Read/Watch/Listen: July 2019

Here’s a recap of what I read, watched, and listened to last month.

Read

Mostly Dead Things, Kristen Arnett (2019)

Binge-read this on the plane to-from San Francisco. It was just so good. Very refreshing to read a book with a lesbian protagonist that isn’t a coming out story or a “my-sexuality-vs-the-world” story. It made me want to never go to Florida again, in the best way.

Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles, Mark Russell (2018)

Loved the premise of this: before coming a TV cartoon star, Snagglepuss was a gay playwright from New York, targeted by 1950s McCarthyism. What? Wild. The story fell a bit flat for me, though. Even with pink and blue anthropomorphic characters, it still somehow managed to whitewash the Stonewall riots.

Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl, Andrea Lawlor (2017)

This book should be talked about more. It belongs in the queer canon. I just happened to pick it off the “Recommended” shelf at City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco, and I’m so glad I did. I’ve never read anything quite like it. The basic premise: it’s about a sexually promiscuous person who can change their sex at will. It explores a whole spectrum of coast-to-coast queerness (Northampton to SF and in-between) that I didn’t know was possible in one book.

The Women of Dauphine, Deb Jannerson (2019)

A lesbian teen romance, except one of them is a ghost! For all its paranormal fun, the book confronts some heavy subjects like assault and conversion therapy. I especially loved being immersed in New Orleans, a city I’ve never been to and know very little about.

Watched

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

This movie is worth all the hype. Incredible animation and a genuinely great story. Can every superhero movie ooze this much creativity from now on?

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2008)

Ah, the mid-2000s. The very specific short-lived time where burning CDs crossed over with iPods. This movie reminded me of high school, also because all the awkwardness. So awkward. Every character—awkward. Maybe the most awkward movie ever.

Fleabag (Season 1)

I’m halfway through the first season, and it’s as good as everyone says it is. Fleabag (as she’s called, because she has no name, so far?!) is so strange, so traditionally “unlikeable” that I just love her. I thought the whole “talking-to-the-camera” format might get old, but it’s done in such a smart way.

Queer Eye (Season 4)

My feel-good show is back! Bobby’s still remodeling whole houses while Antoni sniffs peaches. This season seems especially dramatic. So far, one makeover subject shared his struggle with depression to his family. Another guy had a heart-to-heart with the man who shot and paralyzed him. Like, this isn’t about french tucks anymore.

Listened

Blackout

Rami Malek’s voice stars in this apocalyptic power-outage podcast that’s set in Berlin, New Hampshire, of all places! Some of the NH accents are a little off, but it’s forgivable because this story is so dramatic, and I love all the local references. Did they get Jean Mackin to do the voice of the newscaster?! It sounds just like her!

NPR Life Kit: How to Buy a House

Disclaimer: I’m not buying a house. I just really love these Life Kit series that explain life basics like nutrition, budgeting, getting good sleep. I’m definitely NPR’s millennial target audience here. And hey, I knew nothing about buying a house before, and now I have some basic understanding.

“Erin Lee Carr on ‘I Love You, Now Die,’ Sobriety and the Legacy of her Father.” It’s Been a Minute with Sam Sanders

Calling out this episode because I had no idea who Erin Lee Carr was, and now I want to watch her documentaries and read her memoir. I appreciated her frank talk about her workaholic-ism and what she and her father (NYT journalist David Carr) sacrificed for their jobs—family, health, sanity—and how it’s actually maybe not worth it.

“What Would Jesus Drive?” Rough Translation

This episode explored the historical relationship between environmentalism and Evangelical Christianity. It was fascinating, at times infuriating, but overall maybe hopeful?