This week, I’m sharing an update on my reading challenge – what I finished reading this week – plus what a little off my bookshelf of current reads, and a few shows I’ve enjoyed recently. You might note my tastes are a bit eclectic.
What I finished reading over the last week:
The numbers start at #5 because I finished four books during the first week of the year and this is adding onto that list.
5. Felicity by Mary Oliver. I love this little book of poems. I will reread them again and again.
6. Upstream: Selected Essays by Mary Oliver. This was a library read, and while I loved some essays, I disliked others, so it was enjoyable, but maybe not all for me as a reader.
7. Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. This was a re-read for me, since I was preparing to read the rest of the trilogy which I had checked out of the library. Aurora Rising is a wild ride of future sci-fi adventure with aliens, romance, and an unexpected antagonist. YA Scifi Fun.
8. Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. So good. I think I may have liked this one better than the first. Can’t say much because I might reveal spoilers. Again, YA Scifi Fun. Unfortunately, it ended with a tough cliff-hanger, which made me glad I had book 3 ready to read.
9. Aurora’s End by Amie Kaufman and Jay Krisoff. I liked it. I laughed at some parts and cried at others. But there was one section that kind of slogged for me as a reader, so it saddened me that this was the last book. I just wanted it to be as good as the second one. Still, I am glad I read this trilogy.
10. All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson. I really liked this graphic novel. It had a fun premise and a painfully good coming-of-age character arc. While set in contemporary times, the main character’s family work at a Renaissance Faire year-round, and the main character has been immersed in Ren-Faire traditions as a homeschool student. In this story, she goes to public school and middle school for the first time. Middle Grade, Contemporary Graphic Novel. I didn’t like this as much as I liked Jamieson’s Roller Girl, but it was a fun read from my library.
On my bookshelf now:
- Wonderbook by Jeff Vandemeer. This is a wild writing craft book that I’ve been reading off and on for nearly two years. I’ll finish it up soon.
- Your Writing Matters by Colleen M. Story. This is a fact-filled motivational book and I’m enjoying it so it will be on my shelf for a little longer as I soak it in and reread sections.
- 40 Days Through the Bible. I’ll probably finish this in 80 days at the rate I’m reading it, partly because I have another Bible study I’m doing, but so far, it’s middling. It’s an overview of the whole Bible, and while I like the themes and ideas presented, I feel like the questions could be more robust. But then… who am I kidding? I’m doing two Bible studies, so probably it’s best the questions feel light.
- Herbarium: The Quest to Preserve & Classify the World’s Plants by Barbara M. Thiers. This was a happenstance library find today and I am surprised at how much I like it. (My mom is a plant enthusiastic/backyard, DIY horticulturist and my dad loves organic gardening and can discuss it for hours, so… maybe that’s why.)
- So Far So Good: Final Poems: 2014-2018 by Ursala K. Le Guin. She sent this book of poems into her publisher just a few weeks before she passed away. Her poetry is moving, and I dove in today when I found it at the library and read twenty poems before thinking of moving again, so… I will read and re-read this one.
- The Blue Bar by Damyanti Biswas is a thriller, and a bit grittier of a read than I usually choose, but Damyanti is a writing acquaintance/friend via the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, I read her first award-winning, best-selling book Beneath Your Skin, and I can tell just 25 pages in that The Blue Bar is going to be just as good. If you haven’t read her work, I recommend it.
And there will be random reads that pop up in the middle of reading these, but I’m happy with what I have on my shelf at the moment.
What I’ve Watched Lately and Liked
Please note since this has been a reading intensive week, these shows and movies are ones which I’ve watched over the last month or so.
- Wednesday is a supernatural comedy horror show streaming on Netflix, based on the character from The Addams Family. I really liked this show. It’s dark, it’s odd, the humor is a bit grim, but I really liked it. I really wanted (redacted name) to actually be (redacted information) for (redacted name), but the way it went, it made total sense from a storytelling point of view. Excellent writing, casting, directing, everything.
- The Glass Onion, Knives Out II with too many major actors to name this comedic crime drama with some large-than-life characters is no major puzzle for the world’s latest favorite detective Blanc. I think I may like Knives Out best, but this one was fun to watch, too. More is coming in this franchise, which has a wonderful amount of easter eggs in it. 🙂
- Jack Ryan, Season 3 with Jim Krasinski on Amazon Prime was fun to watch, especially as we neared the end of the season, but my husband spent a lot of time huffing over badly done tech details, and our family came to the conclusion that we like season 1 best of this show so far.
- The English with Emily Blunt and Chaske Spencer on Amazon Prime is a limited series that is excellent in the writing, casting, directing, acting, everything. The dialogue is brilliant, and you realize just how much as you get further and further into the episodes, finally discovering some truths about these characters which were hidden at the beginning.
- I re-watched Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull on Amazon Prime and enjoyed watching it again. I am looking forward to the next Indy movie this year! 🙂
- The Chosen, Season 3 has been moving to watch each week as the episodes come out via Youtube or The Chosen app. It’s an excellently made fictionalized adaptation of the lives of Christ’s disciples. The acting, directing, and dialogue are all excellent! I only wish some of the episodes were a bit longer. If you are a stickler for “only what the Bible said” details, then you might not like it, but I think it’s a great way to get into the gospels and a good way to celebrate the life of Christ as both God and Man.
What have you been reading and watching lately? What would you recommend?
And do you notice a trend in my reading and viewing? I do. It’s been shifting lately slightly. I might write a bit about that next week.
If you haven’t read it yet, check out my latest book of short stories: 25 Impossible Tales of Survivors, Flawed Heroes, and Annoyed Villains or my latest video at IG in which I give a reading from one of the short stories.
Next week, I’ll be reading at a Creative Colloquy open mic in Tacoma and teaching the first of my class Writing Short Stories Weekly.