WWW Wednesday 8/14/19

I discovered this a couple of weeks ago and did one and then forgot last week. It is hosted here if you want to visit.

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m currently reading two books. One for a work book club(Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins) and one for a personal book club(FKA USA by Reed King). I’m too early in to both to give an opinion. I picked them both so I hope they are good. They both are a little weird(like me)

I just finished reading Raised in Captivity by Chuck Klosterman. I’ve always been a fan of Klosterman’s work. This is a collection of very short fiction. They are also very weird. I seem to be in a weird loop at the moment.

I will probably read Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA and the Secret History of the Sixties by Tom O’Neill next to complete a weird trifecta. This is a look at the Manson murders and attempts to disprove the race war theories put forth in Helter Skelter. I’ve always been a little obsessed with the Manson murders, so I’m looking forward to this one.

 

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My Week in Books, Movies and TV 8/9/19

It was back to a somewhat normal week. My daughter came home on Friday. My wife came home on Sunday. I finished a couple of books, but they were books I had already started. Other events of the week did not make for a calm enough mind to sit and read. I did watch a lot though.

Movies – I watched one of the four movies I had from the library. My son came home Sunday specifically to watch Shazam with us. We all really liked the movie. It was nice to have a light, funny DC movie for a change. They did a good job with it. Zachary Levi was great as Shazam. Mark Strong was a good villain. Jack Dylan Grazer was really good as the best friend of the kid who became Shazam. A good cast and a good script make for a good movie.

TV – We watched the second season of Derry Girls last weekend. It is a very funny show. If you haven’t watched it yet, do it this weekend. It’s easy to binge. Two six-episode seasons and each episode is only 25 minutes or so. You can watch the entire run without a break. It’s one of the funniest shows I’ve watched in a long time. While my daughter was at a wedding I started watching Friday Night Lights.  I knew it was supposed to be a good show, but I never got to it while it was on Netflix. It is on Prime, so I decided to give it a shot. I watched six episodes while she was gone. I have not watched more mainly because I haven’t had the time home alone. I did really like it, but there are a lot of episodes and the new fall season is starting soon, so it might take me a while to get to the rest. If you have the time and like football/high school drama I would recommend it.

Books – I finished four books this week.

Neon Prey by John Sandford – I started listening to it because the CD was at the library where I work. I hated the reader. I stopped at my local library to pick up a movie and the had a print copy available in their 7-day collection(I love this idea. New releases available for a one-week checkout with no holds). I then alternated between the audio and the print. I generally like the Lucas Davenport books. This one was OK, but not my favorite. I’m not sure if it was the story or the reader that made me like it less than the others.

All the Days Past, All the Days to Come by Mildred Taylor – This is the last book in the Logan family series that started with Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry. The Logan kids are now adults. The story covers WWII to the early 60’s with the now adult Logan kids moving north and still dealing with racism. I enjoyed it. It is a very good look at historic civil rights events through the eyes of the Logans. It was a little long and a lot of time was spent on Cassie’s first love story. I felt like that could have been trimmed down quite a bit. I would recommend it though.

Short and Skinny by Mark Tatulli – a middle-grade graphic memoir about the author’s time as a short and skinny middle schooler. It was a nice, quick read and perfect for upper elementary and middle schoolers.

I Was Their American Dream by Malaka Gharib –  A memoir about growing up the daughter of a mother from the Philippines and a dad from Egypt and figuring out who you are. I probably would have liked it a lot more if I had not read it when I was stressed out and angry. It’s probably not a good idea to try to read a book in that mood. I should read it again.

On Deck – At some point this weekend I will watch Detective Pikachu with my kids. We might force my daughter to watch Top Gun tonight since she’s never seen it. I plan to go see Once Upon a Time in Hollywood this morning. I will watch BH90210 this afternoon while others are out shopping. We need to finish watching Flash and Deadly Class before my daughter goes back to school soon. I’m reading Raised in Captivity by Chuck Klosterman and then I need to get to reading my books for my work and personal book clubs.

 

Spending the End of my Dinner to do WWW Wednesday

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I never know what to write about on a Wednesday for some reason. This is perfect for me.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading two books: Neon Prey by John Sandford and All the Days Past, All the Days to Come by Mildred Taylor. Neon Prey is the latest Lucas Davenport book. I love the series but I am listening to this one and the reader is annoying me. I got the print copy today to finish it that way so I won’t hate the book. All the Days Past is the latest in the series that started with Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry. It is due out in 2020. I have a special advance copy from the American Library Association Conference. All of the kids from the first books are adults in this one. So far I am really enjoying it.

I recently finished reading Wanderers by Chuck Wendig. It is a big, fat, almost 800 page book that starts with various people starting to sleepwalk across the country. The CDC gets involved. There are white supremacists. There is an aging rock star. There is an AI that knows more than the humans. I liked it up until the end and the ending really annoyed me.

I will probably read two graphic memoirs next: Short & Skinny by Mark Tatuli and I was Their American Dream by Malaka Gharib.

Check back on Friday when I review what I’ve watched a read this week.

My Week in Books, Movies and TV 7/26/19

I’m glad I went back and looked at last week’s post. I thought this was a light week, but then I looked at what I said I had on deck this week and realized I watched a lot this week that I thought I watched last week. I’m old and forgetful.

Movies – We watched two movies this week. When my son was home Saturday my kids wanted to watch Sandlot: Heading Home. They loved the first two movies and when they found out there was a third they insisted I get the DVD. It wasn’t terrible, but it was not nearly as good as the first two. The basic plot is that a retiring baseball player who has a reputation for being a jerk who only cares about himself gets hit in the head and goes back to his days playing on the Sandlot where he learns to be a team player. Squints and Benny the Jet return as adults. We also watched The Public. It is the Emilio Estevez movie set in the Cincinnati Public Library. During a cold spell, a group of homeless patrons refuses to leave the library.  A librarian stays with them and defies the police order to leave. I liked it. My wife and daughter liked it. It has a good cast and has several humorous moments. I would recommend it. Librarians might like it more than normal people. Librarians might hate it more than normal people.

TV – I finished Stranger Things season 3. I thought it was a good season. I think we deserve a spinoff of the further adventures of Robin, Steve, Dustin, and Erica. I agree with Drew’s rant about the ending.  Don’t read that unless you want spoilers. We spend a lot of time watching HGTV. If you had told me a year ago that I would happily watch HGTV shows for hours I would have laughed at you. They really suck you in. House Hunters, Love it or List It, Fixer Upper all draw me in quickly and I’m invested in which house rando strangers choose to buy. They are also good shows to have on while you read. I need noise when reading. I can read some during these shows and more during commercials. Having HGTV on increases my reading time. Other channels distract me too much. I also enjoy watching Chopped on Food Network and Buying the Beach on Destination America.

Books – I’ve read 448 pages this week without finishing a book. That’s because Wanderers by Chuck Wendig is 780 pages long. Maybe I will finish it next week. I’m pretty sure I will not make it to 100 books this year.

On Deck – I have Shazam! waiting for me at the library but I told my son we would wait for him to watch it. That means we have to wait until next weekend for that one. I have no other movies on DVD. We have a few on our DVR that I would like to watch, but no one else seems interested. I might not watch a movie this week. Like many other people, I read VC Andrews when I was younger. I liked the Heaven Casteel series more than I did Flowers in the Attic. Lifetime starts a series of movies based on these books tomorrow night. I will be watching them. My family thinks it is weird. I don’t care. I’m sure the movies will be terrible. I don’t care. I will still watch. I will continue reading Wanderers and I’m now listening to Neon Prey by John Sandford.

 

My Week in Books, Movies and TV 7/19/19

My first week back in the real world after vacation combined with terrible, extreme heat was tailor-made for me to sit on the couch and watch TV, so that’s what I did. I’m hoping the reading part will pick up once it is cooler and I can sit outside where there is no screen to distract me.

Movies – I almost made it through the week with no movie watched. I wasn’t going to count the dumb action movie my wife watched while I read/slept on the couch, so I had no movies on my list until last night. I had recorded The American President before we went to Kentucky because I thought my daughter would like it. We watched it last night. I told her that I thought she would like it because she loves The West Wing. I told her that without realizing Aaron Sorkin also wrote the movie. I was correct. She did enjoy the movie and I still liked it as much as I did when I first watched it. There were a lot of West Wing actors in the movie. If you are a West Wing fan you should definitely watch it.

TV – I watched more Stranger Things. I’ve got three more episodes of season 3 left to go. I just need to find the time home alone to finish. I think I might like season 3 more than season 2. We will see how I feel when I get to the end. The final season of Suits started this week. It’s not nearly as good as it was in the early days, but I still enjoy it. I’m curious to see how they end it. I’m watching the first episode of the spinoff, Pearson, as I type this. I’m not sure I will stick with it. Jessica Pearson was my least favorite character on Suits so the rest of the characters will need to be really interesting for me to want to keep watching.

Books – I finished one book this week, The Fifth Season by NK Jemison. I really wanted to like it more than I did. I can see why it won awards and why so many others like it. There’s just something about her writing style that doesn’t connect with me. I felt the same when I tried to read her short stories. The story was interesting, but I felt the structure of the book took away from my enjoyment of it. I can’t say more without spoilers. I did figure some stuff out early, so the aha moments hundred of pages later didn’t really have the punch I’m sure they were meant to have. You should read it, though, because I’m one of the few people who feel this way. I’m weird.

On Deck – I have The Public, Mid90’s and Sandlot: Heading Home on DVD. My kids apparently didn’t know that Sandlot movie existed and want to watch it tomorrow. I’m hoping people show up at the library today for my movie matinee so I can get paid to watch The Public. I hope to finish Stranger Things this week. I still need to decide if I care enough about Season 2 of Big Little Lies to go back to it. I have started reading Wanderers by Chuck Wendig last night. It is almost 800 pages long, so I doubt I will finish it this week.

 

My Last Two Weeks in Books, Movies and TV 7/11/19

Since I was on vacation and driving last Friday, there was no week in review last week. So, I will try to remember two weeks for one post. That’s not likely.

Movies – We finally watched Captain Marvel the weekend before we left for Kentucky. I really liked it and I’m looking forward to more Captain Marvel adventures. I went to see Spiderman this morning. I think the new Spiderman movies are some of the best of the Marvels. This one was really good. I like Tom Holland as Peter and Zendaya as MJ.  The end credit scenes were interesting. Since I forgot to give it to someone to return for me, I watched my very overdue copy of Us this afternoon. I will admit that I was a bit distracted by stuff while it was on, so I didn’t get the full effect. I need to watch it again when it is nice an dark and I’m not distracted.

TV – We finished the latest seasons of Legends of Tomorrow and Madam Secretary before we went to Kentucky. They are still two of my favorite shows. We watched the first episode of What Just Happened With Fred Savage. It is a parody of the after shows like Talking Dead where Savage plays himself as a superfan of a fake show and hosts an aftershow about it. They actually film real scenes for the face show and the cast of the show appears as themselves. Rob Lowe appeared on the first episode as himself. It’s weird and I’m not sure if I will get tired of it, but I liked the first episode. While we were at my brother’s house he turned on Impractical Jokers. I always thought it looked really dumb, and it is, but it is a good dumb and we are hooked. It’s just four friends challenging each other to really dumb things. It’s fun.

Books: I finished three books over the past two weeks:

Exile From Eden by Andrew Smith – the sequel to Grasshopper Jungle, one of my favorite books. It takes place 16 years after the first and focuses on the kids of the characters from the first book. It is what you would expect from Smith. It has romance, coming of age and a lot of weird. I liked it.

Planet Funny by Ken Jennings – This was for book club. It is a study of the growth of humor over the years. Some interesting stories included, but overall, not a great book. I would recommend skipping or skimming.

Full Throttle by Joe Hill – A short story collection. Two are co-written with his dad, Stephen King. I liked every story. I think my favorite was the one about the bookmobile librarian who picks up customers from the past and gives them one last book to read before they die. It comes out in October. I highly recommend it.

On Deck – I’m reading The Fifth Season by NK Jemison. I don’t know what movies I might get when I get back to work this weekend. When my daughter gets home from Kentucky I’m sure we will watch the latest season of Scream. We also still need to watch season 2 of On My Block. I’m finally watching season 2 of Stranger Things. I’m a bit behind.

My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 6/28/19

I was back and forth to DC through Tuesday and usually very tired when I got home. I went to a baseball game on Saturday night and a concert on Tuesday night. I didn’t read as much on the train as I expected and was not home on the weekend to watch movies. It was a light week in screen and page.

Movies – I did not watch a movie this week. I’m 99% sure I didn’t even watch a piece of a movie on TV while doing other things. My movie viewing has gone down significantly recently. That might be the case for the entire summer. Maybe I will start going to the movies on my Fridays off again in the fall.

TV –  Another week of catching up on shows on the DVR. We are still working our way through Legends of Tomorrow. I’m still occasionally watching Dead to Me on Netflix. It’s a good show and I would watch faster if I had more time home alone these days. We’ve watched a couple of episodes of Mr. Iglesias on Netflix. When talking to someone at work about it we determined that it was AP Bio if AP Bio was a Disney show. I would likely not watch it if it was on regular TV and I had to record it, but since it is readily available and sometimes we need a short show we don’t need to think about we will probably watch more of it.

Books – I thought I would have more to report here. I thought all of the train and Metro rides would lead to more reading. It didn’t. I read less this week. I finished one book and started another. I think I worry too much about missing my stop on Metro to get too involved in a book.

Security by Gina Wohlsdorf – I will use the description the person who recommended it used – a slasher movie in book form. Someone is killing off all of the employees at a soon to open luxury hotel. It’s a nice, short book full of action. The author is able to make you care about the fate of the main characters without spending a lot of time on character backstory. There is a reveal partway through the book that surprised me. I would recommend it.

On Deck – We have Captain Marvel and Isn’t it Romantic on DVD. There is nothing new and exciting on TV. We will probably finish Legends of Tomorrow and season 2 of On My Block this week. I’m reading Exile From Eden by Andrew Smith. It is the sequel to Grasshopper Jungle, one of my favorite YA books. I got the ARC at the conference this week. After that I should probably read my book club book, Planet Funny by Ken Jennings, before I leave for Kentucky since book club is two days after I return, I still have managed to finish every book club book since we started and I don’t want to break my streak now.

My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 6/21/19

This week was more of a normal one for me. I think I had a good balance of screen time and reading time. I chose to read in the morning before work more than I have lately. I will have more reading time the next few days as I will be on a train to DC and back several times. Maybe I can get back on track.

Movies – We watched one movie this week – Cold Pursuit starring Liam Neeson. It was not what I was expecting. I thought it would be just another standard action movie, but it was not. It had a Fargo vibe to it. Neeson plays a snowplow driver who goes after the drug dealers who killed his son. He works is way up the chain to find the person ultimately responsible. It was a little odd, somewhat funny and much better than the standard Neeson action movie.

TV – We finished the most recent season of Fresh Off the Boat. I watched a couple more episodes of Good Omens. I watched the first episode of the new season of Big Little Lies. I watched the first episode of Euphoria(I don’t think I’m the target audience). We watched the new episodes of The Detour and Yellowstone that aired this week. I will forego talking about any of that and use the rest of the space to say how fun DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is. We watch most of the DC shows and like them, but I think Legends is now the best of them. It has a great cast and fun characters. It’s funny and doesn’t take itself seriously at all. What other show on the air would give you a sequence of changes in the timeline that eventually results in all of the characters turning into puppets? The first season is not great, but they wrote out the boring characters and started adding more fun to the show after that and now it is the best of the DC shows.

Books – I finished three books this week

Sadie by Courtney Summers – It alternates between a podcast telling Sadie’s story and the story from Sadie’s perspective. The audio is very good. Sadie is hunting the man she knows killed her little sister. The podcast is following her story and trying to find her. It was a very good story, but don’t believe it if someone tells you it is scary.

Dead Man’s Mistress by David Housewright – The latest in the McKenzie series. McKenzie is a former cop who left the force in order to collect the reward for catching an embezzler. He is now wealthy and acts as an unlicensed PI for friends of friends. I really like the series and the character is fun. I like that he is in a serious relationship and is not the normal PI character that sleeps with another woman every case. In this one, he is hired to find stolen art that might be previously unknown work from a famous artist and soon stumbles on to a related murder.

Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix – A night in a haunted Ikea-like store that is on land that once held a prison. It is a quick read. I liked it a lot. It gets closer to being the scary book I was looking for, but I think I’m just past finding a book scary now. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good horror book. It is well written and creepy.

On Deck – I don’t have any movies on deck. I hope to get Captain Marvel from the library soon. I don’t think there is anything new starting on TV this week so we will keep working through shows on the DVR. The finale of Amazing Race is Wednesday night. I still love that show. I’m reading Security by Gina Wohlsdorf. It was recommended by the same person who recommended Horrorstor so I suspect I will like it. I will probably pick up a lot of ARCs at the conference today so I hope to get some exciting new stuff to read.

My Favorite Book for Each Letter of the Alphabet

A sportswriter I follow on Twitter had some time to kill while on a train so he came up with his list of favorite fiction books for each letter of the alphabet. I thought that was a fun idea, so I’m going to do it, but not limit it to fiction. I’m sure I will forget some books. I’m old. I will use Goodreads to jog my memory if I draw a blank. So this will be my favorite books I can remember on a Saturday morning list. It might not be completely accurate. Also, this is favorite, not best written, not most literary merit. You will probably disagree with some which will be weird because it’s a list of my favorites, not yours. Anyway, it’s a flawed process, but here we go.

A- An Abundance of Katherines – John Green

B – Bloodsucking Fiends – Christopher Moore

C – Chiefs – Stuart Woods

D – Dark Rivers of the Heart – Dean Koontz

E – Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card

F – Fellowship of the Ring – JRR Tolkien

G – Good Omens – Neil Gaiman

H – Harry Potter(series) – JK Rowling

I – Interview With the Vampire  – Anne Rice

J – Jackdaws – Ken Follett

K – Knights of Hil Country – Tim Tharp

L – Lamb – Christopher Moore

M – The Mole People: Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York City  – Jennifer Toth

N – Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman

O – Outsiders – SE Hinton

P – Pet Sematary – Stephen King

Q – Queen of the Damned – Anne Rice

R – Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry – Mildred Taylor

S – Swan Song  – Robert McCammon

T – Talisman – Stephen King

U – An Unkindness of Magicians – Kat Howard

V – Vegan Virgin Valentine – Carolyn Mackler

W – Watchers – Dean Koontz

X – XVI – Julia Karr

Y – You Suck – Christopher Moore

Z – Zone One – Colson Whitehead

That was hard. Choosing between Good Omens and Game of Thrones? Swan Song and the Stand? It and Interview with the Vampire? Talisman vs To Kill a Mockingbird? Choosing the only book I’ve read starting with X? So, this is the list. Enjoy.

My Week in Books, TV, and Movies 6/14/19

I was back to my normal schedule at work this week and getting used to rarely being home alone. My reading and watching habits are evening out. I’m hoping this means an increase in how much I’m reading over the summer. I should really spend more time reading on the deck before it gets too hot.

Movies – I watched three movies this week. One alone and two with my daughter. I watched Happy Death Day 2 You alone since I’m the only one who has watched the first. I liked the first one better, but this one was also very good. It was a good mix of humor, sci-fi and slasher film. I would recommend both. I watched Fighting With My Family and Always Be My Maybe with my daughter. I really liked both of them. Fighting With My Family is based on a true story about a young woman from a wrestling family in England who is chosen to go to America to try out for WWE. You don’t have to be a wrestling fan to like it. I agree with everyone else that Always Be My Maybe is very good. I’m already a fan of Randall Park and Ali Wong so I was predisposed to like it anyway.  Netflix continues to do a good job with satisfying rom-coms.

TV – I finally watched the first two episodes of Good Omens. I’m watching alone, so it’s harder for me to find time to watch it these days. I really liked the episodes. The cast is great. I’m looking forward to having time to watch more. We’ve been catching up on shows I watch with my daughter. We finished the most recent seasons of Superstore and Speechless this week. Two of our favorite comedies. This was the end of the run for Speechless and it ended well. It was a very satisfying finale. If you haven’t watched Speechless and you like family sitcoms you should try it. It is very good.

Books – I finished two books this week.

Uneducated by Tara Westover – I really liked the book. It is a fascinating look at her life in a survivalist family in Idaho and her journey toward going to college after never going to school as a child. She writes a lot about the abuse she faced at home and their refusal to send the kids to school or to see a doctor, even when there are serious injuries. The family disputes her claims. I spent some time looking them up on Facebook and found some comment threads on her mom’s Facebook where several people dispute the claims in the book. I wrote a little about memoirs here.

The Opposite of Always by Justin Reynolds – It was an interesting plot. A boy meets the girl of his dreams. They fall in love. She dies. He lives that time period over and over again trying to save her without messing up the rest of his life. It fails somewhat in execution. It’s much longer than it needs to be. It never gives a good reason for why the time loop happened and also fails in giving a good reason why the last one worked. It was OK, but I wanted more.

On Deck – We will likely watch Cold Pursuit because that’s the one movie I have that I know my wife will watch. I am going to make my daughter watch When Harry Met Sally at some point. Two shows I like start back this week. The Detour on TBS and Yellowstone on Paramount. I hope to watch more Good Omens and my daughter and I will probably finish the past season of Fresh Off The Boat. I should finish listening to Sadie today and I am also reading Dead Man’s Mistress by Davi Housewright.