July 2014 Recap

Summer is more than halfway over.  Too weird.  We’re into August, which means it’s time for a look back at July.

Reading:

Best Book of the Month: The Fever by Megan Abbott

Books Read: 19
Adult: 8
YA:  11
MG: 0
Children’s: 0
Fiction: 18
Non-fiction/Memoir: 1
Graphic Novel: 3
# of Pages Read: 4204, plus 2 audiobooks

Thoughts on July’s Reading:

  • Only one non-fiction title this month, and I actually think it was more fiction than not.
  • I’m in a pretty serious reading slump right now, in that nothing I’m reading is catching me the way I want it to.  It’s disappointing, but usually the only way out of it is through it, so I’ll keep plugging away.

Watching:

TV:

Much as I’d like to, I’m not obsessively tracking what TV show episodes I watch and when.  So this will be mostly bullet points.

  • It’s pretty much all Gilmore Girls all the time right now.  A few episodes of House have slipped in, since J. is doing a rewatch of that..
  • Other weekly staples for me include my love-hate relationship with Switched at Birth and The Fosters.

Movies:

happy christmasBest Movie(s) of the Month: Happy Christmas

Movies Watched: 12
New: 3
Re-Watch: 9
Theater Trips: 0

  • No theater trips in July.  I’ll have to fix that this month.
  • Happy Christmas was the winner by far this month, but I also enjoyed some of my re-watches, most notably Whip It!

Goals for July:

  • Continue reading and watching diverse things.  Keep up with keeping track.  Try to squeeze in a few more movies.  Find a book I love this month, which didn’t really happen this past one.

My Weekend in Pop Culture

These are the pop culture items I consumed this weekend:

Gilmore Girls Season 5: I’m flying through the series at an alarming rate.  It’s pure pleasure, even when the later seasons don’t do it for me the way the first three seasons do.  I still love Luke and Lorelai together even if I think they both have serious communication issues, and even though Logan Huntzberger is the worst (I yell “You’re the WORST!” at least once an episode, and J. has taken to interjecting “Someone should punch that smirk off his face” everytime he’s in the room when Logan’s onscreen), this show is still one of my very favorite things.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1: J. and I continue on our Harry Potter rewatch, and I think that this is one of the best films in the franchise.  I love the animation of the story of the Deathly Hallows, and the scene where Harry and Hermione dance in the tent is such a welcome break from the bleak tone of the film.  I love it.

Jenny Lewis – “Just One of the Guys”

Lewis’s new album “The Voyager” is pretty stellar, but my best friend and I were rocking out to this video this weekend.  Well worth a watch, if only for the celebrity cameos throughout.

What pop culture did you consume this weekend?

My Weekend in Pop Culture

These are the pop culture items I consumed this weekend.  It was another busy weekend, so I didn’t do much media consumption.  Without further ado:

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: I’ve been listening to this on audiobook, and it is pure, unadulterated pleasure.  It’s probably my favorite of all Rowell’s books, just in terms of sheer enjoyability.  Listening to it when Zoey and I take our walks or when I’m stuck in traffic on the way home from work has been just the best distraction.  I don’t want it to end, but I have less than 30 minutes left.  What’s interesting is that I’ve also been reading Landline at the same time, and while it is good and smart, it pales in comparison to Fangirl.  I think that’s really, really interesting.

At any rate, it’s one of those books I want to live inside of.  I don’t know what to do when I’m done, because I’ll be in this haze where nothing else I read is it.  Depressing and amazing.

 

Gilmore Girls Season 3: I’ve been doing a Gilmore Girls rewatch, and I’m firmly entrenched in the ggthird season, which is my all-time hands-down favorite season.  The story is the strongest here, I think.  I love so many of the episodes, including “Take the Deviled Eggs,” “They Shoot Gilmores, Don’t They?” and “Dear Emily and Richard.”  It’s a stellar season on a very good show, and I love getting to revisit it.

I wish I could say the same for J., who tolerates it being on but often leaves the room.  It’s just not his thing, at all.

What pop culture did you consume this weekend?

Movie News and Randomness

Ready for another installment of movie news?  Here’s the movie stuff that’s got me excited or apathetic this week.

1. Wild Trailer

I don’t really feel like I have to give this one much of a summary or introduction.  It’s based on Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, which has been sitting on my iPad for months and which I still haven’t read.  Reese Witherspoon stars.  I will see it, but probably not until its digital download release.

2. Box Office Woes: Age and Gender Gap Fueling Summer Decline 

Or, you know, the fact that everything has been complete shit.  But truthfully, the fact that fewer males are flocking to theaters and Hollywood still hasn’t figured out that women drive much of the box office means that it’s been a pretty lackluster summer for movies.  Whatever.  More female films, please.  (THR)

3. Laggies Trailer

The film stars Keira Knightley as a mid-twenties screw up who panics when her boyfriend proposes.  She goes to live with her new 16-year-old friend, played by Chloe Grace-Moretz.  It looks…interesting?

4. Netflix won’t ship or process your DVDs on Weekends

Wait, people still use the DVD option? (Cinema Blend)

5. New Gone Girl Trailer

Because why not?  I know I’ve posted a trailer for this, or at least I think I have?  I know I’ll see this one because I’m curious about how the ending has changed.  I can’t wait for the internet backlash on that one.  The internet loves a good backlash (and so do I!).

What movie news got you excited this week?

The Best YA Books of 2014 So Far

Now that we are well into July, it’s time to talk about the books from the first half of the year that have blown me away.  It’s true that I’ve been reading more adult fiction lately, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not focused on the YA world.  These are the YA books published this year that have totally knocked my socks off.  Or whatever.  They’re just really great.

Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern

Amy was born with cerebral palsy and can’t walk without a walker or talk without a computer voice box.  She can’t even completely control her facial expressions.  All of these things have largely alienated her from her peers.  When she decides to hire student helpers for her last year of high school, her mother is reluctant, but Amy is persistent.  She wants Matthew, a student at the school who is struggling with obsessive-compulsive disorder, to be one of her helpers.  As the two become enmeshed in each other’s lives, a deep friendship forms, and the two of them wonder if they could ever be more.

McGovern’s book is really great, offers a fresh perspective of YA, and while it might be slightly over-plotted, it’s a knockout of a debut that I devoured so quickly but also didn’t want it to end.  Read the rest of my review here.

Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn 

Jamie’s sister Cate has been in a juvenile detention center for two years, since she burned down a barn, killing several horses and dangerously burning a classmate.  Since then, Jamie has tried to move on with his life and deal with his own issues, including a crippling case of anxiety.  But now Cate is out, and she’s coming for him.  She says it’s time for the truth to come out, but Jamie isn’t sure what that means for her or him or anyone, because wasn’t everything better when she was locked up?

I just finished this one and haven’t written a review of it yet, but it’s a stellar novel and well worth your time.  I had a friend text me about it the other day to tell me that she couldn’t put it down and couldn’t believe how obsessed she had become with the characters and the story, so I know I’m not alone in loving this one.  It’s a haunting read.  Fantastic.

Pointe by Brandy Colbert

Theo is doing much better than a few years ago.  When her best friend Donovan first disappeared, Theo stopped eating.  But she’s eating again, kind of, and she’s dating boys who are much more appropriate (although maybe still not quite right) for her, and she’s so close to getting an important break with her ballet dancing.  But then Donovan reappears after years, and the shitstorm that emerges with his return means Theo has to confront the ugly parts of her past that she’s worked hard to suppress.  Will Donovan ever be okay?  Will Theo?

Brandy Colbert’s debut is so good that I still think about the characters long after finishing the book.  It’s so good that I immediately finished the book, sobbed, and then pushed a copy into the hands of my English-teacher mother and said, “You have to read this book so we can talk about Theo!”  It is harrowing, authentic, and pitch-perfect.  Go read it.  Here’s my review.

Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu

Tabitha’s friends think she’s changed, and they’ve dropped her like a bad habit.  Tab isn’t exactly sure how she’s changed, except that her boobs got bigger and she started to get attention from dudes.  Lonely, Tab seeks solace in carrying on a secret relationship with Joe, who already has a very public girlfriend.  Then she stumbles upon an online community called Life By Committee.  There, members spill secrets and complete Assignments.  As the Assignments raise the stakes, Tab wonders if she’s going too far.

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Haydu is an author to watch.  This is the second novel of hers that I have just loved, despite having serious reservations when first beginning them both.  The characters here are vivid, the lessons hard, and the journey uncomfortable.  But it’s a fascinating, riveting ride.  Here’s my review.

That’s what I’ve got so far.  What books have I missed out on so far in 2014 that are must-reads?  Let me know.

June 2014 Recap

Can you believe June is already over?  Don’t you hate it when people say that?!

Reading:

Best Book of the Month: Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn

Books Read: 21
Adult: 6
YA:  15
MG: 0
Children’s: 0
Fiction: 19
Non-fiction/Memoir: 0
Graphic Novel: 2
# of Pages Read: 5160

Thoughts on June’s Reading:

  • I’m still not reading any non-fiction.  I’m going to chalk this up to summer, but I’m not sure I can really use that as an excuse.
  • I’m really alternating between adult and YA titles, which is nice.  Almost everything that I get from the library in physical book form is adult, because my library systems YA selection is a JOKE.
  • Although I’m still plugging along on my recapping of Sweet Valley High novels for my other blog, I’m not as into it as I was before, which is why my numbers are lower this month.

Watching:

TV:

Much as I’d like to, I’m not obsessively tracking what TV show episodes I watch and when.  So this will be mostly bullet points.

  • I’m still firmly ensconced in my Covert Affairs love affair.  It’s silly, a little stupid, and definitely far-fetched, but it’s good summer TV.  J. agrees that Annie might be the WORST spy ever.
  • We’re also sort of digging the new showMurder in the First.  That’s one I can get J. to watch weekly.
  • Other weekly staples for me include my loves Switched at Birth and The Fosters.

Movies:

obvious childBest Movie(s) of the Month: Obvious Child

Movies Watched: 8
New: 6
Re-Watch: 2
Theater Trips: 3

  • I was up a few this month, with three trips to the theater.
  • Obvious Child was the winner by far this month, but I also enjoyed That Awkward Moment and They Came Together.

Goals for July:

  • Continue reading and watching diverse things.  Keep up with keeping track.  Try to squeeze in a few more movies.

Happy reading and watching, readers!

Movie News and Randomness

I’m a little behind in reading, which means I don’t have any reviews ready to go.  But that’s never stopped me from blogging!  So here is some movie news I’m pumped and/or apathetic about this week!

1. Dear White People Trailer

This sharp satire has gotten a lot of good buzz, and this teaser trailer seems to be doing that buzz justice, because I can’t wait to see it.  It’s going to piss a lot of people off (good), but it also looks pretty great.

2. I guess Prometheus 2 is a Thing Happening?

This article is really about Guy Pearce wanting in on the action, but did anyone know that this was a thing happening? I guess I just figured the backlash to the first one was so bad that it would fade into obscurity, but silly me–if there is money to be squeezed from us, there is a film to make. (Cinema Blend)

3. The Good Lie Trailer

There are things inherently problematic with this movie already: it’s definitely a white savior narrative, which, can we please move past already?  But it’s also about some of the Lost Boys of Sudan, and I’m willing to entertain the fact that this movie is going to be completely conventional and manipulative because it will also raise awareness to people who have no idea what has happened and is happening in Sudan.  Whatever.  It stars Reese Witherspoon and the trailer made me tear up because I know I’m being manipulated but I’m also powerless in the face of it.

4. Here are some Mockingjay posters

Because I don’t have anything else for you, and because why not? (Screen Rant)

5. About Alex Trailer 

I mean, the movie is dubbed “The Big Chill” for millennials and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a description so apropos.  It’s exactly what it is, and I am exactly the demographic, and I cannot wait to see it.