Hey, readers! 2016 is FINALLY over, and not a moment too soon. I was hoping the holiday season would be an improvement over the political insanity of November, but alas, the year was not content to go out quietly. Three more major celebrity deaths and a slew of horrifying cabinet appointments by our future cheeto-in-chief didn’t do much to boost my Christmas spirit.
To further compound my poor mood, I have been in a reading slump all month. The stack of ARCs sitting on top of my Harry Potter trunk is starting to grow ominously tall. I consoled myself by watching a number of films and a few new TV shows, so at least I have some good things to share in that department.
- Bibliotheca Box Set (Purchased)
- The Trouble with Women by Jacky Fleming (Purchased)
- Sad Animal Facts by Brooke Barker (Purchased)
- Dogs and Their People: Photos and Stories of Life with a Four-Legged Love by BarkPost (Mrs. Mommy Booknerd’s Book Reviews Giveaway)
- History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund (Review Copy)
- Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical by Timothy Keller (Purchased)
- Infectious Madness: The Surprising Science of How We “Catch” Mental Illness by Harriet A. Washington (Purchased)
- In a Different Key: The Story of Autism by John Donvan & Caren Zucker (Purchased)
- Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond (Purchased)
- The Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston (Review Copy)
- Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin (Unsolicited Review Copy)
- The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood (Goodreads Giveaway)
- Silence by Shūsaku Endō (Purchased)
- Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present by Harriet A. Washington (Purchased)
- The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science by Norman Doidge, M.D. (Purchased)
- The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Review Copy)
- Why God Is a Woman by Nin Andrews (Purchased)
- Paul and Gender: Reclaiming the Apostle’s Vision for Men and Women in Christ by Cynthia Long Westfall (Purchased)
- We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter (ARC)
- New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment: 10 Top Doctors Reveal Healing Strategies That Work by Connie Strasheim (Purchased)
- Alexander Hamilton: The Illustrated Biography by Richard Sylla (Purchased)
November in Review
Books + Audiobooks
- The Trouble with Women by Jacky Fleming: An illustrated satire about the malicious myths of inferior female intelligence spread throughout history. Clever and darkly humorous.
- Sad Animal Facts by Brooke Barker: An illustrated compendium of animal facts shot through with plenty of humor. Fascinating and hilarious. This one of the best books of 2016.
- Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance (audiobook): A memoir about growing up as a member of the Appalachian white working class. Moving, funny, and insightful. This was one of the best audiobooks of 2016.
Movies + Television
- The Thinning (2016) – YouTube Red had a free trial offer, so I signed up to check it out. The Thinning is one of the first YouTube Red original feature films, starring a bunch of YouTube “stars.” It’s pretty hokey and the premise is completely ridiculous, but I did actually make it through the whole thing, so that’s something, right?
- Jason Bourne (2016) – I’ve been looking forward to the new Bourne movie for AGES. I cannot believe they got Matt Damon and Julia Stiles to come back for round four. While this one isn’t as good as the first three, it’s still pretty great and it made it onto my “top 5 film adaptations of 2016” list.
- Z for Zachariah (2015) – This was on my to-watch list for a long time. The premise is intriguing and it fully lived up to my expectations.
- Captain Fantastic (2016) – I absolutely love this movie. The premise is unique and exactly the sort of thing I’m interested in. Plus, Viggo Mortensen is amazing in the lead role.
- American Beauty (1999) – I decided to [finally] watch this because it won so many awards and received such high reviews. It’s been lauded as a “smart and provocative” look at life in contemporary American suburbia, but all I could think as I was watching was, “this was clearly written by a middle-aged man.” The cinematography is beautiful, but it’s self-important and about as shallow as a kiddie pool.
- The Addams Family (1991) – I think I may have seen this one before, but I can’t remember. I love the Addams family. Delightfully macabre and Morticia + Gomez = relationship goals.
- Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016) – I haven’t read the book, but I was pretty excited to see the movie, if for no other reason than my undying love for Eva Green. I really enjoyed it and I think the imagery was particularly great. (I mean, what else would you expect from Tim Burton?)
- Colonia (2016) – I had never even heard of Colonia Dignidad until I saw this movie and I had no idea just how much of it was based on fact until historical photos were shown at the end. I was really impressed with this film and it led me to further research Pinochet and 1973 coup d’état.
- By the Sea (2015) – I am really puzzled as to why critics panned this film. Yes, it’s long and slow-moving, but I think Jolie did an amazing job with the script and the acting and cinematography are both amazing. I was never bored while watching it and there’s a real depth to the story that surprised me.
- Sully (2016) – Fun fact: I was actually in an airplane flying from Richmond to Fort Myers when flight 1549 landed in the Hudson. My mom was horrified when she turned on the TV and saw what was happening. Anyway, I was obviously unaware of what happened with the NTSB investigation, because the post-incident events depicted in this film were news to me. Tom Hanks is perfect as Sully. Cool as a cucumber, that one.
- Berlin Station, Season 1 (2016) – ‘Tis the season of free trials. EPIX was offering one as well, so I decided to check out this new spy thriller series. The acting is great, but I think I may have TV-shows-about-CIA-moles-burnout. You know what I mean?
- The Man in the High Castle, Season 2 (2016) – This season of Man in the High Castle cemented it as one of my favorite TV shows of all time. Rufus Sewell is amazing as Obergruppenführer John Smith and the cinematography knocks it out of the ballpark. I would like to read the book, but not until the show is over for good.
- Witness for the Prosecution (2017) – After previous lighthearted BBC Agatha Christie adaptations, things took a darker turn with And Then There Were None, which aired Christmas 2015. Witness for the Prosecution continues in that vein, but may be even darker. I enjoyed this, but not half as much as And Then There Were None.
I discovered John Atkinson Grimshaw while visiting English Idylls, one of my favorite Tumblr blogs. His style strikes me as a bit gothic. (I mean that in the modern sense; I am not referring to medieval gothic art.) I love the way he works with light and how his paintings feel warm and a little bit eery at the same time. You can see his complete works here.
News from the Book World
- Beloved Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher died last week at the age of sixty after suffering a massive heart attack on a flight from London. Not six weeks ago, Fisher dropped her tell-all memoir, The Princess Diarist, in which she came clean about her affair with co-star Harrison Ford.
- J.K. Rowling recently announced that she is working on two new novels. One is a Robert Galbraith book (her crime writing pen name). Nothing has yet been revealed about the other forthcoming book.
- One of the seven handwritten copies of The Tales of Beedle the Bard was sold at auction for £368,750. This particular copy was originally a gift from Rowling to her publisher, Barry Cunningham. Previously, another copy was auctioned off for charity, earning a stunning £1.95 million.
- Scientists recently discovered a spider that looks uncannily like the Hogwarts sorting hat. It was officially named Eriovixia gryffindori after Godric Gryffindor.
- The winners of the Goodreads Choice Awards were announced this month. They include Liane Moriarty’s Truly Madly Guilty, Stephen King’s End of Watch, Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
- Breitbart tech editor and online troll Milo Yiannopoulos just landed a $250,000 book deal with conservative Simon & Schuster imprint Threshold Editions, sparking outrage in the literary community. Yiannopoulos was banned from Twitter last summer after using the platform to spout misogynistic vitriol at Leslie Jones, star of the recent Ghostbusters remake.
Best of the Bookosphere
- The 18 Best Nonfiction Books of 2016 – BuzzFeed
- The 18 Best Fiction Books of 2016 – The Huffington Post
- The 16 Most Beautiful Book Covers of 2016 – Electric Lit
- 5 Science Books We Loved This Year – Science of Us
- Literary Hub’s Best Books of 2016 – Lit Hub
- NPR’s Book Concierge: Our Guide to 2016’s Great Reads – NPR
- The Year in Books: The 15 Best Books of 2016 – Flavorwire
- My Favorite Books of 2016 – Modern Mrs. Darcy
- 16 Books from 2016 That All Global Citizens Should Read – Global Citizen
- Best Books of 2016 – Book Riot
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WINTER IS COMING…And you know what that means. Books. So many books. EPIC books. Gird your Goodreads profile. Here are the 50 most exciting books hitting store shelves this winter.
I have been blessed with an abundance of INTPs in my life over the years. With Ti (introverted thinking) at the top of their function stack, they are premier logicians. Debating and conversing with an INTP is always an invigorating intellectual challenge. They often have quirky personalities and an offbeat sense of humor that doesn’t quite fit mainstream social expectations.
If INTJs are the kingmakers, ENTJs are the kings (and queens). Onscreen or off, they ooze power and pretty much dominate life. Okay, so this might be stereotyping just a little, but they can be pretty terrifying when they want to be.
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- The Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston
- Reality Is Not What It Seems by Carlo Rovelli
- Testosterone Rex: Myths of Sex, Science, and Society by Cordelia Fine
What are the best books you read in December?