Since it has been quite a while since my last blog post, I thought I would do a bit of a wrap-up of what I have been reading and watching recently. It is quite an extensive list, but we can largely put it down to the fact that I have more free time given that I am working from home due to the lockdown restrictions that the UK government has put in place. Let me know what you have been reading and watching during your extended time at home. Stay safe!
Around the World in 80 Trains, by Monisha Rajesh
A great travel book that has piqued my interest in visiting several places including Tibet, Vietnam, the Canadian wilderness and North Korea. There are plenty of lovely moments where Monisha and her fiancee interact with locals and fellow travellers, which adds a nice personal touch to this book.
Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky
This is a story with a huge amount of depth, thinking and world-building that spans hundreds and thousands of years. Although it is a hefty tome and some of the science does go over my head, it was an interesting read and I really enjoyed the premise and Tchaikovsky’s ability to spin a yarn.
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
A very unique premise and I was immediately hooked. The best book I’ve read in the lockdown and it is the kind of story which makes you want to become an author and write something just as good. Would love to see this adapted for TV or film.
The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie
A crime/mystery classic. Christie makes you think that everything is going to work out fine and that the suspect is done for, but of course, there is always a delectable twist that elevates her stories and which makes them timeless.
The Shortest History of Europe by John Hirst
Having enjoyed The Shortest History of Germany, I was looking forward to reading this one, however, the first half of it was very slow going. This is mostly down to my lack of interest in Greek and Roman government, the history of language and agriculture. I was interested in the second half where a plethora of interesting topics were covered, such as The Renaissance and the First World War.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Last December’s big blockbuster. It seems to have divided opinion, but I quite enjoyed the entertainment and the various storylines, but having said that, I am not a hardcore fan of the series. The cinematography was very good, especially the concluding scenes.
We’re the Millers
Rewatched this recently and it reminded me of what an underrated film it really is. Every actor worked well together, the chemistry is obvious, the one-liners are brilliant, the physical comedy is on point and the storyline is solid. Would be first in line at the cinema if a sequel finally comes to fruition.
Absolutely fantastic! A faultless crime/mystery where every character is perfectly cast, the mystery keeps you guessing for the entire duration and there are jaw-dropping moments that makes this whodunit film standout.
More of an experience rather than a film. Acting performances across the board are great but I love Robert De Niro as the lead. Definitely one for those that enjoy gangster films and slowburners.
Sports documentary film about the Russian doping programme that became the centre of attention a few years ago when Russia was banned from competing internationally. This film is a behind the scenes look at the effects of doping and how Russia got away with it for so long. Very interesting viewing.
I have watched both seasons so far and they are perfection. Ricky Gervais has created such a brilliantly funny, poignant and deep comedy-drama. One of the best comedy series of modern times.
The eighth and final season of Homeland is a corker! It reminded me of the earlier seasons where Carrie is stationed in the Middle East, and that is very much a good thing in terms of entertainment and season narrative. The stakes are high, action is enthralling, espionage is intriguing and the writers have done a great job in wrapping up the whole show. Claire Danes deserves an award for her performances, not only this season but throughout the show’s decade on our screens.
A departure from seasons 1 and 2 in terms of most of the action happening in the real world. It still works though and I love how the show is developing and growing. Evan Rachel Wood would be a contender to Claire Danes for best performance. Can’t wait for the fourth season!
Completely and utterly bonkers! A must watch!
Others I am watching: Spooks seasons 1 and 2 on BBCiPlayer; Money Heist season 1 on Netflix; The Blacklist season 7 online; Phoenix Nights on DVD; Max and Paddy: Road to nowhere on DVD.
Let me know if you have any recommendations, can be for book, film or TV!
The Humpo Show | Richard