Culture Consumption: November 2018

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

Books

Fatimah Asghar’s If They Come for Us is a stunning collection of poetry (more on that over here).

I’m continuing to love the Murderbot diaries from Martha Wells. The third book, Rogue Protocol, provides more  adventure, more snark, more delightful robot anxiety.

Finding Baba Yaga: A Short Novel in Verse by Jane YolenJane Yolen’s short novel in verse, Finding Baba Yaga, was also a quick fun read. In this fairy tale retelling, a modern teenager runs away from the abuses of home and finds sanctuary in the chicken-legged home of the witch Baba Yaga. She works hard under the tutelage of the witch, who has iron teeth and a sharp nose and rides a mortar and pestle. The witch is not nice — perfectly willing to gobble up children (especially boys) when the situation calls for it — but she’s fair, and the girl finds sanctuary with her. The poetry is straightforward, but lovely with some fun wordplay thrown in to keep things lively. And the story feels complete with satisfying end.

Sarah Anderson’s comics are delightful in how they relate the creative process, anxiety, self doubt, and cuddly animal love. And her book, Herding Cats, is a wonderful compilation of her work. I especially appreciated the last section, which provides excellent advice for fellow artists navigating social media, both in terms of its values and its minefields.

Books Read Last Month:
1. Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells
2. Finding Baba Yaga: A Short Novel in Verse by Jane Yolen
3. If They Come For Us by Fatimah Asghar
4. Herding Cats: A Sarah Scribbles Collection by Sarah Anderson
5. Winter Tide by Ruthanna Emrys

Total Books for the Year: 55

Still in Progress at the End of the Month: Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire, 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/Poetry

The Shrike” by Cameron Suey – “By the time she’s thrown herself upright and grasped for the remote with shaking hands, it’s too late. She’s seen it. She’s heard the words.”

En Plein Air” by J.T. Glover – “A gust of wind boiled off the James without warning, flattening cattails and clumps of spikerush as it swirled around the inlet where I was painting, and of course it caught my canvas. The morning’s work rushed away from me like a sailboat before a storm, taking my field easel with it.”

One Should Not Ordinarily Tell Students Applying for Writing Courses That They are Biodegrading” by Kia Alice Groom –

“Set the scene: it is perfectly normal.
A lovely party if we leave out the blackouts, the psychos
in love with the sound of their own voices.”

Two Poems by Roy G. Guzmán – “Time blunts the crooked / to savage pews / Once / on the sibling stumps / of a beat Caribbean pine ”

Movies

Halloween-2018

Because it was important to me to see it in theaters, I took myself to Halloween, the fantastic sequel to the classic horror flick.

Michael Myers returns, escaping from a mental institution decades after coming a number of murders. Survivor Laurie Strode is scarred and hard-edged, her life focused on arming and armoring herself against just this moment. She’s determined not only to survive this time but to put an end to Myers once and for all.

This is not the first time Jamie Lee Curtis has reprised the role of Laurie (she’s done so three times before). This movie skips over those sequels, pretending they never existed. What makes this movie great is not just the right tension, but how it looks at trauma. Curtis does a phenomenal job revealing the layers of a character who’s been facing her own fears for decade. Laurie’s life has been defined by that trauma, fear driving her towards strength — but it’s also spread that trauma through the generations, her daughter trying to shape a normal life after growing up through intense survival training. Only her granddaughter is able to bring the gap, since she has not been affected by it directly.

Myers himself is presented in an interesting fashion. Although he’s seen at times with his mask off, we never actually see his face. In a way he seems both more human and more or a boogie man than I remember him being presented. It makes his character even more unsettling.

While it’s got some logic flaws here and there, this was a fantastic return to the Halloween series. The tension and jumps are great, and it makes you care about the characters enough to be invested in their fight for survival.

I also introduced my cousin to some Italian horror directors with Phenomena (directed by Dario Argento) and Zombi 2 (directed by Lucio Fulci). It was a bit of mixed bag (not my favorite Argento), but a fun experience nevertheless and I hope she’ll keep exploring Italian horror with me.

New-to-Me Movies Watched Last Month:
1. Halloween (2018)
2. Phenomena (1985)
3. Zombi 2 / a.k.a. Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979)

Television

I haven’t been watching much real TV lately, since most of my free time has been spent watching Let’s Plays on YouTube (a new experience for me). As a result of all this, I’ve joined Twitch to begin checking out some livestreams and maaaaybe start making some of my own such vids(?),

But I did make it through season six of Game of Thrones.

Games

Immediately after finishing The Last of Us (which I talked about last month), I began to replay The Last of Us and I’ll probably replay it a third time — because the game is that good and has consumed me that much. I’m trying it on a harder setting (Normal instead of Easy) to give myself a bit more of a challenge. But mostly I’m playing to gather up collectables and snag some trophies, which is harder than I thought it would be since I keep missing items here and there. *sigh*

I also stumbled upon Burly Men at Sea: A Folktale Adventure, which is a story based game in which three big-bearded sailors discover a map and go on a series of adventures. There is almost zero skill involved, with the results based on your choices — and yet, it’s a delightful game, sweet, silly, beautifully illustrated, and relaxing. After you finish a series of adventures, the game has a code that will allow you to go online and purchase a physical book copy of your adventures, which is rather fun, too.

burly men at sea


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


Newsletter | Twitter | Instagram

Leave a Reply