The power of 3, one to read and one to listen to

Jo Meerveld curates the world of entertainment to bring GYone three gems worth making time for..


One to watch; The Umbrella Academy

Highly original and accessible with characters that you can really invest in, the Umbrella Academy is an engaging watch that will have you laughing along with the teens in your household.

When billionaire Sir Reginald Hargreeves dies of a heart attack, his death brings together his adopted seven adopted children, who have not met in years. Named simply as numbers one to seven, the now adult children were superheroes collectively known in their childhood as The Umbrella Academy. However, family tragedies and their dysfunctional upbringing forces these children to leave the Academy upon reaching adulthood. On the day of Sir Reginald's funeral, the missing Number Five re-emerges from the future as a harbinger of an upcoming apocalypse and convinces his siblings to help him stop it. With more than a touch of Tarantino at times, the scenery and costumes are show stopping and the characters endearingly quirky, including Mary J. Blige as Cha-Cha, the hit woman from the future who could have stepped out of the set of Reservoir Dogs. Lots of fun.

One to watch with the family.


One to read; American Dirt, Jeanne Cummins

After an explosive introduction, this book sends you lurching and stumbling along with Lydia and Luca as they make their escape from the Mexican cartels to a new life across the border in America. It’s an eye-opening, mind blowing account of the journey that thousands of desperate migrants make each year. It challenges your perceptions of migrants and the treatment that they receive at the hands of the law on both sides of the wall.

It’s a thrilling, heartbreaking story of a race against time, authorities and killers that will keep you on the edge of the sofa from Friday evening to Sunday night. On the border wall of Tijuana, a Mexican border town, there is wonderful piece of graffiti. ‘On this side, too, there are dreams’. We all have dreams, but most of us are lucky enough not to have to leave our homes and our old lives behind to find them. This book could be dedicated to the dreamers who are brave enough to leave, who have nothing to lose, make so much sacrifices and pay so many dues to fight with everything they have to reach their destination. One of the most fascinating and memorable books I have read this year.

One to curl up with on a rainy weekend.

One to listen to; The Listening Project, BBC Radio 4

I have been enjoying The Listening Project for a while now. It’s grown into one of those cosy, Radio 4 programmes that feel both familiar while opening your mind to new thoughts and interests. Through a series of candid and under-produced conversations, that cleverly reflects our changing beliefs and patterns as a society.

Described as a modern bank of chat - something for future generations to listen to, and perhaps even to learn from – the conversations are preserved for posterity as part of a project with the British Library.

No conversation ever disappoints and even though the main themes of life crop up over and over again, it’s remarkable how every chat touches on something different.

One to ponder.


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