Pop Update: What I’ve been reading, watching, and listening to this week

I’ve been keeping a list of what I’ve been reading, watching, and listening to this week and making note, especially, of the stuff that makes me happy and feeds my creative soul. I’m going to try to post on this weekly. We’ll see how it goes.

Here’s what pop culture I was consuming in the final week of 2016:

  • On the way home from Christmas in Portland, I listened to the final Writing Excuses episode of the year. I loved their Elemental Genre podcasts this year, and I have to say, this is possibly my favorite podcast.
  • I also been loving the second season of the Sub Pop Podcast. On that same trip, I listened to the first of the final two episodes, featuring the first half of a two-part interview with Sub Pop artist Father John Misty.
  • I tried a few episodes of a new-to-me swimming podcast, and it’s okay. Not a ringing endorsement, I know, but for a podcast called “Swimming Science,” I don’t feel like there’s enough science or data driven info in these episodes to make it worth it a listen.
  • I am, however, finding a ton of useful, educative content in the pages of SWIMMER Magazine (free with membership to USMS, but also available online if you can deal with the crummy website design…). While cleaning up, I found a stack of these laying around that I hadn’t read. So, I caught up on all my back issues this week.
  • I’ve also been catching up on my back issues of the RWR (Romance Writers Report) magazine (free with RWA membership). If you write romance, you should really join the Romance Writers of America. The community is fantastic, and this magazine is chock full of useful and encouraging content.
  • As for other news, Alyssa Rosenberg’s article about all the celebrity deaths this year really resonated with me. It put into words a lot of the feelings I’d been having about all the great entertainers we lost this year.
  • I caught up on TOR’s “Women of Harry Potter” series and was reminded of Luna Lovegood’s relentless optimism and awesomeness. She really is possibly the best underrated character in the series… I highly recommend this post and all the other posts in Sarah Gailey’s series: the evil Dolores Umbridge, the fierce Molly Weasley, my hero Hermione Granger, and my favorite Ginny Weasley. They posts make me want to re-read the entire series with fresh (older) eyes.
  • After that, I finally got around to reading an article by Anil Dash that I’d had open in my browser for a couple weeks. The title pretty much sums up what it’s about: “It’s time for Asian American men to stop being the “Model Minority” in tech.” He makes some very interesting points that I hadn’t previously considered, or even realized, but that make a lot of sense to me based on some things I’ve experienced working in the tech community. If you’re at all interested in diversity in the technology industry, I highly recommend this read.
  • Because I had some extra time on my hands this week, I caught up on some of the YouTube channels I subscribe to… my two favorite videos this week were 1) this Vlogbrothers guest post from Tessa Violet on fear in art, and 2) Jenna Moreci’s “10 Worst Female Character Pet Peeves.” Note: I also liked Jenna Moreci’s “holiday writing tag” video, but I’ll save that one because I might respond to her question prompts as a separate post.
  • I finished two books and two comics trades this week. Here’s what I read (links take you to my Goodreads reviews):
    • Alterations by Stephanie Scott (Kindle, pre-order) — This book was so fun! I really enjoyed seeing how the author adapted the original (and re-make) movie, Sabrina, into this modern-day romance. Definitely recommend.
    • The Magician King by Lev Grossman (Kindle, library) — This book was a slog. I really enjoy the world building in this series, which is why I keep trying to enjoy these books. But, I hate the characters and the plot is way too predictable. There’s just too much snark and not enough sincerity for me in this series.
    • Saga, volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (trade paper) — I am so late to the party on this one, but I LOVED this so much. If this has been on your list for a while and you haven’t read it yet, go check it out immediately. It hits the trifecta of excellent world-building, characters you care about, and compelling story/plot. Highly recommend.
    • Monstress #1 by Marjorie M. Liu and Sana Takeda (trade paper) — The art in this is stunning. The story was a little hard to follow at times. However, you definitely get the sense that there is depth to the plot and complexity to the characters, and that pulls you through the narrative until you start getting more of the backstory. I’m still unclear on a few points, but otherwise very much enjoyed this. Definitely recommend.
  • My first issue of my new Teen Vogue subscription arrived while I was in Portland. No, I am not regressing to my teenage years. I have a lot of respect for teenage girls (having been one myself and knowing how tough it can be), and I think Teen Vogue and Rookie Magazine are providing the quality journalism that their audience (and really everyone) deserves. I love the December issue just as much as I thought I would. An annual subscription is only $5 and well worth the money.
  • And, finally, I watched two documentaries. The first was a graphic, disturbing, but ultimately important documentary about the US policy on torture called Taxi to the Dark Side. The other, called Grizzly Man, was about a guy who spent 13 summers living out in the Alaskan wilderness with grizzly bears, before finally being eaten by one at the end of his final summer. Both were fascinating, thought provoking, and probably not films I would have selected if left to my own devices, but I’m glad I watched them.

This list is a little longer than usual because I had more time on my hands this week than I usually do… I definitely don’t expect every week to have this much content.

As for what I’m looking forward to diving into… Queued up next:

3 thoughts on “Pop Update: What I’ve been reading, watching, and listening to this week

  1. I love Writing Excuses! I need to catch up on the episodes. You might also like the Writers Panel podcast on Nerdist.com. And that Women in HP article on Tor.com is great. My fav was the one on Hermione and the Ginny one was eye-opening to me because I don’t think much about Ginny when I read the books.
    Lol! Glad to hear you like Saga and it’s hard to get a handle on Monstress from the first issue. You get more info from the first volume but it still leaves you with questions. Still, it’s a comic book series I love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooh! Thanks for the podcast recommendation! I’ll definitely check it out. I saw you mentioned it in one of your posts and the episodes you mentioned sounded interesting.
      I can’t believe how much I love Saga. I mean, it came highly recommended by so many people. I should have listened. I’m definitely going to read more of both Saga and Monstress.


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