My Literary Trip to Oxford

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In a blog post earlier in the year, I made a list of bookish places to visit in England, the first of which was Oxford, one of the most literary places in the world. It is home to the famous literary group, the Inklings, who amongst it members were C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Roger Lancelyn Green, to name a few.

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(c) Clare Holman-Hobbs

I, by rights, would consider C.S. Lewis one of my favourite authors, as his Chronicles of Narnia are some of my best loved go-to comfort reads. For the past twenty years, I have read and re-read those tales that provided (along with Tolkien and many others) the cornerstones of children’s fantasy. I like many others travelled with the Pevensies and poured my heart into the destruction of the White Witch. For Narnia, and for Aslan!

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(c) Clare Holman-Hobbs

But how much did I know about the man behind the magic? Who was C.S. Lewis? So this was reason number one why I decided to visit Oxford, where Lewis spent a large chunk of his life. The Kilns, where Lewis used to live, gives tours by appointment and is situated in Risinghurst, just outside of the city center. Not only can you find Lewis’s home there, but also his parish, which is only a ten-minute walk away. The church is also his resting place, as people flock from all over the world to pay their respects to the author who transported them through the wardrobe. His brother, Warren Lewis, affectionately known as Warnie, who died ten years later, is also buried with his brother, who liked to be known as Jack.

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(c) Clare Holman-Hobbs

Taking a tour of the Kilns was like being reacquainted with an old friend. I knew bits of trivia about Lewis’s life, but our guide shed light on just what an imaginative, gracious and fun-loving person he really was. One story stood out to me in particular. After his cat, Tom, had lost his teeth, Lewis’s wife, Joy, wanted to have the cat put down. Lewis would hear nothing of the sort, and every third day went to the market to get fish for Tom to eat, which he ground small enough so the cat didn’t have to chew, and declared it would be Tom’s pension. As he passed Tom in the garden, he usually doffed his hat, citing to a baffled friend, “Tom’s a pensioner, don’t you know. We treat pensioners with respect.”

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(c) Clare Holman-Hobbs

Oxford history doesn’t just hold references to Lewis’s life and works, it also plays host to a large chunk of filming locations, particularly for the first Harry Potter film, directed by Christopher Columbus. I visited the Divinity School in the Bodleian Library, where the scenes for the Hogwarts Infirmary were filmed, and also Christ Church, where the Golden Trio meet again after the events of Philosopher’s Stone. Finally, I also visited New College, where a particular scene from The Goblet of Fire was filmed. Visiting New College was like stepping into Hogwarts itself. It’s safe to say this trip was filled with magic!

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(c) Clare Holman-Hobbs

I was only in Oxford for four days but I absolutely loved every minute of it! I wouldn’t hesitate to go back again and I would definitely recommend it, especially if you’re a big literary geek like me!

Has my blog post convinced you to visit Oxford? Or are there other places on your list? Let me know in the comments!

Most Anticipated TV Series in 2017

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Since the arrival of subscription TV like Netflix and Amazon Prime, the popularity of TV has shot through the roof. There is quite literally something for everyone out there, and I can happily say my TV tastes have broadened since I subscribed. So here are the top five TV shows I’m looking forward to watching in 2017.

These TV shows are in no particular order.

Beyond

Launching 2nd January 2017 on Freeform

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(c) Wikipedia

Beyond is about Holden, a young man who wakes up from a coma after 12 years and discovers new abilities that propel him into the middle of a dangerous conspiracy. – from IMDb

The main character is played by Burkely Duffield, who I know well from House of Anubis fame, and so when I saw his cheeky little face pop up on the trailer for Freeform’s new TV show, I knew I had to watch it. It looks right up my street!

Nicki

Launching Unknown on Freeform

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(c) Wikipedia

Nicki Minaj revealed on Instagram that the show is called “Nicki” and that Whoopi Golberg will have an appearance on the autobiographical comedy. – from IMDb

After this TV comedy was announced, I haven’t heard much about it since. There is no current release date, only that it’s in production with Freeform and is listed under their Upcoming Programming. It’s certainly something I’m interested in watching, as Nicki Minaj is an influential artist not only in pop culture but in the main stream media too.

Emerald City

Launching 6th January 2017 on NBC and Channel 5 (UK)

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(c) Wikipedia

A modern reimagining of the stories that led to ‘The Wizard of Oz’. – from IMDb

If you know anything about me, you’ll know that I LOVE retellings, whether it be classic literature, biographies, fairy tales, fables, anything and everything! So when I heard about Emerald City, ages and ages ago, I was waiting with baited breath for it to be released. Now, the wait is over! And to top it all off, it’s being released in the UK via Channel 5!

Big Little Lies

Launching 19th February 2017 on HBO

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(c) IMDb

While Madeline and Celeste take new in town single mom Jane under their wing, none of them realises how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all. Big little lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive. – from IMDb

I first heard about this because I love to keep an eye on Shailene Woodley’s releases and what she’s up to, and so when I heard about this TV series AND the all star cast she was working with, I knew I had to watch it!

Thirteen Reasons Why

Launching January – April 2017 (?) on Netflix (?)

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(c) IMDb

Thirteen Reasons Why, based on the best-selling series by Jay Asher, follows teenager Clay Jensen in his quest to uncover the story behind his classmate and crush Hannah’s decision to end her own life. – from IMDb

Ever since I read the book back in 2014 there have been rumours that this novel was going to be made into something. I’ve heard rumours of a movie with Selena Gomez attached and, most consistently, a TV show, with and without Selena Gomez attached. Us fans of the book have waited and waited for a release date, a trailer, anything to wet our appetites and it’s only been in the last month that we’ve heard further rumours that this TV show will finally be released as a Netflix Original between January and April. Nothing has been confirmed yet, but I’m still holding out hope!

So that concludes the top five TV shows I’m looking forward to this year. Are you looking forward to them to? Or have I just led you to another labyrinth of binge watching for the New Year? (Sorry!) Let me know down in the comments!