Culture Consumption: August 2014

It’s that time again! Amazing how fast the time flies, but once more, it’s time for another Culture Consumption. As always, I’ll post a list of what I’ve read/watched over the past month, and in some cases, provide some commentary. If there’s anything you’re interested in or curious about, don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments, and I’ll be happy to talk further!

August was actually quite productive. Some of it is due to vacation, and the time I spent in the airport and on the plane reading, but I also spent a few weekends where I said f*** it to the dishes and sat down and read like a fiend. Also, good shows too!

CULTURE CONSUMPTION: August 2014

Books

My goal for 2014 is essentially one book a week. I think I actually did that this month! Yay me!

21) Goodnight, Darth Vader by Jeffrey Brown: I’m a fan of these adorable little books, and when I saw this at the comic shop, I had to pick it up. It’s pretty cute, and if you’re a fan of the previous stories, you’ll enjoy this one too. (Media Tie-In; Children’s Lit)

22) The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey: I saw this on LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer list, and after hearing such great things about the book (written by Mike Carey using a pseudonym), I was thrilled to win a copy and get a chance to read it. It’s a compelling read. The voice is engaging, the situation is an interesting one, and while I guessed early what was going on with Melanie, that’s not a secret that’s kept until the end of the book, and it’s a case where the author wants the reader to know. It’s a very character-driven novel for a zombie apocalypse, and characters you don’t think you’ll like when seeing them from Melanie’s perspective take on interesting depth and characterization when you finally get into their heads. A very solid read: fans of Mira Grant’s Feed books should definitely enjoy. (Horror, Post-Apocalyptic)

23) The Winter Long by Seanan McGuire: I was super-fortunate and lucky to get a signed ARC from the author last month, and I spent one weekend inhaling the book. The October Daye books are definitely one of my most favorite urban fantasy series out there, and this latest installment does not disappoint in the slightest. There’s SO MUCH that’s happening in this book, so many revelations and twists that I’m even MORE excited for the next installment next year. The book comes out 9/2, and I’m already planning on buying another copy. 🙂 (Urban Fantasy)

24) Blood Oranges by Kathleen Tierney: Tierney is the pseudonym for Caitlin R. Kiernan, an author whose work I enjoy most for her comics (The Dreaming, a spin-off of The Sandman), but I hadn’t yet succumbed to her fiction. I’d heard good things about this, and ended up taking it with me on vacation and finishing it on the plane to Minnesota. It’s an enjoyable and short read, character-driven with a plot that ends up being nicely circular. I’ve got the sequel, Red Delicious on my wish list at Paperback Swap, so it’s just a matter of time. (Urban/Dark Fantasy)

25) Beautiful Lies by Lisa Unger: while in Minnesota, a friend we stayed with took us to a local, independent bookshop called Once Upon a Crime in Minneapolis. If you ever get up that way, you must visit the store. The name, its logo, and the location and atmosphere were wonderful, and the proprietor is so enthusiastic about the genre that I left feeling like I only wanted to read mystery/thrillers for the rest of the month. I ended up with Lisa Unger’s debut, as recommended by my friend and the proprietor. It’s got a teeny-tiny touch of a cozy feel in terms of the narrative (first person, female POV) and for most of the book, I thought I had the mystery figured out, but it still managed to throw some surprises my way, which I appreciated. It’s also a fast read, despite the length. I’ve ordered the sequel as well as Unger’s next stand-alones from Paperback Swap, so I’ve got lots to look forward to. (Mystery/Suspense)

26) Lock In by John Scalzi: yeah, I know. It just came out on 8/26, and here I’m already done with it. I literally started and finished it in a day. Scalzi’s work is always enjoyable and fast-paced, and having already read the Tor.com short Unlocked, I had a good grounding in the world. It’s a great story that poses a lot of interesting questions about what it means to be human, but I really hope it’s the start of a series: there’s definitely some unanswered questions and plot-points. Minor ones, mind, but they’re still there. I’d like to spend more time in this world, so let’s hope Scalzi obliges. (Science Fiction)

Short Fiction

Traveling with nothing but my Kindle gave me a good excuse to tear through some short fiction I had downloaded, so that’s exactly what I did. Not all of this is digital, but it’s all enjoyable.

32) “Dear Owner of This 1972 Ford Crew Cab Pickup” by Desirina Boskovich
33) The Churn by James S. A. Corey
34) “IM” by Seanan McGuire
35) “Oh, Pretty Bird” by Seanan McGuire
36) “Bury Me In Satin” by Seanan McGuire
37) The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell by Mira Grant
38) The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Eddie Campbell

Comics

Graphic novels first:

None.

Individual Issues:

I finally caught up on my enormous comic TBR stack! I’m thrilled, even though it meant I read 54 some odd issues in the span of a weekend. 🙂 Both Star Wars titles have wrapped up, both somewhat anti-climatically, but that’s understandable, since Marvel now has the licensing for Star Wars. The Star Wars had absolutely gorgeous art, but you can really tell they adapted, without polishing, an original draft of what we now know as Star Wars: A New Hope. Interesting differences, but very, very rushed. The lone Punisher title was there because it was advertised as a Black Widow crossover, and I thought it was part two of a story and it was really just the same story form his POV, so that felt like a wasted read. Kick-Ass 3 wrapped up the franchise (to my knowledge), and it actually had a good ending. I liked the ending of The Wake though I feel that story is best read as a STORY, not as individual issues spread out on a monthly basis. I’m still loving Saga, Lazarus and Ms. Marvel (which included a fantastic cameo). Supreme Blue Rose was interesting enough for me to pick up the next issue, and it has some really pretty art.

American Vampire: Second Cycle #4
Batgirl #33
Batgirl #34
Batman #33
Batman Eternal #8
Batman Eternal #9
Batman Eternal #10
Batman Eternal #11
Batman Eternal #12
Batman Eternal #13
Batman Eternal #14
Batman Eternal #15
Batman Eternal #16
Batman Eternal #17
Batman Eternal #18
Batman Eternal #19
Batwoman #33
Black Widow #9
Caliban #5
Coffin Hill #8
Fairest #27
Fatale #24
Kick-Ass 3 #8
Lazarus #10
Low #1
Ms. Marvel #6
Ms. Marvel #7
Saga Chapter 21
Star Wars #16
Star Wars #17
Star Wars #18
Star Wars #19
Star Wars #20
Star Wars Legacy #17
Star Wars Legacy #18
Supreme Blue Rose #1
The Manhattan Projects #22
The Massive #25
The Punisher #9
The Star Wars #0
The Star Wars #1
The Star Wars #2
The Star Wars #3
The Star Wars #4
The Star Wars #5
The Star Wars #6
The Star Wars #7
The Star Wars #8
The Unwritten: Apocalypse #5
The Unwritten: Apocalypse #6
The Wake #10
The Walking Dead #129
The Walking Dead #130
Wonder Woman #33

Movies

Choke: as Chuck Palahniuk fans, my hubby and I have been meaning to catch this one for a while, and we finally did. I’ve pretty much forgotten everything about the book, so watching the movie was a fun reminder of all of the plot points I’d missed. I’ll say the book was better, but the movie wasn’t bad, and the main story rather gut-punching.

Guardians of the Galaxy (theater): need I say anything? It was delightful and fun. I wasn’t OMG-IN-LOVE with it like so many others seem to be, but it was a helluva lot of fun, a space opera that made me laugh often and tear up occasionally. Can’t wait to see it again.

How to Train Your Dragon: the first, not the second. I finally got to watch this while visiting friends up in Minnesota, and I’m glad I did. It’s an enjoyable movie, with a really surprising ending and some serious questions about what it means to be held accountable to the consequences of your actions. And the biggest thing I got out of it was wanting a stuffed Toothless of my very own. 🙂

Kick-Ass 2: on one hand, I really liked the ending. On the other hand, the action scenes were over-the-top in a bad way, not a good way, and the script at times was downright horrible. Still, not the worst way to pass the evening.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow: this is another I watched while in Minnesota. I remember when the movie first came out and loving the LOOK, but there was something about it that turned me off so drastically that I never did see it. Now that I have, I have to wonder if it somehow, consciously or not, inspired the steampunk movement as we see it in fiction today. Inspirational or not, it really was pretty to look at, but I took issue with certain scenes playing out in ways that made the characters look stupid but showed off the special effects. And unfortunately, while it did provide a bit of humor through-out, I really disliked how Polly was always doing something stupid, not because she was stupid, but because she was distracted or careless. Even the end of the movie, which was really rather poignant and sweet, closed with a zinger at Polly’s expense. Funny, sure, but it begged the question: did the movie REALLY need to end that way?

Television Shows

As usual, such good television.

Mad Men, seasons 5-7.0: I say “7.0” because it’s the final season and the final half won’t air until 2015. But we’re finally caught up on Mad Men, and I have to say I’ve enjoyed the ride. At this point, I’m super-curious to see how the show ends. There’s a part of me that wants to see these characters as they would be today: elderly and looking back or if not looking back, at least give us a glimpse to what all of these years brought them to. However it ends, I think the end of the first half of season 7 definitely launched it into a kind of endgame. It’s do or die time, but I’ve no idea what to expect. Furthermore, I’ve no idea what I want from the show either. It’ll be interesting, to say the least.

Wilfred, season 4: final season, and what a ride. My theories ended up being mostly correct, and yet the show still managed to surprise me. I love how I spent most of this series under a certain set of assumptions, but it wasn’t until the very last episode (warning, the second-to-last episode is a tear-jerker) I finally understood what this show has been all along. A great ending to a great series, and a series that I wouldn’t mind watching again.


That’s it from me! Also, feel free to share whatever 2014 stats you’ve got! How many books? How many movies? What were your favorites? Lay them on me!

Cheers!

8 thoughts on “Culture Consumption: August 2014

  1. I can’t remember: Have you read McGuire’s Sparrow Hill Road? I checked it out of the library, and before I was halfway through, I’d ordered my own copy. I haven’t read her Mira Grant books, but out of all the others, Sparrow Hill Road zoomed up to be my favorite.

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    1. I have! I quite enjoyed that collection of stories, and I’m tickled when it intersects more with the InCryptid books, because I keep forgetting the Sparrow Hill Road stories are set in the same world.

      What’s stopping you from trying the Mira Grant stuff?

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  2. I am trying to catch up with your blog posts after pretty much falling off the face of the earth for the last 9 months or so…

    I liked “All Winter Long” a lot, but it makes me sad to see the changes in Toby’s relationship with Sylvester, and to see that her relationship with Luna continues to deteriorate, too. Still, can’t wait to see what’s in store for Toby and her friends!

    I also started reading Michelle Sagara’s “Cast In…” series, and am enjoying them so far. Rainbow Rowell’s “Fangirl” was very good, too.

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    1. Hey, how goes it? Long time, no see!

      I’ve only read the first “Cast in” book, and I plan on reading the next one day, but I’m not in a big hurry.

      FANGIRL was fun. I have LANDLINE waiting in my TBR pile. 🙂

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      1. and I am back after falling off for a few months again… I really should stop doing that 😦 Things are going. My husband of 17 years decided he does not want to be married to me anymore, and it’s been rough. On the plus side, we got three kittens in October, and they are adorable!

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