The Month that Was: September

We’re fully into Autumn round these parts now.  It is chilly, nights are drawing in and Christmas things are beginning to appear in the shops already (grrr).  I read 5 books and watched 3 movies (one of those at the actual cinema!) … kind of  a slowish month, but certainly not my worst!

The books

september books

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My book of the month (and possibly my lifetime!) was Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry.  Oh my goodness.  I cannot describe how much I loved this book, and how much of a surprise it was to me.  I mean, it’s a western in which a ramshackle bunch of cowboys drive a herd of cattle from the bottom of the USA to the top, and it’s a doozy at nearly 1000 pages.  But seriously, this book now has a very firm spot on my favourites shelf.  Loved it.  (Review coming soon!)

Other books read this month (reviews coming eventually)

  • After Me Comes The Flood by Sarah Perry – this one started off good, was really intriguing, but then it just fizzled into boringness.  2 stars.
  • The Chimes by Anna Smaill – ugh.  I posted a review of this here.  2 stars.
  • Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt – a gorgeous book!  4 stars.
  • The Martian by Andy Weir – another surprise for me.  I absolutely loved this and gave it 5 stars.
  • As far as my reading stats and challenges are concerned, this was not such a great month!  Anna Smaill is from New Zeland, so that’s one more country ticked off my global reading challenge.  And Larry McMurtry won the Pulitzer for Lonesome Dove, so that’s my prize winner for the month.  But that’s it.  I aim to do better next month!

The Movies

september films

Dave and I are a bit late to the party on the Bourne series.  With a new film coming out soon we decided it was high time we watched these, so we made a start this month …

  • The Bourne Identity – this was good.  A little confusing.  But I like Matt Damon.  Dave gave this 7.5/10, and I gave it 6/10. It dipped in the middle.
  • The Bourne Supremacy – Not quite as good as the first one.  I’m still a bit confused.  5/10 from each of us.

Then we decided to treat ourselves and actually leave the house to go see a movie!

  • Legend – I was really not expecting to like this film very much.  I’m not keen on violence for the sake of violence, and all I knew about the Krays was that they were violent gangsters.  But this film went a bit further into the people and I ended up really enjoying it.  How much of that was down to Tom Hardy’s superb portrayal of the twins, I’m not sure.  He was excellent.  We both gave this 7.5/10.

And Elsewhere

  • Dave finished a 42 mile bike ride and it feels like we will never hear the end of it!
  • New schools and school years were started.
  • Strictly season began!  I love Strictly Come Dancing so much!  Early favourites are Peter Andre, Jay McGuinness (don’t judge me people!) and Anita Rani.
  • My thoughts are turning to reading aims for next year – I always get this way in Autumn!  I have a few ideas ticking over in my brain; more to come!

 

The Month that Was: May

Welcome to a new style monthly roundup, in which I will waffle on about various things that rocked (or not) in May!  I can’t believe it is the end of May already!  Summer is rolling in slowly (very slowly, actually – as I am preparing this post it is very grey, very windy and very chilly!).

Here on the blog, May is the month in which I decided to migrate from Blogger to WordPress.  A not too painful experience, as it happened, and I am really pleased with the new look.  I’m looking forward to taking blogging a bit more seriously and seeing how this goes!

So here’s what I got up to in May:

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Global Reading Challenge

I decided to challenge myself to read more diversely by reading a book by an author from every country in the world.  You can read more about this challenge here.  This is going well so far, with the countries ticked off the list!

I read some books

I read 8 books in May.  That’s pretty good going for me, not a record but not too shabby.

  • How I Lost You by Jenny Blackhurst (review coming soon).  This was a really good read, with a few twists and surprises along the way.  I gave this 4 stars.
  • No Other Darkness by Sarah Hilary (review coming soon).  I received and ARC of this through bookbridgr.com.  This second in a series, this was another fabulous read, and Sarah is fast becoming one of my favourite authors.  Another 4 stars.
  • The Third Wife by Lisa Jewell (review coming soon).  A rare(ish) foray into the world of chick lit for me.  I do love Lisa Jewell’s books and she is one of a few ‘go-to’ authors when I’m in need of a light read.  This was a very engaging story with wonderful characters.  4 stars.
  • I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh (review coming soon).  This was a the surprise of the month in more ways than one!  I don’t want to say too much about this book, as I think the less you know the better!  4 stars.
  • Under a Dark Summer Sky by Vanessa Lafaye (review here).  This was an ARC from Netgalley, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  A literary contemporary read full of tragedy and hope.  5 stars.
  • Brixton Beach by Roma Tearne (review here).  My first stop in my global reading challenge.  I loved this book, set in Sri Lanka and London.  A heartbreaking story.  4 stars.
  • Touch by Adania Shibli (review coming soon).  Second stop in the global reading challenge.  A confusing tale set in Palestine, but with lyrical and poetic writing.  3 stars.
  • The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng (review coming soon).  My third global challenge stop was Malaysia.  This was such an immersive story! 4 stars.

Miscellaneous May happenings

The rest of May was notable for a few things:

  • IMG_6996Most excitingly, Foo Fighters tickets arrived!  So excited to see them at Wembley in a couple of weeks time!
  • My daughter officially finished school – I still can’t believe this is a thing that happened!  But we are still gripped by GCSE fever.  She has 7 more exams to attend and then is free to be consumed by Prom fever instead! Heaven help us all!
  • We had a Eurovision party (well, if 3 = a party, we had a party!) and I became a little obsessed … I’m almost embarrassed to say it!  Yes, I do love the winning song, or maybe it’s just the very easy-on-the-eye Swedish singer …
  • I was shortlisted for a job I applied for … but I’m not sure whether to go forward with it or not.  I love the convenience and flexibility of my current job, and the people, but I’m so bored and the days drag by!cold-in-july-poster1
  • I took part in a few bookish events on the internet – Bout of Books and Armchair BEA were both a lot of fun and I made lots of new bookish connections.
  • We watched Cold in July which turned out to be total waste of time.  Just a horrible film that left me feeling meh!
  • We also watched The Enfield Haunting on TV.  This was really good and made me jump out of my skin several times!  Quite creepy and very well acted, it was a lot of fun to watch.

What was your highlight for the month of May?  

ABEA: Book to Movie Adaptations

Today is the last day of ABEA!  It has been a lot of fun, and I have met lots of fab new people on Twitter and found some great new blogs to stalk!  The final topic is all about book to movie adaptations.


What books do you want to be made into a movie or television show? What are some of your favorites? We’ll explore more about this topic, especially what works and what doesn’t. Are there any upcoming shows or movies that you’re excited for? What are your recommendations?


I’m one of those people who like to read the book before seeing the movie.  Game of Thrones threw a huge spanner in that works; I was a latecomer to the GoT party, and started watching when Season 4 hit our screens (I watched from the beginning though – it was great to binge-watch on Netflix!) and I know there’s no way I’ll get through all the books ahead of the programme, so I’ll just have to live with that.

It is so disappointing when a film does not live up to your expectations from reading the book.  But when your expectations ARE met or exceeded? Nothing better!  The Harry Potter books are a great example of this.  I adored the books (read them as an adult) and loved creating the world in my mind, but the filmmakers did a much better job of bringing the books alive than I could ever hope to do in my mind, and each surpasses the next!  Wonderful film making!

Here are couple of my other favourites/duds:

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Book = Film

I read One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest by Ken Kesey earlier this year, but I had seen the film many years before.  I definitely need to re-watch the film, but from memory I think this is one where the film is just as good as the book.  The characters come alive on film, and fit with those in my imagination perfectly.  This is one pairing I highly recommend (but be prepared for heartbreak!).

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is a great book, and I think the film definitely met my expectations.  Jennifer Lawrence is a superb Katniss and I loved the depiction of the crazy Capitol dwellers.

Book > Film

The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger is one of my favourite books of all time.  It takes a little while to get into, but once you’re into the flow it is a fabulous read.  Unfortunately, the film version, which I was really looking forward to, is a big ole pile of crap.  It was just so disappointing it made me want to cry!  Give this one a miss!

Film > Book

It’s rare that I think a film is better than the book it is based on, but one that springs to mind is The Silver Linings Playbook.  I could not get into the book by Matthew Quick and in fact gave up on it!  I watched the film out of desperation on a long flight home from a holiday in Florida, and I was hugely and very pleasantly surprised by it.  A great film, and a definite thumbs up from me!

Book = Film {but in a bad way}

Two words.  Gone Girl.  I read the super-hyped book, hated it (well, I say I hated it … I thought the plot was very good, the twist very clever, but the characters wholly unlikable and despicable which, as discussed in yesterday’s twitter party, totally ruined the book for me). I watched the film in the hope it would improve on the book, but it failed miserably and was a total waste of 2 hours of my life.

There are a few books I would like to see made into films.  One is The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson.  I have only read this first book in the trilogy, loved it, and would love to see this on screen! A bit like the Harry Potter world, I can’t imagine how this would be done, but I’m sure some creative filmmaker could make a really good job of it!

I really enjoy reading police procedurals and psychological thrillers, but I find these are the films that tend to let me down.  I really enjoyed Seven with Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman but haven’t found anything equal to this in the genre.  Maybe a film version of The Book of You by Claire Kendall – that would be pretty creepy!

And one I absolutely can’t wait to see is Ready Player One.  I adored the book by Ernest Cline and I’m so excited to see how this world is portrayed on the big screen!  I’m 100% confident that Steven Spielberg will do the book justice.

So what are you favourite film adaptations?  Any I need to see? And can you recommend me a film that is like Seven? Let me know!