Read, Watch and Listen (September)

Every month I love to share some recommendations of a book, TV show and podcast that have kept me entertained. If you are anything like me, you will always be on the lookout for some well made programmes, dramatic novels and fascinating podcasts or fresh new music.

Read ‘Family of Liars’ by E Lockhart

I really enjoyed ‘We Were Liars’, the bestselling book about families that return each year to a small island for family summer gatherings. So as soon as I came across ‘Family of Liars’ which was written as a prequel to this, I knew I would enjoy the storytelling immensely.

This YA book is reflecting on a past summer, when a sad loss hung over the family who were trying to get back to that family holiday magic.

Well written in short chapters, this tale of teenagers growing up and enduring anxiety, enlightenment and love, is keeping me totally entertained.

Watch ‘Platonic’ on Apple TV Plus

As a fan of Rose Byrne, I was excited to see that she has reunited with Bad Neighbours co-star Seth Rogan to make this fresh comedy series.

Sylvia (Rose Byrne), a modern mother and out of practise lawyer, comes across her old friend Will (Seth Rogen) and starts to remember their fun times. Dragging her out for late nights, their friendship is back on track, somewhat at the expense of other relationships.

This comedy is funny and easy to follow. I love the chemistry between these two and Rose’s husband is also great fun to watch.

Listen to ‘That Gaby Roslin Podcast’

Gaby Roslin used to present a fantastic TV show in the 90s, called ‘The Big Breakfast.’ These days she hosts radio shows and presents the BBC Morning Live programme. Her presenting style has always been a combination of clever and witty.

I often listen to her podcast as she has brilliant guests who are always willing to open up to her. A previous highlight was her Kate Winslet chat and recently she has interviewed Harriet Walter. Harriet shone a light on her hilarious and dramatic contributions to Ted Lasso and Succession.

In Harriet’s episode she talks about her experiences in theatre and the fun she had hanging out with Hannah Waddingham. She laughs about her three children in Succession and remembers fondly meeting her idol.

Final Thoughts

Going back to work four weeks ago has meant I have been very busy after a lovely, relaxed six week summer holiday. Work stress is already massive and so any opportunity to escape into a book, take in a dramatic TV series or soak in the bath while listening to a podcast is welcome.

Make sure you check out one of my recommendations above and let me know what you think about them.

Talking of returning to work, check out my Back to school poem and maybe follow my blog for similar future updates.

Can Reading Be Passive?

Being an avid reader, I spend a lot of time thinking about books. Not only do I daydream about them but I also chat about them lots. Luckily many of my friends and colleagues are almost as obsessed with literature as I am.

My work mates are always recommending or slating books. Word of mouth is so valuable and I can see how authors benefit from people telling their friends about the novels that left a mark on them.

Whatever reading is, it definitely isn’t passive. Books are immersive experiences and it would be difficult to pick up a well written story without getting absorbed into the narrative.

Here are my three reasons why I believe that reading is an active sport.

1) Sucked In

When I read a good book, I soon become immersed in the pages. My mind wonders to the locations that are described and I lose touch with my surroundings. Not only that, but I usually lose track of time as well.

Getting sucked into the narrative is a complement to any writer. It shows that they are entertaining, intriguing and weaving a tale that distracts the reader from the monotony of their daily lives.

2) Talking Points

When people read novels and short stories that they like, they tend to want to talk about them. My friends often come in and excitedly proclaim how amazing their latest read is.

Enthusiasm is infectious. If I see someone being excited by a good book, I know that I have to read that book and fond out why it is so special.

3) Investments

If you were passively reading a book then you would not begin to empathise with the characters. This is hard to do. I certainly become invested in Joanne Harris and Liane Moriarty books and love when sequels come out.

When you are invested in storybook worlds, you cannot help but care about the main characters and want to discover what happened next in their fabricated lives.

Final Thoughts

If you love books as much as I do (and let’s face it – books are a multibillion dollar industry these days) then you will identify with the reasons I gave above.

It is impossible to passively read books because they are thought-provoking and, when written well, immerse you in their fictional landscapes, making you want to love or hate their characters.

Have you ever been sucked into a good book?

Has a character ever enraged you?

Do you think that reading can be passive?

Check out a recent review I wrote about Truly Madly Guilty by Liana Moriarty. Please also follow my blog for more book, TV and film reviews as well as climate change articles.

Could Your Life Be A TV Series?

Sometimes I daydream about all sorts of things. When I say sometimes, I mean nearly all of the time. You may remember that recently I wrote an article about having a soundtrack for your life. That was one example of what I often think about, especially when I daydream.

Here it is, if you missed it the first time.

Anyway, the other day I was imagining that my life was a TV series. I actually had ‘Succession’ in mind originally but then I drifted off into other possibilities.

Have you ever imagined your life as a TV series or movie?

TV Shows That Remind Me Of Me

Now, it may seem unlikely but I was watching the new ‘Sex and the City’ spinoff – ‘And Just Like That’ last night and thinking about how some of their midlife dilemmas resonate with 45-year-old me.

Even though they are seriously rich and I am not, I get how they feel about certain situations. Carrie is learning to not cling to the past and to move forward. I have recently made many changes to my home and decluttered a lot of things that contain important memories. And just like her, I felt a need to freshen things up.

Going back to Succession, I don’t have any siblings but have witnessed some very messy family fallouts, been involved in awkward relationships, and lost a lot of money in an online gambling binge in my twenties.

I chuckle a lot when watching Stranger Things as I remember all of the 1980s nostalgia that they signpost. My childhood was a 1980s geek fest of Star Wars toys, mountain bike races, and playing basketball on my best friend’s driveway.

I have never had the Upside Down experience of ‘Stranger Things’ but I definitely can relate to the old fashioned TV sets, magical board games and acting out of Dungeons and Dragons.

Final Thoughts

For me, the idea of trying to match TV shows to my life is lots of fun. I can imagine how some programmes link to my life now, my university days, and my teenage years. Part of me wishes that my life was more like that of Spiderman back then.

Anyway, my TV series would be about a guy who is obsessed with movies and theatre, spends a lot of time acting like an agony uncle for his friends, and is incredibly close to his rather grumpy nan.

Have you ever compared a TV series to your own life?

Is there one that mirrors your experiences?

Maybe you are a combination of shows or perhaps yours is still several pilot episodes waiting to launch into an Emmy-winning long-running series.

For another of my articles about TV shows, check out Two TV Shows I Am Enjoying. Perhaps also consider following my blog for similar future content.