(1) Things which I have read and enjoyed
I finished Underworld by Don DeLillo! It was pretty mammoth (800 pages, I started it before New Year). It was also pretty damn good. Yes, it dips from the opening, but boy, what an opening, of course it dips. I really like what DeLillo is trying to do with a narrative of the strange interconnections of history - although I think he probably could have lost 150 pages here there and everywhere. Still, on a scale of Big Fat Books of the 1990s it is significantly nearer the Infinite Jest end of the scale than The Corrections end of the scale.
The other book I read this month was Zia Haider Rahman’s In the Light of What We Know - we’ve established that you should all read that, right?
(2) Things which I have watched and enjoyed
The Tellybox people in the UK suggested I watch The Casual Vacancy, which was bad, and which I gave up on after an hour, and Indian Summers, which was also pretty bad and which I gave up on after two and a half hours. Apparently the Raj was bad, y’all, and we should self-flagelate a lot, except not to the extent of not making fabulously orientalist period dramas out of our guilt.
At the cinema I saw:
Inherent Vice: hazily, dopily, quotable. A little too langerous in patches, but otherwise a delight.
Selma: incredibly powerful, the end.
Shaun the Sheep: surprisingly delightful (I was worried it was going to be too kiddy)
Focus: utterly daft, do not bother
Jupiter Ascending: utterly daft, do do do bother, its imagination is such a joy, and it was so nice to see a big sci-fi film having about something other than white male superheroes watching cities being destroyed.
(3) Things which I wrote that I’m fond of…
I remained fascinated by Ex Machina, which I saw at the end of January, so I wrote about what it means to create and to be human.
I also had some thoughts about not being a special snowflake, because I’m tired of organisations telling m that if I give them money I’ll be a hero.
(4) A photo from the month gone by
I saw The Decemberists play the Brixton Academy and it was truly fabulous. I love them and their banter.
(5) In the pile for March
I turned from In the Light of What We Know to Graham Greene’s The Quiet American, which get referenced a lot in that book. Next up is Sarah Hall’s The Carhullan Army, and then - I’m not sure what I’ll pick up next. I have some unread Patrick O’Brians, I just picked up the PB of Jenny Ofill’s Department of Speculation, and The Miniaturist is still in the pile. But. But but but, I have a sneaking suspicion that I might read some William Gibson.
I’m looking forward to seeing Chappie and the Royal Ballet’s Swan Lake