Welcome to the annual review of the year – in this post I’ll be looking over the Books and Music – Films and TV, are all up as seperate posts – of the past year and just giving a couple of thoughts/comments on what has been seen/read/listened too/etc over the past 12 months. Hopefully you’ll find it vaguely interesting/gives something to think over. When I came to write this last year I found that I couldn’t remember that much of the year before so I’ve been making a real effort to keep track of what’s been encountered over the course of this year – hopefully it should give a more even spread of items from over the year.
It wasn’t such a big year for books (you’ll probably be relieved to know!) partially because I didn’t get enough time to read as I would’ve liked. Still I read some classics and there’s four in particular I’d like to draw attention to.
And back to books… In no particular order:
1. The Scott Pilgrim Series by Bryan Lee O’Malley
The film of this made it into my Top 10 films of the year but I personally think that the book series is better. Taking place over the best part of a year you really see the characters grow and develop – it’s a very adult story considering that it’s full of kung-fu fights with ninjas… It’s got a great style to it and at the end of the series you’ll want to go back and read it all from the start again.
2. Faerie Tale by Raymond E Feist
This is possibly one of the best books I’ve ever read based on the fantastic level of atmosphere it is able to build up. I found myself completely gripped each night as I sat down to read this book – and it is rather scary at times because you’re so concerned about the characters you worry something really bad is going to happen. The latter half of the book I was fortunate enough to reach on a Saturday morning, so I stayed in bed and read it all in one sitting – a really good read that will freak you out whilst at the same time being impossible to put down.
3. I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett
The latest part of Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching series this continues the wonderful pattern we are getting as we see this character growing up and the world changing around her. My full review is here, and I really can’t emphasise how good this book is – the stories great, with an interesting and creepy villain stalking the main character giving a good edge to the proceedings.
4. Temeraire by Naomi Novak
My full review of this is here. At the end of the day this is the Napoleonic wars with a dragon air force – how can you get cooler than that? I’m wading through the second in the series and the description of the battles is wonderful, with gripping action. The philosophies and characters are all well formulated and rounded. A great series which I look forward to reading more of.
Finally the music of the year – once again there’s not particular order to these. They’re just some albums I came across in the year which I enjoyed.
1. Frank Turner – Take It To The Road
This is a recording of two of Frank Turner’s live shows. He is an artist I really enjoy the music of, and he really goes for meaning in his lyrics whilst keeping the songs catchy. I find this CD really captures the feel of a live show, and it gives me the impression he’s a great act to see live. It’s a fun CD with all the classics on – worth a listen.
2. La Roux
La Roux is a group I avoided for a while, and they slowly grew on me – I find the tracks interesting and catchy, whilst at the same time sounding different due to the electronic nature. A very interesting catchy album.
3. Eliza Doolittle
Eliza Doolittle I encountered through Buzzcocks, and then had a listen to her music – it’s just happy a nice, which is really nice to find in music. A fantastic pick me up after a long day.
4. Marina and the Diamonds – The Family Jewels
I first encountered this through iTunes Song of the Week with the fantastic “Rootless”. They may sound strange at first but the songs have a great depth to them and very interesting lyrics – someone who I think will be worth watching.
5. Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs OST
A quick soundtrack – this really captures an epic mood to the film, it’s catchy to hum along too and just works. Hard to explain when you haven’t heard it…
6. Left Of The Rightside – Sitting Targets
Finally a quick mention to my friend Shaun’s band – I’ve promised him a proper review which will have to come in the new year as I’ve not had the time to write one up. He will get this in the new year! In the meantime look them up on Spotify they’ve got a great energy and good music – even better when you see them live.
And a final special mention to Mitch Benn with the Song Proud of the BBC – a fantastic riff on all that’s great about the BBC – look it up on YouTube it’s worth it.
And that’s all folks!