📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️🖤🖤🖤 for Warlords of Appalachia, by Phillip Kennedy Johnson

- kudos:

I don’t know what this book is supposed to be. It feels like too much worldbuilding and too little plot; I would like to see more of the Kentucky I know, but it also feels vaguely exploitative of Eastern Kentucky; it feels like an excuse for violent storytelling and wants to be something deeper without quite getting there. I wasn’t a fan.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for The Long War, by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

- kudos:

This series continues to have a really interesting premise, and I’m giving it some grace for how much it runs with that premise and treats it seriously. It took me a long time to get through this volume, though, because it’s getting a bit weird and the authors tend to fetishize the American frontier uncritically. I may come back to the series in the future, but not any time soon.

📺 tvblog: ❤️❤️❤️🖤🖤 for Ahsoka (Season 1)

- kudos:

The show started off strong, and there are lots of individual details that I liked (including a compelling dark Jedi who made lightsaber duels interesting again). However, by the end, it felt like a mishmash of fanservice, addressing plot threads from a show I haven’t seen, but then setting them up for a future movie instead of actually resolving them. So many decisions seemed to happen for the sake of plot or convenience, and it was kind of a slog to finish the dang thing.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Restorations: Scholars in Dialogue from Community of Christ and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, by Andrew Bolton and Casey Paul Griffiths

- kudos:

This was an interesting read, and there are portions of it that I expect to come back to later. However, I was surprised by how often I felt like I already knew what was being covered. Given my familiarity with both faiths, I expect that I’m not the target audience (anymore) for this volume.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 pour Josephine Baker, par Catel & Bocquet

- kudos:

Comme d’habitude, je suis impressionné par le nombre de bd francophones disponible en traduction chez ma bibliothéque municipale, mais j’aurais préféré lire cet album en français. En tout cas, je connaissais le nom Josephine Baker, mais je ne connaissais pas vraiment le personnage. J’aurai appris beaucoup plus en lisant une vraie biographie, mais une bd, c’est quand-même sympa !

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for The Long Earth, by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

- kudos:

This was a Jason Snell recommendation on a recent episode of The Incomparable that I nearly skipped; I’m glad I didn’t, though, because this was a fascinating book. The premise—that humanity suddenly learns about and how to access parallel worlds to either “side” of Earth—is a fascinating one. In fact, this is the kind of great science fiction that starts with a wild concept and plays with it as long as it can.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 pour Civilizations, par Laurent Binet

- kudos:

J’aime bien l’uchronie, et cet exemple offre beaucoup d’idées intéressantes, mais j’avoue que je ne vois pas en quoi il mérite un grand prix du roman de l’Académie française. Si je connaissais mieux l’histoire européenne, peut-être que je serais plus impressionné. En tout cas, c’était assez intéressant même si je n’ai pas tout suivi.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Archie 1941, by Brian Augustyn and Mark Waid

- kudos:

I am only passingly familiar with Archie, but the concept behind the miniseries was compelling, and I love a reimagining of familiar characters to make a point. Even more compelling was the treatment of World War II in a way that emphasized how awful war is instead of cheerleading the U.S. entry into the conflict. Really enjoyed this.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️🖤🖤 for Fables: The Deluxe Edition (Book Two), by Bill Willingham

- kudos:

Reading a second volume hasn’t changed my impression of this series: It’s an interesting premise, but there’s not really enough substance to it to be worth my attention. There’s more out there, but I don’t feel any completionist tendencies about it.

🍿 movieblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Barbie

- kudos:

I love a movie that leans into being bizarre because it knows exactly what it is and commits to it. I love a movie that uses metaphor to make important points. I love a movie that is self-aware and even self-critical. This was as good as I expected it to be.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️🖤🖤 for Fables: The Deluxe Edition (Book One), by Bill Willingham

- kudos:

As promised, I’m reading this in honor of Bill Willingham’s badass public domain antics earlier this week. I think the concept of his series is fun, but I’m not sure if I think it’s as great as its reputation. The idea of fairy tale characters living in the real world is full of potential, but the story seems pretty superficial. Will probably keep reading, though.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Dendo: One Year and One Half in Tokyo, by Brittany Long Olsen

- kudos:

It’s weird to rate this so highly given how much anxiety it gives me to read it. Reading it four years ago is what forced me to confront how much baggage I had from my own Mormon missionary experience, but I know the author has her own complicated feelings about the book, and that helps some. At any rate, the book is so well done that I can’t help but rate it highly.

🍿 movieblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 pour Le Petit Nicolas

- kudos:

Je dis pas que c’est un chef d’oeuvre, mais ça faisait plusieurs années depuis la dernière fois que j’ai regardé ce film, et on s’est bien amusé, ma fille et moi. Ça donne envie de lire les livres.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for A Legacy of Spies, by John Le Carré

- kudos:

I didn’t love this when I first read it after its publication, but it has grown on me since! It’s fanservice, franchise-oriented writing at its best, and even if some of its details strain plausibility (just how old is Smiley?), it’s fun to see behind the scenes of Leamas’s narrative in The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and to weld that narrative to characters we know from the Karla trilogy.

📺 tvblog: ❤️❤️❤️🖤🖤 for Good Omens 2

- kudos:

I really enjoyed the original adaptation of the book (which I’m trying to read now), and the characters and many of the jokes were just as delightful in the second series. As a whole, though, the series felt like it didn’t have much of a plot—or, when it did, that it was moving furniture for a third series.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Walkaway, by Cory Doctorow

- kudos:

I just read this earlier this year, but it was too good not to revisit and it’s just as good in epub as it was in audiobook. Love this book.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Chroniques de Jérusalem, by Guy Delisle

- kudos:

It’s been less than a month since I read the English translation of this, which I already gave full marks. Yet, the original French version was even better. Delisle captures this city and its conflicts in a comic book better than any news story ever could.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present, by David Treuer

- kudos:

In a way, I’m not in a great position to evaluate this book, because I’ve read shamefully little about indigenous populations in the Americas. That learning experience here, though, was a good one. Treuer doesn’t sugarcoat the past, but he celebrates the indigenous present and is even hopeful about the future. I have a lot more to read and learn, but this was a solid start.

🍿 movieblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Oppenheimer

- kudos:

Fascinating subject matter, great acting, beautiful visuals, and lots to keep you thinking after you watch it.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️🖤🖤 for Les Trois Néphites, Le Bodhisattva et le Mahdî, by Jad Hatem

- kudos:

I don’t remember how I discovered this book, but when ordering some books from France early in the pandemic, I couldn’t pass up the chance to read a Lebanese scholar’s treatment of the Three Nephites in the original French. That said, while there were interesting bits in here, I just don’t know that I follow academic French well enough to really get this. I have a PDF of the English translation that may be worth briefly revisiting.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Indignez-vous !, by Stéphane Hessel

- kudos:

I bought this pamphlet over a decade ago, in the gift shop at the Mémorial de Caen. I’d heard that it had influenced the Occupy protests, and even though I wasn’t sure I liked the Occupy protests (in 2012, I was a right-leaning centrist who would eventually vote Romney), I figured I ought to better understand them. I wasn’t sure I liked this pamphlet either when I first read it, but it’s been a while and my political views have marched leftward, so it was time for a rereading.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Smiley's People, by John Le Carré

- kudos:

I skipped The Honourable Schoolboy for this Le Carré adventure because I think it’s the weakest of the Karla trilogy, and because the BBC Radio 4 adaptation made me dread what kind of stereotypical Chinese accents an audiobook reader might adopt. I couldn’t possibly skip Smiley’s People, though; I think I might like it even more than Tinker Tailor, though you can’t appreciate this without having read that. It has the best of Le Carré—copious but not irrelevant detail, moral ambiguity without needless grittiness, and a sense of inevitability that still keeps you hooked on the story.

🍿 movieblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

- kudos:

I don’t know (or care) much about D&D worldbuilding, and I’m not going to let Hasbro off the hook for their OGL nonsense, but this was a fun movie, and I’m glad I finally got to watch it.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Chroniques de jeunesse, by Guy Delisle

- kudos:

J’ai déjà lu cet album cette année, mais comme j’étais en mode « Guy Delisle », j’ai décidé de le relire. C’est bien différent que ses albums de l’étranger, mais c’est tout aussi émouvant. J’aime beaucoup.

📺 tvblog: ❤️❤️🖤🖤🖤 for The Mandalorian (Season 3)

- kudos:

I don’t even remember when this season ended, but it took a while to convince myself to get through it. The first season of this show was near-perfect, but it’s gotten dumber over time, and this season was particularly disappointing. It felt stuffed with fanservice and worldbuilding I didn’t care about, indecisive and self-contradictory, and like everything proceeded on the logic of plot. Makes me miss Andor.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Pyongyang, by Guy Delisle

- kudos:

I’ve read this a number of times already, but after reading Delisle’s “Jerusalem,” I had to revisit it. It’s the wild, literally incredible story of the two months he spent in Pyongang supervising a team of North Korean animators who were doing work for the French animation studio Delisle worked for. The art is excellent, the writing is good, the story is bonkers. One of my favorite comics.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City, by Guy Delisle

- kudos:

I have been a fan of Delisle’s for quite some time, but I’m still blown away by how good this is. The book isn’t political or polemical, but a slice-of-life comic done by a cartoonist living in East Jerusalem for a year brings walls, checkpoints, rockets, and attacks on Gaza to life in a subtle, compelling way. I used to follow this news a lot more, and Delisle made me feel like there was a lot I missed even then.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for But Where Is the Lamb? Imagining the Story of Abraham and Isaac, by James Goodman

- kudos:

A friend recommended this book to me, and I’m very glad I tried it. It’s a broad consideration of how the Binding of Isaac has been interpreted, imagined, and portrayed over the centuries—combined with the author’s personal struggles with the story. It was difficult sometimes as an audiobook (while I appreciated its breadth, it sometimes felt repetitious), but I got a lot out of it.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for I Was Their American Dream, by Malaka Gharib

- kudos:

I wish I had read this before Gharib’s second comic memoir, because there’s a progression there (in terms of both the quality of art and adding detail to story) that makes it unfair to judge this one after reading it second. I think “It Won’t Always Be Like This” is better, but this comic is so good, too. Great story, distinctive art, great overall product.

📺 tvblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for The Diplomat (Season 1)

- kudos:

I really enjoyed this show! It veers from realism but into the fun thriller, and while its dedication to drama is obvious, it’s not always a bad thing. I enjoy a show that rewards the viewer for knowing the difference between the FSB and the GRU, and I’m really looking forward to the second season.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Dragon Hoops, by Gene Luen Yang

- kudos:

Everything about this is good: The writing, the art, the mix of the external story and the personal elements that Yang puts in. I wasn’t sure about a basketball comic, but I knew I could trust Yang to pull it off, and I was right.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Passion for Peace: Reflections on War and Nonviolence, by Thomas Merton

- kudos:

It took me six months to finally read this book, but it’s exactly what I hoped for, so it was worth the wait. Some of Merton’s essays are more compelling than others, but his fierce condemnation of war and advocacy for peace is moving. I’m sure I’ll be coming back to this.

🍿 movieblog: ❤️❤️❤️🖤🖤 for Elemental

- kudos:

Lots to love in this movie: The animation is gorgeous, the concept is interesting, the metaphors are well-meaning, and there are plenty of funny bits. There seemed to be too many subplots, though, and when any of them saw a shake-up, it didn’t always feel deserved. It also feels essentialist in the way that D&D does—yes, differences make sense in the fictional world, but since we’re meant to read them onto the real world, it doesn’t always sit right.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, by John Le Carré

- kudos:

I believe this is the third time I’ve read this book, and I’ve also enjoyed its BBC television and radio adaptations a lot. The first time I read it, I didn’t get it, the second time I loved it, and this time I see why it’s such a classic. It was fun to read the original after watching and listening to the adaptations pretty regularly over the past several years. Le Carré does well with detail, and I’d forgotten the subplots and side comments that get left out—but that add so much to the characters, the plot, and the overall feel of the book.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️🖤🖤🖤 for Swarmwise: The Tactical Manual for Changing the World, by Rick Falkvinge

- kudos:

I really want to like this book. I am sympathetic to pirate politics, and I’m impressed with its sudden surge to power in Sweden and elsewhere. I even think many of the ideas in here are compelling and will probably come back to it despite my relatively negative review. The thing, though, is that I struggled through it, so it took me so long to read it that I probably don’t even remember enough to give it a fair review—except that that is itself kind of damning.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for It Won't Always Be Like This: A Graphic Memoir, by Malaka Gharib

- kudos:

I find memoir (and other non-fiction) comics to be hit or miss; I’ve even passed up Gharib’s earlier memoir a number of times because I just wasn’t sure. I don’t know what stood out to me about this one, but I went for it and I loved it. I love getting a taste of meaningful events in someone else’s life, and Gharib does such a great job telling her story. It even made me wish I’d taken more Arabic classes in college so I could follow some parts better.