Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham

When I was a teenager there was a brilliant television adaptation of John Wyndham’s post-apocalyptic novel, Day of the Triffids. Thanks to the wonders of the Web and the BBC I was able to sit down and watch the 1981 series in one afternoon. It stars John Duttine as Bill Masen who is the main protagonist and narrator of the story. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The novel was written in 1951, only a few years after the end of the Second World War and before the end of the period of austerity imposed during the war. In this context some of the themes of the novel become clearer: The idea of the destruction of humanity, by weapons or a terrible accident; Dealing with shortages of food and other related themes.

The production values don’t match up to the amount spent on today’s drama but the story telling is very faithful to the original story. Quite a relief when you see how badly some movies get chopped about in the name of entertainment. Overall it is rather a bleak story and the fact that it is possible to have produced it without fabricating a happy ending is a good thing.

I thoroughly recommend the book and if you feel inspired then watch the drama unfold 1981 style.

Day of the Triffids – SeeSaw

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The Potter Pensieve: Trivial Delights from the World of Harry Potter

This is a very handy book if you want (nearly) all of the Harry Potter facts together. There are useful lists of characters and locations along with facts about the author.

Karen Farrington is an American journalist who is obviously a Potter fan and she has taken a lot of care with her co-writer to produce an interesting book. It’s more of a dip-in and read a snippet or two kind of book than anything more serious. The style is journalistic but that makes it a very readable book.

Most of the facts are correct but the speed of light is an awful lot faster than the one given in the magic/science section. There is also the little fact missed out about the name of the Pensieve as ‘pen’ in Cornish means ‘head’ so the name is apt on many levels.

I really enjoyed this though and was given it as a gift by my youngest son who knows what an ardent fan I am. An ideal gift for a Harry Potter fan.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Novel number four. This book is appreciably longer than the other three and spends more time on descriptions of the surroundings of Hogwarts school. The story centres around the TriWizard tournament and we discover that an under age Harry is entered for this perilous event.

There is a huge amount going on in this book but there is plenty of comedy and we see, yet again, what a good person Harry is. The terror of Voldemort returns in this book and starts to wreak his revenge on those around Harry.
Settle down for an exciting read. The reading age of this book is higher than the first two as it is aimed more at the age group of Harry and his friends.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

The third Harry Potter novel. The story starts to get darker from here as we learn yet more about Harry’s past. We discover the strange company kept by his father and how his parents came to their untimely end.

As enjoyable as the previous two novels but we really feel for some of the other characters. Some marvellous scenes again and you have to consider whether you could hold a Hippogriff’s gaze long enough to gain its respect.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

A second year at Hogwarts and someone is still out to get Harry Potter. We discover yet more about the magical world Harry now inhabits and there is plenty of humour along the way.

You normally associate growing pains with getting a bit older and there are some particularly venomous ones in store for Harry here. He has plenty of support from his friends and we see their friendship deepening.

There are yet more wonderful ideas here and the story picks up nicely from the first book.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Book one of the Harry Potter series and our first introduction into his universe. His life is a daily misery, ensured by his grim relatives the Dursleys. Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon and their spoilt son Dudley.

The magic begins straight away and the story is immediately charming. The reading level is young teenage and you will find as you progress through the books that the reading age increases.

I enjoyed this book and so did my eldest son. I think he really got the magical theme and the horror at the end of this book is mostly psychological. There are some really clever ideas in here too as Harry must face some fiendish tests to win the day.