I have started on Duolingo again more to encourage my nephew and challenge him too. We have agreed to do Spanish (which I learned a bit a good few years ago) and Japanese (because he is into his Anime and fancies learning the language). It is still early days for Japanese and I find that most of the words I had learned in Spanish are helping me ace it now 🙂 We have also been watched quite a few European TV series (with English subtitles of course) which is also helping me learn some more languages or at least a few words here and there. But it definitely is helping me get a hang of these European languages better.
You already know how I feel about Inspector Montalbano (if you haven’t watched it, you should) but we are also big fans of Channel 4’s list. We completed watching Inspector Borowski, which was our first entry into the German language and their humour (it takes some getting used to and then you find it endearing once you get the hang of it). We totally loved it and were quite surprised by the topics that they handle, even though Mr M finds psychological thrillers a bit tedious to sit through but I love them 🙂 Once we finished with Montalbano, we wanted to continue with Italian TV series, we kind of like the portrayal of characters which are refreshing in some ways, so we started watching Ice Cold Murders by Rocco Schiavone, which is based in a place near Turin (and a totally different landscape to Rome) and very different characteristics too. The main character is similar to Montalbano but rougher. We were sad when they had only series 1 up and running on Channel 4 and the story was kind of incomplete. But then we started watching Non-Uccidere (Thou Shall Not Kill), this time with a female lead and it is very good just like the others. We are on Series 2 of this one and hoping to finish watching all episodes before we move (not sure if we will be able to see them in India). Because we were watching more Italian, (I can spout a few Italian words, especially the curses 😀 ) we decided to select a German one to watch in parallel. We found Inspector Falke. Another brilliant series set in a different area of Germany. And I have definitely picked up a few curse words from this for sure!!! I only hope I don’t say them out loud because I find it easier to curse in a European language as people around me might not know it and I may get away with it 😀
Recently we watched Series 2 Episode 3 of Inspector Falke and that was one of the best episodes of a TV series we have watched in the detective genre in a long time. It was like a full-blown thriller movie. It was awesome. The screenplay, the writing, the execution was very good. There is this one thing though with the German series that we have seen so far. They have this serious storyline and dark and sombre execution and then the credits start rolling with disco-like music which totally ruins it. I can’t tell you how funny it is when the credits start to roll. This happened with the Series 2 of Borowski and we were surprised by it and now with Falke, it’s there from the start. Wonder what that is all about. Any ideas? Also with the Italian ones, I find their music amazing. Non-Uccidere’s title music is my favourite.
If I am not able to see Channel4 in India I might be a tad upset and disappointed. I hope there is some kind of subscription that allows me to keep watching these amazing TV box sets that they have in their collection.
If you fancy watching any European TV series, especially of the detective and crime-drama genre, the ones mentioned above from Channel4 are good.
Recently when my friend gave me all these Agatha Christie’s books, he also gave me a book called Magpie Murders which was recommended by his sister. I have heard of it but wasn’t aware of the storyline and such. When I had finished Christie’s books, I started on this one. It took me a week to complete this but it kept me hooked the whole time. It is a very cleverly written book that has a story inside a story and is cleverly woven. It has so many viewpoints, not in terms of characters, but who the characters are. You see a story as an editor, as an author, as a reader, as a critic etc. It also satisfies readers who love to solve puzzles because that is what this is all about. I am trying to say so much without saying too much about the story because it will spoil the book for everyone. If you love mysteries, thrillers, well-written fiction, then this is a must-read. And to my surprise, I found out that there is a TV series that is being filmed which is premiering tomorrow. Yay!!! Can’t wait for it now that I have read the book. I don’t usually give 5 stars to books that aren’t from my favourite authors ( I am biased that way) but this one did.
As I promised myself, I continued with my 2nd Montalbano book at the start of the new year. Game of Mirrors was an interesting one to watch. But ever since my first Montalbano book (Excursion to Tindari) I knew that it would be like revisiting the TV series and the scenes just play in your mind the moment you start reading. And it didn’t disappoint me at all. I hope that in future, I will be able to get all the books in this series and give them a read. (Mr M has got one more lined up for me in his Kindle).
Sidenote: If you haven’t watched the Inspector Montalbano series and you like fun, witty, detective Italian TV series, then it is a must-watch.
While sorting out our books for packing, we decided to give away one Reginald Hill, and one Colin Dexter book that we had (they were got in old book shops and aren’t part of any series as such). So checked with my friends, and one of my friend’s parents who have a huge collection of books was ready to have them. And in exchange, she offered to lend me her books until my trip back. I couldn’t turn down such an offer and to my surprise, she has almost all of Agatha Christie’s books. That got me so excited that I was there standing in their mini-library wondering how many books I could take and which one to take :D. Never had I so much choice in my life that it got me all flabbergasted. So I decided to take three of them to start with and I have already completed two of them. Curtain, which is Poirot’s last case (not the last book that was written, which is interesting) and Death in the Clouds. I was amazed at how true to the book the episode based on Curtain was. Death in the Clouds had the same story but was done in the TV series in a slightly different way with a couple of changed characters and back story.
I always appreciate the difficulty in converting a book into a TV series because most of the time it is hard to bring the magic of the words to the screen. So far all these books have made me very happy given that I have seen all their TV episodes based on these books and now I am evaluating if they stick close to the book or not :D. Practically playing the ‘Find the Difference’ game but with Agatha Christie’s novels and TV episodes. I am currently reading Dumb Witness, which is surprisingly different to the way it has been shot for TV-episode. I am enjoying the differences.
Once I am done with these three books, I know I am going to go back for more 🙂 no doubt about that at all. This month is off to a great start already even though there is so much for me to get done given that every day is getting me closer to the end date here. But that is when I take refuge in books which have always given me comfort and I can’t think of any other way to de-stress.