Culture Consumption: August 2023

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


The Game Writing Guide: Get Your Dream Job and Keep It by Anna Megill is a wonderfully practical guide to understanding how to build and maintain a career as a writer in the games industry. Her advice — which is based off interviews with dozens of writer mentors, as well as her own experience writing for games such as Fable, Control, and Dishonored, among others — runs the full gamut, from job hunting, writing resumes and cover letters, building a portfolio, and interviews to moving up within the company once you have the job and leadership roles.

All of this advice is delivered in simple, well-organized, and straightforward manner — with little dashes of humor sprinkled in — making the book easy to ready and follow. Where Megill is less confident in her commentary, she admits so upfront and presents insights of other mentors or other avenues for seeking this information.

For those interested, I wrote up a few of the insights I learned from the book.

It should be no surprise to anyone who has paid attention to my blog that Junji Ito is one of my favorite horror writers. Tombs is another phenomenal collection of short graphic tales from this master of the genre. The collection offers eerie and terrifying tales of a town with tombstones growing throughout its streets, a haunted clubhouse, terrible body horror, the hell of neighbors, and creatures dragged up from the depths of the sea — among other wonderfully haunting stories. As with each of Ito’s books, the horrors of the tales are illustrated beautifully in his signature black and white style.

Page spread from the story “Washed Ashore” in Tombs</>

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The Flourishing Beauty of Ariel Schlesinger’s Interconnected Aluminum Trees

Art Installation: An aluminum tree holds another unrooted aluminum tree aloft
Untitled by Ariel Schlesinger.

Travel is an opportunity to wander. Often, when I feel safe to do so, I allow myself to become comfortably lost, allowing my feet to lead me down various streets to see what I’ll discover.

When I visited Frankfurt, Germany, my wandering led me along the Main River and past the Jüdisches Museum Frankfurt, where I stopped abruptly — as I was suddenly captivated by the large sculpture in the courtyard.

Growing up out of the stone ground, a large cast aluminum tree was tangled in the branches of second tree — like two hands grasping each other—while the second tree hangs suspended upside down in the air. The grey metal of the trees, surrounded by white walls is starkly devoid of color, while the roots reach upward toward the sky, untethered and seeking some ground in which to root itself.

It’s an beautiful, dynamic, and evocative image — and I immediately wanted to learn more about the artist, their work, and how the piece was made.

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Culture Consumption: July 2023

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


Something is Killing the Children, a graphic novel by James Tynion IV (writer), Werther Dell’Edera (illustrator), and Miquel Muerto (colorist),In Something is Killing the Children, a graphic novel by James Tynion IV (writer), Werther Dell’Edera (illustrator), and Miquel Muerto (colorist), a game of truth and dare leads a group of kids out into the woods — but only one comes back alive. It’s brutal, bloody, and viscerally violent scene, made all the more terrifying with the realization that other kids have gone missing.

When a mysterious young women with intense eyes that have seen too much arrives in town, she promises to hunt down and kill the monsters. But with families desperate for answers and revenge and the town spiraling into paranoia and desperation, events quickly grow out of her control,  growing more and more deadly — and leading to a violent an tragic end.

A page of illustrated panels from Something is Killing the Children.

This graphic novel is beautifully illustrated and brutally gory, with the horror being as much about the aftermath of such violence as it is about the monsters themselves. I’m also very interested in this world and the strange society our mysterious hero is a part of. I’m looking forward to reading more.


Algorithmic Shapeshifting is a gorgeous collection of speculative poetry by Bogi Takács. Including poems from the past decade along with previously unpublished work, the collection includes pieces that extend  “from the present and past of Jewish life in Hungary and the United States to the far-future, outer-space reaches of the speculative — always with a sense of curiosity and wonder.”

There are many layers of beauty, pain, and compassion in this collection, which are perhaps best expressed through the words of the author themself —

“What do you see of me?
I live sandwiched in between rectangular walls
painted a nondescript gray,
a hundred stories underground
on a planet without an atmosphere.
I crave these little flares
of information and heart,
knowing I can offer precious little
of my lived experience in return.

Why do you love me, I wonder
as I lie back on my cot
and listen to the nighttime sounds
of the dormitory, the sneezes
rustles and coughs.
Our recycled air is always dry.
Why do you need me?
Do you see all the gray?”

— from “A Self-Contained Riot of Lights”

Written by Mary Kenney and paired with beautiful illustrations by Salini Perera, Gamer Girls gives a look into game development history, sharing the stories of many of the women who helped shape the world of board and video games, from the early days of programming to the present day. Each short chapter tells the story of how the designer, artist, songwriter, or storyteller came to video games and the challenges they faced in creating and developing their work and careers. Very inspiring.

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Culture Consumption: June 2023

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


Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle ZevinTomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin is one of my favorite reads of the year. The story centers on Sam Masur and Sadie Green, two friends who bonded over playing video games as kids before having a falling out, leading to them not speak to each other for years. When they stumble into each other while at college, they renew their friendship and love for games and enter into a wild adventure — make their own video game, a wild, risky, wonderful challenge. As the novel weaves through their game development and business successes and failures together, the story beautifully explores the nature of creative processes and partnerships and the ups and downs of close friendships, along with love, ego, grief, and so much more.

A lot of the books I love are well written, but it’s not often that I pause while reading a passage and go, woah. Zevin’s writing style is delicious. The omniscient third person perspective (used through most of the book) allows the author to float between the inner worlds of each of the characters, giving insights that they may not even recognize themselves. This is a genuinely gorgeous book, a new favorite read, and one that I will be returning to again and again.

Recently, This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El Mohtar and Max Gladstone hit the best seller lists and with good reason. The book — about two assassins on opposite sides of a time war connecting through letters — is a quick read with rich lush language illustrating a variety of pasts and futures along the threads of time. I don’t know if I want to say much more than that. It’s fantastic and you should read it.



Geometries of Belonging is a collection of short stories and poems from R.B. Lemberg’s Birdverse, a world said to be created by the mysterious god, Bird. The publisher writes, “The intricate Birdverse has at its core a magic based loosely in geometry, from which comes healing, love, and art. It is a complex, culturally diverse world, a realm with LGBTQIA characters and a wide range of family configurations. Lemberg probes the obstacles behind traditional social boundaries of cultures; overseeing this world is the deity Bird and all its incarnations. Each story and poem, exqusitely crafted, will richly reward long-time fans and newcomers alike.” This was a fantastic collection of stories, and I would love to read more in this universe.

Continue reading “Culture Consumption: June 2023”