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July 26, 2018 – 7:45 pm | One Comment

It’s been 110+ degrees here and I’ve been hiding in places with A/C because I’m trying to avoid an electric bill for $47K next month. This means lots of time at the library and movie theater. …

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Nerdy Special List June 2018

June 11, 2018 – 10:01 pm | 2 Comments

Summer is here so that means packing 5 books for every 1 day of vacation you take, right? Consider stuffing the following titles into your over-the-weight-limit bags!

Jen at Brown Dog Solutions recommends:

Us Against You by Fredrik Backman (Atria, June 5)

In this emotional sequel to Beartown, Fredrik Backman picks up with the small, struggling city as the citizens try to rebuild their beloved hockey team amid violence, deceit, and hate.

Backman’s complex plot illustrates how the club touches lives in every corner. Using hockey merely as the tool, he tells a story of humanity in all its beauty and foibles. His language is poetic, his approach often humorous, and his understanding of mankind astounding.

Simultaneously heartbreaking and uplifting, Us Against You takes Backman to new heights. Readers needn’t have read Beartown first but spoilers are present here.

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo (Beacon Press, June 26)

Antiracist educator and author of the term “white fragility,” Robin DiAngelo succinctly explains white people’s defensive reactions and how they impede necessary discussions about race.

She illustrates how racism is everpresent in our culture and even well-meaning people perpetuate the problem. Being more aware of this fact and open to it is the first step in enacting real change.

DiAngelo is tactful but honest, explaining that the discussions and actions are uncomfortable, but trying to make them otherwise only exacerbates the problems. White Fragility can be eye-opening for those willing to take a close look with DiAngelo.

Rory at Fourth Street Review recommends:

Florida by Lauren Groff (Riverhead, June 5)

I love short stories. Possibly more than novels, which, if you’d asked ten years ago, I would’ve said was impossible.

When I saw the new work from Lauren Groff (author of the phenomenal Fates and Furies) was a collection of short stories set in Florida, I was thrilled. Florida is dark, oppressive, full of dread—an “Eden of dangerous things”—everything I hoped it would be.

Groff captures the gritty essence of the state. The stories are rich in characters, atmosphere, and perils of the natural world. This collection makes a wonderful addition to Groff’s work and a great pick for your summer reading list.

Lauren at Malcolm Avenue Review recommends:

On the Java Ridge by Jock Serong (Text Publishing Company, June 12)

Jock Serong’s On the Java Ridge is devastatingly brilliant and the best work I’ve read this year. I cried. Twice. I am not a damn crier.

As two Indonesian-built sailboats head toward Australian waters, the government announces a new policy: no unidentified vessels will be offered maritime assistance. One boat is a charter full of white tourists on a surf trip; the other packed with asylum seekers.

The two boats cross paths to disastrous effect on the eve of federal elections, making the political maneuvering even more gut-wrenching.

Java Ridge is a grueling mix of high-octane action, life-and-death politics, and, at its heart, a haunting portrayal of worldwide refugee crises.

Sex and the City and Us: How Four Single Women Changed the Way We Think, Live and Love by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong (Simon & Schuster. June 5)

Armstrong is becoming perhaps our greatest television historian, following Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted and Seinfeldia. She is now taking on the HBO blockbuster Sex and the City.

Armstrong’s insight is fascinating. This is an in-depth look at how four single women in New York changed the pop culture landscape and countless lives across gender and sexuality spectra. The show caused ripples in ways I never even imagined, and anyone interested in the influence of television will find this book meticulously researched and engagingly written.

PCN recommends:

The Word Is Murder by Anthony Horowitz (Harper, June 5)

A woman walked into a mortuary to plan her own funeral, and hours later was murdered in her home. Wha? Did she know she’d be murdered? Or was it a freak coincidence?

Whatever your guess, it’s likely wrong. In this clever meta novel, the author, using real-life details, makes himself a lead character, a modern-day Watson to a prickly Holmesian (fictional) detective who investigates the woman’s death.

Murder is a mind-sharpening mystery, and fans of Horowitz’s TV and film work (Foyle’s War, Injustice, etc.) will enjoy the Easter eggs.

What are you reading this month?

Nerdy Special List May 2018

May 14, 2018 – 6:49 pm | 4 Comments

Even though it’s not summer yet, I was inundated with May books that seem intended to be read in one sitting, as if we’re on vacation or something. And if we’re not, we’ll just have …


April 8, 2018 – 7:54 pm | 4 Comments

I had a lazy weekend—well, lazier than usual—and ended up watching lots of TV and movies. Good thing they were mostly entertaining. Here are some brief thoughts on the ones worth mentioning.
Killing Eve

I’ve been salivating …

Book Review: RED CLOCKS by Leni Zumas

February 28, 2018 – 1:20 am | One Comment
red clocks

This review is by contributor Thuy Dinh, coeditor of the literary online magazine Da Mau.
In Leni Zumas’s lyrical yet unsparing novel, red clocks symbolize the identity crises, haunting wombs, ticking time bombs of five female …

Book Review: THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED by Mick Herron

February 23, 2018 – 12:07 am | One Comment
this is what happened

Mick Herron’s standalone This Is What Happened begins in medias res, with 26-year-old Maggie Barnes hiding in a bathroom in a high-rise building during a dangerous spy mission.
Until recently, she was working in the corporate …

Nerdy Special List February 2018

February 15, 2018 – 11:42 pm | One Comment

It’s Friday before a long holiday weekend for some. And after yet another school shooting.
When I’m heartsick, I turn to books to save me, and they always do.
Here are this month’s recommendations.
From Jen at Brown Dog …

Nerdy Special List January 2018

January 12, 2018 – 12:33 am | One Comment
chalk man

Hello, how is everyone? You’re all looking wonderful and that outfit totally suits you.
I hid from the internet for about 3 weeks over the holidays because I wanted to reclaim my mind space. Choose what …

Favorite Reads of 2017

December 8, 2017 – 11:46 pm | One Comment
IMG_4426 2

Though 2017 has been in the rearview mirror for almost a month, with skid marks I left on my way out, I wanted to look back to review my reading stats. Last year was rich for …

Nerdy Special End-of-Year List 2017

December 8, 2017 – 1:36 am | 4 Comments

While all the TV shows and commercials are depicting snow, here in L.A. it’s raining ash and debris. Happy holidays!
Because a smoke advisory is in effect, I have to stay inside and read. Luckily, cabin fever …

Mini Movie Reviews: Holiday Season 2017

November 26, 2017 – 9:41 pm | 2 Comments
Screen Shot 2017-11-26 at 7.13.34 PM

Hope you had a wonderful weekend! My Thanksgiving was nice and relaxing and the only drama occurred onscreen, with my trying to catch up on movies being touted as award contenders. If you’re wondering what …


November 16, 2017 – 3:44 pm | 3 Comments

I’ve been attending lots of award-season screenings and am behind in reviews, so I’ll do some in this format. Below are my quick thoughts on Justice League.
What you want to know up front: I liked …

Nerdy Special List November 2017

November 7, 2017 – 8:50 pm | 4 Comments
woman in camphor trunk

It blows my mind Thanksgiving is in a couple of weeks and Christmas is next month—I’m still wearing shorts!—but this is my favorite time of year so I say bring on the holidays. With time off, …

Book Review: THE CHILD FINDER by Rene Denfeld

October 18, 2017 – 8:47 pm | One Comment
child finder

As the titular character in Rene Denfeld’s The Child Finder, Naomi does exactly what her job description says: find missing children. Madison disappeared three years earlier, at the age of five, and her parents have …

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