War and Peace (BBC, 2016), adapted by Andrew Davies and directed by Tom Harper
Last year there was a lot of buzz about the new BBC War and Peace adaptation: it seemed that everyone was watching it and wanting me to watch it too. I would be lying if I didn’t say that this series was one of the big inspirations for me reading the book last year; I had decided not to watch the series until I had read the book, so I had extra motivation to finish it before the end of the year. My expectations were quite high, particularly since so many of my friends and family had really enjoyed the series, and I’m pleased to say that it lived up to the buzz it had created, at least in my opinion. Read more
Side by Side: Walking with Others in Wisdom and Love by Edward T. Welch
There are few books that have blindsided me as entirely as Side by Side, and it did so in the most challenging and revealing way. I downloaded this book at a time in my life when I felt that there were a lot of people in my life needing support and I felt in no way equipped to deal with all the different situations my friends were facing. I admit, I was looking for a fix-it: some incredible answer that would mean I could be the best possible friend to everyone all at once. The last thing I was expecting was to be challenged on the troubles I was ignoring in my own life. Read more
The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson
The very first review I posted on this blog was Jonas Jonasson’s The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared. Shortly after posting that, I bought The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden with the intention of reading it straight away; only a year later did I actually get round to picking it up. An easy, light-hearted read was exactly what I was looking for at the start of the year, and I knew from The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared that Jonasson’s writing filled that description. Read more
Watching the English by Kate Fox
This may seem an unusual book to class as a ‘cross-cultural resource’, given my position as a British person living in my home culture. However, I think it is an important one to include in my list of resources for two reasons:
- It is important for anyone involved in cross-cultural work to be aware of the traditions and quirks of their own culture as well as other cultures. There are many things we take for granted in our own culture that we don’t even realise are not true in any other culture; awareness of this means that we will better understand when someone commits a cultural faux-pas, and we can handle the situation with plenty of grace and minimal offense.
- It is a general helpful resource for understanding my culture a bit better, wherever you are from. If you are curious at all about British culture, then you might find this an interesting read.
Autumn by Ali Smith
One thing I’ve enjoyed about this past year of blogging has been that I’ve had an increased awareness of what newly published books to keep an eye out for. I’m not always in a position to buy them straight away, but it has meant that my Christmas list this year was essentially just a long list of hardback books I couldn’t buy for myself. Autumn was fairly near the top of the books I was really hoping for, so I was excited that to start reading it immediately. I had been intrigued by this first of a quartet of books that Ali Smith is releasing, especially after finding out that one aspect of the narrative would be about life in the UK after the Brexit vote. Read more
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt (Lupus Films, 2016)
This might be a very niche adaptation to review, but it did generate a lot of discussion from some of my immediate circles so I wanted to write down my own thoughts about it. For those who aren’t aware, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is a popular children’s picture book written by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury; published in 1989, it is one of those books that everyone of my generation seems to remember having read to them in their childhood. There are very few of my British friends for whom the title will not bring a nostalgic smile and the memories of a parent or guardian reading familiar words in a sing-song voice. So when news began to spread that a half hour adaptation would be aired on Channel 4 on Christmas Eve, there was a lot of excitement about it: that single half hour was apparently Channel 4’s most-watched show of 2016. Read more