Monthly Consumption // June - July 2020

1.8.20

A quick round-up of everything I read, watched and listened to in June and July 2020.

Books 

'The Summer Book' by Tove Jansson - A beautiful book for grown-ups by the creator of the Moomins, 'The Summer Book' tells the story of a grandma and her 6 year old granddaughter passing a summer together on a tiny Finnish island, and it's entirely lovely. 

'Queenie' by Candice Carty-Williams - A humorous novel about one young woman trying to figure out her identity and place in the world. 

'Resistance: A Songwriter's Story of Hope, Change and Courage' by Tori Amos - Part autobiography, part political reflection, this is a book full of honesty and compassion, just as you'd expect from singer/songwriter Tori Amos. 

'Bridge of Clay' by Markus Zusak - From the author of 'The Book Thief' - one of my favourite books - 'Bridge of Clay' is the tale of five brothers recovering from the loss of their mother, who passed away, and their father who walked out. At nearly 600 pages I thought this book would be a bit of an endeavour, but the Dunbar boys' characters are so engaging it was easy to get caught up in their story. 

'Straight Outta Crawley: Memoirs of a Distinctly Average Human Being' by Romesh Ranganathan - The autobiography of comedian Romesh Ranganathan, charting his journey from 
his at-times-difficult childhood, to school teacher, to stand-up comedian and TV personality.

'Perfect Sound Whatever' by James Acaster - Another book by a comedian, this is James Acaster's autobiographical account of one year, and an attempt to convince the world that 2016 was the best year for music, ever. It took me ages to get through this book because I kept stopping to add new artists to my Spotify playlists.

'The Penguin Lessons' by Tom Michell - Imagine going travelling and finding a penguin in need of rescue, before the days where you could simply ask Google what to do or where to find your nearest animal rescue sanctuary. That's exactly what happened to teacher Tom Michell while travelling in South America. This is the delightful story of Juan Salvador the penguin, who ended up living in an Argentinian boys' school.

'Desert Flowers' by Paul Pen - When a stranger turns up at the door of a couple living in the desert with their four daughters, it turns out their idyllic family life might not be as it seems. I really like Paul Pen's writing and was gripped by this story. 

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Movies 

'13th' - A documentary exploring racial inequality and the prison system in the United States, this was heavy but informative.

'The Sun is Also a Star' - Adapted from Nicola Yoon's young adult novel of the same name, this was a bit of a cheesy love story, touching on issues of race and immigration. 

'Disclosure' - A documentary looking at Hollywood's representation of transgender people and the impact that it has on society as a whole. This was really interesting viewing.

'Leave No Trace' - A beautiful film about a father and daughter living off grid and how they adapt when forced back into society. I really recommend this one.
 
'Eurovision Song Contest: the Story of Fire Saga' - Will Ferrell's comedy movie about an Icelandic duo who dream of entering Eurovision. This film is beyond ridiculous, but kind of in a good way, and I've been stuck singing Jaja bloody Ding Dong for weeks.

'Hamilton' - I had high expectations for the Disney + screening of this musical, but left it with mixed feelings. While I enjoyed the music and performance element, my knowledge of American history is so poor that I had to keep looking at Google to understand what was going on.
 
'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri' - A dark comedy drama about a grieving mother who hires three billboards to highlight the lack of justice around her daughter's murder. I wasn't sure what to expect from this film, but really enjoyed it.

'Athlete A' - This month's third documentary, this time examining a sexual abuse scandal and cover-up within the American gymnastics community. Grim.

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TV

'Bordertown' - Season 2 and 3 of the Finnish crime drama, following the unconventional yet gifted Detective Inspector Kari Sorjonen in his work with the Serious Crime Unit in a town near the Russian border. Genuinely upset that I've run out of episodes.

'New Girl' - The final three seasons (5-7) of the American sitcom starring Zooey Deschanel as quirky middle-school teacher Jess. I love this show so much, I almost want to go back to season 1 immediately. 

'Queer Eye' - The fifth season of Netflix's "Fab Five" doing their thing, helping the people of Philadelphia feel better about themselves. Cry.

'Good Omens' - Based on the novel by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, this miniseries about an angel and demon pairing up to stop the Armageddon was pretty entertaining viewing. I loved David Tennant as Crowley, the ridiculous demon.

'13 Reasons Why' - The fourth and final season of Netflix's teen drama, about which I've had very mixed feelings from the start: at times hard-hitting and emotional, I struggled with the over-dramatic or unnecessarily graphic moments throughout the first three seasons, but enjoyed this final season more. 

'Pose' - I am obsessed with this Netflix series, set in New York, amidst the late 80's LGBTQ ball scene. I need season 2 to be released in the UK, like yesterday. 

'The Sinner' - Season 3 of this American crime drama following Detective Harry Ambrose, as he investigates horrendous crimes committed by unexpected people. I loved the first two seasons of this show, but found this one pretty slow and disappointing.

'Stateless' - Based on a true story, a mentally unwell Australian woman is mistakenly detained in an immigration centre in her own country. This was an incredibly moving portrayal of the realities faced by those seeking refuge in a new land.

'Motherland' - Season one of this British sitcom about motherhood in a middle-class neighbourhood - lighthearted, easy-viewing.
 
'The Woods' - Polish mystery miniseries in which newly-discovered evidence reawakens a 25 year old homicide case and brings hope to a local Prosecutor, who believes his sister may still be alive. I was gripped and devoured this.

Jack Whitehall's 'I'm Only Joking' - the newest release from the stand-up comic, which had me chuckling more than laughing out loud. Easy, lighthearted viewing, but nothing to rave about. 

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Music

Over the last two months I've been enjoying a number of albums and EPs - most of them new, but some that I'd missed when first released: Janet Devlin's 'Confessional'; Jack Garratt`s 'Love, Death and Dancing'; Phoebe Bridgers` 'Punisher'; Taylor Swift's surprise drop, 'Folklore'; and plenty of Scottish vibes from Cameron Barnes` 'Almost Fabulous' and Tide Lines` 'Eye of the Storm'.

xo

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