Instead of a review, this is a shameless plug for the anthology I have a story in that is out today. No Holds Bard is a collection of twelve Shakespeare-related stories featuring LGBTQ characters.
Here’s the summary for my story: Young actor Niamh Valentine is cast as Poins in an all-female production of Henry IV. The infamous Jessica Condell is playing Hal. Soon Niamh is balancing Hal and Poins’ relationship with hers and Jessica’s whilst preparing for opening night.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the UK publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, I could make a recommendation list of books I feel are similar. However, I can’t. Partly because even as a child when I first read the books, I didn’t really like much fantasy and the main book I loved that also had mystery and magic was Terry Pratchett’s The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents. And partly because it is very difficult to compare the phenomenon that is Harry Potter with any single book or other book series (maybe Lord of the Rings, but as is well-documented on this blog, I am not a fan).
Many people will have a Harry Potter story relating to the books and/or the films, even if that story is about how they refused to pick one up at all. Particularly with people around my age—I read the first four aged seven and then waited what seemed like forever for the fifth to come out—Harry Potter has been constantly there for a long time. There’s plenty that has been said about all this on the internet so I’m not going to add my own thoughts right now. Instead, I’ve gone for the slightly stranger approach of including a very rough poem I wrote about part of my own Harry Potter experience (please share your own experiences, whether they be in poetry or not!).
‘But don’t forget the songs that made you cry, and the songs that saved your life’; Regardless of Morrissey’s fears, it is pretty difficult to forget the songs that have been monumental in your life. It’s the reason that wedding songs are so important and why those pop punk tracks you loved aged thirteen are still waiting, word-perfect, in your brain for the next throwback playlist. And when those songs are the ones that kept you putting one foot in front of the other, forced you out of bed and stumbling down the road towards public transport, they become particularly significant.