6 Jul 2016

Reading & Seeing 29

I've got a fair amount (for me anyway) of reading done over the last three months, and an interesting mix of books at that, I'll begin with In a Dark Dark Wood. Our protagonist, Nora, a solitary writer living in London, is invited to an old school friends' hen weekend. Against her better judgement, she attends and so ensues the most twisted and bloody hen do I've ever encountered. It's definitely a page turner and Ruth Ware kept my interest all the way to the end. The school girl relationships, bitchiness and heirachy was very relatable, I remember how some girls at my school were much the same as Claire, which is why I didn't quite get why the hell Nora would put herself back in close proximity to that. Also, would she really still be pining after her high school boyfriend? The biggest plot problem for me was the motive behind everything (a lot of effort over something kinda trivial?). Still, an enjoyable read.

I finally got around to reading The Alchemist and, for all its acclaim, I feel I must have missed something. To me the story read like some sort of teaching or parable from the Bible, ie: two dimensional characters, not much in the way of description, a 'message' at the end. *shrugs* I'm not sure what the fuss is about...From alchemy (although the alchemist is barely even in the book) to Authority, the second instalment of the Southern Reach Trilogy. In contrast to the mission based narrative of the first book, Authority is set within the Southern Reach agency and written from the perspective of its newly appointed director. It doesn't have the pace of the first book nor the stripped back cast of characters but it certainly creates more intrigue as we learn more about the mysterious (and expanding!) Area X. I cannot wait to read the last book (I'm actually kind of savouring it), I just hope it answers some of my hundred questions!

Big Magic and My Brilliant Friend were both blook club choices. The former was the perfect example of why joining a book club is a good idea: it forces you to read books you'd never normally pick up. I purchased Big Magic on my kindle but had I bought a physcial copy I would have found it (or not found it) in the self help section. Never have I read a self help book but actually I was pleasantly surprised, perhaps because it didn't really feel like a self help book (or what I imagined one to be like). Certain parts of the book are a little difficult to swallow and there is an emphasis on writing and a feeling that the book is aimed at aspiring writers, but Elizabeth Gilbert has some great stories and anecdotes and I felt very inspired to get on and create stuff once finishing it. My Brilliant Friend (written by the annonymous writer known as Elena Ferrante) follows the story of a friendship between two girls growing up near Naples. I've not seen a bad word said about this book, and I won't start! As a reader you're completely emmersed in the world of the two central characters, the writing is deliciously detailed and rich and you really get a sense of the inner-most thoughts and feelings of the narrator. This is only the first instalment (thank god, the end was a right cliffhanger) and I cannot wait to read book no. 2! 

The last book I read was A Hologram for the King. Having enjoyed Dave Eggers' The Circle, I thought I'd give another one of his a whirl but meh, I can't say it did much for me (I also can't see why they wanted to make a film out of it). Set around the initial construction of a new Dubai-like settlement in the Saudi desert, not a great deal happens, it felt like the reader too is living an empty life waiting and waiting until the King arrives so that Alan, our protagonist can deliver his presentation to demonstrate the hologram technology to be used in the new development. For me the book felt as vacuous as the incomplete city itself, but maybe that was the point?

I also had a bit if a catch up on some recent (and not so recent) marvel movies. X-Men: Apocolypse, although it had some excellent set pieces (anything with Quicksilver; Wolverine's cameo) and brilliant casting (Sophie Taylor as Jean Grey!), overall it was too long and pretty cheesy (Apocolypse "learning" through the TV; Magento shacking up in the woods? Please). A much better 'ensemble' movie, for me, was Captain American: Civil War. Again, excellent casting, script, action sequences and how flipping ace was Spiderman??!!! Which brings me on nicely to Ant-Man. Why I missed it in the cinema, I don't know! Paul Rudd is absolutely perfect and coupled with the fact that Edgar Wright had a hand in the script, it was a winner for me. Lastly, we recently watched Deadpool. I know everyone collectively lost their sh*t over this film, but I gotta say, I didn't get the hype. Yeah it was funny in places (mostly thanks to Man of Steel) but the over the top abnoxious-ness of Deadpool didn't make him likeable, give me Ant-Man any day :)


  1. I quite enjoyed In A Dark Dark Wood (although agree that the premise was a bit silly), but I've just read her new book and it really wasn't good. I love thrillers as a genre but getting a bit sick of identikit woman-in-peril plots.

  2. Yaas, Ant-Man! I don't blame you for missing it during its theater run. Many people missed it, including all my friends, but that makes the Ant-Man fans like a secret club.


Ta v.much :)

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