Culture Consumption: April 2020

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


The Route of Ice & Salt by José Luis ZárateThe Route of Ice & Salt by José Luis Zárate presents a loose retelling of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, told from the point of view of the ship captain, who carries the crates of soil from Transylvania to England. Along the way, some deadly misfortune begins to befall the crew.

Told through the captain’s journals, the novella is beautiful written, vibrantly erotic, and deeply unsettling. The captain is gay, harboring secret desires for the men of his crew. But he keeps these desires locked down inside himself in order to maintain his position and safety in the world. He’s a fascinating character, with many layers of depths and his own secret courage. It’s a powerful story.

Books Finished This Month:
1. The Route of Ice & Salt by José Luis Zárate, translated by David Bowles
2. Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel García Marquez
3. Slices of Flesh: A Collection of Flash Fiction Tales from the World’s Greatest Horror Writers, edited by Stan Swanson

Total Books for the Year: 14

Still in Progress at the End of the Month: Nox Pareidolia, edited by Robert S. Wilson, and The Mothman Prophecies by John A. Keel

Short Stories & Poetry

City Girls” by Caroline Dinh (Strange Horizons) —

“little sisters belong beneath crowns,
by nature; the golden age of
gone traditions swept away at last
by an emerald sea. their birthright: to live
under an infinite eclipse, tiara of sunbeads,
scepter of starlight;”

Three Poems by Jari Bradley (The Adroit Journal) —

“In the dense forest of language
lay the parts of my selves
driven into the wilds by man—
my heavy hooves carrying my body
like a betrayal against the night’s
unsolicited touch, where I was a child
once, a daughter of the dust
then memory; its deep onset of indigo.”


I knew nothing about Love and Monsters prior to seeing it except for the movie poster — and I was delighted by this lighthearted apocalyptic romp. When a meteor starts to plunge towards Earth, humanity saves itself by striking it out of the sky with rockets, which has the unfortunately side effect of causing all the cold blooded creatures of the world to mutate and grow to enormous size. After seven years of living in a bunker with a group of fellow survivors, Joel finally connects with his girlfriend Aimee, who has been living in a bunker 80 miles away. Despite his fears, he decides to journey the 80+ miles to reunite with her, braving the monstrous critters of the world along the way.

On his journey, Joel meets other survivors (the best being Dog) and learns how to live in the world. The characters of this movie are all great, and the monsters are creative, well-designed, and diverse. Such a great movie with an excellent mix of thrills and laughs.

Love and Monsters

I don’t normally talk about movies I’ve watched before, but I rewatched Song of the Sea — and it’s such a gorgeous animation with a beautifully compelling tale of grief sibling love. It includes selkies and fairies and other creatures from Irish folklore, and the hand drawn animation style is wonderfully intricate and unique. There’s nothing else quite like it out there. I highly recommend it to one and all.

Song of the Sea

New-to-Me Movies Watched Last Month:
1. Love and Monsters (2020)
2. The War with Grandpa (2020)


I was glad to finally finish the second season of The Mandalorian, which was as action packed and satisfying as I’d hoped.  With everyone around me having seen it first, I was sure a little spoilers had slipped through — and yet, I was still surprised by the journey. I totally dug it, and

The Madalorian-season two

I’ve also started watching Shadow and Bone (Netflix) and Emma Approved (YouTube). Both are adaptations of books, but they are on opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of budget and style. At any rate, I’ll talk about them more once I’ve finished watching them.


Imaginary Worlds looks at The Zen of Sci-Fi, exploring how deeply science fiction stories have been inspired by Buddhism. Some of these influences are so ingrained that people are no fully aware of them.

The Writing Excuses podcast is currently doing an eight episode master class on poetry, beginning with the episode What is Poetry? The series is phenomenal and worth a listen for anyone interested in learning more about poetry.

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