Thursday, July 28, 2005

(early) media update: July

I'm posting this early because I'm going to be busy the next few days getting ready for my trip, plus I won't have any internet access, you go.

Asterisks denote something I particularly enjoyed or found especially worthy of my time; your mileage may vary.


1. Haunted* by Chuck Palahniuk: In which the author managed the nigh-impossible, i.e. grossing me out so badly with one of the stories within ("Guts") that I literally gagged. That story aside, there's some great stuff in here, as expected. Palahniuk is a genius.

2. Velocity* by Dean Koontz: Much darker than many of his recent novels (a mannequin with a toothed vagina makes an appearance!), Koontz spins a disturbing tale of a man who finds himself trapped in a deadly game of cat and mouse with a psycho.

3. The Diet by Edita Kaye: An offensive, poorly written, sizeist diet book posing as a novel. Don't be fooled by the sexy cover; this is a piece of shit and every copy should be burned and then the ashes should be salted so that nothing can ever grow there again.

4. The Year of Pleasures* by Elizabeth Berg: You know, I've read every single one of Berg's novels, and there hasn't been a single one that failed to make me cry. (Talk Before Sleep, in particular, should have come with a box of free Kleenex; I was literally howling.) This lovely, lyrical novel about a widow moving to a small town and rediscovering herself was no exception.

5. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince* by JK Rowling: I don't want to say too much for fear of spoiling it, but holy fucking wow. I didn't see THAT coming. Definitely much better than its predecessor; that last book is going to be a corker.

6. Cherries in the Snow by Emma Forrest: Eh...for chick lit, not half bad.

7. The Bright Forever by Lee Martin: I've read The Lovely Bones, and you, sir, have not written the new Lovely Bones.

8. With or Without You by Lauren Sanders: A woman in jail for murdering a soap opera star reflects on her crime.

9. Harold's End* by JT LeRoy: This tiny, beautifully illustrated book is the touching story of a teenage prostitute and his...snail. Yes, really.

10. Best American Non-Required Reading 2004: Being completely anal, I wasn't sure whether to put this anthology under fiction or non-fiction, since it includes both. At any rate, the most interesting story in here is "Camp Trans" by Michelle Tea, about the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival's decision to ban transgendered individuals from attending the all-female event.


1. American Taboo* by Philip Weiss: The disturbing true story of a woman in the Peace Corps who was murdered by a fellow volunteer, how the Peace Corps covered it up, and how the perpetrator got away with it. The writing is awkward at times, but it's not majorly distracting.


1. Yotsubato* vols. 1-3 by Azuma Kiyohiko

2. Lovers Flowers by Anisaki Yuna

3. Love or Money by Sang-Eun Lee

4. X-Day vols. 1-2 by Setona Mizushiro


1. Me and You and Everyone We Know*: A delightfully quirky movie, by turns hilarious and poignant, and filled with smart and nuanced performances. AND it had Virginia Astley on the soundtrack, AND a scene where a character yells, "We could be together forever, you fucker, but you have to call me first!" And if all this wasn't enough on its own, there's one scene which couldn't be improved upon in any way (for those of you who have seen it, it's the walk to the car) and a part at the end that perfectly encapsulates that feeling when you finally find someone that just gets you. Definite thumbs up from this corner.

2. Mean Creek: A group of teenagers decide to get revenge on a bully, and then their plan goes horribly awry. Excellent performances from a mostly young cast, but it's very depressing.

3. Boat Trip: Okay, how did something this inane and offensive not only manage to get made, but wind up starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Roger Moore? The only remotely redeeming thing about it is that it features a couple of very nice shots of Cuba's sweet, sweet ass.

4. House of Flying Daggers*: Quite possibly one of the most visually stunning movies I've ever seen. Throw in some great martial arts sequences and you know I was lovin' that shit.

5. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory*: I still prefer the original, but this hallucinogenic fantasy was pretty awesome too.