28 Jun 2015

Reading & Seeing 24

Jurassic World
FYI Jurassic Park was one of my favourite films as a child (I was really into my dinosaurs) so I confess I was v.sceptical about this, especially as I'd been epically disappointed with The Lost World and Jurassic Park III (what a shit name might I add). Anyway, then I saw the trailer and almost all my doubts fizzled away. Last weekend Mitch and I went to watch it in 3D at the new Picturehouse cinema in the west end (which is lush btw) and...it was brilliant! It's action packed, well scripted with an excellent cast (Chris Pratt - can that man do no wrong!). There's quite a few nods to the original film (including that music!) but it's done well and thankfully there's no hint of the 2nd and 3rd films. Yes there are some v.silly bits (the veloceraptor parts especially) and it's severely lacking main female characters but I can forgive it, I was certainly entertained for all 131 minutes. The park is open, go and get your ticket!

We Need New Names
A sort of coming of age story set in Zimbabwe. At the centre of the novel is Darling a young girl growing up in a shanty town in Zimbabwe who then moves to America to live with her aunty. A friend gave me this about a year and a half ago and I put off reading it because it's really not my thing but I'm glad I relented. It was actually a really interesting, not to mention eye-opening, read - I really have lead a v.sheltered life.

Death and the Penguin
A v.understated story, set in the Ukraine, about Viktor who writes obituaries for a newspaper and owns a pet penguin called Misha. It's written quite matter of factly and although there's some sinister bits (lots of deaths for a start, deaths that coincide with the obituaries that Viktor is commissioned to write), it's rather amusing in places, mostly thanks to the penguin. A short but v.enjoyable read.

The Rabbit Back Literature Society
Ella, a twenty-something aspiring author is invited to join the exclusive and mysterious Rabbit Back Literature Society, set up by acclaimed (if a little strange) children's author, Laura White. A lot of supernatural stuff happens in the Finnish town of Rabbit Back - book plauges, haunted gardens, disappearances - which all are v.intriguing but unfortunately not much is made of them. The blurb and review quotes made the book sound amazing but for me, they set it up to be something it wasn't. Yes the supernatural stuff was cool but it was somewhat sidelined. I'm not saying I need everything explained to me but I can't help feeling that it could've been so much better if the creepy surreal stuff was explored or even connected together in some way. Also, the ending was pretty lame. Anticlimactic is how I'd describe this one.

Station Eleven
This was blookclub's June read and, despite trying to make it last as long as possible, I essentially inhaled it . I do like my 'end of the world'/dystopian future stories and this was a good 'un. The reason for humanity's collapse in this story is thanks to a highly contagious air born flu virus that kills its victims within 48 hours. Unsurprisingly, 99% of the population don't make it. One of the cool things about this book was the focus on the the arts (music, theatre, books) and how these not only survive but provide a common ground between small communities re-building their lives in the aftermath of the pandemic but also between the present and past. I particularly liked the fact the story moved between interlinked characters in the present (20 years after the pandemic started), the recent past (the first few days following the outbreak) and the distant past (when the world was as we know it). Highly recommended :)

Rodriguez @ the Albert Hall
For those of you not familiar with Sixto Rodriguez, focal point of the 2012 documentary Searching for Sugar Man, he's a songwriter and musician who made a record in Detroit in the 70s which, despite his songwriting skillz and v.lovely voice, record sales were low. His label dropped him and he went back to his day job (in demolition). Unbeknownst to him, his record was picked up in South Africa where gradually, Rodriguez's music became a HUGE hit. Some years later, two mega fans decided to try and find Rodriguez who, still slogging away in Detroit, had absolutely no idea that he was a massive star in South Africa. It's a really great documentary and we decided to get tickets to see Rodriguez perform off the back of it. He's now 72 (!) and still very much kicking it :) His voice was a little shaky but damn, he was cool - strumming his guitar, cracking jokes with the audience, playing his songs plus a few covers. And to top it all off, it was my first ever visit to the Albert Hall - it really is one hell of a venue *swoon*


  1. I really enjoyed Death and the Penguin - so bizarre; very unsettling.

  2. Loved jurassic world too! It was such a good one. I have station eleven on my kindle but haven't started it yet - super excited to get reading now! x

    Jasmin Charlotte

  3. I loved Station Eleven too, I thought she did a great job of illustrating the things that will survive: the good stuff like art and theatre and fellowship, but the bad stuff too, like religious mania. My only complaint was that it was too short!

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Ta v.much :)

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