Growing up, I loved reading. I spent more time in the library at school curled up with books, than I did outside playing. I feasted on everything from The Famous Five and Mallory Towers to Shakespeare. Yes, honestly, Shakespeare. My mum had “the complete works” and I knew the ‘Romeo, Romeo’ soliloquy off by heart 10 years before I knew what a soliloquy was.
For me, reading is escapism. It’s becoming totally absorbed in another world. I get carried away with emotions of books; I laugh at them, cry with them (Dumbledore’s exit in Harry Potter had me sobbing). Last year, however, I let my love of books slide. Actually, everything slid. Gym, reading, blogging, I was one lazy beast in 2017.
I made myself a promise that I would read more in 2018. Not because I felt like I should, but because I deserve to. Reading makes me happy, and I deserve to be happy. I haven’t set myself a limit or minimum of books to read. I haven’t prescribed when or what. It’s just happening! It seems like since I decided, an abundance of books have come into my life! I want to share with you these books as each of them have impacted me! I won’t share on the synopsis, so as not to ruin them but want to share how each made me feel.
Books – January
The first book of the year I read was Domina, which I already did a full review of over here.
The blurb leads with “When Annie hands her mother over to the police she hopes for a new start in life – but can we ever escape our past?”. This book had me in emotional turmoil from start to finish. With a big twist at the finish that drove me to distraction. This was not a book I enjoyed in the warm, fuzzy feeling that a Harry Potter book might give. It didn’t make me nervous the way Gone Girl did. It made me stressed. Stressed for her, mad at her, sad for her. It invoked a host of emotions I don’t think I’ve felt for a book before. It’s not a light holiday read but it’s a book that changed my thinking in a lot of ways and I’m definitely glad I picked it up.
Books – February
Once I got over that, I dove into The Betrayals by Fiona Neill, another one passed over from Mumma H. She and I have very similar tastes in books so I was excited to go through the pile, though I was a little distrusting after the last book! This book I found really similar to the format of Big Little Lies and Truly Madly Guilty by Lianne Moriarty; I knew the end of the book from basically the first few chapters, but you plod through the story anyway.
If I’m honest, I wasn’t a big fan of this book. The 4 person narrative (each chapter is from the point of view from either the mother, father, son or daughter), I found frustrating. It’s hard to relate to a character or build a relationship when you don’t get to see things from their point for more than 10 pages. If you’re not looking for a book to challenge you, then go ahead and grab a copy. If you’re looking for something more demanding, I’d suggest you leave this one on the shelf.
Book for March
As I write this, I’m currently reading Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. I found this book through Reese Witherspoon’s instagram book club; the production companies owned by her and Kerry Washington have picked up the rights to make this book into a limited TV series. I absolutely loved the way Big Little Lies was made, in terms of both production and cast, so I knew that if they had chosen this book I needed to read it before it hit the screens.
The book describes itself as the tale of two polarising families in Shaker Heights (imagine Stepford meets Riverdale) bought together by their children. I’m around halfway through and I do like it but it’s not a page turner.
My go-to books are usually mysteries or thrillers and this one isn’t gripping me. I’m enjoying the characters but there’s nothing driving me to push through to the end. I hope that it has something deeper to it, if it’s been deemed enough to make into a series. I’ll let you know how it goes when I get to the end!
Books – April Onwards
I’ve got my next books lined up already. I go to Cape Town in April and the journey there consists of two 8 hour flights with a 2 hour layover in between. Although I don’t think my holiday is going to allow much time for lazing by a pool, I know there’ll be these journeys plus some down time, which is perfect for blitzing through books!
I will definitely be taking the latest book in the Jack Reacher series – The Midnight Line – by Lee Child. I absolutely love every single on of these books and Jack Reacher is probably the only man I’ve ever loved. The films are an abomination and I refuse to correlate them to the books I have spent literally hundreds of hours wrapped up in. This addition to the Reacher series is an extension of a novella I’ve previously read, with Reacher getting caught up in the illegal opioid trade. I don’t even own a copy of the book yet but I know I’m going to love it.
Maestra is next on the list. This is the first in the series of which Domina is the second. In my review of Domina, I mentioned that I had no idea before reviewing it that it was part of a series. My darling girlfriend read that post and ordered me Maestra as a surprise. Reviews online rate Maestra far higher than Domina, which I love, so I’m intrigued to see how quickly I will tear through the pages of this mystery.
Books – Reading List
Another from the list Mumma gave is called The Girl Before, by JP Delaney. The Sunday Times have called it the bigger rival to Gone Girl, and what all know what a storm that book was! Lee Child rates it as a “pitch-perfect thriller” so I’m invested. Expensive property, mystery, murder obsession. All of these are ingredients for a recipe for a success of a book, in my opinion, and this one is already getting a spot in the suitcase, despite it being a pretty heavy hardback!
A lighter read for the forthcoming lighter evenings is Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal. This is yet another book that features in Reese’s book club. The title itself invokes emotions from hilarity to sadness, so I already think I’m going to love it. GoodReads describes it as “A lively, sexy, and thought-provoking East-meets-West story about community, friendship, and women’s lives at all ages—a spicy and alluring mix of Together Tea and Calendar Girls”. What more could a girl want for a summer read? The beautiful cover of the book is literally the icing on the cake here.
The last on the list, for now, is Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman; her debut novel. This has already made it onto the Sunday Times Bestseller List, was awarded the 2018 Costa Debut Novel Award, and has already been optioned by Reese Witherspoon as a movie for her to both produce and take the lead role! The reviews thus far are great. A woman becoming her own heroine – something I hope I can relate to! What books are you reading now? What would be the best book you’d recommend? Comment with any books you love!
We all love a good movie. There’s something about the pure escapism of delving all your senses into a different world and forgetting everything around you.
I have a wide taste in movies. I’ll watch anything except horror films. I just don’t see the point in being scared.
This year I made a promise to myself that I would read more books. This has left less time for screen escapism. I’ve still managed to catch a few films in the 3 months of the year. Some are great, some are awful! Here’s 5 that have imprinted on me so far this year.
Dramatisation of the true story of the brothers who created the original McDonald’s, and the man who grew it into the empire it is today
Loved it. There’s so many morals to take away from this. Hard work and determination can get you very far. Looking after the people at the bottom looks after the top. Team work makes the dream work. Don’t sh*t where you eat. The cinematography is great and changes as the story evolves through time. The acting is fantastic. The story is intriguing and inspiring. M watched it with me, and she took a lot of tips from them to use in her pub!
Twenty-something living in New York gives up and goes back home to Conneticut where she resumes her high school job as Lifeguard at the local pool. Relationship with a teenager ensues.
Bloody awful. Don’t bother. I have never been more disappointed with an actress the way I was with Kristen in this. This film came out in 2013. It wasn’t exactly the beginning of her career when she needed to beg for roles to gain exposure. This is after “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”, after “Burlesque”, the same year as “Frozen”. There’s no excuse and her agent should be fired. It was creepy and awkward. Not in a cool, artsy, hipster way either. Don’t waste your time. Watch Frozen instead, it’s much better.
Mid 80s – a group of miners in Wales and an LGBT activist group support each other’s causes in a time when they’re both the underdogs of society.
Love it. It’s heart warming, gut wrenching, tumultuous. I truly believe that empathy can change the world and this film proves just that. It’s a dramatisation of a true story. The aesthetics aren’t easy on the eye but the story isn’t easy on the heart. It’s a perfect film for a Sunday evening with a glass of red wine.
The sequel to the college acapella sensation film, Pitch Perfect. The Bellas move onto an international championship in Europe in an attempt to restore their brand.
Love it. Acapella is everything I wish existed in my schools when I was a teenager. This film has everything. Romance, campness, girl power, music to sing to. Anna Kendrick is one half of my spirit animal and Rebel Wilson is the other. The characters are relatable. They screw up, they bitch, they put each other back together. Perfect for a night in with the girls!
A 1950s suburban family falls apart at the seams and madness ensues
This is an odd one. “Kooky” is the word that comes to mind. The acting is fantastic. Damon & Moore work so well together. The story is ludicrous and predictable but you stay intrigued the whole way through. There’s also a sub story addressing the racial tensions in America in the 50s. It was really tough viewing, for both stories, as times. There were elements of surprise. Comedy comes in the form of hindsight and cliches. Drama galore. Great for those times where you want something gripping but not too challenging.
Rating: 4 out of 5
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Movies to Come
I’m flying to Cape Town tomorrow. My journey consists of 2 flights, each between 8 and 10 hours. Both ways. So I have roughly 36 hours to fill on planes. I’ve done a similar journey when I went to Thailand a couple of years ago. But it’s still hard work! Some of this time will go on crap naps. I’ll spend a good portion reading. But that still leaves a whole lot of dead time to be filled. Luckily, we’re flying with Emirates who have the best in-flight entertainment in their industry by far. I’ve been reviewing their site for what’s on at the moment. My “to watch on the plane” list is massive! So I’ll attempt to watch them all.
Here’s my selection from the list: Jumanji; Pitch Perfect 3; I, Tonya; The Greatest Showman; Molly’s Game; All I See is You; Coco; Darkest Hour; Detroit; Get Out; Murder on the Orient Express; Three Billboards Outside Epping, Missouri; Battle of the Sexes; Victoria & Abdul; Atomic Blonde; Home Again; The Dark Tower.
This is just the new movies – there’s so much more on there, including a Disney documentary on African Cats with Samuel L Jackson and Patrick Stewart narrating! Have you seen any of these? What films would you recommend?