This is the post where I tell you what books and movies I loved this year and hopefully you will want to read or watch them. If you want to see if have we similar tastes, check out my 2012 post. You are in for many post Christmas treats so I hope you are prepared:
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
This is the year I embraced my nerdiness. And Mr. Gaiman is a nerd superhero. He is most famous in the mainstream for his book that was turned into a movie, Coraline. But his creativity spans from books for little ones (Odd and the Frost Giants) to graphic novels (The Sandman) to adult fairy tales like The Ocean at the End of the Lane.
This is the story of a man in his 30s who goes home for a funeral. When he arrives at his childhood home he is flooded with memories which leads him to the house next door. He then relives a fateful event from when he was young. The story is so different from anything I have ever read that I struggle to come up with adjectives to describe it other than it’s AWESOME. They say that nothing original can be written but Mr. Gaiman proves that wrong 10x over.
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
I am a faithful young adult reader for the most part but I do like to get out of my element every once in a while and read a different type of book. When I kept reading over and over how good The Light Between Oceans was, I decided to give it a shot. It is a historical drama set after WWI in Australia. A man takes a job as a lighthouse keeper and lives there with his wife. They struggle to conceive a child and when a deceased man washes up on shore with a newborn baby, they take the child and claim her as their own.
This book is powerful in the sense that nobody is clearly the villain and you can’t help but feel pain for everyone that is involved. I couldn’t stop picturing the story as a film and have learned that it is currently in development.
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
When I heard the story of Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor and Park and how a Minnesota school district made the decision to ban her book because the book was too “racy”, I immediately had to read it. It tells the story of two teens who fall in love through music and comic books in 1986. They aren’t the popular kids in school, they are awkward, and they know they will not have a happy ending. And that is exactly why I loved it. It lead me to read her newest, Fangirl, which I loved also. She is a unique young adult novelist that I will continue to follow. I look forward to her next release, Landlines.
Much Ado About Nothing
Over the summer Joss Whedon released a tiny film called Much Ado About Nothing. The script is from the Shakespeare play of the same name. It was a limited release so I had to wait for the Blu-ray. It was filmed in two weeks at his house with a handful of actors that are from the Whedon universe (Clark Gregg, Nathan Fillion, and Alexis Denisof). What first got my attention was the house. And all I can say is, “OH MY GOD.” The house is a beautiful California Spanish style that will take your breath away. Glass double doors galore, amazing wrought iron railings, sprawling greens, and arched doorways all made me drool with envy. If you aren’t proficient in Shakespeare (which I am not) and don’t know the story (which I do) it can be hard to follow. But the acting is flawless, the costumes are classy, and the music sets the perfect romantic tone. The movie stayed with me for days and I had the song “Sigh No More” (featuring Joss’s brother Jed) on repeat long after.
Whoa Nelly. That is what you will be continually saying to yourself as you sit and experience Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity. Because this movie, with Sandra Bullock as an astronaut trying to make her way home after an explosion in space, is not just to be watched. It is a roller coaster of a ride that will make you unsteady when you attempt to get to your feet. I was emotionally drained from the visuals that astound and the highs and lows that Bullock’s character goes through. If you are one of the few that have still not seen it, get thee to a movie theater. This one is not to be watched at home.
Director Richard Curtis is one of my favorites. He created Love Actually and Notting Hill which I love. So when I saw the trailer for About Time with romance queen Rachel McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson (He’s a Weasley!), I couldn’t wait for its release date. And it was the sweetest romance I have seen in a long time. McAdams and Gleeson have an easy chemistry but my favorite was Bill Nighy as Gleeson’s father. He is funny and loving in a way that will make you cry and laugh at the same time.
So that’s my favorites for the year. If you try one of them and like, love, or hate it please let me know!