My Week in Books, Movies and Television

Here it is. My new weekly report on what I am reading and watching. Try to contain your excitement.

Books – My reading pace slowed down significantly this week. I finished American Heart by Laura Moriarty(discussed in last week’s post) and read Speak: The Graphic Novel by Laurie Halse Anderson. I never read the original novel and it’s hard for me to go back and read older books I missed  because I have a steady stream of new books coming to me from the library. It was nice to have the graphic novel version arrive so I could finally read it It is very good.

Movies – We watched American Assassin. I have never read any of the books, so I can’t speak to how it compared. It was a good action movie. Dylan O’Brien seemed a surprising choice for the lead role, but he did a good job. I think his star will continue to rise and he will be our next big movie star. Of course, I once thought the same of Shia LaBeouf, so my judgment is suspect. It was one action movie my daughter willingly watched with us because she loves O’Brien. If you like action movies you should watch it.

Television – Another week of watching a lot of shows on the DVR. Nothing outstanding to report. I’m still, three episodes in, trying to decide if I like Bill Hader’s show Barry on HBO. I like the premise(hit man decides he wants to become an actor) and it has a good cast, but I’m still not sold on it. I recorded the HBO documentary on Elvis, but I want to wait and watch it when I can force my family to watch and understand why I like him so much. We are getting close to the network upfronts and the announcements of next season’s TV schedule. I will have full reports then. Two shows appear to be headed to cancellation. Both Living Biblically and Taken have been pulled from the schedule. Both are mediocre and likely won’t be missed by many.

Hopefully, I will have a report on Noir by Chris Moore in next week’s post. I need to read more this week.

Advertisements

My Week In Books, TV and Movies

Since my last attemt at a weekly post didn’t work, I decided to try something new.  My new weekly Friday post will be about what I have consumed media-wise over the week.  We will see how long it takes for me to stop following through on this one.

Reading – I am reading American Heart by Laura Moriarty. I decided to read it after I read about the controversy surrounding the book. Kirkus gave it a starred review and then took it back after complaints. People are apparently upset that the story is what they consider an offensive white savior narrative. The basic story is that in a world where Muslims are being sent to detention camps a 15 year old white girl has to overcome her prejudices to help a Musim woman escape. I’m about halfway through and my main complaint is that the story is too slow. I don’t have a problem with people not wanting to read the book. I do have a problem with people giving it bad reviews on Goodreads without reading it. I also have a problem with Kirkus changing their review based on complaints, especially since they say the reviewer who gave it the starred review was Muslim. I see the issue with a white savior narrative, but I also see why a white woman would likely tell the story through the eyes of a white woman.

Movies – I watched Wonder with my daughter on my day off on Tuesday. I never read the book, but I knew the general story. A kid with facial differences goes to school for the first time after being homeschooled and deals with bullies and making friends. It was a good movie, for the most part. I liked that they told the story from the perspective of a few different characters. I didn’t think they needed to tack on to the end that the school gave him an award at the end of the year. Wasn’t it enough of a feel good story that he made friends and was able to make friends and overcome the initial bullying? Did anyone else who watched it feel like it was the school saying “look at us. we gave an award to the kid who is different. Aren’t we special”? Or is that just because I watch and love Speechless where they routinely bash schools and organizations who do that sort of thing?

Television: I watch way too much to talk about it all. I will say that I am really enjoying Alex, Inc, but I think you have to be a big Zach Braff fan to like it. I started watching Station 19(the Greys’s Anatomy firefighter spinoff) and like it a lot more than I was expecting. I am a fan of Grey’s though, so I shouldn’t be surprised. I’m also watching Santa Clarita Diet on Netflix. It is Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant in a sitcom where Barrymore plays a realtor who is now undead and has to eat people with Olyphant as her husband. It is very good and it’s fun to see Olyphant play a totally different character than his Justified tough guy.

Other media news:  I finally made the decision to change from the physical delivery of the Washington Post to a digital subscription with Sunday delivery only. I can still read the entire print version of the paper on my iPad, get my coupons, crossword and Sunday comics delivered and save several hundred dollars a year. I’m not sure why I didn’t do this sooner.

I Have No Words

 

I’ve written and trashed two different posts this morning for various reasons. I’m having trouble concentrating on reading a book and I’m having trouble writing a coherent post. I guess it’s time to watch more TV.  Writing might come back some day. In the interim, please enjoy this picture of me walking a Cheetah.

 

img_1183

Zambia

A Short Rant

The Youth Media Awards were announced this week. The book Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly won the Newbery Award. I saw one person on Facebook comment that the one review of the book mentioned that the r word is used a lot in the book. I don’t now what review that was, but I found one on Amazon with the same complaint. Is the r word used in the book? Yes, but you have to look at context. It is used multiple times by the bully against a kid who goes to the resource room for special help. I know that we would rather not see the word, but if you are writing realistic fiction you have to be realistic. I guarantee you kids are still calling other kids retarded no matter how many times we tell them the word is hurtful. It is real for the bully to use the word. Nothing about the book makes it seem this is OK.

In the fall there was a big controversy over the book The Black Witch. There was a review online that pulled several racist comments out and used them to say the book was hurtful and should never have been published. People piled on and posted negative reviews on Goodreads without ever reading the book. I read the book. What they fail to comprehend is that those racist statements in the book were said by racist characters. Some were said by the main character, but the entire point of the book was to see the growth in a character who was raised to believe her race was superior only to realize how wrong that was once she goes to school with other races. Context matters. It was a very good book.

I keep seeing over and over again how books are being pulled from schools because parents complained about language or other content without thinking that this language and content is what makes the book real. Why do you want your kids to read sugar-coated realities? Why are we judging books on a few words instead of on the entire content of the book? Why can’t we read challenging and difficult stories anymore?

Also – there was another school shooting today. We seem to be more active in removing “dangerous” books from schools than we are in keeping actual danger out. Maybe we could fix that?

While My Face is Numb…

I am home after a trip to the dentist. I am still partially numb. I had some gum lasered off and a tooth filled. I am afraid of what my mouth will feel like when I am no longer numb. I’m hoping it won’t be as bad as I think.  While I am killing time watching women’s luge some random thoughts that aren’t enough for a full post:

The 2018 Youth Media Awards were announced today. Click here to see the winners. I’ve read The Hate U Give and The Long Way Down. Both excellent books. I’ve checked the Newberry and the Printz winners out and will read them soon. I’ve placed holds on several of the Alex Award winners/ This is perfect timing as I was about to finish the last book I had from the library. I’m looking forward to some good reading.

I stopped at Target on the way home today but bought nothing. I stopped to look at some products like facial wash for men, beard balm, generally things that aren’t necessary but might make me feel a little better about myself. I looked at prices and didn’t buy anything because I wasn’t sure it was worth the money. Basically, that I am not worth the money. Some day I will learn to not walk away from buying something for myself. Today was not that day.

Continuing my bad sports year. Braves were bad. Ravens were bad. Kentucky basketball is bad. Libraries on the are where the Braves play might close, possibly because they wasted so much money on a stadium when the existing stadium was fine. I can take a bad team if they are lovable losers. I loved watching the bumbling Braves of the 80’s These teams are not lovable losers. It’s not fun to watch.

Now I’m off to walk the dog and hope that my face doesn’t start hurting. Happy Monday!

 

 

My Year in Reading 2017

This is the year I finally got lazy and stopped keeping my written list of the books I read. I might try to go back to it this year. You never know when Goodreads might disappear. All of the stats are from Goodreads. My top book are the ones I gave five stars and then the four star books I felt were the best of the rest.  I started the year with a 1000 page book and ended the year with a 700 page book.This year will be an easier start for me. So, here it is – my year in reading for 2017:

Top ten books read in no particular order

  • Strange Weather by Joe Hill
  • Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
  • Revolver by Duane Swierczynski
  • Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  • Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick(I might have a crush and it was audio so she read it to me)
  • The Nix by Nathan Hill
  • Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
  • Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Honorable Mention

  • Sleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King
  • The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor
  • IQ by Joe Ide
  • Spoiler Alert by Michael Ausiello
  • Unbelievable by Katy Tur

Book I would most recommend

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner. It was close between this, Impossible Fortress and The Hate U Give

Worst Books I Finished

  • Who Is Rich by Matthew Klam
  • History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera(though a teenager implied I was too old to get it)

Book I Dustbunnied

None this year. I finished History is All You Left me because it was for work. I’m not sure why I kept reading Who is Rich. I need to be better about abandoning bad books.

Number of books read: 104

Number of pages read according to Goodreads: 30869. I did the math and that averages to 84.5 pages a day. I think I can do better.

 

Halfway There

We have reached the midpoint of the Month of Tater, the month of me posting every day even if I have nothing to say. Here are a few observations:

I can’t write every day. My life isn’t interesting enough to fill posts with anecdotes from my day. I don’t have enough to say on topics to have a full post every day. Sometimes I have things to say about a topic, but I don’t write because for various reasons. The is the last month I will do the write every day thing unless there is a 30 day writing challenge that interests me.

My readership has changed. Until just recently almost all of the clicks on my blog came via Facebook. The only people reading my posts were people I knew from real life. I had the occasional reader from random google searches, but basically my friends and family read what I wrote. Over the past couple of months my clicks from Facebook have steadily gone down and my clicks from WordPress reader and other blogs have increased. The more I write, the less the people who know me read. The more I write and participate in the blogging world, the more other bloggers read.

The more I write, the less I read. The time I spend writing in the morning is time I used to spend reading. That, coupled with my last book I read not being great, has really slowed down my reading lately. I’ve got way too many books from the library and not enough time to read them.

In summary, I’m just as anxious for the month of Tater to be over as you are.