Culture Consumption: May 2015

How is it June already? I mean, seriously! Time flies when you’re having fun, that is if you consider books, comics, movies, and television shows as fun! Feel free to peruse my list of entertainment consumed, and tell me what you consumed yourself. Got any recommendations? Lay them on me!

Books

After reading Rachel Aaron’s 2000 to 10,000: How to Write Faster, Write Better, and Write More of What You Love last month, I decided I absolutely had to give her space opera (written as Rachel Bach) a go, just to see how her methods described in 2K to 10K translated into her actual fiction. Obviously, the first book hooked me, so much so that I finished reading it instead of watching the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight, and then I promptly downloaded the rest of the trilogy to the Kindle app on my iPhone and kept reading!

Also tackled this month was my good friend Jen Brooks’ debut novel, and of course, a last-minute Hugo Best Novel nominee.

17) Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach
18) Honor’s Knight by Rachel Bach
19) Heaven’s Queen by Rachel Bach
20) In A World Just Right by Jen Brooks
21) The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu

Short Fiction

None

Comics

May finally allowed me to catch up on all the comics! That being said, I still have a stack of hardcovers waiting on me, but when it comes to individual issues, I’m good!

I hadn’t planned on picking up any of the Convergence stories, but I couldn’t resist the two-parter about Nightwing and Oracle. Jem and the Holograms continues to delight (SUCH A BETTER adaptation than the movie teaser!), and the Alison Hendrix issue of Orphan Black was a helluva lot of fun. And Ms. Marvel had two fantastic and utterly appropriate shout-outs to Star Trek and Star Wars: I literally laughed out loud.

Graphic Novels: none

American Vampire: Second Cycle #7
Black Widow #17
Black Widow #18
Coffin Hill #17
Coffin Hill #18
Convergence: Nightwing and Oracle #1
Convergence: Nightwing and Oracle #2
Copperhead #6
Copperhead #7
Descender #2
Descender #3
Fight Club (Free Comic Book Day Sampler)
Fight Club 2 #1
Fight Club: Ash Can Edition
iZombie #16
iZombie #17
iZombie #18
iZombie #19
iZombie #20
iZombie #21
iZombie #22
iZombie #23
Jem and The Holograms #2
Jem and The Holograms #3
Lazarus #16
Millennium #3
Millennium #4
Ms. Marvel #15
Orphan Black #3
Saga #28
Shadow Show #5
Star Wars #4
Star Wars #5
Star Wars: Darth Vader #4
Star Wars: Darth Vader #5
Star Wars: Princess Leia #3
The Dying and the Dead #2
The Walking Dead #141
Wytches #6

Movies

May continued the trend of catching up on franchises, which included the original Mad Max trilogy. I’d only ever seen the first movie, and re-watching it made me realize I kind of actually hated it. I can’t say I was too big on the franchise even after getting caught up before Fury Road. But watching Fury Road? Damn. Consider me a fangirl from this movie on. The MRA can have Mel Gibson’s stuff. I’ll take Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron any day.

Also, the hubby and I are currently in the process of re-watching both the Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. I hadn’t seen The Incredible Hulk since we saw it in theaters, and despite loving me some Edward Norton, and despite the fact this adaptation was miles better than Ang Lee’s Hulk, the movie…. actually isn’t that great. I’d be happy if they continued to ignore it, and frankly, I’m happy keeping Bruce Banner/Hulk as a supporting character. We really don’t need another Hulk movie. Same goes for Spider-Man, for that matter…..

Lastly, Coherence was a fascinating little indy SF movie. I have some plot issues with it, but on the whole, it’s a fantastic character study with great tension.

* = repeat viewing

Avengers: Age of Ultron (in theaters)
Coherence
Iron Man*
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior
Mad Max: Fury Road (in theaters)
Mad Max*
Max Max Beyond Thunderdome
Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace*
Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones*
The Incredible Hulk*

Television Shows

May was the month for ALL THE FINALES! Some notes: I was happy with the Mad Men finale. Sorry to see The Following get canceled just as it was getting good, but the finale worked well for a series finale. Also, despite enjoying the show, I think the next season of Once Upon a Time should be the last. Based on how Season 4 ended, which was great, I really don’t know how much higher the stakes can get, and I’d rather see the show go out while it’s ahead, especially after what I felt was a rather bumpy season four with some rather contrived writing.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2
Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season 2
Louie Season 4
Mad Men Season 7
Modern Family Season 6
New Girl Season 4
Once Upon a Time Season 4
The Big Bang Theory Season 8
The Following Season 3


That’s it from me! Also, feel free to share whatever 2015 stats you’ve got! How many books? How many movies? What were your favorites? Lay them on me!

Cheers!

11 thoughts on “Culture Consumption: May 2015

  1. The Rachel Bach series was awesome! I had to buy the first one in on but oddly got the rest in kindle format. Should read those again after i finish this paper and sit my exam in three weeks!

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  2. May books:
    1. What Stands in a Storm by Kim Cross
    2. The Secret History by Donna Tartt
    3. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
    4. Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin
    5. Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life by Sandra Beasley
    6. I’m with Fatty: Losing 50 pounds in 50 miserable weeks by Edward Ugel
    7. The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
    8. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
    9. Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

    Of these, my favorite was What Stands in a Storm, which is about a tornado that struck Alabama in April 2011. I cried while reading it, which is embarrassing. I also recommend The Secret History, which was a re-read. I’m not liking the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy as much as I thought I would, although I’ll probably finish it.

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    1. I’ve really enjoyed the Laini Taylor trilogy, though I liked the first book far more than the second, and despite having the third book in my TBR pile, I haven’t read it yet. I need to correct that.

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  3. I had a really big reading month, though I did not get much Hugo reading done. I should get all the fiction categories done this month though.

    What did you think of The Three-Body Problem? I know I really enjoyed Ye Wenjie’s character arc. Wang’s character was much less fleshed-out, but the puzzle of what was going on kept me involved and engaged.

    New books this month:

    1. A Novella Collection, by Courtney Milan. 3.5 stars. A collection of four romance novellas. I enjoyed them, but am not necessarily looking for more. Book 5/12 from Mount TBR.
    2. Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson. 4 stars. A YA autobiography in poems. Winner of the National Book Award. I thoroughly enjoyed this one.
    3. The Assassination of the Archduke, by Greg King. 3 stars. A biography of Archduke Ferdinand, whose assassination started World War I. There was a lot of focus on the marriage of Ferdinand to his wife, Sophie, and the fact that Emperor Joseph of Austria, Ferdinand’s uncle, disapproved of it, to the point that Sophie’s children were not allowed to be in the line of succession to the throne. The book had a very pro-Sophie partisan slant that got a little wearing after a while. Mount TBR book 6/12. Non-fiction book 4/6.
    4. Reaper Man, by Terry Pratchett. 3.5 stars. For Mark Reads. I know you put this in your TBR pile. If you are interested in following along with Mark, he is currently at part 4 of 16, and will be reading 2-3 parts a week. (Terry Pratchett does not do chapters, so people have broken up the book into parts for Mark. Splits are listed on the master schedule.) The site is markreads.net.
    5. Necessity’s Child, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. 4 stars. Absolutely not the place to start if you are not following this series, but a reasonable installment in the ongoing story.
    6. The Wright Brothers, by David McCullough. 4 stars. A biography of Orville and Wilbur Wright. I always enjoy David McCullough’s books, and this is no exception. Non-fiction book 5/6.
    7. Dragon in Exile, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. 4 stars. As above with Necessity’s Child.
    8. All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr. 4 stars. UU book club. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize just a couple of months ago. Its main characters are two young people during World War II. Marie-Laure is a blind girl in occupied France and Werner Pfennig is a German orphan inducted into the German army as a radio operator. i enjoyed it and think it has the potential to grow on me.
    9. Terms of Enlistment, by Marko Kloos. 4 stars.
    10. Lines of Departure, by Marko Kloos. 3 stars.
    11. Angles of Attack, by Marko Kloos. 4 stars. These were light, fast reads, very much in the manner of Scalzi’s Old Man’s War, though with perhaps a little less snark and a little more focus on the details of battle. I thought things sagged a bit in book two, but picked up again in book three. While I enjoyed these more than I expected to, I would not have nominated any of them for a Hugo.
    12. Speculative Fiction 2014: The Year’s Best Online Reviews, Essays and Commentary, edited by Renee Williams and Shaun Duke. 4 stars.
    13. The Grace of Kings, by Ken Liu. 3 stars. Yeah, it just did not do it for me. Even the last third of the book did not really do it for me.
    14. Measures of Absolution, by Marko Kloos. 4 stars. A novella set in the world of his Frontline novels.

    Shorter works:

    1. Championship B’tok, by Edward Lerner. 1 star. Read for the Hugos.
    2. A Pair of Bears, by Zoe Chant. 4 stars. Paranormal Romance. Not normally my choice of fiction, but I know the author.
    3. Lucky Thirteen, by Marko Kloos. 3 stars. Short story in the Frontlines Universe.

    Re-read:

    1. Dragonsinger, by Anne McCaffrey. 4 stars. There was a time in my life when this was my very favorite book ever. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve read it. Thirty times? Fifty times? It’s been fifteen or twenty years since I’ve read it though and I just do not have the emotional attachment to it that I once did. I was a shy, awkward teenager, and Menolly was absolutely a self-insert character for me. It was really important for me to have her there, and I remember her whenever the discussion about whether you can call an original character a Mary -Sue comes up.
    2. Deryni Rising, by Katherine Kurtz. 4 stars. Another book that I have not read since college. Kari Sperring wrote an article in Strange Horizons, about this book and its sequels influenced future fantasy works, and it motivated me to find it and re-read it. It was much shorter than I remember, but still a good book.

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    1. I enjoyed THREE-BODY PROBLEM and pre-ordered book two. I think, while I rounded up in Goodreads, I’d rate it a 3.5 stars (3 stars being I liked it). I think it deserves a bump because it’s not actually Western Literature, and it’s taking a familiar story of first-contact and telling it in a new, fresh way. There was a lot that kept me reading, once I got past the first five pages.

      Pratchett: I’ve got it in my TBR, actually. I don’t plan on doing any read-alongs, but I do hope to settle down with it eventually.

      Kloos: I thought it odd that his second book in the trilogy was nominated when the first was also published in 2014 (that I remember… I researched it when the shortlist was first announced). I have a lot of admiration for the author withdrawing his nomination: that took guts, and hopefully wins him some readers who would’ve never considered him otherwise.

      GRACE OF KINGS: I liked it, but probably not enough to nominate it when the Hugos come around. Still, I appreciated the book and enjoyed what it had to offer.

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      1. I love Terry Pratchett so very, very much. I read “Small Gods” first, and was hooked forever. The first two Discworld books are the weakest, I think, but still fun.

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          1. the first two are “the color of magic” and “the light fantastic”. If you have “Small Gods”, I recommend starting with that one, because it is independent of the other story-lines, yet representative of Pratchett’s writing style.

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