Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 | Book Challenge No.9

I don't know if I've enjoyed a selection of five books from this challenge more; two from childhood and one from teenagehood, with the other two being exciting character studies. With winter holiday in full flux, I've been reading virtually nonstop.

further reading: intro / part 1 / part 2 / part 3 / part 4 / part 5 / part 6 / part 7 / part 8

41. A book based on a true story - The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff
Loosely inspired by the life of Lili Elbe, The Danish Girl is a highly fictionalised account of Elbe's life as the first person to undergo sex reassignment surgery. The novel walks the reader through the first moment Elbe discovered her need for transformation until nearly the end of her life, with moments largely imagined and not pulled from real life experiences. Because the book is so fictionalised, I found it odd that the book spent so much time focusing on Greta, Elbe's wife's viewpoint, rather than that of Elbe herself. Otherwise, The Danish Girl is an interesting, informative read.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Two Hundred Years of Emma

"The course of true love never did run smooth."

Jane Austen borrows Shakespeare's famous line in Emma - her fourth book, originally published in December 1815 - as an introduction to the romantic drama. Though I am not as attached to this novel as I am to Pride & Prejudice, I'm currently in the middle of my third re-read as a commemoration of Emma's bicentennial. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

2015 | Favourite Albums

I pulled my album favourites from nearly all corners of the music market this year, from mainstream pop and electronic to jazz and soul. The ladies consistently killed it this year with long-awaited arrivals - Adele - and new twists on old sounds - Florence.

25 by Adele
Adele's third, highly highly anticipated, record-breaking album is everything I hoped for and more. From the opening melancholy-tinged "Hello" to the midtempo hopefulness of "Sweetest Devotion," 25 is an delightful, emotional rollercoaster. 25 features Adele experimenting with different contemporary styles but mainly showcasing her much-missed powerhouse vocals, particularly on tracks like "When We Were Young" and "All I Ask." 
Favourite tracks: When We Were Young, Water Under the Bridge, Love in the Dark

Monday, December 21, 2015

2015 | Favourite Books & TV Shows

Last year I put all of my favourites into one post, but with the sheer number of music-related things I loved this year I thought it better to separate books and television into one post and music into another (coming later this week). To make it easier on myself I narrowed everything down to pieces released this calendar year (except for All the Light We Cannot See).


All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
I included Anthony Doerr's most recent novel even though it wasn't published this year because it was not only the best book I read this year, but one of my favourite books I have ever read. Set in World War II, All the Light We Cannot See follows two characters - a blind French girl and a curious German boy - and two timelines - their childhoods and their lives' convergence and subsequent consequences in 1944. Doerr won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for this novel, and there's no question that he absolutely deserved it.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

2015 | Book Challenge No.8

With finals week came a spare five day gap in between tests where, along with studying, I was able to cram in quite a bit of reading.

further reading: intro / part 1 / part 2 / part 3 / part 4 / part 5 / part 6 / part 7

36. A book with a number in the title - Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
I first read this classic comedy in my Shakespeare class freshman year - though I have of course watched She's the Man many times - and decided a re-read was in order. Also known as "What You Will," "Twelfth Night" centres around a set of twins, Viola and Sebastian, who are separated in a shipwreck. Viola disguises herself as a man and works for a duke, whom she falls in love with, yet the duke is in love with a countess, who falls for Viola, who the countess thinks is a man. Sebastian enters partway through the story, further mixing up identities, and all the confusion makes for a hilarious tale that few could pull off as well as Shakespeare.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

2015 | Fall Semester Rewind

Monday, December 14, 2015

Five Beloved Films

We all have those movies that we've seen time and time again and yet never get tired of watching them. They might not necessarily be our favourites, but there's something about them that's always enjoyable. I've gathered a few that I could - and have - watched over and over again and still haven't gotten tired of them.

Adapted from Neil Gaiman's novel, this 2007 film features a young Charlie Cox as Tristan, a teenager who lives in a village bordering a magical kingdom called Stormhold. In an attempt to win the love of one of the village girls, Tristan crosses the wall between kingdoms to retrieve a fallen star, which, to his surprise, turns out not to be a pile of sparkly dust but a woman named Yvaine. To make it back home to his love, Tristan and Yvaine must safely cross through Stormhold, full of evil princes, witches, and magicians that also wish to claim Yvaine's power. Stardust has a huge, fantastic cast and the musical score is incredible. While it is far from the greatest movie ever made, it is an endearing tale of love and adventure, and it is one of my favourite book-to-film adaptations.

Monday, December 7, 2015

2015 | Book Challenge No.7

With my university's far less than sufficient number of reading days and the delightfully dreary weather outside forcing me indoors, I felt it apt to finally post the next set of books. This should have been up a few weeks ago but I've been horrible with remembering to write down the books I read, and consequently the rest of my posts are delayed.

further reading: intro / part 1 / part 2 / part 3 / part 4 / part 5 / part 6

31. A funny book - Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
The second I saw Mindy Kaling was writing another book I put myself on the library queue and impatiently watched my reservation move closer and closer to the top of the list. I was a little disappointed by it as I felt her first book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me was better and funnier, but Why Not Me? is still good, full of hilarious essays, looks into her business life and relationships, and lists of her favourite things, all interspersed by her self-deprecating humour.

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