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

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

Watched the Adaptations, Don’t Want to Read the Books

More often than not, the posts I write are either about the books that I read or the ones that I want to read at some point in time. Not today! I frequently watch adaptations before reading the books, having discovered truly great novels this way. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and Atonement by Ian McEwan are just two examples. Not all adaptations leave me eager to read the books they are based on, however. There are at least eight adaptations whose source material I don’t intend to read.

 

Outlander

I loved the first season of Outlander, but my enjoyment of this TV series, which mixes historical fiction and sci-fi, has been decreasing with each following season, reason why I’m not interested in reading the book series by Diana Gabaldon. Caitríona Balfe plays Claire Randall, a Second World War military nurse who unwillingly travels back in time to 1743 while in Scotland. She ends up meeting and falling in love with a Highland warrior, Jamie Fraser, who is played by Sam Heughan.

 

Poldark

A British TV series based on the novels by Winston Graham, Poldark tells the story of the return of the title character to Cornwall after the American War of Independence in 1783. Although I was enjoying following the life of Ross Poldark, played by Aidan Turner, I have never finished watching the TV series and don’t remember how many seasons I did watch. I still want to one day watch the entire series, but I have no interest in picking up the twelve books. There are just too many of them. Continue reading

Monthly Favourites – September 2020

I’m starting to dread writing my monthly favourites and there’s only one reason for that. I’ve no idea how to introduce these posts anymore without sounding like a broken record. Well, what can I say? This instalment is short and sweet, as it consists only of a book, a film and a song.

If you’ve read my review of The Confession by Jessie Burton, you may be surprised to know that it is my favourite book from the ones that I read in September. I enjoyed reading it, but I sounded disappointed in my review, since I couldn’t help comparing it to Burton’s previous novels, which I adored. Her third book for adults is a story about motherhood which promises to reveal what happened to Rose’s mother, Elise Morceau, who disappeared before her first birthday. In order to discover what happened, Rose decides to go look for Constance Holden, the last person to see her. Although it features a mystery, this is mainly a character-focused novel. The characters get progressively more interesting and the story more engaging.

Near the end of the month, I highly enjoyed watching Enola Holmes on Netflix. The main character of this film, played by Millie Bobby Brown, is the teenage sister of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes. Their mother leaves one night without explanation and Enola, who had a very special education, decides to go search for her in London. It’s both funny and endearing. Continue reading

Monthly Favourites – July 2020

August is already underway, but I still have to share with you my favourites from last month. I haven’t forgotten! They include a book, a film, a blog post and a music album.

My favourite book from the four that I finished in July is The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker. It is an engrossing retelling of the Iliad that, despite being told mainly from the point of view of Briseis, who became a bed-slave during the Trojan war, also presents the perspectives of Achilles and Patroclus at some occasions. As the story is told from different viewpoints, it successfully sets a contrast between how women who became slaves had to grieve quietly, while men were free to do so openly. It features believable, intricate characters and evocative descriptions.

Throughout last month, I mainly watched TV series, but none blew me away. I enjoyed How to Train Your Dragon 2, the only film that I watched, far more. Taking place a few years after the first film, this computer-animated fantasy film is both sad and comforting. Vikings and dragons live in harmony until their lives are disturbed by Drago. I also cherished learning more about Hiccup’s family. Continue reading

Films I Watched Before Reading the Books

Many people favour reading the books before watching the film adaptations. I don’t have a strong preference. While sometimes I make sure to read the book beforehand, other times I just watch the film and then read (or not) the book afterwards. In fact, I discovered a couple of my favourite books thanks to their adaptations. There are at least four films that I watched before picking up the books.

 

Atonement

Directed by Joe Wright and released in 2007, Atonement was the film that introduced me to the work of Ian McEwan. I read the book (more precisely the Portuguese translation) shortly after watching the film at the cinema. Set in different time periods, the story starts in 1935, when Briony is rehearsing a play. She misunderstands the relationship between her older sister Cecilia and Robbie, leading her to want to atone for her actions.

 

Pride and Prejudice

I also watched the 2005 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen before reading the book. I know that not everyone is a fan of this film, directed by Joe Wright, but I love it and have watched it many times, since a friend recommended it to me more than a decade ago. The plot is well known. Mrs Bennet is eager to marry her five daughters. Elizabeth, the second eldest, is intelligent, playful, witty and believes that she is a great reader of characters, although she sometimes judges people without knowing all the facts. One of them is Mr Darcy, who struggles to overcome his pride. Continue reading

Monthly Favourites – April 2020

April seems to have flown by considering everything that is going on. Although I’m still reading even more slowly than usual, I have quite a good book to share with you today, together with a film, a post by a fellow blogger and a couple of YouTube videos.

My favourite book from the ones that I read during the month that has just ended is The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal. Set in 1850, it has as main character Iris. She strongly desires to become a painter, even if her aspiration is not considered appropriate by her family. Her life changes in various ways when she meets Silas, a taxidermist, and Louis, a painter who wants her to be his model. This is a story about desire for independence, freedom and the difference between love and obsession. Not only is the plot gripping, but there’s also a great creation of ambiences. Despite the characters feeling slightly artificial at first, they become fully fledged.

Every other April, the film Capitães de Abril (April Captains), first released in 2000, is broadcast on Portuguese TV. I had partially watched it in various occasions, but this was the first time that I watched it from the very beginning until the end. It is not the best film ever made, but I highly enjoyed it. Directed by Maria de Medeiros, it is about the Carnation Revolution, which put an end to the dictatorship in Portugal in 1974. It’s a mix of real and fictional characters and events. The main focus is on Salgueiro Maia, played by Stefano Accorsi, who was one of the captains that led the military forces. Continue reading

Monthly Favourites – January 2020

January has come to an end, so it’s time for the first edition of my monthly favourites of 2020! As I’ve mentioned in my bookish resolutions for this year, from now on these overviews will also start including my favourite blog posts and YouTube videos from each month. This month, they are accompanied by a book, a TV series and a film.

The book I enjoyed the most was The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. It’s an enthralling mystery and family drama that explores the difficulties faced by women in the 20th century. Laura Chase, Iris’s sister, drove a car off a bridge ten days after the end of the Second World War. What was the real reason behind Laura’s fate? The answer is confirmed at the end of this great novel, which consists of a first-person narration by Iris, various news pieces and a short book written by Laura. Although it is occasionally too slow paced, I highly recommend it.

I also spent a great couple of hours watching Dracula on Netflix (I believe it was originally created by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat for the BBC). It’s one of those series that I’ll certainly re-watch many times to discover new details. Claes Bang is perfect as Count Dracula. The first episode is terrifying, and the second is strangely compelling, considering that it’s set in such a confined space. The third episode has a completely different feeling from the others. It reminded me of Sherlock at times, not only because it’s set in modern-day England, but also because the interactions between Dracula and Van Helsing resembled those of Moriarty and Sherlock. Despite being my least favourite of the episodes, I still highly enjoyed it. I liked how it tries to come up with an answer to why Dracula fears certain objects. Continue reading

Other Favourite Stories of 2019

Books are undoubtedly the protagonists of this blog. However, I also consume stories, be they fictional or not, through other forms of media. So, I like to annually compile and share with you my other favourite stories, which are usually TV series and films. From the ones that I watched for the first time in 2019, I have four favourites.

 

Game of Thrones – Season 8

The last season of Game of Thrones was surely divisive. I’m part of the seeming minority (or maybe of the less vocal majority) who liked it immensely. I’ve discussed the reasons behind my enjoyment in significant detail on my monthly favourites of April and May, so I’m going to avoid spoilers and be brief this time.

Season 8 is visually stunning, atmospheric and emotive. Not only did I cry, but I also laughed. The acting is outstanding, the camera work is fantastic, and the score is perfect. I don’t think that I’ve mentioned it before, but I loved the final montage. The actions of the characters, in my opinion, result fully from their personalities and are a consequence of their life experiences. Although there is one occurrence that, at first, feels slightly anticlimactic, everything makes sense. I would have liked it to be one or two episodes longer (I think I’ve used the term ‘a couple of’ before). They were not necessarily needed for a fitting telling of the story, but I selfishly wanted more interactions between the characters. Their state of mind would have been even clearer. Continue reading