There’s No Place Like London.

There’s no place like London. If you follow me on Instagram (@katelovesliterature), then you already know that I spent a few amazing days in London. 

I’ve been sharing snaps on my Instagram grid & I will be sharing snaps for a while because I fit so much into a few days. I saw so many things & I took loads of pictures that I am excited to share. 

From St. Paul’s to Big Ben, from the London Eye to Tower Bridge, from Fleet Street to Shakespeare’s Globe, I had a blast. It was an amazing trip. The weather was lovely, and it was so great to see so much life everywhere. Some of the buildings are absolutely stunning. I ate, I drank, I explored, and I went to the theatre. 

There is so much to do & see in London. It is such a bustling city, I’m already thinking about when I can go again because there are things that I still want to do. 

I think the highlight of my trip was going to see Matilda The Musical in the beautiful Cambridge Theatre. Stay tuned because I will be publishing a #theatretrip discussion all about this brilliant show. 

I’m sharing some snaps below as I did take many, many pictures.

 
*The pictures below are pictures that I took myself, on my own phone, and they may not be shared without my permission.*

St.Paul’s Cathedral.

St. Mary-le-Bow Church.

St. Dunstan-in-the-West, Fleet Street.

This is the house at the end of the narrowest alley in Fleet Street, Hen & Chicken Court. This is supposedly the house of the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, the real life Sweeney Todd.

Big Ben looking glorious in the sunshine.
The fabulous Cambridge Theatre.

The incredible Matilda stage.

Shakespeare’s Globe.

These are just a few of the pictures that I took. It was an amazing trip. Memories were made, and I loved every second.

If you’ve been, I’d love to hear where your favourite spot in London is & I can add it to my list for next time.

Kate xo.

Blade Runner Live.

Hello everyone. I have been one lucky lady lately as I have been doing so much and I’ve been getting the opportunity to enjoy the arts more and more. 

If you follow me on Instagram (@katelovesliterature), then you know that I am just back from London. I had an amazing trip. I did so much. I did lots of sightseeing and I ate lovely food and drank fabulous drinks and I went to see Matilda the musical and I had the best time exploring Fleet Street. I have already shared a few pictures on Instagram, but I will be sharing more so keep an eye out for that, and I will be writing a much more in depth discussion about my trip as it was filled with things that made my literature loving heart very happy. 

There will be a #theatretrip post coming up soon about the brilliant Matilda the musical. 

For now, I am back in Dublin and I am very busy. I do have some exciting news that I am just waiting on permission to share so stay tuned. 

I was at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre on Sunday evening to see Blade Runner Live. 

It was an amazing evening. I absolutely love hearing an orchestra play live, I don’t think there is anything quite like it. I also think it is brilliant to see the musicians on stage as this doesn’t always happen in musicals, the musicians are very often in the orchestra pit so while we hear the beautiful music, we don’t always get to see the talented people who are playing. 

Blade Runner is a brilliant movie. We saw the director’s cut version starring Harrison Ford. 

The movie is based on Philip K. Dick’s 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

I studied this text in my first year of my BA which feels like such a long time ago now, even though it really isn’t, but I was not expecting to like this text as much as I did and I really loved the movie. 

If you are not aware of the plot, the central idea is that there are humans and replicants and Rick Deckard is tasked with hunting and killing the “non-human” replicants. The replicants are designed to look like humans, however they are deemed to not feel the way that humans feel, however as one watches the movie, this idea can be debated. 

I think the key theme of this movie revolves around the idea of questioning what makes one human? What makes me the person that I am? Am I made up of experiences and memories? 

I also think that the story highlights the importance of having empathy in society. 

I don’t wish to give away any spoilers, but there are moments in this movie where the supposedly unfeeling replicants show more empathy than the human characters. There is one specific scene that I think of when I say this, if you’ve seen the movie then you likely know which scene I am alluding to, and if you have not seen the movie then I suggest watching it, and it should become clear which moment I am talking about. 

The movie has a beautiful score and it was amazing to hear it played live by the orchestra. 

I have a few more exciting theatre trips coming up and I will be writing about all of them. 

Have you seen Blade Runner? 

Kate xo.

Epigraph.

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.

Through the Looking-Glass.

Hello everyone. I am publishing my March’s Book Of The Month discussion later than intended, but let’s dive right in.

Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass takes place months after the events of Alice in Wonderland.

In this book, readers follow Alice to another magical world as this time she takes a step through her mirror (the looking glass) to a world where everything is inverted. If Alice wants to get somewhere, she must walk away from it rather than towards, left is right, etc.

The novel is also written in the third-person, and once again Carroll’s writing is very direct. This novel is filled with poems all about the passage of time and the loss of youth and some of them are rather poignant. This novel includes the famous verse entitled Jabberwocky, which I will be talking about in a discussion all on it’s own because it is one of my favourite poems. I absolutely love the use of nonsense verse, and I will be discussing nonsense writing and its importance at a later date. I think this book is more challenging to read, for example at times the text is backwards. This use of placement on the pages is interesting. Alice must read backwards, therefore the text is backwards, so readers have the same struggle as Alice. When we must read backwards, our actions mirror Alice’s, who has stepped through a mirror so the idea and the symbolism of the mirror becomes really interesting and in my opinion, quite complex.

There is the idea that literature mirrors reality. I talk about this a lot, as after all so much art reflects life. Alice steps through a mirror into a world where everything is backwards, yet the injustice and pointlessness and the cruelties that Alice must contend with can be argued to mirror the injustices that one must face when they grow up, because adulthood and reality is unfortunately filled with things that are not fair. Cruelty exists, inequality exists, lack of control over our own choices exist. So it is very interesting that this nonsensical world mirrors the injustices of the real world and then at times our actions while reading mirror Alice’s so the whole reading experience is very immersive.

I think that Through the Looking-Glass is darker than Alice in Wonderland. I don’t know if this was Carroll’s intention. I think sometimes that Carroll intended to write a nonsensical fantasy novel about a curious girl and her curious nature is celebrated, and ever since readers and scholars have analysed this work and created interpretation after interpretation because the nonsense and the wondrous nature of the book has inspired curiosity. The fact that this is a book that celebrates wonder and in fact lends itself to endless interpretations is quite funny, and perhaps that was the intention, perhaps Carroll wanted people to endlessly question. So while the intentions of Carroll are impossible to know, I do think that his works can be discussed at great length, and I think that some of the discussions can be quite complex.

I love the idea of fate in Through the Looking-Glass. I love the idea of the chess board. I think that the chess board is very symbolic. I think the chess board by itself could be the heart of many discussions and interpretations. I see the chess board as a metaphor for how in life, each move we make determines our next one. This can be negative or positive depending on how you view it. One can question Alice’s choice. If she was always meant to play this game of chess, then did she have any control over the moves she made or did she do what she was always destined to do?

Spoiler below:

I think that Alice’s journey is quite an empowering one, because she plays the game of chess but she moves from pawn to Queen. This, in my opinion, demonstrates her journey from child to adult. She has matured, she is more sure of herself, she has learned a lot and she is using her newfound knowledge to improve her next move.

I think that Alice in Wonderland will always be my favourite work by Lewis Carroll. I loved it when I was young. I love the movie adaptations. I love the text. I always go back to it, it is surrounded in nostalgia, so the conclusion that I have come to is that Alice in Wonderland will always be one of my beloved childhood texts but I think that Kate in her twenties prefers Through the Looking-Glass.

Read Through the Looking-Glass if you haven’t already and then tell me which text you prefer.

Kate xo.

Alice in Wonderland.

Hello everyone. I am sharing discussions that I have written a while ago now, but I have not been publishing discussions regularly in a while. Things have been extremely busy, and I am attempting to find a new schedule that works for me, as for a while now the things that I love have been put on the back burner.

February’s Book Of The Month was Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, and I have had this discussion written in part for a while, but I am finally publishing it now. This discussion will be followed by a discussion about Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass as that was March’s Book Of The Month.

I will be back on track for April, and my next book discussion will be published at the end of the month as usual.

Let’s dive into Wonderland.

In this novel, readers go on a journey with Alice down the rabbit hole to a strange world where logic and wonder seems quite absurd, and all of the characters we meet seem quite peculiar. Alice must navigate her way through this strange place, in order to find her way home again.

I think that it goes without saying that one of the most obvious themes in this book is the theme of growing up. Alice experiences many changes in Wonderland, she shrinks, she grows, she must identify herself, and at times she struggles to identify herself for she has changed so much. I think this idea of identifying oneself is very universal, because everyone must grow up and leave childhood behind, and discovering who we are, and what we want to do, and the kind of person we want to be is very challenging.

This novel was written in a time when there was a new importance placed upon the significance and innocence of childhood. Childhood was starting to be viewed as unique and important, because once you lose that childhood innocence, it is almost impossible to recapture it, and in fact many children’s texts focus on this idea of trying to recapture the unadulterated magic of childhood.

Carroll celebrates curiosity and wonder. Alice is a very open and innocent child. She follows the White Rabbit down the rabbit hole simply because she wants to know about him, he has grasped her attention. Alice questions everything in Wonderland, because the rules and logic confuse her, and at times, things seem unjust. I think that Alice in Wonderland can be talked about in many different ways. I think that Alice’s curiosity can be said to represent the natural curiosity that most, if not all, children possess. Alice’s questioning can reflect how children will question the rules that adults live by, as when you are a child, the rules of adults can be confusing, sometimes they don’t make sense at all, and in fact, sometimes the rules that adults live by can be arbitrary and even pointless. It is important to have rules, but it also important that the rules in place make sense and that they serve a purpose, rather than having rules just to have rules.

Alice’s journey down the rabbit hole could also be interpreted as a metaphor for the quest for knowledge. Alice goes on a physical journey and she learns so much, but sometimes one must go on a mental journey, and undertake a lot of research, and metaphorically take a trip down the rabbit hole in order to expand one’s knowledge.

Sometimes I think the only way to learn is to question, and if you are passionate about something then you will naturally ask more questions. More questions lead to more answers, which then lead to more questions. The more you understand, the more you want to know, which is why I will always strive to be a curious person.

Carroll’s writing style is whimsical and engaging. Carroll’s work showcases the importance of literary nonsense and his work can be very funny. His work is also very interesting to read as it is full of riddles. Carroll has written Alice in Wonderland in the third-person, and I find that most of his sentences are direct and straight to the point. The opening line brings readers directly into the story. The novel opens and Alice is fed up of sitting beside her reading sister, and as she is deciding how to cure her boredom, the White Rabbit runs by her and grabs her attention. The book takes us to Wonderland, a place full of twists and turns, but the writing itself is direct and easy to follow.

I love Alice in Wonderland. I always have. I think I love it because to this day I still love to ask why? I love the fantasy nonsense. I love books that take readers somewhere else. I love the richness and curiousness of Wonderland. I love each strange and eccentric character we meet. I love that Alice’s curious mind is celebrated and I love the sense of wonder that this story inspires.

This is a classic for a reason and I would highly recommend it.

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.

Chicago

Hello everyone. I am very happy to be sharing another #theatretrip discussion. Last night I went to see Chicago at Bord Gáis Energy Theatre and it was brilliant. 

It was my first time seeing this show and I could not wait to get there. Chicago has been on my “must see” list for the longest time. 

It is no secret that Chicago is an iconic show, so I knew going in that it would be fabulous but actually seeing it onstage was something else. The show is sexy, precise, and full of incredible dancing. 

The sets are so simple. The costumes are striking despite being understated. Everyone is dressed in black. There are very few props, the odd hat, the occasional cane, a chair here and there, but everything is used very specifically. It works. The focus is on the actors. The music, the dancing, and the acting are what takes centre stage. 

I think that the ensemble was fantastic. It goes without saying that Chicago is known for Fosse’s iconic and specific choreography. Each move is absolutely precise. Each hand movement, each tilt of the hat, every single thing is done very precisely and very smoothly. It makes for a wonderfully sultry and engaging performance and I have huge respect for each member of the cast because the talent showcased on that stage was amazing to see. 

The show itself is iconic for a reason. The satirical story about the American justice system, corruption, and the role of media alongside the social commentary about how audiences will always love a scandal and a spectacle is just as relevant today as it was when the show first opened in 1975. 

Velma Kelly is an iconic character and the energy in the theatre was electric when All That Jazz started playing and Velma rose up from beneath the stage. Each character got their moment. 

Roxie Hart and Billy Flynn are a dynamic pair and I think their performance of They Both Reached For The Gun was my favourite part of the show although it is so hard to pick when each song is so memorable. 

It was amazing to finally see The Cell Block Tango live onstage and the harmonies in My Own Best Friend were beautiful. 

I have to take a moment to talk about the musicians. It is brilliant to see shows that highlight their musicians by having them be visible onstage. This is not always possible, but the setting of Chicago allows the musicians to be seen onstage and they were incredible. 

I especially loved that they performed an encore at the end of the show. I don’t know if they do this every time or if they did so because last night was opening night, but it was so much fun and I was very glad I got to be there. The musicians and the conductor looked like they were having the best time, as did the entire cast, which only added to the wonderful energy in the theatre. The atmosphere was perfect and it made for a fantastic evening. 

It is so great to be able to attend shows again. I am very lucky that I live close by so that I can go and see the shows that come to Dublin. I would go to see Chicago again in a heartbeat and I would highly recommend  it to anyone who is considering going to see it. You won’t regret it. 

This has been my latest #theatretrip and I am very excited as over the next few months I have some more shows lined up that I cannot wait to see. 

Have you seen Chicago? What did you think? 

Kate xo.

Another fabulous programme has been added my to collection xo.

Literature Lovers Gift Guide.

Hello everyone. Happy Friday. 

Today’s #fridayschoice is a little bit different. 

I am putting together a “Literature Lovers Gift Guide.”

Lately I have celebrated some personal milestones as well as completing the first year of my masters degree which is why I was absent for a little while here on Katelovesliterature.com. 

The end of a semester is a very busy time. There’s assignments and final essays, dissertation and thesis discussions alongside research and research proposals and so even though I love talking about movies, books, plays, poetry, etc, I had to take a break and focus on deadlines. 

After I met those deadlines, I was exhausted. I love what I do, but I needed a proper break so instead of jumping straight back to publishing discussions here on Katelovesliterature.com,  I took an extended break and now I am ready to start doing what I love again. 

I would like to stress how important breaks are even if you love what you do. Breaks are good, they are needed, they allow you to breathe and become inspired again, and it is so important to rest and enjoy downtime because otherwise burnout occurs and it is so much harder to rebuild from being burned out then it is to stop, relax, and then get into a rhythm again. 

The end of February was a super busy time, and on top of all the other milestones I was celebrating, it was also my birthday, which meant that I was ridiculously spoiled by my family and friends. 

They all made me feel so special, and they support me in everything I do and they always support me by checking out the website, you all know who you are, so thank you. 

All of the above brings me to my Friday’s Choice discussion and it is a gift guide for those of you who have movie lovers or book lovers or theatre lovers in your life. 

My friends and family know me so well, and I have received some beautiful gifts recently, I’ve also treated myself to a few things as well and I don’t think it’s ever too early to get ready for Christmas. 

So let’s dive into my Literature Lover Gift Guide. 

  1. Sheet Music. 

I love music and I love musicals. I studied music all through school, I was a member of every choir, I did musicals, I love to sing, and music theory was one of my favourite parts of drama class so my friends know that I love sheet music. I have three scores now, all from shows that I love, and I think that this is such a good gift idea for a music lover. The scores are beautifully presented and they have lots of information inside about the composers and about the songs and I love reading about how a song was written and composed. I love reading about any insight into a show’s score, because when it comes to musicals especially, the music is so integral to the story, the show would not be the same without it. Even if you don’t read sheet music, I think that if you love music then this is a cool present to receive, and it’s not all about getting presents, if you know someone who loves music then a score could be a brilliant gift to give them. 

  1. Special Editions of Books. 

I have a beautiful edition of A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings by Charles Dickens. The cover is white with beautiful navy snowflakes. My best friend got it for me the Christmas after I wrote a Dickens dissertation. It was so important to me at the time, and it still is now, but at the time I was reading Dickens all the time and getting my thoughts together for this dissertation and it was so important to me, and then after being so delighted with the grade I got, this present was so meaningful. It was so thoughtful of her, and this book will always sit on my classics shelf and make me smile. 

Last Christmas my boyfriend gave me the most beautiful editions of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. They are laminate collector’s editions with Victorian inspired dust-jackets. They are absolutely gorgeous, and they are very important to me at the moment because they also tie into different things that I am currently studying. 

Literature is very important to me, it’s the thing that I am most passionate about, and I think it is so lovely that my friends and family get me things that represent something I love so much. These special editions are sentimental because I’ll remember a specific thing and time when I look at them. 

Of course you don’t have to be studying literature to get a special edition of a book. If you know what someone’s favourite book is and you see a beautiful edition of it, then I think that is such a good gift idea. It shows how well you know them, you’re getting them something that you know they love, the presentation of a special edition is always stunning, it is a collector’s item and a display piece, and it is something that the person will always have. 

  1. Bookmarks. 

I have been given some beautiful bookmarks over the years. I have one with my name on it, I have a beautiful resin one, and I have ornate little Alice in Wonderland page markers that are so stunning because they are John Tenniel’s illustrations in bookmark form so they look amazing in my classic books on my classics shelf. I think bookmarks are a cute gift to give a reader because you know they will be used, you can never have too many when you read so much, and there are some really gorgeous ones that you can get now so if you’re already thinking of getting someone a book then a bookmark is such a good little add on to get as well. Bookmarks also make a brilliant stocking stuffer. 

  1. Literature inspired artwork/cards.  

I bought a Scream themed Valentine’s Day card this year and it was brilliantly received. I think that getting someone a card or a piece of art inspired by something that they love is a great idea because again, it shows you know them, it shows you listen and care about their interests, a card inspired by their interests is really sweet and very personal. Art inspired by their interests is really cool because again, it could be a collector’s item, it could be a display piece. I have some framed pieces inspired by movies I love that I absolutely love, and they were not ridiculously expensive. There are so many sites now that buying art does not have to be super expensive, so if you know someone who would appreciate something like this then this could be a great idea. 

  1. A Notebook/Notebook Cover. 

Last Christmas my best friend gave me a beautiful leather bound notebook. It is perfect. I use it. She knows how much I love writing, so once again, she got me something that she knew I would love. I can take the notebook out of the cover when I’ve used it all and then I can put a new notebook into the cover, so it is something that I will always have and always use. 

If someone is a student or a writer or if they like to journal, then a notebook/notebook cover is a great gift idea because it is something that will definitely get used. 

  1. Novelty Items. 

One of my best friends gave me a book of movie inspired cocktail recipes for my birthday. 

I love cocktails. I love learning how to make them. I love movies, so this really was a brilliant gift. There is a Legally Blonde inspired cocktail, there is a Some Like It Hot inspired cocktail. There is a Breakfast at Tiffany’s inspired cocktail. There is a Batman inspired cocktail. I could go on because there are so many incredible movies featured in this book and I am so excited to test out some of these iconic cocktail recipes. This kind of gift is great because it goes on beyond one specific interest, mine being movies and literature, and it incorporates other interests of mine. This is a gift that I will be able to use, it is a gift that will help me develop a skill. I am planning on learning how to make cocktails properly and the fact that I could whip up a drink based on a friend’s favourite movie will be really cool and it’ll make for a really fun night. 

I hope that you enjoyed reading through my gift guide. These are ideas that I would use myself, I have given these kinds of gifts to people before and I will again in the future, and these are the kinds of gifts that I usually receive and I am always delighted. 

I hope you’ve gotten some great gift ideas. Even if you’re shopping for someone who is not a lover of literature or movies, I still think this is a helpful guide as the best gift giving advice I can give is to give a gift that shows you know the person really well. That may seem really obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people tell me that they struggle to pick out gifts for people. 

This has been Friday’s Choice. I hope you all have a lovely weekend. Keep an eye on my Instagram page @katelovesliterature because I will most definitely be sharing snaps of the movie inspired cocktails that I create. 

If you were ordering a cocktail inspired by a movie, what drink would it be and what movie would it be from? Let me know!

Kate xo.

Acrostics.

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.

Spielberg’s Take on West Side Story

Hello everyone. Welcome back to #moviemonday. A few weeks ago I talked about the 1960 adaptation of West Side Story and I said that eventually I would talk about the Spielberg adaptation of the movie. 

The Spielberg adaptation of West Side Story is available to watch on Disney plus (unfortunately I didn’t make it to the cinema to see this movie even though I really wanted to), so I finally got to sit down and enjoy this movie. Usually I’m really bad at waiting to see the movie. I’ll read about a movie or I’ll watch clips online because spoilers have never bothered me, but this time I’ve been really good. I didn’t watch anything except the trailer so today I am giving my honest thoughts after watching the Speilberg take on the classic West Side Story for the first time. 

Let’s dive in. 

As I am writing this discussion, I don’t have a favourite version, but perhaps by the time I finish my discussion, my thoughts will be different. 

This discussion will be slightly different from my usual Movie Monday discussions as instead of using my usual structure of plot, characters, themes and structure, I’m going to talk about Spielberg’s style because I’ve already talked about the characters and themes of this movie in my discussion of the 1960 adaptation of West Side Story and the movie’s characters and the themes have obviously stayed the same, although I will say that I definitely prefer the Maria and Tony in the 1960 adaptation. 

I think that there are two things that stand out when one is watching a movie directed by Speilberg. The first being the fact that I think his directing style is very physical as actors will move through a scene so it is clear that Spielberg spends time doing a lot of physical blocking, and the second being that he often uses many shots in one by changing compositions and having varying shot sizes. This makes for a more dynamic scene because it keeps viewers engaged and it holds our attention and it keeps things from becoming dull. Having actors move through a scene is a very engaging technique as well because when an actor is using their entire body in a scene, when they are physically taking up space and using it well, it can be very impactful. There is a fluidity to Speilberg movies that make them visually really satisfying to watch and his take on West Side Story is no different. 

I think that the social mixer at the gym is a great example of his use of many shots. There are so many shots in this scene, you can’t help but be an engaged viewer. It’s fast, it’s loud, it’s bright, there is tension in the room between the Jets and the Sharks, everyone is dancing, trying to show off, the choreography is slick, and there are so many shots that it feels as though you’re in the hall too as opposed to just watching. It is a brilliant scene that is full of life and then things slow down when Tony and Maria meet for the first time. They dance behind the bleachers, their choreography is not explosive or slick, it’s slower, it’s more intimate, it’s almost wistful because the two are stunned almost by each other, it’s actually a very theatrical moment. 

The two standouts for me were Ariana DeBose as Anita and Mike Faist as Riff. 

Anita has always been my favourite character in the movie and I think she always will be. 

I really enjoyed Ariana DeBose’s take on America. She was beautiful, she was passionate, she was electric, the costuming was beautiful. She played the part with such energy and she was flirty and confident yet there were moments when Anita’s anger was just perfectly portrayed. 

Riff was brilliant. Riff is one of those characters who has to be played right, because he is awful. He is ignorant, he is racist, he is also very misunderstood, this life and this attitude is all he knows, the Jets are all he has, and in his mind, he is doing the right thing, he is defending the Jets and defending their territory and I think there should always been an underlying sadness when it comes to Riff. He could have been so much more, he could have straightened out if he wanted to, he could have gotten out, but he chose not to, he chose violence, he chose ignorance, he chose hate, and yet when a gun is held to his head and he says “Shoot. You might as well.” (Paraphrased.), this moment should be moving. This moment tells audiences everything you need to know about how Riff truly feels about himself and Mike Faist delivered this line so well. I believed him as Riff. I hated his ignorance, I was angry about his racism, I was frustrated by his choices, as I should be, that is the point. I don’t even think I mentioned Riff in my last discussion and I should have because he’s such a complex character and this time, he is the character who caught my attention the most. 

The choreography was stunning. I loved it. Something that I really love about both the 1960 adaptation and this one is the fact that the stage musical is not entirely lost. The big, elaborate, beautifully dynamic dance numbers are larger than life the way they would be on a stage and I just love that. My favourite performances were America and Cool. 

America is the most colourful, alive part of the movie. It’s fast, it’s bright, it’s joyful, it’s wishful, and I think this is a number where dancers get to shine. It was brilliant to watch as it should be. 

Cool is slick. Cool is precise. Cool is an elaborate number on a smaller scale. It’s meticulously choreographed. The movements are so smooth and every step with the gun is so intentional. The beats are so important. I can imagine that rehearsing this took a lot of time because the timing of Cool is so crucial. It’s about the back and forth, who has the gun? Who is holding it? Where is it going next? It’s tense because when we watch we don’t want it to go off, yet the number is slick, and tight, and so smooth and pardon the pun, but it’s so cool. Riff comes off like he’s cooler than anyone ever, and it is brilliant. 

Overall I think the 1960 adaptation will always be my favourite, just because it was the version I saw first when I was young and I loved it so much, and although I felt Spielberg’s directing was great and the lighting and choreography was beautiful, I just didn’t feel that same magic I feel whenever I watch the 1960 version. Maybe that’s my own nostalgia, but sometimes things just can’t be topped, they can be rivalled, they can be equalled, but they can’t always be topped. 

This has been Movie Monday. I hope you enjoyed it. 

I know I’ve been absent for a while but I am excited to be publishing discussions again. 

I hope you all have a great week and I will be back with another #theorythursday discussion this week. Stay tuned. 

Kate xo.