The Monthly Media Catchup: Everything I Read, Watched & Listened To | July 2019
Finally a Monthly Media Catch Up blog post that isn’t a bumper edition! Whilst I haven’t consumed an enormous amount of media this month, there are some real gems in there, particularly in the books section if you’re after the perfect poolside read. I’m also reviewing The Lion King, which I rushed to cinemas to see because it’s my all-time favourite Disney film.
Anyway, without further ado, here’s everything I read, watched and listened to during the month of July…
One Day by David Nicholls | ★★★★
I read this book over the period of a week poolside during a girls trip to Portugal and it was the perfect holiday read. Set on the 15th July (which, weirdly coincidentally, was the day I started reading it) every year for 20 years, the novel follows the lives of Dexter and Emma who met on the night of their graduation on the 15th July 1988 and remained friends for every year after, always with the inkling that there was something more there. This book makes such a great holiday read because it’s so easy to throw yourself into and become entangled with the lives of Dexter and Emma, as long as you’re prepared for the emotional trauma that comes with it. I had the feeling all the way through this book that I had seen the film before, which I eventually concluded that I had, however I had completely forgotten about the twist at the end of it, so it wasn’t spoilt for me- perks of having a terrible memory. Anyway, I think the book has already had more of a lasting effect on me than the film evidently did.
The Only Story by Julian Barnes |★★★
Julian Barnes is one of my favourite authors however none of his novels have lived up to the first one I read that is simply brilliant, The Sense of an Ending, and The Only Story is no exception. Because I love The Sense of an Ending so much I do feel that I hold all of his novels up to high standards, so take this three star rating with a pinch of salt and maybe add a 0.5 onto it. This novel is a love story about a 19 year old boy who forms a romantic relationship with an older woman, that then continues throughout the rest of their lives, as the novel tracks its complications and difficulties. It tackles interesting questions about why and how we love and it is a heartbreaking story. But it’s just not The Sense of an Ending, so prioritise reading that if you haven’t already.
Derry Girls | ★★★★★
A 5 star review seems generous for this lighthearted TV series but I honestly cannot fault it. It’s everything I want from a comedy and I’ve already rewatched some of the episodes. It’s set in Northern Ireland in the 1990s and follows a group of 5 teenagers who are navigating well, being teenagers. With a backdrop of bombs exploding and armed police, you might not expect so much humour from it but it truly is one of the funniest shows I’ve watched in a while. Apparently there’s a second season that I didn’t know about (I watched the 1st on Netflix) so I am going to go and watch that as soon as possible.
Other than that I’ve been watching Love Island, re-watching Gossip Girl and old episodes of Friends, so apologies that the TV section of this MMC is so dry.
Yesterday | ★★★
I was really excited about this film; the prospect is genius: an aspiring (and failing) musician who is riding his bike is hit by a bus during a worldwide electricity blackout, and when he regains consciousness, he is the only person in the world who remembers The Beatles. Thus, he gains global fame by claiming The Beatles songs as his own. The screenplay is written by Richard Curtis, so I expected it to be great but, in all honesty, it just felt like it was trying a little too much to be 2019, and failing at that. With Ed Sheeran making more appearances than his acting credentials should really allow and a generic plot that you could only just forget about by hearing a Beatles song you love, it really only deserves three stars. Despite this, it was funny at times and I would have gone to see it if only for its soundtrack.
The Lion King | ★★★★
As I mentioned, The Lion King is my favourite Disney film and I truly think this film did it justice. The casting was great and it was fairly true to the original story. I was worried the CGI animals would look a little weird singing Hakuna Matata, but once I got used to it, it worked. As did Beyonce as Nala which I was also unsure about but she is truly the perfect fit for the part. Billy Eichner, whose voice I recognised from Friends From College, was great as a camp Timon and I shed more than one tear throughout the film during the dramatised, emotional moments (RIP Mufasa). It only loses a star because nothing will ever live up to the original.
On The Line | ★★★★
I’ve dabbled into Estée Lalonde’s podcast a few times before but I’ve really gotten into it over the past month. It’s a call in show in which Estée interviews different guests on their topics of expertise every week and anyone can ‘call in’ (record a voice note and send it in) to ask them questions. It’s an easy listen but often educational too, although it does get a little rambly at tims. My favourite episodes were with Brittany Bathgate, Marcia Kilgore (founder of BeautyPie), Att Pynta and, my absolute favourite, the episode with Estée’s mum.
Radio 4 Bookclub | ★★★★
I discovered this one based on a High Low recommendation from Dolly and have since been listening to the episodes with all my favourite authors. The premise of the show is author interviews based on one of their particular books in which an audience are present and can ask questions. My favourite episodes were with David Nicholls on One Day (which I listened to immediately after finishing the novel) and Margaret Atwood on The Handmaid’s Tale, of which I am eagerly awaiting the sequel.