My Week in Books, TV, and Movies 5/17/19

I’ve reached the point where I’m going to have to resign myself to this being one of my lowest number of books read in a year. I don’t know if it is the books I’m choosing or my state of mind, but it is taking me forever to finish a book these days. I should be reading a lot more. I have no kids at home. I have at least an hour every night home alone. I have days like today when I’m off work and my wife is actually at the office. What will I do with today? Watch the Grey’s season finale(already done), do a load of laundry, clean toilets, mow the lawn, vacuum if I still have time and then maybe read for a couple of minutes after it is all done. What do I do with my time alone every other day? Walk the dog and watch TV. I’m not making time to read and when I do read  I fall asleep or get distracted. Maybe my upcoming travels will increase my reading, but I doubt it. Now, on to the week.

Movies – I only watched one movie this week. We watched Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse while the kids were home for Mother’s Day. Well, three of us watched it. My daughter had seen it already and slept instead. I liked it a lot. My son liked it a lot. That is not a surprise. The surprise was that my wife actually liked it a lot. I did not think it was a movie she would enjoy and I was surprised when she said we could watch it and actually liked it. Thumbs up from the entire family.

TV – Nothing new on TV. This was a week of watching season finales of the shows I watch and reading about which shows are coming back and what new shows are coming. I think most of the finales I’ve watched have been satisfying. I thought about watching the series finale of Big Bang even though I don’t watch the show but opted against it.  I liked it at first but gave up on it pretty early. I know a lot of people loved it. I just didn’t have an interest in it.

Books – I finished Word by Word: The Secret Life f Dictionaries by Kory Stamper,  Stamper is a lexicographer for Merriam Webster and writes about the work of writing a dictionary.  There were some interesting chapters and interesting facts(pumpernickel means fart goblin), I was surprised that people actually write to the dictionary. It would never occur to me to do that. It was not a bad book, but not what I would typically read.

On Deck – I will watch whatever movie is available on the plane and whatever we can find on TV in Baku. I’m desperately trying to finish Harry’s Trees by Jon Cohen before we leave and have some teen books downloaded to read on the trip. They are books I need to read for work before I get back. Maybe all of the time on planes and in airports will help increase my reading. I doubt it.

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My Last Couple of Weeks in Books, TV, and Movies 5/9/19

I did not do my normal weekly last week. I was away at a conference Friday morning and lazy Saturday morning. The sad thing is, I don’t have a lot to report even covering two weeks. I’m starting to think my entire reading year will be slow.

Movies – The only movie I’ve watched over the last two weeks is Avengers Endgame. I went to the movies the morning I was heading to the conference and then drove directly from the theater to the hotel. It’s hard to talk about the movie without spoilers. I did think it was a good wrap up of the original Avengers phase of the movies. I’m curious to see what the next big team-up movie will be.

TV – Still mainly dealing with an almost full DVR. I am still watching the latest season of Shameless on DVD and watching every new episode of Game of Thrones live. I have been watching the 1969 documentary series on ABC. The first episode bored me a little as it was about the moon landing and I feel like I’ve heard everything I need to hear about that. Episode two was about Manson and I’ve always been fascinated by that story and they had both Squeaky Fromme and the member of the family who testified against them giving their perspective. It was a good episode. This week’s was on Ted Kennedy and Chappaquiddick. I didn’t really know a lot of detail on the story, so that was an interesting one to watch. I will ignore the fact that a retrospective series on the year I was born means I’m old.

Books – I finished two books over the past two weeks. Rayne and Delilah’s Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner and Last of the Stanfields by Marc Levy. Rayne and Delilah is a YA book about two girls who host a public access TV show where they screen horror movies. They are at the end of their senior year in high school and dealing with what that means for the show and their friendship. It was good, but I hate the books that make it seem normal and right for an 18-year-old to make major life decisions around the plans of their high school relationship. Last of the Stanfields is about two people who get letters alluding to secrets in the past of their moms. It alternates between the present and 1980 when the moms are best friends living in Baltimore. It was a good story with a few flaws in some of the characterizations and dialogue My book club thought maybe some of that could be a translation issue(it was originally written in French). I did enjoy it,

On Deck – I need to watch Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse this weekend, but I’m sure my wife has no interest in watching it so I’m not sure when that will happen. A lot of season finales on TV this week and the network upfronts are next week so I will be writing about the new fall schedules. I am reading Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries by Kory Stamper because I traded book clubs with a coworker this month because I’m out of town for mine.

My Week in Books, TV, and Movies 4/26/19

I’m way behind on my reading for the year. Too much screen time, books for work that even when they are good feel like homework, mediocre books, etc have all contributed to that. Now that the weather is nice, I need to sit and read on the desk without my phone so I’m not distracted by any type of screen. My TV and movies are average for the week.

Movies – We watched the second Fantastic Beasts movie while the kids were home for Easter. It was OK I enjoyed seeing the past versions of Harry Potter characters, but I didn’t think the story was a strong as the first. I will still watch the next movie. My wife went to Redbox Monday while I was at work and rented Bumblebee. She loves the Transformers movies. Bumblebee was much better than most of those movies. It helps that they had some decent actors that I like as the humans in the movie. I’m still not a big fan of the movies.

TV – I watched the first three episodes of the latest season of Shameless. I still really like the show and I’m still pulling for at least one Gallagher to have a happy ending. I finished the final season of One Day at a Time. I liked it, but I’m not clamoring for another season. Sweeps started last night so we can look forward to TV episodes full of major events. TVline.com says that there are 27 confirmed deaths of characters on the broadcast networks shows during this sweeps. Game of Thrones will get close to that tomorrow.  Surprising renewal news yesterday – All American was renewed by the CW. I really like the show and was sure it would be canceled.

Books – I only finished one book this week – A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller. I liked the book and would recommend it, but it took me a while to read. I think it was because it as for work so it felt like reading for school and not for fun. If you like sci-fi you should read it. It is weird that it was the second book I’ve done for book club that was a sci-fi that revolved around the Catholic church.

On Deck – I’m reading Rayne and Delilah’s Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner and need to also finish The Last of the Stansfields by Marc Levy by next Friday for my personal book club(more homework). I don’t think there is anything new for TV this week. I will be mourning deaths on Game of Thrones Sunday night. We have some movie options for the weekend but we might opt to just catch up on TV shows instead. I leave for a conference on Wednesday, so that will limit my viewing for the week. I hope to get more reading time while alone in a hotel room, but I’m afraid I will just stare at some sort of screen instead.

My Week in Books, TV, and Movies 4/19/19

It was a big movie week for me and I still had time to watch TV shows and finish a book. I’m sure there is some cleaning around the house I should be doing instead, but all of that was more fun.

Movies – My big week in movies was mainly due to them being due back to the library. I take a lot of movies back unwatched, but I wanted to make sure I watched these, so we made time for them. Here’s the list:

Girl in the Spider’s Web – It was good, but I did doe through a lot of it. That was more a me thing than a movie thing. I do think it’s weird that they made the first movie and then recast and skipped to the 4th book in the series.

Vemon – I really liked this one. It was fun and Tom Hardy was good in the lead role I hope they make more.

Instant Family – This was a lot better than I was expecting. I think Mark Wahlberg should do more comedy and less dumb action moves. Rose Byrne is always really good. It made me miss working with teens.

Green Book – Very good movie. One of the few Oscar movies that my wife actually liked. Great acting from both Mortenson and Ali. Highly recommend.

TV – The big TV event was the premiere of the final season of Game of Thrones. I watched live so I didn’t have to worry about spoilers. It was fun to see so many characters together in the same place. I was disappointed it was only 55 minutes. It was also the premiere week for the new season of Amazing Race. It’s the one reality show my wife will watch with me. It’s also the one I think I could actually compete on and not embarrass myself too much. This season has former Race, Survivor and Big Brother contestants competing. The only downside of this is it brings Rupert back on my TV. I don’t know why people like him so much. He’s very annoying.

Books – I read two books this week. Both a little disappointing.

Rule of Law by John Lescroart – The latest in the Dismas Hardy series. I’ve always loved this series, but the last couple have not been great. It might be time for Lescroart to end the series or at least focus on some of the more interesting side characters instead of Hardy.

The Size of the Truth by Andrew Smith – I love Smith’s work. This one was not a bad book. It was his first book written for middle-grade readers and I was reminded that I generally don’t enjoy books written for that age group. I’m sure younger readers will love it. I think it would have been better if it would have been just the middle school story and did not have alternating chapters of when the main character fell down a well when he was four.

On Deck – I’m reading A Canticle for Leibowitz for my book club at work. I have the second Fantastic Beasts movie on DVD from the library alone with Kin and A Silent Voice. I should have the latest season of Shameless on DVD this week.

 

My Week in Books, Movies and TV 4/5/19

I had a little more success in both reading and viewing this week. I’m still going slower than normal with the reading, but at least I finished an entire book this week.

Movies – We only watched Equalizer 2 this week. I half watched/half slept. If you read my Friday posts regularly you know this is normal. I really need to get my wife to agree to start watching movies early so I can stay awake. I’m old. I liked what I saw of the movie, but  I do get tired of generic action movies even when they star Denzel Washington.

TV – I’m still spending most of my TV time working through shows on my DVR. I’m alternating between Doctor Who and True Detective when I’m alone and then the shows my wife also likes when she is home. I did watch Abby’s right after I finished last week’s post. I liked it. It was very much the “introduce the characters and set up the concept” episode, but I liked the characters so I will watch again. I was a fan of Cheers and I think this could grow into this generation’s version of Cheers. It’s my hope, anyway. I could use a new Cheers.

Books – I finished Bearskin by James A McLaughlin and A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti.

Bearskin – A man hiding from a drug cartel is working as a caretaker of property in Virginia. People are poaching bears on the property and he decides to track them alone instead of calling the authorities because of the drug cartel thing. I get the criticism I read that there is a lot of nature talk in the book. If you are just looking for a standard thriller/mystery this book isn’t for you. If you are like my son and enjoy nature and mysteries, it is the perfect book for you.

A Heart in a Body in the World – Anabelle is a teen in Seattle. She has suffered some sort of tragedy and one day starts running. She decides she is going to run across the country. Her grandfather follows along in an RV meeting her at the stopping point each day.  We slowly get the story of the tragedy as Anabelle recalls it while running. I liked the book. I think teens would like the book. I do get tired of the books that make you wait to find out what the big tragedy was. This is my second one this year that kept alluding to a tragedy while waiting to tell the reader. It can work, but it can also feel like a gimmick.

On Deck – We have Venom and Creed II on DVD. TV will continue to be catching up on shows on the DVR. I hope to finish either Doctor Who or True Detective this week. I don’t think there are any new shows this week. We are getting close to the big TV event of the year – the return of Game of Thrones. I’m reading You Know You Want This by Kristen Roupenian. It is a story collection. We will see if I can stick with it or if I get tired of it and want to read a full novel instead.

My Week in Books, Movies and TV 3/29/19

It was a slow week for me. It wasn’t a week for focusing on a book for long. There was a lot of screen time, but mostly old stuff. So feel free to stop reading now.

Movies – We only watched one movie this week. We had the option of a movie we had not seen before and the bad remake of Point Break we had seen but my wife didn’t remember. She opted for Point Break. It was still bad. I spent most of the time looking at my phone, scrolling through Twiter. I’m fine with remakes. I didn’t think it was bad because I compared it to the old one. It was just bad.

TV – I’m desperately trying to keep my DVR from reaching capacity. There are way too many shows I’m saving for my daughter to watch when she’s home from college. I try to watch all of the shows I watch alone as soon as I can to keep some free space. That means most of what I’m watching is the new episodes of shows I already watch. I’m watching Grey’s as I write this. There were two new shows I wanted to watch this week. The TV version of What We Do in the Shadows and Abby’s. I did watch the first and hope to have time to watch Abby’s before I go to work today. I liked What We Do in the Shadows. It was funny, but I don’t know if it is something I would want to watch on a weekly basis. I think it would get old fast. I have high hopes for Abby’s and will report on it next week.

Books – I didn’t finish a book this week. That’s mostly because I was re-reading The Girl With All the Gifts for my work book club. I’m not someone who re-reads books. There are so many good books out there. Why would I spend time reading one I already read? This took me away from the new book I was reading, so I did not finish a new book this week. That is rare.

On Deck – Equalizer 2 is waiting for me at the library. I put all the rest of my movie holds on inactive status because our weekends have been filled with basketball lately. Soon I will have more movies than I can watch. Santa Clarita Diet and On My Block come back on Netflix today so any time I have away from the DVR clearing I will spend watching those. I should finish reading Bearskin by James A McLaughlin this week.

My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 3/15/19

An average week for me on all fronts. My TV portion of the week is slowly being taken over by college basketball and my Thursday-Sunday will be all basketball now until the end of March Madness. It should up my reading though as I will read during commercials and when games get boring.

Movies – I only watched Sisters Brothers this week and I was disappointed. I really liked the book and I was excited about a movie. The cast was good. The source material was good. The movie was boring. So boring. It takes talent to take a talented cast and a good book and combine them to make such a long, boring movie. Kudos.

TV – Nothing particularly exciting on TV this week. I’m still enjoying Whiskey Cavalier. I’m still watching Survivor every Wednesday when I get home from work. I’m not sure how I feel about this season. I hate the time they spend with the losers. I don’t watch Survivor to watch the annoying people who were voted off. I know more about the losers than I do about the people still in the game. That isn’t right. Also, the tribe swap didn’t really swap the tribes so the same people were back at tribal again. Not exactly an exciting result of a tribe swap. I’m sure I will like it more once we get to the merge, but I’m ready for something to happen to make the time with the losers worth it.

Books – I finished The Wedding Guest by Jonathan Kellerman. It was the 30 something book in the Alex Delaware series. I still enjoy reading about Alex and Milo. I like the characters and I like that they are still typically actual mysteries and not thrillers. I will keep reading them until he stops writing them. I am desperately trying to finish my book club book before tomorrow night. I probably should have read this one before The Wedding Guest. Sometimes I’m not very smart.

On Deck – I’m almost done with The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan, the aforementioned book club book. I’m listening to The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir. I’m not sure about movies with birthday activities, book club, and basketball this weekend. I still need to find a time to go see Captain Marvel. Not sure when that will happen. TV will be mostly basketball and hopefully clearing some space on the DVR during non-basketball times. Saving shows for my daughter is putting us close to crisis time with DVR space.

My Week in Books, TV, and Movies 3/8/19

I had a more balanced week between books and screen. I need to figure out how to keep that balance up.

Movies – We watched two new movies this week. The first was Bohemian Rhapsody. It was only the second Oscar movie I’ve watched this year. I really enjoyed it. I’m a big Queen fan and I’m a Rami Malek fan. Malek did a really good job as Freddie Mercury. I’, not sure why so many people said they didn’t think the nomination was deserved. We also watched First Man. It was OK. I was kind of bored and thought it was really slow. I also dozed a lot, which is normal for me. In old movies – we watched Rocky IV so my wife would be ready to watch Creed II and then she told me she didn’t remember watching Creed, so we have more work to do.

TV – The only “new” show I watched was the first episode of the latest season of True Detective. Mahershala Ali is, of course, very good. I liked the first episode. I hope the rest of the season holds up. Station 19 is back. For the People is Back. AP Bio is back. The only one I can watch without waiting for my daughter is Station 19. I really like AP Bio and will be tempted to go ahead and watch it.

Books – I finished two books this week. If I Die Tonight by Alison Gaylin is an Edgar nominated mystery that starts with a suicide note followed by a woman coming to a police station to report she was carjacked and the carjacker ran someone over with her car. The victim is a popular senior at the local high school. The suspect is an unpopular kid at the local high school and the author of the suicide note. Did he do it? Was the woman really carjacked or did she do it and lie? I really enjoyed it and didn’t figure it out until close to the end. Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Joy Gilbert was a Stonewall honor book. I’m slowly working my way through the award winners from the Youth Media Awards. It took me a while to get into this one. I can’t say much about the story without spoilers. It centers around Danny Cheng, a high school senior in Cupertino, CA. He finds out some secrets about his parents and the book is mainly about him dealing with the fallout of these secrets. I did get annoyed at the beginning when he kept referring to some sort of tragedy he and his friends had faced before finally just telling us it was a friend’s suicide. I saw no reason to drag out that reveal. It was a well-written book. I just couldn’t really ever get really invested in the story.

On Deck – I’m reading The Wedding Guest by Jonathan Kellerman. It is the latest Alex Delaware book. I still enjoy this series. I have Creed to watch tonight and then tomorrow I should have A Star is Born and Sisters Brothers of DVD waiting for me at work. I don’t think there is anything new on TV this week. I will probably watch a lot of college basketball this week with conference tournaments starting.

Good Omens!

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite books of all time. I actually still remember the first time I saw the book. I was killing time in the mall in Lexington, KY while my girlfriend(now wife) shopped and found it on a display. I will admit that at the time I was not really familiar with Gaiman at the time. The book seemed interesting, but I didn’t have the money to buy books, so I made note of the title so I could eventually get it from the library. I am glad I did. I loved it. I’ve gone on to read more Gaiman and Pratchett, but only Neverwhere comes close to Good Omens for me. That might be because I read Neverwhere right before my first ever trip to London. I love the city and probably love the book a little more because of that.

I eventually made my wife go with me to a Gaiman signing at Joseph Beth in Lexington so she could get extra stuff signed for me. He signed both Neverwhere and Good Omens(and eventually more and the National Book Festival in DC later). I eventually moved to DC and, of course, my signed books moved with me. Some time after I moved to DC, The Washington Post hosted a few book events and one of them was Terry Pratchett discussing Good Omens. I signed myself up and after a slight delay from a random DC bigwig motorcade got to the venue to see him, signed Good Omens in hand. He was very pleased when I met him to see the book was already signed by Gaiman and signed a response to his. The book is now one of my prized possessions. I’ve been anticipating this show for a long time. I don’t think my family understands why I’m so excited about it. I don’t think they will read this to understand it. They will just have to suffer through me making them watch the trailer and me talking about it until it finally airs.

My Week in Books, TV, and Movies 3/1/19

In an odd week for me, I actually have more screen to report on than books. I’m not sure that is a good thing.

Movies – I watched Night School this week. My expectations were low. I wasn’t expecting much more than the usual Kevin Hart plays Kevin Hart, but without The Rock to help make the move better movie. It was, indeed, Kevin Hart playing Kein Hart. I’m pretty sure that’s all he will ever be able to do. It was also a lot of Tiffany Haddish playing Tiffany Haddish. If you like Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish, this is the movie for you. If not, skip it. It did have a good supporting cast and there was more of a story than I expected. It wasn’t a bad way to kill a couple of hours on my morning off. It was better than cleaning toilets. They should make that the tag line.

TV – I recorded Whiskey Cavalier when it aired after the Oscars. The only part of the Oscars I watched was the Queen opener. I enjoyed the performance and I’m tired of people complaining who apparently think Queen should never perform again unless the can bring back zombie Freddie Mercury. We did watch Whiskey Cavalier. I like Scott Foley, Laren Cohan, Tyler James Williams and Josh Hopkins(a Kentucky guy!) and I’m a sucker for the romantic action comedy shows like this so I was predisposed to like it. Guess what? I did really like it. It was fun. I enjoyed Foley being the heartbroken romantic and Cohan being the hard, I don’t believe in love type. Tyler James Williams was good as the computer hacker they were both after and I’m glad he will be a part of the team going forward. It won’t win any awards, but I would recommend it. I’m watching the season finale of A Million Little Things while I write this. It has become one of my favorite shows.

Books – I didn’t finish a book this week I’m still reading How Long Til Black Future Month by NK Jemisin. Short story collections always slow me down. For some reason, it takes me a lot longer to read short stories than it does to read a novel. Probably because it’s easy to put it down once I finish a story and it’s harder to get into another story once I finish one I really liked. I am determined not to abandon it like I usually abandon story collection. I only have about 100 pages left. I can do this.

On Deck – I have Bohemian Rhapsody and First Man on DVD. I’m happy that AP Bio and For the People season premieres are this week.  After I finish the short story book I will continue reading If I Die Tonight by Alison Gaylin. I already had the physical book checked out and then got the e-book version when I found myself stranded somewhere without a book(a rookie mistake). I like what I’ve read so far and I’m looking forward to continuing the story.