Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
I’ve already raved about this book here, but it’s definitely a must read. Beautifully written post-apocalyptic novel with an interesting plot, an air of eerieness and a hint of ‘this could happen’ness. Just go read the longer review to get a much better sense of this book.
Mr Mercedes by Stephen King
Mr Mercedes is the first in a new series by Stephen King. It features a retired detective, who lives a dull boring life and toys with the idea of ending it all. Until one day he receives a message from the ‘one who got away’, Mr Mercedes, the one case he didn’t crack and that haunts him. What follows is a cat and mouse game to find Mr Mercedes, though who is hunting who? Thoroughly enjoyed this, getting back into mystery and crime novels that I loved oh so much growing up (hell yeah Enid Blyton). Looking forward to the next novel!
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
I read all of Rowell’s books this year, bar her new one Landline, but this was the first I read and my favourite. While I did enjoy the other two, I think this one pipped it. Probably because I read it first and probably because I really liked the nerdy element to it. Plus Eleanor and Park made me bawl like a baby and I’m still a bit raw thinking about it! Fangirl follows Cath and her twin sister Wren, who both go off to college. But while Cath wants to live with her sister and continue with their online fanfiction writing, Wren wants more independence and to make new friends. I thought it was a sweet YA novel.
The Likeness by Tana French
The second book in French’s Dublin Murder Squad series and this one follows Cassie, who gets sucked back into the undercover world when a girl who looks just like her winds up dead. Even more spooky than that is the fact that her ID is Cassie’s old undercover alias, Lexie. Cassie’s old boss Frank decides to the best way to find this mystery girl’s killer is to pretend that she was injured, not killed and put Cassie back in the house to suss out what happened. Can Cassie pull this off, especially without becoming emotionally involved? I loved this, Tana French is slowly becoming a favourite and I’ve only read two books so far!
The Art of Baking Blind by Sarah Vaughan
This is like The Great British Bake Off in a novel. Eaden’s Supermarket is trying to find a new Mrs. Eaden (the original being the wife of the founder and a big role model, the Nigella of the 60s) and decides to host a competition. The story revolves around the contestants, their complicated lives and the reasons why they bake. It could be easy to dismiss this as a chick lit read but the characters and stories are complex. The story also slowly revolves are Kathleen (Mrs. Eaden) from the 60s and the woman behind the perfect front
Just My Type by Simon Garfield
I must have raved about this book so much through out the year. I personally found it fascinating. Each chapter has a different story revolving around fonts, from the controversy of Comic Sans, the history of some fonts, how a French Anti-Piracy campaign ended up using a pirated font, can you spend a day without using Helvetica and the big uproar of when Ikea changed their font. The chapters are short, so you don’t feel bogged down in details or get bored. Looking forward to reading more Garfield this year.
One Summer by Bill Bryson
This is another book that I brought up in conversation to others several times over the year. It revolves around the summer of 1927 in America. It’s a big heft of a book but I loved how the characters all ended up being connected like a big spider web. There was some bits and pieces where I found the stats heavy (specifically baseball stats!) but I really loved the concept of the book.
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty
Caitlin Doughty and her Ask a Mortician series has been mentioned on here a few times. I love reading topics on death (I’m not morbid!) and I loved Doughty’s memoir, starting from when she first found work in a crematory, her experiences and how she came to set up The Order of the Good Death. It made me laugh in places and I cried once. Doughty’s character that I’ve often seen in the videos definitely comes through and just makes the book special.
Perseoplis by Marjane Satrapi
A graphic drawing memoir told in stories of snippets of Satrapi’s childhood growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. There is some historical background too, to the build up the Revoltion, which I found interesting as I really had never heard of any of it prior to this. I loved the interaction of Satrapi and her family and the little bits of wisdom that comes out in their interactions. I also loved seeing Satrapi grow up and become a bit of a rebel. There’s a second part to this story in another book, where she moves to Europe in her late teens, but that book made me cry so much and broke my heart. Still a beautiful story though.
Love, Nina by Nina Stibbe
Another book I’ve raved about quite a bit this year! There will be a lot who probably won’t enjoy this, as it’s letters Stibbe sent back to her sister when she moved to London to become a nanny and just tells the day to day tales of her life. But I found it hilarious at times, because the children and their mother are so funny. It was also sweet and was just so comforting. I listened to it, which I think really added to it as I loved Stibbe’s narration. And come on, how amazing is that book cover?!
Top 5 TV Shows
Watched this on Netflix, it follows Don, the FBI agent who gets his mathematican brother Charlie to use maths to help solve cases. Sounds a bit nerdy but if you’re a fan of CSI and the likes, you’ll probably enjoy this.
2. Game of Thrones
Everyone and their mothers are watching Game of Thrones. Worst thing about it is when it finished and you suffer from major withdrawals!
3. Orange is the New Black
Talk about withdrawals, I watched this in the first weekend it was released and then was left waiting another 51 weeks the new series! But it was SO worth it.
4. House of Cards
Politics has never been so interesting!
5. Rupaul’s Drag Race
Watched all the series on Netflix and am so excited for the new season to come out this month! Start your engine
1. Guardians of the Galaxy
I was late to the show when seeing this but glad I did catch it in the cinema. Laughed out loud several times and the soundtrack is amazing.
2. Lego Movie
Saw this twice in the cinema! Very sweet and funny.
Ya, I know, I’m dreadful, it took me until December to watch this. I did enjoy this story but nothing tops The Little Mermaid!
4. X-Men Days of Future Past
Another comic book film, another cinema trip! It was super fun, I do enjoy the X-Men series.
5. The Muppets
I need to watch more Muppet movies as they make me smile and are always feel good. And the songs were very catchy in this film.
Top 5 Songs
Happy Pharrell Williams
Who didn’t love this song?! I still do enjoy it, I stopped listening to it for a bit to avoid getting fed up of it. Saying that, I also really liked Marilyn Monroe by Pharrell too, it grew on me.
Shake It Off Taylor Swift
This song! Instant mood booster. Had me bopping and singing around work.
Bang Bang Jessie J Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj
This song just had ‘me’ written all over it, it was the beat that got me into it in the first place. Nice to have 3 big female singers on one track without any mention of bitchiness or competition.
Fancy Iggy Azalea and Charlie XCX
Another one that got stuck in my head! And I listened to it so much I know all the words now.
All About That Bass Meghan Trainor
This year seemed to have a lot of ass related songs (J.Lo and Iggy had one, as did Nicki Minaj), the girl who’s bringing booty back was my favourite.