My 2015 challenges are:-
1. Read one book each month.
1a. Read Agatha Christie books in chronological order.
2. Watch films from IMDb's top 100 movies of all time.
3. Support charities.
I've had another good month in February. Two books have been read on the Kindle, the first one being Little Women. This is a book I've never read before, I remember watching the film but couldn't remember everything about it so when I saw this was free for the Kindle, I thought I'd give it a go and I'm so glad that I did as I really enjoyed it. I read a post at the back end of last year which Amy wrote on her Love Made My Home blog, Orchard House and Louisa May Alcott, about her visit to the author's house in Concord, Massachusetts which I found really interesting as the book was actually loosely based on Louisa and her three sisters.
The second book I read in February was The Inn At The Top by Neil Hanson. This book has the subtitle Tales of Life at the Highest Pub in Britain, so that should give you some idea of what this book is about. It's packed with anecdotes about the author and his wife's time at the inn, in a remote part of the Yorkshire Dales, back in the 1970's with bits of history about the area thrown in for good measure. A thoroughly enjoyable read.
I read the second of Agatha Christie's books, The Secret Adversary. This book introduces the reader to Tommy and Tuppence, two fictional detectives who appear together in four Agatha Christie novels and one collection of short stories. I'm familiar with Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple but I've never come across Tommy and Tuppence in any Agatha Christie books I've read previously so this was a bit of a surprise. I enjoyed the book and didn't guess the ending.
I've had a bit of a film watching marathon this month, ten in total.
For A Few Dollars More is one of the Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns, the second in the Dollars Trilogy which are a favourite of my dad's. I can't say I was enthralled, it was watchable but not really my thing.
The Shawshank Redemption is number one on IMDb's top 100 and I can see why. It's a film I've seen before and one, I'm sure, I'll watch again. It would definitely make it on to my top 100, quite near the top.
I wasn't looking forward to watching Life Is Beautiful, an Italian comedy drama. I confess that I'm not all that fond of films with subtitles, but this was such a lovely film. A Jewish Italian, Guido, and his family are taken to a Nazi concentration camp where Guido comes up with an idea to shield his son from the true horror of the situation. Bittersweet. I'm pleased I watched it. Roberto Benigni directed and starred in this film and he won an Oscar for Best Actor, very well deserved in my opinion.
I nearly gave Pulp Fiction a miss even though I didn't really know what it was about. I'd heard about the violence and didn't fancy it, but it wasn't at all what I was expecting, I didn't realise it was a black comedy. I actually really enjoyed the film, very clever how three separate stories are connected together, and I loved John Travolta in it. Mick had never seen it before either so I sat through it a second time with him.
American History X is a film I've never heard of before. It's about two brothers, one a neo Nazi skinhead who ends up a reformed character after his time in prison, and the other who seems to be going down the same lines. A very powerful storyline which is bound to stir up strong emotions. This is another film I wouldn't have chosen to watch but I'm glad that I did.
One of my favourites is Forrest Gump. I don't know how many times I've seen this already, but I'm sure it's another one which I'll watch again. I think Tom Hanks is a brilliant actor and is fantastic in the role. This would definitely make my top 100.
Full Metal Jacket is about new Marine recruits, taking the viewer through their basic training and in to combat in Vietnam. I'm not really in to war films and this wasn't my thing, but it was watchable. It wouldn't make it in to my top 100 though.
Another Tom Hanks film, The Green Mile. I think this would make my top ten, a hopeless, tragic story about men on death row, but a beautiful tale too. This is another film which I can watch over and over again.
The Godfather and The Godfather: Part II are number two and three on IMDb's list. They wouldn't make it on to my list, but that's not to say they're not great films. I'm not in to gangster movies at all so these really weren't to my taste. I did enjoy watching Al Pacino when he was younger though, a very good looking man.
Eleanor cleared a few things out of her drawers and wardrobes a couple of weeks ago so they were taken to The Salvation Army Trading Company Ltd clothing bank. These clothing banks are so handy, they're usually situated in supermarket carparks and I know I can take my donations there at any time of day, they don't close like charity shops do.
Lend With Care, part of Care International, allows entrepreneurs in developing countries to make their own way out of poverty with the help of a microfinance loan. Making a contribution towards the loan is a great way to help someone help themselves and this can be in £15 increments. The entrepreneur's profile is regularly updated so you can follow their progress and see how their new source of income is transforming their life. Providing all goes well, the loan will be repaid to your account and you can then decide whether to withdraw the amount you lent or you can go on to help more entrepreneurs in the same way. I think it's a great scheme so I've helped a lady in Zambia with her bakery business this month. It's a very short term loan and should be repaid in July so I hope to go on and help more people in the same way.
It's been another busy month where my challenges are concerned but I'm hoping to have a bit of a rest over the weekend as I'm suffering with conjunctivitis at the moment and I've also done something to my back, I'm not sure what as it came on suddenly without me realising. I do hope it doesn't stick around, a bad back is something I can definitely do without now that the gardening season is nearly upon us.
Have a good weekend everyone.