2021 was the worst year when it came to reading and finishing books. I managed to finish 14 books only, that’s half what I finished the year before it with its endless lockdowns and curfews. In 2019, I managed to finish 24 books and wasn’t happy at all which made me decide that my next year’s resolution was to read more books. Well, I managed to finish 4 more — which isn’t that much — but I never dropped that low in numbers before, 14 books only! I’d reviewed all the books that I’d read last year so I won’t bother you — dear reader — with them again.
All I have to say is that I ended the year with the best read ever: The Damned Yard by Ivo Andrić (I’ll be reviewing the book in the coming weeks, so watch this space!). As for movies, I managed to watch a huge amount of them, thanks to Netflix and Mom’s insistence on watching a movie almost every night. The number of movies I watched was 204 (I feel much worst now comparing them to the number of books I read! Shame! Shame!).
The movies that I watched were a combination of classic films that I always wanted to watch, Netflix’s releases and films that I watched ages ago and rewatched them again. As for the classics, I strongly recommend: The Apostle, Wild Things, Glory, Bugsy, Midnight Express, O Brother Where Art Thou, The Last Emperor and The Crying Game.
As for Netflix’s releases I enjoyed a few movies including: I Care a Lot, American Son (based on a Broadway play by the same name), Hillbilly Elegy (Glen Close in one of her best roles. As good as The Wife), Harriet (an unknown heroine to many of us from the American Slavery history), Selma (Martin Luther King’s voting rights march in 1965), Marriage Story (how expensive and emotionally wrecking divorce process in the US is) and The Last Robin Hood (Hollywood’s famous Errol Flynn’s scandalous affair with an underage girl).
As for foreign movies, I would highly recommend Yara (an Italian movie based on a real crime), Chernobyl 1986 (a Russian movie that takes a closer look at what happened in the reactor itself. Not for the faint-hearted), Photocopy (a sweet Egyptian movie that highlights the technological gap between old and new generations, among other things), Axone (a comedy that displays how multicultural India is, that sometimes it’s hard not to clash) and The Dirty Picture (an interesting biography of Silk Smitha, an 80’s erotic Indian actress who performed in more than 450 movies. Vidya Balan’s outperforms herself in this complicated role).
Moreover, I managed also to watch 22 series (44 if you consider different parts! O wasted precious reading time; I seek thy forgiveness!). There were a few that were a total waste of time and took months to finish. I had to suffer watching them joylessly, just because I’d started them (Riverdale is the first that comes to mind along with Welsh series Hinterland; tried and tested cure to Insomnia).
Belgian Tabula Rasa won the best disturbing series in my opinion. It’s about a woman suffering from amnesia and is staying in a psychiatric hospital. The series comes with its own sense of foreboding that you can’t shake off while watching. As for good series, I would recommend Italy’s the Trial and Sweden’s Quicksand. Besides, The One; how your perfect match could be found genetically without much looking around and wondering about. It’s an intelligent series that makes you think while watching. Let’s hope that 2022 has more books, less movies and series!
Rasha al Raisi is a certified skills trainer and the author of: The World According to Bahja.