in which I wrap up... February
(1) Things which I have read and enjoyed.
Moonglow, by Michael Chabon. Chabon has been a favourite of mine for a long time, and I liked this more than Telegraph Avenue, his last novel. It’s got a lot of atmosphere and some great storytelling, and I like the point that he’s working with about memory and history and memoirs. However… Chabon just isn’t rocking my world like he used to (and it’s not just my age, I re-read Kavalier and Clay last year and still found it glorious). This felt lightweight.
The House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton. This was our book club pick and I was glad to have the chance to read it after having loved the film for so many years. It took a little while to get into, breaking through the familiarity with the film to get to the book itself, but then I loved it. Lily and Lawrence frustrating themselves at every turn - and Wharton showing why this is so tied to the age in which they live - is heartbreakingly painful.
Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi. How does a twentysomething write something like this? It’s warm, it’s rich, it has an amazing ability to capture a life and its connection to all the others in the family chaing in one chapter focusing on one moment in that person’s life. That through-the-window approach is remarkably similar to that of The Underground Railroad, and like that novel it provides everything you need by way of satisfaction (even though you’d really like a little bit more.
Liturgy of the Ordinary, by Tish Harrison-Warren. One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to have some Sunday reading time where I would focus on faith. This was the first book to fill that space, and it has been lovely. It’s beautifully written and nicely thought provoking, being in my space but challenging me enough in the right kinds of ways (for me) to move forwards.
(2) Things which I have watched and enjoyed
Loving - which not wholly what I expected from the trailer, being much slower moving and focused on the couple in question much more than the world around them. It was almost too slow, for me, but it was really good. Lego Batman - which is deeply deeply funny. Not quite Lego Movie moving and hilarious, but a very worthy sequel. Also, there’s nothing weirder than a film featuring Ralph Fiennes’ voice and Lego Voldemort in which Fiennes is NOT voicing Voldemort. Hidden Figures - which I loved with all of my tiny heart. It’s got a great story, a brilliant cast, and a fabulous soundtrack. It doesn’t shy away from the struggle and injustices the women face, but it also tells the story in a really warm way - without getting sickly. It’s the best space movie since the The Dish, and I want to watch them in a doube bill.
(3) Things which I wrote
My book club is heading into it’s fifth year, so I picked my top ten reads of the first four years.
(4) A photo from the month gone by Westminster Abbey
(5) In the pile for March
I’m on holiday with The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss and Wounded Tiger: A History of Cricket in Pakistan by Peter Oborne. Then Sworn Virgin by Elvira Dones is our book club book. I will also be at the ballet for the Royal Ballet’s new triple bill, and at the theatre for Rosencrantz and Guildernstern are Dead (with DanRad at the Old Vic), Twelfth Night (at the National with Tamsin Greig, SCREAAAAAAM), and the White Devil (at the Globe).