As far as my bike riding was concerned. January was kind of a bust. I only managed to ride 543.5 miles, and 301 of that was indoors riding Big Nellie on a resistance trainer. The rest was on The Mule whenever the temperature broke 40 degrees. Not surprisingly I feel rather listless on the bike but warmer weather and more daylight are right around the corner.
When I ride in the basement, I read. This month I knocked off five books. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides is the tale of a psychotherapist who tries to break through to a murderess who has gone mute. It has a pretty good twist at the end (as all these sorts of novels do). The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell is another gothic novel, about a young woman who inherits a mansion in London. The inheritance comes with shocking revelations about her family history. Multiple plot twists kept me guessing. The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman is his follow-up to The Thursday Murder Club. Funny. Every bit as good, too. The Lyrics by Paul McCartney is a stealthy autobiography. He explains the lyrics to 150 of his songs. (Truth be told many of the lyrics are not nearly as good as the melodies and arrangements.) In the process, he discusses various events of his life. This one’s for die hard Beatles fans only. I ended the month reading an impulse purchase, Icebound by Amanda Pitzer, Three Dutch expeditions in the 1590s set out to find a Northeast passage to China by sailing over the top of Russia. It’s pretty much the same tale as that of the Endurance but with polar bears. However much you dislike winter, you have it infinitely better than the crew of these ships.
I watched five movies. The Rescue is a documentary about the successful Thai soccer team that was trapped in a cave system. How they pulled this off is literally amazing. The Tender Bar is the story of a young boy who grows up learning about life from his older brother, played by Ben Affleck, and the patrons at small Long Island bar. It’s based on a novel I read years ago. George Clooney directed. The movie does not include the sad epilogue from the book that describes how so many of the people in the story were directly effected by the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Eternals is a Marvel movie about a diverse (Women! Asians! Mexicans! Deaf people!, Angelina Jolie!, etc.) group of superpowered people who emerge from hiding to save the planet. There are battles. It’s not as bad as I thought it would be, but it’s way too long. Directed by Chloe Zhao. If you’re going to watch a Marvel movie this winter, go see Spider-Man, No Way Home. When my daughter came to visit, we watched Encanto. Very entertaining even if, like me, you’re burning out on Lin Manuel-Miranda. The animation is truly exceptional. Finally, I re-watched No Time to Die, the latest James Bond movie. It held up surprisingly well to a second viewing, It’s kind of sad that Daniel Craig is a tad too old to play Bond.