June A&E: Books, Movies, and Video Games

This is what I read, watched, and played in June.

Books: The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry

I asked Berry if he would write a sequel to The Manual of Detection. I was pleasantly surprised when he replied.

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TV Shows: Jessica Jones by Melissa Rosenberg

A friend told me that you don’t need to be a tough guy to solve mysteries. This made me think about gender in detective stories. TV critic Maureen Ryan talked about that in Variety.

“Two mainstays of film noir are the tough-talking dame and the cynical private eye, and one of the pleasures of Marvel’s Jessica Jones is that it unites both types in one thorny and fascinating character.” — Maureen Ryan of Variety

Comparable: Alias, Dexter, Fringe, The Fall, and Veronica Mars.

Video Games: The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings by CD Projekt Red

This is an amazing game that I had trouble starting. You don’t need to play the first Witcher game to play this one. The main character, Geralt, has amnesia like a magical, silver-haired Jason Bourne.

The Witcher 2 has wonderful decisions and branching paths without clear good and evil choices. This game can be difficult, and I switched between Normal and Easy difficulty several times before I learned the combat.

I am very excited to play The Witcher 3 now!

A&E: Jessica Jones and Danielewski’s The Familiar

This is what I read, watched, and played in April and May.

Books: Night Film by Marisha Pessl and The Familiar: Into the Forest by Mark Z. Danielewski

TV Shows: Daredevil and Jessica Jones

I have been reading and watching a lot of detective fiction lately: The Wolf Among Us, The Big Sleep, and Ozgur in The Familiar. I’ve realized I love the accessories and conventions of these stories.

The great novelist Raymond Chandler said, “The ideal mystery was one you would read if the end was missing.”

Video GamesHalf-Life 2 by Valve

The 10+ year-old game is great. I finished it for the first time last month, and Half-Life 2 certainly deserves its stellar reputation. The gameplay and story hold up really well compared to modern games.

March A&E: The Prestige, Locke & Key, and more!

This is what I read, watched, and played in March.

Books: The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

The novel is about a young woman who is attacked by a time-traveling serial killer. I’m a sucker for time-travel stories.

He clenches the orange plastic pony in the pocket of his sports coat. It is sweaty in his hand. Mid-summer here, too hot for what he’s wearing. But he has learned to put on a uniform for this purpose; jeans in particular. He takes long strides — a man who walks because he’s got somewhere to be, despite his gimpy foot. Harper Curtis is not a moocher. And time waits for no one. Except when it does.

Graphic Novels: Locke & Key by Joe Hill (writer) and Gabriel Rodriguez (illustrator)

First off, Locke & Key was difficult to read because horrible things happen to the main characters. (Most of this happens in the first hardback issue.) Locke & Key is an intriguing horror, fantasy story with likable characters. I am currently reading the fourth volume.

Movies: The Prestige by Christopher Nolan

This is probably my fourth viewing of The Prestige. I love how Nolan manipulates time in his films.

Video Games: Dark Souls 2 by From Software (again!)

I finally finished Dark Souls 2! I put over 98 hours into this dark fantasy. I enjoyed that the game narrative is not disrupted by player death. When you die in Dark Souls, you lose the souls you have collected and must return to where you died to retrieve them. (Souls are used to buy equipment or level-up.) In this way, failure is accepted in the game narrative.

Thanks for reading!

February A&E: Books, Movies, and Video Games

This is what I read, watched, and played in February.

Books: The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

Stretching over many years and five narrators, The Bone Clocks portrays hidden magic in our world. This is the first David Mitchell novel I’ve read, and I’m excited to read Slade House.

Writing: I’m writing a road-trip adventure about a young man looking for a lost book. Right now I’m at a little over 4,000 words.

TV Shows: I just finished season four of The X-Files. I especially like the episode Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man.

Movies: I watched Deadpool, and it was everything I wanted from a Deadpool adaptation. Don’t take your kids!

deadpool toy movie

“Does this count as a fourth-wall break?”

Video Games: Mass Effect by BioWare

Mass Effect is a sci-fi roleplaying game. Once I got used to the gameplay, I was absorbed by the story and player choices. You are a human soldier with an eclectic band of companions tasked with saving humanity and the other alien races. Your decisions change the outcome of the game and even carry over into the sequel.

 

What I Read, Watched, and Played in January

Here is some of the entertainment I enjoyed last month.

Books: Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

It’s a sci-fi adventure. I was very interested in how it dealt with religion and gender.

“She was probably male, to judge from the angular mazelike patterns quilting her shirt. I wasn’t entirely certain. I wouldn’t have mattered, if I had been in Radch space. Radchaai don’t care much about gender, and the language they speak—my own first language—doesn’t mark gender in any way.”

I recommend Ancillary Justice to anyone who enjoys reading sci-fi.

Writing: I’m writing something I’m calling “The Rust Belt.” It’s a road-trip adventure about feeling lost.

TV Shows: I’m finishing the first season of Daredevil.

Video Games: Dark Souls 2 by FromSoftware

Dark Souls 2

For everyone who doesn’t play video games, Dark Souls 2 is infamous for its difficulty. But I believe the greater difficulty is balanced with greater satisfaction. Plus it’s great for making friends, “Oh, you played That Thing too!” Dark Souls 2 is a long game too. It supposedly takes less time to read The Lord of the Rings than beat Dark Souls 2.

Thanks for reading!