What I Read and Watched in January

Hi all! We’ve survived the 136 days of January and finally… it’s over, we’ve made it to February. For me, it’s been really hectic between work, my trip to L.A and finally rounding off my month with a ruptured eardrum. In this time, I have managed time to fit in some time to read and watch TV. 

Find out what I’ve read and watched in January below.

Books

Mix Tape – Jane Sanderson*

Set in both the ’70s and present-day, Mix Tape tells the story of Alison and Dan and their relationship. As teenagers in Sheffield, both bond over their mutual love of music. When Alison lives through a traumatic experience she up and leaves to Australia, crushing Daniel. 30 years later, now living different lives with different people, they find each other again via Twitter and begin to reconnect through the form of music.

Mix Tape Jane Sanderson - What I read in January The Ashmosphere

This book should have been right up my street but unfortunately, I struggled to get into this. I just couldn’t engage with either Alison or Dan. Maybe the concept was too nuanced for me that it went over my head but I couldn’t wrap my head around the thought of upsetting your established life and relationships over a relationship that took place 30 years ago.

I can’t fault the book itself, it’s well written with fully fleshed characters. It also doesn’t shy away from difficult themes and handles them sensitively and with grace.

I wish that I could say I enjoyed this book but I did keep looking at how much I had left to read which isn’t particularly a great sign.

*I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Blame It on Bianca Del Rio

Bianca Del Rio is one of my favourite Queens to come from RuPaul’s Drag Race. Renowned for her ‘Rolodex of hate’ and quick acid quips,  I was excited to read anything that Bianca put out. Set with an ‘Agony Aunt’ format, the premise had so much potential to be an entertaining read but in reality, it delivered as a Rolodex of forced jokes and trying too hard. 

not today satan

In hindsight, I wish I had purchased the audio version of Blame It on Bianca Del Rio instead as I can imagine it being so much more amusing if read by the Queen of Snark and Sass herself.

Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare

A classic in every sense of the word. Romeo and Juliet was my introduction to classic literature as a young teen and most importantly switched me on to just how cute a young 90’s Leonardo Di Caprio was. 

This was my first time re-reading this Shakespearean classic since leaving school and whilst less romantic once the teenage angst-induced haze has lifted, I can say I still have a soft spot for fair Juliet and her Romeo.

Romeo and Juliet violent ends. What I read in January

Before the Coffee Gets Cold – Toshikazu Kawaguchi

You can go back in time, you cannot change the future and you must be back before the coffee gets cold. I adored this premise but I cannot help but feel that something was lost in translation.

The English translation of Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s Before the Coffee Gets Cold left me with a bitter taste searching for more. As characters travelled back in time to meet loved ones in a small Tokyo cafe, I felt the magic was missing. The writing lacked any emotion which sold the story short. What should have been poignant and moving came across cold and aloof. However, I cannot tell if this is Kawaguchi’s style of writing or translation issues. Additionally, I felt like a spent a lot of time flipping back and forth, noticing contradicting information. Overall, all my issues with this book boil down to mistranslation. 

TV

The Good Place – Season 4 

Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) and the gang have been navigating the afterlife and are on their way to The Good Place. 

The Good Place came back from its winter hiatus at the start of January and I have been savouring the few episodes left before the finale airing on Friday 31st. I can’t describe how much I forking love this show and how sad I am that it is finishing. I only came across The Good Place in early 2019, but once discovering it was created by Michael Shur – a producer of The Office US and co-creator of Brooklyn Nine-Nine – I knew it was my kind of show. I binged three seasons in a weekend and then again with my boyfriend ahead of season four.

The Good Place season four - What I watched in January

I do admire that they are ending the show on a high and on their own terms rather than flogging a dead horse and I can’t wait to see how it ends. 

You can now binge all four seasons of The Good Place on Netflix.

Darkwater Fell

New British Crime drama AND starring David Tennant? I’m already sold. 

A four-part series written and created by Daisy Coulam, Darkwater Fell is an intense drama revolving around a tragic and fatal house fire in which Tom Kendrick (David Tennant) is the only survivor. 

This has me HOOKED! It is full of suspense and mystery and has me engrossed from start to finish. 

You can watch the boxset on My4.

Love Island

I’VE GOT A TEXT! 

Love Island - what I watched January

I’m not embarrassed to admit I love Love Island. It is what it is. There seems to be a snobbery when it comes to Love Island in which people like to pretend they are intellectually superior for not tuning in. And to that, all I can say is who cares?! In a world, where the news is bleak day in day out, I enjoy watching some mindless drama. However, my favourite thing to come from Love Island year in year out is the memes. Twitter at 9pm is the best place to be. 

I’m enjoying the Winter edition and it definitely is bringing some heat to the cold winter nights. 

You can catch up on the ITV Hub or Britbox.

Next In Fashion

New to Netflix this month was Next in Fashion with British style stars Tan France and Alexa Chung. A reality/fashion design show, Next in Fashion follows the familiar Project Runway formula without the manufactured behind the scenes drama. 

I enjoyed the mixed nationalities and demographics from the contestants, it made it interesting to see their different design aesthetics. With everything taking place within the workroom and runway it did begin to get repetitive by the later episodes but it enjoyable nonetheless.

You can watch Next In Fashion now on Netflix.

Film

Little Women

My god, this film. I loved Little Women more than I can put into words. I first read Little Women as a young girl and can’t say it left a distinct impression on me. And to be honest, if Little Women hadn’t had such glowing recommendations, I would not have bothered to see it. But boy, I am so glad I did. 

There is such a spirit to Greta Gerwig’s modern take on the Louisa M. Alcott classic, it was an absolute joy to watch. 

I loved the achronological telling of the film and the cinematography, the strong female characters. Just this modernised telling of a classic, which has been done so many times, something felt so different and new, it definitely packed a punch.

Wholy unlikeable characters, such as Amy, have redeveloped and shown in a completely new and positive light whilst still retaining their key character traits. 

Little women

Florence Pugh brought a whole new depth to Amy which may be my favourite development from LW. Rather than a petulant brat, we see Amy as a young, capable, independent woman. We see someone that has had to live with her own brilliance being overshadowed by elder sister’s Jo all her life and is entirely jaded by the situation. Her monologue about having to marry rich… phew, I wept.

I couldn’t recommend seeing Little Women enough. Something about sitting in a busy cinema, with an audience made up almost entirely of women, felt really special and warming to me.

A Star is Born

Confession time – I missed this the first time around. Obviously, I was aware of it, I mean you couldn’t listen to the radio without hearing Shallow five times a day. I finally watched the latest adaptation with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper on my flight over to Los Angeles. Whilst I did think it was good, I can’t help feeling it was a bit meh. Especially compared to the previous adaptation with Barbra Streisand as the lead.

After seeing it, I’m not entirely sure what all the fuss was about? It feels entirely overhyped. Will I watch it again? Probably not, no.

This month, I’ve read and watched some fantastic things and some not so great. It highlights for me how much great content is out there and I shouldn’t be wasting my time persevering with things I am not enjoying. This year, I will be putting down more books I do not like and hitting pause on TV and film that I find boring. After all, life is too short not to enjoy it.

What has everyone been enjoying this month? Let me know!

Until next time,

Ashleigh xx

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15 Comments

  1. The good place is such an amazing show – the ending was so perfect and I’m glad they’ve ended it on a high. I also adored little women!

  2. Mix Tape sounds pretty good, I might have to check that out. Also, I LIVE for Bianca Del Rio and keep forgetting to get the book. I think I too will get this audio version. I jave been hearing great things about The Good Place so its on my radar.

  3. I completely agree with the good place, I am so happy they ended on their own terms as it made for such a poignant finish. I cried throughout the finale, think I scared a deliveroo guy with my tear stained face who arrived halfway through…Another love of mine is also little women, such a good adaptation and I agree with your takes on Amy. This is the first time I’ve ever liked or really understood her character. It’s a shame about the mixed tape as this is a book that I think would have been on my list too, great post xx

    bumblingalong.co.uk

  4. Wow, you’ve had a super busy January! I loved Romeo and Juliet too, when you actually read the text you become aware of all the subtleties that you miss when watching it I think. Things like the sonnets within the verse, for example. Such a treat 🙂 x

  5. I really need to see Little Women, I keep hearing so many good things. Before the Coffee Gets Cold sounds like it could have been great. I wonder if it was a translation issue x

    Sophie

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