I’m finally home after my five-week (!) Eastern time zone adventures. There may be a lot to say about that some other day, but I have read some books and watched some TV & movies, so let’s get into that first. Also, if anyone is on Letterboxd, give me a shout so we can follow each other. (Or, you know, sign up and then we can follow each other. Either works for me.) My username over there is englishist.
First, the books:No Offense by Meg Cabot
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This book is *very* cozy. I went to one of Meg Cabot’s events for the book, and she described this as a mystery, and it wasn’t even really a mystery in the traditional sense because the culprit was known from the beginning and nobody got murdered (though there is a crime–not saying you need murder for something to be a mystery), so it was more about how the sheriff and/or librarian were going to catch the person. The focus here is really on the librarian and the sheriff and their banter.
I am bereft (BEREFT!) that there will be no books about the teenagers, but they are still in the book and contribute to the plot, so I have to be satisfied with that.
This was a nice palate cleanser, and I enjoyed it.
View all my reviews Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee
At 25%, I considered giving up on this book because not a whole lot was happening to keep me interested and at 44%, I finally moved on to another book. I like everything the book is trying to do–it’s just not holding my interest, which is a bummer because it’s about so many things I like.
View all my reviews You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Well, this was just a joy and a delight. And you already know that I am 100% in love with that cover.
Also, I super dug making the prom king and queen contest have higher stakes than just popularity. It made it actually make sense that people care so much about actually winning. (At my school, the king and queen were chosen out of a hat, so.)
View all my reviews Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
I made it to 32% before tapping out and honestly, I really didn’t understand what was going on before then. I just know it got real gruesome, real fast and since I was already not super into it, I saw no need to continue on.
Robin Miles continues to be a goddess among audiobook narrators, though, and I must always give her props.
View all my reviews
Not a lot to report here. I finished The Bernie Mac Show (finally) and also watched all of the episodes of the Halloween Baking Championship that are on Hulu. I didn’t really like the latter because the judges wanted everything to be gory, and I don’t like looking at or eating gross things. The former was, of course, funny and the ending was bittersweet because Bernie has a near death experience and then, two years later, he died in real life. Still, it was fun to rewatch many of the episodes as well as see the ones I hadn’t seen before.
I also watched all of Woke (Hulu), which I wasn’t sure I would like at first. If you’re unfamiliar, the premise is that the main character becomes “woke” after a run-in with the police. I was able to keep watching because there’s a lot of levity in the show, and it made me laugh a lot. The characters (and actors, obviously) are all charming and have great chemistry, so that also works. Also, I knew Lamorne Morris had it in him to be a star after watching the New Girl epiosode wherein it’s revealed that Winston is colorblind. His delivery of his green tennis shoes being “as brown as my money” has not once been forgotten in this house, so I was excited to see what he would do in this show.
Also, the show normalizes Black men getting therapy, and I am all about that action.
And, finally, all the movies:
All Together Now (Netflix)
This is a very charming and sweet movie and it is also very sad and I was somehow not prepared for that, so I’m just a touch bitter about it.
Justina Machado remains a national treasure, and Auli’i Cravalho was such a delight. Also, Carol Burnett! I mean, come on.
But also, yeah, one Netflix synopsis mentioned tragedy and the other did not and the one that did not was on the main page, so I was completely caught off guard because of all of the delightful singing and joy in the stupid trailer.
Movie is good, though.
Deidra & Laney Rob a Train (Netflix)
There is a lot I liked about this movie, including the casting. I thought Deidra, Laney, and Jet all actually looked like siblings whose mom was the actress playing the mom, which was nice. I also, of course, loved that it’s about two super smart and badass girls.
I loved the casting of Claire because I love a plus-sized mean girl. I was not expecting that at all (and, in fact, thought the story was going to go a different way with her). I don’t know if the actress is actually plus-sized or is just movie plus-sized (i.e., looks that way next to all the super tiny girls) but when old girl made her super snide remark and then walked off hand in hand with her boyfriend, I was like, “OKAY NOW.”
Yeah, so the movie was super well cast, and I liked the conflict in general. I didn’t like the snide remark about community college, but I also liked the counselor’s petty desperation so they kind of balanced.
Oh, and of course, I loved all the stuff with the mom and her relationship with the girls and the parents hate/lust relationship with each other.
Three and a half stars because it took me a while to figure out how I felt about the movie and also because it was VERY STRESSFUL. I mean, I know movies need conflict and suspense but also, I don’t know, I was stressed before I knew if I liked what the movie was doing or not, so.
Enola Holmes (Netflix)
This was quite cute and fun and then the final fight scene was (I thought) unnecessarily gruesome. There’s another fight scene that gets a little dark, but, geez, I actually covered my eyes during the latter one. So that took a little of the charm away for me.
Prescription: Murder (Amazon Prime)
If you, like I, already love Columbo but haven’t seen this before, it’s such a great distillation of what the character and the (eventual) show are all about. Everything about every great Columbo episode/movie is there, and the way I want Columbo to take down these moneyed, smug a-holes remains a constant. Columbo is the actual best and Peter Falk is perfection.
I screened this for my students last year, and many of them had never seen the show so were brand new to the experience, and they were less effusive than I, so, you know, that happens too. Still, this is a compelling watch for me having seen it before, and it was a compelling watch for those that were new to it.
A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting (Netflix)
This was like a The Baby-Sitters Club, Labyrinth, Adventures in Babysitting, and Beetlejuice mash-up. The movie started strong but I lost interest about halfway through and had it on as more of background noise. I think, for me, the two big issues are the lack of humor and that the chemistry of the actors/characters never quite gels.
A Simple Favor
This was super engaging and a lot of fun. I liked that I didn’t trust any of the characters (except Miles) because that added to it. So, yeah, the Gone Girl comparisons have been made and they’re apt because this is like Gone Girl, only with actual likeable characters.
I wasn’t clear on how long Stephanie and Emily actually knew each other before declaring they were best friends, but given their romantic relationships I guess it doesn’t really matter, honestly.
Regular updates to resume soon (tomorrow, I hope) because you know I have a voting story. Have a safe (and great) week, everyone! Find/friend me on Letterboxd!