Goodbye thirteen, hello fourteen…

I’m never really sure how I feel about starting a new year. There’s the prospect of fresh starts, new opportunities – but also people and situations have gone and can’t be revisited; some good things and some bad from the past year, same old same old…
Anyway for what it’s worth, here are some of the best books I read, TV I watched (not much as I don’t actually have a TV), films and shows I saw, music I listened to.
The books that stood out for me were:
two from Jojo Moyes: ‘Me Before You’, and ‘The Last Letter from your Lover’.
two from Cecilia Ahern: ‘Where Rainbows End’ and ‘How to Fall in Love’.
These are books where you can really get inside the characters. Both writers are prolific, and yet they manage to make the format and style different in every book they write.
I also enjoyed Maggie O’Farrell’s ‘Instructions for a Heatwave’ and ‘The Husband’s Secret’ by Liane Moriarty, and I re-read the wonderful ‘Enchanted April’. All highly recommended.
Apart from Strictly (obviously) I was very taken by the Christmas three part serial ‘Death Comes to Pemberley’. Brilliant casting, the actors were completely credible as more grown-up versions of the people were saw in the original TV version (who could forget Colin Firth emerging from the lake in dripping wet undergarments??). I thought PD James did very well in moving Lizzie and Darcy’s story forward and staying true to the characters. It made me think maybe I could have a go at something similar, though probably not Jane Austen as you’re on a hiding to nothing there…
Not much in the world of films grabs me although I will make a point of going to see ‘Mandela’. I couldn’t see any point in re-making ‘Gatsby’, far too much bling for my liking and the music was dreadfully unsuited. Such a lovely book so completely destroyed by Hollywood.
I saw ‘A Chorus Line’ for the second time (one of my favourite musicals of all time), and ‘From Here to Eternity’ twice. It was much better once the running time had been cut and the whole thing generally tightened up, but also my second visit was in a better seat and I could see the whole stage and really get into the story. I think restricted view seats should be given away (actually mine was, so I can’t really complain!) because it’s a cheek to charge people when they can’t see half of what’s going on on stage. I know this musical has had very mixed reviews but I really enjoyed it, the music and staging were great and it’s so good to see something original going into the West End. Sadly it isn’t going to run for much longer – it’ll probably get replaced by a remake of ‘Carousel’ or yet another version of ‘Grease’…
Which only leaves me with music, and at the Scarborough Jazz Festival I heard my gig of the year: the wonderful Adam Glasser Quartet. I would never have expected to enjoy hearing a harmonica so much, but there it is! Brilliant.
So that’s 2013 all wrapped up and ready to slide out of the back door.
Let’s hope that 2014 brings us all more wonderful reading, listening and viewing experiences.

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