So, what has made me smile the smiliest of smiles since my last sparking joy post?
TV wise I have two things to talk about:
Leverage Redemption. Yes, I know I mentioned it last time but Season 2 is still appearing an episode a week and remains a weekly delight both for the quality of content of each episode and for the delayed gratification of not being able to binge watch the entire thing. Sophie remains wonderfully vulnerable, Breanna continues to be a joy, Harry continues to be Harry and I still cannot get enough of the Hardison/Parker/Eliot relationship.
I’ve also begun a full rewatch of the original series and it still holds up fantastically well. There really is nothing better than watching supposedly untouchable bastards getting their world broken and their arses handed to them on a plate. Both the original and Leverage: Redemption can be found on Freevee via Amazon Prime in the UK if you wish to enjoy them too.
Netflix’s Wednesday. I inhaled all eight episodes of season one over the course a delightfully self-indulgent Sunday at the start of December and then spent the next two weeks rewatching it at a more reasonable pace. Jenna Ortega is perfect as the title character and Gwendoline Christie was brilliant as the principle of Nevermore, the school in which all the action takes place.
It’s not quite “monster of the week” but it’s close and the weaving in of the main story arc for the season works pretty well. I’m sure there are a dozen places where you could pick it apart if you wanted to but I don’t know why you would because it does an excellent job of being its own version of The Addams Family whilst honouring the previous versions well. If you like spookiness, mystery and found family plus blood family then you’ll love this. Even better is that season 2 has just been confirmed!
Film wise I don’t think I’m going to be telling you anything you haven’t already heard many times already but …
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery really is as good as the hype. It does exactly what it says on the tin, is slick and a wonderful homage to the golden age of mystery whilst making the absolute most of its setting and it does an absolute number on men like Zuckerberg and Musk. Daniel Craig was brilliant, as was the entire cast, but Janelle Monae stole the show for me.
It’s a fun, feel-good movie that doesn’t take itself seriously whilst making some really cutting social commentary; what’s not to like?
Book wise I did finish my Reading Wales reading challenge by the end of the year and remain incredibly glad that I did it. My favourite out of all twelve remains Or What You Will by Jo Walton and I do urge you to seek it out and read it if you haven’t already.
Going forward I am going to be sharing reviews of all the books I’ve read each month in a seperate post but I do want to mention my favourite of the books I read up to the end of 2023:
Terry Pratchett: A Life with Footnotes by Rob Wilkins
If you weren’t aware that I’ve been a Terry fan since my teens then you are now. Rob’s autobiography was incredibly well written, humerous and deeply emotional. I cried quite a lot but laughed more and would recommend it to anyone who has ever enjoyed any of Terry’s work.
Observations on the Danger of Female Curiosity: Including an account of the unnatural tendencies arising on the over-stimulation of the mind of a lady by Suzanne Moss
Suzanne kindly gave me an ARC to review and you can find my post about it here. Needless to say I am really looking forward to the second one in this series!
Oh Caledonia by Elspeth Barker
This was the last book I read in 2022 and I now understand why many of my friends and the writers I follow across various social media sites recommend this book. The descriptions were detailed and lush without losing the rhythm of the book and it was so compelling despite knowing the outcome from the beginning. Absolutely excellent writing and I couldn’t not finish it despite finding the actual story deeply melancholy and highly unsettling. I know I’m going to be reading it again because I need to understand how Elspeth writes like that!
The other thing that has continued to bring joy to my winter season is getting out and about in the woods. You’ll find photos from my wanderings about in various places in the November and December The Small Things posts but I think this is my favourite picture from the last few months:
What has sparked joy in your life recently?