See post below for an explanation of what I'm doing, but so far this year I have managed to consume...
Lisa Jewell, The Girls - this has been the most "chic lit" thing I've read. I used to really enjoy Lisa Jewell books years ago but hadn't read any for a while. It was good at the start but ended very abruptly, with some very improbable happenings to tie up various subplots.
Asne Seiersad, Bookseller of Kabul - This is a book drawn from the author's experience of living in Kabul after the fall of the Taliban. It's very sad with some initially sympathetic characters turning out to be not so sympathetic. It was like a small window into an Afghan family; any of the stories could have been their own book.
Philippa Gregory, The Virgin's Lover - a book about the scandalous love affair between Queen Elizabeth and Robert Dudley. The main character was Dudley's wife, Amy. Who is really fucking irritating and, abandoned by her Dudley, turns to the church to find a bloke to tell her what to do, which is to cling onto her husband. I was willing her to grow a spine...
Kazuo Ishiguoro, The Forgetful Giant - One of the disadvantages of doing a reading challenge is that you don't get to reread or really think about books. This book philosophised about the advantages and disadvantages of leaving the past behind and forgetfulness. I did really enjoy it but it was delibarately ambiguous and inconclusive. I think I'll reread it when I'm finished the challenge.
Anne de Courcy, The Fishing Fleet: Husband Hunting in the Raj - This was a history book about young women travelling to British India to marry. It was fascinating and well written, with plenty of anecdotes. However, I'm not entirely convinced the British in India were as straight laced as they'd have you believe, and I'd expected a bit more about the Indian Mutiny and losing the Raj. Very good, though.
Tim Marshall, Prisoners of Geography - A series of essays about geopolitical pressures and conflicts on Earth. Produced last year, I'd love to see an upate this year sometime. Assuming a Twitter inflicted Armageddon doesn't happen before the second edition is printed.
Terry Pratchett, the Shepherd's Crown - I loved Terry Pratchett all through my teens and early 20s, stopped reading for a few years, ordered this and then didn't read it at first. I wish I'd picked it up earlier as he never lost his flare for a moment. He introduces some fantastic new characters and I caught myself looking forward to the next Discworld novel to find out what happens next. Great as a book, bittersweet as a Pratchett fan.
Vicky Bhogal, Cooking with Mummyji I saw this in a second hand shop and snapped it up as I love British Asian food and I'd meant to buy this when it came out, ages ago. I haven't cooked enough from it to review it as a receipe book but I enjoyed all the anecdotes. Interesting, for all the author makes great play of the matriarchal role in teaching cookery, a lot of the receipes are credited to her Dad.
And a film...
Trainspotting 2 - As mentioned, I don't get to the cinema very often, but everyone went to see this. It wasn't quite as sharp, funny or zeitgeisty as the original, but it was still excellent. The scene in the Orange Lodge was standout, and Begbie is more terrifying with age.