Culture Consumption: January 2018

Planning to hopefully be more on top of sharing these in a timely manner this year (haha). So, here’s my month in books, movies, and television.


I did not finish reading a single book in the month of January — although I’m almost done with Wizard and Glass, the fourth book in Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. It’s a been a fun reread of this rather long book and I’m looking forward to putting together my thoughts on it (and returning the book to the library, because it’s quite a bit overdue at this point.

The other book I’ve been working on is Falling in Love with Hominids, a short story collection by Nalo Hopkinson. I love her work and am enjoying the stories I’ve read so far.

I also have several poetry books that I’m in the middle of, books in which I’ve read a poem here and a poem there, but haven’t read through completely.

Books Finished Last Month: 0

Total Books for the Year: 0

Still in Progress at the End of the Month: Wizard and Glass by Stephen King and Falling in Love with Hominids by Nalo Hopkinson


The Shape of Water (2017)
The Shape of Water (2017)

Guillermo del Toro is my favorite director and The Shape of Water is a gorgeous addition to his filmography — a stunning and strange dark fairytale about a mute women who falls in love with a creature from the deep, who has been captured by a government organization for testing. Del Toro and his team have the ability to conceive such beautiful monstrous creatures for the screen, the design stunning, the personality showing through. I loved this movie. However, I want to point to “I Belong Where the People Are,” an essay by Elsa Sjunneson-Henry, in which she examines how the movie portrays disability. It’s a beautiful, well thought out essay on an important subject.

IT (2017)
IT (2017)

Based on the classic novel by Stephen King, IT is about an evil being disguised as a clown is stalking children in the town of Derry and the group of bullied kids that join together to fight it.

Once I got past my internal “this is not how it goes in the book and why did they have to turn the girl into a damsel” thing, I really enjoyed this rendition of the book. But I personally did not find it scary, despite being m tense and having some jump scafs, In a way it was too pretty, Pennywise and his transformations beautifully wrought with perfect lighting, like wall art. It’s not a bad thing, per se, because I enjoyed the surreal beauty of it — but it was not scary.

I think prefer the mini-series (despite it’s many flaws) for its tougher edges and the way it allows for room to really show the bond between the kids — and, of course, Tim Curry. But I liked IT and I’m curious to see how the sequel with the adults will turn out.

New-to-me Movies watched last month:
1. The Shape of Water (2017)
2. It (2017)


I’ve been putting off watching The Handmaid’s Tale (on Hulu) for months, because I thought it would stress me out. And it is definitely an intense show, in which a woman is forced to live as a “concubine” in order to bear children under the rule of a fundamentalist dictatorship. It’s a phenomenal series with brilliant performances, beautiful cinematography, and tight editing. I read and loved Margaret Atwood’s book in high school and this feels very true to that, with a deeper exploration of both June/Offred’s past and the people around her who have power over her life. It’s powerful and deeply unsettling, and I can’t wait for season two.

The Handmaid's Tale
The Handmaid’s Tale

On a lighter note, Miss 2059, Season one, is a delightful sci-fi comedy webseries on about a beauty queen (played by Anna Akana) who accidentally gets whisked off to an intergalactic battle in place of her warrior sister to fight for the survival of Earth. It’s low budget, but funny and smartly written with solid practical and digital effects and good acting across the board. Because it’s a webseries, the episodes are each less than 10 minutes long, so it’s a breeze to get through a season. I’ll definitely be checking out season two, which is also now online.

The series is based on the short film, “Miss Earth,” which is worth checking out as well.

 Anna Akana in Miss 2059.
Anna Akana in Miss 2059.

I finished The Shannara Chronicles, Season 2 (on Netflix) which I started watching mostly because the first season was fun (if a bit fluffy) and I enjoyed the mix of post-apocalyptic setting and high fantasy. The season starts in the aftermath of season one, with the characters dispersed. Wil Ohmsford is wallowing from the loss of both Amberle and Eretria, while Eretria has found love in an isolated land. The kingdoms, still reeling from previous battles, are falling under the influence of a group of soldiers hunting down all magic users. Whereas the first season felt like a straightforward heroic fantasy tale, season two felt more complicated with multiple political factions all vying for power over the realms. It’s also far more diverse with the introduction of multiple POC characters and a lesbian love story. It’s not a perfect show, but I definitely enjoyed it.

Right now there’s a question mark as to whether there will be a season three, as The Shannara Chronicles has been doing a bit of channel hoping — starting out on MTV for season one, then Spike for season two (which may explain some of the increased bloodshed). I’m hoping the producers are able to find a home for season three, but I’m itching to see these characters come back to the screen.

The Shannara Chronicles, Season 2
The Shannara Chronicles, Season 2

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