Wednesday, 31 December 2014

My 2014 in books, music and dramatic arts

It's the last day of 2014! My first thought when looking back on this year was "Well... it could have been better." Then, I scrolled through all of my blog posts of the year and realized just how many absolutely wonderful things I've discovered regarding all of my interests that I've been blogging about. I've read books that will stay with me for the rest of my life, found loads of new music to keep up with, seen some truly astonishing films, and even had a couple of enlightening theatre experiences. So, the following post is a re-cap of my past year's experiences around my usual blogging subjects, as well as a celebration of my favorite forms of art. As for blogging plans for 2015... Oh yes, I've got those. Such as reviewing all the things listed below that I haven't blogged about yet.

Top 5 Best Books I read in 2014 (excluding the ones I re-read)

1. Stardust by Neil Gaiman
2. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
3. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
4. Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild
5. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Top 5 Singers and Bands I found in 2014

1. The Script
2. Sara Bareilles
3. Ellie Goulding
4. Linda Eder
5. Jessie J.

(But the best album of the year for me was, without a doubt, Colm Wilkinson's Broadway and Beyond when it finally became available on Spotify.)

Top 5 Films I saw in 2014

1. August: Osage County
2. The Quartet
3. Murder on the Orient Express (TV film in the ITV Poirot series)
4. Julie & Julia
5. Disney's The Princess and the Frog

Top 5 Personalities I discovered in 2014 and will totally internet-stalk forevermore

1. Benedict Cumberbatch – I can't believe it's been less than a year since I first saw him on Sherlock, I already feel like I've been a fangirl forever!
2. Steven Moffat
3. Nick Dear
4. Neil Gaiman – I seriously recommend following him on Facebook, his feed makes the most interesting content on my Facebook wall nowadays!
5. Meryl Streep – of course I had seen her doing great film roles before and I have always appreciated her, but this year I sort of realized the full extent of her phenomenal awesomeness for the first time. I saw her do three completely different yet equally brilliant roles in August: Osage County, Julie & Julia and The Iron Lady, and decided I have to see more of her!

A Long List of Other Important Discoveries in 2014

  • I found Sherlock, for goodness' sake! The third series aired in Finland in March, and swept me off so completely that it feels like I've loved it forever. It's got me obsessing over aforementioned Benedict Cumberbatch and Steven Moffat, and is the main reason why I'm reading through the original Arthur Conan Doyle stories now. What a ride it has been.
  • Through Sherlock I also discovered Doctor Who, and even though I don't adore it quite as completely and unconditionally, it's still been very important in being the first sci-fi thing I have ever enjoyed, and explaining to me why people might find that genre so fulfilling.
  • I've continued my infatuation with the Victorian era, but I also developed a sudden interest in the Napoleonic Wars and now I have to read more books and see more films in that setting.
  • I've always been a faithful Potterhead, but this year I re-discovered my love for the wizarding world on a whole new level. 
  • I feel like I started re-appreciating the fantasy genre in general. I used to read loads of boulder-sized epic fantasy books when I was younger, then I got a bit bored because there seemed to be such strong conventions around that genre, and every fantasy writer I read was basically aspiring to be Tolkien. However, now I'm getting the hang of some very different sub-genres of fantasy and I'm really excited to find out more about them!
  • I'm not a very visually-minded person so it's usually quite hard for me to appreciate dance as an art form in the way I love literature and theatre. But there's one exception – ballet. I love watching ballet and I've watched it this year (thanks to Youtube) more than ever before. I've also spent entire days just listening to ballet music. 
  • I don't get to go to the theatre nearly as often as I'd like (because there usually isn't much going around here that interests me enough to pay for the not-so-cheap tickets) but I saw two wonderful plays this year: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time at a local theatre, and a live screening of National Theatre's Frankenstein.  

New Years Blogging Resolutions for 2015! I'm going to...

  • watch more Meryl Streep films
  • finish reading all of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories, and participate in Hamlette's Birthday Blog Party for Sherlock Holmes
  • stalk the internet for everything related to Sherlock and The Hollow Crown
  • start reviewing films and board games on the blog!
  • start reading Patrick O'Brian's "Aubrey-Maturin" books which are a series of naval adventures set in the Napoleonic Wars. The bromance between Captain Jack Aubrey and Dr Stephen Maturin is lovely and deep according to every review I've read, so I have high hopes.
  • read all of Shakespeare's plays in the order they're presented in my Wordsworth Library edition. As I have 32 plays to read (having finished Henry VI and Richard III already) and I don't want to make this a full-time project, it will probably take me a couple of years to get through. Looks like Titus Andronicus is up next... Eww.

Before 2014 is gone for good, I want to say Thank You to each and every reader who has visited this year – I adore every single comment you have left me, and jump for joy each time I see someone new here. Special Thanks go to all my fellow bloggers whom I follow because they share my interests and give me an endless supply of new things to try out. Let's keep adding great stuff to the Blogiverse in 2015, right?

Happy New Year! See you in 2015 :)


  1. I should take a listen to that Colm Wilkinson album you mention! I have to admit, I have never really understood his appeal - he seems like a really nice person you would like to have as your grandpa, but as for him as a musical artist... Somehow, I can't really get a hold of any of his famous roles. But if the album's on Spotify, I've nothing to lose, I should listen to it and see if I can finally understand the magic!

    Also, I really should go watch The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, now that it's playing in Finland. I love the book.

    Happy new year to you too! :) And best of luck with your resolutions!

  2. You HAVE had a great year! I think 2013 was a better year for new discoveries for me. 2014 not so much. I managed to read and review lots of books last year but the downside of that is that now I don't have the time to watch and review films and TV shows as much as I used to. Hopefully I'll find a way to balance this out.

    Well, you know I love Neverwhere, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell & The Hound of the Baskervilles! Stardust is actually one of my least favourites by Neil Gaiman but I love the movie adaptation and I'd love to give the book another try at some point.

    All of your resolutions for 2015 are great! I'm looking forward to everything that you'll be writing :)

    1. Even if I had found nothing else except Sherlock in 2014, that alone would have made it a fabulous year :D And I can't wait to get to review both of those Gaiman books I've read so far, Stardust is actually going right up on my Definitive List of All-time Favourite Books, I was so impressed by it!