Culture Consumption: August 2013

I know, I suck at updating. I have a plan: when I finish reading my daily Hellblazer issue, I will devote my lunch break to crafting blog posts instead, which is currently when I read the daily Hellblazer issue. Sound fair? I hope so. Hopefully, I’ll get to post more soon, but in the meantime, let’s look at August’s entertainment tallies!

And as always, I’m happy to jabber about anything that’s on the following lists. If you want my opinion about something, just comment and ask.

CULTURE CONSUMPTION: August 2013

Books

Two DNF’s this month, but the one I stopped reading in June in order to focus on Hugo reading but frankly have no interest in returning to. Best read of the month? Tana French’s by far. I need to get my hands on her next mystery!

Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews
Fringe: September’s Notebook: The Bishop Paradox by Tara Bennett & Paul Terry
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (DNF)
The Likeness by Tana French
A Brother’s Price by Wen Spencer (DNF)
Simon’s Cat vs. the World by Simon Tofield (ARC)
Kitty in the Underworld by Carrie Vaughn

Short Fiction

I’m pretty sure I’d read Captive Girl before in Pelland’s Unwelcome Bodies, an excellent collection that I highly recommend, btw. And just a head’s up: you can find “An Ill-Advised Rescue” in the back of Andrews’ new book, Magic Rises.

An Ill-Advised Rescue by Ilona Andrews
Magic Mourns by Ilona Andrews
The King’s Guard by Rae Carson
Captive Girl by Jennifer Pelland

Comics

Saga is back, and I love it dearly. Trillium made for a very, very interesting debut, and I’m curious to see where the mini-series ends up. I re-read Thumbprint #1 & #2 to prepare for #3, the final installment, and I’m not sure why IDW didn’t just publish it all together in a graphic novel to begin with. It makes far more sense reading it at once, rather than spaced out an issue at a time.

CHEW: The Omnivore Edition: Volume 1 by John Layman (graphic novel, hardcover)
Fables: The Deluxe Edition: Book Six by Bill Willingham (graphic novel, hardcover)

Batgirl #23
Batman #23
Batman Annual #2
Batman/Superman #3
Batwoman #23
Collider/FBP #1-2
East of West #5
Fairest #18
Hellblazer #213-243
Kick-Ass 3 #2
The Manhattan Projects #13
Saga Chapter #13
Star Wars #8
Star Wars Legacy #5
Ten Grand #4
Thief of Thieves #16
Thumbprint #1-3
Trillium #1
The Unwritten #51
The Wake #3
The Walking Dead #113
Wonder Woman #23

Movies

If you have Netflix, please watch Chasing Ice. It’s beautiful, awe-inspiring, and provides the kind of sense of wonder that some big-budget SF flicks only wish they could deliver on. Plus, it’s a documentary about climate change that doesn’t have an agenda! It’s just sheer video evidence, and it’s both beautiful and frightening. Please watch.

But speaking of big-budget SF action flicks, Oblivion wasn’t as nearly as bad as I’d been led to believe. The Raven, however, was pretty awful in that it took itself too seriously. Best flick of the month? Upstream Color, so Netflix users, watch this now. Utterly surreal and demands your attention, but it’s beautiful and fascinating and a great tale. Melancholia, a film I’ve been wanting to watch forever, was just WEIRD, but in an interesting, operatic way. Beautiful to watch, but weird. Actually, short of The Raven and to a lesser extent, The Frankenstein Theory, it was a pretty solid movie month.

Chasing Ice
The Frankenstein Theory
Melancholia
Mud
Oblivion
The Raven
Upstream Color

Television Shows

I really don’t have a single gripe about the television I watched this month, because it was all really good. But I did get through the second season of Breaking Bad in five days, and Orange is the New Black is fascinatingly awesome. Only letdown was season four of Arrested Development, but I wasn’t totally high on season three either. The jokes started to wear thin, and I think the writers were getting increasingly absurd as they realized they were likely to be canceled. Season four, while impressively intricate, held some plot lines that did not work for me.

Archer Season 1
Arrested Development Seasons 3 & 4
Breaking Bad Season 2
Friday Night Lights Season 1
Orange is the New Black Season 1

And that’s it! What did you watch and/or read? What did you love, what did you hate? As always, please refrain from spoilers, as I’m obviously catching up on some shows rather late and don’t want to be spoiled.

Cheers!

16 thoughts on “Culture Consumption: August 2013

  1. I have questions!

    City of Bones- You have it listed as DNF, but could you elaborate a little? Was it bad? Just not to your taste? It seems like it’s such a YA phenomenon yet I’ve never picked it up, Makes me feel a little out of the loop…

    Kitty in the Underworld- This one seems to be getting mixed reviews, so I’m kind of nervous about picking it up. How did you feel about it?

    Netflix- I recently watched Dedd off of Netflix, and was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Have you seen it yet?

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    1. CITY OF BONES: clearly a debut, and I’d heard that it originally started out as a Harry Potter fanfic, and knowing this, oh how it shows. Ultimately, when I had to put it down, I wasn’t exactly antsy to return, so that contributed to my decision. Also, the heroine is rather bitchy to another heroine because heroine’s best guy friend is interested in other heroine, and I don’t want to waste my time on that, you know? I may come back to it, but right now, bleh.

      KITTY: I liked it. It wasn’t great, and it dragged a bit, but it’s not the worst of the series (which I consider to be KITTY AND THE DEAD MAN’S HAND), so have fun. πŸ™‚

      DREDD: Yes, we did watch it, and yes, that was pleasantly enjoyable. πŸ™‚

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      1. City of Bones- It’s interesting how many books we see today that start out as fanfic (City of Bones, 50 Shades, the forthcoming One Direction book). It kind of makes me wonder if there are other books that started out as fanfic, but we just don’t know about it. Thanks for your thoughts on this one, I won’t dive into it right now.

        Kitty- Good to hear it’s worth reading! Kitty’s Big Trouble is my least favorite of the series.

        Dredd- Yay!

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        1. There’s a book getting published based off of One Direction fanfic? Oh boy…. it’s funny, because a friend of mine in college had this huge SF space opera story in mind and wrote at least 1.5 books (I’m not sure she ever finished the point five…. it was her senior thesis, but as an undergrad, we weren’t required to finish the books we were writing if we were, indeed, writing books), and that story was originally NSYNC and Backstreet Boys fanfic. I’m not sure it’s something that’d be obvious if you were to read it without knowing the history, but I’m sure there are lots of published books out there were the authors got their start in fanfic and transformed their works into something else. The only difference is it used to be, you’d never admit that EVER for fear of losing credibility, and now, it doesn’t seem to be that big of deal.

          I wasn’t a fan of Kitty’s Big Trouble either. What I despised about Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand was that it pretty much felt like a Sookie Stackhouse novel, and that’s not a compliment, even if one is a fan of that series.

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  2. re: City of Bonesβ€” I see in an above comment that you know Cassandra Clare used to be a fanfiction writer, but I’m curious to know if you’re familiar with plagiarism kerfuffle she was involved it? And, if so, if you have any thoughts on it?

    On another note, how was The King’s Guard?

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    1. On Goodreads, somebody else mentioned they’d heard about the plagiarism kerfuffle she was involved in, but that was the first I’d ever heard of that. Do you have any details?

      The King’s Guard was very enjoyable. Got me back in the mood for the world, too, which is good timing, since The Bitter Kingdom just showed up in the mail!

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      1. This is probably the best and most thorough account I’ve read of it. It’s rather long, but explains it very well.

        I may need to check it out, then. And I didn’t realize The Bitter Kingdom is out now. I usually get books from the library rather than buy them (poor college student), but I’m may make an exception for The Bitter Kingdom, since I love that world so much.

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        1. The Bitter Kingdom was just released, as in last week. πŸ™‚ Or the week before, but it’s super-recent!

          And thanks for the link. I’ll check it out!

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  3. It’s nice to see you back and posting again.

    I’m curious as to why you gave up on A Brother’s Price because I’m intrigued by that book, but I’ve heard varying reports about it. Did it just not grab you or was there something else about it?

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    1. You know those stories where the women are considered property and take care of all the housework and the babies and the men rule the house and government, etc? Well, gender-swap that and you’ve got the basic premise of A Brother’s Price. And the problem that I ran into is that while such a premise seemed really appealing on paper, I realized I don’t even like such a set-up when it isn’t gender-swapped, so actually gender-swapping it wasn’t enough to hook me. I’m sure there’s more to the story that what little I read, but I wasn’t liking the hero, was rather bored, so it was too easy to put it down when it came time for me to pick up Hugo reading. And since I’m so slow with my reading nowadays, I don’t want to waste my time on stuff that’s not grabbing my interest. :-/

      Who knows… I may come back to it one day!

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  4. Yeah, I saw “The Raven.” I didn’t hate it, but I had big problems with it–one of the big ones for me was the pacing just seemed off, somehow. It seemed like the detective went from considering Poe a suspect to seeing him as a consultant WAY too fast.

    I think the synopsis itself kind of saved the movie for me, because I’m such a rabid Edgar Allan Poe fan, and I loved John Cusack in the role.

    Oddly, I think the thing I disliked the most was the end credits, because they totally jarred with the rest of the movie. I don’t know why THAT bothers me so much, but it does.

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    1. See, I’m rather the opposite: I really didn’t like John Cusack in the role, and I thought he and the movie took itself and the story and the character a little TOO seriously. As if they played too heavily on the fact that the audience knows how important Poe would be to our culture, and they played that up in a way that felt pretentious to me. Or something…. I didn’t HATE it, but I really didn’t like it. πŸ™‚ Which is a shame, as I rather like Poe’s work.

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  5. Did you like “Magic Rises”? I just finished reading it to my husband, and now we have started “Rosemary and Rue,” since we are all caught up on Kate Daniels πŸ™‚

    I remember reading “A City of Bones” when it first came out, and liking it enough to check out the sequels from the library. Tried re-reading it again last year, and could not remember why I liked it so much 😦 The Very Secret Diaries are still hilarious, though – http://www.ealasaid.com/misc/vsd/

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    1. I did like MAGIC RISES. It wasn’t my favorite installment, but it had some good stuff.

      RE: CITY OF BONES: funny how our tastes change over time, isn’t it? Though it’s likely you’ve read so much since then you’ve gotten jaded, which makes it easier to see the flaws in something you used to enjoy.

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