Perhaps it's because February seems like the "dead" of Winter (although not so much this year...) but man, it seems like I sat around doing a whole lot of reading and binge-watching this month...
Books I Couldn't Put Down
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr - A blind French girl and an orphaned Nazi boy anchor Anthony Doerr’s sweeping novel of German occupation. While the stories seem divided, bit by bit sections begin to fall into place as the story progresses while larger themes of loss and isolation play out through the characters' fixations with radio waves, gemology, and shell collecting. Part historical fiction and part finely crafted tale, this book is mesmerizing from cover to cover!
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood - This story takes place in a dystopian society in the near-future in what was once New England; women have no rights, they are not even allowed to read. The story is told from the perspective of Offred; a woman who serves as a handmaid, a bizarre function where she is placed in a high-ranking officials house in order to conceive and bear a child for his family. The story is interspersed with Offred's memories from her previous life when the government had not yet been overthrown and offers a counter to the strict regime she currently lives under. That brief plot summary might sound...strange...but the book was fascinating and I sped through it in days!
Books on the Shelf
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah - Another WWII era book that's waiting on my shelf; this book revolves around two sisters during WWII and I've heard great things about it.
Victoria by Daisy Goodwin - The novel that the new PBS series Victoria is based on; the show is fascinating, so I'm sure the book won't disappoint!
Hitler's Forgotten Children:A True Story of the Lebensborn Program by Ingrid von Oelhafen - I'll admit, I'm already more than halfway through this biographical tale of a woman who discovered that she was a product of the SS horrific Lebensborn Program; which I knew nothing about until watching The Man in the High Castle.
Must See TV
Legion -David Haller was diagnosed with schizophrenia at a young age, and has been a patient in various psychiatric hospitals since. After Haller has an encounter with a fellow psychiatric patient, he is confronted with the possibility that there may be more to him than mental illness. Perhaps he might be...a mutant? Not quite a superhero...but not quite normal... This show is a branch of the Marvel universe, directed by Noah Hawley (who does another show I love, Fargo) and is certainly one of the most unique and colorful shows I've watched in a long time. Can't wait to see what happens...
Also...who knew Matthew Crawley played crazy so well? Ha-ha!
Movies I'd Watch on Repeat
Loving - What an excellent movie! I noticed Loving had finally arrived at a theater here in town and there were only five seats left; so even with those seats being on the two front rows, I snapped a seat up! The movie tells the story of Richard and Mildred Loving; the couple at the center of the 1967 Supreme Court case Loving V. Virginia. The case is considered a landmark case; it invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage, and affected not just the state of Virginia but 15 other states. The story and the love between the Lovings is what makes this movie so touching and wonderful. Go see it if you get the chance!
A Series of Unfortunate Events - Honestly, I was completely drawn into watching this because I love Neil Patrick Harris! I read all the books in the series about the Baudelaire orphans when I was younger and I watched the movie with Jim Carrey - which was thoroughly disappointing - but seeing that NPH was involved in this version, I decided to give it a chance. This series captures the dark comedic tone of the books so much better and I devoured all eight episodes in just four days. I loved this take, thought the casting was great...especially the casting of Patrick Warburton to narrate the tale as Lemony Snicket!
Stranger Things - I finally, finally jumped on this bandwagon and wow...so much 80's nostalgia! The story follows four friends living in Indiana in 1983; when one of the boys goes missing, the whole is turned upside down (literally) for the boys as they search for their missing friend and encounter forces much larger and more powerful than they imagined when playing board games in the basement! The kids are hands down what makes this show; the suspense and jump scares were fun and I can't wait to see where season two will go.
The Man in the High Castle - What would the United States look like if the Axis Powers won WWII? That is the storyline that The Man in the High Castle posits to it's viewers and honestly; it's pretty terrifying. The United States has been split between Japan and Germany; the East coast is now the Greater Nazi Reich and the West coast is the Japanese Pacific States with the neutral zone lying somewhere along the Rocky mountains. The man in the high castle is a shadowy figure that encourages the resistance by releasing videos that show how the world might be different were the Axis powers not in control. Certain parts of the show are dark (in the Greater Nazi Reich, cripples & the ill are burned on Tuesdays...) the plot and story lines are intriguing and thought provoking. I sped through the first two seasons and now I'm waiting to see what season three will have in store.
Should I go ahead and admit that maybe I have too much time on my hands? Ha-ha!
Edible Arrangements - FOR THE WIN! My little sister absolutely got the jump on me and surprised me with a gorgeous (and delicious) Edible Arrangement on Valentine's Day. I cannot lie, that heart-shaped pineapple was gone within about five minutes of getting that bad boy unwrapped! The strawberries I managed to spread out over three days and they were so yummy!
What I'm Looking Forward To
Game of Thrones (in Concert) - One of my awesome friends gifted me with a ticket to see Game of Thrones in concert at the Verizon Center on March 1st and I am so excited for this! The most exciting aspect of the concert is that it will be conducted by Ramin Djawadi; the composer of the music from Game of Thrones. It's definitely something to look forward to in the extra long gap between seasons six and seven!
Girls Mountain Weekend - I'll be spending a long weekend in the Smokey Mountains with one of my lifelong best friends, Nickolee and I cannot wait! This trip has been in the works for over a year...because we had planned to do this last year, but unforeseen circumstances derailed our plans...but we prevailed and rescheduled for this year! You see; when we graduated from high school many moons ago, we went to the mountains...so we're recreating that, ha-ha! I'm not 100% sure what we'll do, but I know the food will be good and the company will be the best...and really, that's enough for me!
Beauty & the Beast - Oh. My. Goodness. I have had a countdown for this movie on my phone for over a year and it is SO close! I bought my tickets weeks ago (with the commemorative glass), I've already pre-ordered the soundtrack and I can almost guarantee you that I'll see this more than once. Beauty and the Beast is hands down my very favorite Disney movie, Belle is my spirit animal (pun also intended) and Prince Adam is the BEST Disney prince... I just could not be more excited to see this! *sigh*
Spring - It has been unseasonably warm this past month (with some freak snow showers in the midst of it all) and I have had absolutely no problems with that! I'm really hoping that even though that pesky groundhog predicted 6 more weeks of Winter, maybe he was wrong. I'm hoping that the sun will keep shining, the trees will start to bud and Spring will arrive a little earlier than usual.