2018 REWIND: Thoughts, Best Reads, Movies, Series and Games

This is where I look back to what I have done this year. Usually, it is for the sake of a trip back to nostalgia lane before a new beginning but also about trying to make sense of how the year went by, whether it was any good.

So the question “Was 2018 any good to me?” is a difficult one and I am going to try to answer it in my own way.

There was this boat who at the beginning of the year made preparations and set out navigating the high sea with a clear Island in mind. Somewhere at sea, the engines failed and it was stuck in the middle of the ocean. It had supplies but no way to reach the intended destination and no way to repair the engines. So it did what it had to by deploying the sails available and letting the wind blow and dictate its direction. A risky move but moving off trajectory was still better than staying stuck in the water. After all the supply reserves would not have lasted indefinitely. The wind did not play nice, the boat got carried into some storms but luckily there were only minor scratches. In the end, the boat did manage to hit shore. It was not the island it was expecting but surprisingly not one that was too far away as well. This island was not that bad as well and it could eventually lead to the other island. There are stories of boats who made the journey from this Island to the next, but right now the boat needed some repairs and to understand the current path in order not to get lost at sea again. Maybe it will take a bit longer than expected to reach the Island but it is definitely within sights and grasp. Right now the boat can only be grateful, enjoy the hospitality while preparing for the next journey.

That’s enough of storytelling and now let’s talk about movies I enjoyed this year.

MOVIES

The movie that I  have only just recently discovered and absolutely enjoyed is technically a 2013 movie titled “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”. The movie is dear to my heart and is quite simply the best movie I have watched in 2018.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Side note: Skip the trailer if you want to watch the movie, it is more enjoyable that way.

Now about movies that released in 2018 that I enjoyed, there isn’t much but there are a few:

Avengers Infinity War

I think nobody should be surprised to find this here. I am a fan of the Marvel cinematic universe and enjoyed most of the movies but this one is special. Lots of efforts, years of work and a long-term vision made this movie possible and for that reason solely I believe it should make the list. If you want to appreciate the depth and complexity of it though, I’d recommend watching all the current Marvel movies in their respective order. The mad titan Thanos makes for a very nuanced and compelling villain. The visual effects are excellent. Also looking forward to the upcoming Avengers: Endgame and Spiderman Far From Home.

Marvel Cinematic Universe Build Up:

  1. Iron Man (2008)
  2. The Incredible Hulk (2008)
  3. Iron Man 2 (2010)
  4. Thor (2011)
  5. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
  6. Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)
  7. Iron Man 3 (2013)
  8. Thor: The Dark World (2013)
  9. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
  10. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
  11. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
  12. Ant-Man (2015)
  13. Captain America: Civil War (2016)
  14. Doctor Strange (2016)
  15. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
  16. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
  17. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
  18. Black Panther (2018)
  19. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
  20. Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
  21. Captain Marvel (2019)
  22. Avengers: Endgame (2019)
  23. Spider-man: Far From Home (2019)

Raazi

This movie revolves around a young Indian spy “Sehmat Khan” (Alia Bhatt) who is married to a Pakistani officer “Iqbal Syed” (Vicky Kaushal). The movie is based on a book called “calling Sehmat”. The narrative and characters of both book and movie are based on real persons and events that have taken place. The cast delivers a great performance. As an audience, you can feel the imminent danger, the tension, kind of emotional trauma and inner turmoil people who have led such lives might have had gone through.

Andhadhun

This film fully deserves a 5 on 5. The story is hilarious when you think about it and yet it manages to be gripping by finding a perfect balance with its serious tone. This dark comedy is the story of “Akash” (Ayushmann Khurrana), a pianist who pretends to be a blind man and the madness that follows when he witnesses a murder in a house where he is invited (because the murderers assume he is blind).

 

TV SHOW

Westworld

There is no show in 2018 that I found which could be put on par with Westworld. This show is brilliant. Everything in it is deliberate and carefully laid out, even seeming random events and what might first appear as insignificant characters. No spoilers ahead but the blend of storytelling with the musical score of Ramin Djawadi’s “Heart-Shaped Box” in Episode 8 of Season 2 “Kiksuya” is incredible and one of the most memorable highlights from the current season.

BOOKS

I enjoy reading, this year’s target was 20 books. While I enjoyed most of the 20 books I have read, below is a list of 6 books that I enjoyed most.

Historical

Silk Road (Peter Frankopan)

Great book for those interested in the history of our little blue planet. The narrative is more focused on the Middle East and the Silk Roads. My full review.

Fiction

And the mountain Echoed (Khaled Hosseini)

This is, in my opinion, the best work of Khaled Hosseini. A story told from various perspectives and timelines with multiple characters each with their own secrets, regrets, sensibilities, and complexities. My full review.

Never Let me go (Kazuo Ishiguro)

The first book I read this year and the first book I have read from this author. Needless to say, I aim to read more of his work in 2019. My full review.

The Namesake (Jhumpa Lahiri)

Themed around relationships, family, culture, and identity is an enthralling story by Lahiri about this Indian couple (Ashima and Ashoke Ganguli) from Calcutta and their journey to settling in Boston and later on that of their son Gogol Ganguli. My full review.

Memoirs

When breath becomes Air

The last breath of a young neurosurgeon and neuroscientist. A doctor who finds himself in the shoe of a dying patient. My full review.

Fragile Lives

A successful heart surgeon; his point of view as his life intertwine with patients he encounters while on the job and his opinions on the medical profession. Enough said. My full review.

Games

Word Domination (Android)

It’s a modern and refreshing take on the beloved scrabble with matches limited to only five turns each and booster cards to spice things up. It became a favorite of mine recently. It is really fun to play with friends and families, it requires internet connectivity though. For those of you who want to play a match, my username is arshadpoolo#7245 on the game and you can download it from here.

 

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