3.5.20

Notes from April 2020






Reading


Articles



Books


Obviously I haven't been able to visit the library, my happy place, so I've been working my way through my own bookshelf. It's a mix of stuff I've recently bought, charity shop finds and my husband's collection.
  • The Story of the Lost Child Elena Ferrante If you have read my recent Notes From posts I have been wanging on about this series for a while. This is the last book; another wonderful read, but bleak and sad at the same time. Didn't end how I wanted it to, to be honest. I truly loved this quartet of books though. A beautiful saga. 
  • Absolutely Normal Chaos Sharon Creech Aww this book! This is a book I used to get from the library in Ilfracombe every time we went to visit my grandparents when I was small. Recently I have had an overwhelming urge to read it but had forgotten the title and the author - the only thing I could remember were vague details about the cover and plot. Yet I found it! I love the internet and its powers. It's a story of a girl's summer, written in diary form and is just as entertaining and amusing as I remember. So much pre-teen angst! 
  • The Power Naomi Alderman I had high hopes for this much lauded novel and I was sadly disappointed. It started off strong and gripped me but descended into a bit of mess in this reader's opinion. The characters were pretty flat and I struggled to care really. A shame, as it has a great premise. I did like how it flipped a lot of the horrible, brutal practices women have had to endure over the years, such as genital mutilation. 
  • The Secrets of My Life Caitlyn Jenner I borrowed this from my friend about 3 years ago but never got round to reading it, because it didn't fill me with much excitement to be honest. And it was fine, I suppose. Interesting to read about someone transitioning and the day to day stuggles this brings up. However, I can't say I find Caitlyn a particularly compelling person, and there were many pages about sports where I felt my eyes glazing over. 
  • No Country for Old Men Cormac McCarthy This was a surprise hit for me - I thought I would find it boring and or/irritating. But I thought it was great. The premise is pretty simple - a man steals a bunch of drug money and then a chase by a psychopath ensues. It's set in the American deep south and, this sounds a but dumb, but you can really tell, which is something I love. The dialogue, descriptions of the landscape and even the sentence structure (not something I usually notice all that much) combine so well to create an all-encompassing atmosphere. Some bits did get me a bit confused, and it's hella bleak (not to mention violent) in places, but this didn't distract from my enjoyment overall. 
  • From the Corner of the Oval Office: One Woman’s True Story of Her Accidental Career in the Obama White House Beck Dorey-Stein This was a surprisingly good, solid read about a subject I thought was going to be both confusing and dull. The author is very loveable and writes in a fun and sparky way. It was sometimes a tad repetitive and confusing, but would nonetheless recommend. 



Listening


Without a commute, my podcast 'to-listen' list has gone off the scale! I'm slowly getting through them, and I particularly enjoyed Hip Hop Saved my Life with Lennie James - a very interesting conversation about the N word.

Watching


A LOT of stuff. Been working my way through Netflix. I won't bore you with everything I watched, but some highlights (and lowlights):

Loved

  • Between Two Ferns: The Movie, mockumentary on Netflix looking at the behind the scenes of 'Between Two Ferns', a fake celebrity interview show from Zach Galifinakis, which I believe started life as a Funny or Die sketch. I was skeptical before watching this, but trust me it is super funny. Loved it.
  • Beyonce: Live at Coachella. I thought this was going to be a bit too self idulgent for me but I actually loved how vibrant and optimistic it was. 
  • Two All the Boys P.S I Still Love You. I have a large soft spot for these films, despite them being pure cheese and aimed at someone half my age. I think it's the main character, played by Lana Condor - she's so darn loveable and intriguing. 
  • McQueen - this documentary is fascinating and heartbreaking. Alexander McQueen's talent was crazy, and this shows it all in such a down to earth, accessible way. 
  • Mo Gilligan's stand up show. I laughed a LOT. 


Disliked

  • But of course, I watched Tiger King. To be honest, I am angry at all of the vitriol targeted at Carole Baskin, who may or may not have committed a crime, and the lack of vitriol targeted at the men who have definitely committed many crimes. The poor tigers tbh.
  • After Life. Not for me this one, I have mixed feelings about Ricky Gervais - his podcasts with Karl Pilkington and Stephen Merchant are one of the most hysterical things I have ever heard, and I like The Office and Extras. This though...I mean it's not exactly subtle is it. I felt like I was getting beaten over the head with cliches and *time to cry now* scenes. I think it being written, directed, produced and starring Ricky Gervais is just a bit too much Ricky Gervais. This review largely sums up my feelings. 

Eating


I really enjoy cooking, but I am a bit over cooking every single meal. The town we live in is mostly an absolute takeaway wasteland (Deliveroo doesn't exist). Some favourites I have been falling back on are:

Doing


I have discovered Tik Tok and I have to pull myself away from it or I will be absorbed by it for many many minutes. Good escapism though. I've also got well into both the Boggle app and the Scrabble GO app, which are fun but why are these type of apps so obnoxious and non user friendly? I don't want 100 gems I just want to play scrabble.

Along with other lockdown cliches, I have been baking my ass off. I've made hot cross buns, decorated foccacia, bakewell tart. The best thing I have made though, are Anna's cookies. Sublime.

Wanting


Was very close to buying this whimsical and perfect summer dress (in 4 installments ofc) until I saw that it was backless and instead I just got angry. For £188 this is not a practical choice for most women who need to wear a bra, go to work and don't exist just to waft through a field of sunflowers. EYE ROLL.

Enjoying on Instagram


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