Top ten lists to follow in a future post, because obviously, lists.
(1) Things which I have read and enjoyed
It might be a stretch to say I enjoyed The Goldfinch, but I didn’t not enjoy reading it either. I’ve just read other things this year that could have one the Pulitzer Prize for fiction instead. Like Station Eleven.
The other thing I read this month was Murakami’s slender, dark, fairytale, The Strange Library, which was a weird and eerie delight, with beautiful illustrations. It is definitely an edition to own in hard back.
(2) Things which I have watched and enjoyed
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. No, it’s not pure Tolkein, but I’m not particularly a purist about my Tolkein. I really particularly like the addition of the Gandalf storyline from the various appendices, through all three films, because Gandalf’s disappearing act from the book totally wouldn’t work on film without explaining where he went. Anyway, I thought this was the best of the a Hobbit films, which was a surprise to me because I didn’t think it would be since it was all battle. But the story of the battle – or rather of Thorin’s reign as King under the Mountain – broke down rather nicely, and I enjoyed the war sheep and war goats, and Thranduil and his Party Elk, rolling his eyes at Gandalf, and Ninja Saruman, because Christopher Lee. And I had some feelings about Fili and Kili.
Also unexpectedly delightful was Paddington, which I flatly refused to see until Mark Kermode gave it his seal of approval because I was so convinced it would be dire. It wasn’t. I’m glad I saw it in a cinema full of kids, because I think it gave a nice atmosphere and took the edges off some of the kiddier bits with a dollop of their enjoyment. And I learnt not to Supervillain in high heels on the roof of the Natural History Museum.
(3) Things which I wrote that I’m fond of…
Just a couple of bits and pieces this month, in addition to my thoughts on The Goldfinch. I shared some of the bits of Advent writing I really enjoyed earlier in the month.
I also wrote a couple of pieces for the Rhythms community for their Different Christmas Theme (all the pieces for the theme were pretty lovely):
(4) Most Distracting Thing on the Internet
Still Serial, obviously. But it’s done now. And I quite liked the ending. StartUp is also still great – and their ‘We Made a Mistake’ episode is a great example of how to deal with a screw up really well.
Since Serial ended, I’ve been in the countrysides, where the most distracting thing about the internet is how damn slow the internet is. Come back to me, tumblr.
(5) In the pile for January
I’m 250 pages into Don DeLillo’s Underworld (only another 600 to go), so that might see me into January. After that is Testament of Youth, followed by some of the things people gave me for my birthday…
In cinema-land, I’m looking forward to Inherent Vice, A Most Violent Year, Birdman, and Into the Woods