2020 Entertainment Favourites - books, movies and music
2020 has been a strange year, to put it very lightly. But through these strange times, I have kept a list, each month, of all the things that I have really loved and enjoyed. This activity has helped make me be more appreciative of this past year, (even through all it's ridonculousness). I have compiled my list here for you. I hope you find some new favourites.
1. Favourite 2020 book release -
The invisible life of Addie La Rue by V. E. Schwab
This is a shockingly great book. There are so many elements to this book that are so intriguing and captivating. I couldn't put this book down and now I've finished it, it still lingers in my mind, making me have so many questions and wonder about so many different threads. There is a beautiful arch to this story where it flips between the past and the present effortlessly. The characters are so dynamic they bring the story to life. It really is a must read if you like fantasy or are looking for a thought provoking book.
2. Favourite magical world - The night circus by Erin Morgenstern
A Super imaginative and romantic story about a moving circus. I completely fell in love with the whole world and characters. It is such a beautiful story and is really worth a read if you want a scrumptious, cute, magical story.
3. Favourite fun book - Supernova by Marissa Meyer - Third book in the Renegades Trilogy
This was a really exciting read with fun, super-gadgets and unique powers. The characters are very cute and I love how Marissa Meyer plays them off each other. A book on heroes vs villains is always fun but what I love is how Marissa Meyer takes a spin on this and asks the question of whether or not it's a good idea to have heroes in charge of governing society.
4. Favourite new author
Julie Kagawa is a Young adult fantasy writer. I have read her Whole series of Iron-fey books and have read 2 of her Shadow of the fox series so far. I have immensely loved all these books. Kagawa creates worlds effortlessly with a stunning imagination. Her characters and the relationship progressions are really heart-warming and the storylines are incredibly exciting. The books are often based on an intriguing quest that develops the characters along the way.
5. Favourite Classic Read
All of Salinger's books! I first read Catcher in the Rye from a friend's recommendation and fell completely head over heels in love with the character development, storylines and writing style of Salinger. He is an utter genius! His ideas are incredibly thought provoking and the way he writes is incredibly deep, rich and with a touch of humour. His books are a classic for a reason and will forever stand the test of time for their brilliance.
6. Favourite Poetry book
French Love poems by Tynan Kogane. This book was great for 2 key reasons: 1. The poetry is incredibly gorgeous and emotive. I love this style of writing and the use of metaphors through these poems. And 2. This books is bilingual which is amazing because you can learn french whilst you read it. Plus the translations are very skilfully and artistically done which make it a doubly good read. Some particular favourite poems of mine from this book were; Sonnet XVIII by Louise Labé, James Laughin's the nameless voyage and Le Pont Mirabeau Guillaume Apollinaire.
7. Favourite Self-help book
I've read many really great self-help books this year from Elizabeth Gilbert's Committed, Big magic to the Nelson Mandela: Portrait of an Extraordinary Man by Richard Stengel. While these were truly great and definitely worth a read, I realised that the 4 pillar plan by Dr. Rangan Chatterjee' has had the biggest impact on my life and on the lives of the people I've recommended this book to. It is a practical health bible! The way that Chatterjee has laid this book out makes it incredibly absorbable and easy to integrate the tips that he gives. I love how he looks at health holistically and shows how you can with slight adjustments have a healthier lifestyle that can make a difference to your everyday life. I have implemented a fair few of his practices and they have massively benefited me. His approach to sugar and caffeine are especially easy ways to help get healthier faster and are really eye-opening.
8. Favourite classic cartoon film
Fox and the hound - This film has been on my watch list for years. I am so glad that I finally watched it! It is one of the most beautiful, touching films I've ever seen. The relationship and the messages in this are so important as they explore what it means to be a good friend in a heart-melting way. It is also gorgeously drawn and animated making the story feel even more evocative.This is a Disney Classic masterpiece that should be treasured.
9. Favourite comedy/drama film
The Meyerowitz Stories - A superbly directed and acted movie. I love how this movie is so thought provoking, whilst being humorous and showing how success is always relative. There are some really touching moments in this film and I love the incorporation of music through this. The exploration of family dynamics is so interesting and it has a very homely feel to the film. It is a film that stays with you.
10. Favourite fun film
Love Wedding Repeat
A hilarious rom-com with a twist. This brilliantly bonkers film is set with a stunning Italian backdrop, great choices of fun classical music in the background and a brilliant cast. This is well-worth watching and repeating. It really takes off cringey and awkward wedding moments in a hilarious manner and had me and my family literally doubled-up with laughter.
11. Favourite Series
Poldark first 4 series - This program is beyond luscious. Every shot is captured with an artistic flair and the storyline is bullsy, bold and dramatic. It contrasts heart-wrench with brilliant jubilance and unbridled defiance, whilst stitching the history of the 18th century through the storyline seamlessly. The first 4 series are gripping and gutsy and it is almost impossible not to be swept along with the romance and the characters storylines. I think the first 4 series are perfect on their own and I would highly recommend watching them just like that.
12. Favourite Binge Series
Emily in Paris and Love is Blind - Emily in Paris is pure pleasure in its silliness. I watched this with my mum and my sister and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. I love Emily's struggle to find her feet in Paris. She is a complete black sheep in the city, as she doesn't speak the language and has never been there so is completely culturally shocked. I love how the series presents the quirkiness in different cultures, whilst also showing merit to them and their different ideologies. The series show life and humour. If you need a little girly pick-me up this should hit the mark. Love is blind in contrast is crazy addictive, amazing rubbish. It is a reality TV show that I couldn't stop watching( I don't even tend to like reality TV!). The concept is insane. People have to talk to each other without ever seeing them and decide to get engaged. Unbelievably people actually do decide to get engaged without ever seeing the other person and then after that they have time to decide to go through with the marriage. This show is surreally dramatic and staggering in it's emotional rollercoaster. If you need some escapism from the madness of the world this is the show to watch.
13. Favourite rewatch
Merlin - I could rewatch this program again and again. With a fabulous age-old storyline this adaptation brings the story new depth and wonder. The magic, humour and playfulness of this show make it feel like coming home every-time. It always gives me warm fuzzies and makes me wish for more. If you are looking for a fantastical magical series, dive into this one. You won't regret it.
14. Favourite stream
Sleeping beauty Ballet by Royal Opera House with Fumi Kaneko as Aurora. Sugary pink delicious sequences, fabulous costumes and quaint, pretty sets. This ballet is a true joy to watch. Fumi Kaneko's smile and graceful, emotive moves make this a sublime performance. It's also incredibly well shot and although I love watching ballet live, usually I am very high up. So seeing the closeups and the great filming of this was a unique and incredibly pleasurable experience. This performance is inspirational. If you are an artist or a lover of great sweet art if this stream comes back it is a must to watch. Meanwhile the DVD should also be great to watch as the ROH always puts on beautiful performances.
15. Favourite current music
I have compiled a playlist called 'Top Tracks 2020' where I have added 44 of my favourite tracks from this year (I may add more if I chance upon any other music from this year that I love). I love all of these songs and I could not possibly pick a favourite song from this year. There have been seriously amazing albums throughout this year from Norah Jones' Sultry, Jazz, 'Pick me off the Floor' album to Taylor Swift's girly but amazing, indie, soft-pop 'Folklore', Fleetfoxes' genius, captivating, indie-folk album Shore and Eminem's dark, gritty, socker-punching 'Music to be murdered by' there are so many musical gems from this year. It would be a hard push to even pick a favourite album. I hope you find a few new favourite through my playlist and if you have any recommendations that I haven't mentioned please let me know and I'll give it a listen I'm always on the hunt for great, new music!
I hope you enjoyed my recommendations and find something that you love from this list.
Naomi Leila Xx
P.s. If you want more book recommendations, with a great in-depth insight read my sister's brilliant book blog 'the orang-utan librarian' - She'll be releasing her favourite books from this year soon.
P.p.s. If you try anything out from here please let me know, I'd love to hear your opinion on it.
P.p.p.s If you enjoyed this blog post please press the heart button and subscribe to my website to catch my latest updates and read a new blog post every week.