Stop, Look, Listen: JOE's pick of the week features House of Cards, The Goldfinch and Beck
With our infinite knowledge of absolutely everything ever, JOE picks the best reads, TV shows and CDs for you to enjoy this week
House of Cards
You'll need Netflix for this one rather than getting it on a DVD or VHS, as the kids like to do these days, but this is one heck of a TV show. If you've missed the first series, then you'd better get watching, as the second series was just released last Friday, all in one go.
The first episode of both of the series should grab you right from the start, and if you don't like them then you're not going to like what comes after, but honestly we don't really see how that's a possibility. Kevin Spacey's performance is fantastic, in particular when he breaks the fourth wall and talks to the audience, which could be cheesy but manages to lend a further brilliant touch to the show. The rest of the cast is equally superb, and the dark murky world of politics is portrayed excellently, as is the bit about penniless journalists living in run down crap shacks infested with cockroaches.
If you are looking for a quality slice of unputdownable (it's a word) fiction then look no further than Donna Tartt's latest effort. The American writer bangs out a book about once every 10 years, so when they arrive, you have to savour them as they are always top class. The Secret History (1992) and The Little Friend (2002) were fantastic but her latest effort, out now on paperback, The Goldfinch, is simply the best yet.
Clocking in at around 700 pages it is a bit of a monster (a good one for Kindle readers). However, the tale of a young boy who suffers a life-changing trauma before finding his way in the world is worthy of every single page. Not a word is wasted across the entire book as you become completely immersed in Theo's life, his many, many travails and his relationship with a masterpiece painting by Fabritius called The Goldfinch.
It might only be February, but you won't read a better story, and you certainly won't read a better told story, all year.
Beck - Morning Phase
Beck is back with a new effort, Morning Phase, his 12th studio album, and although it's not yet released (it finally hits shelves/iTunes on February 25th), there are a few tracks out and you can stream it in full before the release date via the folks at NPR.
Blue Moon is our favourite of the tracks that we've heard so far, and it's folk acoustic sound is pretty soothing of an evening when you're kicking back and relaxing. He's stated that it's a sequel to 2002's Sea Change, and how it stacks up to that classic is up to you. Give it a listen anyway.