I’ve never been one to flow with the crowd. I resist the year’s hot new thing and delve into the hot new thing from five years prior, taking my time with it without facing the pressure to catch up with everyone else. As a result, I’ve only kept up with extremely current culture in recent years, when my job required it of me.
Still, my natural way of action is to explore what I want and not what critics, friends, and the people on the train are watching. Such was the case this year, when I leisurely read whatever caught my fancy and gleefully ignored whatever popular film just seemed unbearable to me. Life’s too short to sit through crappy entertainment.
As always, my favorite books and movies I read and saw this year are not limited to 2019 releases. These are the titles that left an impression on me throughout the year.
1) Man Up (2015) – Seen January 1, 2019
I love a rom-com with an unconventional leading man. Lake Bell’s pessimistic Nancy accidentally ends up on a blind date in London with Jack (Simon Pegg), going along with the case of mistaken identity as she starts to fall for Jack. The film follows their night spent together, eventually detailing their confrontations with their own issues related to love and relationships. Man Up is such a fun romp through London and presents a unique storyline, which is always a plus in the rom-com genre.
I’ve been so distracted with work and other writing projects that I’ve definitely been putting off a recap of my June reads. Plus, I’ve delved into such enjoyable books this month in July that the books below haven’t exactly stuck out that much since I finished them. It wasn’t until the end of the month that I realized most of what I read was non-fiction, but it seems that I’ve recently gone through phases of preferring non-fiction or documentaries over literary fiction and TV shows. Anyone else feel that way every now and then?
July has already gone down a significantly different path in terms of what I’ve read. While I’m so excited to eventually share what books I’ve read in the past two weeks or so, here’s what I have to say about the five books I read in June.
From Little Houses to Little Women: Revisiting a Literary Childhood, by Nancy McCabe (★★★☆☆)
I received this memoir / literary critique for Christmas a few years ago, and while I read about half of it soon after getting it, I never picked it up again. I rarely buy books because of a lack of storage, so I’ve been trying to chug through the stories on my shelves that I somehow haven’t read yet. McCabe’s book follows her adult journeys to the real-life settings of her favorite childhood books, such as Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series, the Anne of Green Gables books, and Little Women. She takes these trips with her young daughter, who is usually quite indifferent to the meaning of these locations, and looks at these classic stories from her grown perspective, often becoming disappointed with how problematic the stories actually were.
Like many girls, I reread the Little House books so much as a kid, but as I’ve mentioned before, I love going back to the Anne books and try to reread Anne of the Island at least once a year. I’m also fiercely protective of Anne Shirley, and McCabe’s critique of those books didn’t sit well with me. I get that, as an academic, it was her job to be critical of the stories, but at certain points, it just came across as too extreme for me. I did like some of McCabe’s insights, though!
As I said in my last post about what I was watching on TV, the past year has seen me go through phases of not wanting to watch many shows outside of work. Maybe it’s because the big shows I usually cover, This Is Us and The Bachelor, are in between seasons now and new TV is winding down for the summer, but I’ve become way better in keeping up with my other shows and starting ones I’ve always meant to watch. So, while I’m more than ready for The Bachelorette to premiere and take over my Monday nights again, I’ve loved having the freedom to just watch whatever TV I’d like at night the past few weeks!
The past month has also brought me amazing work opportunities allowing me to watch new content, dust off my English major’s analyzing skills, interview interesting people, and produce features that I’m very proud of. Read on to hear more about these experiences and how they affected my recent TV viewing, plus thoughts on what shows I’ve been loving lately!
Okay, guys, I know I’m like two years late on this, but I was on the fence about starting Stranger Things for a long time. Sci-fi has never been my thing, so I was very skeptical about whether I’d enjoy the show. I finally figured that in the immediate lead-up to Season 3, I would inevitably have to work on Stranger Things content, and it sounded like the type of the show I’d rather not just rely on online summaries in order to write about. So, admittedly after discovering David Harbour and developing a bit of a crush, I caved, and now I’m about halfway through Season 1. I don’t love it so far, but I’m definitely invested and have enjoyed each episode. Also, the slimy, breathing substance in the Hawkins lab never ceases to remind me of “The Beast Below” episode of Doctor Who.
I mentioned before that I’ve kept a notebook of book quotes since I was 16, and six years after starting that collection, it’s still going strong! From my eleventh grade summer reading assignments to current reads that are more likely to align with my mom’s book choices than ever before, any writing that left me thinking, crying, or laughing is captured in this notebook.
Obviously, this record has a crazy amount of quotes, so I wanted to share 10 of my favorites from the first few pages, which equates to what I read my last two years of high school and freshman year of college. You can totally tell where I was in school when flipping through the quote book (the classics mentioned below? Some of them were assigned reading). I loved picking these out, so I will definitely do another post covering the next chunk of my notebook!
While the majority of these books were first-time reads, quotes from the Anne of Green Gables series pop up throughout my notebook because I’m always rereading them and finding new bits that I love!
“Emma’s mid-twenties had brought a second adolescence even more self-absorbed and doom-laden than the first one.”
One Day, David Nicholls
I’m in a bit of a slow, transitory phase of my life now, and it’s hard not to get frustrated with the pace of things when everyone around me seems to already be on their next adventure. The quote above resonates with my current mindset. I must have read One Day when I was only a high school junior, so I don’t know why this quote about a proper grown-up appealed to me. It’s part of why I write down quotes I like – they’re words of encouragement or wisdom for the future.
Sanne, one of my favorite YouTubers, made a video over the summer about which female book characters she’d pick for her own “bookish girl squad.” She came up with certain characteristics to follow when picking girls, which I decided to list below and use to build my own bookish squad!
Honestly, the idea behind squads kind of intimidates me (blame Taylor Swift’s ever-growing posse), but because imagining book characters were real is the best thing ever, I had no issue putting together this fun group!
Someone who will force you to go out when you want to stay in – Louisa Clark (Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes)
I seriously need a friend like this, but anyone who tries can never manage to break my very tough aversion to the “going out” scene. Lou would be the ideal person for the job because, as seen with persuading Will to do things, she can make things happen when she really wants them to. She’ll go to the ends of the earth to make sure you’re having a good time, even if it creates some awkward moments at the horse races, as the book shows.