While they’re great for as a backdrop for my virtual calls, I felt I should probably made use of my books a bit more. Here are seven random titles that I recently got lost in.
Out – Natsuo Kirino
Summary: Natsuo Kirino’s novel tells a story of random violence in the staid Tokyo suburbs, as a young mother who works a night shift making boxed lunches brutally strangles her deadbeat husband and then seeks the help of her co-workers to dispose of the body and cover up her crime.
Tea’s Thoughts: While the story isn’t amazingly original, what made this book great was the incredible descriptions of the setting, the interesting take on female friendship and the way it didn’t shy away from a realistic depiction of violence.
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
Summary: Orphaned as a child, Jane has felt an outcast her whole young life. Her courage is tested once again when she arrives at Thornfield Hall, where she has been hired by the brooding, proud Edward Rochester to care for his ward Adèle. Jane finds herself drawn to his troubled yet kind spirit. She falls in love. Hard. But there is a terrifying secret inside the gloomy, forbidding Thornfield Hall. Is Rochester hiding from Jane? Will Jane be left heartbroken and exiled once again?
Tea’s Thoughts: After binging Bridgerton, I felt going back to the era where it all began. I love this one for several reasons, but I keep coming back to it because it’s less formulaic than some of the other classics written by women in that period. Everyone may have soft spot for Mr Darcy, but Mr Rochester will always be the one for me.
Remainder – Tom McCarthy
Summary: A man is severely injured in a mysterious accident, receives an outrageous sum in legal compensation, and has no idea what to do with it. One night, an ordinary sight sets off a series of bizarre visions he can’t quite place. How he goes about bringing his visions to life–and what happens afterward–makes for one of the most riveting, complex, and unusual novels in recent memory.
Tea’s Thoughts: This is a very unique story, which might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the weird surreal plot just makes me want to keep on turning the page. Amazingly, it’s actually set in my local neighbourhood, even referencing a street I regularly walk down. And even more strangely, I worked on and was an extra on the film adaptation starring Tom Sturrige.
The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories – H. P. Lovecraft
Summary: This collection spans Lovecraft’s literary career, and charts the development of his ‘cosmicist’ philosophy; the belief that behind the veil of our blinkered everyday lives lies another reality, too terrible for the human mind to comprehend.
Tea’s Thoughts: These stories that are written in the early 20-century was a bit intimidating to start off with, due to the old-fashioned language, but once you get into it’s perfect for a dark, stormy winter nights.
American Gods – Neil Gaiman
Summary: Days before his release from prison, Shadow’s wife, Laura, dies in a mysterious car crash. Numbly, he makes his way back home. On the plane, he encounters the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, who claims to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America.
Together they embark on a profoundly strange journey across the heart of the USA, whilst all around them a storm of preternatural and epic proportions threatens to break.
Tea’s Thoughts: The magical thing about this book is that it takes the familiar – the Gods we all know – and throws them into a strange mix that you never expect.
Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist – Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Summary: It all starts when Nick asks Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes. He only needs five minutes to avoid his ex-girlfriend, who’s just walked in to his band’s show. With a new guy. And then, with one kiss, Nick and Norah are off on an adventure set against the backdrop of New York City- and smack in the middle of all the joy, anxiety, confusion, and excitement of a first date.
Tea’s Thoughts: Amid some rather heavy going list, this palette cleanser that took me to New York was everything I needed from a book. While I love the characters, setting and soundtrack, the star of the story for me has to be the Yugo car.
Starting Point: 1979-1996 – Hayao Miyazaki
Summary: A hefty compilation of essays (both pictorial and prose), notes, concept sketches and interviews by (and with) Hayao Miyazaki. Arguably the most respected animation director in the world, Miyazaki is the genius behind “Howl’s Moving Castle,” Princess Mononoke” and the Academy Award-winning film, “Spirited Away.
Tea’s Thoughts: An insightful look at the creator of some of my favourite animated films, taking in history, politics and crashing a car in the middle of a field. It really gave me a new understanding of everything from Kiki to Totoro and Chihiro, and really emphasised how people’s life experience can influence their art.
Disney+’s Star is launching next week and serving us Europeans up a bunch of new content. Though I’m very excited to finally see Atlanta, Alias and Ugly Betty, I’m even more excited about the return of the Touchstone Movies and 20th Century Studios movies I watched during the summers of 1999 – 2003.
The ones I used to cycle to the video rental shop, carefully curate a film with my friends and then watch while enjoying homemade popcorn with melted M&Ms.
Some of these have become classics and others are just a perfect Friday evening film that needs to be re-watched.
Anywhere But Here
Summary: A mother and daughter search for success in Beverly Hills.
Tea’s Thought: Is this Gilmore Girls before we had Gilmore Girls? All I recall is Susan Sarandon’s cutest outfits and I’m sure I’ll be searching on how to buy them when I rewatch.
Summary: Two women are arrested for smuggling while vacationing in Thailand.
Tea’s Thought: This one shook me in many ways, and I’m even surprised I started to travel. I need to see if the situation they ended up in is as bad as I have in mind.
Summary: At Pacific Palisades High, a poor Latino falls hard for a troubled girl from an affluent neighbourhood.
Tea’s Thought: I’m not sure if I actually saw this film in the end or if I just saw all the Tumblr GIFs. Either way, I’ll be rewatching this and then trying to find some other classics of Kirsten Dunst.
Drive Me Crazy
Summary: Nicole and Chase used to be BFFs, then junior high happened. The high school centennial dance is coming, but Nicole gets dumped. So does Chase. They stage a relationship to get back at their exes. They visit each other’s worlds. Love in the air?
Tea’s Thought: Britney Spears vouched for this one, so it had to be good. If I remember correctly this one was rented out for ages, and you had to go on a waiting list. I don’t recall much. Did they really work at a diner? Does Britney have a cameo? I will need to prioritise this.
Here On Earth
Summary: A rich college kid is taught a lesson after a joy ride ends up destroying a country restaurant.
Tea’s Thought: I’m not sure if I’ve actually seen this one as there was that one summer that was just one big Josh Hartnett marathon and they literally all merge into one. Except The Faculty – now that is a classic.
Kissing Jessica Stein
Summary: A woman searching for the perfect man instead discovers the perfect woman.
Tea’s Thought: This was such an adult pick and I feel I missed out on a lot, including the fact Jon Hamm was in it, I have no memories of him so will need to refresh.
Summary: The extracurricular king of Rushmore Preparatory School is put on academic probation.
Tea’s Thought: I was in awe from the first second, and it has continued to be my favourite Anderson film: from the first time we see Max Fisher to the Yearbook Montage and the theatre performance at the end. Most of the Wes Anderson films are going to be on Star and though I own his collection on DVD I’m sure I’ll be rewatching them
William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet
Summary: Shakespeare’s famous play is updated to the hip modern suburb of Verona while still retaining its original dialogue.
Tea’s Thought: I’m a bit afraid to re-watch this one as I can’t imagine it being the mind blowing film I saw as a 12 year old.
The Sundays keep on coming and walks keep on happening.
Early morning XXL walk to get bread – I usually take a detour via parks, mews and alleys to avoid the main road.
Seeing a bit of The Lockdown Exhibition on my way. It’s a local exhibition walking route where a selection of artists showcase their work in shop windows of local shops, pubs and restaurants. Love Letter to Camberwell by Hamley Jenkins is my favourite so far.
The parks around here are small, so I literally walk all the paths to extend my time in a green space. Usually it’s a great excuse to take an extra look at the cute dog running around. Today, however, I overheard two dog owners talking about dognappers, and now I’m conscious I look suspicious…
When queueing I love taking photos of bus ads that are either super outdated or have something pandemic related. Sadly most of them have been taken over by ads for online investments, betting and food delivery. But this one without an ad is also spot on.
How about this one surviving the snow and frost! I can’t wait for spring and seeing things in bloom. I’ve lost hope for hoping, but spring can’t be cancelled, right?
It also inspired me to kick off on my 2021 green garden project. I’m confident about the spring onion and rocket, and let’s see what’s on the cards for the chillies and peppers. Either way… it will keep me busy.
In addition to London, Melbourne and several places in the Netherlands , I’ve also called a small village in Germany, a small town in Finland and an even smaller ski haven in Austria my home (as an adult that is).
I have my plan for what I want to do and where I want to be in 10 years and though I’m not done with London, I’ve given some thinking about where I want to potentially settle in the next few years.
In the name of manifestation, the wish fulfilling Gods and the universe I’m throwing out some locations that top my list.
Do I love jumping on every lockdown hobby / trend? As read here, here and here… YES I DO. As long as it promises to keep me busy for a bit and isn’t too hard to source I will give it a try. But over the past months, I must admit I have said no to a few lockdown hobbies.
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