This was the last book that I read in 2019. It was something that I’d been dipping in and out of for most of the month along with The Penguin Book of Christmas Stories. I knew I’d never get all the way through the Penguin collection so I made the choice to focus on this instead. Anyone who had read my review of Emma Thompson’s film Last Christmas will know that I didn’t like it. Really didn’t like it. However, I was all in favour of the accompanying book. I thought that it was a really fun idea and the fact that it was helping to raise money was an added bonus. I had to buy this book because so many great people were involved. I’m a fickle person after all. Emma Thompson, Stephen Fry, Richard Ayoade, Olivia Colman, Billy Bailey, Meryl Streep: all people I adore. I was genuinely excited to see what they had written. We all like getting a glimpse at the private lives of people we see in the media and this was like being invited to their house on Christmas day. Who wouldn’t say yet to that?
I can’t remember exactly when I bought Adam McKay’s first book This is Going to Hurt but I do know that it’s been sat on my TBR pile for a pretty long time. I always meant to read it but, if you’ve paid any attention to my Sunday Rundowns over the last few months/years, then you’ll know I have a book buying problem. At least I’ve become slightly better at reading this year so there’s hope that the pile will decrease but that all hinges on me being not quite so spend happy in 2020. We’ll see how long that lasts for. The fact that his first book has remained unopened meant that I had every intention to ignore Adam McKay’s Christmas themed book. However, on a Christmas Eve shopping trip during my lunch break, I found a copy of it for a fiver and thought I’d get it. If nothing else it would be another quick read to get in before the end of the year and it might encourage me to read its predecessor. So, when I found myself ill and inexplicably awake at 5am on December 26th, I decided to go for it. A couple of hours later, I was still ill, still awake, but I was one more book ahead of my 2019 reading goal. Something that currently stands at 57/50 thanks to my festive flu.
So, the BBC and FX have made a new adaptation of A Christmas Carol. This one isn’t like the rest though. It’s by the guy who did Peaky Blinders and has Guy Pearce playing the youngest looking Scrooge ever seen on-screen (probably, I can’t be bothered to fact check). And it has Andy Serkis playing the ghost of Christmas Past. Although, no matter how stylised or different the story might look, every adaptation of A Christmas Carol is the same as the last. I mean the story never changes and there are only so many new ways to interpret it. Yes, I think it is an apt tale for modern times when the gulf between the rich and poor is bigger than it has been in decades (again, probably, I’m neither an economist or a sociologist). But I do have to ask “do we NEED another one?” And I say that as someone who bloody loves the book. Also, I’m not alone. I read a story that suggested Andy Serkis said the exact same thing when he was offered the role. I’m sure it’ll be a great adaptation but, no matter how many times people say it’s the most original adaptation we’ve ever seen, I’m still not convinced it’ll be that groundbreaking. And I should know. I’ve watched a lot of adaptations in the past few weeks in preparation for this list. I’m still nowhere near seeing all of the various ones but I’ve got a good idea of what’s out there. And, it’s safe to say, I’m bloody bored of hearing the same lines over and over again. Well, until I watch the new one on 22nd December. Read more
December is probably always my worst month for reading. This year is better because I’ve been a better reader all year. That doesn’t mean I’m at the top of my game though. I’ve been reading Nothing Last Forever since the start of the month and it’s taking me ages. I’ve had to pick some quick reads to make sure I have something to write about. Last week’s The Letters of Father Christmas was one and today’s Festive Spirits is another. What I have managed to achieve this year is sticking to Christmassy reads. I normally try and theme my reading but have never normally managed it. It feels good to be reading appropriate books for a change. Every other December I’ve been madly trying to finish the book I started in October or November and haven’t bothered to get through yet. I’m also normally still a fair way from my reading goal but I’ve already beaten it twice this year. Maybe I’ve finally become a proper adult? Well, it only took 31 years.