One of the things I find painful to watch in movies is stories where everything goes wrong for the main character. Think Ben Stiller in Meet the Parents or Will Friedle in The Trojan War. Kevin Hart’s situation in Night School is not as consistently dire or desperate, but the story is still set off by a series of stupid events that just make you cringe for the poor guy while sighing in exasperation.
Move over James Bond, Johnny English is back! In 2003, Rowan Atkinson portrayed the title character in Johnny English, giving us a slightly more sophisticated, but by no means sophisticated, rendition of Mr. Bean. Fifteen years later he’s back for his third outing as the bumbling spy, in Johnny English Strikes Again.
Quite by chance I recently ate a meal which included kimchi, a Korean dish consisting of fermented vegetables. Kimchi also made an appearance in the South Korean book I bought for my reading challenge, The Vegetarian by Han Kang. However, my dish also had pork in it, which would not have passed muster with the book’s title character, Yeong-hye.
Hopefully, Melissa McCarthy has started a trend of funny female-led spy films. In 2015 she starred in Spy, subverting the genre’s standards and stereotypes. Now The Spy Who Dumped Me has joined it as an action-comedy buddy film that places female characters at its centre.
This reading challenge is not about favourites. After all, the forms and styles of each book range greatly, from fiction to non-fiction, from magic realism to historical adventure, from short stories to novels. But it’s not a question of quality or style when it comes to my favourite, but rather of impact. And the book that’s had the greatest impact on me in this challenge so far, is Aleksandar Hemon’s The Book of My Lives.