Wednesday, August 31, 2005

media update: August

Asterisks denote something I particularly enjoyed or found especially worthy of my time; your mileage may vary. Also, the fact that the words "bitch", "whores", "slut", and "idiot girls" appear in some of the titles is a complete coincidence, not a sign of internalized misogyny.


1. The Bitch Posse by Martha O'Connor: Three troubled teenage girls form a bond which lasts throughout adulthood, thanks to a horrible secret they all share. A bit melodramatic; with all the cutting and drugs, it reminded me of a literary version of Thirteen.

2. Luscious Lemon* by Heather Swain: My god, I starred a chick-lit book? Damn, I'm getting soft in my old age. But at any rate, just so you know, the cheerful cover, the too-cutesy title, and the perky blurb on the back are incredibly deceptive; this book gets very dark and sad (to say why would be a spoiler), and is much better than those things would lead you to believe.

3. Broken Prey by John Sandford: A vicious (as opposed to, you know, the cute 'n' cuddly kind) killer is on the loose in Minnesota. Nice and twisty, just the way I like 'em.

4. Whores on the Hill* by Colleen Curran: Now that's a title. Anyway, this is a great book about a group of friends attending an all-girl's Catholic school in the late 80's and the trouble they get into. Similar to #1, but not as dark and much better in my opinion.

5. Dearly Devoted Dexter* by Jeff Lindsay: Much better than its predecessor, this novel about a serial killer who channels his impulses by only going after bad guys is blackly funny and full of Grand Guignol gore. Not for the squeamish!

6. Zero Hour by S.D. Perry: Perhaps the only thing geekier than playing video games (which I say as a lifetime, hardcore gamer, mind) is reading a novelization of a video game.

7. The Starter Wife* by Gigi Levangie Grazer: Great literature? Not by a long shot. Entertaining? Wildly so.

Read so far this year: 43


1. A Cook's Tour* by Anthony Bourdain: A fascinating culinary travelogue that really made me want to visit Vietnam. Cambodia, though? Not so much.

2. Stranger Than Fiction by Chuck Palahniuk: Various essays ranging from the sexual displays at the Montana Testicle Festival to people who are obsessed with building their own castles. Interesting, but I prefer his fiction.

3. The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks: If you think I could resist something with that title, you just don't know me all that well, my friend. Unfortunately, it wasn't nearly as good as I thought it would be.

4. We Thought You Would Be Prettier: True Tales of the Dorkiest Girl Alive by Laurie Notaro: See #3.

5. The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2003* (anthology): Hey, anything that includes Lynda Barry and an essay on one author's ill-conceived childhood Halloween costume (Hitler) is bueno by me.

6. The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club by Laurie Notaro: Overrated, but better than #4.

7. Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott: I may not be religious, but these meditations on faith are wonderful.

8. Confessions of a Recovering Slut by Hollis Gillespie: Apparently, August is Awesome Title Month. But anyway, I remain convinced that Hollis Gillespie is actually my friend Susan in disguise, and NO, not because of the title, but because they're both hysterically funny Southern women who share a lovingly cynical mindset.

Read so far this year: 35


1. Beauty Pop* vols. 1-2 by Arai Kiyoko

2. The Prince Who Fell in Love by Ako Shimaki

3. Sensitive Pornograph by Sakura Ashika: No, I didn't forget a "y"; that's how the author spells it.

4. Swan* vol. 2 by Ariyoshi Kyoko: I am an absolute sucker for 70's shojo, and this ballet manga is an excellent example of the genre at its best.

5. Cinderella Boy by Yumeno Makoto

6. Peach Girl: Change of Heart vol. 10 by Miwa Ueda

7. Level C vol. 2 by Aoi Futaba and Kurenai Mitsuba

8. La Suite d'Amour du Chat Noire by Takemiya Satoru

9. Brother Dear Brother* by Riyoko Ikeda: The basis for one of my all-time favorite anime series, this is about the psychological damage girls inflict upon each other in an effort to be popular.

10. Super Double* by Hoshino Lily

Read so far this year: 77


1. Constantine: G, C, M, D, and I watched this thinking it would be so howlingly bad that we could MST3K it while watching, but it wasn't nearly as terrible as we'd thought it would be. Convoluted and full of mumbo-jumbo, to be sure, but it had some good scenes. Keanu Reeves is still the worst actor of all time, though.

2. The Transporter*: After I said, only half-jokingly, that white men can't do martial arts, G sat me down in front of this movie. The plot is negligible, but Jason Statham is one sexy bad-ass cracker, and the fight in the oil puddle alone earns this flick a star. I'll be seeing the sequel, oh yes.

3. Skeleton Key*: A nice, spooky little Southern-fried flick in which Kate Hudson finds some very bad things behind locked doors. Interesting twist at the end, too. Not great art by any means, but I enjoyed it.

4. The Abyss: I lost a bet and G made me watch it. It was actually pretty good, but oy, so damn long!

5. First Daughter: Yeah, yeah, I know.

6. Resident Evil Apocalypse: Much better than the first installment, mainly because they actually had characters from the games this time around. Now I require an RE movie with Leon Kennedy, preferably featuring many nude scenes. Oh yeah...lots of nude scenes. Leon all sweaty and bruised, soap running down muscled thighs as he...

I'll be back in about ten minutes.

[Ten minutes later]

7. Kinsey: Illuminating biopic of sexual pioneer Alfred Kinsey. Drags in parts, but it has a way of grabbing your attention again. "Zzzz...oh my god, was that an actual vadge shot??"

8. The Woodsman: Ordinarily I'd make a snarky comment about "wood", but since this is a movie about a child molester, I didn't think it was appropriate. Excellent performances, dreary flick.

9. The Stepford Wives*: Lacks quite a bit of the satirical sting of the original, but I still enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. "Why don't I just spell BIG JEW on my front lawn with pinecones?"

Seen so far this year: 29