Every time I browse the Waterstones website I stumble across another celebrity who has written a book. I blame Richard Osman. I understand that it’s not actually down to him but his success as a writer hasn’t helped. It’s as if publishers have finally realised that star power is a thing. Part of me is excited that people I like are writing books for me to read. The rest of me is slightly sad that these people are handed massive deals when other writers aren’t given a chance. After all, it doesn’t always work out. I’ve read plenty of celebrity novels that just fell flat.
There are a lot of British comedians who I would love to see live. One of them is Tom Allen. I think he’s amazingly funny and I enjoy seeing him appear on various TV shows. It also makes me feel slightly better about living at home that he’s only just moved into his own house! When this came up on Audible, I knew that I had to get it. Then I stumbled across a hardback copy in a charity shop and it seemed like something or someone was telling me to read it. I was meant to be reviewing my current read today but, thanks to my inability to read much, I knew I wasn’t going to manage it. I decided it was a good time to listen to the audiobook while I was working.
I often wonder if this whole reviewing thing isn’t a little bit futile. Not the reading books or talking about them bit. I think that’s a great part of life and something that everyone should be encouraged to do more. No, I mean arbitrarily assigning a rating to everything that I read. I never used to do it but jumped on the bandwagon a few years ago. Ratings don’t really tell you very much because they’re so personal. Everyone has an individual spectrum of greatness and it’s all very dependent on context. Take Burncoat for example. I’ve seen plenty of people say they prefer it to The Fell but I’m the opposite. The difference? They read Sarah Hall first and I didn’t. If I’d read them in a different order would I have flipped? It’s both impossible to say and pointless to speculate. On with the review.
I remember when it was announced that Daniel Craig was going to be James Bond. I have to admit, I didn’t particularly mind. Sure, I appreciated the films but I can’t say that I was that invested in the choice of actor. However, a friend of mine was really annoyed with the announcement. At the time, he was a huge fan of Clive Owen and was really annoyed that Owen hadn’t been picked. The fact he cared so much was weird at the time and it’s, obviously, even weirder now. After all, it’s 15 years since Casino Royale came out and Daniel Craig has proved to be a great choice. Clive Owen? He might still be working but he’s not exactly making headlines. You can’t quite imagine, had he actually been chosen, that Owen would have made it until 2021 in the role.
I like to think that I’m a musical theatre geek but, the truth is, I don’t actually watch a lot of musical theatre. I’m not just talking about during the Pandemic but in general. I know the classics but there are so many modern examples that I know very little about. Aside from Hamilton, I’ve not kept up with contemporary musicals. Add that to the fact that I’d not watched the BBC3 documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16 and you can see that I wasn’t really rushing to watch the film adaptation of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. But, I also think it should be celebrated for putting drag culture further into the public domain and, you know, Richard E Grant is everything. So, I settled down this weekend to watch it.
Have you heard the news? Brett Goldstein isn’t CGI. Is it weird that this had to be confirmed? Yes but that’s the world we live in. And I can kind of see it. I mean, I’ve not seen an episode of Ted Lasso but the pictures do look suspicious. I guess he just has one of those slightly uncanny faces. It’s such a ridiculous story but is one of my favourite conspiracy theories in recent years. I love the internet. With the focus on Goldstein, I decided it was time to finally watch his 2015 British superhero movie. I used to listen to his podcast every week and always meant to watch it. Why not now?
You know me, I’m never one to miss out on a gimmick. I’d wanted to read The Unfortunates from the moment I knew it existed. It just sounded so interesting. So, I got myself a copy and decided it was the perfect thing to read for this month’s Spell the Month challenge. I mean, I had to do something to help me with August’s double U nonsense. It gave me a good excuse to read it and was a short read. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to spend much time last weekend reading it and it’s not the kind of book that I wanted to transport. So, it took longer to read than I expected. Thankfully, I finished it just in time for this review.
So, we’re at the start of the new month and I’m telling myself that I’ll make more time for reading in May. I was so close to not finishing my monthly reading challenge again and was reading Lanny right up to the last minute. I had such high hopes for myself. It was such a short read that I even thought I’d manage to fit another book in before the end of the month. That clearly didn’t happen and I found myself on a mad dash to get the last few pages in before April 30th was over. I just about managed it and crossed off my final letter of the month. I had wanted to read this book for ages, so I do kind of wish that I’d read it at a better time. I’ll probably have to go back at some point and give it the time it deserves. Maybe I’ll even try the audiobook. I’d be interested to see how they handle it. But for now, I’ve got to try and get my thoughts together to writer this damn review.
Considering the obsession with the royal family in last week’s newspapers, it seems appropriate that I’m reviewing this novella. I don’t know what the absolute fascination with the Queen and her offspring is. I’m don’t consider myself ardently anti-royal because I can see some of the benefits of their existence. However, I wouldn’t be sorry if we got rid of them altogether. It’s an outdated institution and they do waste a lot of taxpayers money each year. I know The Crown is trying to make the seem like ordinary human beings but you just need to look at the reaction to Harry and Meghan taking a step back from public life. Given the media response, I can see why they’d want to. The Queen and her family just seem so far removed from the rest of the world. It seems like such an odd dynamic. I realise that they’re meant to be part of our great traditions but do they have to be quite so archaic about it? But I’m digressing. The fact is, there is such a fascination about their lives that people have always used them as a basis for their stories. After all, nobody can really imagine what life as a royal is really like. There will always be a market for books like The Uncommon reader and there will always be writers willing to imagine life behind the scenes at Buckingham Palace.
I did something a little different on Tuesday and reviewed (if you can call it that) the most recent season of The Crown instead of a film. As you know, I like to try and tie my Tuesday review and TBT review together, so I had a couple of choices for what to watch today. It was between this or The Iron Lady. I’ve not actually seen the whole of The Iron Lady because I got bored quite quickly. Also, I remained unconvinced that Phyllida Lloyd should be allowed to direct films. I guess that meant that I should probably have watched Meryl Streep take on the role that Gillian Anderson made unnecessarily sexy in The Crown. However, I really couldn’t face it. So, I went back to this 2006 film that I have seen before. It’s not a personal favourite but I, at least, knew that I could deal with it.