January and February Recap

Books read, movies watched, songs listened to and cultural happenings attended in January and February 2016. Click on the links to see the respective blog posts about the experience.

Recap

Books read:
John Steinbeck – Grapes of Wrath
James Joyce – Dubliners
Fyodor Dostoyevsky – The Double
Mary Shelley – Frankenstein

Films watched at the movies:
The Hateful Eight – Quentin Tarantino
The Revenant – Alejandro González Iñárritu
Room – Lenny Abrahamson

Plays attended:
Tenk om (If/Then)

Most listened to songs:
Blackstar – David Bowie
Lazarus – David Bowie

On the literary front, the first two months of the year turned out to be all about the classics. It wasn’t planned at all, but quite fun to see that the authors read turned out to be Steinbeck, Joyce, Dostoyevsky and Shelley. After Shelley’s Frankenstein I started reading John Irving’s Avenue of Mysteries and the popular science book Galileo’s Finger by Peter Atkins, which are both quite big, and the latter very complicated (for me at least), so they are sure to take a while. I’m also following a book challenge on Instagram for March; #tuvalusbookchallenge so if you’re looking for some Instagram inspiration I recommend that you check out the tag 🙂

I’ve watched A LOT of films these two months to prepare for the Oscars, and of course keeping up with my general “film education”. I managed to see all the Best Picture nominees, and almost all the other big categories except for Joy and Creed. There were quite a lot of strong nominees in all categories this year, and I’m really happy with most of the awards. Spotlight for best picture was well deserved, and I’m of course very glad for Leonardo DiCaprio. One of the best surprises was Ex Machina winning for visual effects and Mark Rylance for Supporting Actor. A brilliant film and a brilliant actor! It’s no secret that I quite disliked The Big Short, and would have liked to see another film take home Best Adapted Screenplay, like for instance Carol. But all in all, happy with the ceremony!

New favourites:
Frankenstein (book)
Grapes of Wrath (book)
The Revenant (film)
Spotlight (film)
Blackstar (album)

Here’s to another two good months with many good things to explore!

Belated August and September Reads

At the end of each month, I’m planning to post a list and a short review of each book I’ve read the last few weeks. As I’m starting this in mid-October I’d thought I’d start off with a belated “monthly reads post” for August and September, combining the two. There are a lot of books left out as a lot of my time was spent reading Norwegian children’s books (for school) or other Norwegian books that haven’t been translated to English yet. Some of these children’s books are however quite interesting for adults as well, so I’d actually like to dedicate a whole individual blog post to the reading of children’s literature.

So, lets go ahead and look at the rather short list of my August and September reads!

The Murders in the Rue Morgue – Edgar Allan Poe

Picture of the cover of It’s not hard to grasp why this is considered the first “modern detective novel”, it’s quite obvious how this story has inspired a whole bunch of later releases in the genre, especially a certain Conan Doyle. A tribute to the science of deduction and rational thinking, it’s quite interesting, but unfortunately it felt a bit too dated for me to thoroughly enjoy it. The characters are a bit too flat, the plot and solution a little bit too ridiculous, but it’s fun to see where it all began.

The Tell-Tale Heart – Edgar Allan Poe

Picture of the cover of The Tell-Tale HeartEdgar Allan Poe at his best, a much more intense and gripping tale. I’ve read the story before (and I guess most people have heard the tale at some point in their life), but it was truly a welcome reread. The Tell-Tale Heart is a must-read for everyone, even if you have already been introduced to it by another medium such as one of the many animations or cartoons. The intensity and poetry of the language is absolutely beautiful, and creates an interesting contrast to the morbidity of the story itself. It’s only a couple of minutes long read as well, so no excuses for not picking it up 😉

A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson

Cover of A Short History Of Nearly EverythingI received this as a birthday gift from my boyfriend, and it instantly became one of my favourite books of all time! The book is pretty much exactly what the title describes, teaching the reader about the history of science, starting from the very beginning of the universe. Each chapter is dedicated to a different aspect of science, for example geology, chemistry and so on. It is no dull science book whatsoever though, Bryson is extremely witty in his writing style and sprinkles lots of interesting and often hilarious trivia throughout, there are evidently a lot of absurd situations in the competitive field of science. At the same time you don’t feel that the subjects are too dumbed-down, Bryson perfectly explains a lot of “unexplainable” things, often using quite creative metaphors, and when you’ve finished reading you’ll have learnt quite a lot about, well, everything!

The Apology of Socrates – Plato

ApologySuch an interesting little read. Apology was something I snatched up quite without thinking about it at a book sale, mostly because it was small, cheap and I like Ancient Greece. I sat down and read through it the same day, and was pleasantly surprised by how non-dated it felt reading through it. Of course, the translation I was reading was, I’m guessing, quite different than ancient Greek, but even if the language had been entirely different, the subject that was actually talked about felt like reading something from a modern day trial. A recommended read for anyone interested in history, democracy, the old philosophers or who just want to try something a little different.

After You – Jojo Moyes

Cover of After YouOne of the most anticipated books of 2015 for many, myself included. I don’t often find myself reading a lot of what is often called “chick-lit”, it’s just usually not my preferred genre. However, Jojo Moyes is truly an exception to this, I really liked Me Before You and I LOVED The One Plus One. Naturally, After You had a lot to live up to, sequels to such a beloved book are always hard. Luckily, I think Moyes found the perfect way to continue the story of Lou Clark in a way that feels natural, and I ended up adoring After You as well. It’s not AS intensely stirring as Me Before You, but it contains the same beautiful and complex characterisation, Moyes is very good at making everyone in her stories feel very real and human. After You will probably make you laugh and cry, and I particularly liked how the ending was resolved, without spoiling anything it makes the story stand out a bit more than others in the same genre.