Read, Watch, Listen (January)

Recently I have had a few weeks off work for the Christmas holidays. I mainly spent it on holiday but I fortunately found some time to catch up on some quality TV shows, read a few chapters of a good book and turn on some music that I enjoyed. Usually I mention a podcast but currently I am still listening to the same podcasts that I reviewed previously so I chose to mention one of my favourite singers this time instead.

So, I hope that I can interest you in the following sources of entertainment. One is a YA book by two established writers, another is a cooking show which concentrates on Italian cuisine, and the third is an album of memorable songs by a legendary vocalist.

Reading: What If It’s Us (by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera)

I really enjoy YA books by certain authors. Becky Albertalli is one of my absolute faves and I now have a great respect for Adam Silvera too. It was only a matter of time before I got around to reading a book that they jointly wrote.

Anyone who knows me will be aware that I love to read stories told from more than one point of view. This book has that. Ben and Arthur meet randomly in a post office queue in New York and are then totally intrigued by one another. Their LGBTQ story is well told and funny. Although I am only half way through, I am drawn into the lives of these two characters as they deal with all sorts of things, including family issues, friendship dilemmas and the possibility of dating each other.

Watching: StanleyTucci: Searching For Italy

As a massive fan of Italy, ever since I went to Rome and Pompeii in 2000, I was excited to find that Stanley Tucci had decided to make a cookery show where he travels around Italy and discovers the history behind some exquisite and traditional cuisine.

One week he went to Piedmont and the city of Turin (its capital) in the northern area of Italy. His calm, likeable nature makes him a brilliant presenter and you find yourself fascinated by his family heritage and the stories that he tells about how Italian food has been his love for his entire life.

I am so grateful to him for homing in on different parts of Italy and highlighting specific local foods. The only down side is that most of the food involves loads of butter or fats. But putting that aside, it all looks absolutely delicious. I now have Turin at the top of my holiday list and have been inspired to go to many of the places that he explored.

Listening to : Whitney Houston

After seeing the wonderful movie ‘Whitney: I Wanna Dance With Somebody,’ I have been swept up with memories of this incredible performer. Being lucky enough to see her at her best on 1999 and witnessing her perform again twice, I have always been a massive Whitney fan.

I have been replaying some of her greatest hits and watching some of her greatest performances on Youtube. Here are a few of my favourites:

In A Nutshell

I have been watching a lot of TV shows and films and will probably review a few individual books in the next few months. Hopefully, sharing a couple of examples of ones that I am loving may inspire you. Please comment your thoughts on these and whether or not they grab your interest. Perhaps there is a similar book you have just read.

Reviewing the Elvis Movie

After seeing the trailer for the new ‘Elvis’ movie, I was really intrigued, despite knowing next to nothing about the unfortunate crooner. From that trailer alone, I could tell that the actor who played the man himself was a close match and that Tom Hanks’ character, Colonel Parker, was very interesting, especially as it was implied that he manipulated Elvis. Then, seeing Baz Luhrmann’s name appear as writer/director, I had every reason to believe this would be a film well worth seeing. Here is my brief review of the Elvis movie.

In a nutshell

Baz Luhrmann is legendary in my eyes because of his epic Romeo and Juliet movie and Moulin Rouge feature. I had been wondering what he’d been up to lately and was relieved to see that he had put together a biopic about Elvis’s career. During the pandemic I remember Tom Hanks catching Covid in Australia whilst filming an Elvis film and finally we now get to relish the finished product.

Although I hadn’t heard of Colonel Tom Parker before, Tom Hanks played this character fully, even wearing a fat suit and changing his face to match. The Colonel was the person who discovered and managed Elvis right to the end, even after the singer had tried to relinquish his controlling powers.

This script focuses on how their working relationship began happily and then became fairly sour. I won’t give away any spoilers but let’s say it was a very manipulative situation and I really felt sorry for Elvis and began to revere Hanks’ character.

Thoughts On The Movie

The thing that really stood out for me was the incredible, fast-paced editing by Luhrmann. As an avid moviegoer, I am fairly analytical and usually notice the way a film is edited. In this case, you would struggle to not acknowledge the incredible editing skills of this cinematic genius.

In one scene he cut back and forth between scenes in the past and present while the camera seemed to be bouncing along to the rhythm. It was almost as if the camera was dancing at one point when Elvis was perfecting his hip thrusts and gyration.


Not being an Elvis fan, I learned so much about this very talented performer. Austin Butler played the legend very well. His singing, movement and acting were all outstanding as was Tom Hanks. The 2 hours and 39 minutes absolutely flew by and I was totally immersed in this story. You MUST find time to go and see this epic blockbuster. It took my breath away.