Book (and TV, Movie, Podcast, etc.) Rec Post!

First of all, I’m sorry I’ve fallen behind on my ghost-related reporting duties. I’ll go back to posting Haunted Houses Of The Week at some point, but I’ve been too busy to look up new ones, tragically. If you’ve heard any interesting ghost news lately, please let me know!

Last time we had a book recommendation post, it was awesome and I added so many interesting books to my reading list, so, let’s do that again! Also share any good stuff you’ve been watching/playing (or eating, wearing, listening to, whatever–let’s just go crazy, guys. RECOMMEND ALL THE THINGS).

I’m currently reading In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex byNathaniel Philbrick, and it’s very good so far. It’s about the shipwreck that inspired Melville to write Moby Dick, and has lots of pictures and diagrams of old-timey whaling stuff, which is fascinating and makes me very glad I’m not an old-timey whaler.

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65 Responses to Book (and TV, Movie, Podcast, etc.) Rec Post!

  1. gnidrah says:

    Well, I haven’t read it yet, but it was my birthday a few weeks back, and I was given Ned Beauman’s new book, Glow. So I can’t recommend it yet, but I *can* recommend his other two – Boxer Beetle, and The Teleportation Accident. Just do NOT look up how old (young) this guy is. I feel like I’ve wasted my life.

    Also, and I know Flanny will agree with me, Skippy Dies, by Paul Murray. Always & 4eva that book.

    • …I looked it up. He’s only two years younger than me, though, which is better than I expected! I can still catch up (I will not catch up)!

      I read Skippy Dies several years ago and honestly don’t remember much about it, but I know I liked it.

    • summerestherson says:

      Looking up the ages of famous/noteworthy people (and/or what age they achieved their fame/notoriety) is an exercise in feeling bad about yourself.

  2. flanny says:

    Ooh, Theresa, if you’re ever in MA you should Tourism for Weirdos the New Bedford Whaling Museum. Before I went there, I didn’t care about whaling one way or another (I mean, I guess I’m anti-whaling, but it’s not like I think whales are super cool), but that museum is hella cool. There is a big whale skeleton hanging from the rafters that’s a hundred years old or something, but whales are so fatty and oily there’s still grease dripping down from its bones onto the floor below!
    Also, I think the best part of the whaling industry was if you were a lady married to a whaler, they’d just be off whaling for who knows how long, while you hung out at home. So you get all the perks of being a married woman (no relatives nagging you to settle down), but none of the having to deal with a husband on the daily. “See you in five years or something maybe, sweetie! I’m going to go hang out with my friends and not make you dinner every night or do your laundry!”

    • Sota says:

      Whaling-marriage sounds pretty chill.

      • flanny says:

        The only downer is that your husband could go away and then die in a horrible accident, and you’d never know. They could be gone normally for years and have no way of letting you know if they’re okay. So you could give up hope that he’d return and then shack up with another dude, and suddenly, whoops, you’re not actually a widow. But I think that’s the only drawback.

    • Ha, I remember reading something from the time period in a lit class that referenced how tragic and lonely the whaler wives were, and thinking “yeahhhh, I bet a bunch of them were pretty okay with that arrangement, dude.”

      That museum sounds awesome!

    • whatisabadger says:

      whales ARE super cool! Did you know that fetal whales grow a coating of hair as a shoutout to being mammals, but then lose it by the time they’re born?

  3. catweazle says:

    I’m going to recommend that everybody listen to Emilie Simon because she is one of my top favorite people on earth and has been making awesome music for 10+ years now but since she sings in French about 60% of the time she hasn’t really gotten much exposure here. Try “Mon Chevalier,” “Le Vieil Amant,” “Fools Like Us,” “Quand Vient Le Jour” or her covers of “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and “Space Oddity” or just watch this video of her playing “Il Pleut” with a bunch of gadgets in her apartment:

  4. old man fatima says:

    I’m getting sushi tonight for the first time in forever and I am super excited for that. The pace I’m ordering from does a lobster seaweed salad, and I would like to take this opportunity to ask whatever beautiful fucking poet decided to put those together if s/he’d like to spend the rest of his/her life with me?

    I also had a Very Important conversation abotu Prince George today, if anyone is interested. I’m finishing up my re-read of 100 years of solitude before moving onto the Karamazov Brothers. I watched all of Hemlock Grove this weekend, which is god damned terrible and I’ll happily provide all of my thoughts on it if you’d like.

    • flanny says:

      I just hovered my pointer over Hemlock Grove on Netflix yesterday, but shied away because it looked too spooky. Thoughts?

      • old man fatima says:

        It’s not very spooky. There is one spooky thing and one sad thing that happens. I had heard that it turned the whole teen monster trope on it’s head but uhhhh it’s just a regular old teen monster soap opera? Eric the vampire’s little brother is in it and I was like god damn he had better not turn out to be a vampire, but woops he does. And a girl accuses this boy of being a werewolf and I was like “oh haha they’re definitely just using that as a distraction, he is going to be normal or something really cool”, but nope he is a werewolf. Also, whoever wrote it really hates women in general, and mothers in particular. And there is a pretty graphic rape by one of the main characters and we are still expected to sympathize with him after (nope). The only saving grace is Joel de la Fuente, who dictates his memoirs with punctuation like a telegram.

        • flanny says:

          Very cool. I’ll keep avoiding it.

        • old man fatima says:

          Also, it made me want to go back to school so I could write a thesis on the racial aspects of teen monster dramas. The vampires are super white, super wealthy, very high class, and well-mannered. The werewolves are some sort of savage “other” (First Nations, from what I understand of Twilight, and Roma in this show), are instinctive, animalistic, practice weird sacrificial magic, and exist in poor living conditions. It made me way angrier than it should have, to be honest.

        • Commentatrix says:

          Well, sure. The vamps devote all those hundreds of years of earthly living to understanding the stock market, probably, while those disgusting werewolves have to constantly pour all their money into replacing their outfits every time they transform.

    • summerestherson says:

      What did this Very Important Conversation about Prince George entail? Was it a discussion of his perfectly pinchable chubby cheeks? His amazing expressions? That time he threw his gift stuffed animal to the ground like a boss?

      • old man fatima says:

        Because I value my time, I have transcribed it for you. He (J) was teasing me for loving the royal family so much and I was using George as my iron clad excuse.

        F: Prince George wore a sweater that said George on an official visit and is just the cutest. Just unreal, this baby.
        J: I love how much credit you are giving this baby.”Just unreal”
        F: Google that little fucker. He looks like a story book illustration! There are some ugly babies out there, believe me.
        J: I have seen a baby.
        J: They only get get so good looking.
        F: Google him right now and tell me you wouldn’t follow that baby into battle. “That is a very commanding baby” -you, 5 mins from now.
        J: I am an adult man with a job, I’m not googling a baby
        F: Forget your pride, I’m sending you a photo
        J: Haha. OK, I’ll check. But I bet there are better looking gerber babies out there.
        J: That is a regular baby.
        J: I was at least expecting a monocle or a top hat.
        F: If I have babies, they had definitely better look like this.
        J: So just looking for regular babies, then?
        J: I think I was a pretty average baby. I don’t remember.
        J: I didn’t have my picture taken until I was 17.
        F: I think most people are pretty average babies. Bah dum tsss
        F: Like on average, get it?

        • summerestherson says:

          HIGHLY APPROVE. Who is this royal baby doubter? Prince George will have him thrown into the Tower.

  5. Sota says:

    I read Just Kids by Patti Smith recently…very good read if you like 60s/70s era NYC creative memoir type books.


    Does anyone read ’em and what are you reading?

    I just read the first issue of C.O.W.L. last night and the artwork is stunning. Very excited for it. I need to catch up on: Saga, Captain Marvel, and Shutter. Shutter’s first issue was great. I am very into Image right now, but still have a bunch of Marvel stuff. DC not so much, though Batman is great.

    Issue #9 of the Wake comes out this week and I’m a little sad it’s almost over.

    • I love Saga! I want to get into more comics, but the cost adds up so quickly.

    • whatisabadger says:

      I just read Haunter by Sam Alden, and as someone who has recently tried to use watercolors with very little success, the amazing painting throughout the book made me audibly groan to myself on numerous occasions.

    • FRQ says:

      I recently visited a used book store and found a graphic novel titled Lobster Johnson. With a name like that, I just HAD to buy it. It turns out he’s a character in the Hellboy universe that was given his own comic by Dark Horse. He was a 1930’s vigilante who branded villain’s foreheads with his signature lobster insignia. It was totally worth the $8.

  7. msmessica says:

    Watching has mostly been Playing House, which is very good. Also the Hallmark movie channel is showing mystery movies all month and the week of the 15th is all Murder She Wrote at 9, and they’ll be showing some of the post series made for TV movies which is very exciting for an old lady like myself because I don’t think they are part of the series on Netflix.

    Podcasts, I started listening to Go Bayside (here’s a clip: and it’s been interesting. If you watched these episodes a zillion times as a kid it’s a good work podcast because you can follow the plot and do something else pretty easily.

    I read the first Veronica Mars novel and enjoyed that, and I read this book Elizabeth Street which was interesting: I just started the first book in Louise Penny’s series upon a recommendation and so far I like it.

  8. I’m slogging through David Gilbert’s & Sons, wishing Penguin/Random House had the financial means to hire someone to edit the book before it was published. Good but not great. I did pick up a galley of a YA book by Ariel Schrag called Adam which seems very raw, will report reax in next rec post.

  9. I just finished the 2nd Song of Ice & Fire book and so I’m gonna be starting the 3rd book and I’ll be reading that and the other 2 for INFINITY!!!!!!!!!!

    I have like 5 books on my “read next” list and I’m bummed about it.

    • catweazle says:

      I’m almost at the same point as you, just not quite done with book 2. I’m torn about reading past book 3 because I like being surprised by the show, but then again at the pace I’m reading who knows if I’ll even make it to book 4 by the time the next season starts!

  10. mrsberesford says:

    I’m reading Kij Johnson’s At the Mouth of the River of Bees, and it is wonderful! It’s literary fantasy for grown-up nerds. Utterly delightful. Why isn’t she more famous? Because she deserves to be extra famous.

    • old man fatima says:

      This is a great book review. I am putting that book on my pinterest “books to read” board and copy and pasting this as the description, fyi. No sarcasm, I know how things come across on the internet. This made me really want to read that book.

      • mrsberesford says:

        Yay, I am so glad! I will therefore also recommend to you Karin Tidbeck’s Jagannath in the same genre – she’s Swedish, and translated all her own stories!

    • summerestherson says:

      This *does* sound delightful! *puts on reading list*

  11. I recently started listening to “We Know Nothing” podcast from Nikki Glaser and Phil Hanley and it’s pretty cool because they’re funny but also I really like advice columns and this is like that so it’s fun.
    I really like the Grantland pop culture podcasts, mostly Hollywood Prospectus and The Right Reasons – they talk about tv. The latter is about reality tv and it’s really funny even if you don’t watch all the shows.

  12. (This was a comment that was meant to be at the bottom of the thread. Pull yourself together, WordPress.)

    (Okay, now it’s in the right place and I just look dumb.)

  13. summerestherson says:

    This is only tangentially related but:
    I went on a blind date last Saturday (!) and the guy asked me for a book recommendation because he “doesn’t read as much as he would like to.” (Red flag?) So I recommended him Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation” series because he said he’s into sci-fi and y’all! He texted me a picture yesterday of them on his Kindle! Cute, right? Or too much???

  14. Videogame wise i red the Wold Among Us, it’s based on the fabel comic books(iguess). I really like it its about fairy tale characters in NYC. And its the same format as the walkign dead videogame if youve played that.

  15. FRQ says:

    This weekend I played a demo for Child of Light, a sidescrolling RPG from Ubisoft Montreal. I liked the art style, but I don’t know if I have the patience to play those types of games anymore, even though it’s only supposed to take 12-15 hours to complete.

    I also saw the first episode of Halt and Catch Fire on AMC. It didn’t blow me away, but it was definitely intriguing enough to continue watching. Plus I know some of you ladies (and gents?) like Lee Pace, and his character is great. (Side note: Between this and Silicon Valley, I’m loving all of these shows based on tech companies).

    • The pilot was solid. I had real trouble seeing the connection between the topic/themes and the visuals though. Why is mid-80s Texas lit like sad Fincher?

  16. Wallflower says:

    Have we talked about In the Flesh? I haven’t watched this week’s yet but I’m liking the season. It’s definitely not a quick moving show but I’m enjoying the story. I just really love the actor that plays the main character. So much so that I can’t remember the character name or the actor’s name. But I do enjoy him.

    I’m watching the 3rd ep of Penny Dreadful right now and there’s lots of bloody things happening. Gross.

    I just started the Eyre Affair based on a monsters suggestion from the last book recommendation post. I think it was summerestherson? Enjoying it so far.

    I will be adding other books to my list. I planning my first trip to the pool tomorrow so I need to make sure I have good reading material available. Love summer reading!

    Oh, and I went to see Maleficent and I know the critics hate it and I had a few problems with it as well, but overall I enjoyed it. I thought Angelina was pretty perfect.

  17. Commentatrix says:

    Just finished the Veronica Mars book and I’d recommend that but only to fans of the show. I also started watching The Returned on Netflix and the pilot was quite good and just spooky enough! Playing House is delightful, and I am also looking for something outstanding to read next, so keep the recommendations coming! (I’m at a point in my life where I don’t have the time/inclination to read anything less than outstanding things.)

  18. i know it was on the Videogum (RIP) year-end list like a million years ago, but i just watched Upstream Color the other night and it was AMAZING. it was one of those transcendent movie experiences where i didn’t really want to do anything stimulating afterward for worry of spoiling the type of way it made me feel. super recommended, but i also feel like it’s possibly a very divisive movie in that there is definitely a chance you will find it to be a meandering, pointless wank.

  19. mordonez says:

    For those of you who like highly weird noir from someone better known as a graphic novelist, I recommend Warren Ellis’s “Gun Machine”. If you want a completely insane conspiracy theory/occult noir, I mostly recommend Warren Ellis’s Crooked Little Vein.

    Beyond that, Nick Harkaway’s new book comes out in July, and the 3rd Lev Grossman Magicians book comes out on August 5th.

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