Merry Christmas Everyone.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Festive wishes & a Christmas book review by Kate O’Brien. 

Christmas is my favourite holiday. It is a time that I associate with family, friends, and lots of love. I really enjoy being festive. I enjoy buying and wrapping gifts, I love Christmas lights. I love when my home is filled with Christmas decorations. I love candy canes, I will have hot chocolate even though it is not my favourite…I do however, love a Baileys hot chocolate. 

Tis the season after all. 

I can’t believe that it is this time of year again. I feel like the year has flown by. 

It has been a busy year, but I am very thankful that I can say that it has been a great year. 

This will be my last review/discussion of 2022. I will be discussing two books. 

After I publish this piece I will be taking a break for Christmas. I love It is my passion project, but I work on my laptop, I’m doing my master’s which consists of lots and lots of research and essay writing, and I am always writing reviews so even though I love what I do, and I consider myself very lucky, I’m constantly typing so I think it is important to take time away from the laptop screen every once in a while. I will be writing and publishing reviews and discussions again in the New Year. 

Thank You. 

Before I jump into my final review of 2022, I want to take a moment to say thank you so much to all of my readers. You know who you are. Thank you so much to everyone who has subscribed to I really appreciate it, and I hope that you all have been enjoying my reviews and discussions so far. I hope that you continue to enjoy them as we move into 2023. There is so much more to come. Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates. I hope that you all have a happy and healthy New Year. Here’s to 2023. 

I want to say a special thank you to the Children’s Books Ireland team and to the Beehive Books team. I’m honoured to be a member of the Children’s Books Ireland reviewer team. I’m such an advocate when it comes to encouraging young people to read. I really believe that the books we read when we are young can open up so many doors. Everything that I do now can be credited to  the fact that I was an avid bookworm when I was young, and I am so glad that the adults in my life encouraged my love of reading and ensured that I always had books. This is why I am such a fan of the Children’s Books Ireland ethos, which is that every child has the right to be a reader, and every child should have access to good quality reading materials. Every school should have a library. I have huge admiration for everyone at Children’s Books Ireland, and for all of the work that they do, and so I am delighted that I can say that I am involved in some way. #everychildareader. 

I’ve also been so lucky this year as I have gotten to know some members of the Beehive Books team. I’ve had the opportunity to attend some book launches and to review some of their books. Everyone whom I have met has been so kind, so lovely, and so welcoming, which is something that I really appreciate. I have a keen interest in the publishing industry, and when you meet people who are doing what you are striving towards, and they are so encouraging, it is really lovely. Thank you to everyone at Beehive Books. 

I’m adding social links below. Be sure to check them out!




A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

(The first of two book discussions.)

The Christmas season never passes me by without reading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. It is a classic that is synonymous with Christmas in my opinion. I think it is such a significant read. Everyone should have to read this book at least once, and I do believe that it should be taught in English classes at this time of year. It is extremely hard for me to choose a definite favourite Dickens’ text. He is my favourite classic author. I loved studying his fiction and his journalism. Writing about his works was challenging, but it was a challenge that I really enjoyed. I would highly recommend reading A Christmas Carol first if you have never read any of his other works before, as although it is a dense text, I think it is a straightforward story to get into. The book also does a great job of introducing readers to the writing style of Charles Dickens. He is a very descriptive, evocative writer, and some of the scenes in A Christmas Carol are incredibly vivid because they are filled with such detail. I would argue that is why this book is so cinematic, and why a story like this lends itself to so many film adaptations. 

I have discussed A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens in much more detail in a previous book discussion. You can read it by clicking the link below. 

I’m also looking forward to watching Christmas Carole starring Surrane Jones. This show will be airing on Sky on Christmas Eve, and based on the trailer, I think it looks quite good.

Surrane Jones is obviously taking on the role of Scrooge. She appears to be an uptight businesswoman who scoffs at Christmas and kindness. Following the classic Dickens plot, she will be visited by three ghosts. Some may call this plot predictable by now, and this is somewhat true because even if you have never read the original text, A Christmas Carol has been adapted so many times that by now almost everyone knows the story and how it plays out. It is a little formulaic, but that is okay. That is the nature of a story like this. It is predictable, it does follow a set structure, but nevertheless it is a heartwarming, and very important tale. I’m excited to see this new take on it, even though I already have clear ideas about how the show will play out. 

I’m a fan of Surrane Jones, and it looks as though this adaptation has a fantastic cast so I am looking forward to sitting down and tuning in this Christmas Eve. I will do a mini #watchtvwithme on the spot review as I’m watching so be sure to follow along on my Instagram stories @katelovesliterature

The Holly Pond Hill Christmas Treasury by Paul Kortepeter. 

(The second of two book discussions.) 

The Holly Pond Hill Christmas Treasury, illustrated by Susan Wheeler and written by Paul Kortepeter is a book that I have had since I was a little girl. I flipped through it again a few days ago, and I was reminded of just how charming this book is. 

This delightful book is a collection of festive recipes, Christmas stories, poems, and songs. It is filled with charming illustrations and it is the perfect read for when one is counting down the days until Christmas. The characters of Holly Pond Hill are getting into the Christmas spirit and readers will too when they flip through the pages of this Christmas treasury. I think it is such a sweet keepsake. I’m so glad that I still have it after all these years. I think that a book like this would make a lovely present for a young reader, because it is something that they can have forever. A book like this can become a Christmas tradition because it is one that can be returned to every year. I think my favourite poem in this book is A Call for Snow! It is short and sweet, and perfect for young readers who want to practise reading independently. 

I’m delighted that I came across this book. It made for a fun trip down memory lane, and I just had to share it here on 

I am looking forward to 2023. I have a feeling it will be a great year. There is so much more to come, and I believe that there is no way to go except onwards and upwards. 

For now, thank you all for reading. I appreciate every like, and every comment. I love what I do, and it is so lovely that people engage with what I write. Until next year…

Merry Christmas. 

Kate xo.

The Holiday Before Christmas: Leipzig.

A travel diary by Kate O’Brien.

Christmas trees, fairy lights, gluhwein, and more. The Christmas markets in Leipzig were a magical sight. Germany has been on my travel wishlist for a long time, and I was so excited to spend a snowy few days in Leipzig. 

I wasn’t expecting to travel again before Christmas, but my Mam surprised me with a trip to Germany. It was cold, it was snowy, it was a trip filled with festive fun. 

I couldn’t wait to go, especially because Leipzig is a city that has a rich literary history, and there is nothing I love more than exploring a #literarycity. 

We flew out on a Sunday and we flew back to Dublin the following Wednesday. 

It is fantastic that Ryanair now has direct flights from Dublin to Leipzig. 

It may have been a short trip, but it was filled with amazing food, lovely drinks, some shopping, and we explored some fantastic sights. I had the best time, and Leipzig is a city that I will most definitely be returning to, but for now, I’m delighted to be able to add Leipzig to the travel diaries. 

If you enjoy reading about literary inspired trips then read on, because I’m going to outline some of the exploring we did, and I’m going to share some of the snaps I took. This city is a photographer’s dream, especially since the entire city was decorated for Christmas. 

It was glittering, sparkling, and all things festive. 

Leipzig is a cultural hub, and I was especially excited about the city’s musical history. 

The city has often been called the city of music, and if you’re a fan of classical music then this city is one you won’t want to miss. 

Please note – All images shared are photographs that I have taken myself, with my own phone. They may not be shared without my permission. 

St. Thomas Church. 

One of the places that I was most excited to visit was St.Thomas Church. (Thomaskirche). 

This church is said to date back to the 12th century, and although it has seen some changes over time, it is hard to imagine that a structure has stood in the same spot for such a long time. 

After some renovations, today the church is a beautiful, gothic building. It is a sight to behold. 

St.Thomas Church is home to one of the oldest, and most renowned boys’ choirs. The St.Thomas Boys’ Choir has sung in these halls since the year 1212, and at one point in time the choir was led by the one and only Johann Sebastian Bach. 

Johann Sebastian Bach has a reputation as one of the best composers of all time. He has been called a genius due to the way he composes counterpoints. A counterpoint refers to when melody lines are woven together, creating the harmony at the same time as the melody. Bach was also a particularly talented organ master, and during the church’s renovations, a new Bach organ was installed. This is the impressive organ that visitors will see when they visit the church today. 

In a little corner room in the church, I found my dream come true. Instruments and sheet music, all saved and displayed in cases. It was amazing to see handwritten scores that have been saved for all these years. I love music, I studied music, and while I don’t discuss it as much as I should, I adore classical music and music theory. 

I love scores. I think that there is something incredible about seeing the work that someone put on paper. Someone sat down and created song, and that is a talent that I wish I had. 

Music is universal and immortal. It seems unbelievable that the music of a choir master from centuries ago is still being played, remembered, and respected today, but Bach has left behind an impressive musical legacy and reputation. 

I was really hoping to see some sheet music and scores, so I was not disappointed. 

Outside the church, a statue of Bach sits overlooking the grounds. I think it is lovely that he is being remembered in St.Thomas Church in Leipzig after all of his musical service there. 

It is said that Bach is buried there too. The Bach museum is directly across the street so all of these must-see sights are very easy to find. 

This is a stop that music lovers won’t want to miss. Lovers of architecture will really enjoy it too, as this building with its high ceilings and stained-glass windows is just stunning. 

I bet that hearing a choir echoing through these walls would be absolutely amazing. 

I also want to note that visitors can also view the tower, but unfortunately I could not do this as this tour does not run past November. Oh well! This gives me yet another reason to return to Leipzig, not that I needed much convincing. 

I’d also like to share one of my favourite Bach quotes. 

The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.” – Johann Sebastian Bach. 

I think that music is something that touches the soul and pulls on one’s heartstrings in a way that not many things can. It is absolutely incredible how a piece of music can resonate with a person so much. That is why I love this quote. 

St. Nicholas Church. 

The second church we visited was St. Nicholas Church (Nikolaikiriche). 

At this church, visitors are not permitted to take photographs.

This church is absolutely stunning, it is a sight you won’t want to miss, however it is a sight that you cannot take photographs of. You can buy a private photo pass in the gift shop for €1, which I did, however these pictures are for private use only. The church states that pictures are not permitted to be shared online or on any social media platforms. I’m sure that people share their pictures anyway, however I’m not going to do so, as I would not like any of my own photos to be shared without my permission. 

This church is a gothic building with baroque elements, and I would say that this building has a delicate, almost romantic feel to it. The interior is pink and white, and a huge silver organ sits overhead, looking down at all the pews. This organ is the largest organ in all of Saxony. 

Several of Bach’s pieces premiered in this church. This church is only a few minutes walk away from St.Thomas Church so it is definitely worth making a stop at both. 

Mephisto Bar. 

Mephisto is an elegant bar that you’ll find if you walk through the famous Mädler-Passage. The arcade was built between 1912-1914, and it is a sight of beauty and grandeur. At this time of year, it is also a sight of Christmas trees. Mephisto is a bar that has a wonderfully eccentric atmosphere. The stylish bar is home to Mephisto, who is a demon figure that can be found in German folktales. I just had to visit here as a lover of fairy tales and folktales. 

The bar is elegant, with a devilish touch. Mirrors change, and at certain times, smoke and lightning flashes as Mephisto himself makes an appearance on the ceiling. 

It is such good fun. Cocktail lovers need to make a stop here, as the menu is absolutely delicious. 

Christmas Markets. 

The highlight of my trip was exploring the Leipzig Christmas markets. These markets are the second-oldest Christmas markets in Saxony as they date back to 1458. The markets are huge, and at every turn you’ll find fairy lights, Christmas trees, decorations, gluhwein, toffee apples, and more. There are treats at every stall. Mugs, cakes, ornaments, jewellery, I could go on and on. 

Exploring the markets while Christmas music played was absolutely magical, and there was a festive joy in the air. I absolutely loved all of the hustle and bustle, even though it was very cold. 

I am so happy that I had the chance to tick Germany off my travel wishlist, although I definitely want to return to Leipzig as I know there is much more to do and see. I really wanted to see the Opera House, but unfortunately the schedule was tight. Next time that will be my first stop. 

I would absolutely return to the Christmas markets in Leipzig although I do think that the city would be lovely to explore in the summer, and I want to explore other places in Germany too, so be it in the cold or in the sun, I will be visiting Leipzig again. 

I really enjoy travelling to places that are filled with rich literature, history, and beauty, and I really enjoy writing about these trips. If you enjoy reading my travel diaries, then be sure to read all about my past trips to Oslo, London, Pompeii, Naples, Florence, and Rome as I did lots and lots of literary things in these literary cities. 

Links below: 


Hello everyone. Welcome back to #theorythursday.

Today I am going to talk about what an epigraph is.

Let’s dive in.

What is an epigraph?

Have you ever opened a book to find a phrase or a quote at the beginning of the story?

Most people have probably read many epigraphs without realising that there is a term for that quote that was at the beginning of a book.

That quote at the start of the book wasn’t just a quote, it was an epigraph.

An epigraph is a quote, phrase, or sometimes even a paragraph, found at the beginning of a book, article, or document.

Why do authors include epigraphs?

An epigraph can set the tone for what the text is about. Usually an epigraph can help establish the theme and tone of a text, and sometimes the epigraph can even help to contextualise the work.

Why is this important?

I personally love when a text has an epigraph, particularly if the author has used a quote at the beginning of their work because in my opinion, this gives readers some insights into the author. When we see that an author has chosen to quote someone, this tells me that this quote has resonated with the author somehow, enough that they chose to use it in their own work. There is something about seeing who someone chooses to quote that can tell us a lot about them, it tells us what kind of writers that the author admires, and it can also give hints about what the style of the work might be like, or whose style of writing the author enjoys.

I think that knowing the term epigraph simply expands one’s knowledge of literary terms.

If you are ever at a pub quiz, and one of the questions asks, “What is the quote at the beginning of a novel called?”, now you know the answer. You’d be amazed by what might come up in a pub quiz, the last time I participated in one, the theme was horror and my knowledge of gothic literature certainly got us a few points.

One of my favourite epigraphs can be found in Neil Gaiman’s Coraline.

Gaiman begins his novel with a quote from G.K. Chesterton.

Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.

G.K. Chesterton.

This has been Theory Thursday. I hope you enjoyed it.

If you were writing a novel, what would your epigraph be? I’d love to know.

Kate xo.

Word Order.

Hello everyone. Welcome to another #theorythursday discussion.

Last week I talked about acrostics. Check that out if you haven’t already. Today I am going to talk about another aspect of grammar. I am going to talk about word order and why it is important.

Let’s dive in.

What does word order mean?

Word order refers to the way words are traditionally arranged in a sentence.

The most common or standard word order that one will come across in English is Subject, Verb, Object.

You can break this down into letters so that it is easier to remember – S-V-O.

I am going to create a few examples.

The man (subject) parked (verb) his new car (object) in his driveway.

The girl (subject) ran (verb) the race (object) and won.

The subject is what the sentence is about, which is why the subject tends to come first in the word order. The verb usually follows because a verb is a doing word and so it makes sense for the verb to follow the subject because that tells us what the subject is doing.

Here is another example.

The dog (subject) digs (verb) holes (object) in the garden.

Why is word order important?

Word order is important because word order is what leads to a sentence making sense.

You can say “The dog eats dinner at seven”, because grammatically that makes sense. You cannot say “Eats the dog at seven dinner”, because in this order, these words are messy, they don’t make much sense although you can still find meaning in those words.

When the word order is correct, the sentence will make much more sense and it will be easier to read. It will be cleaner. It will be easier for a reader to follow.

It may seem obvious or insignificant or even a little boring, but word order is one of things we naturally learn and sometimes we don’t know there is a name for it. When we learn to speak and when we are in school, we are taught to compose sentences and then when we get older, we do this naturally and we might not even realise that word order is in fact an aspect of grammar, and an important one too. If the word order is changed, then an entire sentence’s meaning can be changed and it is important to be able to recognise this as a reader.

This has been Theory Thursday. Happy Friday Eve.

Kate xo.


Hello everyone. Welcome back to #theorythursday.

I bought myself The Complete Illustrated Works of Lewis Carroll a few weeks ago. It is a beautiful book and I’m so happy to have it on my classics shelf. 

The illustrations were done by John Tenniel and I would argue that his illustrations are just as iconic as Carroll’s writing. 

I have a framed drawing of Alice sitting at the Hatter’s tea party and I would suggest that this image is one of the book’s most recognised images, alongside the image of Alice standing before the Cheshire Cat as he peers down at her from his tree. 

The book features Carroll’s stories, verses, comic writing, puzzles and acrostics. I have really enjoyed reading the acrostic poems in this book so I have decided that today I would talk about acrostic verse. Let’s dive in. 

What is an acrostic poem? 

An acrostic poem is a poem in which the first letter of each line spells out a word. 

The first letter of each line might spell out a name, a message, a word, or sometimes even the alphabet. 

Here’s an example of an acrostic poem in which the first letter of each line spells a word. 

(Brief disclaimer – I am making up this example myself, and I will not claim to be a poet, however I like to create my own examples when I am explaining things.)

Summer is on its way. We will sit in the sun. 

Under the trees, in the shade, we will talk, laugh, drink, and smile. 

Nothing will ruin our days, we will be happy, wild, and stress free. Summer is on its way. 

The first letter of each line spells the word sun. 

There are different types of acrostic poems. 

Usually the first letter of each line is what spells out the message; however, the letters can be found anywhere in the poem so it becomes almost like reading a code. The letters will always be capitalised and sometimes they can be found at the end of a line or in different places in a line. 

Here’s another made up example. 

In summer, the air is sweet and people are Kinder. 

In summer, the Air is hot and as we walk the beach the breeze is filled with salt from the sea. 

In summer, we Talk all night because it does not matter how much or how little we sleep. 

In summer, everyonE smiles a little brighter and laughs a little louder. 

If you look at this example I made up, you’ll see that I’ve spelled my name as the letters I’ve chosen to highlight spell Kate. 

Why is it important to learn about acrostic verse? 

I think that an acrostic poem is a really fun poem to learn about. I always say that the more you know, the more you understand, and the more you understand, the more you enjoy something so I think that learning about acrostic verse simply widens one’s knowledge of literature and literary forms, but I also think that learning about acrostics is just fun. It is a creative form as you have to think carefully about how you’ll phrase certain things and where you will place your letters in order to spell out your chosen name, word, or message. I think it is really interesting to be able to read in the code that an acrostic verse creates as if you didn’t know why these seemingly random letters were capitalised then you could miss out. I think that knowing about acrostics and how they work can add to your enjoyment when it comes to reading the works of someone like Carroll because the writing is whimsical and nonsensical and this use of acrostic only adds to that. 

I hope you enjoyed today’s Theory Thursday discussion. I really enjoyed writing it. If you have any questions then please do let me know. 

Happy Friday Eve everyone. 

Kate xo.

Active Voice.

Hello everyone. Welcome back to #theorythursday. I feel recharged after my break and I am so excited to keep moving onwards and upwards. I hope you all have a great month.

Today I am talking about the active voice in a text so let’s dive right in.

What is an active voice? What does this mean?

I have spoken before about verbs, nouns, adjectives, and how in a sentence there is usually a subject. When a sentence is written in the active voice, this means that the subject of that sentence will be performing an action.

I will now create an example.

“The dog chased the ball.”

“The waiter brought the drinks.”

Why is this important?

When an author chooses to use the active voice, it is usually so that it is clear to the reader who is taking action in the piece. Using active voice when writing is also a helpful tool because sentences tend to become shorter which makes them easier to follow.

I personally think that using active voice can give a character more agency. For example, if I were to write something like this – “The girl ran from her assailant as fast as she could, determined to escape unharmed.” – In this very short sentence, I have given a female character a lot of agency, she is running from someone, she is determined to get away, this demonstrates that she is very brave and if I were a reader, reading something like this in a text, I would hope that she does in fact get away.

This has been Theory Thursday. If anyone ever has any questions, please do let me know.

Happy Friday Eve.

Kate xo.

Past, Present, and Future Tense.

Hello everyone. Welcome back to Theory Thursday. I took an unplanned break last week as it had been an extremely busy day and I will never publish anything on that I am not 100% happy with. 

There is a #theatretrip post coming up soon as last week I went to see the incredible Les Misérables in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre. 

Today I am talking about the concept of tense in English literature so let’s dive in. 

What does the term “tense” mean? 

In English grammar, the term “tense” refers to time. Texts will operate in categories of time, the past, the present, and in the future so the novel will take place in the past-tense, the present-tense, or the future-tense. 

Past, present, and future are the three main tenses. There are different categories within each tense, however that is a more complex topic for another day. 

The past-tense is used to describe things that happened before the present. The present-tense is used to describe things that are happening in the current moment, and the future-tense is used when talking about things that will happen in the future. 

I am going to make up some examples below. 

Examples of past-tense:

“I walked to the shop yesterday.” 

“Three years ago, we moved house.” 

“I lost my purse last week.”

Examples of present-tense:

“I am reading a very good book.”

“It is raining very heavily so I can’t go outside at the moment.”

“I am doing my homework while my dinner is in the oven.”

Examples of future-tense:

“I am going to sing in the talent show next week.”

“Tomorrow I am going to the library to study.”

“I will buy a new jacket when I go shopping next week.”

Why is it important to understand the concept of tense? 

I think it is important to understand the concept of tense because tense tells readers when something happens in a narrative. The use of tense can connect the past to the present, or it can inform us about the future. Deciding which tense to write in is an important decision as it can impact how a story is told. Understanding tense means that you understand another literary technique and having a broad understanding of a wide range of techniques enhances our understanding and enjoyment of literature in general. 

This has been Theory Thursday. I hope you enjoyed it. Do you have a favourite tense? Do you prefer narratives that take place in the past the present for example? Let me know. 

Kate xo.

Back to Basics: Adjectives.

Hello everyone. Welcome to another #theorythursday. Last week I talked about the concept of suspending one’s disbelief because I was so inspired by seeing The Lion King in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre. Check that out if you haven’t already. 

Today I am continuing on with my #backtobasics series. I’ve already talked about verbs and nouns, so be sure to read those discussions too if grammar is something that you want to brush up on. 

Today I am going to be talking about adjectives. So let’s dive in. 

What is an adjective? 

An adjective is a word that is used when an author wants to describe a noun. When I was talking about verbs, I said that the easiest way to explain what a verb is would be to say that a verb is a doing word. I would say that the easiest way to explain what an adjective is would be to say that an adjective is a describing word so in a sentence, the adjective would come before the noun. 

I’m going to make up an example. 

“The beautiful necklace sparkled in the case.” 

In this sentence, the necklace is the noun, because a noun is a person, place or a thing. A necklace is a thing, so the adjective in this sentence is the word “beautiful”, because this word is describing the necklace. 

Other examples of adjectives can be found in sentences such as: 

“The red door opened with a loud creak.” 

In this sentence, the word “red” is the adjective because this tells us that the door, the noun, is red. 

An adjective can also be used when an author is describing how many there are of something. 

An example of this can be found in a sentence such as “It looked like there were a thousand stars in the sky.”

In this sentence, the word “thousand” is the adjective because it is telling us how many stars there are, and stars are things, so the word “stars” is the noun. 

Why is it important to know what an adjective is? 

I say the same thing every time when I am talking about basic aspects of grammar such as nouns, verbs, and now adjectives too. It is important to understand these basics because they can be found so often in writing. When you are a student, it is important to know what these terms mean so that you can recognise nouns, verbs, and adjectives in passages of writing. I also think that refreshing one’s memory on certain terms can be really helpful in general, because when we learn the basics in school, it can often be assumed later that we remember everything perfectly, but sometimes that isn’t the case, which is why I’ve decided to break things down in a back to basics approach. 

This has been Theory Thursday. Happy Friday Eve.

Kate xo.

Suspending Disbelief: Inspired by Disney’s The Lion King.

Hello everyone. Welcome to another #theorythursday. Last week I discussed nouns in my #backtobasics series so check it out if you haven’t already. Today I am talking about the idea of suspending one’s disbelief so let’s dive in.

If you follow me on Instagram (@katelovesliterature), then you will have seen that on Tuesday evening I went to see The Lion King in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre for the second time.

I’ve written a blog post already about going to see this fantastic musical which you can find in my Theatre Trip category if you are interested in reading my thoughts on the show. I jumped at the chance to see the musical again as it is so incredible and I think I enjoyed it even more the second time around.

I study English Literature and I am also a drama student so I was really blown away by the staging of this piece. I think it is a testament to the amount of talent, passion, creativity, and skill that goes into creating a piece of theatre. As I was watching the show again, I became inspired to write about the idea of suspending one’s disbelief because I think that The Lion King musical adaptation really invites audiences to suspend their disbelief and go on a journey with the characters onstage.

What does “suspending your disbelief” mean?

The easiest way I can think of explaining this concept is to say that the idea of suspending one’s disbelief means that as an audience member, we willingly decide to believe in something that is not logical. We allow ourselves to believe that something that should be impossible is possible, we don’t question magic or fantasy, we just accept it because doing so allows us to enjoy the piece.

In a piece like The Lion King, audiences are asked to suspend their disbelief because we are asked to look at these actors who are standing on a stage and accept that they are lions. The Lion King is an immersive work of art. The use of masks, puppetry, scenery, and costumes creates the landscape of the jungle onstage. I love that we can see the actor’s faces beneath the lion masks, I love that we can see the actors working with the puppets, I love that we can see the ensemble wearing costumes that represent different parts of the set, and as the show goes on, we begin to embrace it. We don’t say “it’s a man playing Simba.”, we just say “there’s Simba.” It’s beautiful, and it’s highly theatrical, but the show’s success proves that audiences don’t need things to be spelled out for them, we can accept that we are watching a story about animals. We are willing to suspend our disbelief. It does not matter that we can see the man operating the puppet, that only adds to the magic, it does not take away from it.

If audiences were unable to suspend their disbelief, if we always said “but, it’s not really a lion.”, then shows like The Lion King would not be successful. Shows like Wicked wouldn’t be successful. This idea does not only apply to stage musicals, I could talk about many movies too where the notion of being able to suspend one’s disbelief is crucial to the plot. Recently I went to see Spider-Man: No Way Home, and I haven’t discussed it yet as I can’t discuss themes without including some spoilers, but superhero movies are a great example of movies that depend on audiences suspending their disbelief because if we said “but a boy can’t actually swing across buildings” then the entire premise falls apart. We are told that Spider-Man gets his powers because of a radioactive spider bite and in order to enjoy the rest of the story, we accept this fact without question. I’ve spoken about The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl many times but I have always loved the moment when Barbossa tells Elizabeth that she “best start believing in ghost stories. You’re in one.” I have always felt that this line could be interpreted as being directed at the audience too. Barbossa is telling us that, like Elizabeth, we best accept that ghosts are real because if we kept nitpicking and saying “but ghosts aren’t real” then that movie would fall apart too as one of the key plot points is that Barbossa and his ghostly crew must break the curse, and if we refuse to believe in ghosts then this plot point becomes pointless.

Why is it important to understand the concept of suspending one’s disbelief?

Well I think it is important to understand the concept of suspending one’s disbelief because if one sat down to think about it, many movies depend on the audience doing so. I’ve mentioned a few examples above and I’m sure I could list shows, movies, and series if I wanted to, but so many things rely on suspending our disbelief because doing so allows us to understand and enjoy the piece.

This has been Theory Thursday. I hope you enjoyed it. I will say again that if you get the chance to see The Lion King, don’t miss it. It is utterly brilliant.

Happy Friday Eve.

Kate xo.

Back to Basics: Nouns.

Hello everyone and welcome back to another #theorythursday. Last week I started a series that I am calling a #backtobasics series. I began by talking about verbs. Today I am continuing on with this #backtobasics series and I am going to talk about nouns.

Let’s dive into Theory Thursday.

What is a noun?

A noun is a word that is used when an author is referring to a person, a place, or a thing. This is the most straightforward explanation of what a noun is.

Let’s take a look at these two sentences that I am making up to use as an example, “The man walked into the house. He was carrying a heavy shopping bag.” The word “man” is a noun as this sentence is referring to a person. The word “house” is another noun as this is the place the man is going to, and the word “bag” is a noun as a shopping bag is a thing. The bag is the thing that the man is carrying.

A noun can also be a word that is used to refer to an idea and this can become slightly more complicated. The idea of justice, the idea of friendship, the idea of honesty etc., these are ideas that are described as being abstract nouns because these are things that cannot be physically held or seen. You can’t see love, you can’t hold love, you can’t physically touch love, but you feel it, and you can express it through actions and words, but love is a feeling, as is anger and fear etc.

Why is it important to understand what a noun is?

As I said in last week’s discussion when I was talking about verbs, I think it is always useful to have a refresher on what certain things mean. This #backtobasics series that I am exploring will be more useful if you are a student as it is simply covering basic ideas that can sometimes get forgotten over time. If you need to write an essay, or you are studying a lot, then it is important to understand what nouns are and what they mean, and so hopefully students may find these particular Theory Thursday discussions helpful.

I also think that sometimes explanations of what these terms mean can be more complicated than they need to be, which is why I explain everything in my own words and create my own examples so that anyone who is interested in literary theory can read about it in a way that I hope is accessible to everyone. You don’t need to have studied English Literature before in order to read my theory discussions which is sometimes the case. I start from scratch and I aim to explain everything in the most straightforward way possible because I believe that having an understanding of literary theory, even down to the basics, will enhance one’s reading experience.

This has been Theory Thursday. I hope you all enjoyed it. I hope you have a lovely weekend. If there is any aspect of literary theory that you find particularly confusing, then please do let me know because I may be able to help.

Kate xo.