Winter Reading List ❄️

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I didn’t do so badly with my Autumn Reading List, crossing off all but one of the books I’d planned to read.

I’ve been reviewing them where I can on the #onewomanbookclub tag (which you can access via the menu up there at the top, if you wish). And now it’s Winter and that means I’m even less inclined to leave the confines of my cosy, messy flat unless I absolutely have to – perfect reading conditions.

Here are the books I’m planning to devour over the next few months. You might notice a theme:

Little Deaths

I’m a few chapters in and this already has me hooked. I bought this because I thought it was the next book by The Girls author Emma Cline. It’s not, and I’m an idiot but it was a happy accident as this is written beautifully and has a sheen of mystique to it that I so far love.

Oh, the synopsis? Ruth Malone is an attractive single mother of two kids who go missing one day in 1965. When the police make a horrifying discovery, all eyes point to the woman in charge of their care – and her provocative appearance and ‘questionable” lifestyle do not go in her favour.

Because of course they don’t.

The Devotion of Suspect X

This book had me at ‘The Japanese Stieg Larsson’ tbh. Which is one of the taglines printed on the cover. I didn’t even look deeply into what it was about, just clicked buy and here we are.

For those interested this is Amazon’s synopsis, in a nutshell:

Yasuko lives a quiet life, working in a Tokyo bento shop, a good mother to her only child. But when her ex-husband appears at her door without warning one day, her comfortable world is shattered.

It’s well rated and it’s been compared to one of my favourite authors so I doubt I’ll be disappointed. I’m a massive fan of Asian cinema (mainly Korean) so I’m expecting to be blown away. No pressure, Mr Higashino.

Final Girls

I’m cheating a little bit by including this on the list as I’ve just finished it. I thought it was worth a mention anyway. I’m intrigued always by the concept of the Final Girl and this takes that a little bit further by offering us three real life versions.

When the original FG, Lisa seemingly kills herself, it’s up to her fellow club members to find out what the fudge happened, and why. Given that our main FG, Quincy Carpenter has a massive hole in her own memories of that night at Pine Cottage… she might already have more than her fair share to contend with.

I think I’m going to review this in a couple of days so you can find out if I like it or not. Spoiler alert – it was okay.

Alex

This was passed on to me by my lovely friend Alice and I can’t wait to get stuck in. She handed me a pile of horrid sounding thrillers which is both amazing and a little disconcerting. The comfort I get from reading/watching horror/thrillers is hard to explain and sometimes feels like my dirty little secret so when someone else just gets it, it is amazing but odd.

Amazon’s synopsis:

Alex Prévost – kidnapped, beaten, suspended from the ceiling of an abandoned warehouse in a wooden cage – is in no position to bargain. Her abductor’s only desire is to watch her die.

Doesn’t sound like a walk in the park now, does it?

Six Four

Another Japanese crime thriller that is meant to be unique and fantastic. I couldn’t be more in. Again, I haven’t really done too much digging about this one but I am expecting to be impressed.

Amazon’s synopsis:

For five days in January 1989, the parents of a seven-year-old Tokyo schoolgirl sat and listened to the demands of their daughter’s kidnapper. They would never learn his identity. They would never see their daughter again.

The Roanoke Girls

Sometimes, when I see a book has been recommended by the Richard and Judy Book Club it makes me want to avoid it. But this looks too good to pass up. Another book about family secrets and mysterious girls – delicious.

Amazon’s synopsis:

The girls of the Roanoke family – beautiful, rich, mysterious – seem to have it all. But there’s a dark truth about them that’s never spoken.

Ooooooooooooooh!

Under the Skin

Last but not least, a book I’ve been intending to pick up for a long time, even before I saw the deeply weird film versionWhat Page Are You On mentioned it in their episode about book to film adaptations and I took from that that this is far more accessible than the Scarlett Johansson starring movie (which I loved but found very hard going).

I’m not a massive sci-fi nerd really (besides Star Wars) but I think the earthly setting and seductiveness of main character Isserley will keep me gripped. Here’s hoping.

What are you guys reading? Let me know!

What I’m Listening To: Podcasts

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I am a very easily influenced person. This means that I am constantly being inspired by other people on books, films and things to listen to (as well as make-up, fashion, anything).

About a year or so ago I feel in love with Serial and it started me on my podcast journey, which has been nothing short of joyful tbh. Most of what I listen to has a true crime vibe because that’s what I dig and there’s nowt more queer than folk, etc but I also love film based content (such as the mighty Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review which I’ve definitely mentioned before).

Once I’d rinsed Serial, I was left adrift until I started to listen to the wise words of Twitter (my favourite space on the internet, yo). So many recommendations come from there and now I have a cornucopia of choice.

This is what I’ve been listening to recently:

TW: I highly recommend all these podcasts, however some contain triggering events and language that should be approached with caution.

Criminal

There are 42 episodes in this podcast so far and each one is a real gem. Even the ones which have slightly less dramatic subject matter are compelling. Each story is about a crime and these range from the absolutely fantastical to plain bizarre.

I’m working backwards (after finding it easier to listen on Soundcloud) and am currently on episode 23. My favourite stories so far have been Angie, The Stay and P.D.I.D (which made me furious). Special mention to the bonkers Animal Instincts and Dropping Like Flies – honestly, you’ll learn things you’re never even imagined here.

Criminal was co-created by Lauren Spohrer, Phoebe Judge and Eric Mennel, and launched in January 2014 – and I have to say I really like Phoebe’s approach to the weird and wonderful people she speaks to.

I recommend this series if you’re new to crime podcasts because the shorter episodes are very easy to digest but I warn you: they’re crazy addictive.

Sword and Scale

Sword and Scale is similar to Criminal in the sense that it covers true crime stories but the episodes are longer and seem much heavier for that. Maybe it’s just me.

I’m new to this one but have so far enjoyed (if that’s the word) some astonishing tales, including Episodes 63 & 64, which tell the horrifying story of Doctor Macneill, a handsome and charming man with a dark heart and Episodes 5 & 6 which outline a conspiracy so heinous your head might explode (I’m still thinking about it).

Special thanks to Bethany for talking about this podcast (also Criminal) and then mentioning the latter episodes. I Twitter-dropped and followed your recommendation.

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Serial (Season 2)

Serial Season 1 told us the story of Adnan Syed, a high school senior accused of (and imprisoned for) killing his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. It was fascinating and addictive and my first regular foray into this medium.

When I found out there was a second season I was stoked but it’s a separate and very different story this time around. This time we study Sargent Bowe Bergdahl, a US Army soldier who was captured and then held prisoner by the Taliban.

Now, as with the first season it has to be said that the story isn’t clear-cut and things as they say may not be what they seem. I’m only a few episodes in but am thoroughly enjoying it so far.

Who knows what my final opinion on Bergdahl will be, or whether we’ll ever know the truth about what really happened the day he was captured? It doesn’t really matter though, this is his story and it’s addictive.

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How Did This Get Made?

Bar our friendship, I think HDTGM is the greatest gift Meghan of That’s Lightletainment has ever given me. It’s brilliant and right up my street.

Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas (all actors themselves) love bad movies and talk about them passionately with special guests on the regs. I absolutely love June (from Burning Love mostly) but the trio together make horrible films, such as Glitter, The Wicker Man (remake) and Crank 2: High Voltage three times more hilarious and enjoyable.

My favourites so far have been: Rhinestone (a film starring Dolly and Sly Stallone, what more do you need?), Barb Wire and Catwoman. Very special mention to one of my all-time favourite bad movies, I Know Who Killed Me (honestly, ask me how much I love it). Oh god, and check out the episode on Deep Blue Sea which is epic.

The best thing about this podcast is that there are so many episodes I still have to watch. Honestly, there’s not enough time in the day for podcast listening.

Read more about Meghan’s podcast recommendations here.

So that’s what gets me through my working day. I’ve not been organised enough to get these on my iPod/phone yet but I know when I do I will look at walking/working out in a whole new light.

Are you a podcast listener? What do you recommend? Go! ❤