Category Archives: Pop Culture

Happy Star Wars Day!

Happy Star Wars day!  In honor of today (May the 4th be with you!), I decided to watch the original three Star Wars movies.

I was going to watch them in Machete order (episodes IV and V, then II and III, then VI and VII) but decided to skip the prequels because they’re awful and I’m going to spend Star Wars day celebrating Star Wars…which is easier to do when you’re only watching the good movies.

I was initially going to watch the newest one but decided against it (it’ll outshine the original three, I think). 

A NEW HOPE:

I haven’t seen these movies in FOREVER and yeah, there’s something about them that just makes me feel like a kid. Except for the new one, this is the one I’ve seen most recently and I watched it on broadcast TV (so edited and with commercials). This is obviously much better. And I had forgotten just how funny it was. And wow, everyone looks so young! (Wasn’t Carrie Fisher just 19?)

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK:

I love this installment the most, I think (with the possible exception of Force Awakens) and it was even better than I remembered. It’s much darker than A New Hope (and especially than Return of the Jedi) and that’s probably most of it. This is also the episode where we meet Yoda—and I’m sorry but that guy is the worst. Okay yes, Luke is a whiny idiot but Yoda is so rude/mean. (Also Empire has the best ending ever.)

RETURN OF THE JEDI:

I have read reviews that this is the worst of the original trilogy, which is probably true. (Which in my case is not really a slam on this so much as it’s an acknowledgment that even when there are three great movies, one has to be the worst…which doesn’t make it bad. This isn’t The Godfather III.) It’d either be this or Episode IV, and this one had Ewoks, so it has to lose. Even so, I really enjoy this movie. It’s much cheerier and kid-friendly than Empire. (Still my favorite.) And how awesome are Leia and Han? (Also, Leia is a complete badass. She is the actual hero of this story.)

Marvel Marathon, Day 2

The Backstory:  So I decided I wanted to see Captain America: Civil War 3.  The problem: I’ve only seen the first Avengers (I liked it, but didn’t remember it that well) and was worried that I would be lost as all hell seeing CA3.  The solution: A binge.  I consulted the internet, which said that I would be ok if I just saw Captain America, the first Avengers, the second Captain America and the second Avengers.  (I decided to add the first Iron Man, because Tony Stark.)

This is day two.

CAPTAIN AMERICA 2:

Okay, this is my new favorite of the Marvel superhero movies. It’s insanely good and there’s a lot of intrigue. I also really like Black Widow, who we got to know a little better this time around. I wish we had seen more of the other Avengers (especially Tony Stark and Bruce Banner) but sure. I’m getting really excited for CA3. 

AVENGERS 2:

I had been warned that this was not as good as the first Avengers and that’s an understatement. Even so, I really enjoyed it, primarily because I love Bruce Banner and Natasha/Black Widow. (Can we get origin movies for them soon, PLEASE?) I cannot wait for the next one and I do plan to watch the Thor and Ant-Man movies soon. 

Marvel Marathon, Day 1

The Backstory:  So I decided I wanted to see Captain America: Civil War 3.  The problem: I’ve only seen the first Avengers (I liked it, but didn’t remember it that well) and was worried that I would be lost as all hell seeing CA3.  The solution: A binge.  I consulted the internet, which said that I would be ok if I just saw Captain America, the first Avengers, the second Captain America and the second Avengers.  (I decided to add the first Iron Man, because Tony Stark and because it’s one of the AFI’s 10 best from 2008.)

This is day one.

CAPTAIN AMERICA:

I had been warned going in that this wasn’t very good and so my expectations were very low. Like Mamma Mia low. :) And I ended up really enjoying this (due in no small part to one Agent Carter). It’s really fun and while yeah, it’s no Batman, it’s pretty solid. 

IRON MAN:

This was so much better than Captain America. I think part of it is the fact that Tony Stark is a better, more interesting character…but most of it is the fact that Robert Downey Jr. is a great actor who also makes basically every movie he’s in much more fun. I like my superheroes smart and sarcastic AND good. 

AVENGERS:

I had seen this one before and it’s just ridiculously fun. I hope they do a Hulk movie with Mark Ruffalo (I know the other two—with Eric Bana and Edward Norton—didn’t do well but I think one with him would. It’s great to see everyone together and I’m excited to watch two more movies tomorrow. 

Dear Luke, We Need To Talk—Darth

Finished Dear Luke, We Need to Talk–Darth by John Moe.

Summary (from Goodreads):


We all know how Darth Vader shared his big secret with Luke Skywalker, but what if he had delivered the news in a handwritten note instead? And what if someone found that letter, as well as all of the drafts that landed in the Dark Lord’s trash can? In the riotously funny collection Dear Luke, We Need to Talk. Darth, John Moe finally reveals these lost notes alongside all the imagined letters, e-mails, text messages, and other correspondences your favorite pop culture icons never meant for you to see.

From The Walking Dead to The Wizard of Oz, from Billy Joel to Breaking Bad, no reference escapes Moe’s imaginative wit and keen sense of nostalgia. Read Captain James T. Kirk’s lost log entries and Yelp reviews of The Bates Motel and Cheers. Peruse top secret British intelligence files revealing the fates of Agents 001–006, or Don Draper’s cocktail recipe cards. Learn all of Jay-Z’s 99 problems, as well as the complete rules of Fight Club, and then discover an all-points bulletin concerning Bon Jovi, wanted dead or alive—and much more.

Like a like a bonus track to a favorite CD or a deleted scene from a cult movie, Dear Luke, We Need to Talk Darth offer a fresh twist on the pop culture classics we thought we knew by heart. You already know part of their story. Now find out the rest.”

This book is an absolute delight.  You may not be able to get every single reference, but even the ones I didn’t get (Star Trek, Walking Dead) were entertaining.  And the Yelp reviews chapter is probably my absolute favorite.  Or Dorothy’s note to Glinda.  Or Don Draper’s cocktail recipes.  Or Bruce’s (the shark from Jaws) diary.

There’s a lot to love here, basically.  And if you are at all into pop culture, I can guarantee you that something here is about to become your absolute favorite, too.

2015: The Books

January:

1)  All the Rage by Courtney Summers (1) (2015)

2) Changing Teams by Jennifer Allis Provost (2) (beta read)

3) The Tragic Age by Stephen Metcalfe (3) (2015)

4) Yes Please by Amy Poehler (4)

5) The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner (5) (beta read)

6) The Witch of Carpathia by Rhys A. Jones (6) (beta read)

7) The Book Thing by Laura Lippman (7)

8) Five Fires by Laura Lippman (8)

9) Her by Harriet Lane (9) (2015)

10) Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (10)

11) Another Day as Emily by Eileen Spinelli (11)

12) Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff (12)

13) Sophie Simon Solves Them All by Lisa Graff (13)

14) Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson (14)

15) One of the Guys by Lisa Aldin (15) (2015)

16) American Murder Houses by Steve Lehto (16) (2015)

17) Peace Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson (17)

18) Witness by Karen Hesse (18)

19) Double Dog Dare by Lisa Graff (19)

20) The Thing About Georgie by Lisa Graff (20)

21) Touch Blue by Cynthia Lord (21)

22) The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond by Brenda Woods (22)

23) Rules by Cynthia Lord (23)

24) Extraordinary Guidance by Liza Weimer (24)

25) My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga (25) (2015)

26) The Price of Blood by Patricia Bracewell (26) (2015)

27) The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (27) (2015)

28) May B. by Caroline Starr Rose (28)

29) The Lonely Hearts Club Band by Elizabeth Eulberg (29)

30) We Can Work It Out by Elizabeth Eulberg (30) (2015)

31) Oh Yeah, Audrey! by Tucker Shaw (31)

32) The Year of the Book by Andrea Cheng (32)

33) The Third Twin by CJ Omololu (33) (2015)

February:

1) Split Second by Kasie West (34)

2) Canary by Duane Swierczynski (35) (2015)

3) Something Real by Heather Demetrios (36)

4) I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios (37) (2015)

5) When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds (38)

6) Vaquero Summer by Darby Karchut (39) (beta read)

7) Matriarch by Shauna Kelly (40) (beta read)

8) Shattered Angel by Carrie Beckort (41) (2015)

9) Gallowglass by Jennifer Allis-Provost (42) (beta read)

10) Riding Tandem by Liza Wiemer (43) (beta read)

11) The Other Side of Home by Renee Watson (44) (2015)

12) The Crossover by Kwame Alexander (45)

13) Rumble by Ellen Hopkins (46)

14) Ask the Dark by Henry Turner (47) (2015)

15) Undertow by Michael Buckley (48) (2015)

16) Camp Crush by J.K. Rock (49) (2015) (beta read)

17) Finding Jake by Bryan Reardon (50) (2015)

18) The Imaginary by A.F. Harrold (51)

19) A Work of Art by Melody Maysonet (52) (2015)

20) The Shining Avenger by Rhys A. Jones (53) (beta read)

21) The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma (54) (2015)

22) Dreamfire by Kit Alloway (55) (2015)

23) My Secret Guide to Paris by Lisa Schroeder (56) (2015)

24) How to Fall by Jane Casey (57)

25) Bet Your Life by Jane Casey (58) (2015)

26) Boarding School Girls by Helen Eve (59) (2015)

27) Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff (60) (2015)

28) The Stranger by Harlan Coben (61) (2015)

March:

1)  Follow Me Through Darkness by Danielle Ellison (62)

2) Duplicity by N.K. Traver (63) (2015)

3) Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver (64) (2015)

4) We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach (65) (2015)

5) Dead Wake by Erik Larson (66) (2015)

6) The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord (67) (2015)

7) The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand (68) (2015)

8) The Color War by Jodi Picoult (69)

9) Guns by Stephen King (70)

10) The Apex Predator by Michael Koryta (71)

11) Leaving Amarillo by Caisey Quinn (72) (2015)

12) Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (73)

13) Girl in the Dark by Anna Lyndsey (74) (2015)

14) Mind of Winter by Laura Kasischke (75)

15) This Side of Salvation by Jeri Smith-Ready (76)

16) Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian (77)

17) Don’t Stay Up Late by R.L. Stine (78) (2015)

18) Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor (79)

19) An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (80) (2015)

20) Seek Me in Shadows by Danielle Ellison (81) (2015)

21) The Truth About Us by Janet Gurtler (82) (2015)

22) On the Fence by Kasie West (83)

23) Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight (84) (2015)

24) The One Safe Place by Tania Unsworth (85)

25) The Chance You Won’t Return by Annie Cardi (86)

26) Bright Before Sunrise by Tiffany Schmidt (87)

27) Above by Isla Morley (88)

28) I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora (89)

29) Lacy Eye by Jessica Treadway (90) (2015)

30) Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (91) (2015)

31) The Drop by Dennis Lehane (92)

32) The Black Hour by Lori Rader-Day (93)

33) The Moment of Everything by Shelly King (94)

34) Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova (95) (2015)

April:

1) Lying Out Loud by Kody Keplinger (96) (2015)

2) Days Like This by Danielle Ellison (97) (2015)

3) Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen (98) (2015)

4) Eeny Meeny by AJ Arlidge (99) (2015)

5) The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdiah (100 (2015)

6) Movie Star by Lizzie Pepper by Hilary Liftin (101) (2015)

7) If You’re Reading This by Trent Reedy (102)

8) Life On Mars by Jennifer Brown (103)

9) Watch the Sky by Kirsten Hubbard (104) (2015)

10) Some Kind of Normal by Juliana Stone (105) (2015)

11) Shirley, I Jest by Cindy Williams (106) (2015)

12) All the Answers by Kate Messner (107) (2015)

13) The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle (108)

14) Blessed are Those Who Weep by Kristi Belcamino (109) (2015)

15) Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham (110) (2015)

16) Funny Girl by Nick Hornby (111) (2015)

17) Hallie Hath No Fury by Katie Finn (112)

18) Revenge, Ice Cream and Other Things Best Served Cold by Katie Finn (113) (2015)

19) Just Like the Movies by Kelly Fiore (114)

20) Better Than Perfect by Melissa Kantor (115) (2015)

21) Dead to Me by Mary McCoy (116) (2015)

22) Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky (117) (2015)

23) The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (118) (2015)

24) Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (119) (2015)

25) Saving Lucas Biggs by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague (120)

26) Bird Box by Josh Malerman (121)

27) 17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen (122)

28) Don’t Touch by Rachel M. Wilson (123)

29) None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio (124) (2015)

30) Absolutely True Lies by Rachel Stuhler (125) (2015)

May:

1)  Sophomore Year is Greek to Me by Meredith Zeitlin (126) (2015)

2) The Boy Vanishes by Jennifer Haigh (127)

3)  Julian by RJ Palacio (128)

4)  The Devil You Know by Trish Doller (129) (2015)

5) Joyride by Anna Banks (130) (2015)

6) The Life and Crimes of Bernetta Wallflower by Lisa Graff (131) (2015)

7) The Heir by Kiera Cass (132) (2015)

8) The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West (133) (2015)

9) Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn (134) (2015)

10) Guyliner by J. Leigh Bailey (135) (2015)

11) The Status of All Things by Liz Fenton (136) (2015)

12)  Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu (137) (2015)

13)  Shattered Glass by Gail Giles (138)

14) All Played Out by Cora Carmack (139) (2015)

15) Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby (140) (2015)

16) Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll (141) (2015)

17) Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella (142) (2015)

18) The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes (143) (2015)

19) The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes (144) (2015)

20) Local Girls by Caroline Zancan (145) (2015)

21) Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan (146) (2015)

22) Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine (147) (2015)

23) Broken Promise by Linwood Barclay (148) (2015)

24) A Book of Spirits and Thieves by Morgan Rhodes (149) (2015)

25) It’s Just a Jump to the Left by Libba Bray (150)

26) Happy Again by Jennifer E. Smith (151)

27) Just One Night by Gayle Forman (152)

28) Disconnected by Jennifer Weiner (153)

29) Recalculating by Jennifer Weiner (154)

30) Monster by Bridget Clerkin (155)

31) Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave (156) (2015)

32)  PS I Still Love You by Jenny Han (156) (2015)

33) More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera (157) (2015)

June:

1)  All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (158)

2) Finders Keepers by Stephen King (159) (2015)

3)  A Memoir of Grief (Continued) by Jennifer Weiner (160)

4)  In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume (161) (2015)

5)  Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff (162) (2015)

6)  Truly Madly Famously by Rebecca Serle (163) (2015)

7)  Disclaimer by Renee Knight (164) (2015)

8)  Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin (165)

9)  Summer Secrets by Jane Green (166) (2015)

10)  Those Girls by Lauren Saft (167) (2015)

11)  Survive the Night by Danielle Vega (168) (2015)

12)  The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker (169) (2015)

13)  Hello I Love You by Katie M. Stout (170) (2015)

14)  The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell (171) (2015)

15)  A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay (172) (2015)

16)  Let Me Die In His Footsteps by Lori Roy (173) (2015)

17)  Charlie, Presumed Dead by Anne Heltzel (174)

18)  A Million Miles Away by Lara Avery (175) (2015)

19)  Exquisite Corpse by Penelope Bagieu (176)

20)  The Lives Between Us by Theresa Rizzo (177) (2015)

21)  365 Days of Wonder by RJ Palacio (178)

22)  Armada by Ernest Cline (179) (2015)

23)  Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine (180)

24)  My Basmati Bat Mitzvah by Paula L. Freedman (181)

25)  Jessica Darling #3 by Megan McCafferty (182) (2015)

26)  The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard (183)

27)  The Good Girls by Sara Shepard (184) (2015)

28)  Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas (185) (2015)

29)  Weightless by Sarah Bannan (186) (2015)

30)  Everybody Knows Your Name by Andrea Seigel and Brent Bradshaw (187) (2015)

31)  All We Have is Now by Lisa Schroeder (188) (2015)

July:

1)  Brush Back by Sara Paretsky (189) (2015)

2)  Random by Tom Leveen (190)

3)  Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead (191) (2015)

4)  Loving Dallas by Caisey Quinn (192) (2015)

5)  If I Could Turn Back Time by Beth Harbison (193) (2015)

6)  Two Across by Jeff Bartsch (194) (2015)

7)  Every Day by David Levithan (195)

8)  Another Day by David Levithan (196) (2015)

9)  Love, Santa by Martha Brockenbrough (197)

10)  Who Do You Love? by Jennifer Weiner (198) (2015)

11)  Last Words by Michael Koryta (199) (2015)

12)  Map to the Stars by Jen Malone (200) (2015)

13) Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly (201) (2015)

14)  Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee (202) (2015)

15) The Best of Enemies by Jen Lancaster (203) (2015)

16)  The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen (204)

17) The Snatchabook by Helen Doherty (205)

18)  X by Sue Grafton (206) (2015)

19) My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick (207)

20)  The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick (208) (2015)

21)  Becoming Maria by Sonia Manzano (209) (2015)

22)  Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash (210) (2015)

23)  A Little In Love by Susan Fletcher (211) (2015)

24)  George by Alex Gino (212) (2015)

25)  The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian (213)

26)  Of Dreams and Rust by Sarah Fine (214) (2015)

27)  Trust No One by Paul Cleve (215) (2015)

28)  The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle (216) (2015)

29) The Yeti Files: Monsters on the Run by Kevin Sherry (217) (2015)

30)  The One Thing by Marci Lyn Curtis (218) (2015)

31) Never Never by Brianna Shrum (219) (2015)

32) Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler (220) (2015)

August:

1)  Until Beth by Lisa Amowitz (221) (2015)

2)  Clara’s Room by Kimberly McCreight (222)

3)  UR by Stephen King (223)

4)  Say Something by Jennifer Brown (224)

5)  Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson (225) (2015)

6)  Play On by Michelle Smith (226) (2015)

7) Max the Brave by Ed Vere (227) (2015)

8) What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick (228)

9) Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills (229)

10) Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales (230) (2015)

11) Rome in Love by Anita Hughes (231) (2015)

12)  Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (232) (2015)

13)  The Killing Kind by Chris Holm (233) (2015)

14)  State of Grace by Hilary Badger (234)

15)  The End Or Something Like That by Ann Dee Ellis (235)

16)  The Summer of Good Intentions by Wendy Francis (236) (2015)

17)  Not After Everything by Michelle Levy (237) (2015)

18) The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon (238) (2015)

19)  Behind the Scenes by Dahlia Adler (239)

20) Stella & Charlie: Friends Forever by Bernadette Peters (240)  (2015)

21) Switchblade by Michael Connelly (241)

22)  Kissing in America by Margo Rabb (242) (2015)

23)  When Everything Feels Like the Movies by Raziel Reid (243)

24)  Things You Won’t Say by Sarah Pekkanen (244) (2015)

25)  Dream Things True by Marie Marquardt (245) (2015)

26)  Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center (246) (2015)

27)  Infinite In Between by Carolyn Mackler (247) (2015)

28) Chadwick the Crab by Priscilla Cummings (248)

29) Chadwick and the Garplegrungen by Priscilla Cummings (249)

30) The Invisibles by Cecilia Galante (250) (2015)

31) The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow (251) (2015)

September:

1) Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes by Jules Moulin (252) (2015)

2) Days of Awe by Lauren Fox (253) (2015)

3) Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (254) (2015)

4) All-American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely (255) (2015)

5) Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz (256) (2015)

6) The Crossing by Michael Connelly (257) (2015)

7) Chadwick’s Wedding by Priscilla Cummings (258)

8) Chadwick Forever by Priscilla Cummings (259)

9) Jem and the Holograms: Showtime by Kelly Thompson (260) (2015)

10) After You by Jojo Moyes (261) (2015)

11) I Know What You Did Last Summer by Lois Duncan (262)

12) Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan (263)

13) Locked in Time by Lois Duncan (264)

14) Don’t Look Behind You by Lois Duncan (265)

15) They Never Came Home by Lois Duncan (266)

16)  Gallows Hill by Lois Duncan (267)

17) Mary Unleashed by Hillary Monahan (268) (2015)

18) Among the Dolls by William Sleator (269)

19) Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling (270) (2015)

20) Alive by Chandler Baker (271) (2015)

21) Diary of a Haunting by M. Verano (272) (2015)

22)  The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich (273) (2015)

23)  Took by Mary Downing Hahn (274) (2015)

24)  Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett (275) (2015)

25)  Nightfall by Jake Halpern and Peter Kujawinski (276) (2015)

26)  Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray (277) (2015)

27)  The Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy (278) (2015)

28)  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling (279)

29)  Daughters unto Devils by Amy Lukavics (280) (2015)

30) The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright (281) (2015)

31) The New Girl by RL Stine (282)

32)  Through the Woods by Emily Carroll (283)

33) Dangerous Lies by Becca Fitzpatrick (285) (2015)

October:

1)  Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin (285) (2015)

2)  What We Knew by Barbara Stewart (286) (2015)

3)  Need by Joelle Charbonneau (287) (2015)

4)  The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler (288) (2015)

5)  10% Happier by Dan Harris (289)

6)  What We Left Behind by Robin Talley (290) (2015)

7)  Don’t Fail Me Now by Una LaMarche (291) (2015)

8)  Breath to Breath by Craig Lew (292) (2015)

9)  Smoke by Catherine McKenzie (293) (2015)

10) Just Visiting by Dahlia Adler (294) (2015)

11)  The Sound of Letting Go by Stasia Ward Kehoe (295)

12) Traffick by Ellen Hopkins (296) (2015)

13)  Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon and Shana Khizhnik (297) (2015)

14)  First and Then by Emma Mills (298) (2015)

15)  Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (299) (2015)

16) Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume (300)

17)  Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great by Judy Blume (301)

18)  It’s Not the End of the World by Judy Blume (302)

19)  Blubber by Judy Blume (303)

20) Deenie by Judy Blume (304)

21) Then Again, Maybe I Won’t by Judy Blume (305)

22) Iggie’s House by Judy Blume (306)

23)  Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume (307)

24)  Forever… by Judy Blume (308)

25)  Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself by Judy Blume (309)

26)  This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp (310)

27)  Thicker Than Water by Kelly Fiore (311)

28)  Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling (312)

29)  How to be Brave by E. Katherine Kottaras (313) (2015)

30)  Hillary Rodham Clinton: Do All the Good You Can by Cynthia Levinson (314)

31)  The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine (315)

32)  Carry On by Rainbow Rowell (316)

33)  Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed (317) (2015)

November:

1)  Stars Over Sunset Boulevard by Susan Meissner (318)

2) Sinful Longing by Lauren Blakely (319) (2015)

3) This Song is (Not) For You by Laura Nowlin (320)

4)  The Grownup by Gillian Flynn (321) (2015)

5)  The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King (322) (2015)

6)  The Borden Murders by Sarah Miller (323)

7)  Teen Frankenstein by Chandler Baker (324)

8)  Shade Me by Jennifer Brown (325)

9)  Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan (326)

10)  The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald (327)

11)  Up to this Pointe by Jennifer Longo (328)

12)  Front Lines by Michael Grant (329)

13)  Dumplin’  by Julie Murphy (330) 2015)

14)  The Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos (331)

15)  The Year We Fell Apart by Emily Martin (332)

16)  The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett (333)

17) Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savrit (334)

18) Don’t Get Caught by Kurt Dinan (335)

19) The Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa (336)

20) Wolverton Station by Joe Hill (337)

21) Twittering from the Circus of the Dead by Joe Hill (338)

22) Missing Dixie by Caisey Quinn (339) (2015)

23) The Bassoon King by Rainn Wilson (340) (2015)

24) Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira (341)

25) The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes (342) (2015)

26) Instructions for the End of the World by Jamie Kain (343) (2015)

27) My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins (344)

28) His Country Bride by Debra Holt (345)

29) El Deafo by Cece Bell (346)

30) Dark Sparkler by Amber Tamblyn (347) (2015)

December:

1) My Name is Mahtob by Mahtob Mahmoody (348) (2015)

2) Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn (349)

3) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling (350)

4) Mercy’s Rescue by Debra Holt (351) (2015)

5) When We Collided by Emery Lord (352)

6) Holding Out For Forever by Brooke DelVecchio (353) (beta read)

7) The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood (354)

8) Concentr8 by William Sutcliffe (355)

9) Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace (356)

10) The Truth by Jeffry W. Johnston (357)

11) Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf (358)

12) Pax by Sara Pennypacker (359)

13) Brambleheart by Henry Cole (360)

14) The Pages Between Us by Lindsey Leavitt and Robin Mellom (361)

15) The Word For Yes by Claire Needell (362)

16) Breakfast Served Anytime by Sarah Combs (363)

17) Just My Luck by Cammie McGovern (364)

18)  Unholy Blue by Darby Kaye (365)

19)  The Love that Split the World by Emily Henry (366)

20) My Kind of Crazy by Robin Reul (367)

21)  The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson (368)

22) The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight (369)

23)  Find Her by Lisa Gardner (370)

24)  Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (371)

 

Never Sleep Again

Finished Never Sleep Again by Thommy Hutson.

This book is basically the definitive oral history for the original A Nightmare on Elm Street.

Thommy Hutson spoke with Wes Craven, Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp, Amanda Wyss and all the other stars (and behind the scenes people) for this book.  It’s a coffee table-sized book and is about 260 pages (not counting the acknowledgments and index) and there are a lot of gorgeous pictures and fun stories throughout.

There was a Kickstarter campaign for the book, and I was happy to be able to contribute.  I got my book in November—even better because it doesn’t look like it’s available on Amazon.

This book isn’t for everyone, but I really loved reading it.  I’ve seen the four hour long documentary on the entire series (also called Never Sleep Again) but even so, there were some stories here that I hadn’t heard.

Obviously this isn’t for everyone, but if you’re an Elm Street fan, you owe it to yourself to check it out.  It’s an incredibly good time and, as I said, the book is gorgeous.

Highly recommended.

The Best Books Of 2014 (Part 1)

These are the best 2014 releases that I read this year.  These are listed in chronological order.

Honorable mention first must go to The Summer of Letting Go by Gae Polisner, which I read last year.  It’s amazing; you need to read it.

1)  Archetype by M.D. Waters

2)  Prototype by M.D. Waters

3)  Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott

4)  After I’m Gone by Laura Lippman

5)  Gideon’s Spear by Darby Karchut

6)  The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick

7)  We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

8)  Year of Mistaken Discoveries by Eileen Cook

9)  The Memory Child by Steena Holmes

10)  Desperate by Daniel Palmer

11) Elements of Mind by Walter H. Hunt (one of my books at SHP, but still excellent)

12)  The Stag Lord by Darby Karchut (one of my books at SHP, but still excellent)

13)  Court by Cat Patrick

14)  The Bear by Claire Cameron

15)  Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

16)  Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

17)  Learning Not to Drown by Anna Shinoda

18)  To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

19)  Siren’s Song by Heather McCollum (one of my books at SHP, but still excellent)

20)  Into the Night by Suzy Rigdon (one of my books at SHP, but still excellent)

21)  Divinity by Michelle L. Johnson (one of my books at SHP, but still excellent)

22)  Night after Night by Lauren Blakely

23)  Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

24)  The Merciless by Danielle Vega

25)  Call Me By My Name by Ed Bradley

26)  Landline by Rainbow Rowell

27)  All Lined Up by Cora Carmack

28)  Like No Other by Una LaMarche

29)  The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

30)  Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

31)  Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

32)  Conversion by Katherine Howe

33)  Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle

34)  Those Who Wish me Dead by Michael Koryta

35)  Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

36)  Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn

37)  The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez

38)  Brutal Youth by Anthony Breznican

39)  Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

40)  Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas

41)  Naliyah by Shauna Kelley

42)  My Real Children by Jo Walton

43)  Mahalas Lane by Marianne Cushing

44)  Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

45)  Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang

46)  The Beast of Seabourne by Rhys A. Jones (one of my books at SHP; still excellent)

47)  Vision by Lisa Amowitz

48) Stars in their Eyes by Lauren Blakely

49)  All Broke Down by Cora Carmack

50)  I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

51)  The Camp Boyfriend series by JK Rock

52)  AlibiZ by Karice Bolton

53)  Nights With Him by Lauren Blakely

54)  Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

55)  Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

56)  The Burning Room by Michael Connelly

57)  Small Victories by Anne Lamott

58)  Revival by Stephen King

59) Saving Grace by Jane Green

60) You by Caroline Kepnes

Books To Watch For In 2015: An Overview

This is the second year of Books to Watch For!  I got this idea after my friend Kathy started doing this last year (yes, I basically stole it—but with permission!).  You should stop by her site and see what she’s excited for, too.

This year, I also got incredibly ambitious.  I talked to many of my favorite authors to see (a) what they have planned for next year and (b) the books that they’re looking forward to.

As a reminder, each book is featured over the course of two days.  The first day is a synopsis and explanation for why I’m excited (although most of the time, it’s probably fairly self-evident—because, when Sara Blaedel, for example, releases a new book, I’m excited) and the second day is an interview.

Even more exciting, several of my favorites are releasing two books next year! It’s going to be a good year for people who are book-greedy like I am.

There are some amazing books ahead, so please let me know what you’re looking forward to.

 

Things I’m Obsessed With

Welcome to the latest Things I’m Obsessed With!

Books:

I continue to be way, way behind on everything but I have a lot of good books ahead.  Eventually I’ll read them all, right?

Movies:

My time of horror movies is almost over!  I agreed to do 31 Horror Films in 31 Days, and I have been able to do it.  The month’s almost over, though, and I am also excited 22 Jump Street again; it should show up in my Ultraviolet account on the 28th.   There have been some less than great movies, but I also have seen some amazing ones.  (I was very impressed with The Caller and The Possession of Michael King, to name a couple.)

TV:

I am currently in love with a couple of new fall shows (The Affair, Marry Me and How to Get Away With Murder).  But I am ALSO so in love with The Mindy Project and Sons of Anarchy! I’m finally caught up with Sons and I can’t wait to see what happens with this final season.  I guess we’ll see how it goes; the season ends in early December.

So what are you obsessed with this week?

Book Community Drama And Renewed Manifesto

Over the weekend, a huge thing happened.  And then all of a sudden, a lot of bloggers (including me) got nervous.

Do I need to get a PO Box?  Should I scour my blog and Twitter for any hints as to my personal life (jobs/location/places to find me) and double-check that my Facebook is locked down?  Is there a way to increase my anonymity without completely starting over?

And do I need to worry that someone will randomly call me at work or show up at my house because they don’t like something I Tweet or blog?

I quickly eliminated that last worry.  As I said to a blogger friend of mine, one of the perks of having dozens of readers is that you stay pretty low under the radar.

And then I came to some decisions.

1)  I am not going to alter my habits online or on this blog.  It’s primarily a book blog (and that’s a lot of what I discuss on Twitter—except for this month, when I have gotten a lot of use out of #31HorrorFilms31Days) and that won’t change.  But when I feel like getting personal, I will.

2)  I’m not writing any more negative reviews.  (To be fair, I have barely written any anyway, because I have a pretty good handle on what I like to read and so I am rarely surprised by a book that doesn’t gel with me.)  It’s not because I worry that an author will show up at my house; it’s because this particular drama has given me an epiphany: I don’t want to talk about books I don’t like.  It takes time away from me talking about the books I do like.

And there are so many books that I want to read that I don’t want to spend time reading a book I don’t love because I feel pressure to review it.  Screw that, kids.

And that brings us to my final decision (which has been made a long time ago):

3)  I will not read or review any book that is written by an author who behaves badly.  I am not giving any of them any publicity whatsoever.  And those authors (including the one who sparked this incident) will not be discussed or promoted on my blog.

We only have so much free time, and I would rather spend mine flailing about good books.  I would rather get you to read Darby Karchut or Gae Polisner or Martha Brockenbrough or Courtney Summers or Jo Knowles or DK Mok or Walter H. Hunt or Daisy Whitney or Michelle Johnson or Suzy Rigdon or DC Farmer or Rhys A. Jones or Eileen Cook or Lisa Schroeder or Sarah Darer Littman or Amy Fellner Dominy or JK Rock or Lisa Amowitz or Errick Nunnally or Jodi Picoult or Stephen King or M.D. Waters or Shauna Kelley or Ann Stampler or Carrie Jones or any one of a billion writers I love, and who I bet you would love, too.

(ETA: As a side note: if you have entered and won a contest of mine, I do not keep any addresses. Once the prize has been shipped, addresses are destroyed.  If the book was sent from the publisher, that contact person is the only person your address has been shared with.)