Culture Consumption: September 2018

Hi, lovelies. Here’s my month in books, movies, television, and games. 🙂

Books

I read and adored I Am Not Your Final Girl, a collection of horror-themed poetry by Claire C. Holland (review) and Nova Ren Suma’s latest eerie YA novel, A Room Away from the Wolves, for which I’m hosting a giveaway. Although each has a very different tone, both books explore the strength of women when faced with unsettling or violent circumstances. I highly recommend them.

I also enjoyed Jeremy C Shipp’s novella The Atrocities, which is a tightly told horror story. Ms. Valdez is hired as a private teacher for Isabella. She journeys to an labyrinthine estate adorned with grotesque statues and painting, where she learns that the young girl she is supposed to teach is dead and a ghost. As Ms. Valdez begins to uncover the truth about this strange family, she faces the hauntings of her own past. Great story.

Sticking with the horror theme, I finished the graphic short story collection Fragments of Horror by Junji Ito. I adore Ito’s work in general, though this collection didn’t quite meet the same level of unsettling beauty as Uzumaki or the stories in Shiver.  Still, there were a couple stories that stood out for me, with images that linger, including “Dissection-chan,” in which a woman is obsessed with the idea of dissection, and “Blackbird,” in which a man survives a hiking accident through horrific means.

Books Read Last Month:
1. The Atrocities by Jeremy C Shipp
2. I Am Not Your Final Girl by Claire C. Holland
3. A Room Away from the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma
4. Fragments of Horror by Junji Ito

Total Books for the Year: 45

Still in Progress at the End of the Month: Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang, We Are All Completely Fine by Daryl Gregory,  and Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

Short Stories/Poems

Liminality: A Magazine of Speculative Poetry released its most recent issue, which contained many fantastic poems. I especially loved “The Story that the Small Thing Tells” by Eloise Mitchell-Smith, “The Dryad’s Lament for Autumn” by Kendra Cardin, and “Advice to a Villain” by Mary Soon Lee.

Annalee Flower Horne’s “CARBORUNDORUM > /DEV/NULL” is a powerful short story about the how much agency young girls have over their lives and situations. — “Unfortunately, my mother had the house logging all my communications, and my app to get around it had gotten blocked with the last firmware update. I opened Tish’s message and sent back: to get to Monaco, we’d need a parrot.”

Heliocentric” by Keith S. Wilson — “I’m striving to be a better astronaut, / but consider where I’m coming from, // the exosphere, / a desk where the bluest air // thins to a lip.”

Movies

I watched several horror movies this month, but my favorite viewing experience by far was the David Cronenberg’s The Fly, in which a scientist develops a means of teleportation. It would be an amazing discovery, if a fly didn’t happen to enter the chamber when he while he was testing the machine on himself — leading to a slow genetic mutation.

This is a phenomenal classic of the horror genre, and let’s face it Jeff Goldblum is totally hot in this — well, at least until he starts to get all gross. Also,  Cronenberg is the perfect director for this kind of story. Because as hot as Goldblum is, the special effects are equally amazing and appropriately disgusting in every way. So many levels of cringe level yuk to bring out the full depths of this body horror flick.

Jeff Goldblum being a babe in The Fly.
Jeff Goldblum being a babe in The Fly.

I won’t show the icky stuff here, in case there are those who don’t want to see it, but here’s a cool breakdown of the effects used in the film.

New-to-Me Movies Watched Last Month:
1. The Fog (1980)
2. The Fly (1986)
3. Mandy (2018)
4. The Belko Experiment (2016)

Television

Orphan Black, Season Three opens up the scope of the cloning conspiracy, revealing the existence of (SPOILER) a set of military-raised male clones with their own health problems to address. It continues to be a captivating show, although I’ve slowed down my pace of watching quite a bit.

Orphan Black, Season Three
Orphan Black, Season Three

Eureka has become my current go to watch for soothing my soul. It’s a light-hearted sci-fi series set in the town of Eureka, where geniuses from around the world have gathered to share their knowledge and make scientific leaps in progress. In the midst of this is Jack Carter, a somewhat bumbling sheriff, who nevertheless provides a grounded perspective that the town desperately needs. There’s a lot of wacky, weird science and fun, diverse characters. I’ve seen Seasons One to Three over the past month, as I’ve been putting it on in the background for some light watching.

Eureka
Jack Carter and his badass detective Jo Lupo.

I binged through more or less four seasons of the The Walking Dead. Why rewatch? Because I missed Glenn. Rewatching reminded me how much I loved him, and Michone along with several other characters. It also reminded me how uneven the show can be, with some episodes being compelling and others being entirely forgettable (I fast forwarded through those). I don’t think I’ll continue rewatching after this point, since I know what’s coming and I’ve pretty much got my fix at this point.

Glenn, played by Steven Yeun
We miss you, Glenn.

Games

I’m still playing The Last of Us, and am taking it a bit slow because it legit gets my heart rate going as I’m playing it. I can go for about a couple of hours before the stress of playing outweighs the fun — but I’m loving it. The story keeps evolving in unsettling and heartbreaking ways. I can’t wait to see how the story turns out.

The Last of Us

One of the many beautiful shots in The Last of Us.


That’s it for me! What are you reading? Watching? Loving right now?


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