2020 really hasn’t been the year that any of us suspected it would be. Do you remember back in January when we all had hope for the future? Little did we know that the future would entail being shut inside. Of course, as awful as the last 12 months have been, there were some upsides to the constant lockdowns and shielding. In 2019, I set myself a fairly modest reading target of 50. I assumed that I would beat it but not by much. In 2019, I beat my target of 50 by 9. I had no reason to believe that I would do much better but I was secretly aiming to get through 2 books a week. Still, I decided to give myself a realistic target and not feel like I was pushing myself too far. So, the question was, did I manage to keep the momentum going this year and smash my goal?
It’s the end of the year and I had wanted to make this post a special one. After all, it was my last film of the year. Depending on your thought process, it might also be the final film I watch in this decade. So, did I put loads of effort into finding the perfect film? No. I just watched the first thing that I could find on Prime. I needed something to stick on when I was cleaning and this seemed easy. In fact, it was such easy watching that I forgot that I was meant to be cleaning. Thankfully, I managed to get things sorted just in time for the end of the year. Starting 2021 being all organised and clean? Could this possibly be the start of the new me? I doubt it but it’s always fun to dream.
We’re so close to the end of the year which means that everyone is thinking about what they’ve achieved this year. For us bookish folks that mainly means the number of books that we’ve read. I’m already seeing people compiling their list of favourite books for 2020. How are they so on it? I’ve figured out which my top 5 rated books are but that doesn’t mean they were my favourite reads. Flawless books don’t always give us the same feels as slightly flawed books do. It’s not always the most fun to read a technically brilliant book. I have been looking back over my reviews for the year though. I think I get more wary of ratings near New Year’s Eve because I remember all of the great books I’ve read over the last 12 months. The books I’m currently reading start to pale in comparison to the books I’d long forgotten about until now. I blame that for my struggle to rate this book. I couldn’t decide so went with a bit of a compromise. Next year, I’m only doing rereads on December. It’s easier.
As soon as I saw the trailer for this on Netflix, I knew that it wasn’t going to be the film for me. It just looked stupid and just sitting through a short preview made me cringe. Yet, part of me did want to watch it. I was intrigued about just how bad it was going to be. I wanted to see just how embarrassingly awful James Corden’s performance turned out. How over-the-top and unsubtle Ryan Murphy’s message of inclusivity was. How cheesy the choreography would be. I knew that I’d watch it eventually so it was just a question of when. I decided that, whatever happened, I couldn’t let it be the first film that I watched in 2021 because that would have felt as though I was jinxing my entire year. It also felt like the most appropriate film to end 2020 on. After all, the year has been a huge shit show. It’s not as if this film could make it anyway worse. And maybe it would put everything into perspective?
As you know, I love a bit of cosy crime. I’ve enjoyed reading Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle for as long as I can remember. More than anything, I have an affinity for the novels from the Golden Age of detective fiction. Just give me a whodunnit in a country house, an amateur sleuth and plenty of red herrings. That’s all I really need. Modern crime fiction is getting too pretentious for my liking. It’s trying to be more like television and it’s getting ridiculous. So, when this contemporary version of a Golden Age novel I knew that I had to give it a go. I’m always wary of books that get compared to Agatha Christie because no modern writer has ever been able to match her genius. Still, I’m always hopefully that someone will come close.
What have you been reading this week?
We’re into that bizarre period between Christmas and New Year when time goes a bit weird. I’ve been exhausted since I woke up on December 25th and have been craving my bed ever since. As soon as the sun goes down, my body goes into shutdown mode and becomes convinced that it’s much closer to bedtime than it actually is. Part of me can’t wait to get back to work, so I get back into a proper routine again. Although, the rest of me wants to delay the New Year in the hope that I can cram a few more books in this year.
We’re used to the “is it a Christmas movie?” debate surrounding Die Hard and it seems that every year someone takes the opportunity to write another article about it. But it’s not as if Die Hard is the only film that may or may not be a Christmas movie. There’s every Shane Black film, Trading Places, Batman Returns, and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I’ve argued plenty of times with a friend of mine about Meet Me in St. Louis. She claims it’s a Christmas movie and I am adamant that it’s not. There are plenty of films that are set at Christmas that don’t focus on the holiday itself. Films that barely even recognise that the festive season is upon us. Many of these films are just old favourites that people enjoy watching. Like Gremlins. People like the film so why not watch it at Christmas? After all, it’s a time when we’re meant to embrace the people we love so why not the films too?
So, yet again, my Christmas reading hasn’t gone to plan. It’s my own fault really because who has time for much reading at the moment? I just always seem to have something to do. Meaning all of the books that are over 200 or so pages just seem super long. To get something finished for today’s post, I decided to pick up another short one. I don’t think I’ve ever read the original version of The Nutcracker by German writer E.T.A. Hoffmann. Although, I’ve had this gorgeous illustrated copy for years. I figured it was worth finally checking it out.
I’ll tell you what, the 25th really can’t come quickly enough for my liking. I am so tired and really craving a break. Which is another reason why my heart really isn’t in this post. It’s probably going to be a fairly quick one because it’s quite late as I’m writing this. I’m also currently listening to a Spotify playlist called Christmas Lullabies so I can feel festive and get ready for sleep. I’ll be honest, I’m not feeling particularly festive right now. No matter how hard I try, it’s just not there right now. Watching a Christmas film every day hasn’t done much to help but that’s possibly due to the films I’ve been watching. They weren’t necessarily the best of the bunch. I’d better get round to my favourites soon or I’ll run out of time.
I’ve read a few shorter reads recently and I wasn’t sure that I’d have enough to say for a full review without waffling on for ages. So, I decided to do something a bit different and shove a few mini reviews together in one post. It means that I won’t necessarily go into too much detail but that’s probably for the best. I’m still kind of undecided about how I feel about two of them and the third is just not the kind of book that demands an in-depth analysis. So, I’ll spare you the pain of having to read a messy full review and leave you with these little tidbits.