I haven’t written a blog post in 5 months but I missed blogging too much, so now that I have more time to dedicate to it. It would seem that even if I did have more time, that does not mean more blog posts as I’ve spent these past few weeks trying to finish my Anne with an E blog post but to no success. So I thought maybe a wrap up would ease me into it again. A lot has happened since I last wrote, most of which I will probably touch upon in my yearly wrap up for 2018. But so many things have happened and these wrap ups were a way for me to document my months. So July. First, at the beginning, I attended Anime Expo. I am not an anime fan at all but it was fun to walk around and see the different artists’ work and I ended up buying a couple of prints. I also walked around the exhibit hall with all the vendors selling posters, souvenirs, . There was a very interesting section for 18+ crowds where you could try out a sex simulation with a maid on a VR set. But the cosplays were so fascinating to see and it was worth just for that.
As always, I had a fuck ton of food adventures, featured below:
What else happened, oh I got a haircut and some new glasses. I felt like I shed an old life when I got new glasses because I had had my old ones for so many years, since before college.
And of course, I cannot forget that I turned 24 this month! And I have to say, it was pretty much the best birthday of my entire life. Part of my happiness had to do with the fact that I felt 24. In previous years, every birthday felt like a year of non accomplishments. But this year, I felt like I had accomplished so many milestones and I was actively working towards my goals and dreams. But a huge part of my birthday happiness was due to the pleasure of spending it with some of the people I loved most in this world. It’s always an anxious affair when different groups of my friends meet up. I always wonder, will they get along? What will they even talk about? But as most of these things go, it turned out to be fine and I had a great time. I had an amazing time eating hotpot and drinking a little too much and then of course the drunk talks late into the night. Thank you for the memories and it makes me excited for the years to come.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid – 3.5/5
I truly wish Taylor Jenkins Reid wrote literary fiction instead of genre fiction. She has all these ingredients of a good LF author; she focuses on complex character development. It follows Hugo, a famous actress in the ’50s and her rise to fame. She has been shrouded by mystery but is now coming out and willing to share the truth behind her seven husbands and her famous career. The caveat is that she only wants to tell her story to an inexperienced reporter, Monique Grant. The problem I see with Reid’s is that there is some huge twist that takes the spotlight away from the emotional core.
Another weakness was the reporter’s separate story when she is not interviewing Hugo. Her story was not nearly as interesting as Hugo’s and I found myself impatiently waiting for when we could return back to Hugo. I love how it analyzes the way Hugo uses her sexuality and embraces her image when everyone would judge her for being a woman of ruthless ambition who uses her looks to get ahead in her career. But I would have loved this book if it had about 25% less plot twists and 25% more character development/emotion.
The Lady Astronaut of Mars by Mary Robinette Kowal – 4/5
I really want to read Kowal’s The Calculating Stars now, which is essentially a prequel to this Hugo award winning novella. It follows a lady astronaut who was famous for going to Mars but is now old and cannot go on any more space missions. She has to make a hard decision about going on one last space mission. Like all scifi novellas I have liked, it teases the details of the world and lets you make the rest of the worldbuilding yourself. The characters are so well drawn for a short novella. A Hugo award well deserved.
Blankets by Craig Thompson – 3/5
Another one of my specialties, the quintessential coming of age graphic memoir. It is drawn in a very monochromatic palette, with basically only blacks and whites and a few grays in between. It has a sketchy but geometric drawing style with tidbits of the surrealist where the author is drawing his feelings instead of the reality.
I wish he had followed more of the relationship between his father, mother, and brother who he hinted he had more complicated relationships with, but instead he took a different trajectory and followed his love of the neighborhood girl. There’s a very fine line that would not allow this story to delve into the cliche but unfortunately it did. Their relationship became redundant and typical. I also wished he had explored more of his relationship with drawing and the more gradual exploration of how he lost his faith with Christianity. He spent too much time on one aspect and not enough on other aspects. As many coming of age stories around boys it features bullies, an unrequited love, and the feeling of not fitting in with the other boys when he did not fit the ideals of masculinity.
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls – 3.75/5
You can find a lot of comparisons between TGC and Educated by Tara Westover; they are both memoirs about a more-than-eccentric family living off the grid with narcissistic parents that was highly skeptical of modern medicine and the government. At their cores, the books are about the authors’ struggle to find their identity while being in toxic abusive parental and sibling relationships. I enjoyed Educated more because of Westover’s inclusion of footnotes throughout stating her memories may not be completely accurate but that she consulted other witnesses to the events to ensure it was as accurate as possible. I also preferred Westover’s more sentimental and introspective writing. She would focus more on her internal thoughts which I appreciated because I wanted to know how she dealt with such mental pressure and dissonance. I also really enjoyed Westover’s comparison of her childhood versus the life she led after she started college and her perspective changed. Walls did not fully into her mental life after she moved to New York and separated from her parents. Her memoir read more like a progressive exposition of events that happened (I did this, then that) and although I appreciated the blunt unsentimental nature that prevented the memoir from spiraling into sappiness, it did take a lot of the emotion out of it. My favorite part, however, was the portrayal of the relationship between her father and Walls. Though they had a fraught relationship (he almost pimped her out once) she still loved him and although I personally would want nothing to do with him anymore, Walls helped me understand at least slightly why she would continue to have him in her life.
I love seeing how people interact so it’s no surprise I like this channel. I especially like the truth or drink featuring couples. Some of them are so awkward but I love all their answers anyways.
Seventeen – Oh My
Seventeen is now the only kpop boy group I will follow by every song they release. They really make use of their large ensemble and I just love their music.
Childish Gambino – Summertime Magic
Honestly, Gambino never really disappoints me.
Kygo, Imagine Dragons – Born to Be Yours
A Kygo x Imagine Dragons collaboration was not going to disappoint me either. It is a great summer song.
World of Warcraft
I am currently playing as a retribution paladin and am level 20 so now and it gives me such high school nostalgia where I would spend hours on Wizard101 being lost in a fantasy world.
The Incredibles – 2/5
This movie was just ok. I remembered the first movie pretty vividly as it is one of my favorite Pixar movies. It was wonderfully dark, a near perfect blend of delicious satire and commentary around family and delivering blockbuster worthy action scenes. This one tried to do that. The last one was about how Mr. Incredible having a midlife crisis and wanting to do superhero work work instead of being with his family and working his 9-5 job. I loved that the second movie was going to focus on Helen and her identity outside of the family. But it didn’t really go far enough I felt. There was no resolution other than Helen getting the temporary spotlight. They also spent way too much time on Jack Jack and the discovery of his powers even though they were not even used that much in the movie. There was also a lack of tension and emotional stake, a compelling villain, and less than stellar family dynamic exploration. It definitely more like a studio cashout on a blockbuster than an authentic exploration of family which was pretty sad.
I will have separate reviews for these as I’m pretty sure they will end up in my favorite TV shows of 2018.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – 4/5
To be honest with you, I was having a tough time getting into TV this year. I tried going through a lot of TV shows in the hopes that one would stick and this show broke my slump. It is one of my favorite TV shows of 2018, no question, if not my favorite. It is so charming with easily likeable characters and the Gilmore Girls signature whip fast dialogue.
Anne with an E Season 2 – 3.75/5
Definitely not as good as the first season but it still has its merits and I loved the deeper exploration of secondary characters especially Diane
30 Rock Season 1 -YES. My new Parks and Rec. Y’all know I cannot live without a good comedy in my life.
To all the Boys I’ve Loved Before Trailer
Can it please be August 17 already??? I am hesitantly optimistic about this movie even though the last teen comtemporary I saw was Everything, Everything and that was sooo bad. Although maybe I’m looking at this trailer through rose colored lenses because this series is after all, my favorite YA contemporary series. But the casting is pretty spot on if you can ignore the non Korean casting of the Korean characters and the song! so lovely. And so far, they are really sticking to the core of who Lara Jean is. Also, I really support the decision to air it on Netflix instead of in theaters. There is less pressure to perform as well so they stylistic choices can be up the cast and crew instead of following the whims of a studio.