Daily reading is one of my favourite ways to pamper and get some self-care (I prefer the term “self-preservation”). The month of June can be a bit of a challenge because we are always super busy (my birthday, end of school term, start of the summer vacation) and it can be all too easy just to drop my reading with the excuse that I have too much on my plate. But I’ve learned over the years that, if I neglect my reading, the overwhelm feeling starts creeping back. We all need to recharge during our day, if only for a few minutes!
I didn’t get through as many novels as I usually do but I did make sure to at least flick through a magazine while eating my lunch, or while getting ready for bed, just before I switch off the light. And I managed quite a few episodes of tv series (read on) instead of just sitting mindlessly zapping through the tv channels. So all in all, June was a hygge win! Let’s start off with the books. And one which I started reading at the end of May and finished in June…
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. This is the first of the Flavia de Luce series – and my first Alan Bradley – and I have to say that I really loved it! I had heard of the series many times before but had avoided it because the protaganist is an eleven year old. There is nothing childish about the book (thankfully) and – hooray – lots of very dry wit. Just my thing.. Will definitely be reading more in the series. Two thumbs up! And four stars out of five.
The Lantern Men by Elly Griffiths (number 11 in the Ruth Galloway series). Elly Griffiths is one of my favourite authors, and never lets you down. I first discovered her after picking up The Zig Zag girl at our local library (the first novel in her “Stephens and Mephisto Mystery” series). The Lantern Men was a real treat. My rating: four out of five stars.
Before the coffee gets cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi. This is a novel which kept on popping up in recommendations when I was doing online searches for new books to read. It was an interesting idea for a story and started off well. I enjoyed the setting (love anything about daily life in Tokyo) but the naive style isn’t my cup of tea. Or should that be coffee? LOL! My rating: two out of five stars.
The Watersplash by Patricia Wentworth (number 21 in the Miss Silver series). This was a recommendation from one of my lovely followers on YouTube/Instagram. Patricia Wentworth is often compared to Agatha Christie and Miss Silver is often compared to Miss Marple. Easy to understand why, the elderly sleuths share many common traits. A good little mystery with quite a lot of dry wit and some wonderful writing. Just be warned that it is very much of its time (gender roles) so can seem rather dated. I would certainly read more Patricia Wentworth. My rating: three out of five stars.
And now to tv/movies…
I thoroughly enjoyed Giri/Haji (“Duty/Shame”) on Netflix. Eight episodes with plenty of drama and rather absurd comic moments. Raw and dark and definitely not recommended for the faint hearted. Set in London and Tokyo and incredibly fast paced. I loved it! Rather a strange finale…I’m wondering if they’re gearing up for a second season?
The Story of Fire Saga, a parody of the Eurovision Song Contest by, and starring, Will Ferrell, on Netflix. I’m a huge fan of the Eurovision Song Contest and I also love Will Ferrell (one of my favourite films is “Blades of Glory”). So I was looking forward to this one but also a little apprehensive. Would it live up to the hype? The first 15 minutes were toe curling and I was wondering whether I would make it the whole way through. But there are a couple of scenes which had me literally crying with laughter (my husband thought I had gone berserk) and lots of cameos from former Eurovision contestants so it was a cosy watch. Keep a special look out for the Russian contestant – an actor from Downtown Abbey – who is unrecognisable in the part. And it was a welcome surprise to see a brief appearance by (handsome) Mikael Persbrandt, one of my favourite Swedish actors. Mikael is best known in Scandinavia for his role as Gunvald, the tough bad boy cop, in the Swedish tv crime series “Beck” (a brilliant series, available with English subtitles) and known internationally from the movie “In a Better World”, by the Danish director Susanne Bier.
That’s all for June, folks. Happy reading and watching!
PS: I very rarely buy books, preferring to borrow them from our wonderful Danish local libraries! I use eReolenGlobal and Libby apps to find/read books, plus Goodreads to track what I’ve read.
PPS: If you’re looking for book suggestions and reviews, my friend Sue has a great book blog!
You can find my hygge books, magazines, tv programmes and music YouTube videos here…