Parable of the Sower

Finished Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler. 

Lauren lives with her dad, stepmom and little brothers in a scary world. The economy has collapsed; between that and global warming, it’s a hard existence. People are routinely robbed, assaulted (beaten, raped or both) and killed. Lauren wants to leave their community but there’s no guarantee that anyplace is better (and every likelihood that it will be worse). Soon, though, she’s got no choice. 

There’s a lot more going on than that, of course. Lauren has some unorthodox religious beliefs (a new religion, really; she calls it Earthseed) and an unusual illness (she can literally feel other people’s pain like it’s her own). 

This book is amazing. It feels so real (and it doesn’t help that it’s set in the near future—it begins in 2024—and while things are much different and worse, it also seems not too unlikely that we could get there from here. 

There is a sequel and I definitely want to read it. 

Highly recommended. 

Weekend Update

What I’m reading: Still reading Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler.  It’s for book club (which is at 10) and I haven’t finished yet.  Either way, at least I get to see my friends at eat brunch.  Fingers crossed! Next up is an egalley of the new Allison Winn Scotch.  I generally try to read in order of release date but getting this one early has broken my resolve.

What I’m watching: I’m still on episode five of People v. OJ Simpson.  Maybe I’ll finish this weekend but more likely is that I’ll be reading.  ALSO still loving Younger and especially The Bold Type.  If you’re not watching, please start!  AND now that we’re in August, I can now happily say that all my shows are back NEXT MONTH.  (Most of them are coming back the last week of September, so it’s barely “next month” and almost “two months away” but technicalities still count.

What I’m listening to: My Favorite Murder podcast! I’m also fond of StoryCorps and NPR Happy Hour. I need to be better about listening to other things.

Morningstar

Finished Morningstar by Ann Hood.  I received a copy for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

A memoir about the magic and inspiration of books from a beloved and best-selling author.

In her admired works of fiction, including the recent The Book that Matters Most, Ann Hood explores the transformative power of literature. Now, with warmth and honesty, Hood reveals the personal story behind these works of fiction.

Growing up in a mill town in Rhode Island, in a household that didn’t foster the love of literature, Hood nonetheless learned to channel her imagination and curiosity by devouring The Bell Jar, Marjorie Morningstar, The Harrad Experiment, and other works. These titles introduced her to topics that could not be discussed at home: desire, fear, sexuality, and madness. Later, Johnny Got His Gun and The Grapes of Wrath influenced her political thinking as the Vietnam War became news; Dr. Zhivago and Les Miserables stoked her ambition to travel the world. With characteristic insight and charm, Hood showcases the ways in which books gave her life and can transform—even save—our own.”

One of the genres I love the most is books about books, and this is a great example.  Ann Hood’s family, for the most part, weren’t readers.  She and an older cousin traded Nancy Drew novels, but in general, she was the family oddball.  One of her first book-related memories involved reading Little Women and being so consumed with the story and Beth dying that she missed some school activities. Most of the books she mentioned here I haven’t read (I did read Little Women, of course, but I’m a lot more familiar with the Winona Ryder version of the movie), but I definitely still have similar stories of being late or almost late because of random books (I stayed up literally all night to read The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon).

Ann Hood is also one of my favorite authors, and her books are always all these stunningly well-written things. This is especially true in this one—it’s so clearly a topic she’s passionate about, and it comes through in every word and page here.

Recommended.

The Stars in our Eyes

Finished The Stars in our Eyes by Julie Klam.  I received a copy for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

From bestselling author Julie Klam comes a lively and engaging exploration of celebrity: why celebrities fascinate us, what it means to be famous today, and why celebrities are so important.


“When I was young I was convinced celebrities could save me,” Julie Klam admits in The Stars in Our Eyes, her funny and personal exploration of fame and celebrity. As she did for subjects as wide-ranging as dogs, mothers, and friendship, Klam brings her infectious curiosity and crackling wit to the topic of celebrity. As she admits, “I’ve always been enamored with celebrities,” be they movie stars, baseball players, TV actors, and now Internet sensations. “They are the us we want to be.” Celebrities today have a global presence and can be, Klam writes, “some girl on Instagram who does nude yoga and has 3.5 million followers, a thirteen-year-old ‘viner, ‘ and a Korean rapper who posts his videos that are viewed millions of times.”


In The Stars in Our Eyes, Klam examines this phenomenon. She delves deep into what makes someone a celebrity, explains why we care about celebrities more than ever, and uncovers the bargains they make with the public and the burdens they bear to sustain this status. The result is an engaging, astute, and eye-opening look into celebrity that reveals the truths about fame as it elucidates why it’s such an important part of life today.”

I have been into pop culture my entire life.  There’s a picture of a toddler-aged me sitting on the couch, reading a People magazine. I’ve subscribed to Entertainment Weekly almost since its inception. I loved getting Premiere every month. (Moment of silence for Premiere.) So yes, I am a huge fan of pop culture.  With that, of course, comes a fondness for celebrities in general and a bunch in particular. (I have very strong feelings about almost all of them, and asked Julie Klam in a Tweet not to ruin Connie Britton for me.)

If you are also into celebrities and pop culture, this is a book for you.  She talks to celebrities I love (JULIE WARNER OMG; I love Tommy Boy, as do many people my age, but she was also in Indian Summer, this amazing independent movie most people have not seen—which, frankly, is a travesty) and respect (basically everyone else; I want to be friends with Timothy Hutton!) and shares fun celebrity encounters that her friends have had. (NOTE: Many of Julie Klam’s friends are authors and so, to me, are celebrities in their own right. There was much freaking out as I read the book.)

This book is a complete delight. There is something in here for all the pop culture fans (reality TV, if that’s your thing; the feelings of watching celebs fall; celeb breakups—I was actually heartbroken when Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins broke up—basically everything).  All I want in the world is to hang out with Julie Klam, eat ice cream and talk about celebrities.  And if there’s anything wrong with Connie Britton, I don’t want to know. She’s an actual treasure. So is this book.

Highly recommended.

 

Final Girls

Finished Final Girls by Riley Sager. I received a copy for review. 

Quincy is the only survivor of a mass murder that left all her friends dead. The press dub her a “Final Girl,” one of three survivors of somewhat similar mass murders (committed by different people and not connected). When one commits suicide (which, OF COURSE, turns out to be murder), the third finds Quincy. Safety in numbers, right?

As we know from horror movies, everyone is a suspect. And there are a LOT of potential suspects in Quincy’s life (including Sam, who may or may not be the friend she claims to be). But there’s also Quinn’s boyfriend, a reporter, the cop who saved her life and may be a little too close…at this point, she should literally trust no one. 

This book is incredibly fun, especially if you’re into horror movies. It’s also suspenseful, and I loved the “EVERYBODY’S A SUSPECT” feel, which is not unlike Scream. 

This is a great vacation read–toss it in your tote and hit the beach! Recommended. 

The People v. OJ Simpson

The People v. OJ Simpson is one of the best shows of 2016, according to the AFI.  I’ve watched the first four episodes so far, and hope to finish by this weekend.

I was 14 when this was all going on, so I remember some of it but I didn’t really care, so I also DON’T remember a lot of it.  It’s also fun to see how much of my really uninformed opinions were wrong (no, Nicole and Ron were not dating; he just happened to be there).

The acting is all amazing (except maybe for John Travolta, but it also could be that I just find his face distracting in this) but obviously Sarah Paulson is amazing.

I am a huge fan of this show and if you haven’t watched, you should.

New Project

So Jen posted about movies recently and one of the things she said was preferring movies like Pollyanna and The Sound of Music to Oscar movies (ETA: This is more of a content thing than a quality thing and, to be fair, I am more likely to watch a Judd Apatow movie than I am, say, Schindler’s List).  And I did a big huge response (most of which ended up deleted, ’cause I figured I’d blog about it here, which I did) and I went on imdb.com and was sort of amazed at all the wonderful, amazing movies I’ve seen that have won Oscars.

And then I thought, well, I haven’t seen all of them.  I haven’t seen most of them, and many of the ones I have seen, I haven’t seen in years.

And THEN I thought, I bet it’d be a lot of fun to watch them all.

(This will take a long time, understand, because I’m still reading a lot and because I have some Mad Men and Battlestar Galactica to get through.)

But, in random order, I hope to get through*: (25/89)

Wings, The Broadway Melody, All Quiet on the Western Front, Cimarron, Grand Hotel, Cavalcade, It Happened One Night, Mutiny on the Bounty, The Great Ziegfeld, The Life of Emile Zola, You Can’t Take It With You, Gone With The Wind, Rebecca, How Green Was My Valley, Mrs. Miniver, Casablanca, Going My Way, The Lost Weekend, The Best Years Of Our Lives, Gentlemen’s Agreement, Hamlet, All the King’s Men, All About Eve, An American in Paris, The Greatest Show on Earth, From Here to Eternity, On the Waterfront, Marty, Around the World in 80 Days, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Gigi, Ben-Hur, The Apartment, West Side Story, Lawrence of Arabia, Tom Jones, My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music, A Man For All Seasons, In the Heat of the Night, Oliver, Midnight Cowboy, Patton, The French Connection, The Godfather, The Sting, The Godfather Part 2, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Rocky, Annie Hall, The Deer Hunter, Kramer vs. Kramer, Ordinary People, Chariots of Fire, Gandhi, Terms of Endearment, Amadeus, Out of Africa, Platoon, The Last Emperor, Rain Man, Driving Miss Daisy, Dances With Wolves, The Silence of the Lambs, Unforgiven, Schindler’s List, Forrest Gump, Braveheart, The English Patient, Titanic, Shakespeare in Love, American Beauty, Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind, Chicago, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, Million Dollar Baby, Crash, The Departed, No Country For Old Men, Slumdog Millionaire, The Hurt LockerThe King’s SpeechThe Artist, Argo, 12 Years a Slave,  Birdman, Spotlight and Moonlight.

And then my best friend Jen reminded me of my (still unfinished) AFI quest, which I am starting over because a lot of them I don’t remember. (37/125, counting everything on the first and 10th anniversary lists)

Citizen Kane, Casablanca, The Godfather, Gone With the Wind, Lawrence of Arabia, The Wizard of Oz, The Graduate, On the Waterfront, Schindler’s List, Singin’ in the Rain, It’s a Wonderful Life, Sunset Boulevard, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Some Like it Hot, Star Wars, All About Eve, The African Queen, Psycho, Chinatown, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Grapes of Wrath, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Maltese Falcon, Raging Bull, ET, Dr. Strangelove, Bonnie and Clyde, Apocalypse Now, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Annie Hall, The Godfather Part II, High Noon, To Kill a Mockingbird, It Happened One Night, Midnight Cowboy, The Best Years of Our Lives, Double Indemnity, Doctor Zhivago, North By Northwest, West Side Story, Rear Window, King Kong, The Birth of a Nation, A Streetcar Named Desire, A Clockwork Orange, Taxi Driver, Jaws, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Philadelphia Story, From Here to Eternity, Amadeus, All Quiet on the Western Front, The Sound of Music, MASH, The Third Man, Fantasia, Rebel Without a Cause, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Vertigo, Tootsie, Stagecoach, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Silence of the Lambs, Network, The Manchurian Candidate, An American in Paris, Shane, The French Connection, Forrest Gump, Ben-Hur, Wuthering Heights, The Gold Rush, Dances With Wolves, City Lights, American Graffiti, Rocky, The Deer Hunter, The Wild Bunch, Modern Times, Giant, Platoon, Fargo, Duck Soup, Mutiny on the Bounty, Frankenstein, Easy Rider, Patton, The Jazz Singer, My Fair Lady, A Place in the Sun, The Apartment, Goodfellas, Pulp Fiction, The Searchers, Bringing Up Baby, Unforgiven, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Yankee Doodle Dandy, The General, Intolerance, The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, Nashville, Cabaret, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Saving Private Ryan, Sullivan’s Travels, The Shawshank Redemption, In the Heat of the Night, All the President’s Men, Spartacus, Sunrise, Titanic, A Night at the Opera, 12 Angry Men, The Sixth Sense, Swing Time, Sophie’s Choice, The Last Picture Show, Do The Right Thing, Blade Runner, Toy Story.

There’s the AFI 100 Years, 100 Thrills (35/100).

Psycho, Jaws, The Exorcist, North by Northwest, The Silence of the Lambs, Alien, The Birds, The French Connection, Rosemary’s Baby, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Godfather, King Kong, Bonnie and Clyde, Rear Window, Deliverance, Chinatown, The Manchurian Candidate, Vertigo, The Great Escape, High Noon, A Clockwork Orange, Taxi Driver, Lawrence of Arabia, Double Indemnity, Titanic, The Maltese Falcon, Star Wars, Fatal Attraction, The Shining, The Deer Hunter, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Strangers on a Train, The Fugitive, The Night of the Hunter, Jurassic Park, Bullitt, Casablanca, Notorious, Die Hard, 2001, Dirty Harry, The Terminator, The Wizard of Oz, ET, Saving Private Ryan, Carrie, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Dial M For Murder, Ben-Hur, Marathon Man, Raging Bull, Rocky, Pulp Fiction, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Wait Until Dark, Frankenstein, All the President’s Men, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Planet of the Apes, The Sixth SenseCape Fear, Spartacus, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Touch of Evil, The Dirty Dozen, The Matrix, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Halloween, The Wild Bunch, Dog Day Afternoon, Goldfinger, Platoon,  Laura, Blade Runner, The Third Man, Thelma & Louise, Terminator 2, Gaslight, The Magnificent Seven, Rebecca, The Omen, The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Phantom of the Opera, Poltergeist, Dracula, The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Thing From Another World, 12 Angry Men, The Guns of Navarone, The Poseidon Adventure, Braveheart, Body Heat, Night of the Living Dead, The China Syndrome, Full Metal Jacket, Blue Velvet, Safety Last, Blood Simple, Speed, The Adventures of Robin Hood.

There’s the 100 Years, 100 Passions (21/100).

Casablanca, Gone With the Wind, West Side Story, Roman Holiday, An Affair to Remember, The Way We Were, Doctor Zhivago, It’s a Wonderful Life, Love Story, City Lights, Annie Hall, My Fair Lady, Out of Africa, The African Queen, Wuthering Heights, Singin’ in the Rain, Moonstruck, Vertigo, Ghost, From Here to Eternity, Pretty Woman, On Golden Pond, Now Voyager, King Kong, When Harry Met Sally, The Lady Eve, The Sound of Music, The Shop Around the Corner, An Officer and a Gentleman, Swing Time, The King and I, Dark Victory, Camille, Beauty and the Beast, Gigi, Random Harvest, Titanic, It Happened One Night, An American in Paris, Ninotchka, Funny Girl, Anna Karenina, A Star Is Born, The Philadelphia Story, To Catch a Thief, Splendor in the Grass, Last Tango in Paris, The Postman Always Rings Twice, Shakespeare in Love, Bringing Up Baby, The Graduate, A Place in the Sun, Sabrina, Reds, The English Patient, Two For the Road, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Picnic, To Have and Have Not, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Apartment, Sunrise, Marty, Bonnie and Clyde, Manhattan, A Streetcar Named Desire, What’s Up Doc?, Harold and Maude, Sense and Sensibility, Way Down East, Roxanne, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Woman of the Year, The American President, The Quiet Man, The Awful Truth, Coming Home, Jezebel, The Shiek, The Goodbye Girl, Witness, Morocco, Double Indemnity, Love is a Many-Splendored Thing, Notorious, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Princess Bride, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Bridges of Madison County, Working Girl, Porgy and Bess, Dirty Dancing, Body Heat, Lady and the Tramp, Barefoot in the Park, Grease, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Pillow Talk, Jerry Maguire.

100 Years, 100 Laughs (19/100):

Some Like It Hot, Tootsie, Dr. Strangelove, Annie Hall, Duck Soup, Blazing Saddles, MASH, It Happened One Night, The Graduate, Airplane, The Producers, A Night at the Opera, Young Frankenstein, Bringing Up Baby, The Philadelphia Story, Singin’ in the Rain, The Odd Couple, The General, His Girl Friday, The Apartment, A Fish Called Wanda, Adam’s Rib, When Harry Met Sally, Born Yesterday, The Gold Rush, Being There, There’s Something About Mary, Ghostbusters, This is Spinal Tap, Arsenic and Old Lace, Raising Arizona, The Thin Man, Modern Times, Groundhog Day, Harvey, National Lampoon’s Animal House, The Great Dictator, City Lights, Sullivan’s Travels, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Moonstruck, Big, American Graffiti, My Man Godfrey, Harold and Maude, Manhattan, Shampoo, A Shot in the Dark, To Be or Not to Be, Cat Ballou, The Seven Year Itch, Ninotchka, Arthur, The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek, The Lady Eve, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, Diner, It’s a Gift, A Day at the Races, Topper, What’s Up, Doc?, Sherlock, Jr., Beverly Hills Cop, Broadcast News, Horse Feathers, Take the Money and Run, Mrs. Doubtfire, The Awful Truth, Bananas, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Caddyshack, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, Monkey Business, Nine to Five, She Done Him Wrong, Victor Victoria, The Palm Beach Story, Road to Morocco, The Freshman, Sleeper, The Navigator, Private Benjamin, Father of the Bride, Lost in America, Dinner at Eight, City Slickers, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Beetlejuice, The Jerk, Woman of the Year, The Heartbreak Kid, Ball of Fire, Fargo, Auntie Mame, Silver Streak, Sons of the Desert, Bull Durham, The Court Jester, The Nutty Professor, Good Morning, Vietnam

There’s the 10 Top 10:

Animation (7/10):  Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Bambi, The Lion King, Fantasia, Toy Story, Beauty and the Beast, Shrek, Cinderella, Finding Nemo

Romantic Comedy (6/10): City Lights, Annie Hall, It Happened One Night, Roman Holiday, The Philadelphia Story, When Harry Met Sally, Adam’s Rib, Moonstruck, Harold and Maude, Sleepless in Seattle

Western (1/10):  The Searchers, High Noon, Shane, Unforgiven, Red River, The Wild Bunch, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Stagecoach, Cat Ballou

Sports (2/10):  Raging Bull, Rocky, The Pride of the Yankees, Hoosiers, Bull Durham, The Hustler, Caddyshack, Breaking Away, National Velvet, Jerry Maguire

Mystery (4/10):  Vertigo, Chinatown, Rear Window, Laura, The Third Man, The Maltese Falcon, North by Northwest, Blue Velvet, Dial M For Murder, The Usual Suspects

Fantasy (3/10):  The Wizard of Oz, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, It’s a Wonderful Life, King Kong, Miracle on 34th Street, Field of Dreams, Harvey, Groundhog Day, The Thief of Bagdad, Big

Science Fiction (1/10):  2001, Star Wars, ET, A Clockwork Orange, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Blade Runner, Alien, Terminator 2, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Back to the Future

Gangster (2/10): The Godfather, Goodfellas, The Godfather Part II, White Heat, Bonnie and Clyde, Scarface (1932), Pulp Fiction, The Public Enemy, Little Caesar, Scarface (1983)

Courtroom Drama (2/10):  To Kill a Mockingbird, 12 Angry Men, Kramer vs. Kramer, The Verdict, A Few Good Men, Witness For the Prosecution, Anatomy of a Murder, In Cold Blood, A Cry in the Dark, Judgment at Nuremberg

Epic (1/10):  Lawrence of Arabia, Ben-Hur, Schindler’s List, Gone With the Wind, Spartacus, Titanic, All Quiet on the Western Front, Saving Private Ryan, Reds, The Ten Commandments

And there’s the 25 Greatest Musicals (8/25).

Singin’ in the Rain, West Side Story, The Wizard of Oz, The Sound of Music, Cabaret, Mary Poppins, A Star is Born, My Fair Lady, An American in Paris, Meet Me In St. Louis, The King and I, Chicago, 42nd Street, All That Jazz, Top Hat, Funny Girl, The Band Wagon, Yankee Doodle Dandy, On the Town, Grease, Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, Beauty and the Beast, Guys and Dolls, Show Boat, Moulin Rouge.

Turns out they also released the 10 best films for each year from 2001 on.

2001 (1/10):  A Beautiful Mind, Black Hawk Down, In the Bedroom, Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, The Man Who Wasn’t There, Memento, Monster’s Ball, Moulin Rouge, Mulholland Drive, Shrek.

Best TV (11/12):  Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Six Feet Under, The Sopranos, The West Wing, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Everybody Loves Raymond, Malcolm in the Middle, Sex and the City, Anne Frank, Band of Brothers, Boycott, Conspiracy

2002 (2/10):  About a Boy, About Schmidt, Adaptation, Antwone Fisher, Chicago, Frida, Gangs of New York, The Hours, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Quiet American

Best TV (8/10):  The Believer, Boomtown, Door to Door, Everybody Loves Raymond, The Gathering Storm, Gilmore Girls, The Simpsons, Six Feet Under, The Sopranos, The West Wing

2003 (1/10):  American Splendor, Finding Nemo, The Human Stain, In America, The Last Samurai, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, Lost in Translation, Master and Commander, Monster, Mystic River

Best TV (9/10):  24, Alias, Angels in America, Arrested Development, Everybody Loves Raymond, Joan of Arcadia, Nip/Tuck, PlaymakersSoldier’s Girl, The Wire

2004 (1/10):  The Aviator, Collateral, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Friday Night Lights, The Incredibles, Kinsey, Maria Full of Grace, Million Dollar Baby, Sideways, Spiderman 2

Best TV (7/10):  Arrested Development, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Deadwood, Desperate Housewives, Lost, Nip/Tuck, The Shield, Something the Lord Made, The Sopranos, South Park

2005 (3/10):  The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Brokeback Mountain, Capote, Crash, Good Night And Good Luck, A History of Violence, King Kong, Munich, The Squid and the Whale, Syriana

Best TV (6/10):  24, Battlestar Galactica, Deadwood, Grey’s Anatomy, House, Lost, Rescue Me, Sleeper Cell, Sometimes in April, Veronica Mars

2006 (3/10):  Babel, Borat, The Devil Wears Prada, Dreamgirls, Half Nelson, Happy Feet, Inside Man, Letters From Iwo Jima, Little Miss Sunshine, United 93

Best TV (9/11):  24, Battlestar Galactica, Blindsight, Dexter, Elizabeth I, Friday Night Lights, Heroes, The Office, Lost, The West Wing, The Wire

2007 (3/10):  Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Into the Wild, Juno, Knocked Up, Michael Clayton, No County For Old Men, Ratatouille, The Savages, There Will Be Blood

Best TV (8/10):  30 Rock, Dexter, Everybody Hates Chris, Friday Night Lights, Longford, Mad Men, Pushing Daisies, The Sopranos, Tell Me You Love Me, Ugly Betty 

2008 (2/10):  The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, Frost/Nixon, Frozen River, Gran Torino, Iron Man, Milk, Wall*E, Wendy and Lucy, The Wrestler

Best TV (8/10):  Breaking Bad, In Treatment, John Adams, Life, Lost, Mad Men, The Office, Recount, The Shield, The Wire

2009 (7/10):  Coraline, The Hangover, The Hurt Locker, The Messenger, Precious, A Serious Man, A Single Man, Sugar, Up, Up in the Air

Best TV (9/10):  The Big Bang Theory, Big Love, Friday Night Lights, Glee, Mad Men, Modern Family, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, Nurse Jackie, Party Down, True Blood

2010 (10/10):  Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids Are All Right, 127 Hours, The Social Network, The Town, Toy Story 3, True Grit, Winter’s Bone

Best TV (9/10):  The Big C, Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad, Glee, Mad Men, Modern Family, The Pacific, Temple Grandin, 30 Rock, The Walking Dead

2011 (10/10):  Bridesmaids, The Descendants, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Help, Hugo, J. Edgar, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, The Tree of Life, War Horse

Best TV (10/10):  Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Game of Thrones, The Good Wife, Homeland, Justified, Louie, Modern Family, Parks & Recreation

2012 (8/10):  Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, The Dark Knight Rises, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Moonrise Kingdom, The Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty

Best TV (10/10):  American Horror Story: Asylum, Breaking Bad, Game Change, Game of Thrones, Girls, Homeland, Louie, Mad Men, Modern Family, The Walking Dead

2013 (9/10):  12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Fruitvale Station, Gravity, Her, Inside Llewyn Davis, Nebraska, Saving Mr. Banks, The Wolf of Wall Street

Best TV (8/10):  The Americans, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, The Good Wife, House of Cards, Mad Men, Masters of Sex, Orange is the New Black, Scandal, VEEP

2014 (6/11):  American Sniper, Birdman, Boyhood, Foxcatcher, The Imitation Game, Interstellar, Into the Woods, Nightcrawler, Selma, Unbroken, Whiplash

Best TV (2/10): The Americans, Fargo, Game of Thrones, How to Get Away With Murder, Jane the Virgin, The Knick, Mad Men, Orange is the New Black, Silicon Valley, Transparent

2015 (4/10): The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, Carol, Inside Out, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, Room, Spotlight, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Straight Outta Compton

Best TV (3/10):  The Americans, Better Call Saul, Black-ish, Empire, Fargo, Game of Thrones, Homeland, Master of None, Mr. Robot, Unreal

2016 (0/10): Arrival, Fences, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, La La Land, Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight, Silence, Sully, Zootopia

Best TV (3/11) The Americans, Atlanta, Better Call Saul, The Crown, Game of Thrones, The Night Of, The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story, Stranger Things, This is Us, Veep, OJ: Made in America

There’s the Independent Spirit Awards (11/32):  After Hours, Platoon, River’s Edge, Stand and Deliver, sex, lies and videotape, The Grifters, Rambling Rose, The Player, Short Cuts, Pulp Fiction, Leaving Las Vegas, Fargo, The Apostle, Gods and Monsters, Election, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Memento, Far From Heaven, Lost in Translation, Sideways, Brokeback Mountain, Little Miss Sunshine, Juno, The Wrestler, PreciousBlack SwanThe Artist, The Silver Linings Playbook 12 Years a Slave,  Birdman , Spotlight and Moonlight

And finally, I’d like to watch all of Hitchcock’s movies (10/60):

Number 13, Always Tell Your Wife, The Pleasure Garden, The Mountain Eagle, The Lodger, The Ring, Downhill, The Farmer’s Wife, Easy Virtue, Champagne, The Manxman, Blackmail, Elstree Calling, An Elastic Affair, Juno and the Paycock, Murder!, The Skin Game, Mary, Rich and Strange, Number 17, Waltzes from Vienna, The Man Who Knew Too Much, The 39 Steps, Secret Agent, Sabotage, Young and Innocent, The Lady Vanishes, Jamaica Inn, Rebecca, Foreign Correspondent, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Suspicion, Saboteur, Shadow of a Doubt, Aventure Malgache, Bon Voyage, Lifeboat, Spellbound, Notorious, The Paradine Case, Rope, Under Capricorn, Stage Fright, Strangers on a Train, I Confess, Dial M For Murder, Rear Window, To Catch a Thief, The Trouble With Harry, The Man Who Knew Too Much, The Wrong Man, Vertigo, North by Northwest, Psycho, The Birds, Marnie, Torn Curtain, Topaz, Frenzy, Family Plot

Hello Sunshine

Finished Hello Sunshine by Laura Dave. I received a copy for review. 

Sunshine is a Youtube sensation and is about to get her own cooking show…and then she’s hacked. The hacker reveals she’s a fraud. Her carefully curated backstory is a complete lie; she can’t cook at all. Not surprisingly, her life implodes. 

The majority of the story is how she puts it back together–the life she chooses to create. 

I love Laura Dave and this book is why. I love Sunshine. She’s not a great person but she tries to be (sometimes). And she’s selfish but not malicious. She wants things her way but she won’t run roughshod over people for it. 

And best of all, basically everything here is unexpected. There’s redemption but nothing else goes the way the reader would expect. This is a sweet surprise of a novel. 

Highly recommended. 

Weekend Update

What I’m reading: the new Laura Dave, Hello Sunshine.  It is INSANELY GOOD, guys. It’s so completely different from her last book, Eight Hundred Grapes, and I love it and I can’t stop reading it.  And it’s under 300 pages, so it goes really fast. Review should be up tomorrow.

What I’m watching: The Bold Type and Younger, and nothing else. I want to watch The People vs. OJ Simpson and the ESPN documentary about the case, because they talk about it a lot on My Favorite Murder.

Which brings us to…

What I’m listening to: My Favorite Murder. It’s the funniest thing–I listen to episodes at work and it’s so fun and funny (it’s under comedy podcasts) and then I go home and it gets dark and I become the most paranoid person. And then I wake up and go to work and the cycle continues. I’m also listening to NPR Happy Hour (they’re time sensitive) and some Dear Sugars. I should probably do more of Dear Sugars and fewer My Favorite Murders but I’m generally not making the best decisions, so…

Stay Sexy, Don’t Get Murdered.

What I’m excited for: We’re almost to the release of the Dark Tower movie and YAAAAAAAAS.

The Secrets She Keeps

Finished The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham.  I received a copy from the publisher for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

In the bestselling tradition of The Girl on the Train and In a Dark, Dark Wood, from the internationally bestselling author whom Stephen King called “an absolute master” of the psychological thriller, comes a riveting suspense novel about the unlikely friendship between two pregnant women that asks: how far would you go to create the perfect family?

Agatha is pregnant and works part-time stocking shelves at a grocery store in a ritzy London suburb, counting down the days until her baby is due. As the hours of her shifts creep by in increasing discomfort, the one thing she looks forward to at work is catching a glimpse of Meghan, the effortlessly chic customer whose elegant lifestyle dazzles her. Meghan has it all: two perfect children, a handsome husband, a happy marriage, a stylish group of friends, and she writes perfectly droll confessional posts on her popular parenting blog—posts that Agatha reads with devotion each night as she waits for her absent boyfriend, the father of her baby, to maybe return her calls.

When Agatha learns that Meghan is pregnant again, and that their due dates fall within the same month, she finally musters up the courage to speak to her, thrilled that they now have the ordeal of childbearing in common. Little does Meghan know that the mundane exchange she has with a grocery store employee during a hurried afternoon shopping trip is about to change the course of her not-so-perfect life forever…

With its brilliant rendering of the secrets some women hold close and a shocking act that cannot be undone, The Secrets She Keeps delivers a dark and twisted page-turner that is absolutely impossible to put down.”

Okay guys, this book is INSANE in the best way and I love it.  I had all these theories for how the book would go and they were all wrong.  If you’re in the mood for a twisty plot, this is the book for you.

I found both narrators fascinating but I definitely preferred Meghan to Agatha.  Agatha seems almost like a person who never got past middle school with her hero worship of the most popular girl.  And I very much liked Meghan much more than I liked Agatha.  My reactions to both women definitely affected my reading of the novel and the way that I perceived certain things, and probably made it more likely that I would be completely gobsmacked a bunch of times.

So basically just get this book before it gets spoiled for you.  You won’t regret it.  Highly recommended.