things i liked in 2019

This post contains affiliate links, because I like money, but I s2g I wrote this post before adding the affiliate links and the monetization does not affect my opinions.

It’s been eons since I last made a blog post, and I feel overwhelmed at the prospect of recapping everything that’s happened since June, so instead, I will resurrect the spirit of 2016 me and list some things I liked in 2019. Here they are.

movies watched 2019: spider-man: into the spider-verse, a monster in paris, murder on the orient express (1974), little women (2019)

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which, yeah, came out in late 2018, but I’m including it here because I didn’t watch it until this year. It was truly a delight for my eyeballs, and Miles Morales and his leap of faith got me right in the heart.

A Monster in Paris, a v. charming animated movie from 2011 that my partner and I randomly selected on Netflix one day. It was unexpectedly really, really funny, and I recommend it if you’re in the mood for something fun and a lil funky.

Murder on the Orient Express, the 1974 version with Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery, and Anthony Perkins. I tend not to watch a lot of movies made before the 90s, but the deliberate overacting and dry deliveries in this had me literally lol’ing.

Little Women, the Greta Gerwig version. It is visually gorgeous (whomst among us did not leave this film desperate for Jo’s entire wardrobe!!!), and the storytelling is so tender, with so much loving attention paid to the March sisters. Of Greta Gerwig’s films, I’ve only seen this and Ladybird, but the way she depicts her characters’ humanity, their imperfections and hopes and fears and their basic desires to be good people and feel loved – it all makes me so soft. I also really, really love that Little Women in particular is so effective at treating the ~little domesticities~ of being a woman with gravity.

tv watched 2019 - nailed it - travel the world on exo's ladder - 100 days my prince - busted!

Nailed It!, which is a very soothing combination of cringe-y scripted schticks, wholesome encouragement, and hysterically disastrous baking.

Travel the World on EXO’s Ladder, both seasons of which are sososo calming to watch, or as the EXOs would put it, Healing™. Basically, EXO goes on vacations and has to play games and complete missions to “earn” their food and spending money so they can buy souvenirs. It’s honestly kind of a joy to watch them all just… be together, messing around and amusing themselves and not being mobbed by fans.

100 Days My Prince, a Korean historical romcom series. I love it SO MUCH, and not just because EXO’s D.O. is in it. I guess I’m just a sucker for the fun combination of a fake marriage (and amnesia!) plotline + political intrigue.

Busted!, a Korean variety show that includes Sehun from EXO. (And Sejeong from gu9udan, whom I would like to be, and Park Minyoung, whom I would like to marry.) Basically, there’s an overarching plot involving implanted microchips and detectives and solving mysteries/crimes, and the cast members have to complete a series of absurd escape rooms, alternate reality games, and nonsense tasks to get the information they need. It’s so dumb, and I love it so much.

books read 2019 - know my name by chanel miller - red white & royal blue by casey mcquiston - the prince and the dressmaker by jen wang - station eleven by emily st. john mandel

Know My Name by Chanel Miller. She’s a remarkable writer, but you probably already knew that if you read her victim impact statement on Buzzfeed back in 2016. Reading this book was so, so incredibly painful, but it felt like something I needed to do – to witness her.

Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. I’ve seen some reviewers call this book too idealistic or unrealistic, but, like, the premise is that the POTUS’ son and the Queen’s son fall in love and cause an international scandal, so, like, I don’t know what else you’d be expecting. This book is QUEER and SAD and FUNNY and I LOVED IT. Also, speaking as someone who was once pretty sure I was straight, Alex’s internal monologue when he goes running is TOO real, and, speaking as someone who lost a parent too young, the pie crust analogy about “when your brain isn’t even done fully cooking” broke me, in a very sad and very true way.

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang. This is a YA graphic novel with SUCH A BIG HEART. Basically, the prince secretly likes to wear dresses. I cried!

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. This was on my to-read list for ages. It’s a story about the apocalypse, but rather than glamorizing the destruction and violence that an apocalyptic event would doubtless bring about, it takes a look at the best parts of human nature and our tendency toward cooperation, ingenuity, and hope. It gets a little philosophical about humanity at times, but it seems only fitting for a story about surviving the apocalypse. I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.

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book, movie, and fic reviews (10.11.18)

As promised, this post is dedicated to books, movies, and fanfiction I’ve consumed recently (and not so recently). I’ve got 23 books, 16 movies, and 6 fics in this post, so I’ve put most of it under a cut. Let’s get started.

BOOKS I READ

chaotic good - whitney gardner - princess academy - shannon hale - daughters of the dragon - william andrews - anothertoast book reviews

Chaotic Good by Whitney Gardner (Amazon | Goodreads) –  I was kind of disappointed the main character turned out to be cis and straight considering how important crossdressing is to the plot, but this book does a good job of exploring sexism and gatekeeping in fandom and geek culture, cyberbullying, costume design and construction, and the magic of Dungeons & Dragons. Also the illustrations are used really well.

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale (Amazon | Goodreads) – This is a middle grade book that’s cute, fun, low-key feminist, and a little bit magical.

Daughters of the Dragon by William Andrews (Amazon | Goodreads) – This is a good book that was really hard to read and which I never want to read again. It’s about the Korean “comfort women” who were forced into sexual slavery and repeatedly raped by the Imperial Japanese Army during WWII. The Japanese government refused to acknowledge it happened at all until 1993 and continues to downplay this horrific part of Japan’s history.

beauty queens - libba bray - the secret history - donna tartt - rich people problems - kevin kwan - anothertoast book reviews

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray (Amazon | Goodreads) – A bit heavy-handed and clumsily written, but the premise is so damn good: Lord of the Flies but the plane that crashes is carrying beauty pageant contestants.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt (Amazon | Goodreads) – This was my first Donna Tartt book and my GOD it did not disappoint. I loved the prose, especially the physical descriptions of people and the environment. Francis “Asparagus is in season” Abernathy is a precious gemstone, and I was so into this book that I read it between sets while crushed in the pit at a Dua Lipa concert.

Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan (Amazon | Goodreads) The 3rd and final installment of the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy. Trashy, entertaining fun.

room - emma donoghue - ship it - britta lundin - the raven king - maggie stiefvater - anothertoast book reviews

Room by Emma Donoghue (Amazon | Goodreads) – Honestly this was kind of excruciating to read because it’s written from a 5-year-old’s point of view, but once you get used to it, WHAT A STORY! It is about abduction and abuse but also hope and resilience and adaptability.

Ship It by Britta Lundin (Amazon | Goodreads) – I loved this book. I love that the main character is afraid of and confused by her own queerness, I love that she falls for someone who is so sure of her own queerness that she doesn’t leave room for those who are questioning, I love that there’s a bi character who’s not 100% sure about her sexuality despite being comfortable with herself, and I love that the main character gets called out for not caring about minority representation that doesn’t directly affect herself. A+

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (Amazon | Goodreads) – I was loath to read this because I wanted The Raven Cycle series to go on forever, but I was in such a bad headspace re: work that I gave myself permission to escape to Cabeswater. It was super effective, and as soon as I finished reading, I immediately started looking for fic because I love all of my nightmare children so much!!!

the gentlemans guide to vice and virtue - mackenzi lee - sophia of silicon valley - anna yen - circe - madeline miller - anothertoast book reviews

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee (Amazon | Goodreads) – This book really needs a trigger warning for physical abuse and period racism, but if you love gay-ass Victorians, sass, and character development, you’ll have a good time with this one.

Sophia of Silicon Valley by Anna Yen (Amazon | Goodreads) – Amusing, but disappointingly blasé about sexism and racism in the tech industry. This book was based off the author’s own work experiences in 1990s Silicon Valley, but I feel very strongly that if a book about the tech industry published in 2018 mentions sexist and racist behavior, it should also call it what it is: a systemic problem.

Circe by Madeline Miller (Amazon | Goodreads) – I decided to read this because I loved The Song of Achilles so fucking much, and it did not disappoint. Madeline Miller’s prose has this sort of timeless cadence that works particularly well in the context of Greek mythology, and it’s so beautiful it makes me want to both weep and swoon. This story is about Circe and WITCHCRAFT and POWERFUL WOMEN and (thirsty Spongebob voice) YOU. NEEEED IT!!!

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