Other Favourite Stories of 2021

In order to complete the recap of 2021, I still want to share with you my other favourite stories of last year, which basically are the TV series and films I enjoyed watching the most. Despite books being the stars of this tiny blog, I also like spending my free time watching various stories unfold on a screen. I feel that 2021 was scarcer than usual when it comes to new TV shows and films, probably because of the pandemic. Thus, the following list is undeniably short.

 

Mare of Easttown

In the limited series Mare of Easttown, Kate Winslet magnificently plays detective Mare, who is investigating the murder of a young woman. Although this is a crime drama, it truly shines when the focus is on Mare’s personal and family problems.

 

Squid Game

Squid Game, a South Korean TV series on Netflix, is not for those who are squeamish about seeing blood on screen. A group of people accept to risk their lives, while playing children’s games, in order to win a huge sum of money. Being heavily indebted, they feel that they have no other solution left. It’s interesting to learn more about the characters’ backstories. Continue reading

Quarterly Favourites – October to December 2021

2022 is already underway. Nevertheless, I still want to share with you my favourites from the last quarter of 2021. They include a book, a TV series, a film, a piece of clothing and content created by bookish people.

The book that stood out the most from the few I read during the last three months was Piranesi by Susanna Clarke, which won’t come as a surprise for those of you who have read the post about my favourite books of 2021. Via a mysterious, eccentric and haunting tale, Susanna Clarke enchantingly explored how some people deal with traumatic experiences, how memories influence our perceptions of ourselves, and how we define where home is. The main character, Piranesi, lives in an immeasurable house surrounded by the sea. Two times a week, he meets the Other to examine their efforts to discover an unknown knowledge.

I watched three TV shows, I think, in the last quarter. My favourite was Squid Game, a South Korean drama on Netflix, which I’m sure you have all heard about by now. It’s about a group of people who risk their lives playing children’s games to win a large amount of money, because they are highly in debt. As it’s extremely violent, not everyone is going to appreciate it. However, the way it explores the backstories of the characters makes it compelling. Continue reading

Favourite Books I Read in 2021

2021 hasn’t been the year during which I read the highest number of books by no stretch of the imagination, but I surely read some good ones. Picking up some massive books throughout the year didn’t help, particularly because I ended up not finishing three of them, so they didn’t count for my read books. So far, I’ve read in their entirety 22 books. Until the end of the year, I’m still hoping to finish the humongous The Mad Ship by Robin Hobb and to read another two much shorter books. None of these are likely to be good candidates for my favourite books of the year, though.

Throughout 2021, I read books from various genres and of several formats. Novels, novellas, short story and poetry collections were all part of my reading choices. They can be categorised as historical fiction, fantasy, dystopian and literary fiction. The majority of the books that I read were new to me, but I also reread two books. Livro by José Luís Peixoto I certainly enjoyed, although not as much as I remember doing the first time, and Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell remains one of my favourite books of all time.

Only taking into consideration the books that I read for the first time in 2021, however, my favourites, in reverse order, are: Continue reading

Three Favourites Minus Books

Books are the protagonists of this blog. I only tend to mention other favourites on my quarterly (and previously monthly) favourites. As those posts are restricted to a specific time period, today I decided to share with you my three general and all-time favourites from seven categories that aren’t in the realm of books, though most are still connected with the arts.

I wondered whether I should turn this post into a tag. As I don’t know if someone has already had a similar idea and also don’t want to tag bloggers who are not interested in sharing their favourites, I decided not to. However, please feel free to write a similar post if you want to.

 

Three Favourite Music Artists

  1. Arctic Monkeys
  2. Muse
  3. Royal Blood

Continue reading

Quarterly Favourites – July to September 2021

During the last three months, I’ve only finished reading four books. It’s the consequence of having spent an entire month reading Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb and not of having watched many films or TV series. With just a few books read, little fiction watched and almost no new music listened to, it wasn’t difficult to pick up just a couple of favourites.

The best book I read during the last three months was, beyond a shadow of a doubt, Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell. Set in the 16th century, it’s a poignant, touching and believable fictional story about the death of the son of a famous playwright, William Shakespeare, who is never mentioned by his name. O’Farrell masterfully explores the themes of grief, parenthood, family life and love. The emotions of the characters are palpable and intense, particularly those of Agnes. Despite actions being described in utmost detail, the novel never gets boring, partly because the musicality of the prose is astounding.

Last month, I watched for the first time a TV series (mostly) in Icelandic, and I was pleasantly surprised. Katla, which you can watch on Netflix, is a mystery-drama about the appearance of people covered in ash in the town of Vík a year after the eruption of the subglacial volcano Katla. The inhabitants and visitors of the almost empty town are forced to come to terms with their past. Continue reading

Favourite Authors of All Time

There are authors whose work we, as dedicated readers, want to continue to explore for years to come. We treasure almost all of the books that we read by them and, thus, cannot wait to pick up again a few more of the novels, poetry or short story collections that they wrote for our enjoyment.

My favourite authors of all time are those whose work I’m constantly recommending to other readers, even though I didn’t equally love all of the books that I read by them and don’t think that all of them are perfect. I have read three or more books by the authors below, and their work has a special place in my heart.

 

Daphne du Maurier

I fell in love with Daphne du Maurier the moment I read Rebecca, my favourite book by her followed by Jamaica Inn. Her work doesn’t fit neatly into one genre, comprising both historical fiction and sci-fi, for example. But both her novels and short stories tend to be atmospheric, enthralling, gripping and slightly mysterious. The characters that she created are vivid and many unforgettable. I’ve read nine of Daphne du Maurier’s books so far! I haven’t finished exploring her work yet, though. I still have at least eight of her other books on my wish list. Continue reading

Quarterly Favourites – April to June 2021

Three months have passed since I last wrote about my favourites from what essentially are the things that I enjoy doing in my spare time. Nevertheless, I didn’t struggle too much to select just a few of them. I could have mentioned one or two more books, as I enjoyed almost all of the ones that I read from April to June, but I slightly cherished one of them more than the others.

Set in Northern Iceland in 1829, Burial Rites by Hannah Kent is touching and poignant. Its ambience undoubtfully suits the story. Agnes, who is believably portrayed as someone who is misunderstood, was sentenced to death after being accused of killing two men, Nathan, who was her lover, and Pétur. She has to wait for the date of her execution at the house of one of the officers in the district. There she receives the visit of Assistant Reverend Thorvardur.

The TV series that I enjoyed the most during the second quarter of the year was, without a doubt, Mare of Easttown. This crime drama shines mostly thanks to the personal tribulations of the main character and her family. Kate Winslet does a fantastic job playing Mare, a detective that is investigating the murder of a young woman. Continue reading

Favourite Book Genres

Books come in a variety of genres. Some may be more popular than others, but that doesn’t necessarily influence the quality of the story nor the prose. Many genres even intertwine. I read books from various genres – literary fiction, fantasy, dystopian, historical fiction, mysteries, horror and adventure. I also enjoy reading classics, but they don’t constitute a genre, being overall just an assortment of books that have stood the test of time. Usually, I just stay away from Young Adult and cheesy romances.

Which book genres are my favourites, though? There are four that stand out from the rest.

 

Historical fiction

Books from the historical fiction genre, as the designation implies, are set in the past from the perspective of their authors. The characters and the plot may be fictional, but the author needs to conduct extensive research in order to achieve a realistic and historically accurate setting. Successful historical fiction novels make readers travel in time. Some of my recent favourite books in this genre are, for example, The Miniaturist and The Muse by Jessie Burton and The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal. Continue reading

Favourite Supporting Characters II

The most memorable characters tend to be the protagonists. However, books are far more engrossing when their supporting characters are as realistic, complex and engaging. Per definition, secondary characters are not the focus of the main storyline, but they are still essential for our enjoyment of a story.

Since writing my first post about my favourite supporting characters, around four years ago, I’ve discovered a few more who are as remarkable. Daphne du Maurier created three of them, which is unsurprising considering her talent.

 

Richard Grenville – The King’s General by Daphne du Maurier

Although Richard Grenville isn’t the protagonist of The King’s General, he is a critical character in the story. Honor Harris, the protagonist, explains why she fell in love with him. Their interactions, particularly at the beginning of the book, are amusing, charming and captivating. His actions are both kind and shameful. He is sarcastic, wild and careless with his finances. Continue reading

Quarterly Favourites – January to March 2021

During the last three years, I shared with you every single month my favourites from the books and blog posts I read, the TV series, films and YouTube videos I watched, and the music I listened to. However, since I was becoming bored of writing this kind of posts every month and new beloveds have been scarce, I decided to only start publishing a post about my favourites once every three months. The first instalment of my quarterly favourites will focus on the months from January to March.

Since the beginning of 2021, I’ve read five books and decided not to finish two. I loved rereading Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, a well-known dystopian novel that portrays a society in the grip of an authoritarian regime, which survives thanks to mass surveillance and a high level of gaslighting. The main character, Winston, works in the Ministry of Truth. His job is to rewrite information so it always serves the interests of the Party, whose face is the Big Brother. When he meets Julia, his life becomes even more in danger.

Other book I highly enjoyed reading was Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb. The last instalment in The Farseer Trilogy continues to focus on Fitz, a royal bastard whom we first meet as a child. Although the pacing is not always perfect, this is an overall immersive and gripping read about the difference between duty and greed for power. The ending of the series is satisfying and exciting. Continue reading