Recently Enjoyed Bits of Culture


I can’t really drink red wine any more (too many brands give me migraines) so I have embraced my future as a wimpy drinker, focusing on sweet cocktails and white wine. Riesling is my favorite white, and I was really happy to find out that Pacific Rim Riesling (I tried the dry variety) is excellent yet inexpensive. Highly recommended! There’s a cool dragon pic on the inside wall.


I recently read Scalzi’s Head On, a sequel to Lock In. I liked Head On quite a bit better than Lock InLock In introduced the world, but the actual thriller part was flat; in Head On, the thriller was well done and engaging. The whole series deals with a very realistic near-future world that is best understood by first reading the phenomenal (and free!) prequel novella Unlocked.

I have just finished Binti: Home, a second of three Binti novellas by Nnedi Okorafor. I love Okorafor’s writing. She writes sci-fi and fantasy, but with characters originating from Africa, which is refreshing, engaging, and just overall very cool. Another favorite of mine written by her is The Book of Phoenix. Okorafor builds vivid worlds in clean, seamless prose. In how engrossing, enjoyable, and evocative–yet clear and unassuming–her writing is, I would put Nnedi Okorafor along with Becky Chambers, Ann Leckie, and Claire North among my all-time favorites of any genre.

Short fiction


The Things that We Will Never Say by Vanessa Fogg

The Ones Who Chose the Rain by George Edwards Murray

What is Eve? by Will McCintosh

Lepidoptera by Christopher Stanley

Animal Control by S.E. Casey

Causality Dilemma by Sheldon Lee Compton

I generally read and enjoy everything produced by A. Merc Rustad, Sara Saab, and John Wiswell, among others.


Literary Fiction

If you want the year’s creme de la creme in literary flash fiction, go check out Wigleaf Top 50.

Here are some that made a strong impression on me:

Crocodile Wife by Kathryn McMahon

Muddy Love by Eric T. Johnson

Alien Abdoption by Neil Clark

The Other Kind of Mermaids by Christopher James

Berta by Chelsea Voulgares

The Neverlands by Damhnait Monaghan

Some of my favorite short-form literary fiction writers are Kathryn McMahon, Jennifer Fliss, Cathy Ulrich, and K.C. Mead-Brewer, among others.




In part, I am an 11-year-old boy inside. He enjoys everything superhero and action.

Solo was great, very well acted, with a compelling plot and exciting action that doesn’t get in the way of the story. Go enjoy it without a qualm in the world: how Solo and Chubakka meet, how they come by The Millenium Falcon, etc. Don’t listen to the haters, the movie is great. Alden Ehrenreich is great as young Solo, a rascal in the making, but still not fully hardened by life so his soft gooey middle is visible.

Infinity Wars was enjoyable, but I preferred The Black Panther.

Deadpool 2 was fabulous. So much heart behind such a torrent of profanity. Great story, really funny, many pop-culture references.

In part, I am also a grown-a$$ woman (i.e., my a$$ has grown and I really hope it won’t grow any more). That part of me liked:

The Quiet Place


I love Emily Blunt (Can this woman get an Oscar for something already? She’s great in everything) and Charlize Theron. I want to be their friend.


On Netflix, movies that could have sucked but instead ended up charming and delighting me:

Sleeping with Other People

Drinking Buddies

What Happened to Monday


On Amazon Prime

Logan Lucky (good heist story, plus combines my loves Channing Tatum and Adam Driver; now free to watch with Prime)

Colossal (I loved this movie)

Begin Again (Is Mark Ruffalo ever bad in anything? No. Never.)



Stuff I recently Shazammed

Lydia by Highly Suspect (unfortunately, the video is a bit disturbing, but the song is awesome)

Bad Bad News by Leon Bridges

Severed by The Decemberists

S&M by Rihanna (an oldie but goodie)

Please share a bit about what you’ve read or seen or hears recently that really touched you.


  1. Chateau St. Michelle riesling (especially late fall) is my hands down favorite. I’ve noticed the same thing about reds, but I’m not ready to give up yet. I still prefer cabernet sauvignon to everything else.

  2. I’ve been watching The Americans (on Amazon). Love it. I’ve been drinking variations on sangria (last night I mixed lemonade and red wine, and that was yummy….I’m sorry you’ve had to give it up. I probably should as well for the same reasons. I risk it.) Alexander Chee’s book is absolutely amazing. The other stuff I’ve read recently is meh; I’ve been rereading Francine Prose’s Blue Angel because I thought I might teach it and, um, no, not at this moment in time. Still enjoyable, though.

  3. The Foyle Young Poets Anthology 2017 ( was released online last month. It contains some really brilliant pieces by young people (ages 11-17). My personal favourite is Emily Franklin’s Twenty-One Drafts Of The Same Love Poem (pages 39-43).

    I’ve only recently started reading poetry, but many of pieces that have gelled with me are by young people.

  4. Yeah, I used to have the same problem with reds, but after the election I started drinking more and the problem went away. Yay?

    Thanks for the recommendations! I’ve been looking for some good books.

  5. this resurfaced on my ipod recently, and I remembered how much I love it

    Also, just finished Brooklyn 99 – great workplace comedy/rom-com show.

  6. By far the most enjoyable recent read was a “very short story”: .. I’m still chuckling over that one.

    Childish Gambinos new video was of course wonderful (but maybe that’s implied).

    I’ve started on podcasts. So far there’s a lot of annoying noise, but I highly recommend:

    • “Recode Decode” – I feel the same way about Kara Swisher as you do about Emily Blunt and Charlize Theron
    • “Eat your kimchi” – I dont really relate that much to asian travel blogging, but Simon and Martina have such amazing chemistry and I’ve never heard any couple speak so fast and so in sync. They could talk about anything and it’d be entertaining.
    • “Good night stories for rebel girls” – This makes me cry a lot. Somehow it pushes some dad-buttons.
    • “Today explained” – If you can get over the incessant mattress and toothbrush commercials they have some very informative observations about current affairs.

    Please .. I need more intelligent podcasts .. anyone have recommendations?

    Aside from that I’ve managed to accumulate astoundingly little culture the past couple of months. The upside is that I’ve been able to get into the outdoors a fair bit.

  7. Just got on the waiting list for “Head On” (have read most of Scalzi’s stuff) and will definitely check out Okorafor.

    Recent reads include Red Mars (Kim Stanley Robinson), the first 2 books in the Xenogenesis trilogy (Octavia Butler), and a re-read of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (and critical essays about it along with history of its publication). The New Yorker just profiled Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie, who is one of my all-time favorite writers.

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