Kicking off the book blog with good news

Kids, the Ibiza blues are real. Luckily I have two men in my life who never fail to clear stormy clouds – and this week, they’ve more than delivered.

Good Omens: the best gets better

Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens carries a piece of my heart. I love it beyond measure, so waiting for the TV adaptation has been near torture. It was always going to be great – Gaiman’s involvement and the stellar cast promised this – but within about 0.6 seconds of watching, I realised just how extraordinary it is. I watch every episode with a stupid grin on my face, sighing at every perfect detail.

The series is as faithful to the book as Dog is to Adam. If, like me, you’ve read the book more times than is sensible, you can speak along with the actors – much like a Good Omens karaoke. (Doesn’t go down well in company, but is fun).

But, just like Dog wishing he could spend more time chasing cats than following his master’s plan to destroy the world, the show adds in a few deviations. We get to learn more about Crowley and Arizaphale’s relationship in half an episode of historical snapshots – scenes both hilarious and poignant in equal measures.

The brilliance of Good Omens lies in its nuanced, quirky tone. And as with all adaptations, it was hard to tell how this would transfer to the screen. Maybe it was Gaiman’s heavy involvement. Maybe it was the perfect cast. Maybe it was the pace of the dialogue or the locations and costumes. Most likely, it was a combination of all these parts. But I like to think love had a lot to do with it: everyone involved did this because they love the story that Pratchett and Gaiman created.

The Secret Commonwealth: Not-so secret now

With just two episodes left to watch, Waterstones must’ve felt my rising panic. The launch date of Philip Pullman’s new book landed in my inbox this morning. And shortly after, a load of money left my bank account, securing spots at Ally Pally to hear him talk and the special edition book.

His Dark Materials shaped my childhood and teenage years. I borrowed Lyra’s strength to help me survive as a paralysingly-shy teenager. I chatted to my made-up daemon as a kid when I wanted to have adventures. I learnt to question authority and ignorance. I even wrote my university dissertation on the trilogy, getting to analyse and pick apart my favourite scenes and sentences.

So, catching up with an adult Lyra – the premise of The Secret Commonwealth – feels like nothing short of catching up with an old childhood friend. If you want to spend more time in Pullman’s world, you can hear him speak at Ally Pally just before the book launches (tickets here). And Waterstones is producing the most beautiful limited edition slipcase, which I’m hoping it’s going to do for all his other books too! My bookshelf needs that beauty.

Anyway, it’s only a short four months to wait – maybe I’ve got time to re-read all the others while we wait…


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