books and reading · pop culture

October 2017 Recap

I can’t believe October is over and we’re into November. I’m sad that my favorite month of the year has come to a close. Here’s how October shook out:

Books:

Total: 34
Picture Books: 25
Middle Grade: 2
YA: 3
Adult: 4
Fiction: 34
Non-Fiction: 0
Audiobooks: 2
Total Pages Read: 3079

Favorite Reads in October: 

31931941Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia: I just loved this sweet story about a weird girl and a weird boy who meet and form a friendship. I loved the exploration of the online world merging with the real world, and I thought that Zappia did a nice job of blending two very different stories together. I think this is one of the best YA books I’ve read this year.

The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare: A super fun regency33259027 romance featuring two strong characters and genuinely scorching chemistry. This wasn’t my first Dare novel, and it won’t be my last one, either. The first in a new series, this is definitely one to check out, even if you’re not a regular reader of romance.

 

Viewing

Total Movies: 2
New: 2
Re-Watch: 0

Favorite Movies in October: 

None. I watched 47 Meters Down and Kong: Skull Island, and both were DUMB.

Other Things I’ve Been Watching:

I’ve been re-watching Sex and the City, and I’m up to season 4. The show is still funny in many ways, and I do love the female friendships that center the series, but there are things about it that have not aged well at all. It’s really transphobic, and it’s still maybe the whitest thing on television?

We’re still watching The Office, and we’re in season 6, which apart from Jim and Pam’s wedding, is a pretty unremarkable season. It’s starting to be a slog, but I think we’re both determined to finish it.

 

I’m hoping to get a few more movies in this next month (I’ve come to terms with the fact that there’s no way I’ll meet my year-end goal), and read some more titles on best of lists.

 

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books and reading · pop culture

September Recap

September was a busy month, which meant considerably less reading and watching of all sorts of things. Here’s how the month turned out:

Books:

Total: 15
Picture Books: 6
Middle Grade: 1
YA: 4
Adult: 4
Fiction: 14
Non-Fiction: 1
Audiobooks: 1
Total Pages Read: 2169

Favorite Reads in September:

25062038Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert: Colbert’s sophomore novel about a girl back from boarding school for the summer who is grappling with her brother’s mental illness as well as her own burgeoning bisexuality could be a heavy-handed “issues” book, but it isn’t. The novel is actually an understated, compelling look at a bunch of things that happen when you grow up. It’s a strong second book, and Colbert continues to be an author to watch.

You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner: A 25701463compelling story about a deaf girl being mainstreamed at a hearing school after getting booted from her Deaf one, Gardner’s smart novel about street art, passion, and feeling like an angry outsider had me turning pages waiting to see how it shook out. I think this is one of the best YA books of the year and will resonate with a lot of readers.

Viewing

Total Movies: 3
New: 3
Re-Watch: 0

Favorite Movies in September: 

the_big_sickThe Big Sick: I loved loved loved this fictional take on Kumail Nanjiani and his now-wife Emily’s relationship when she got really sick with an infection. It’s funny, sweet, weird, and heartfelt, and I found it totally charming. I watched it twice in a row, I loved it so much. One of my favorite movies of the year, absolutely.

 

Other Things I’ve Been Watching:

I watched all of season 1 of The Good Place and absolutely loved it. I think it’s smart and funny and totally weird, and I can’t wait to get more into season 2.

We’re still watching The Office, and we’re in season 4, which is definitely a creative slump for the show. But there’s still some good stuff coming, so I’m hopeful the boyf will stick with it (his track record is not great when it comes to finishing shows.

I also watched 3 seasons of You’re the Worst and looooved it.

That’s it, really. I’m hoping to read more genre fiction in September, and try to squeeze in a few movies, too. My movie watching ratio is absymal.

books and reading · pop culture

August 2017 Recap

This is how the month of August shaped up for me in terms of reading books and watching movies. And a lot of terrible TV.

Books:

Total: 35
Picture Books: 21
Middle Grade: 3
YA: 3
Adult: 8
Fiction: 30
Non-Fiction: 5
Audiobooks: 2
Total Pages Read: 4254

Favorite Reads in August:

32940879Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed: I loved this dystopian tale about an island where the (increasingly inbred) population follows a religion based on ancestor worship and strange mating rituals. It’s dark and haunting and beautifully written. I couldn’t pt it down. It’s one of my favorite reads of the year.

Grit by Gillian French: This fantastic YA novel about a girl31706530 living with a reputation in rural Maine was gripping and gorgeous. It’s my favorite kind of YA: dark, a little gritty, and featuring an authentic teen voice. French is an author to watch, and this is one of my favorite YA novels of the year, for sure.

Viewing

Total Movies: 6
New: 5
Re-Watch: 1

Favorite Movies in August: 

landlineLandline: I really really liked this dramedy about a family each dealing with their own issues. Set in 1995, things change for youngest daughter Ali (Abby Quinn) when she realizes her father (John Turturro) is having an affair. Meanwhile, Ali’s older sister Dana (Jenny Slate) starts to question her long-term relationship with nice guy Ben (Jay Duplass). It’s a smart movie, full of genuinely funny and sad moments about family and love and sisters, and while director Gillian Robespierre’s first movie Obvious Child remains my favorite, I really loved watching this tighter, more controlled narrative.

Everything else I watched in August was mostly garbage, including Baywatch, Beatriz at Dinner, and The Dinner.

Other Things I’ve Been Watching:

I’m almost done with Dawson’s Creek, and I want it to be over so desperately. I also can’t not finish, so I’m stuck in a pain cycle of my own doing. Everyone on the show is simultaneously boring and also the worst. I forgot how boring the show is in general, but it’s especially true of the college years.

I finally convinced the boyf to watch The Office, so we’ve been tearing through that. We started with Season 2, because he’s particularly sensitive to super awkward humor, and he seems to really be enjoying it, which is fun for me because it’s still one of my absolute favorite series.

That’s it, really. I’m hoping to read more genre fiction in September, and try to squeeze in a few movies, too.

books and reading · pop culture

January 2017 Recap

This is how the month of January shook out for me. These are the things I watched and read:

Books:

Total: 49
Picture Books: 27
Middle Grade: 6
YA: 4
Adult: 12
Fiction: 41
Non-Fiction:8
Audiobooks: 5
Total Pages Read: 5596

Favorite Reads in January:
30231763Always Happy Hour: Stories by Mary Miller: A collection of stories about women in doomed relationships. While most are romantic in nature, there are a few where unhealth friendships or other non-romantic relationships are explored.  All of the stories are beautifully written, with searing truths about what it is like to be an American woman in this day and age, and Miller’s writing cuts right to the bone.  There are some standouts here; in particular “Big Bad Love” and “The House on Main Street,” but all of the stories can stand on their own.  This is one I’d like to own, so I can revisit favorite passages again and again.

The Poet’s Dog by Patricia MacLachlan: I read this short middle 28594983grade novel in one sitting at the desk at work, and I had to work very hard not to sob while doing so. It’s a simple story narrated in large part by a dog who has recently lost his owner, a poet.  The dog rescues two children in a terrible snow storm, and the three form an intense bond. The result is a lovely story about the unconditional love dogs have for humans, the wonder both children and poets have, and the hope that life can bring. I loved it.

6527979The Thingamabob by Il Sung Na: A very cute, beautifully illustrated picture book about an elephant who cannot figure out what the thingamabob is supposed to do. It will captivate young readers and entertain adults, too. I have hopes of using this in a toddler storytime sometime this year, because I think it will be a hit. Il Sung Na is an author to watch out for.

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo: Amanda has moved to a 26156987new town after a brutal attack and is hoping to start over as her true self. But she also knows she has to try to fly under the radar for her own safety, which becomes harder when she falls for a boy at her new school. A story about a trans girl by a trans author that doesn’t result in total tragedy or darkness, this is a contemporary, necessary story that’s important not only for cis teens but for trans ones as well. It’s romantic, universal, and engaging. I loved it.

Movies:

Total: 17
New: 11
Re-Watch: 6

Favorite Movies in January: 
hf.jpgHidden Figures: The Oscar nominations for this movie are well-deserved. It’s a fairly typical bio-pic, but it’s still compelling as hell and very moving. I loved every minute of watching these amazing women solve math problems and face unbelievable sexism and racism.

American Honey: Definitely overly-long (I couldn’t believe the ah.pngruntime was nearly 3 hours), but very compelling. Star says she’s 18 and might be telling the truth when she hooks up with a ragtag group of teens who travel the country in a van, selling magazines and partying in cheap motels. The result is a road trip movie that sort of meanders through its storyline, and if it weren’t for the excellent cast and interesting directing, it would fall apart. But the result is a beautiful movie more interested in examining the inner life of its female protagonist than anything else. I really liked it, but I’ll admit it’s not for everyone.

books and reading · pop culture

October 2015 Recap

Reading:

Best Book of the Month:  Infandous by Elana K. Arnold

Books Read: 21
Adult: 0
MG: 0
YA: 21
Children’s: 0
Fiction: 21
Non-fiction/Memoir: 0
Graphic Novel: 0
# of Pages Read: 5343

Thoughts on October’s Reading: 

I read a lot of books but still feel like I could have read more.  I love reading for the Cybils, but work has gotten unexpectedly busy and life is getting in the way consistently.  I’m hoping to at least match the number of titles read for November, but we’ll see.

October was a bad month for watching stuff.  I watched a few movies and marathoned The Good Wife, but nothing to really report on here, which is embarrassing.

Goals for November:

  • At least 20 more books read for the Cybils.
  • At least 10 movies that are new to me.  I need to get out of the habit of re-watching shows/movies I’ve already seen.  It’s easy to do when you’re a distracted viewer and like to multi-task, but it’s wreaking havoc on my pop culture goals.

 

books and reading · pop culture

September 2015 Recap

Reading:

Best Book of the Month:  Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Books Read: 14
Adult: 8
MG: 0
YA: 6
Children’s: 0
Fiction: 12
Non-fiction/Memoir: 2
Graphic Novel: 0
# of Pages Read: 5,022

Thoughts on September’s  Reading:

  • I read a fair amount in September, and I read fairly evenly between adult/YA titles.  I read a lot of stuff that was merely okay, and a few knockout titles.
  • I’m participating in the Cybils again this year, which means an increase in reading volume for October-December, but it will all be YA fiction, so I should probably kiss goodbye the adult titles I still have sitting on my nightstand from the library.

Watching:

TV:

  • I’ve mostly been re-watching shows I love, like Parks & Rec, The Office, and Buffy, so I haven’t marathoned anything new this month.
  • Fall TV is here, and I’m really into Fear the Walking Dead, Switched at Birth, and am enjoying Blindspot and Quantico.

meearlMovies:

Best Movie in September: Me & Earl & the Dying Girl
Total Movies Watched: 12
Theater Trips: 0
Re-Watch: 1

Thoughts on Movies: 

  • I’m doing an unofficial fall movie challenge, so my movie watching is up this month.  I watched a fair amount of stuff, but the best things I watched included Me & Earl & the Dying Girl (SO GOOD) and Belle.
  • I also watched Welcome to Me, which I liked a lot, and The One I Love, which was weird and sort of wonderful.

 Goals for October:

  • Watch at least 15 new movies
  • Read, read, read.  It’s Cybils time, so this is pretty much a given.
books and reading · pop culture

August 2015 Recap

Reading:

Best Book of the Month:  From Where I Watch You by Shannon Grogan

Books Read: 8
Adult: 4
MG: 0
YA: 4
Children’s: 0
Fiction: 6
Non-fiction/Memoir: 2
Graphic Novel: 0
# of Pages Read: 2641

Thoughts on August’s Reading:

  • Way down on reading this month, for some reason.  I have a ton to read and very little motivation to do so.
  • I’ve read considerably more YA this month, which is good.  I still have a lot to catch up on.

Watching:

TV:

  • Still chugging away at Beverly Hills, currently stuck in the 8th season.  Don’t get me wrong: this has never been a good show, but we’re well past jump-the-shark territory, and now it’s kind of boring.
  • Definitely ready for fall TV.

Movies:

rickiBest Movie in August: Ricki and the Flash
Total Movies Watched: 1?
Theater Trips: 1
Re-Watch: 0

Thoughts on Movies: 

  • Embarrassingly, I didn’t track movies watched in August, but I’m not sure I watched any with the exception of Ricki & the Flash.
  • I have goals for September, but I’m still hammering out the details.  Obviously more movies and less TV (it’s just so easy to marathon Royal Pains).

 

 Goals for September:

  • Watch 5-10 movies.  Seriously.
  • Read at least 10 books.
  • Keep up with keeping track.