With all credit to AvocadoMoon for the idea, I’m gonna yack about what I read and watched in 2020. I didn’t have extra weekdaytime because of the pandemic, because I was able to work remotely. I may have had a little more free time on weekends, tho luckily I was able to see friends a lot, outdoors. Man am I glad I got to take 2 watercolor workshops last winter before it hit.
Shows & Movies: (Hulu, Netflix)
Galavant. It’s Monty Python Meets The Princess Bride Laced Throughout With Mel Brooks. It is *sparklingly* funny and intelligent. It’s a musical comedy!
ER Season 1. What a pleasure to see the very first episode, which I’d missed originally, and revisit Love’s Labor Lost, and so many scenes I’d remembered all these years, and so many great ones I’d forgotten. Those actors were CHILDREN! Sherry Stringfield and Julianna Margulies are just as wooden as I remembered them. Season 2 was so clearly inferior that I didn’t finish even the 2nd episode.
Normal People. Be.Still.My.Heart. I rewatch the whole series periodically. And the book is exquisite.
Veep. I got to watch half a dozen or so eps, while HBO let us Hulers (?) watch free at the beginning of the pandemic. What a marvel of a show. SO funny, so political, so smart, so scathing.
Barry. Ditto, tho only a few eps. Bill Hader, much more contained than on SNL, plays a hit man who takes an acting class to relieve the stress of his work, and can talk about his job since everyone thinks he’s making it up for acting class.
Ben Is Back. Julia Roberts is the mother of an addict in trouble. A very serious look at addiction; nothing schmaltzy at all in this movie. I’m not even sure I laughed once in it.
Normal People. I wanna list it again because I love it sooooo much! Also the Irish accents are a treat. And wow do those characters drink a lot.
Mrs. America. About the fight to ratify the ERA. I lived this and I love this series. Cate Blanchett is a marvel, as ever. There’s some SCATHING dialogue.
(can that be all? I reserve the right to revise)
The pandemic is the reason I learned how to use Libby. It’s great! I didn’t think I’d like reading on my phone, but it’s eminently doable. I much prefer a real book, but this is a great 2nd choice. COVID and my dear indie bookstore are the reasons I bought a few more books than usual this year, including hardbacks, which I almost never treat myself to.
The Testaments by Margaret Atwood. Nowhere near as good as The Handmaid’s Tale. Too many plot contrivances, and her first-person narrators sound too narrator-ish.
Oryx and Crake by same. (First in a trilogy.) A masterpiece.
The Year of the Flood by same. (2nd in the trilogy) Same problem as The Testaments: too narrator-ish. Plus, I was confused with the non-chronological way it was written. I didn’t finish it; it was not gripping the way Oryx and Crake was. I will try the 3rd book tho; I’ve come this far, and when Atwood is good, she is stunning.
White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo. Fantastic, what I’ve read of it.
How To Be an Anti-Racist by Ibrahim X. Kendi. Fantastic, the parts I listened to. (had to return to library)
The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon. Delightful, sweeter than pie, hilarious, touching, complicated, fascinating.
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. Excellent story, interesting characters, intriguing moral dilemmas.
Hunger by Roxanne Gay. Gay was raped at 12 and quickly and intentionally became morbidly obese. This is her memoir. Didn’t finish, too repetitive and needed a better editor. (audiobook) I am glad to have discovered Gay though.
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell. Totally gripping, horrifying, believable, heartbreaking novel about a teacher who grooms and sexually abuses a student and how she lives her life from there.
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Bakman. Sweet and lovely.
Gmorning Gnight! Little Pep Talks For You and Me by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Unbelievably inspirational and comforting.
Dear Girls by Ali Wong. Not as funny as her Baby Cobra show, which was almost illegal, it was so funny. Didn’t finish listening.
The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish. Didn’t finish: not that funny or interesting.
Thank You For Your Service by David Finkel. AMAZING. Iraq and Afghanistan vets and PTSD and how our country is failing most of them.