Read & Seen #4 April 2015

Wow, I can’t believe it’s the 1st of May already! Time for another Read & Seen. Which movies did I watch, what books did I enjoy and how is my Goodreads Reading Challenge coming along? Grab yourself a cup of tea or coffee, ’cause April was one busy month!

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Persuasion by Jane Austen (source), Geachte heer M by Herman Koch (source) and The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (source).

Last month I read six novels. Two of them were Dutch classics (you can read the blog post in Dutch here or view my list here). This month I again read one Dutch novel and listened to two Dutch children’s books. A few of Herman Koch’s novels are actually translated into English. His most famous novel, The Dinner (Dutch: Het Diner) is available via Book Depository. I was looking for Het Diner, but while browsing the bookstore I found his latest novel, Geachte heer M (English: Dear Mr. M), which is not yet translated into English. I was excited to read something by Koch, because he is quite a celebrated author in the Netherlands. Too bad I was quite disappointed by Geachte heer M. I still want to try Het Diner, however. There has to be a reason why the novel is so famous, right?

In March I read Sense & Sensibility and although I did not like it as much as Pride & Prejudice or Emma, it got me to try another Austen novel: Persuasion. I loved it! The film adaptation by BBC never was a favourite of mine, but I absolutely adored the novel. You can read the Dutch blog post here. Be sure to take a look at the Barnes & Nobles Collectible Edition Series. They are absolutely stunning and a great eyecatcher for your bookshelves!

Third novel I read last month was The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. This book was on my to be reading list way to long, so when I saw it in the local bookshop, I decided to purchase it. I enjoyed reading it and I would recommend it to any booklover (read the Dutch blog post here).

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Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson (source), Het Sleutelkruid by Paul Biegel and De Rode Prinses by Paul Biegel (own photo).

Another book that was on my TBR list for a while was Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand. It’s a nice read for a lazy Sunday afternoon (review is coming soon!). The last two books of April were two Dutch audio books for children. I listened to them while cleaning up. Not quite sure if audio books is something for me yet, but I’m excited to try them out more.

Goodreads Reading Challenge
So how’s my Goodreads Reading Challenge coming along? This is the first time I’m doing this Challenge and it’s been a great help so far. By the end of April I already read through 57% of my goal of 30 books. I’m eight books ahead of schedule! I know the average goal on Goodreads is about 40 or 50 books, but since I took up reading only this year after some years of near absence (uni and stuff …), I figured I would set myself a goal that was somewhat easier to achieve. Vastleggen in volledig scherm 30-4-2015 194418.bmp Oh yeah!

Wow, I watched a lot of movies this past month. I’m not going to talk about each and every one of them, that would be too much. Let me quickly run you through!

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Letters to Juliet (source), Hysteria (source) and Unbreakable (source).

April started with Letters to Juliet, a nice romantic comedy: cliché but one of the best in it’s genre. I also watched Hysteria, which was a bit of a miss. The idea was okay and I could have turned out quite well were it not for the semi-historical storyline, the overly enthusiastic feminist approach and the cheesy romance were just too much to handle. Even Hugh Dancy couldn’t save it. I only watched it till the end ’cause, well, that’s what I do. Unbreakable was a bit of an unconventional choice for me, but as it was on TV and I was in the same room, I kept on watching. It actually wasn’t bad and Samuel L. Jackson really gave me the creeps!

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Confessions of a Shopaholic (source), The Jane Austen Book Club (source) and The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (source).

Okay, maybe April wasn’t really a month with really ‘good’ movies. Though Hysteria was bad, I really liked Hugh Dancy (who doesn’t, eh?), so I watched two other films starring him, Confessions and The Jane Austen Book Club. I’ve both seen them before, but that’s been years. The Book Club is actually okay, but Confessions … well, it’s a typical romantic comedy. It’s the kind of film you watch because you’re feeling bad, but it ends up making you feel even worse. The Second Best Marigold Hotel however does cheer you up. It’s sweet, it’s hot (duh, it’s India!), it’s full of clichés but Dame Maggie and Judi bear it well (see my review here).

The next four on the list are Dutch movies, so I will not get into detail, but I would like to draw your attention to the film Jongens (English: Boys). I believe the film is available with English subtitles, so do have a look! This is actually one of the best films I’ve seen this year. It’s beautifully shot, the actors are amazing and the story is sweet, powerful and hopeful at the same time.

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The Hundred-Foot Journey (source), Mortdecai (source) and Wild (source).

The last three movies I saw last month (yes, I know, I saw a shocking fourteen. Oops …), were The Hundred-Foot Journey, Mortdecai and Wild. The Hundred-Foot Journey was not amazing but it was entertaining, nice and fun to watch (if you don’t mind some Frenglish/Franglais).  Mortdecai was a disappointment. I heard some negative reviews before I decided to watch it, but I wanted to see for myself. Though I liked Johnny Depp as Mortdecai (he did remind me of a certain Captain … Jack, was it?), the storyline lacked almost everything. A shame, really, because Depp, Paltrow and McGregor could do better.

Last but certainly not least: Wild. I wasn’t sure about the genre. The title and storyline reminded me a little of Into the Wild (I only saw the end of that one) and that is not a film for me. But Reese did a great job: the film was far from boring or too sad. I think Reese proved once more that she’s not only a pretty blonde (legally or not), but also a great actress.

The Lion King
Just when I thought that was it, something came to mind. Well, actually, The Lion King came to mind! I visited my best friend in London last month and we went to the musical The Lion King. It was absolutely awesome!

We enjoyed every minute of it. The costumes, the music, the childhood memories … My friend, who is not a great fan of musicals (she quite detests them actually), thought it was amazing. Best £ 35,50 pounds spent, I think! Well, that’s all. Next month, I promise, I will watch 1) less movies and 2) better movies. Oh, and I intent to read some of my recently purchased novels. I’m currently reading Under the Greenwood tree (oh, I saw the BBC adaptation of that one this month as well …) and I like it so far!

What were your last month’s favourites?


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