Hi, lovelies. Here’s my month in books, movies, television, games, and podcasts.
“I realize I want to hear my voice and only mine. Not the voice of my voice within a cacophony of old pains. Just min, now.”
Jenny Slate’s Little Weirds is a strange and beautiful book, one that feels like a blending of poetry and memoir. The series of vignettes in this collection encapsulate small moments, dreams, or deep emotional experiences, for which Slate layers imagery and sound in a beautiful cacophony of weirdly wonderful passages. It’s one of those rare books in which I found myself drawn to underlining favorite pages, or rereading phrases to taste them over again. It’s a book that came to me at the perfect moment.
“I look up to you because I love the heavenly bodies of the universe, and the way I see it, your heart is a planet.
Your heart is factually a part of the universe, which is a miracle of endless force and boundless beauty.
There is literally no way that you are not a part of that.”
Books Finished This Month:
1. Spliced by Jon McGoran
2. Little Weirds by Jenny Slate
3. The Drifting Classroom: Perfect Edition, Vol. 2 by Kazuo Umezz
Total Books for the Year: 3
Still in Progress at the End of the Month: Never Have I Ever by Isabel Yap, The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses by Jesse Schell, and The 2021 Rhysling Anthology, edited by Alessandro Manzetti
Short Stories & Poetry
“The Sin of America” by Catherynne M. Valente (Uncanny Magazine) — “There’s a woman outside of a town called Sheridan, where the sky comes so near to earth it has to use the crosswalk just like everybody else. … There’s a woman outside of Sheridan and she is eating the sin of America.”
“The Right Dragon” by Coral Alejandra Moore (Lightspeed) — “Marisol stared into the cave, breathing in the stomach-turning scent of decay that meant a dragon’s den was inside.”
“Keeping House” by Sarah Day (Pseudopod) — “This house was cute, she had to admit. It had high ceilings and buttery yellow walls, hardwood floors, lots of cabinet space, a study where Matt could work on his electronics projects, and, if the listing was to be believed, a full basement with washer and dryer for laundry.”
“The Smell of Night in the Basement” by Wendy M. Wagner (Pseudopod) — “They said they were vampires. Sometimes I believed them and sometimes I didn’t, but I didn’t really care. I got enough to eat. There was always plenty of drugs and dancing and people to fuck. The screams bothered me sometimes, but not so much I wanted to leave the basement or Luca. Not that he would have let me leave.”
“Panorama” by Laura Stott (SWWIM) —
“I am not Deinonychus, early Cretaceous,
scales or feathers on my elbows, ankles,
a fan of color around my eyes, claws that can tear out the jugular
in any neck free of armour. Beating heart. Hunger. “
“I Swam in a Cold Lake and Watched My Body Convulse on Shore” by Emily Lee Luan (AAWW) —
“I watched them last time I was on an international
flight—their skinny arms and flat chests, their clean
sense of purpose. I had an aisle seat
and they bumped my elbow
with the beverage cart, said sorry to me in two
languages, both of them mine.”
“Sometimes There Is A Day” by Naomi Shihab Nye (Poem-a-Day) —
“Sometimes there is a day you just want
to get far away from.
Feel it shrink inside you like an island,
as if you were on a boat.
I always wish to be on a boat.
Then, maybe, no more fighting
about land. I want that day to feel
as if it never happened,”
“Housewife as Rumpelstiltskin” by Sara Moore Wagner (SWWIM) —
“I stomp my foot into the ground,
one, two, three, and the earth breaks
open like an egg. The viscous plastic
mantle, liquid, and I shake, shake,
shake, tectonic. Because you knew my name,
because you named me, I’m torn
in two, or I tear myself
in two, as some versions say.”
“The Life I Wanted” by Theodora Goss —
“One day I took the life I wanted
and bit into it.
It had been sitting in a blue ceramic bowl
of other lives, some red, some yellow,
some green — I thought those might be
too sour. I took the one I wanted,
red on one side, yellow on the other,
with a scattering of freckles.”
“lagahoo culture (Part II)” by Brandon O’Brien (Uncanny Magazine) —
“you open the papers, wipe the headline-stains on the back of
your knee, grumble that the world has changed since you were
young. elder, all it did was become high definition.
it turned your window into a pathway, and you don’t like standing
in its light. there are so many trees you don’t know the names of.”
Disney’s latest animated offering, Encanto, is delightful. The movie is vibrant, funny, and full of phenomenal music. The overall storyline about how heavy expectations can lead to feelings of anxiety and self doubt is well done — and also happens to be something I resonate with deeply.
New-to-Me Movies Watched Last Month:
1. Encanto (2021)
2. The King’s Man (2021)
The SyFy channel released its adaptation of Dune in 2000 — and for a long, the miniseries was my favorite version, as it follows the book fairly closely. The channel followed up with Frank Herbert’s Children of Dune a few years later, which adapts the subsequent two books in the series.
The story follows the fallout of what Paul Atreides achieved in the first Dune — including ongoing wars across the universe and the changing ecology of the planet Araknis (which threatens the flow of spice). After Paul vanishes into the dessert, his sister and children are left to deal with the mess and try to find a solution create a new peace. It’s an interesting enough adaptation. Though some of the more “out there” science fiction elements don’t fully translate smoothly.
The Wheel of Time was the perfect show for me to watch while I was trying to get some work done. Generally speaking, it was a fun fantasy with some cool moments. I enjoyed it for what it was. Will I watch season two? Possibly.
A few more episodes of Squid Game down. My friend and will probably watch the final two episodes sometime this month. Though, as it takes a bit to coordinate our schedules, we might not get to it.
I’ve continued my replay of Horizon: Zero Dawn, a game I love from top to bottom. It’s a stellar game, and I’m loving every second of my replay.
After almost a year, I’ve come back to The Last of Us 2. At this point, I’m having to relearn how to play, so I’ve dropped all the difficulty settings down to about as low as they can go. My main desire in coming back is wanting to know what happens in the storyline (spoilers for which I’ve mostly been able to avoid thus far). With the way the mechanics are in this game, I’m finding myself using stealth far more than I did in the first.
The What’s Good Games podcast is always a great source for gaming news and reviews — but over the last few weeks I’ve especially appreciated listening to their insightful commentary on major games news, namely Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard and Sony’s purchase of Bungie.
Sticking with games talk, She Plays Games host Lauren K. spoke with Roa Carbó-Mascarell, lead game designer at Loveshark about her journey in the industry, as well as her work as a mentor helping others to transition into games.
Scriptnotes is another podcast I listen to regularly, as they share a flood of useful information about screenwriting craft and business. Their most recent episode looks at Main Character Energy, or the “own your life” attitude of some social media influencers, and how that compares to what main characters are like in stories.
Horror Queers shared 25 Reasons We Love Scream, which is just a delightful lovefest for a film that changed the horror genre in the 90s.
That’s it for me! What are you reading? Watching? Loving right now?