I discovered this book when it was nominated for a Goodreads Choice Award in December and immediately bought it. I’ve had a longstanding interest in the history of Ravensbrück since reading Corrie ten Boom’s account of her time there in The Hiding Place, but there is precious little information about the camp when compared to other well-known camps like Auschwitz. I’m about eight chapters in and I have to say this is the most powerful popular history book I’ve ever read. I think it should have been nominated for a Pulitzer.
Up until a few weeks ago, the only incarnation of Miss Marple that I’d seen was Julia McKenzie’s (which I talked about in last month’s Inkwell), but then I discovered that the old Marple episodes starring Geraldine McEwan are on iTunes. (I couldn’t find them before because I was searching under “Miss Marple” instead of “Agatha Christie’s Marple”.) I’ve always loved McKenzie’s performance and I thought it couldn’t get any better, but I was clearly wrong. McEwan is amazing. Her Miss Marple is much more mischievous and has this delightful glint in her eye that makes the show so much more entertaining. I watched the first two seasons in record time and I’m just about to start the third season–the last before they switched out McEwan for McKenzie. McEwan passed away last year and it makes me so sad that these three seasons are all we’ll ever have of her incredible performance.
It’s the last season of Downton and I’m ready to say goodbye. It’s been a great six-year run, but I think it’s time to put it to rest before it gets boring. I’m glad that Tom returned and I’m interested to see where they take Barrow’s story. So many characters have died on the show and I hope they end the final season on a happy note.
I’ve been a fan of Elementary since the beginning, but I stopped watching regularly last season because I thought the plot lines were getting a bit boring. During the late December/early January TV lull, I started watching again and I’ve been enjoying it a lot. I find that sometimes taking time away from a TV show revives my interest in it later on.
Sicario is a film about an FBI agent (played by Emily Blunt) co-opted by an interagency task force to assist in fighting the drug war taking place on the border between Mexico and the United States. I wasn’t terribly enthusiastic about seeing the film because I was expecting it to be a flash-bang Hollywood over-dramatization with some kind of obvious political bent, but within the first ten minutes I was hooked. It doesn’t shy away from the horror and violence inflicted by the drug cartels, but it isn’t gratuitous in any way. It also explores the idea of moral ambiguity on the side of the “good guys” and why people make the decisions they do. It’s a character-driven story that engages the heart and intellect. Also of note is the soundtrack by Jóhann Jóhannsson, which is amazing. “The Beast” added such a oppressive, ominous atmosphere to certain parts of the film. I was totally blown away.
Lord of the Flies by William Golding, Narrated by the Author
This audio edition of Lord of the Flies is interesting because the author gives a brief introduction in which he talks about why there are no girls in the story. The fact that there are no girls in the story is not in any way problematic for me, but his answer is. An explanation of why it bothers me so much is too lengthly write here, but I would like to flesh out my thoughts more in a blog post sometime in the future.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, Narrated by Polly Stone
I’m only a few chapters into The Nightingale, but I’m enjoying it so far. I thought it was a bit slow getting started (though that might just be me, since I have a very short attention span, especially when it comes to audiobooks). I wasn’t sure how I felt about the narrator at first, but I’ve grown to like her. She does voices very well–from the elderly woman narrating the start of the book to the voices of Vianne and Isabelle, not to mention the voice she uses for male characters. I marvel at the vocal flexibility of voice actors!
BADLANDS – Halsey
I recently discovered Halsey when watching the new trailer for The Huntsman: Winter’s War, which featured her song “Castle.” I really like her sophomore album, BADLANDS. Aside from “Castle,” my favorite tracks are “Hold Me Down,” “New Americana,” “Roman Holiday,” “Ghost,” “Colors,” “Colors, Pt. II,” and “Gasoline.” If I weren’t trying to reduce the amount of money I spend on digital media, I would definitely buy it. As it is, it’s YouTube or bust!
News from the World of Books
- A publisher at Penguin Random House discovered a forgotten Beatrix Potter manuscript in the Victoria and Albert Museum archive. The book will be published in September and will be illustrated by Quentin Blake, who is known for his work on Roald Dahl’s books.
- The results of a survey commissioned by Lee & Low Books were released this month and reveal that diversity in publishing has a long way to go. The survey shows that the majority of the publishing industry is comprised of straight white non-disabled women.
- A new television adaptation of Nancy Drew is the works. CBS Entertainment President Glenn Geller has stated that the new Drew will not be caucasian, though the studio has yet to decide the ethnicity of the actress who will portray her.
- A celebratory gala will be held to mark the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death and the event will be streamed live on the BBC. Dame Judi Dench, David Tennant, Joseph Fiennes, and more of Britain’s finest are set to participate.
- Emma Watson recently founded a feminist book club on Twitter and Goodreads called “Our Shared Shelf.” January’s selection is My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem.
- Tragically, beloved actor Alan Rickman passed away on the 14th of January after a secret battle with cancer. He’s had many bookish roles over the course of a long and storied career, most notably that of the tortured potions master Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series.
Best of the Bookosphere
- Riot Round-Up: The Best Books We Read in January – Book Riot
- Octavia Butler Wrote a Beautiful Note to Herself as Inspiration – BuzzFeed
- 25 Stunning Home Libraries That Are a Book Lover’s Dream – Architectural Digest
- A Very Odd Night in a Possibly Fake North Korean Village – LitHub
- The ‘Mystery’ of Hong Kong’s Disappearing Booksellers – The Daily Beast
- A Neuroscientist Explains the Allure of Adult Coloring Books – New York Magazine
- “Should Germany Publish Main Kampf?” Is the Wrong Question – Flavorwire
- Are There Bookshelves in the Future? Seven Science Fiction Libraries – Electric Literature
- The 10 Weirdest Jobs Authors Had Before They Were Authors – Bustle
- 12 Fiction Books That Will Shape Your Theology – Relevant Magazine
Most Popular Posts of the Month
Let’s start with the very first question you must answer before you dive into the world of book blogging. Why should you become a book blogger in the first place? It’s a fair question. Not everyone is cut out for book blogging. You should consider book blogging if…
Your Flixter account is about to be overwhelmed. There are a crazy number of books being made into movies this year.
2015 was an amazing year in books, but unfortunately there is never enough time to read all the latest and greatest bestsellers, award winners, and buzzed-about hits. Here are a few 2015 releases that I wanted to read, but didn’t get around to.
Best of the Archives
The best of YouTube’s literary community…
Books to Watch for in February
- Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart by James Doty, M.D.
- The Burn Pits: The Poisoning of America’s Soldiers by Joseph Hickman
- Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man by William Shatner
- Hitler’s Forgotten Children: A True Story of the Lebensborn Program and One Woman’s Search for Her Real Identity by Ingrid Von Oelhafen & Tim Tate
- Andy Warhol Was a Hoarder: Inside the Minds of History’s Great Personalities by Claudia Kalb
- Prude: Misconceptions of a Neo-Virgin by Carrie Lloyd
Which books are you most looking forward to reading this month?