As is becoming a bit of a tradition, I’m rounding out the year with a couple of posts looking at some of my favorite things from the year. Some are spy related, some are not but all were memorable experiences. Following up on my previous post focusing on some things that I did here’s the second looking at some things I read or saw that I recommend.
So without any further ado and in no particular order, here we go.
LRB twitter feed
q. how did smiley know when it was his nemesis on the phone
a. he had “karla ID”
— LRB Bookshop (@LRBbookshop) December 15, 2017
If you are a twitter user, you should certainly be following the London Review Bookshop twitter feed. In addition to promoting new books and events, the real reason for checking their feed are the bizarre and amusing tweets they have continued to post over the past several years.
Make sure you look at the photo closely –
guillam’s reunion with Smiley in the new John le Carré is one of the most moving passages I’ve read this year. absolutely beautiful pic.twitter.com/eXFypOUz7l
— LRB Bookshop (@LRBbookshop) September 9, 2017
Who wouldn’t want to vote on the hunkiest le Carré character?
It’s time to play……… ‘Smiley’s Hunks of the Circus’, where we discover the most dateable character in john le carre’s fictional spy HQ
— LRB Bookshop (@LRBbookshop) June 7, 2017
Among topics they have taken up are the “Smiley’s Hunks of the Circus” poll, le Carré jokes, a description of how filmmakers made the entire movie Jurassic World in LR Bookshop and a shaggy dog story involving M & M’s and shaggy dogs.
At least once a month there is a crazy tweet storm that will have you laughing out loud.
Click on this tweet below to see the full story thread. Just another day in the life of running a bookstore.
gent comes in with three big bags from m&m world slung over his shoulder, browsing happily but steps backward and trips over a customer’s small dog. the m&ms, thousands of them, go flying. dog starts barking madly
— LRB Bookshop (@LRBbookshop) October 26, 2018
A new Kate Atkinson book is a cause for celebration and her latest, a spy novel, is no exception. Following a Londoner from her youthful work for MI5 during World War II to her life a decade later working for the BBC, she takes you on a twisty journey following a character you’ll enjoy spending time with. My full review is here.
Over the past five years we’ve seen a renaissance of great spy TV. Berlin Station’s first season was the truest version of a novelistic television show I’ve seen and the second season didn’t disappoint either. Counterpart took a slightly wacky sci-fi concept and managed to make a show that recreates all the best parts of Cold War era spy fiction. Legends second season took a so-so show in a completely different and more interesting direction.
Add to that The Americans, The Night Manager, The Little Drummer Girl, Condor, The Assets, The Bureau, Deutschland 83, Churchill’s Secret Agents, Killing Eve, Jack Ryan, The Game, Homeland and more I’m probably missing and there’s more spy tv then ever before. It’s truly a good time to be a spy fan.
I watched more movies in the theater and at home this year than I had for some time. Mission Impossible: Fallout, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Black Panther, Breach and Charade, were all movies in that I found great enjoyment. If nothing else it made me realize that I need to find a way to watch more films and less disposable television.
Spy Polls – Books and Movies
In collaboration with Shane Whaley and his Spybrary podcast we ran polls to choose the best spy novel and the best spy movie. It was a lot of fun to talk about potential picks and reveal the winners. More than anything I hope it gets folks reading more spy books and watching new movies they might not have previously given a chance. I’m hopeful we get to run a spy TV poll in 2019 and given the explosion of spy shows out there I think this one will be a knock down, drag out fight.
That’s my look at 2018. On to the new year!