Book reviews · movies · Pop culture · Reading · Television · Watching

Reading and watching in 2018 – part 2

The list of things I read and watch quickly gets long so I decided to break them up at the half-way of the year. Check out part 1 if you’re interested in what I’ve watched and read so far this year. Below are notes for the second half of 2018. Enjoy.


  1. What it Means When a Man Falls From the Sky, a collection of short stories by Lesley Nineka Arimah. A wonderful set of stories with diverse settings and styles. The next to last line of the book captures well the underlying mood of so many of these stories: “Girls with fire in their bellies will be forced to drink from the well of correction till the flames die out.” I highly recommend this book.
  2. Batman: The Long Halloween by Jeff Loeb with art by Tim Sale. This story was amazing and the art was fabulous. Almost makes me want to read more Batman.
  3. March – book one; by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell. This is a three volume set of graphic novels about the life of John Lewis and his part in the Civil Rights movement and beyond. The first book focuses on his youth and is both well written and well illustrated. I look forward to reading the other two volumes soon.
  4. Locke & Key volume 4: Keys to the Kingdom. Although this volume started a bit slowly it ends with a fairly major shift in what is going on that sets things up well for the next arc. This continues to be a creepy and well written story from Joe Hill with excellent art from Gabriel Rodriguez.
  5. The Unknown Terrorist by Richard Flanagan. The author follows that well known dictate, “tell don’t show,” and produces a fairly wooden, predictable, and pedantic novel. I forget who recommended this book to me but it was not very good.
  6. Intercom on Product Management. This brief book (that I actually l listened to as an audio book) has great ideas about being a product leader and developing a SaaS product that users will love. It was a short listen but well worth the time.
  7. Harrow County volume 1: Countless Haints bu Cullen Bunn with art by Tyler Crook. Cullen Bunn is one of my favorite comic book writers and this book was a wonderfully creepy horror tale with an interesting ending. I will have to get the rest of this short series soon.
  8. Pluto volume five. This continues to be a compelling series and I am eager to read the rest of it to see where it goes.
  9. Kafka by Steven Seagle with art by Stefano Gaudiano. I was not a fan of this noir spy fantasy; it was too predictable.
  10. Pluto volume six. I’m glad I brought the last few volumes of this with me on vacation because I’m not sure I can keep myself from reading it all. This volume went in directions I did not expect and the story continues to be outstanding.
  11. Pluto volume seven. This continues to be an outstanding story that goes in directions I did not expect. Looking forward to reading the final volume soon.
  12. Pluto volume eight. This final volume was amazing. This was a great story with a great message. I’m so glad I read it.
  13. My Friend Dahmer. A graphic novel by Derf Backderf about a boy he went to high school with: Jeffrey Dahmer. The art style works for this story, which is sad and disturbing and hard to shake after finishing. Worth the read (and in no way gory or glamorous).
  14. Every Good Endeavor by Tim Keller. An interesting and well written book on work; I didn’t agree with all of it but I’m glad to have read it.
  15. Mind MGMT volume 2: The Futurist by Matt Kindt. This second volume was even more intricate than the first. I’m going to have to purchase all 6 volumes at some point so I can sit and read them all at once. So much happens in these stories that I need to sit and dig into them.
  16. Peak by Anders Ericsson. This book about the “new science of expertise” had some interesting things to say about the way to improve performance through deliberate practice. I enjoyed the book even though I don’t fully agree with it.
  17. Wolverine: Old Man Logan. This graphic novel by Mark Millar with art from Steve McNiven has been on my list for a while and I’m glad I finally read it. Enjoyable story well told with good art.
  18. Invincible compendium volume 1 (issues 1-47) by Robert Kirkman, Ryan Ottley and Corey Walker. Coering roughly the first third of this series, this opening volume introduces a lot of characters and builds the world of the story. There a few missteps (like derogatory uses of “gay” and “retarded”) but mostly the story is interesting and the art works well. I’ll continue reading this as I have the chance.
  19. What Works: Gender Equality by Design by Iris Bonnet. Good themes in this book but unfortunately not well written.
  20. Sabrina. The critically-acclaimed graphic novel from Nick Drnaso. Interesting, and very relevant, but ultimately not my style. The pacing was too slow for me and the ending left me uncertain.
  21. What on Earth Am I Here For by Rick Warren. A solid book about finding your purpose and passion in life.
  22. Giant Days volume 3. This graphic novel continues to be enjoyable; glad I but it every year for my daughter for Christmas.


  1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I didn’t actually just watch all seven seasons of this, but my daughter and I finished watching the series together this past week. I’ve now watched the whole show 3 times and it continues to be one of my favorite television series of all time. There are some weak moments (like most of season 6) and some overall problems with how Joss Whedon handles some story elements, but I still find the total series both enjoyable and encouraging.
  2. The Two Towers. I love these books and greatly enjoy the movies, but they can drag on at times. The second movie (especially in the extended version that I own) does feel a bit long in places.
  3. The Last Jedi. Saw that this was on Netflix so I rewatched it. I know some folks hated it, but I think it’s overall a good movie with a few meandering segments.
  4. The Return of the King. I rewatched this third part in the Lord of the Rings trilogy with my daughter this week; the movies are enjoyable but in the end I do prefer the books.
  5. Hannah Gadsby: Nanette. This Netflix special was very well done. At turns funny, angry, insightful, raw, and encouraging, this was well worth the hour+ time it takes to watch. If you haven’t seen it yet I urge you to do so.
  6. The Guardians of the Galaxy. I rewatched this movie with my daughter who wants to know the core movies to see in order to be reasonably well versed in the Marvel cinematic universe. It remains funny and enjoyable in spite of a few missteps and painful moments largely related to race and sexism.
  7. Captain America: Winter Soldier. Another one I rewatched with my daughter, and one of my favorite of the Marvel movies. One of the nice things about having mostly grown up kids is I get to share with them some of my favorite movies even as they point me to new things to watch myself.
  8. Room. A well done movie with a great child actor. I can’t exactly say I enjoyed this given some of the tension and brutality but it was definitely worth watching.
  9. Luke Cage season two. This season may have been better than the first. There are some very well done shots in the final episode that are clearly referencing The Godfather and I will be interested to see where things go next. And the music was wonderful.
  10. The Post. This was right down the middle with decent writing and acting but nothing spectacular.
  11. Jurassic Park. I’m continuing the cinematic education of my children as we watch together “classics” I saw before. This one is so much better than any of the sequels.
  12. Happy Valley season two on Netflix. The second season may even have been stronger than the first. I can only assume that Netflix watchers gave it 2 1/2 stars because some loved it and some hated it; put me in the 5-stars column.
  13. Hereditary. Some people said this movie was scary; I found it uninteresting and jumbled.
  14. Notorious RBG. This was a great look at Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The movie is well done and her life is inspiring.
  15. The Ring. Watched this with my daughter; even knowing the story I still find this creepy, unsettling, and scary.
  16. Animal Kingdom (the 2010 movie). Well done film about a deeply troubled family.
  17. The House of Flying Daggers. Enjoyable film even though it hits some predictable tropes.
  18. I, Tonya. Great movie about events I remember when they occurred. Fabulous acting and a strong script.
  19. The Aristocrats. This documentary about a famous joke and how different comedians would tell it was a fascinating look at the world of comedy.
  20. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. Pretty mediocre and predictable.
  21. The Good Place, season 2 on Netflix. This is a surprisingly good show with consistent comic timing and deceptively deep reflections on moral philosophy.
  22. BoJack Horseman, season 5 on Netflix. Another great season with hilarious comedy and dark drama. One episode in the middle is some of the best television I’ve ever seen.
  23. The Wolfpack. An interesting documentary about a family of children raised in an apartment in New York City that they virtually never left.
  24. After Hours. An 80s movie from Martin Scorsese. Not a great movie with a meandering plot and quirky characters, though it has a nice homage to Metropolitan.
  25. Master of None season two on Netflix. There were some great episodes in this season.
  26. The Witch on Netflix. Interesting folktale set in Puritan New England. Not scary as I had been led to believe but still engaging.
  27. Locke. A slow-burn movie with an interesting structure (one man driving a car and talking on his cell phone to various people over the course of 90 minutes). More compelling than it might sound.
  28. Split. Mostly I watched this to prepare for Glass coming out in early 2019. An M Night Shyamalan film set in the same “universe” as Unbreakable. Interesting.
  29. Groundhog Day. Rewatched this classic with my daughter who was home for the holidays.
  30. Bohemian Rhapsody. While not a perfect movie this is one I really enjoyed.
  31. The Kindergarten Teacher. Slow paced and disturbing tale of a woman’s decent into madness.
  32. The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix. While the final episode had a bit too much exposition and cheesiness for me, overall I liked the show and it made me want to go read the source material.
  33. Two Days, One Night. A heart-felt French movie, a bit slow at the beginning but ended strong.
  34. Daredevil season 3 on Netflix. Well done; I liked it better than season 2.
  35. The Last Waltz. A documentary about the final concert of The Band. Actually very enjoyable.
  36. Homeland on Amazon Prime. I found this a well done and thought provoking show; not sure if they will do a second season but I liked this.
  37. Vice. A well done reflection on the impact of Dick Cheney.
  38. It’s A Wonderful Life. Christmas-time family tradition.
  39. Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse. Delightful.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s