New Fiction 2019 – January

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn (1989)

This novel was the sort of dissonant, well-performed journey that seems possible only in a dream, and yet, I think, here we are. We’re in this time of strange, unbelievable events, and sometimes it’s nice to imagine something could magically sweep through and end the madness.

Mary Poppins Returns dir. Rob Marshall (2018)

It’s more of the same, a safe bet by Disney, and I smiled more times than I could count. Blunt is a cheekier Poppins than fans of the original might be used to. I mean, she’s great, she’s your cool aunt, she’s all our cool aunt, so yes I’m glad she returned to shake things up and remind us to sing.

The Bone Collector dir. Phillip Noyce (1999)

At first you think, wow, Denzel, this is some boldass docility, but then you remember that Washington is the sort of actor with a movie star smile, and you realize ah, yes, of course this is perfect, it’s all smile and attitude. The murders are gnarly, the puzzles are weak, but it’s good to add another piece of Washington oeuvre to the lexicon.

American Gangster dir. Ridley Scott (2007)

So hey, why not another? It’s not the strongest turn by either lead actor, but an interesting story and the kind of thing you can’t believe was happening in this, our United States of America. But it did, and it does, and the notion of good cops and bad guys being complicated figures doesn’t quite matter when you see the bodies left in their wake.

Glass dir. M. Night Shyamalan (2019)

It was a bit of extra information, Shyamalan’s epilogue that ran too long. The premise is cool but it’d be better if it was a series of interviews until the end. An HBO series, maybe?

Escape Room dir. Adam Robitel (2019)

I thought, “damn, this is like watching a video game,” and I don’t like simply watching video games. Level one, level two, and so on. And now horror movies anticipate sequels? Ya don’t gotta do that.

Parks and Recreation (2009-2015)

I love The Simpsons, at least those episodes of my generation, and this was a nice take on the sitcom that builds up a town instead of just its core cast. Some jokes, especially those repeated comments about Jones’s beauty, fall flat, and will be among the takes people bring up about the show in the coming decades. Plaza is probably the one I like most for her character’s begrudging acceptance of kindness and sympathy.

The Punisher – Season 2 (2019)

Should I like this guy? I don’t want to, and so I don’t think he’s doing anything noble or worthy of a hero. But then, you don’t have to like someone to appreciate well-executed revenge. This is Revenge City and I’d hang out here again.


“Praying,” Mary Oliver

It doesn’t have to be

the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

I think we are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind’s door at 4 a.m. of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends. We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were.

Joan Didion on keeping a notebook/journal (via gowns)

New Fiction 2018

The year started with Friends after watching too much of it during my December 2017 holiday. It ended with The King’s Speech on New Year’s Eve. I began the year with MoviePass and ended it with AMC Stubs A-List, ensuring I had my fill of the latest movies in theaters. I sold my car some months ago and the journey to the movie theater took on greater meaning in the last couple of months.

A lot of the reading on here came from my American Literature II class in which we studied twentieth century literature. Most, but not all. Some was just random nibbles on the train when I wasn’t consumed with my new-found fascination with podcasts. I include the Selected Shorts podcast to reduce the guilt of engaging in so much non-fiction.

Kwaidan was the most interesting, I think, if I have to pick one. It just feels like a daring creation of its time and place, with each horror story more compelling than the last. My interest in horror from 2017 appears to have legs and I hope to continue seeking out good, interesting horror stories.

I think I’ll do this monthly in 2019. It’ll give me a chance to reflect in short bursts instead of attempting to comprehend a year’s worth of fiction.

Short Stories

  • “In the American Society” by Gish Jen (1987) 
  • “Claire’s
    Lover’s Church by Teri Ruch (1984)
  • "Where
    We Are Now” by Ethan Canin (1986)
  • “The
    Incorrect Hour” by Debra Spark (1986)
  • “Conviction”
    by Tama Janowitz (1986)
  • “Sparks”
    by Susan Minot (1987)
  • “Last
    Night” by Dennis McFarland (1984)
  • “In
    Christ There Is No East or West” by Kent Nussey (1986)
  • “The
    Things That Would Never Be Mine” by Michelle Carter (1987)
  • “Jillie”
    by Ehud Havazelet (1985)
  • “Hands”
    by Gregory Blake Smith (1983)
  • “Cuisinart”
    by Fred Leebron (1986)
  • “The
    River” by Tori Cárdenas (2018)
  • “View
    from Kwaj” by Patricia MacInnes (1985)
  • “Ten
    Cents a Dance” by Joseph Ferrandino (1987)
  • “Three
    Maids’ Children” by Mona Simpson (1987)
  • “Massé”
    by Leigh Allison Wilson (1986)
  • “Flight”
    by Linda Svendsen (1985)
  • “Daisy
    Miller” by Henry James (1894)
  • “The
    Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” by Mark Twain (1865)
  • “The
    Soft-hearted Sioux” by Zitkala-Sa (1921)
  • “The
    Sculptor’s Funeral” by Will Cather (1905)
  • “Petrified
    Man” by Eudora Welty (1939)
  • “Sexy”
    by Jhumpa Lahiri (1998)
  • “Lullaby”
    by Leslie Marmon Silko (1981)
  • “The
    Life You Save May Be Your Own” by Flannery O’Connor (1955)
  • “Medley”
    by Toni Cade Bambara (1974)
  • “Gallatin Canyon” by Thomas McGuane (2003)
  • “Weekend”
    by Ann Beattie (1976)
  • “The
    Balloon” by Donald Barthelme (1966)
  • “The
    Most Girl Part of You” by Amy Hempel (1990)
  • “Sportsman”
    by Amy Hempel (1997)
  • “The
    Dog of the Marriage” by Amy Hempel (2005)

Audio Shorts

  • “Benefactor”
    by Greg Ames (2017)
  • “Dog”
    by Richard Russo (1996)
  • “Tobermory”
    by Saki (1911)
  • “Take
    It from Cats” by Helen Ellis (2014)
  • “Roslyn’s
    Dog” by Arthur Bradford (2002)
  • “The Self-Improvement of Salvadore Ross" by Henry Slesar (1961)
  • "Head Over
    Knees” by Eric Schlich (2016)
  • “Dornicka and the St. Martin’s Day Goose”
    by Helen Oyeyemi (2016)
  • “Watkyn,
    Comma” by Joan Aiken (1990)
  • “The Suitcase”
    by Meron Hadero (2015)
  • “The Bridge” by Daniel O’Malley (2017)
  • “The Great
    Silence” by Ted Chiang (2016)
  • “Breadman” by J. Robert Lennon (2015)
  • “Yancey” by Ann
    Beattie (2015)
  • "The Mappist” by
    Barry Lopez (2000)
  • "The Orange” by Benjamin Rosenbaum (2001)
  • “The Man, The Restaurant, and the Eiffel Tower” by Ben Loory (2017)
  • “I, Gentile” by David Gordon (2014)


  • Beloved by Toni Morrison (1987)
  • Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (2006)


  • Long Day’s Journey Into Night by Eugene O’Neill

Comic Single Issues

  • “Futurama
    Comics #57” by Jesse McCann, John Delaney, Andrew Pepoy, Robert
    Stanley, Karen Bates, Bill Morrison (2011)
  • “Strangers
    in Paradise XXV” by Terry Moore (2018)
  • “Gary: Book One” by Tyrell Cannon (2010)

Graphic Novels/Trades

  • Megahex by Simon
    Hanselmann (2014)
  • Blacksad by Juan
    Díaz Canales, Juanjo Guarnido (2010)
  • Bottomless Belly Button
    by Dash Shaw (2008)

Video Games

  • Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
    by Naughty Dog (2017)
  • Star Wars Battlefront II
    by EA DICE (2017)
  • Catherine by Atlus
  • SPACEPLAN by Jake
    Hollands (2017)
  • Mega Man by Capcom
  • Mega Man 3 by
    Capcom (1990)
  • Mega Man 4 by
    Capcom (1991)
  • Super Mario Bros.
    by Nintendo Creative Department (1985)
  • Super Mario Bros. 2
    by Nintendo R&D4 (1988)
  • Spider-Man
    by Insomniac Games (2018)
  • Little Nightmares
    by Tarsier Studios (2017)
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 by
    Rockstar Studios (2018)
  • Minit by JW, Kitty,
    Jukio, and Dom (2018)


  • “About
    face” dir. Graham Annable (2017)
  • “Dekalb
    Elementary” dir. Reed Van Dyk (2017)
  • “My
    Nephew Emmett” dir. Kevin Wilson Jr. (2017)
  • “The
    dir. Derin Seale (2016)
  • “The
    Silent Child” dir. Chris Overton (2017)
  • “Watu
    Wote” dir. Katja Benrath (2017)
  • “Garden
    Party” dir. Théophile Dufresne, Florian Babikian, Gabriel Grapperon,
    Lucas Navarro, Vincent Bayoux, Victor Claire (2016)
  • “Negative
    Space” dir. Max Porter, Ru Kuwahata (2017)
  • “Revolting
    Rhymes” dir. Jakob Schuh, Jan Lachauer (2017)
  • “Achoo”
    dir. Elise Carret, Camille Lacroix, Charlotte Perroux, Lucas Boutrot,
    Maoris Creantor, Pierre Hubert (2017)
  • “Lost
    Property Office” dir. Daniel Agdag (2017)
  • “Weeds”
    dir. Kevin Hudson (2017)
  • “Maybellene" dir. Graham
    Annable (2018)
  • "Out
    of Water” dir. Simon Duong-Van-Hyuen, Joël Durand, Thibault Leclercq,
    Valentin Lucas, Andrei Sitari (2018)
  • “Chapped
    Lips” dir. Kelsi Phụng, Fabien Corre (2018)
  • “Breathless”
    dir. Pierre-Marie Adnet, Jean-Luc Dessertaine, Guillaume Pochez, Tristan
    Poulain, Vincent Rouzière, Alessandro Vergonnier (2018)
  • “The
    Tree” dir. Han Yang, Basil Malek (2018)
  • “I’m
    waiting for the night” dir. Arthur Chaumay (2018)
  • “Ostrich
    Politic” dir.  Houhou (2018)
  • “Lorenzo”
    dir. Mike Gabriel (2004)
  • “The Little Matchgirl” dir. Roger Allers (2006)
  • “How to Hook Up Your Home Theater” dir. Kevin
    Deters, Stevie Wermers (2007)


  • The
    dir. Ariel
    Vromen (2013)
  • Bright dir. David
    Ayer (2017)
  • The Whole Nine Yards
    dir. Jonathan Lynn (2000)
  • Trading Places
    dir. John Landis (1983)
  • Hostiles dir. Scott
    Cooper (2017)
  • Black Panther dir. Ryan
    Coogler (2018)
  • Phantom Thread dir. Paul
    Thomas Anderson (2017)
  • Lady Bird dir. Greta
    Gerwig (2017)
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri dir. Martin McDonagh (2017)
  • Long Day’s Journey Into Night dir. Sidney Lumet (1962)
  • Darkest Hour dir. Joe
    Wright (2017)
  • Call Me By Your Name
    dir. Luca Guadagnino (2017)
  • The Post dir. Steven
    Spielberg (2017)
  • Annihilation
    dir. Alex Garland (2018)
  • A Wrinkle in Time
    dir. Ava DuVernay (2018)
  • Beloved dir. Jonathan
    Demme (1998)
  • Pacific Rim: Uprising
    dir. Steven S. DeKnight (2018)
  • A Quiet Place dir. John Krasinski (2018)
  • Game Night
    dir. John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein (2018)
  • Beirut dir. Brad Anderson (2018)
  • The Brothers Grimm
    dir. Terry Gilliam (2005)
  • Isle of Dogs dir. Wes
    Anderson (2018)
  • Rampage dir. Brad
    Peyton (2018)
  • Avengers: Infinity War
    dir. Anthony Russo, Joe Russo (2018)
  • Ready Player One dir.
    Steven Spielberg (2018)
  • Kung Fu Yoga dir. Stanley Tong (2017)
  • Blockers dir. Kay
    Cannon (2018)
  • I Feel Pretty dir. Abby
    Kohn, Marc Silverstein (2018)
  • Overboard dir. Rob
    Greenberg (2018)
  • Deadpool 2
    dir. David Leitch (2018)
  • Life of the Party
    dir. Ben Falcone (2018)
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story
    dir. Ron Howard (2018)
  • Upgrade dir. Leigh
    Whannell (2018)
  • Adrift
    dir. Baltasar Kormákur (2018)
  • Hotel Artemis
    dir. Drew Pearce (2018)
  • Hereditary dir. Ari
    Aster (2018)
  • Ocean’s 8 dir. Gary
    Ross (2018)
  • Wanted dir. Timur
    Bekmambetov (2008)
  • Lethal Weapon
    dir. Richard Donner (1987)
  • Lethal Weapon 2
    dir. Richard Donner (1989)
  • Lethal Weapon 3 dir. Richard
    Donner (1992)
  • Lethal Weapon 4 dir. Richard
    Donner (1998)
  • Mamma Mia!
    dir. Phyllida Lloyd (2008)
  • Cargo dir. Ben
    Howling, Yolanda Ramke (2017)
  • Righteous Kill
    dir. Jon Avnet (2008)
  • Tag dir. Jeff
    Tomsic (2018)
  • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom dir. J. A. Bayona (2018)
  • Incredibles 2
    dir. Brad Bird (2018)
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp
    dir. Peyton Reed (2018)
  • Sicario: Day of the Soldado
    dir. Stefano Sollima (2018)
  • Sorry to Bother You
    dir. Boots Riley (2018)
  • The Equalizer 2
    dir. Antoine Fuqua (2018)
  • Mission: Impossible 2 dir. John Woo (2000)
  • Mission: Impossible III dir. J. J. Abrams (2006)
  • Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol dir. Brad Bird (2011)
  • Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation dir. Christopher McQuarrie (2015)
  • Mission: Impossible – Fallout dir. Christopher McQuarrie (2018)
  • Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation dir. Genndy Tartakovsky (2018)
  • Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again
    dir. Ol Parker (2018)
  • The Darkest Minds
    dir. Jennifer Yuh Nelson (2018)
  • The Spy Who Dumped Me
    dir. Susanna Fogel (2018)
  • BlacKkKlansman
    dir. Spike Lee (2018)
  • Alpha dir. Albert
    Hughes (2018)
  • The
    dir. Jon Turteltaub (2018)
  • Crazy Rich Asians
    dir. Jon M. Chu (2018)
  • Constantine dir. Francis Lawrence (2005)
  • The Predator
    dir. Shane Black (2018)
  • The Nun dir. Corin
    Hardy (2018)
  • The House With a Clock in Its Walls dir. Eli Roth (2018)
  • A Simple Favor
    dir. Paul Feig (2018)
  • White Boy Rick
    dir. Yann Demange (2018)
  • Searching
    dir. Aneesh Chaganty (2018)
  • Hell Fest
    dir. Gregory Plotkin (2018)
  • Bad Times at the El Royale
    dir. Drew Goddard (2018)
  • The Sisters Brothers
    dir. Jacques Audiard (2018)
  • Kwaidan dir. Masaki
    Kobayashi (1965)
  • Halloween
    dir. David Gordon Green (2018)
  • First Man
    dir. Damien Chazelle (2018)
  • House dir. Nobuhiko Obayashi (1977)
  • The Killing of a Sacred Deer dir. Yorgos Lanthimos (2017)
  • Rumble in the Bronx
    dir. Stanley Tong (1995)
  • Eraser dir. Chuck
    Russell (1996)
  • The Bad Batch
    dir. Ana Lily Amirpour (2016)
  • Wind River dir. Taylor Sheridan (2017)
  • Hold the Dark
    dir. Jeremy Saulnier (2018)
  • Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald dir. David Yates (2018)
  • The Negotiator dir. F.
    Gary Gray (1998)
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet
    dir. Rich Moore, Phil Johnston (2018)
  • Young Guns
    dir. Christopher Cain (1988)
  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs dir. Joel Coen, Ethan Coen (2018)
  • Gerald’s Game
    dir. Mike Flanagan (2017)
  • Widows dir. Steve
    McQueen (2018)
  • Green Book
    dir. Peter Farrelly (2018)
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse dir. Bob Persichetti, Peter
    Ramsey, Rodney Rothman (2018)
  • Mortal Engines
    dir. Christian Rivers (2018)
  • The Fault In Our Stars
    dir. Josh Boone (2014)
  • Night at the Museum
    dir. Shawn Levy (2006)
  • Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle dir. Andy Serkis (2018)
  • Click dir. Frank
    Coraci (2006)
  • Killer Elite
    dir. Gary McKendry (2011)
  • Bumblebee
    dir. Travis Knight (2018)
  • Aquaman dir. James
    Wan (2018)
  • Maleficent
    dir. Robert Stromberg (2014)
  • The King’s Speech
    dir. Tom Hooper (2010)

TV Episodes

  • The Simpsons
    – “Treehouse of Horror XXIX” (2018)
  • Bob’s Burgers
    – “Nightmare on Ocean Avenue Street” (2018)
  • The Simpsons
    – “Little Orphan Millie” (2007)
  • The Simpsons
    – “Homer the Father” (2011)
  • The Simpsons
    – “Bart’s New Friend” (2015)
  • The Good Place – “Everything Is Bonzer!”
    (Part 1) (2018)
  • The Good Place – “Everything Is Bonzer!”
    (Part 2) (2018)

TV Series

  • Friends – Seasons 6-10
  • Stranger Things – Season
    2 (2017)
  • Frasier (1993-2004)
  • Jessica Jones – Season 2
  • The Twilight Zone
    Seasons 1-3 (1959-1962)
  • Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma – Season 1 (2015)
  • Disenchantment (2018)
  • Luke Cage – Season 2
  • Iron Fist – Season 2
  • The Walking Dead
    Season 8 (2017-2018)
  • One-Punch Man (2016)
  • Castlevania (2017-2018)
  • Better Call Saul
    Seasons 2-4 (2016-2018)
  • Daredevil – Season 3
  • The Good Place – Seasons 1-2 (2016-2018)