I’m on holiday next week, so I’ll be taking a break from blogging for a bit. Meaning, this will be my last book review for a while. It better be a good one I guess. I’d never heard of this book until Amazon suggested it to me. I know that I should use Amazon as little as possible but I’ve discovered so many novels thanks to its algorithm. This one was perfect for so many reasons but mostly because I was struggling to find shorter reads for my September reading challenge. I’ve got so many letters to cross off but the majority of the books I’d lined up were all over 300. That wouldn’t do. The Reader comes in at under 200, which means I already loved it before I’d even opened it.
For most of my childhood, my family spent our Summer holidays in Scotland. This means we weren’t exactly expecting sun and beach days. Don’t get me wrong, we did actually have plenty of great days where we could just relax by seas all day. However, we were always sure to pack for rain and wind. So, I have a deep personal connection to the premise of this book. We might not have been in log cabins but rather a static caravan. If anything, I’d say it would probably be colder and has the added benefit of there being absolutely not space. You can imagine just how sick of each other we got after 1/2 weeks. All of this comes together to explain why I was so keen to give this a chance. It also helped that it was a short book with an S title. The perfect thing to read for my August Spell the Month Challenge.
You’ll no doubt have heard a lot about the second Borat film in the last few days. Mostly because of the outrage about a scene involving Rudy Giuliani and President Donald Trump’s reaction to it. The President has criticised Sacha Baron Cohen and described him as a “creep”. Of course, this will have done nothing but draw even more attention to the film. Not that it would have needed the help. It’s been nearly 15 years since the first film came out and we were all under the impression that Borat was never going to be seen again. After all, how do you make another Borat film when everyone is in on the joke now? Well, they obviously got round that somehow and, with the film being released on Amazon Prime last week, I had to check it out.
I’ve wanted to watch this film for ages now. I’d heard it was good. It sounded good. I know that I was going to love it. So, why did it take so long? My poor attention span. I’ve been watching films at home since March because of the pandemic which means I’m generally doing multiple things when I’m watching films. I might be writing another blog pot, tempted by my phone, or editing photos. It depends how much I have to do that day. It’s not that I mean to let my mind wander but it happens. I’m not like it in a cinema. Don’t go thinking that I’m one of those people who gets their phone out every few minutes. I concentrate in a cinema. Not at home. It’s difficult to find a two hour slot when I’m not also trying to do something else. So, a subtitled film isn’t exactly a good mix. So, when I found a window on Sunday, I knew what I had to do.
Each week I have to decide which movies that I watch and some weeks are harder than others. I tend to pick something to review on Tuesday first and then try and base the TBT film around that. I like it if they have a common theme but am willing to mix things up for a special occasion (like last week’s unexpected Scott Pilgrim repeat). This week, however, I mixed things up even more. I was looking through Netflix for inspiration and was all set to watch The Peanut Butter Falcon. Then I saw the new Netflix original dance film. I knew that it would be terrible but, in it’s unoriginal concept, I saw the perfect opportunity to watch a film that I suddenly had a massive desire to watch. If I sat through this silly teen romp, then I would be able to watch Save the Last Dance. I hadn’t thought about that film for a long time but, apparently, I’ve been longing to watch it. So, I went for it. Of course, now I also have a desire to watch Bring It On, which means the question of my TBT is still up in the air. So, that’ll be a nice surprise for you. Unlike the narrative of Work It.
“Laura”, I hear you all asking, “are you writing this review of Jodie Whittaker’s first episode of Doctor Who because, once again, you didn’t get round to watching a film this week? Or is it just because writing the words ‘Tuesday Review – New Doctor Who‘ is incredibly satisfying for someone who loves rhyming as much as you?” To which I would respond, why not both? Yes, it’s true that I didn’t quite follow my plan for this week and was in need of something to review but I could have just watched another Netflix film and had a rant about how rubbish they all are. As I’ve made quite clear here, I do love a good Netflix rant. And, I admit, there is something quite lovely about repeating those words over and over in my head. However, this is a momentous occasion and something all of us Whovians have been waiting patiently waiting for. I couldn’t very well let it pass me by without saying something about it, could I?
Every year the Man Booker Prize longlist comes and it becomes a massive list of books I want to read. Inevitably, I never get round to them all but I will try to manage one. That one then becomes my top pick for the prize because it is the only one I’ll ever read. Most of the time my picks don’t make it to the shortlist and, if they do, they never win the prize. It was only last year’s Lincoln in the Bardo that I correctly championed. This year the first and, thereby, only book I’ve read is the one causing a massive stir. For, in 2018, the Man Booker committee have decided to place a graphic novel on their longlist. It’s quite a huge step for a prize that is so often awarded to similar works all deemed to be of high literary value. Occasionally, you’ll get the odd piece that verges more on popular literary fiction, like David Nicholls’ Us, but it never makes it to the shortlist. These guys know what they like and that’s not going to change. So, for there to be a graphic novel on the list is a pretty big deal. For such an elitist prize to pick something so un-literary is unprecedented. I had to check it out for myself.
I know that I liked The Incredibles but I really don’t think I have that same sense of nostalgia that a lot of people I know have for it. I was 16 when it came out so I was probably trying to appear too cool to give a shit about Pixar films. I definitely wasn’t but I was going through a phase. So, as good as I think the film is, it was never one of my favourites. I certainly wasn’t as emotionally invested in the sequel as I had been for Toy Story 3 or Finding Dory. Which is weird considering how much I adore superhero films in general. But, I have to admit, that every time someone was getting super excited about the new release I quite often had to fake enough enthusiasm to keep myself on par with theirs. I was excited but this wasn’t the film of my youth. Maybe I’m just spending too much time with younger people? Maybe I should have re-watched the original more recently? Who knows. I was excited enough to watch the damn thing. Plus, I’m always down to watch a Pixar film.
We’re always told “don’t judge a book by its cover” but if I took that advice I’d probably never read any of the books I’ve come to love. The greatest and worst thing about being a part of the Bookstagram community is that you constantly get to hear about interesting sounding books but then, unfortunately, you want to buy every interesting book you hear about. And I don’t know about you but my TBR is already unmanageable so I don’t need any unnecessary hauls. As you will no doubt know if you read my weekly rundowns, however, I have no will power whatsoever. So as soon as I saw the cover to my last read on someone’s feed (I can’t remember too, sorry) I knew it was the kind of thing I wanted to read. The more I found out about it the more I had to have it. So it was super lucky that I won an Amazon gift card recently. Not only could I buy a copy without feeling guilty but I could pay extra for the cover I wanted. So far, everything had gone perfectly. It seemed like fate was telling me this was a reading experience I wouldn’t want to miss. So, would it be as good as I hoped?
When I saw Avengers: Infinity War earlier this month I’d seen all but one of the films in the Marvel franchise. The only missing part was the biggest hit Marvel had seen up until Infinity War was released. It wasn’t as if I’d intended to skip Black Panther. I mean I was super excited about it before it came out. Hell, as soon as T’Challa turned up in Civil War was couldn’t wait to see how the MCU dealt with introducing us to Wakanda. It was a big moment for so many people and for so many reason. But, thanks to an annoyingly hectic schedule, I missed out and I had to make the choice to see Infinity War without it. Aside from a few characters I’d obviously never seen before, I don’t think I lost anything by not seeing it. It’s probably the only Marvel film that it’s kind of okay to not have seen pre-Infinity War. That said, it’s not something you should skip entirely. I had the chance to finally see it this weekend and, honestly, it left me feeling amazing. All the time I was watching it, I had that feeling that I was experiencing something special and important. As if history was taking place right in front of my eyes. I realise that sounds not only melodramatic but also fucking pretentious but you can’t escape the feeling that something changed with this film. It was a whole new Marvel experience and a whole new approach to super films. It’s only the second time I can remember leaving a comic book movie feeling so inspired and empowered. This experience is up there with Wonder Woman in its importance to both me and the film industry as a whole.