With the summer holiday stretching ahead, it is almost time to start planning all the books, movies and Netflix shows you can fit in between the beach visits, BBQs and Christmas dinners.
Need some ideas for the odd rainy days that may be coming, or for that relaxed afternoon on the couch? Here are the Netflix shows you may not have watched yet (but should… immediately).
Planet Earth 2 - No matter how many times you watch it, the Attenborough-narrated BBC show doesn't get any less beautiful. Split into six episodes, the story travels through islands, jungles, grasslands, mountains, deserts and cities. Fish jump from the water to eat birds, wild horses scrap for dominance and penguins face an almost impossible journey.
Collateral - revolves around the professional shooting of a pizza delivery man named Abdullah Asif (Sam Otto) and DI Kip Glaspie’s (Carey Mulligan) attempt to solve the murder. What it’s really about is the state of politics in England, the Syrian refugee crisis, and immigration laws.
The Good Place - After suffering an improbable and humiliating death, Eleanor finds herself in ‘The Good Place’, a perfect neighbourhood inhabited by the world’s worthiest people. But there seems to have been some administrative error, as Eleanor is not a good person by any measure. Desperate to not be sent to ‘The Bad Place’, she tries to correct her behaviour in the afterlife.
Manhunt: Unabomber - is a crime drama based on the FBI’s hunt for serial bomber Ted Kaczynski, who mailed a string of homemade bombs to targets between 1978 and 1995. The series focuses on FBI profiler James Fitzgerald, who attempts to find linguistic clues in the bomber’s political writings in order to identify him. It’s a fast-paced, high-stakes investigation, and the show gets under the skin of both protagonists, who we are led to believe have a lot more in common than they would perhaps like to admit.
The Fall - The Fall makes its villain known very early. Thus, for the audience, the tension comes not from trying to guess the killer’s identity, but from watching the detective and murderer go about their days, never knowing who is about to get the upper hand. The Fall focuses more on the lives and motivations of the central characters than hunting for clues. A simmering detective story, to be sure, but one well worth the time investment.
Here are five Books to add to your reading list for summer (or for your audible list), we’ve added in something for everyone
Lethal White - Robert Galbraith
For the crime enthusiasts: If you haven’t read the first three books in this series, START there!! Right now!!
Written by J.K. Rowling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, these books are addictive – a crime series that sucks you in, with charters that keep you coming back for more.
Lethal White is the page-turning fourth instalment in the highly acclaimed series featuring Private Detective - Cormoran Strike and his assistant -Robin Ellacott.
Slowhand - Philip Norman
For the music aficionados: Now, with Clapton's consent and access to family members and close friends, rock music's foremost biographer returns to the heroic age of British rock and follows Clapton through his distinctive and scandalous childhood, early life of reckless rock 'n' roll excess, and twisting & turning struggle with addiction in the 60s and 70s. Readers will learn about his relationship with Pattie Boyd--wife of Clapton's own best friend George Harrison--the tragic death of his son, which inspired one of his most famous songs, "Tears in Heaven," and even the backstories of his most famed, and named, guitars.
The Brain - New Scientist
For the life hack/ brain hack buffs: Everything you need to know about your brain: an eye-opening, illustrated handbook.
The human brain comes equipped with all sorts of useful design features, but also many bugs and weaknesses. Problem is you don't get an owner's manual. You have to just plug and play.
As a result, most of us never properly understand how our brains work and what they're truly capable of. We fail get the best out of them, ignore some of their most useful features and struggle to overcome their design faults.
Featuring witty essays, enlightening infographics and fascinating 'try this at home' experiments, New Scientist take you on a journey through intelligence, memory, creativity, the unconscious and beyond.
Bridge of Clay - by Markus Zusak
For the fiction devotees: In his first book in 12 years (since the Book Thief – if you haven’t read this yet, go read it right now!!!), Markus Zusak writes another brilliant novel.
The breath-taking story of five brothers who bring each other up in a world run by their own rules. As the Dunbar boys love and fight and learn to reckon with the adult world, they discover the moving secret behind their father’s disappearance.
As with The Book Thief, the narrative voice is striking, oozing with warmth and often sarcastic. It is a story told backwards and inside out.
Brief Answers to the Brief Questions - Stephen Hawking
For the inquisitive philosophers and science fans: The world-famous cosmologist and #1 bestselling author of A Brief History of Time leaves us with his final thoughts on the universe's biggest questions in this brilliant posthumous work. How did the universe begin? Will humanity survive on Earth? Is there intelligent life beyond our solar system? Could artificial intelligence ever outsmart us?
Bonus Book : Edmonds Everyday - Goodman Fielder
For everyone: Ok – so this isn’t exactly a summer beach read, but it is a must-have in the house!
For over 100 years, New Zealand families have loved and trusted Edmonds recipes.
This fully illustrated collection features over 300 of the best Edmonds recipes including all your old favourites and some new classics for any occasion.
Movies to see:
The Christmas season brings out the best in the box office, and this year is no exception. Here are the top 5 movies we will be going to see.
Not just another rewrite of Royal History - The Favourite has been described as a “bawdy, acerbic tale of royal intrigue, passion, envy, and betrayal’
Anne is the British queen we all forget about, the one who isn’t Victoria or either of the Elizabeth’s – so it is a story you have unlikely to have heard before!
Two cousins fight for the affections of a frail and bad-tempered Queen Anne, Sarah who has de-facto run the country on Queen Anne’s behalf and newcomer Abigail who sees the opportunity to claw for power and influence.
Even if you aren’t usually a fan of period piece movies – this is one to make an exception for
The Happy Prince
In a cheap Parisian hotel room Oscar Wilde lies on his death bed. The past floods back, taking him to other times and places.
This movie follows the untold story of his last days, a person who observes his own failure with ironic distance and regards the difficulties that beset his life with detachment and humour.
It is a portrait of the dark side of a genius who lived and died for love.
Based on fact – as far as is possible with an intensely secretive man, Vice is an unconventional biopic of the life of former Vice President Dick Cheney.
With a star-studded cast – Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell and Sam Rockwell, Vice explores the epic story about how a bureaucratic Washington insider quietly became the most powerful man in the world as Vice-President to George W. Bush, reshaping the country and the globe in ways that we still feel today.
Another origin story for the Marvel universe – Aquaman is an action-packed adventure that spans the vast, visually breath-taking underwater world of the Seven Seas.
Arthur Curry learns that he is the heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, and must step forward to lead his people and be a hero to the world.
An amazing cast, with New Zealand’s own Temura Morrison in one of the leading roles – and not forgetting Jason Momoa!!!
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Need a movie to take the kids to and not lose your mind – Disney animated film Ralph Breaks the Internet is your answer.
The film follows the two main characters as they Travel through the internet to save candy-saturated racing game titled ‘Sugar Rush’. Your kids will love it.
For the adults - the movie is saturated with nods to current Internet culture: Cat videos are there as well as unboxing videos, videos of people falling down and the relentless presence of the game Fortnite and its dances.
Bonus: Want to listen to something interesting while you are on the run?
Try the Podcast ‘The Habitat’
You may have heard of the Mars simulation pod in Hawaii where NASA trials what it takes for an astronaut crew to live together in isolation from the world for one year – a test run for when they send people to Mars.
The goal: to help NASA understand what life might be like on the red planet—and plan for the day when the dress rehearsals are over, and we blast off for real. Host Lynn Levy has been chronicling this experiment from the moment the crew set foot in their habitat, communicating with them through audio diaries that detail their discoveries, their frustrations, and their evolving and devolving relationships with each other.
It is addictive and will have you looking forward to popping in your earphones and getting lost in this unique experiment.
Great summer music:
Nothing says summer quite like having the lounge doors wide open with your favourite album rumbling through the speakers. For those of you that may want to delve into something a little different, here are some albums to start with:
Rita Ora’s new album Phoenix
Charley Pride – 50 Golden Years
Thalia – Valiente
Neil Young – Songs for Judy
Emile Sande – Live at the Royal Albert Hall
Neil & Liam Finn – Nightsleeper
Sting & Shaggy – 44/876 (open the doors and turn this up)
Michael Kiwanuka - Love & Hate
Last but not least – The best toy of 2018
For those of you that have been reading along with us for the last few years, this one won’t come as a surprise... Terry’s recommendation for best toy of 2018 is the Apple Watch 4.
As the Apple guru, aficionado and biggest fan, I honestly believe that a cruel and unusual punishment for him would be to use a Samsung!!!
The Apple Watch 4 has as an upgraded design and display, with the intent of making one of the most popular timepieces in the world more desirable as well as a valuable health monitor. The larger screen and more rounded edges are much nicer to look at and offer more functionality, other improvements include:
Bigger display (30%)
50% louder speaker
Whether its an upgrade or a first time Apple watch purchase – the Apple Watch 4 is definitely 2018’s winner!