The Hippopotamus.

by Stephen Fry.

This book was not at all what I was expecting. I mean, first of all it’s written in the first person – I haven’t read a book in the first person in aaaaages – and secondly, it’s so over the top. The main dude is such a pretentious, cantankerous old fart, and yet as the story goes on, he kinda grows on you, despite his being an annoying lecherous old fart… Haha.

So, like the main dude, the story grew on me, and I finished it much quicker than I expected. I was quite surprised to see the timeline of the book being in the early 90s – it’s been such a long time since I’ve seen a story set in that time period – but it doesn’t detract from the story at all (perhaps because I lived the 90s – it might not resonate so much with people who don’t remember a time without mobile phones…) and I really enjoyed the reading about the shenanigans that the wealthy English aristocrats get up to.

And then when I finished and put the book up on goodreads, I found out that the book had been published in 1994… which makes the timeline make sense now hahahaha… Too funny.

I’m curious to know whether Stephen Fry’s writing is always like this…. but I have many, many already purchased books to get through… Haha. So we shall see when the next Fry book shows up on my list :D

Look Who’s Back.

by Timur Vernes.

First of all, the cover art is incredible. So much kudos.

Secondly, what a premise for a story! Adolf Hitler (the one and only real one) wakes up suddenly, randomly, in 2011 in Berlin. Because he is the Fuhrer, he learns quickly to adapt to his situation, and because it is the age of media, of course he is lauded as a comedian with impeccable research skills, and who quickly becomes a YouTube sensation.

I have never, ever wanted to learn German before in my life. While reading the book, not only did I wish I read German (although the English translation is, I’m sure, brilliant) but I also really wished I knew more about German culture and references. I’m pretty sure the story would have been that much more hilarious.

Such imagination and wit and satirical talent. Loved it.

The Secret Island.

by Enid Blyton.

One of my favouritest stories, ever. How I longed for a secret island that I could run away to, where I could live in a Willow House, on a beautiful island on a lake in beautiful England. I miss England.

Anyway! This book was out of print for so many years, I never thought I’d be able to buy it again. But thank God it got reprinted, so I immediately bought it (thank God for Amazon, because sadly, bookstores in Hong Kong would never stock an old old book such as this) and I re-read once every couple of months.

Now that I’m properly adult, I’ve discovered a couple of discrepancies in the story, and I also have more questions about how the four kids functioned on the island, but still, it’s a fantastic story of survival :D Still love it. Yup.

Sense and Sensibility.

I grew up a huge fan of British literature. From Jane Austen to the Brontë sisters to Charles Dickens to George Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Jeanette Winterson and Ian McEwan, George Orwell, CS Lewis… The list is unending.

When Sense & Sensibility came out back in the 90s (1990s!!!), I remember being quite excited because I was going through an Austen binge at the time. I was at boarding school, and watched it at the cinema with Elissa – to this day, I don’t know why she chose to watch it with me, but I’m very grateful!! I was so in love with Kate Winslet and so in love with Hugh Grant, and Greg Wise was so handsome but how could he have given up love for money!!! The last shot of Greg Wise (as Willoughby) watching the love of his life marry another man from afar, then turning his horse away and riding out of their life… Oh my heart.

Yeah okay I’m a hopeless romantic. Hopeless.

Anyway. It wasn’t until much later on that I realised how beautifully Ang Lee had directed this film, how he had tread the fine delicate line of restraint. And while I fully understand how difficult it must have been for the actors to work with a Taiwanese man, whose culture is completely different, to work on a traditional, classic British story… I do think that whoever it was who hired Lee was one helluva genius. Lee is perfect for all things understated, for things of duty and restraint and… just incredible.

I love that this film is on Netflix. Think I might have to re-watch it again soon :D

(untitled)

so;

hey; you up?

can’t sleep again; and i wanted to tell you that

you’re nothing but

molten dust and bacteria; just

moon formation; oxygen breathing;

ice ages; feet on solid ground;

fire; asteroid impacts; mass extinction;
pangea’s demise; war; renaissance;
discovery; exploration; landfall revolutions;
railroads; light bulbs; photography; a great
depression; a world at war; atomic
explosions; footprints on the moon; ethernet
cables; digital highways;

and poetry; and chance encounters;

i wanted to tell you that

you’re everything; and

before me, it was always you; and

before you, it was always you; and

it was always you; it was always you…

— owen lindley

(you should follow him on instagram if you have instagram… he makes magic with his words…)

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The Woman Who Stole My Life

by Marian Keyes.

I know that Marian Keyes is a bestselling author, but I’ve never read her books… but I was at the airport last week, and it was on sale, and I liked the cover, so I bought it.

So I don’t mind chick lit books, I’ve read my fair share of them, and while I quite liked that this one is rather different to any other chick lit stories I’ve read, it also wasn’t quite my thing. Still, it was nice to put my nose in a book – like a proper book with turnable pages and that wonderful smell of paper and ink… Haha.

Liberal Arts.

That’s two for two, Josh Radnor, two for two.

I understand that Liberal Arts may not be for everyone. I understand that maybe it’s the slightly pretentious ones who really enjoy it. I also understand if you don’t share a love for literature and perhaps classical music, you might not find it even remotely engaging. But it made me happy that there’s a film where the love of books and reading and also music is essential to the story. Ahhh. I freaking loved it. Yup.

Marvel’s Daredevil – Season One.

First of all, I’m biased because I love Charlie Cox. I have always loved him, ever since I first saw him in Stardust. I was also biased with Stardust, because I loved the book so very much. But anyway. I love Charlie Cox, and have done so for many years now. (Having said that though, I have never seen Boardwalk Empire. I had no interest in watching it, until I found that out that Charlie Cox was in it. But yeah, still haven’t seen that show.)

Secondly, I am extremely happy to say that I never saw the Ben Affleck version of Daredevil. It came out during an inopportune time for me – I was working six jobs back then, and going to university – so I just never got round to it. Which is great, because I had no idea what the story was about, no clue as to mythology or back story, and so I could just watch it for what it is. And what it is, is amazeballs.

I love the fact that it’s dark. It’s fantastically dark. It’s not some happy clappy Marvel film kind of thing. The nitty gritty is awesome. And then the action is damn fun. Not to mention Charlie Cox’s flawless American accent, and incredibly portrayal of a blind man. The casting is spot on… with the exception of Karen Page – but then I can’t decide whether I don’t like her because of her character, or because of who plays her. I just… don’t like her. But anyway, back to what makes the show great (and yes, this is me being biased again), the creator and showrunners are Whedon boys. Drew Goddard, Steven S. DeKnight, Doug Petrie, I first saw all those names in Buffy font. But boy these guys have made an awesome show. (Well, Petrie in season two, so I’m getting ahead of myself.)

So yes. I binge watched this when it came out back in 2015. It’s two years later now, and I just re-watched it, and man. I still love it. Netflix ftw.

When Breath Becomes Air

by Paul Kalanithi.

It’s rare for me to find beautiful prose. I think it’s the type of book I usually read – mostly crime thrillers and biographies, sometimes children’s books, mostly adventure-based – which are story-driven and so it’s rare to have words that pirouette off the page.

I randomly came across an excerpt of When Breath Becomes Air in The New Yorker in the middle of the night a few nights ago. It was a breathtaking piece of writing. So much so that I went and bought it immediately, and read it on my Kindle. I finished it at 9am.

Not all of it was as good, some parts of it were better. I suppose that’s normal. The excerpt was actually from towards the end, which made me suddenly realise we were nearing the end of the book, which made me sad. The most surprising part I think, was the epilogue. It was incredibly well-written, and I totally hadn’t expected that. I hadn’t expected both husband and wife (both full-time medics) to be such good writers…

But anyway. It’s a beautiful book about a talented man who had spent his life training as a neurosurgeon, and then just as he was about to take on the world, was forced to face his own mortality. An incredible read.

The Enormous Crocodile

by Roald Dahl.

My favouritest children’s book ever. I’ve bought so many copies of this book – given them to friends with kids, and then gone out to buy another because I like to read it again and again and to stare at the beautiful pictures more. I want to get a tattoo of the **spoiler alert haha** elephant swinging the croc around by his trunk. And then **super spoiler alert** the croc zooming up into space, and then crashing and burning in the sun.

It really is such a great story. I read it today, out loud, to a friend at a cafe. Hahaha. I love it.