March 2023: Books & Movies

A few notes on the below:

  1. These opinions are mine and only mine. 
  2. It is okay for us to have different opinions. No one is right or wrong, just different. 
  3. Do not compare yourself to others.

Here’s everything I read, watched, and listened to during the month of March. 


The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood

This is Atwood’s first novel. I think my experience reading this novel was soured by having already read a lot of Atwood’s later works. I was expecting an experienced Atwood’s storytelling and writing style, but that obviously wasn’t the case here. It took me about a month to finish reading because I kept getting more interested in other books. All this said, it was still good. Atwood has always been a talented writer who creates sharp characters and knows how to tell a poignant story. Everything she writes feels intentional. I will continue to read and reread her novels forever. 

All’s Well by Mona Awad

I love a good unreliable narrator, but this one comes with mixed reviews. Like Awad’s previous novel Bunny, All’s Well is a dark and wry story about a woman’s inevitably unraveling. There are riffs on Macbeth and All’s Well That Ends Well (the book’s namesake). Our main character suffers from debilitating chronic pain until one day that all changes, thus prompting the out-of-control spiral. Throughout the book, she ventures through a definitive (if not predictable) character arc that was somewhat satisfying as the reader. Awad is a master at writing unreliable narrators that you feel an awkward mix of compassion and resentment toward. I think having read Awad’s previous books made this one feel somewhat predictable.

Here’s what you need to remember going into a book written by Awad: You’re entering a dark and imaginative world with unreliable characters and a plot that would only make sense in her writing style. Enjoy!

Winter by Ali Smith

This is reread for me, but it was so long ago that it felt like a fresh read. Smith’s novels both hit and miss for me. Her careful poetic language can’t be ignored. She’s a talented writer. Each of these novels takes a look at climate change, political events, or social issues—usually her characters and plot embody some combination of the three. There is subtle humor and a play on words that I enjoyed. The story is told in a very stream-of-consciousness format, which is sometimes hard to follow. At times, I grew tired of the puns and quirky characters. Other times, the statements she was trying to make felt heavy-handed. I have a mixed relationship with Winter despite really enjoying Autumn

Telex From Cuba by Rachel Kushner

Wow, Kushner can set a scene. She takes her time in the first fifty or so pages to establish the characters and place. Her descriptions of Cuba were spot-on. Kushner’s use of similes sometimes felt overbearing, but her use of descriptive language whisked the reader away to the Cuba she’s building on the page. She fictionalized the experience of the Americans living on fruit plantations in Cuba during the 1950s, loosely inspired by her mother’s own experiences. The book follows a lot of characters on both sides of the conflict: the Americans running these plantations and rebels living in the nearby hills. As with many books with a huge cast of characters, I found myself more interested in some than others. Kushner clearly knows what she’s doing. 

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

DNF. I read a bit over 100 pages, but found too many things that were problematic to continue. Our main character is unbelievable. She is smart, beautiful, and loves to cook—the perfect package. Her “flaws” are the cute, quirky, and often fetishized traits of people on the spectrum, but she deals with none of the challenges that come from being on the spectrum. She becomes an expert rower after just a couple attempts (which impresses all the boys) after the author made a point to stress how difficult it is to learn to row. She has a traumatic experience in the first 50 or so pages that is never addressed again. There was nothing interesting or compelling happening. Not a single bit of it was believable. 

Milk Fed by Melissa Broder

I’m on a roll this month for unreliable/unhinged narrators. This felt like a very personal novel. Now having read two of Broder’s novels, it’s clear that she has a certain type of character she specializes in writing. These are female characters who are somewhat unhinged, blunt about their desires, insecure, and fumbling their way through the world being driven by impulses. I felt similarly about this book as I did about All’s Well. Having read Broder before, the execution of this story felt somewhat predictable. 

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

For such a short book, Homegoing accomplishes a lot. It’s short, with several generations of characters to follow, but I was invested in each and every one. We follow the split narratives of two half sisters: one is sold into slavery and one is married to a wealthy white man. Over the next 300 or so pages, we watch as their respective generations evolve through to modern day. It’s been a very long time since I’ve read such a precise narrative. Gyasi pulls her readers into a complex web of causes and effects without keeping them at arm’s length. I, like basically everyone else who has read this book, was utterly impressed and I loved it. 


Kiki’s Delivery Service

It was cute. Like all Studio Ghibli movies, Kiki had a message at its core that came to fruition in the end and was propped up by charming music and heart-warming characters. I was in the mood for a cozy film to escape and that’s exactly what I got. This wasn’t my favorite Ghibli, but it checked the boxes that a Ghibli movie should. 

The Big Sick

I made the mistake of waiting several years after this movie came out to finally watch it. I don’t normally watch romance films, but I adored this one. It was funny and charming and actually felt real (it’s based on a true story). The acting was superb. I laughed and cried. It was a wonderful escape during a rainy weekend. Highly recommend. 

Manchester by the Sea

You could argue that Manchester by the Sea is a movie where nothing happens, yet everything happens. A man’s brother dies and he becomes responsible for his nephew. What follows is a complex unraveling of their shared and individual trauma. On the one hand is a boy’s coming of age story as he navigates being a teenager after the death of his father. On the other hand, it’s his uncle’s story as he is forced to grapple with his past after returning to his hometown. There are scenes (that I can’t reveal without offering spoilers) that felt like they would’ve been risks to show, but they paid off beautifully. It’s well worth the watch, but don’t expect any warm and fuzzy sentiment. Manchester by the Sea isn’t afraid of diving head-first into trauma, and doing so in a way where one could reasonably accuse it of being Oscar bait. 


No. Sorry, but no. I thought I would love this movie. I enjoyed parts of it, but overall felt like it was trying too hard to be that quirky coming-of-age indie movie. I found the main character to be insufferable, but I do wonder if that was intentional. Still, in the end, it flopped for me.

John Wick 4

The fight scenes make this entire movie worthwhile. Don’t go in expecting great dialog or an intricate plot. It’s your usual box-checking action movie with Keau Reeves playing his usual persona. What I appreciate about this movie (and others that fall loosely into this same category) is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. We’re not sitting down to watch a John Wick movie expecting all around excellence—we want action and conflict and drama. The fight scenes were excellent, but I honestly expected nothing less. I’m not sure how many words Reeves spoke in the whole movie, but it wasn’t much. Most of them were “yeah”—Wick’s new catchphrase. 

Triangle of Sadness

In sitting down to watch Triangle of Sadness one must accept their fate. The movie is divided into three parts and it’s entirely unhinged. There is class commentary as an undertone throughout. We first meet a young couple then join them on a luxury cruise before finally watching chaos unfold as they become stranded on a desert island. Not a single thing in this movie felt random, despite the entire movie seeming to take aimless turns of events. All the decisions seemed intentional—right down to the flies buzzing in the background in certain scenes. You kind of just have to go along for the ride… trust the story to deliver a satisfying narrative. 


February 2023: Books, Movies, Music, & More

A few notes on the below:

  1. These opinions are mine and only mine. 
  2. It is okay for us to have different opinions. No one is right or wrong, just different. 
  3. Do not compare yourself to others.

Here’s everything I read, watched, and listened to during the month of February. 


Almond by Sohn Won-Pyung

Almond follows a young boy as he navigates the world without the ability to experience emotions. Won-Pyung does a great job of capturing Yunjae’s perspective as he world. He gets himself into some sticky situations, some more plausible than others. Simple, sweet, and an overall enjoyable read.

Pew by Catherine Lacey

Evidently February was the month of character study novels and I have no complaints. Here represented the first of many. Pew tells the story of a young boy who is discovered lying on the pew of a small town church. What follows is a series of vignettes as he meets and learns about people who live in the town. No one knows where he came from or his true name. He doesn’t speak and other characters seem to use this silence as permission to fill the void with their own stories. The people in this town are fascinating. Fascinating, I think, because their flaws are worn on their sleeves as they try to be good people. It’s a town of the same prejudices, mistrust, and skepticism that we’re acquainted with in the real world. Lacey took a risk writing this one and it paid off beautifully. 

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

I first read this book in high school. I loved it then and I loved it now. It’s a beautiful coming-of-age story that tackles big themes through the point of view of a pre-teen girl. Brunt did a great job capturing the adolescent POV, carefully detailed how young people observe their world and learn at that age. The writing flows easily–I was quick to get caught up in the narrative. Each character was well-established and realistically flawed. June’s voice sounded her age, if not slightly more mature. How could you (the reader) not fall in love with Finn? C’mon.

People From My Neighborhood by Hiromi Kawakami

I first read Kawakami over a year ago with Strange Weather in Tokyo. I enjoyed that story–it’s subtle and sweet and wonderfully introspective. People From My Neighborhood, published one year before Strange Weather, has a similar tone. The book is composed of bite-sized short stories, each only two to three pages long, that zoom in on the lives of the people in a small neighborhood. You’ll do yourself a disservice by expecting a grand, revelatory story. It’s cozy and magical. It’s a book where nothing really happens, but in the best way possible. Relaxing and charming. 

A Little Life by Hanya Yanigahara

I don’t know what I can say about this book that hasn’t already been said since it was published several years ago. I can say that it took me nearly two months to read because I had to keep putting it down. There is a lot to take in (perhaps the biggest understatement I’ve ever written), but it’s impossible not to fall in love with these characters. They are expertly built and their stories brilliantly executed. As everyone knows, the themes of this book are heavy and come with several trigger warnings. Yanigahara is one of the best writers, solely based on her craft, that I’ve ever read. Every time I picked up the book, I was quickly swept up in the story. Her writing is truly, truly exceptional. I had mixed feelings about it for a long time, which probably contributed to why I kept putting it down then picking it back up. When I finally arrived at the last page, I read it over and over again because I wasn’t ready to leave these characters and I’ve been thinking about them since. I couldn’t not love this book. 

God bless Harold. Everyone deserves a Harold and a Willem in their life. 

Just Kids by Patti Smith

How does one bounce back to reading regularly after finishing A Little Life? First, they play a lot of Animal Crossing–a game where you’re low-key joining an island cult run by Tom Nook, but wow is it satisfying to swim into the ocean, dive, and come up with a colorful sea anemone–I digress. Second, they pick up Just Kids by Patti Smith and allow themselves to be whisked away to 1960s New York City. No one can deny that Patti Smith is a skilled wordsmith. She is a keen observer of her world, providing commentary and context when needed, but largely relaying how those early years played out. She met some wild characters and talks about her experience with a blasé tone that makes it clear living in NYC at this time was like living on a different planet. Great, great read. 


Banshees of Inisherin

This is the best movie I’ve seen this year–I know, I know, it’s only February, but just watch it and you’ll understand. We follow two characters living in a village on an island off the coast of Ireland. The older of the two (Brenden Gleeson) suddenly says he no longer wants to be friends. Confused and in disbelief, the younger (Colin Firth) tries endlessly to figure out what went wrong and make amends. The story takes a dark turn, but you ought to watch it to find out more. Over the course of the movie, I cried and laughed and was entirely captivated. The acting was superb and the camerawork was beautiful. I couldn’t look away, I couldn’t leave these characters. Chefs’ kiss to Kerry Condon’s performance. 

Before Sunset

In my humble opinion, the ‘Before’ trilogy includes the best romance movies of all time. It does this even most securely in the first two films of the trilogy. Like its predecessor, Before Sunset captures our two heroes as they meet up again in Paris after ten years of not speaking. What follows is their meandering through the city streets as they discuss everything. It was just as beautiful as the first, although I do think Before Sunrise is still a little bit better. It’s a film without action, without suspense, without tension, but you’re still enthralled as these characters show their true colors while discussing their views and experiences of the world. Both characters have changed enormously when they meet again, but they fall back into a rhythm like they did many years prior. 

Before Midnight

Aforementioned, I adored Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. The trilogy’s third installment left something to be desired. More time was spent arguing, which shouldn’t be surprising when you pair two romantic, idealistic people who both feel like they’ve given more than they’ve received from their partnership, but it was exhausting to watch. There are more characters, creating conversations outside the couple, which removed much of the intimacy that made these movies special to begin with. There were moments of humor–you can tell the two connect on a profoundly deep level. Still, it lacked the same charm and closeness that was captured so well in the first two films.


This was a rewatch on Valentine’s Day. Some jokes are spot-on while others make me question if I don’t at times have the sense of humor of a 12-yo boy. Still, it was worth the rewatch.


Here was a slow, careful story of a father and daughter on vacation. It’s told from the POV of the daughter 30 years in the future as she reflects on this final vacation she took with her father. At moments, it’s an effort on her part to understand her father–a man she clearly loved, but never knew well. We witness her coming-of-age story while grappling with the idealism of her father over the course of the film. It’s beautifully shot, with thoughtful cut scenes and a perfectly paired score. Not only was I impressed with the acting and the story, I was also caught up in the technical work as well. It’s a great watch if you want a slower character study that rewards you at every turn.

The Menu

As I sit down to write this, I’m still unsure exactly what I think of this movie. The final credits rolled and my only question was “what did I just watch?” It was unsettling and strange, and funny(?), with an ending that bordered on being trite. Anya Taylor-Joy was amazing as she always will be. The Menu is a satire that pokes at the wealthy individuals who dine in certain restaurants, not because they care about the food, but because of the prestige that comes with dining in those restaurants. The chef (Ralph Fiennes) has carefully selected the visitors for his prestigious island restaurant for that evening, but Margot’s (Anya Taylor-Joy) presence there is unexpected and throws off the entire plan. The story quickly goes off the rails, but it never feels out of control. The details are so well done. It’s eerie, satirical, and will have you clutching your nearest throw pillow, unable to pull your eyes off the screen. 

Inside Out

How could you not love this movie? It’s adorable and hits home with its message. How I wish these were the types of movies Pixar was putting out when I was a kid. In true Pixar fashion, it was humorous and charming and cute while showcasing great character development. It’s a good watch if you want to feel all warm n’ fuzzy inside, but also a little sad. Sadness is the real hero.

20th Century Women 

Oooo, I loved this film. Not only was the acting superb, but the cinematography was divine. At its core, it’s a boy’s coming-of-age story. Widen the scope a bit more and it becomes a study of five characters who exist in the orbit of this boy’s life. It was like every single one of the actors lived in their characters lives before executing the role–all the weight of past trauma and experiences were indiscreetly on display throughout the film. This one checked all the boxes for me.


Arrested Development

I finished watching the first three seasons of Arrested Development this month. I started watching season four and the show’s writing was immediately terrible. The first three seasons (AKA the original show) are so good. The show rewards audiences who watch from the beginning. It has little moments in the first season that become inside jokes with the audience through the next two seasons. It’s self-referential, but you’ll only get the jokes if you’ve watched from episode one. The puns, the double-entendres, the acting–it’s all so good. Netflix should just scrap seasons four and five. No one needs them. 


I feel entirely unqualified to review music, but here are a few artists I enjoyed listening to this month. 

Wet Leg

Nilufer Yanya

The Dandy Warhols

Tank and the Bangas

December 2022: Books, Movies, TV & Podcasts

A few notes on the below:

  1. These opinions are mine and only mine. 
  2. It is okay for us to have different opinions. No one is right or wrong, just different. 
  3. Do not compare yourself to others.

Here’s everything I read, watched, and listened to during the month of December. 


One’s Company by Ashley Hutson

Upon reading the description, I thought it sounded like an amalgamation of everything I love about a book–an unusual plot taken to a new height, a beautifully flawed main character, and a debut novelist. I was hopeful, I was excited, but unfortunately I was disappointed. The writing was good, but the story was lackluster. 

For me, this was a book that took everything I normally want out of a reading experience and pushed it a little too far. I kept putting it down then returning to it for a month, trying to read a few more pages to see if something hooked me, but in the end I was bored. 

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

It’s filled with red herrings and characters that aren’t particularly interesting, but redeemed by a compelling enough plot. The suspense was just okay–it’s by no means an edge-of-your-seat reading experience. 

The book does a good job of setting the scene with a group of frenemies, revealing bits of history that are intended to make the reader think any one of them could be the murderer. It felt like each character who got a more in-depth narrative was fighting for the spotlight, which was disorienting at times. In the end, there are four or five main POVs while the rest felt like filler roles. 

All the suspicious backstories set nearly every character up to be a red herring. By two-thirds through the book, I guessed who the culprit was although I did not guess the extent of their deception. I enjoyed that we’re trying to figure out who was murdered and who did the murdering. I’d consider reading Foley’s later crime fiction. 

You Know You Want This by Kristen Roupenian

I first read “Cat Person” when it was originally published in the New Yorker several years ago. Upon my initial read, I was swept away. The writing is accessible, it flows, it’s easy to fall into  the narrative and feel connected with the narrator. 

Reading “Cat Person” for the first time was an experience that resonated deeply with me in my early 20s, but less so now. Every character Roupenian creates has a strong voice. They are careful and diligent observers of their world. I loved reading their perspectives and felt awed by Roupenian’s descriptions. 

I think it’s hard to write a short story collection where each story is a winner. Here, some felt like filler stories and they just had to take the L. 

The first few stories had me rapt, less so on the next few. I arrived at “Cat Person” to find that it was still good, but didn’t sweep me off my feet like it did all those years ago. By the time I reached the last couple stories, I was ready to step away from the collection and move on. 

Still, I would consider reading more from Roupenian. 

Stories I like the best included:
“Bad Boy”, “Look at Your Game, Girl”, “The Night Runner”, and “Cat Person”.

The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka

The winner of the 2022 Man Booker Award. 

I usually do pretty well with the Man Booker finalists and recipients. Seven Moons follows Maali Almeida as he navigates the afterlife trying to figure out how he died within seven moons. The writing is whimsical and poignant, painting a clear picture of the political and social dynamics of Sri Lanka. The reading experience felt reminiscent of reading Salman Rushdie, which I adored. 

The narrative is disorienting at first, and I think this has been the biggest complaint I’ve read about this book. Just stick with it. As the reader, it’s unclear where we are and exactly what’s happening. I think this plays into the narrative as a disoriented Maali is trying to navigate the afterlife and figure out how he died. Once readers get their bearings, the story cruises through the political underbelly of Sri Lanka at the time and meets snarky characters in the afterlife who help give the story its humorous charm. Maali is also a sarcastic, observant narrator who doesn’t hold back on his assessments of his world. 

I do think the story was a bit longer than it needed to be, however, it was still effective. 

Little Eyes by Samantha Schweblin 

It took me some time to get into Little Eyes. I think it was a result of several different POVs with characters scattered across the globe. Some had similar names and I was having trouble tracking all their narratives. But let’s back up. 

Little Eyes follows, aforementioned, characters from around the world as they welcome robot stuffed animals called kentukis into their homes. Kentukis have wheels to get around and cameras for eyes. They’re connected to an anonymous global server, meaning someone from Argentina could be watching the life of someone in Germany. Kentuki dwellers live voyeuristically through the lives of their keepers. The novel traces the intricacies of such a technology, everything from blackmail to kidnapping to providing company to lonely souls. It’s creepy and subtle and wonderful. Schweblin asks all the right questions when discussing privacy and technology then lets her character’s experiences answer them. She explores how technology can connect people while juxtaposing it against the risks of a deeply connected world. The book is just the right length, at around 250 pages. Overall, pretty good. 

Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies by Maddie Mortimer 

If you’re looking for a story laden with baroque language, this one’s for you. Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies follows Lia as she navigates learning her cancer has returned and spread throughout her body. We get POVs from her husband, daughter, and mother as well as flashbacks. Cancer is personified and also gets a perspective, which was an interesting take. The relationships between characters, notably the female characters, were exquisitely flawed and filled with love, making them realistically complex. 

I love a beautifully written, poetic narrative as much as the next person. However, I think using such flowery language runs the risk of the story getting lost in the words. I’m not certain some of the more poetic language and how it was structured served the story. We should also stop publishing books with deckle edges. It makes turning the page shockingly difficult. 

I Who Have Never Known Men by Jacqueline Harpman

This book… this book caught me off guard. Simplistic in its language, but profound in the topics it discusses with utterly compelling characters. It’s tense and suspenseful without there being a single action scene. We follow forty women who are trapped in a cage. They have no memory of how they got there, but remember their lives before arriving in the cage. The narrator is much younger than all the other women and has spent her entire life in the cage. At the end of the first chapter, an alarm sounds and the women break free into an unrecognizable world. They aren’t certain if it’s Earth or not, but they appear to be the only ones alive. The rest of the book follows the woman as they discover and handle this new world and the realizations that come with it. 

It’s a short and shocking read. I was stunned by how much I loved this book. The writing is simple, but powerful. I felt deeply connected to these women and their fates. Couldn’t recommend this one enough. 

Pieces from The Paris Review Fall 2022


“Legacy” by Diane Seuss

“In Defense of Passive Voice” by Debora Lidov

“There Is a Word or Several, Must Be” by Kathleen Spivack


“Do You Belong to Anybody?” by Maya Binyam 

Excerpt: “Some people like to measure other people’s suffering, such that they could declare it to be ‘enough’ or ‘too much’. But even once such a declaration was made, there was no guarantee the individual wouldn’t go on to feel more of it.”

“The Education of Mrs. R” by Kathrine Dunn


The Fisher King

While listening to an interview with Jeff Bridges, I realized The Big Lebowski is the only movie I’ve seen with him. I decided it was time to watch more of his movies, so I started with The Fisher King, also starring Robin Williams. This was a movie from the 90s, but the plot hit close to home to modern America. A hot-shot radio talk show host blames himself for a horrible tragedy and three years later sees a chance to repent when he meets a victim of his crime.

As expected, both Jeff Bridges and Robin Williams performed exquisitely. The story was well-executed with moments of sincerity and humor to both devastate and relieve viewers. It wasn’t my favorite movie from either of these actors, but it was still worth the watch. 

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio 

I wanted to love this movie through and through. Everything I’ve seen by del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Shape of Water, Nightmare Alley, etc.) has been exquisite. All the reviews I read about his version of Pinocchio said it was well done, but was trying to accomplish too much in the span of two hours. I have to agree–the movie bit off more than it could reasonably chew and I felt like I was being jolted between scenes. 

It was a classic del Toro narrative, which I did enjoy. It had subtle humor, charming characters, and darker tones woven throughout. The narrative was backdropped with war and fascism, and didn’t try to shy away from the traumas and tragedies that come from war. It rewards the viewer who is keeping an eye out for subtle gestures, likely strategically placed by del Toro, that provide commentary on the time period. 

The original Pinnocchio is a dark story, a detail that Disney retellings always seem to forego. I was thrilled to hear that del Toro was doing his own retelling of the story. I trusted he wouldn’t shy from darker themes present in the original. He took a refreshingly original approach, even if that meant taking some liberties.

I will continue to watch anything del Toro creates. He’s just too good not to. 

Punch Drunk Love

In 2002 language, our main character (played by Adam Sandler), has social anxiety that dictates how he navigates his world. I think today, Barry would be given a slightly more nuanced diagnosis. Throughout the movie, he has increasingly frequent violent outbursts, takes the world around him literally, and struggles to connect with the people in his life. Even his own siblings can’t seem to understand why he is so “weird”. 

It’s quirky and not for everyone. It’s blunt, if not slightly naive, without being insincere. There are several layers to the story, but I think it works to demonstrate how the world feels to Barry–the noise, conversations, and chaos. I put off watching this movie for a long time because it’s Sandler playing a character not normally in his repertoire. However, he seems to pull it off mostly. 

The Fabelmans 

This loosely autobiographical picture from Steven Spielberg follows a young boy, Sam, as he discovers and fosters his love for movie making. It was exceptional, but I honestly didn’t expect anything less. The characters were each fully fleshed out and the relationships between them were compelling. I adored the family dynamic–it showcased the complexities of their family as well as how much love is present. There was humor, tragedy, drama and romance all rolled up into one exceptional film. It’s well worth the watch. 


Kristin Stewart was perfectly cast for this role. The film is a merging of psychological thriller and biopic. It follows Princess Diana, portrayed by Stewart, as she handles the three days over Christmas right after she learns her husband has been having an affair. She is debating whether to leave the family while her mental health crumbles. Stewart expertly plays a Diana struggling with an eating disorder, feeling like an outcast, and warring over whether leaving is in her best interest. You can’t help but feel pity for what Stewart’s character is dealing with. The tension only grows over the course of the film through both external and internal forces. 

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery 

If you suspend your disbelief, Glass Onion is a good time. It was a surprisingly long movie for a murder mystery, but remained engaging and compelling throughout. None of the characters were particularly charming, so don’t expect a character-driven story. The plot’s twists and turns successfully kept me on my toes and interested, even if the dialogue was a little cringe at times. 

LOTR (extended editions): Fellowship of the Ring, Two Towers, Return of the King

Every single one of these movies is a gem. Watch the extended editions if you have some hours of your life to spare. It will be well worth your time. 



Let me be clear, this is not the best of the movies and televisions created around the Addams Family. As a lover of the Addams Family movies and a kid who grew up watching the original television series, I was both interested in and terrified of this Wednesday-focused reboot. Arguably, she’s one of the most beloved characters in the Addams Family world, and a TV series directed by Tim Burton meant my hopes were high.

The first half of episode one was too cringy. Once the nostalgia high was gone, all that was left was bad writing. The writing felt like it was trying too hard to be like the original series and it did not stick the landing. Mentions of social media, blogging, and high school drama made it feel like the show was trying too hard to connect with a younger audience. It bounced around like the episode was trying to cram too much into too small a space and lacked the ambiance that I grew up loving from the Addams Family. However, the end of the episode suddenly introduced more stakes and better writing, so I kept watching. 

The writing has improved. Was the first episode a fluke? There are still cringe-worthy moments, but I was interested enough to finish watching the season. I would not have continued watching the show wasn’t it in the Addams Family world. 


Lolita Podcast

I’ve always had a mixed relationship with Nabokov’s novel and how it’s been adapted in mainstream modern media. So imagine my excitement when I stumbled upon a podcast covering exactly that topic. 

Lolita from iHeartPodcasts delves into the story from a critical and social lens to examine how the themes have been repurposed throughout history. 

I’ve listened to four episodes, but I was hooked after the first.

Ooo, I love it. 

The host speaks with Nabokov scholars and details the different stances those familiar with the story have taken on its topics. 

Very, very well done. Highly recommend it. 

Listen here: