I haven’t been a massive fan of romantic comedies since I was a stupid tween but I can definitely see the appeal this year. There is so much awful stuff going on in the world that escaping into a rom-com seems like the perfect thing to do. There is a familiarity about these films that is pretty comforting. You know where you’re going to end up before you’ve even started, so you can just sit down and let it all wash over you. Considering the rest of the world is in utter turmoil, there’s a lot to be said to knowing what to expect. This is my only explanation for sitting down to watch the new Netflix original romantic comedy despite the fact that I knew I wasn’t really going to enjoy it.
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.
Talk about “exciting times”. There was a huge question mark over whether or not I’d get this book finished in time to write my review today. I had a bit of chunk left on Monday night but I had an early blood test the next day. This meant minimum late-night reading. The plan was to finish it on my lunch break on Tuesday. Unfortunately, that never happened. A big issue with working from home is the proximity of my bed to my workstation. I tend to eat lunch as I work and have a break later in the afternoon. This means I can spend the whole time doing nothing. Yesterday, I set my alarm for an hour and had a nap. It was pathetic. I’m not going to be fit for anything once I’m no loner shielding. Still, it got me through the rest of the day. It did mean that I had to quickly get through the final 60 pages and write this review all in the same night. As you can guess, I managed it and with a pretty good chunk of time to spare. It’s all down to the power nap.
I have owned a copy of this book for a really long time but never got around to reading it. A few weeks ago, my friend convinced me to join her virtual book club. I had initially declined because I didn’t want to add anything else to my schedule. I already struggle to read and watch enough to write all of my posts, so adding the additional pressure of a book club to the mix seemed silly. But they pick a short read at the start of the month and discuss it at the end. I figured that even I could handle that. So a few weeks ago the choices for books came out. This one was on it and I selfishly picked. Well, it meant I wouldn’t have to buy a new book. Thankfully, I wasn’t the only one. The fact that it was a short read meant that I put it off for ages but I still got it done in time. And it feels great to have finished a book I’ve had on my shelf for so many years. Has it inspired me to read the rest? Not quite. Maybe if all of them were that small I would.
The fourth book in Jacqueline Wilson’s Girls series was published 4 years after Girls Out Late. I’m assuming this is the reason that I never knew it existed. After all, it was only 2002 so I would have been 14. Surely that would have been the perfect age to be picking up this book. I would finally have been the same age as Ellie and her friends. But, for whatever reason, I have only just finished reading this book for the first time. I’m not sure what I was expecting but I was definitely hoping for something more inspiring than the previous novel. But, as we found on Monday, that wouldn’t take an awful lot.
Happy Valentine’s Day, my bookish chums! I hope your day is filled with love or books or whatever makes you happy. What does my day have in store? This afternoon I’m leaving work early to get a chest x-ray. No matter what they tell me, I’m sure it’s to find out, once and for all, whether or not I do have a heart. You see, from my general demeanour and attitude, you’d probably think I’m a pretty cynical person. I guess, to some extent, that I am. However, having grown up surrounded by books containing some of the most hyperbolic love stories ever told, it’s difficult not to have something of a romantic side. Although, I do worry about what books have done to our idea of romance. So often I see bookish people falling under the spell of utterly abhorrent characters. Novels are dangerous, man. You take one quote out of context and suddenly Severus Snapeisn’t a creepy stalker. You focus on one line of a book and Mr Rochester isn’t just the worst. You repeat a few quotations over and over and Heathcliffe and Cathy had a perfect love. You get the idea. Words are dangerous when you remove them from the bigger picture. Is that going to stop me listing my all-time favourite quotations about love? No. I need a post and it’s bloody relevant.
Had I not been struck down with festive flu last week, I had planned to write a post about the things I liked and disliked about the latest Star Wars film. One of those things was Adam Driver and his Kylo Ren oversized sweater vibes. It was hot. It’s probably not the right thing to take away from The Rise of Skywalker but the casual Kylo Ren vibe is everything. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always believed Adam Driver was a beautiful man but his appearance in the last quarter of the film is insane. It was one of the first things my friend and I discussed upon leaving the showing. And it was something we both needed after watching him in Marriage Story. There’s nothing like showing two beautiful people going through a messy divorce to make them instantly unappealing. It feels like we’ve been hearing about marriage story for years and the wait has only increased my expectations and excitement for it. On paper, it had everything it needed to be great and provide Netflix with another Oscar contender. Even though I’ve never been the biggest Scarlett Johansson fan, I was excited to see how these two actors would work together. And I love me some Laura Dern and Noah Baumbach. It’s one of those cases where something would have needed to go horribly horribly wrong for not to enjoy it. But, let’s not forget, this is Netflix…
As you may know, I’ve been trying to go back and watch the films that I’ve already reviewed for 2019’s TBT section. Last week aside, I’ve been going through them in chronological order. Then I went rogue and watched a film that I wanted to. And the floodgates opened. There is no more order and the rule book is out the window. Maybe it’s because I know the next film coming up is one I’ve watched recently and don’t really want to go there again? Or maybe I’ve just got tired of setting myself these parameters for no reason? Either way, this week I had a craving to watch something random and I went through the films available on Prime and ended up here. Drawn in by Ewan McGregor’s face because, let’s be honest, the early 2000s were the peak time for his face. One year before Attack of the Clones and four years before the beardy goodness of Revenge of the Sith: Moulin Rouge is classic Ewan McGregor beauty. And he’s singing. I don’t know whether it’s the amount of Disney films I watched growing up but, for some reason, I’ve brought myself round to the idea that the ideal romantic partner is one who is an amazing singer. I feel like most people don’t see this as a vital ingredient to love but it is. It definitely is. So, let’s jump in.
Do you have any reading resolutions for the year? I know a lot of people like to challenge themselves by setting a reading target for the year. This isn’t something that I tend to do because I don’t want to go down the road of seeing reading as being competitive. If that were to happen, I worry my life would become less about the book and more about the numbers. I want to be able to read at my own speed and not feel guilty. However, as I’m trying to be an active Goodreads member this year as well, I have set myself the modest target of reading 30 books this year. Last year I read 34, which is including a massive slump towards the middle of the year and a fairly shitty December. So, hopefully, I’ll make my target. At the very least I’m off to a good start as I finished my first read of the year yesterday. I may have started it in December but it counts to this year. Thank you very much Goodreads.
I’ve been so bad a reading this month that I thought I’d never finish this collection of short stories. There were so many times that I fell asleep with the page open and had to leave story in the middle. It’s just been a stressful few weeks recently and I’ve been feeling it. I’ve managed to get a few days off this week which has been perfect. I got things done I needed to, had some time to relax, and got a quick break before the madness of Christmas. That’s always a fun time to be working in a kitchen. At least I don’t have to come face-to-face with any customers. Apparently, they’ve already started being quite difficult and short-tempered. It’s the reason I don’t like making a fuss when I’m eating out. I’ve seen what the people I work with have to go through and, when things have gone wrong, been on the receiving end of their annoyance. Be nice to your waiter/waitress. But I feel like I’m getting off topic. Long, rambling story short, I finished this book today on my day off. So let’s do this.