If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know that reading books and watching movies are two of my favourite ways to rest, relax and recharge.
I love this quote from an Iranian woman photographed by the Humans of New York project:
Books and films can transport you into different lives, different worlds, different possibilities. And reading a book or watching a movie you enjoy can be a real mood-booster too. The last movie I saw was Joy (here’s my review), and I felt great when I left the cinema.
We’re a week into the new year already, and 2016 has some exciting new books and movies in store. Last year, I wrote that I was looking forward to Far from the Madding Crowd with Carey Mulligan and the adaptation of the Irène Némirovsky novel Suite Française.
I saw both of those movies in 2015 and I liked Far from the Madding Crowd so much (beautiful cinematography, stellar acting and a lovely soundtrack) that I watched it twice. The BAFTA award nominations were released this morning, but neither Suite Française nor FftMC received any nominations — not even for costume design or motion picture soundtrack.
Without going too off-topic, I’m surprised and mildly frustrated by some of the movies that received the highest number of BAFTA nods — Mad Max: Fury Road received seven and The Revenant got eight. Other much more worthy contenders, in my opinion (Carey Mulligan in Suffragette and FftMC, Charlotte Rampling in 45 Years, Jennifer Lawrence in Joy…) were snubbed and didn’t receive a single nomination.
Moving on to books, I anticipated two literary releases in 2015: At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen, the author of Water for Elephants, and Almost Famous Women by Megan Mayhew Bergman. I didn’t get around to reading Almost Famous Women but I did read Gruen’s novel, which was disappointing. I had enjoyed Water for Elephants, but her latest novel didn’t hit the mark and the characters weren’t convincing.
So, what’s coming up in 2016?
The Light Between Oceans is a book-to-movie adaptation of the novel by M. L. Stedman. The novel is a haunting story of a young couple, Tom and Isabel, who are the lighthouse keepers — and the only inhabitants — of a remote island off the coast of Australia.
When an adrift rowing boat washes up one day, containing a dead man and a living baby, they raise the child as their own without reporting the events. After experiencing two miscarriages and a stillbirth, Isabel is overjoyed and calls the child a “gift from God”. But when she is two, they return to mainland Australia and realize that their choice has devastated someone else’s life.
La La Land is an upcoming musical comedy-drama set in Los Angeles, starring Emma Stone as an aspiring actress who falls in love with a jazz pianist, played by Ryan Gosling. Due for release in July, it sounds (and looks) like a fun summer movie to watch.
Also out in July is a biographical drama about literary editor Max Perkins, who was the editor for Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. The outstanding cast, including Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman, puts this movie on my must-see list.
Plenty of exciting book releases are due to be released this year. I’m looking forward to Girl Through Glass by Sari Wilson, which tells the story of a young woman coming of age in the competitive world of New York City ballet.
What Lies Between Us by Nayomi Munaweera tells the story of a mother and daughter who emigrate from Sri Lanka to the US, but they struggle to find happiness in their new country. This novel appeals to me because I am interested in cultural differences and the dissonance that can occur when adapting a way of life in another country.
During the Christmas holidays, I read A Spool of Blue Thread by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Anne Tyler, and I enjoyed her insightful look at the nuances of an American family across three generations. Her latest novel, Vinegar Girl, is a retelling of The Taming of the Shrew — to be published in July.
So, tell me, what books and movies are you looking forward to reading and watching this year?