the way sometimes, and I’m sure I’m not the first to admit I get addicted to YouTube from time to time, or have TV binges once in a while, but this is a good aim for me to have, and of course, weekends sometimes open up the possibility to get more reading done!

I hope you have found this post somewhat insightful, and maybe thought about some new ways you can incorporate more reading time into your day. Would love to know if you have any extra tips for me on how you fit reading into your daily routine; let me know in the comments below!

Until next time…

Jade 🙂

Harry Potter & the Cursed Child: The Play (SPOILER FREE REVIEW)

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Hello fellow bookworms! I was lucky enough to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on this Sunday just gone, and it was absolutely fantastic! I’d been planning for a while to do a review of the play once I’d seen it, and how it compares to reading the script, so here I am and that’s what I’ll be doing in today’s post. This will be spoiler free, so you don’t have to worry about seeing anything you don’t want to, I will be ‘keeping the secrets’!

How is the play different from reading the script?

When I first read the script, I read it in one sitting, and while I followed the story, I didn’t really absorb as much information as I should have done, and I just remembered it being a little bit wacky for a Harry Potter story. I was excited to see the play, but a little bit wary as to how I would feel about the eighth story afterwards. I must say that seeing the play really brought the script to life, and there was so much more behind the characters than you get from reading it. With a book, there is life behind a character with the depth of description, but with a scrip, it is harder to convey this in writing, and rely on seeing the play to see how the characters really should be acting. The story made so much more sense seeing it on the stage, and seemed less out-of-this-world. I can’t quite place my finger on why…

The actors

I saw the second West End cast, with Jamie Glover as Harry Potter, Tom Mackley as Albus, Samuel Blenkin as Scorpius, and Thomas Aldridge and Rakie Ayola as Ron and Hermione, and I must say this cast was magnificent! In terms of my favourites, Scorpius was a completely transformed character for me! I liked his character when reading the script, but there was so much life and depth behind his character on stage it added that hilarity that the play needed. Snape as well, while a fairly minor character in the play, I just thought was so accurate to Snape from the original books and movies. Moaning Myrtle also deserves an honourable mention, because I honestly thought it was the same actress straight out the movies it was so accurate!

The choreography

I was not expecting so much movement throughout the performance. I thought is very clever how stage hands were not hidden, but were wizards and witches in robes, which just added to the already magical atmosphere. There were sections of extravagant movement to set the scene, with cloaks swishing and the synchronicity was perfect! This was possibly one of my favourite elements in the performance, because it was just that additional something that made the performance really special!

The special effects

We were all wondering ‘how are they going to do magic on stage’? The special effects, while it was easy to predict what was being done, made the magic feel magical. Of course, wires were used for floating, even though they were barely visible, and pyrotechnics were cleverly positioned to represent a spell bursting from the tip of a wand. The scene in the lake at the end of Part 1 was done particularly well, with the illusion of swimming executed perfectly by the actors, with the help of set design and lighting. The lighting was well placed throughout the play, with sections of dark stage to aid the illusion of floating while the focus was brought to the front of the action.

Well there’s not much more I can say really without spoiling it apart from ‘GO AND SEE THE CURSED CHILD’! Even if you weren’t mad on the script I definite recommend it if you get the chance because you get so much more out of the play! Let me know if you’ve seen it and what your thoughts were, or your opinions on reading the script!

Until next time…

Jade 🙂

Armchair Reading… Furniture in Bookish Spaces

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… a sneak peak into where we acquire our books and what makes us keep going back!

Hello fellow bookworms! It’s Sunday, which means it’s discussion time. This is when I write to think more deeply about books, why we read, and why literature is so important in our lives. This month, I will be trying to dig deeper into why we choose to buy our books from certain places, and what, besides the books(!) makes us keep going back. Today’s post will look at how furniture is used in full-price and second-hand bookstores and libraries, and why it might make a difference as to whether we visit again…

Waterstones

I’m using Waterstones as my representative for full-price bookstores because it is the one I am the most familiar with, but you can always imagine this as your local Barnes and Noble, or local independent bookstore. When I walk into Waterstones, besides being awed by the number of books available to me, I also see the comfort of a squishy armchair or sofa. This is great (because we can all agree that book shopping can hard work and heavy lifting!) as it allows customers to relax and makes for a more comfortable and homely atmosphere. Also, a lot of Waterstones shops have the addition of a cafe, so, after making a purchase, or if you’ve bought your own book along with you, you can sit back and enjoy your book with a nice cup of tea, while still being surrounded by all of those wonderful books. It it also a great chance to socialise with other book lovers (and perfect for book club meetings)!

Second-hand Bookstores

If you go to a charity shop in hope of a book bargain, you may see a lack of seating. It is, like many second-hand stores, just like a regular shop. You wouldn’t expect many places to have somewhere you can just sit down and have a cuppa, like Waterstones. Just like thrift stores dedicated to books, it is unusual to find places with adequate seating, because they are usually s crammed with books! This can be a good thing, because come on, loads of books, but after you’ve spent hours upon hours rooting through the jumble, there’s no where to have a perch! It comes across as a less relaxed style of shopping, and a more hectic, bargain hunting process. You’ve come to find cheap books, not to spend hours at your leisure browsing the beautiful bookshelves. Of course, I’m not saying that this applies to every second-hand bookstore, but this is just my experience with them. And don’t get me wrong, I do love a good rummage through the old stacks!

The Library

And finally, the place we all adored as young bookworms, and still have a fondness for today (because, hello, free books)! The library is not there to attract book buyers, but rather a relaxed browser who can be set to spend the whole day there (I have lost count of how many times I have spent the entire day in the library). And the reason this can be the case is because of the furniture and why it is there. The library offers a wide range of books, fiction and non fiction alike. They are free for you to browse at will and take home for a few weeks with the presentation of your library card. However, sometimes it’s nice to not have to take books home. With beanbags for the children, chairs for the adults, and desks for the students, anyone can set themselves up for a day at the library. As long as I have everything I need, I am more than happy to sit and work while surrounded by books!

So there you have it, an examination of furniture is bookish places. I bet you’ve never really thought about it much, but here it is in writing, and you may think of it every time you visit the bookstore or the library from now on. I’d love to know what you thought about this post, and if you think the soft furnishings of your local bookstore impact your decision to go back (besides the books, of course!) Also, if you’ve come across any second-hand bookstores with an ample amount of armchairs, I’d love to hear about them!

Until next time…

Jade 🙂

Where on Earth Did You Get All Those Books?

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… a sneak peak into where we acquire our books and what makes us keep going back!

Hello fellow bookworms! It’s Sunday, which means it’s discussion time. This is when I write to think more deeply about books, why we read, and why literature is so important in our lives. Here we are again, at the beginning of a new month, bringing you a new topic for my September discussions. For the next few weeks, I will be trying to dig deeper into why we choose to buy our books from certain places, and what, besides the books(!) makes us keep going back. Today’s post will look at the four main places I, and many others, tend to acquire books, and the pros and cons for each!

‘Full-Priced’ Bookstores

So I’m talking about your local Waterstones or Barnes and Noble, but also the indie bookstores that are scattered about as well.

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Pros

  • Staff that know what they are talking about
  • Books perfectly organised into categories
  • Gorgeous smell of new books!
  • Almost always have the book you are looking for

Cons

  • Full-priced books are expensive
  • You will probably be tempted into buying one anyway
  • The bigger ones you can easily spend hours in and lose track of time
  • They’re just so damn expensive

Second-hand Bookstores

I love a good second hand store, especially the ones that are entirely dedicated to books, but also the ones that give back and raise money for charity! However, there are some issues…

Pros

  • Your purchase tends to go to a good cause
  • You can usually donate books you unhaul as well as buying them
  • Books are cheaper
  • You can come across some gems and hidden treasures sometimes!
  • Old book smell!

Cons

  • The books aren’t brand new (usually)
  • There isn’t a wide selection, it’s just what’s been donated
  • It’s less organised and you have to really rummage sometimes
  • Can be crammed and packed-full, making it difficult to move

Online Stores

Amazon, Book Depository, the websites we love and know our way around too well, the ones that are bookmarked on our browsers! Online is such a convenient way to shop without having to leave the house (big hooray for introverts like me!)

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Pros

  • Books are usually cheaper than the recommended retail price
  • They are still brand new, despite being cheaper
  • There seems to be an endless supply
  • You don’t have to leave the house
  • Finding a book is easier than ever!
  • You can eBooks and Audiobooks if that’s your thing

Cons

  • No book smell at all!
  • You have to wait for the book to be delivered (even with Amazon Prime, the wait can be excruciating!)
  • No staff to talk about books
  • It’s easy to get carried away with online shopping…

The Library

Ah yes, the library! The place where books of all shapes, sizes and genres, are free! I can’t think of anything better than a free book (or 5…)

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Pros

  • You don’t have to pay for the books
  • Depending on the size of the library, there is a wide range to choose from
  • Organised so well it makes me want to marry the Dewey Decimal System!
  • Librarians are so helpful
  • You can access more than just books (many libraries now offer online audiobook and eBook services, as well as DVDs and CDs)

Cons

  • You can only borrow books for a limited amount of time
  • LATE FEES!
  • Your local library might be small and not have everything you want 😦

So that’s it for the start of this month’s bookish discussion! Please feel free to add to my pros and cons list as you wish, there are probably plenty that I have missed! Next week I’ll be talking about how furniture is used in the 3 physical stores mentioned here and why it might tempt you back again and again…

Until next time…

Jade 🙂