Reading - April 2022

The Unforgettable Fire by Eamon Dunphy (1988)
I bought and read this at the time, a very readable account of U2's first ten years. At the time, U2 were my favourite band and The Joshua Tree one of my favourite albums (it's still probably up there). It's pointless to say I didn't think I'd be listening to them over thirty years later, as no-one really thought like that, but this is a good time capsule of U2, Mk 1 - which is my U2, really.
The Confession of Fitzwilliam Darcy by Mary Street (1999)
I suspect this is based more on the legendary BBC series of Pride and Prejudice than on the book itself, but nevertheless it is a pleasant retelling of the story from Darcy's point of view. It doesn't add much to the story but there are some nice touches.
Questionable Content by Jeph Jacques (2003-)
A graphic novel would count as a book, so why not a web comic? I found this via explainxkcd and it was easy, low effort reading when I was feeling ill and keeping myself away from everyone else in the house for a few days. There's plenty of gentle humour, and occasional laugh out loud (well, snort out loud) moments, but what kept me reading is the story lines. The characters are interesting and I wanted to know what happens to them. It's kind of like a soap opera though - it never ends or resolves, just keeps going forever. I've now read them all - that's nearly twenty years' worth of comics read in about two weeks - and kind of want to stop ...
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813)
The previous P&P-based book made me want to go back to the original, which reminded how much superior it is to any attempted tributes/pastiches etc. Still one of my favourite books for a reason.
Dad's Email Order Bride by Candy Halliday (2014)
Oddly, for a M&B "Super Romance", this is short and not very involved. Obvious where it was going but a little oddly paced, so it finished a bit quick.
Make Room for Daddy by Andrea Edwards (1990)
Cringy title aside, this is one of the sweetest romances I have, which is why I re-read it fairly often.
The Illustrated Etymologicon by Mark Forsyth (2021)
I really enjoyed Forsyth's The Elements of Eloquence (blimey, eight years ago) and this was a lovely birthday present from B. It's not a sit-down-and-read kind of book, more a dip-into-occasionally kind of thing. It's full of wonderful facts about where words come from that I will not remember, but very much enjoyed reading about. This tenth anniversary edition is illustrated: the illustrations are whimsical and nicely done, but pointless and add nothing, sadly.
Tempting Fate by Stacy Finz (2019)
This next in the Nugget series is an interesting exercise, as Finz has taken the character of Raylene, previously firmly cast as a villain, and attempted to rehabilitate her as the heroine of this book. Mostly it works in terms of the plot, as we get more of her backstory and her earlier actions can be seen in a different light. What's less convincing is the way the other characters all suddenly change their minds about her. Still, this doesn't stop it being a satisfying story. And thus, for now, ends my journey through this series, as the library doesn't have the latest two books. (sad face)
The Accidental Scientist by Graeme Donald (2014)
A bit of a hodge-podge of stories about those wacky scientists discovering things by accident. There's also a smattering of anecdotes about scientists being ignorant (like early experiments in nuclear explosions) or even wilfully negligent (for example, the thalidomide scandal). Interesting in passing but not especially engaging, and fails to balance things out by pointing out that most scientific work is deliberate and well-informed.

Watching - April 2022

Definitely, Maybe (2008)
A very enjoyable romcom, enhanced by Ryan Reynolds doing, well, himself, and an element of mystery during the story. The only slightly jarring note is that there is no big reconciliation at the end, which seems more realistic but less commercial.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)
Iconic, classic and unclassifiable. Just brilliant in all respects. Even the behind the scenes footage (in the making of featurette) of Mary Elizabeth Winstead practicing her big-eyed anime looks to camera doesn't spoil the magic.
Musical Elitism - Why it is EVERYWHERE (2022)
A long form YouTube video, suggested to me by B. The slightly click-bait-y title is a bit misleading, because what I think this is actually complaining about is that "classical" music is seen as elitist, and that that's wrong. But music changes, music tastes change and evolve and isn't necessarily a bad thing - as Tantacrul (the guy who made this) points out very entertainingly in another video. So people don't want to play or hear classical music as much any more? Music making itself has never been more accessible. That's the main thing, surely. (He's spot on about the ludicrous over-adulation accorded to successful rock and pop musicians though. Bob Dylan, "genius"? ffs)
The Wrecking Crew (2008)
I've wanted to watch this for ages, but actually it turned out to be a bit disappointing. The Wrecking Crew were musical legends, but there's very little here of them actually playing music - plenty about the songs they played on, some stories about who they worked with, but almost nothing of how they worked together. Perhaps this is because it's not a documentary for musicians, it's for a more mainstream audience, about musicians, which is why it spends so long going on about how unknown these people were. Given that I already knew who they were, this was a bit redundant for me. (as an aside, having been unable to find this to watch anywhere for years, I finally watched a hooky upload on YouTube, which I feel a smidge guilty about.)
Spider-Man: No Way Home (2022)
Well-made and hits all the obvious marks, but possibly a little predictable. I find the Marvel films a bit formulaic these days, but Tom Holland is engaging and the whole thing with the three separate Spider-Men was cool - in fact, I could have done with more of that. The ending was a bit sad, so obviously a set up for the next one. Watched with the family, and only slightly spoiled by teenagers snickering through the more emotional scenes.