May Wrap Up: Eleanor Oliphant, Poppy War and Grand Budapest Hotel

Happy June everybody! How we are halfway through the year already baffles me. We’ve had a mixture of rainy days and weekends of 30°C so it hasn’t properly felt like summer to me, I’m waiting for a good run of warm weather in England for that. Anyway, on with the wrap up in the usual bite-size 100-word chunks!

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The Reading Corner

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman

★★★½

Eleanor Oliphant Cover

Eleanor Oliphant’s life is one of isolation and routine, she lives alone, she can go days without talking to anyone and spends the weekend drinking vodka to pass the time. And this of course is completely fine, until things begin to change and Eleanor learns that maybe she isn’t happy after all. This book is humorous, heartwarming and explores mental health with nuance. Though necessary for character development, it dragged a bit in the middle, and I knew where the book was heading quite early on so whilst I enjoyed it, it didn’t quite hold my attention all the way.


The Poppy War – R. F. Kuang

★★★★

the-poppy-war-cover-e1560088092879.jpg

I don’t usually read military stories, but throw in magic and mythology and you’ve got my attention. Set in a fictionalised version of China, orphan Rin attends the elite Sinegard military academy and finds herself battling in the eponymous Poppy War (mirroring the historical Sino-Japanese War). I loved the mythology woven into this book and how Rin’s character isn’t a traditional hero. She exists in shades of grey, preferring vengeance over moral righteousness. It’s an interesting lens to read through and reflects that this is a adult fantasy. And word of warning, it’s grim – Kuang does not pull any punches.

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The Cinema

Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Avengers Endgame

Does the film that’s almost a decade in the making live up to expectation? In a word: yes. I loved the direction they took, it was a lot of fun to watch, with references to the movies that have come before it and there is that excellent scene with Captain America in the final battle. However, I felt that the first half was a little too slow and perhaps more time could have been spent on the development of the tech needed for main part of the film. I do also feel like some characters were underserved (Bucky + Black Widow!).


Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Thor Ragnarok

I have never really enjoyed the Thor films until Thor: Ragnarok. This is a flashy 80s, sci-fi film and I fell in love. A lot of credit needs to go to Taika Waititi, the director, whose sense of humour oozes through. Though some lines felt out of character for Thor it’s such a fun film, I could ignore it. I loved Cate Blanchett as Hela, the Valkyries are an excellent addition to the cinematic lore and that shot of the Valkyries attacking Hela is like a renaissance painting. Also any scene with Jeff Goldblum is always absolute gold. Excellent film!


The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Grand Budapest Hotel

This was a rewatch for me and I enjoyed it just as much this time around. Set in the eponymous Grand Budapest Hotel in a fictional eastern European country, years after its heyday, a writer comes across the owner of the hotel, Zero Mustafa, and over dinner, finds out the story of how he came to own the hotel. It’s humorous, it’s heartfelt, it’s adventurous and it’s whimsical. I loved the perspective and use of camera angles in this film and of course I can’t talk about a Wes Anderson film without mentioning the gorgeous aesthetics too. It’s absolutely delightful.

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TV

The Legend of Korra (Season 1)

Legend of Korra (Book 1)

This spin-off of Avatar, follows Aang’s descendent, Korra as she moves to Republic City to master air bending. It’s a steampunk world, bending has evolved to be both a sport and a martial art and different benders live side by side. The main threat centres around the anti-bending ‘Equalists’ who want to rid the world of benders. Korra is not the same as Avatar, and you shouldn’t expect that but the world is rich, there are some old faces and it retains the spirit of Avatar. I enjoyed it a lot and would 100% recommend it to fans of Avatar.


21 Again

21 Again

I saw this show on the iPlayer home page and it piqued my interest. The show’s premise is set around 5 Gen Z girls and their middle-aged mums (the shows terms) and how the mums don’t understand the younger generation. Cue the makeover and a move to a big house in Liverpool where the girls and their mums will live for 4 weeks as 21-year-olds. In each episode, the mums face new challenges from from modern dating to understanding mental health better. It’s fun seeing the mums’ reactions but also wonderful seeing them learn more and accept their daughters more.

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Around the Blogosphere

I read so many good things last month, but I try to keep this segment at 5 blog posts, so here they are:

Jo’s discussion on finding it easier to find TV shows about New Adults vs finding books on New Adults is something that I had never really considered, but definitely true!

Dani’s post on the difference Between Graphic Novels, Manga and Webtoons? Is really interesting – and I’m definitely going to check out webtoons now!

Trang’s post on why inspirational quotes don’t work is a succinct take on why all of these quotes like ‘everything is a choice’ are actually quite superficial.

Something I’ve not really picked up on is how few books I read tackle poverty and Justine has 8 recommendations of books that tackling poverty.

And finally, last but not least, I have to share Shri’s post on why representation matters to her, it’s so heartfelt and personal and is a great example of how diverse books can connect to certain readers and make them feel seen.

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How was your month? What did you read and watch? Let’s chat!

 

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4 thoughts on “May Wrap Up: Eleanor Oliphant, Poppy War and Grand Budapest Hotel

  1. I’m so glad you enjoyed The Poppy War Arub! Cam and I did a discussion post about it as a buddy read. I agree she’s a fascinating POV and I loved all of the mythology. But it is terribly grim. But you’re right this is certainly adult. ❤️ And thank you so much for sharing my post. I hope you check out webtoons I’m going to share a rec post with some I love soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It definitely lived up to expectation and I’ll check out your discussion post Dani, Rin is such an unusual protagonist to have but it makes sense given the circumstances of the book. And the fact that it’s based on such a horrific part of Chinese history!
      Can’t wait to see your rec post on webtoons, I wouldn’t really know where to start! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s very well-written and I’m actually surprised it’s a debut. But it’s also dark and I had to take breaks from time to time because of it.

      It’s a fun show and it’s only 4 episodes long, give it a watch! 🙂

      Like

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