My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 2/26/21

My reading has slowed down this week. My writing has also slowed down this week. I wonder if they are connected. I did watch two movies and two new TV shows. Here’s my week:

Movies – We watched two movies this week. The first was Honest Thief. Liam Neeson plays a bank robber who got away with over $9 million. When he meets and falls in love with Annie(Kate Walsh) he decides to turn himself in to begin a new life. He is double crossed by two corrupt FBI agents and has to fight for his new life. It is a standard Neeson action movie. I think I dozed a little, but didn’t feel like I missed anything important. My wife who loves standard action movies liked it a lot. We also watched Tenet. It is a timey wimey action movie starring John David Washington. I’ve been a fan of Washington since his days on the HBO show Ballers. I’m glad he is getting big roles. As my wife put it – It’s very good if you stop trying to think about all of it and just enjoy the movie. It is a very good movie but can break your brain. It is also 2.5 hours long. It was a challenge for someone like me who tends to doze during movies. This is not one where you can doze or be distracted and not miss something.

TV – I watched two shows this week and wrote reviews of both. Clarice and Superman and Lois. Click the links for my thoughts on those. My daughter has been home this week so we caught up on the shows she watches. We are now current on All Rise and Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. We watched the first couple of episodes of season 2 of Snowpiercer. It is still very good. I watched the second episodes of Kenan and Young Rock. They are both still pleasant enough to keep going. Young Rock is better when it focuses on one time period. Once I am too tired to stay awake for a full show my wife and daughter watch the Great British Baking Show. I stay awake long enough to have favorites. So far all of my favorites have made the final three but have not won. I’m getting close to finishing my rewatch of Greek.

Books – I only finished one book this week

This is My Brain in Love by I. W. Gregario – Jocelyn Wu is a junior in high school. Her parents own a Chinese restaurant in Utica. When her dad says they might need to move back to NYC so he can work for family there she tries to help bring the restaurant to modern times to save it. Will Domenici is a junior at the local private school who wants to find a paying summer internship. Jocelyn hires him to help with marketing the restaurant. They, of course, fall in love. It is complicated by Jos’s parents’ prejudice, Will’s anxiety and Jos’s possible depression. I always like a good YA romance and this one was very good, if maybe a tad bit too long. It was nice to have diverse characters – Will’s mom is Nigerian, the Wu’s are Chinese, Jos’s best friend is Indian-American – and characters dealing realistically with mental illness. I would recommend.

On Deck – I’m reading We Are Not Free by Traci Chee. I have no movies on DVD. I would like to watch Judas and the Black Messiah, but I think I ha better odds of getting my wife and daughter to watch the Tom and Jerry movie that hit HBO Max today. I need to watch the new episode of WandaVision today. New seasons of Walking Dead and New Amsterdam start this week.

My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 2/19/21

It’s been a week with a Monday holiday, a birthday and an ice storm. I used this as an excuse to do more reading and TV watching. Next week I guess I will have to go back to a more productive life. Here is my week in reading and viewing.

Movies – We completely forgot that we planned to watch Hillbilly Elegy last weekend. Instead, we ended up with the DVD of Love and Monsters. My daughter loves Dylan O’Brien so it immediately jumped to the top of the list. It is set in a world where bombing an asteroid heading to earth caused radiation to come down and mutate cold blooded animals into giant monsters. O’Brien’s character, Joel, is separated from his girlfriend when they both flee with their families. Seven years later the military and the biggest of the monsters have killed each other off and there are small communities of humans surviving underground. When Joel discovers his girlfriend is alive and in a community 80 miles away, he embarks on a journey aboveground to find her. If you don’t think too hard about the premise, it is a fun movie. O’Brien is good as always. It veers from the expected a few times and doesn’t have a neat, happy ending. I would recommend it.

TV – I watched two new shows this week: Young Rock and Kenan. You can read my reviews of them here. We watched some shows that our daughter watches with us. Superstore, American Housewife, and All Rise. All Rise and Superstore are two of the shows that are doing a better job of handling being set in the pandemic. They aren’t perfect, but they are much better than most other shows. I used the afternoon of my birthday to catch up on WandaVision since my family seemed uninterested. I was happy that episode four started to move more into a Marvel type story and wasn’t just the weird old sitcom story. We are still working through our DVR’ed shows. We generally make it through two or three a night. We start after the 7PM airing of Jeopardy(I’m going to miss Ken next week) and I generally give up and go to bed around 10. Soon I’m afraid I will reach a critical level with DVR space.

Books – I finished two books this week

Serpentine by Jonathan Kellerman – This is the latest in the Alex Delaware series. In this one Milo is asked to take on a very cold case when a wealthy woman pulls strings to get it reopened. It is the case of a woman found with a bullet in her head in a car crashed off the hills on Mulholland Drive. It seems like an unsolvable case, but as they investigate they find too many coincidences and discover someone is trying to stop the investigation. I love the Delaware novels and this one is as good as the rest. Milo and Alex are a good investigative duo. Old favorites pop up in supporting roles. The mystery is a good one. I would recommend it, but I’m also a “read in order” guy, so go start from the beginning of the series.

Apple: Skin to the Core by Eric Gansworth – This was one of the award winners from the ALA Youth Media Awards. It is a memoir in verse. Gansworth tells the story of his life growing up on the Tuscarora reservation in New York. He also tells a little about his grandparents being sent to boarding school as kids to learn to be more like white people. I really wanted to like this more Kind of like I really wanted to like the one fiction book of his I read more than I did. He has a moving story, but unlike other books in verse, this one just didn’t draw me in at all. I was bored a lot. I probably should have given up on it and moved on to something that I found more appealing. I’m not sure what the people who gave it a Printz Honor Award saw in it.

On Deck – We have Honest Thief on DVD. A Liam Neeson action movie. My wife’s favorite. I might sleep through it. Eventually, my son will give me Tenet back and I will watch it and get it back to the library. I really want to watch Judas and the Black Messiah, but I don’t think it will happen this week. I will watch the newest episode of WandaVision today or tomorrow. Snowfall starts back this week, so I will have one more show I watch alone. I would like to try Clarice this week so we can decide if I need to keep recording it. I will continue my re-watch of Greek. I am reading This is My Brain in Love by I.W. Gregario.

My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 2/12/21

Another week is almost over. The end of winter is in sight. Warmer weather might mean more time reading on the deck. I might trade screen time for book time. Or not. I guess we will see. Here’s my last week in reading and viewing.

Movies – We watched one new movie tis week. The Little Things on HBO Max. I’m loving all the new movies coming to HBO Max the same day as the theatrical release. This one stars Denzel Washington, Rami Malek and Jared Leto. Washington is a former LA homicide detective who is now with a Sheriff’s department north of LA. He is sent to L to get evidence and is drawn into a homicide investigation led by Malek. Leto is the guy they suspect of being the killer. I enjoyed the movie. It is not for someone who needs a lot of action or a clear cut ending. It is slow moving, perhaps a little too long. It’s a good story with a great cast and an open ending. I would recommend it to people who like drama and detective stories and don’t mind not knowing all of the answers at the end of the movie.

TV – I don’t think I watched anything new on TV this week. We’ve been watching a lot of the Canadian import Nurses. I know people have complained that it is not realistic but I don’t really care if it accurately portrays the job of a nurse. I like the cast and it is a nice way to spend 40 minutes or so. We watch Resident Alien the day after it airs. It is a weird, fun little show that my wife weirdly loves. I’m still working my way through my rewatch of Greek. I’ve had the TV on the impeachment trial during the day while I am writing/reading. Watching the poor performance of the defense lawyers reminded me of the time I was on a jury. Watching the video of the break in at the Capitol reminded me of a scary day when I was in college. The extra footage showing how close they got to people in the building was chilling.

Books – I finished three books this week

Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi – This is a very short book about two siblings with extraordinary power. It starts when Ella is a child and Kev is born and takes us through their adulthood when Kev is incarcerated and then out on parole. Ella visits him both in person and supernaturally and shows him a possible future of a revolution that burns down the new fascist society. The book definitely kept me reading. It was a little hard to follow as it had time jumps and I had a hard time figuring out how much time had passed and how old they were though a good portion of the book. I would recommend it, though.

Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson – A boo in verse about the son of an NFL player dealing with how CTE has changed his dad. His dad is an NFL tight end who has had multiple concussions. His headaches get so bad he has to stop playing while the doctors try to figure out what is causing headaches, mood changes and memory loss. The book takes place before we knew about CTE. Woodson is a great author and this is a very good book. I recommend you read anything by Woodson that you can find.

Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour – I put a hold on this one after reading a rave review in the Washington Post. Darren lives in Bed-Stuy. He was valedictorian at his high school. but opted not to go to college. He is working at a Starbucks in the lobby of a Midtown office building and has no desire for anything different. This all changes when a encounter with Rhett Daniels, the CEO of New York’s hottest tech startup results in Darren being offered a spot on his elite sales team. He is given the nickname Buck by the racist head of sales. As he gets more immersed with Rhett and makes more money he changes and is estranged from his mom and his friends in Bed-Stuy. A tragedy at home and a scandal at work sets ups a chain of events that changes everything. I loved this book. It is compelling. It is funny. It is well written. It has great characters This could easily end up being the book I most recommend this year.

On Deck – My daughter will be home this weekend and has asked me to watch Hillbilly Elegy with her. I also have the DVD of Tenet from the library. We will catch up on some of the shows she watches with us while she is here. I am currently reading the new Alex Delaware novel Serpentine by Jonathan Kellerman.

The Guilty Reader Tag

I found this over on Life and Other Disasters yesterday and decided I would make it my post for today. Generally, I feel no guilt about my reading unless I feel guilty about reading when I could be doing something others would consider more productive. Let’s get to the questions to see if I have guilt elsewhere.

One. Have You Ever Re-Gifted A Book You’ve Been Given?

Books I’ve been given as gifts – no. I would be too afraid I would accidentally give it back to the person who gave it to me. Books I’ve been given at conferences – yes. I have picked up multiple books, ARCS and otherwise at conferences and then used them as gifts.

Two. Have You Ever Said You’ve Read A Book When You Haven’t?

No. I see no reason to lie about having read a book. I’m not trying to impress anyone. I might not remember if I’ve read a book, so I guess it’s possible I might have assumed I read a book when I didn’t.

Three. Have You Ever Borrowed A Book And Not Returned It?

Yes. I still have my brother’s copy of The Punch by John Feinstein. I still haven’t read it. I’m not sure when or if I will ever read it and give it back to him. I should feel bad about it. He doesn’t read a lot and I’ve stolen one of the few books he owns.

Four. Have You Ever Read A Series Out Of Order?

Not on purpose. I’m very much a “read in order” reader even when it is a series that can be read out of order without really missing anything. I have on occasion read a book and realized at some point that it is not the first book in a series. Just recently I read a book that was a companion book to another one I’d read and realized there was a middle book connecting them that I had missed.

Five. Have You Ever Spoiled A Book For Someone?

If I have I don’t remember doing it. There are times I’ve told someone about a book and, after they confirmed they would never read it, told them how it ended. I would never spoil a book if I thought the person was going to read it.

Six. Have You Ever Dogeared A Book?

I’m sure I’ve done this before. I would never dogear a library book or a book that belongs to someone else. I would never dogear a book I plan to keep on my personal shelves. If I had an old paperback book I was taking on a trip and planned to leave behind I wouldn’t hesitate to do it if I didn’t have a bookmark.

Seven. Have You Ever Told Someone You Don’t Own A Book When You Do?

I don’t see a reason I would do this. I guess you would do it to avoid loaning it to someone? I would just be honest and tell the person I don’t loan my books. I have forgotten that I own a book and then bought a second copy only to discover the copy I already own on the shelf when I go to shelve the new copy.

Eight. Have You Ever Skipped A Chapter Or A Section Of A Book?

I definitely did this in school. When reading for pleasure I have skimmed over sections quite often. I’ve never just skipped a section because I would feel like I’ve missed something. The skimming happens a lot on books like Game of Thrones with multiple character viewpoints. I find some characters very boring and skim them when it gets tedious.

Nine. Have You Ever Bad Mouthed A Book You Actually Liked?

I don’t think so. I don’t see why I would, Because others are bad mouthing it? I don’t care enough about what others think to do that. If I’m in book club and everyone else hated the book I wouldn’t lie and say I hated it. I won’t waste any effort to try to plead my case for the book, but I would admit I liked it.

I guess I would say I said yes to 4 of the 9. 3 definites and two kind ofs, so I will stick with 4. Not too bad.

feel free to play along in the comments or in your own post.

My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 2/5/21

I’m now at the point where every week is basically the same. I write in the morning while listening to music. I take the dog for a walk. I might do some cleaning in the afternoon I watch Greek in the late afternoon while waiting for my wife to finish work. We eat dinner and then watch TV. A lot of these weekly recap posts will be very similar because all of my weeks are very similar. Here is what I read and watched this week.

Movies – I didn’t have any new movies on DVD from the library. We didn’t watch any of the new movies that are streaming. My wife did ask me one night if I wanted to watch a movie, but it was almost 9 and I knew there was no point in starting a movie then unless I was OK with sleeping through it. I did watch two old movies this week. Sunday afternoon I watched Any Given Sunday on HBO Max. I wanted to watch it last year on Super Bowl Sunday, but couldn’t find it anywhere. I was happy to find it was streaming. It has a great cast and I love a good sports movie. On Groundhog Day I was happy to see AMC was showing Groundhog Day all day. Last year I couldn’t find it anywhere. I love this movie every time I watch it. Here is a picture of me recreating part of the movie for a social media post at work last year.

TV – Nothing of note really in the TV realm. We are just continuing to catch up on all the shows we watch together. I am still watching Greek in the afternoon. I have been surprised by the random people who had small parts on the show. Dave Franco is one of the Kappa Taus. Danny Pudi is in a few episodes. Max Greenfield has an arc as Calvin’s boyfriend. Jesse Williams is in a couple of episodes. Olivia Munn is in a few episodes. The Plain White T’s play Kappa Taus who have a and that play at parties. One of my favorite bands, The Dollyrots, are in an episode. It’s fun finding all of them in random episodes. We have watched multiple episodes of Big Sky. It has become our favorite new show. My wife strangely loves Resident Alien on SyFy. It is not the type of show she would normally watch.

Books – I finished two books this week

Kind of a Big Deal by Shannon Hale – I got this one for my daughter who is a fan of Hale’s books. She didn’t read it, but I decided to give it a go since it was in the house. It is a YA book about a girl who was a big deal in high school due to her talent in the school musicals. She flops when she tries to make it on Broadway, gets a job as a nanny, and moves to Montana with the family. While there she stops into a bookstore and decided to start reading again. She discovers that the glasses the bookstore guy gave her puts her physically in the story she is reading. It was a decent book, but not one of my favorites.

Broken by Jenny Lawson – I entered Goodreads contest to win this book. I never heard anything so I assumed I didn’t win. I was pleasantly surprised when a copy was delivered to my house. It immediately became my next read. I love Jenny Lawson’s writing and wish I could write like her. I think I agree with my friend that it isn’t quite as good as her other books, but it was still very good. It was funny. It had very honest talk about dealing with mental illness. If you haven’t read her books yet you should find one and get to reading.

On Deck – I think we might finally watch The Little Things on HBO Max this weekend. Tough As Nails season 2 starts this week. It is a reality show where blue collar workers compete in team and individual challenges. We liked season 1 a lot more than we expected. The Super Bowl is Sunday night. I hope the commercials are good. I am currently reading Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi and might finish it today.

Tater’s January 2021 in Books

I decided to do a monthly review of the books I have read. Here is what I read in the month of January in order of when I finished.

  1. The Living Dead by George Romero and Daniel Kraus This was started by George Romero and then completed by Kraus after Romero died. I’m sure you can figure out by the title and author that it is a zombie novel. It is a 656 page zombie novel. It is a commitment. I would not recommend it to anyone who is hesitant about reading a zombie novel. The majority of the book is split into individual stories. An autistic government employee tracks the outbreak and then collects the stories of survivors. These survivors include the medical examiners who first had a body come to life, a news anchor who stays on the air to provide updates, sailors on an aircraft carrier and a black teen from a Midwestern trailer park. The stories eventually connect, but a little too late for me . There were some really good individual stories, a couple of slower ones and then the ending sort of fizzled.
  2. The President is Missing by James Patterson and Bill Clinton – I had a found copy of this in the house and decided it was a good gap book until I decided what to read next. It tells the story of the US president who is being investigated for possible treason while the nation is under threat of an attack. The president goes missing to meet alone with someone who has information about the attack. It is a race against time to stop the attack and find the real traitor. This is better than most of the recent Patterson books I’ve read, but has the same problem as most of his books – the protagonist is too perfect and bulletproof. If you like Patterson, you will like this one.
  3. 10 Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon – Pinky is tired of her conservative parents criticizing all of her decision, especially her choice of boyfriends. Samir likes to play things safe and likes things predictable and steady. inky is at her summer house with her parents. Samir’s DC internship has fallen through. Pinky decides she needs a fake, more suitable boyfriend to placate her parents and promises Samir an internship with her lawyer mom if he becomes that fake boyfriend. Samir agrees and spends the rest of the summer pretending to be Pinky’s boyfriend. Of course, they eventually really fall in love. This is a nice, sweet teen romance. Menon is really good at this type of book. This is the 3rd book I’ve read by her.
  4. The Shadows by Alex North – When Paul Adams was a teen, two of his friends murdered another of his friends. One of those murderers, Charlie Crabtree disappeared after the murders. Now, years later, Paul returns home when he gets word his mom is ill. Around the same time, a copycat murder takes place in a nearby town and odd things start happening around Paul. Is it possible Charlie is back? This is probably the best book I read this month. I was hooked from the start. There was a twist I wasn’t expecting and the ending was satisfying. It is dark and creepy, but very good.
  5. Deadly Cross by James Patterson – I loved all of the early James Patterson books and the Alex Cross ones were some of my favorites. I still read the new Cross books even though I have generally stopped reading Patterson books. In this one, Alex investigates the murder of the ex-wife of the vice president and the principal of the school his daughter attends. He also is investigating the rape and murder of several teen girls in the area. They may be connected in some way. The story is decent. It is a fast read. The entire Cross family is still too perfect and it just makes the whole thing ridiculous.
  6. Majesty by Katherine McGee This is the sequel to American Royals. It takes place in a world where George Washington became King of America and follows the current day American royal family. In this one Beatrice has become the first Queen of America and is preparing to marry. Her sister Samantha is still dealing with the fact that her sister is marrying her crush while their brother Jefferson is getting over his breakup with Samantha’s best friend. Generally, a lot of romantic hijinks set around the American palace in DC. I enjoyed the books, but would like to see one that is not just based around the romantic entanglements of the royal kids.
  7. Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas – This is the prequel to The Hate U Give. It follows 17 year old Maverick Carter as he deals with the news that he is about to become a father. The mother is the girlfriend of his best friend King. Around the same time, his cousin Dre, one of the leaders of the King Lords discovers Mav and King have been dealing drugs on the side. He offers Mav the chance to go straight. Mav gets a job at the local grocery store, but then questions his decision when he gets the news his ex girlfriend is pregnant and a second kid is on the way. I loved The Hate U Give and liked this one even more. Mav is a great character and we see his growth as he struggles with fatherhood at 17, the death of a family member, and his desire to eave the gang life. Highly recommend.
  8. Kind of a Big Deal by Shannon Hale Josie Pie was supposed to be a star. She was Kind if a Big Deal in high school. She was the lead in all of the school musicals. She got an audition on Broadway, dropped out of school and headed to New York. It all fell apart. Her dream of stardom gone, she takes a job as a nanny and moves with the family to Montana. As she deals with the loss of her dream and being distant from her friend and boyfriend, she decides to start reading again and finds herself actually in the book. She becomes the lead in a romance, a zombie novel, a YA rom-com, etc. The longer she stays in the book, the harder it is to get out. Will she find a story so good she stays forever? Not my favorite of the month. A little too long and the main character was not likable enough to really invest in her story. It was a interesting concept.

My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 1/29/21

We are one month into the new year already. I had drifted back to the news recently, but I am shifting towards music now in the mornings. CMT and MTV actually play music videos in the morning and I have the Sirius App on my TV now. Maybe I need to start adding music to my weekly list. Here is what I’ve watched and read this week.

Movies – I watched one movie this week – The New Mutants. I think this was the last of the mutant movies before they were officially under the Marvel umbrella. It was supposed to be the first of a new series, but I think that plan is canceled now. I don’t know if any of the characters from this movie will survive to join the Marvel group. In this one, a girl is taken to a place she is told is a hospital where they help mutants learn to control their powers. They soon realize it is not a hospital, but a prison at the same time the people in charge decide the new girl is too powerful and needs to be killed. It was a decent movie. I did struggle to stay awake, but that is my norm when watching movies at night. I wouldn’t mind seeing a couple of these characters in new Marvel mutant movies.

TV – This week in TV has generally been watching the shows on the DVR that only the two of us watch. We finished season one of LA’s Finest. It is the spinoff TV show of Bad Boys. It wasn’t great, but if you liked Bad Boys you will probably enjoy it. We watched the new SyFy show Resident Alien. Alan Tudyk plays an alien who crash landed on earth in a small town in Colorado. He takes on the form of a doctor who has a second home there and is asked to help when the town doctor is killed. We liked it and will watch more. I’m a fan of Tudyk and he does a good job of playing an alien trying to pretend to be human. It seems there will be a season long murder mystery combined with the story of the alien trying to complete his mission on earth. I started a re-watch of Greek in the afternoons while I am waiting for my wife to finish work. It’s the first time I’ve decided to do a full re-watch of a show. The good news is that I still really like it and it has been long enough since it was on TV that I don’t remember the specifics enough to be bored. I also wrote this week about how I’m annoyed at how shows are portraying the pandemic.

Books – I finished two books this week”

Deadly Cross by James Patterson – I am still determined to keep reading the Alex Cross books. They used to be really good. The stories are still not bad. I enjoy the mystery and the books are always nice and quick to read. The problem is the Cross family is too perfect. Cross is the best cop/psychologist ever. Bree is the Chief of Detectives in DC. The oldest kid is off at a prestigious school. The daughter is an Olympic level track star. The youngest son is a genius and there is apparently a YA series with him solving crimes. The grandmother is in her 90s, won the lottery and survived being kidnapped and almost killed. I prefer characters who are flawed in some way.

Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas – This is a prequel to The Hate U Give. It follows Maverick when he was a teen and has just found out that the baby he thought was his best friend King’s is actually his. He is still associated with the King Lords, but has started working at the local grocery store and starts to realize he wants to get out to give his kids a chance at a different life. I liked this one as much as I did The Hate U Give. I wanted more of Maverick’s story when it was over. If you haven’t read The Hate U Give, go read it now and then grab this one.

On Deck – I have no new movies from the library, but there are new movies on Netflix, HBO Max and Hulu that look good, so I have options. I think if we watch a movie it will likely be Outside the Wire on Netflix or The Little Things on HBO Max. TV will continue to be catching up on shows we have recorded. I will keep watching Greek. I’m reading Kind of a Big Deal by Shannon Hale and have a big stack of books from the library that won Youth Media Awards.

ALA Youth Media Awards

I just watched the presentation of the ALA Youth Media Awards. I had a pen and notebook and jotted down the titles even though I knew I would be able to get the list online as soon as it was over. Sometimes I’m very old. I focused on the books for teens, because back before I was an unemployed slacker I did a lot of work in teen literature. I was hoping I would have more to say about the winners, but I have read few on the list. Here are some highlights:

Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. – This Light Between Us written by Andrew Fukuda

The Sydney Taylor Book Award – “Dancing at the Pity Party,” written and illustrated by Tyler Feder. The honor book for teens in this category was “They Went Left” by Monica Hesse. That is significant for me as Hesse is a columnist for the Washington Post who I read regularly.

Schneider Family Book Award – “This Is My Brain in Love,” written by I.W. Gregorio

Stonewall Book Award – “We Are Little Feminists: Families,” written by Archaa Shrivastav

Coretta Scott King Author Award – “Before the Ever After,” written by Jacqueline Woodson – I love Woodson and have had the opportunity to hear her speak in person. One of the honor books was “All the Days Past, All the Days to Come,” written by Mildred D. Taylor. This is a continuation of the story of the Logan family. I love her books. I was lucky and got an ARC of it way back last summer at a conference.

Alex Awards – This is usually y favorite award. Is is for the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences. I always find some favorites from this list. I’ve read one of this year’s already.

“Black Sun,” by Rebecca Roanhorse – I read this one. It was a slow start, but I’ve loved Roanhorse’s other books so I gave it some time and ended up enjoying the story. I will read the next in the series. Other people said they were hooked from the start.

“The House in the Cerulean Sea,” by TJ Klune

“The Impossible First: From Fire to Ice – Crossing Antarctica Alone,” by Colin O’Brady

“Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio,” by Derf Backderf

“The Kids Are Gonna Ask,” by Gretchen Anthony

“The Only Good Indians,” by Stephen Graham Jones

“Plain Bad Heroines,” by emily m. danforth

“Riot Baby,” by Tochi Onyebuchi

“Solutions and Other Problems,” by Allie Brosh

“We Ride Upon Sticks: A Novel,” by Quan Barry

William C. Morris Award – “If These Wings Could Fly,” written by Kyrie McCauley. I have read one of the honor books, The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed and enjoyed it.

John Newbery Medal – “When You Trap a Tiger,” written by Tae Keller. This award is hit or miss for me based on the lower age range. I usually at least look at the book, but since I no longer work at a library I will probably skip it this year.

Randolph Caldecott Medal – “We Are Water Protectors,” illustrated by Michaela Goade. This is the award for picture books. Again, if I was working I would look at it. Now, probably not.

Michael L. Printz Award – I am listing the honor books and the winner here since this is the bog award for someone like me who reads a lot of teen literature.

Honor books:

“Apple (Skin to the Core),” by Eric Gansworth – I’ve read two books by Gansworth. One I liked, one I thought was a little slow. This one appears to be a memoir in verse. We will see.

“Dragon Hoops,” created by Gene Luen Yang, color by Lark Pien – Love Yang’s work. I’ve also had a chance to meet him. Looking forward to this one.

“Every Body Looking,” by Candice Iloh – not familiar with the book or the author.

“We Are Not Free,” by Traci Chee – same as above.

Winner: “Everything Sad Is Untrue (a true story),” by Daniel Nayeri – Also not aware of this one before today.

The best thing about not knowing a lot of the books on the list is that I now have a large number of requests in at the library and will not struggle to figure out what to read next.

If you want to see the entire list you can find that here.

If you enjoy my posts you can click here to support my writing or buy me a coffee

My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 1/22/21

This was the last week with my daughter home from college. She moved back to her apartment last night. My TV viewing will now change from what I watch with her to figuring out what to watch alone until my wife finishes work. Here is my last week in viewing and reading.

Movies – I watched Bill & Ted Face the Music. I was worried that it had been too long since I had watched the original that I would be lost in this one. Basically, though, all you have to know is that they were told they would write a song that would unite the world. I enjoyed the movie. Keanu Reeve and Alex Winter stepped back into the roles perfectly. The daughters were cast perfectly. It was funny and the perfect length for a movie like this. Two tater thumbs up.

TV – I watched Survivor Pearl Islands with my daughter. It was one of the old seasons with iconic survivors that fell in the time I was not watching. I enjoyed the season. It’s fun going back and watching old seasons of Survivor and Amazing Race. I also got drawn into the Great British Baking Show. My wife and daughter were watching season 9 after I went to bed at night. One night I said I was going to doze on the couch while they watched instead of going up to bed. I got drawn into the episode and then stayed up every night watching the rest of the season. I really liked the contestants on this season and don’t know if I would have been drawn in if I watched a different season. I feel like I need to go back and watch the old hosts and judges since my daughter says they were better. We watched the first episode of the new Walker, Texas Ranger last night. I enjoyed it. I think it will be a littler deeper than the Chuck Norris version.

Books – I finished two books this week:

10 Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon – A YA book that is a companion to another book I read by her. Pinky is tied of her parents thinking she always makes bad decision, especially when it comes to boyfriends. When she hears that Samir’s internship in DC was canceled she asks him to come to her summer house to be her fake boyfriend. Of course, the opposites attract and fall in love. If you like teen romances, you should read Menon. They are very good.

The Shadows by Alex North – When Paul was a teenager, his former friends are involved in a murder. One teen is dead. One is arrested and one, Charlie, has vanished. Years later, as an adult, Paul returns to town to see his dying mother at the same time a detective comes to town to investigate a copycat crime. Strange things start happening around Paul and more people are murdered. Is it possible Charlie is still alive? This one was very good. A twist I didn’t see coming. Creepy. Tense. The perfect murder book

On Deck – I will have The New Mutants on DVD. We might watch Outside the Wire and Netflix. I still need to find a TV show to watch alone. I just can’t decide if it should be a comedy or something else. I am reading Deadly Cross by James Patterson because I have decided I will keep going even though they tend to annoy me know. They are nice, quick reads.

Support the Common Tater

My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 1/15/20

I still have at least another week before everyone is back to their regular living spaces. That means at least another week before I really know what my new normal might be, Will I read more or less? Will I watch more TV? Will I be able to get into a real routine? Who knows. Here is what I managed to read and watch this week.

Movies – We watched The King of Staten Island on HBO. This is the semiautobiographical Pete Davidson movie about a 20 something guy who has been unable to move forward in life since his firefighter dad died when he was a kid. He spends his days smoking weed with his friends and dreaming of becoming a tattoo artist. When his mom starts dating again(another firefighter) he is forced to deal with his grief. I really didn’t know what to expect going in. I like Davidson on SNL, but didn’t know if he could carry an entire movie. He can and he did. It was funny and moving. I highly recommend.

TV – We tried a couple of new TV shows this week. The first was Mr Mayor. It stars Ted Danson as a wealthy businessman who becomes mayor of LA. It was apparently meant to be a spinoff of 30 Rock with Alec Baldwin’s character, but was rewritten to become this. It got a lot of bad reviews, but I enjoyed it. It wasn’t a perfect first two episodes, but the cast is great and I laughed several times. Isn’t that what we want from a comedy? We also watched Call You Mother. This starts Kyra Sedgwick as an empty nester mom who relocates to California to be near her grown children. It was a good first episode. I think it could be a good one. It could also get old fast if the story can’t move past her need to be involved in the lives of her kids. We have been watching the Ken Jennings episodes of Jeopardy. I think he is doing a good job as host and hope he gets a fair shot at being the permanent host.

Books – I finished two books his week:

The Living Dead by George Romero and Daniel Kraus – a very long zombie novel started by Romero and finished by Kraus. It starts out telling the individual stories of various survivors around the country. A government employee in DC, a coroner in California who witnessed one of the first zombies, a teen from the Midwest, a Navy man from an aircraft carrier. Eventually, all of the stories come together and we get to the end game. I enjoyed the book. I think it took too long to get to where it was headed. Some individual stories were more interesting than others. I think fans of zombie movies would like it.

The President is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson – I gave up reading all but the Cross books from Patterson and I still wonder why I’m still intent on reading the Cross ones. I had this one on hand for some reason, so I decided to give it a shot. It is better than most Patterson’s I’ve read recently. It has a decent plot. It held my interest. It did have the same problem I have with the Cross books. The main character was too good at everything. Patterson seems to be unable or unwilling to have a flawed protagonist. I doubt I will read the next Clinton/Patterson collaboration.

On Deck – I have two DVDs from the library, but I don’t really think I will get to them. My wife is home now so I’m sure we will do some catch up on our normal shows. I want to start WandaVision. I just need to find out if anyone else plans to watch or not. I need to find a new show to watch alone, but I can’t decide if I want a comedy or drama. I’m reading 10 Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon. It is a nice YA romance to cleanse my reading palate of zombies and missing presidents.

Click here if you would like to support my writing or buy me a cup of coffee