Terribly Happy

It’s oddball, it’s strange, it’s Danish, and it’s a super gem of a film. I’ve watched it twice in two days (Netflix). At a mere 100 minutes, give it a try!

Speeding up time

Last year I took out a subscription to Netflix. I can usually find enough to watch for a month but then not enough to keep the subscription going for any longer. For Christmas 2020 I reactivated the subscription, again probably just for a month.

So far I have watched and can recommend:

  • The Fear Of 13 – astonishing documentary about a man on death row
  • American Murder: The Family Next Door – fascinating documentary using social media content, text messages and police video footage
  • 22 July – brutal but honest dramatization of the massacre of 77 Norwegian teens
  • The Crown (series 4) – hilarious fabrication of the life of our royal family. The Duke of Edinburgh is my favourite!
  • The Queen’s Gambit (series) – very enjoyable tale about a young, female chess genius

With Netflix you can choose what speed to watch a film at. I’ve found it’s perfectly watchable to view at 1.25 times the normal speed and even at 1.5 times.

Watching at a faster speed means less time spent / wasted / indulged (a 60 minute episode only lasts 40 minutes at 1.5 times normal speed, whilst a 90 minute film only lasts an hour)!

Try it and save time!


The Martin Beck novels

So far this month I’ve re-read from my shelves three Swedish police procedurals by Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö. They wrote ten altogether and they are so good I’ve ordered the other seven! I’ll space them out so that I don’t get tired of them.

The main character in all the novels is Martin Beck and we very much enjoyed the TV series Beck which was based on the novels. Interestingly, though Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö plotted and researched the stories together, they wrote alternate chapters.

In the meantime I’ve just finished reading The Offing, by Benjamin Myers. It’s set around the lovely, Yorkshire fishing village of Robin Hood’s Bay. An old man looks back to 1946 when, as a 16-year-old boy, he set off for an adventure and stumbles across an eccentric, older woman. A really lovely read. I’ll certainly look out for other novels by the same author.

I’m currently reading A Dry White Season, by André Brink. Set in apartheid South Africa, this is a step outside my usual fiction comfort zone and, so far so good.

The New Silk Roads – Peter Frankopan

The New Silk Roads, by Peter Frankopan, is a terrific look at the economic and political forces shaping the World. I’ve come away stunned at the complexity of these forces, something one just doesn’t get from ‘the news’.

A great eye-opener that I will hopefully re-read in a year or two. Trump and the US don’t come out of it well.

Highly recommended.

The New Jim Crow – Michelle Alexander

Subtitled ‘Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colourblindness’, this wonderful book describes the truly shocking level of imprisonment in the USA, brought about by the ‘war on drugs’, and of how African-Americans have been most affected. It’s an eye-opening analysis and shatters any illusions that America has a healthy political or judicial system. Is it any wonder that someone like Trump can get elected! I’ve had my eyes opened. It’s a stunning read and highly recommended.

A full review can be found in this Guardian article.

This short article “19 Actual Statistics About America’s Prison System” by Laura Dimon succinctly shows how shocking it is.

Let’s Kill Uncle – Rohan O’Grady

Let’s Kill Uncle is an absolutely charming tale of two 10-year-olds as they holiday on a Canadian island. There’s a lot of child naughtiness, a lot of humour, and the possibility of a very serious crime.

Suitable for adults and children alike, I hope that in a few years’ time five-year-old, granddaughter Chloe will enjoy it too.

Delightful and highly recommended.