Read, Watch, Listen

I wanted to try something different today and talk about three different types of media in one post. As you know I love to soak up TV shows and try to read plenty of books all of the time. I also really enjoy listening to podcasts. So it makes sense for me to drop some recommendations now and again.

Today I wanted to start sharing one of each. In this article I will mention three things that I am currently really into. Most days I read a few chapters from a book, listen to a section of a podcast and watch a couple of TV shows. Here are the ones I am loving right now.

Read

This Much is True – Miriam Margolyes

Ever since I saw her popping up as an actress in movies such as the Baz Luhrman version of Romeo and Juliet, I have found Miriam fascinating. She then appeared in a documentary called, ‘The Real Marigold Hotel’ with other celebrities who were exploring India. This series went on for a few years and allowed us to get to know her as a person.

Her hilarious stories and brash way with people made her comedy gold. She has since presented more documentaries on her own which were eye-opening and interesting.

So as soon as I saw that she had written an autobiography, I instantly bought it. Already I am loving it because she maintains her wit whilst reflecting on her interesting childhood and career.

I am still part of the way through this book but every time I pick it up I learn something new and have a giggle too.

Watch

Outer Range – Amazon Prime

I was drawn to this when I saw it advertised on an instagram account for Imogen Poots. She is a wonderful actress who I was lucky enough to see on stage with Imelda Staunton in ‘Who’s afraid of Virginia Wolf’. After this performance I got her autograph and had a lovely chat with her and she came across as very genuine and charming.

Anyway, after checking out the trailer I was quickly keen to have a look at this brand new series set in Western USA. Josh Brolin is the other lead actor in this really intriguing drama. I last saw him in a Kate Winslet movie called ‘Labour Day’. where he was an escaped prisoner who shacked up with Kate.

He is the patriarch of a family in ‘Outer Range’ who are living in the middle of nowhere on a cattle ranch. One day he discovers a large, mysterious hole in one of his fields which seems to be a portal to another dimension. Autumn (played by Imogen) comes to camp in a nearby field and things start to get really weird.

Well all I can say is I was hooked right away. It started off gentle and then ramped up the tension. This one is definitely well worth checking out.

Listen

Bridgerton – The Official Podcast

As a massive Bridgerton fan I was excited to listen to the first season of this podcast where they discuss plots, characters and everything related to the making of the TV series.

Shondaland has created a brilliant podcast which includes people who work behind the scenes and cast members. In the second series they are discussing an episode a week and have all of the main actors involved. Hearing them discuss wardrobe, dance practice, set design and dialogue, I feel my need for background information is certainly fulfilled.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post about the book, TV show and podcast that I am currently consuming. For more TV recommendations check out my post, TV shows I laugh at. Please comment your thoughts and consider following my blog for future similar articles.

The Fathers, The Sons and The Anxious Ghost – Book Extract

As I am currently having a little break in Scotland, I decided that today I would share a brief snippet from my first published book. This story of three families was written four years ago and came out in 2019. I am still proud of it because it covers so many different topics in just a hundred and two pages. Hopefully you will find the extract intriguing.

How could I keep everything as normal as possible? How could I hold my head up high? Nothing made any sense to me anymore. I was overwhelmed, bewildered and out of painkillers. My head pounded slowly as it had for the past ten hours. A night spent at my mum’s house was needed but I really ought to go back there, to the home I had shared with Michelle. My heart was sat throbbing gently in the soles of my shoes. My ears quietly rang. My nose ran tirelessly. I felt as though reality had subsided and everything was a mix between chaos and sublime fantasy. My children needed me. No doubt about that. But what could I say? What should I do? Who could I turn to? Why didn’t I see any of this coming? I was not one to cry but tears fell out of my eyes like rain from an overloaded storm cloud suddenly offloading. Like daggers, they seemed to cut across my cheeks and dig into my jaw, carving faint yet permanent etchings across my face and staining me forever like ageing creams dissolving the past and dripping poignantly onto the floor as if flooding and muddying the future and any chance of escape.

I had put a few clothes in a bag last night and got out of there as the police had urged me to. They wanted to examine the house and take finger prints and find out exactly what she did. I had accidentally taken her jumper with me. As I picked it out of the bag I thought about the last time I had seen her in it. Just the other evening. She had been cooking salmon and I recalled her taking it off because she said it stank of fish. I sniffed it now and it was clean and fragrant. It reminded me of spring and the strolls we took through the hills. My heart sank back down into those soles and I gathered myself together. My kids were stood either side of me as they saw me caress her jumper. They leant into my shoulders and we stood in silence, looking out of the window, reflecting quietly.

I gathered up their stuff and we got in the car quickly. My mum asked if I would be alright on the road driving in this state. I tried to make her believe that I was capable and I started to drive off, without looking over my shoulder. I needed to face up to this. As I drove quite slowly through the mainly car-less roads, the usual warmth associated with going home did not reassemble and I was left feeling confused, uncomfortable and out of place. I noticed a glazed look in Alfie’s eyes and the sparkle of partly evaporated tears chalked into his face. I could not determine the way Tess felt exactly as she looked quite serious yet I sometimes thought I could see the beginnings of a smile, especially as we passed some of our favourite haunts, like the park, the duck pond and the place where she went to dancing lessons.

I prayed to a god that I had never really believed in that she might get through this in one piece and have nothing but fond memories of her wonderful mother. Little did I know this day was going to resonate with her more strongly than anyone else. Alfie was the one with mixed emotions, so I largely anticipated him suffering greatly.

I appreciate you taking the time to read this small extract and hope that for some of you it grabbed your interest enough to maybe check out the book. For a recent book review that I did, have a look at my article about Exciting Times.

Why Is Reading Important?

Some people look at me as if I am bonkers for spending my free time reading. Whether they think I have nothing better to do or am just a geeky bookworm (which I am) they put forward the case that reading is quite demanding, almost like doing actual work. This article discusses the reasons why I believe that reading is very important.

Reading Matters

Any kind of reading is useful. Reading doesn’t just have to be working through a thousand page nineteenth century novel. It can be anything from researching holiday destinations to reading a celebrity biography. Reading comics, adverts, instructions, recipes, leaflets, blogs, journals and so many other types of text is all beneficial for your brain.

Practising the art of reading is good for your brain as it keeps your language awareness fresh and focuses your mind. Learning and reading go hand in hand, from taking on board a new DIY skill to getting enough vocabulary to be able to have a conversation while on holiday.

Fiction Is Satisfying

Although I just outlined a lot of non-fiction texts that you may enjoy, I cannot shout loudly enough about how wonderful fiction can be. I went through a period of not reading much in my teenage years and while at Uni but as soon as I started to reintroduce reading for pleasure back into my life I realised just how much I had missed it. Now I have a massive TBR pile of stories that I cannot wait to become invested in.

We all remember being read to by our parents or when we were at school. Most of my friends agree that being immersed collectively in a good story is a magical thing. Teachers are brilliant at putting on character voices and discussing the issues in a story as turning points come up. My love of stories definitely stems from being read to as a child.

Reading fiction opens up other worlds and builds your imagination. Creative people get a lot of inspiration from reading widely. It also helps to develop your own literacy and increase your vocabulary which comes in handy when writing reports, letters, persuasive texts and in everyday life. Reading becomes satisfying when you discover great writing talents and allow yourself to get lost in literacy.

Today I just wanted to start a conversation about how important reading is. Please comment your own thoughts on this below. Here is a previous feature that I wrote about reading. If you enjoyed this post, perhaps consider following my blog for similar content.