Last night, I attended my first virtual book club meeting. Despite being a massive book person, I’ve never actually been part of a book club before. So, to attend my first one on Zoom wasn’t great. I’m awkward and introverted at the best of times without adding being uncomfortable on camera as well. But, of course, it was mostly fine. I’d read the book in time and, as you’ll have read in my book review on Monday, I really loved the book. I knew before going in that it had been adapted into a film for Netflix but I didn’t want to watch it before reading. Fearing that it might alter my opinion of the book or something. Once I was finished, it seemed like the perfect choice for my TBT film this week. After all, any chance to watch Jane Fonda is something is welcome.
Every now and then I get a sudden urge to go back and read one of the books of my childhood. There was a time when I used to read the Sophie books by Dick King-Smith to cheer myself up. If couldn’t sleep for any reason then I’d just whip one off the shelf. It’s that great mixture of an easy read, lovely story, and a huge wave of nostalgia that really makes it worth doing. Which is why I put off the many books on my TBR list so I could read this book this week. I don’t know why but I suddenly had a huge desire to go back to this one. I loved The Worst Witch when I was younger and I remember reading or listening to them all. I also loved the TV show.
As far as I’m aware, Mr Rogers was never a thing in the UK. I’ve heard of him but only thanks to references in American TV and movies. This lack of awareness would normally have caused me to miss a film like A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. It is based solely on the proposition that Fred Rogers is one of the greatest things to ever happen to children. I’m sure he probably is but films like this tend to rely on a certain nostalgic sentimentality that I just don’t have. It wouldn’t hit on all of the levels that the filmmakers intended. But, thanks to Tom Hanks being Tom Hanks, it was an Oscar-nominated film that I had to try and watch before the ceremony.
Non-religious Christmas films tend to follow the same basic stories depending on what genre they are. Those based on A Christmas Carol are pretty self-explanatory. Then you have the romance: a young workaholic realises that love and happiness should come before their career thanks to the interference from an elderly relative/something magical. Or the family film: a workaholic parent realises that they should be putting their family first so runs out of the big presentation just in time to see their child perform in the Christmas show. Both of these will inevitably end with the whole cast standing near a piano with their arms around each other and singing ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’. Finally, you have the Santa Claus origin story: in which a kindly but childless man is chosen/decides to spread joy to other people by leaving presents under their tree at Christmas. We get it. We’ve seen it. So, I wasn’t sure what Netflix’s new animation Klaus was going to bring to the table besides a dreamy cast of voice actors. Still, I needed a break from all of the A Christmas Prince and Vanessa Hudgens nonsense.
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.
As I said in my Friday Favourites, it would have been amazing having J.R.R. Tolkien as your father. Having a man with such a vivid imagination and a talent for creating new worlds telling you bedtime stories? Amazing. Then there’s his Christmas tradition. My father did the usual parent thing of pretending to send out letters off to the North Pole. This was done in a myriad of different ways: burning them, I’m sure there were fireworks one year, posting, and faxing. It was great at the time. But the one thing my dad never did was write back to us pretending to be Santa himself. Though he did dress up as him one year at the school fair. Being the killjoy that I am, I wasn’t having any of it so it’s probably for the best that he didn’t try and copy Tolkien’s yearly tradition.
It’s Friday and I’m only just posting my TBT review. This can only mean one thing. I’m massively behind schedule. I had an impromptu night with my sisters on Thursday and didn’t have the energy to write anything last night. So, I’m here on Friday night with midnight fast approaching trying to get myself to finish this damn review. And I’ll do it, goddamit, if it’s the last thing I do. Because this week’s film is a genuinely good film for a change. After watching Jacob Tremblay in Good Boys there was really only one film that I could watch. Okay, there were two films but I have weird memories of watching Superbad for the first time that I don’t need to think about right now. So, instead, I went back to Room. The film that saw Brie Larson become an Oscar winner before Captain Marvel saw her become hated by Marvel fanboys all over the world. It also introduced the world to the adorable Tremblay and put him in a tiny suit at the Oscars. More than deserving of a rewatch.
I wasn’t sure that I was going to finish this book in time to write something tonight. It was super down to the wire. I men I only finished it an hour ago. Not because it wasn’t an enjoyable book but because I’ve been rubbish recently. Plus, my sister brought my niece round on Monday and it really cut down on my reading time. Plus, the usual laziness and binge-watching that prevents me from getting stuff done. But at least this brings up my total for books read this month. I needed to get one more in before August ended. It’s not been a great one in terms of page numbers. Can I blame the weather? Or the fact that I’ve been busy at work? Doubtful but that’s not going to stop me. Instead, let’s just rejoice in the fact that I’m managed to finish something and can actually get this review written.
I’m still being pretty rubbish when it comes to reading but I have at least finished something this week. It took me late into last night to do it so I’ve been a zombie at work. A massive shame considering that I’ve had to sit and listen to a man talk about Google Analytics all day. It was a useful webinar for my course but, when my eyes were having difficulty staying open, I probably didn’t take in as much as I should. Still, I got through it and had a play with some metrics. What more could I ask for? Okay, sleep but who needs sleep when there are books to read. Even if those books are supposed to be for children. I’ve always been curious about what David Walliams would be like a writer. I was the right age to love Little Britain when that came out even if it now seems a bit dodgy in place. So, I have a bit of trouble fitting that side of him with his authorial side. Still, he has the silliness necessary for a winning children’s writer I guess. But calling him the natural successor to Roald Dahl seems like a bold claim. Could it possibly be true?
I have to admit that I normally roll my eyes at romantic-comedies. I just get pretty bored with them. It’s always the same thing. Boy meets girl who is way out of his league. Boy tries to win girl but doesn’t. Girl eventually realises that boy is perfect for her. Boy gets girl. Urgh just thinking about it is making my eyes roll. I haven’t always been like this. As a youngster I loved romantic-comedies. I definitely liked Richard Curtis films ways more than they deserved. Obviously, anything starring John Cusack was more than okay with me. And I definitely spent many a sleepover watching whatever 90s/00s chick flick was all the rage. But I’ve grown up a lot since then and I find the whole thing pretty dodgy these days. Some of them break through and do something different. Most of them are just guff. I mean just look at how many romantic-comedies Netflix are churning out these days. They’re essentially the same film but with characters of different ages, ethnicities, and genders. And, if I’m honest, I thought Long Shot was going to be another forgettable piece of nonsense.