What I’m reading and watching

One of my favorite things to do when I find an author whose books I like is to know what they like. It’s not a sure-fire bet, but I figure that someone who can make my neurons fire in a pleasing way is likely to be wired similarly.

Just show me where the Miyazaki films are stored, please.

So! If you’re made of the same stuff that I am, maybe you’ll like some of these things I’ve come across lately. Possibly. I don’t know, do what you want. I’m not your dad. (Am I? I’d like to think this isn’t how we meet, son.)

Books

  • The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson. Ooh, this one hit me just right. A numbers savant assimilated into an empire’s ruling class who tries to take it down from the inside? Put it in my veins. First of a trilogy, I believe.
  • The Murders of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson. Fantastic little sci-fi novella that plays with identity in some fun and gruesome ways. I like a story that has the balls not to over-explain its mysteries.
  • The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi. I went on a Scalzi kick five or six years ago and stopped once they all started to blend together. This one, the start of a new series, definitely stands out from his other work for me. I’m excited to read the next one.
  • The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison. More empire reading, but fantasy this time. This book has one of the most sympathetic protagonists I’ve ever encountered, and I had no idea how satisfying it would be in this, the year of our Lord 2020, to read about someone in government making kind, moral decisions. Go figure!
  • Babylon’s Ashes by James S.A. Corey. Is this the sixth one? I think so. I keep coming back to The Expanse series because it’s just so damn good. Near-future space opera that takes its politics as seriously as its physics (which is to say, it treats both with sufficient gravity and detail without being a slave to reality, because I can get that just by walking outside or checking Twitter).

I’ve been on an occasional quest to re-read some of my childhood favorites to see if they hold up. Dragons of Autumn Twilight is still great, I’m happy to report, while David Eddings’ Belgariad does unhappy things to my adult brain. *sad trombone* R.A. Salvatore’s The Crystal Shard is next on that list. Don’t let me down, Drizzt! Oh, and I’m going to have to make time for Brandon Sanderson’s new monster Rhythm of War here shortly, as well.

Film & TV

  • I finished my decade-long rewatch of all the Star Trek series. It is still my favorite franchise of all time, despite its various flaws. (OK, I didn’t watch The Animated Series. Shut up.)
  • I’ve been on a classic film kick lately. Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai has stuck with me hard. It is epic in the best ways, and while much ink has been spilled on all the subsequent media it has influenced, I appreciate it in its own right as a grand, memorable film.
  • Courtesy of the same urge as above: Shawshank Redemption. I could have sworn I’d seen it before, but turns out I never had. Makes you feel good.
  • I’m finally finishing up The Good Place. A philosophy-heavy trip through the afterlife? Turns out it’s hilarious and touching. I loved it from episode one and I don’t know how I lost track of it halfway through its final season. I want to erase my brain so I can watch it for the first time all over again.

Some friends from my writing group tried to convince me to watch the Korean show Boys Over Flowers, but I bounced off the first episode HARD. They keep rhapsodizing about it, and I feel like I’m taking crazy pills. Generally speaking I’m glad to give something an extra go if it comes from outside my own culture, but… I hated it.

Now, excuse me while I go troll some other authors’ websites and steal their good ideas for what to put on the TBR pile next.

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