Basketball & Other Things by Shea Serrano (non-fiction)
This felt like reading something online (unsurprising, as Serrano writes for the Ringer and many chapters started as bits there or on its precursor, Grantland), without all the bells and whistles you might get online, like the ability to see the particular play being described instantly.
Which became the strength of the book.
Like the slow food revolution for NBA-heads. A wormhole back to the not-too-distant-past when you had to take some of these feats on faith, until the VHS arrived with the proof.
It helped reduce my screen time and open windows into a more creative application of my own NBA addiction.
The "(and other things)" is important, too. The book becomes a collection of personal essays, leaping off from barroom questions like "Which version of Michael Jordan was the best?" to discuss the difference between how white Americans and Mexican Americans care for their elderly.
Looking forward to Movies (and other things) in October!!
Superior by Angela Saini (non-fiction, audiobook)
This pairs pretty well with The Coddling of the American Mind (which I still haven't finished, but). Answers the question: how did we get here? through the lens of race and race-based debate and politics.
In a macro-sense: it's so fucking demoralising (see also the ending of BlacKkKlansman). The scientific basis for racial difference has long been dismissed. But money and bad faith have been allowed to spur on bad science, which mixes with wilful ignorance...
That's the kicker. Without a latent mass of people waiting for these dog-whistles, it's over.
But there's enough in this book, if you pick through the individual parts, to suggest how we might go about (re?)building a better level of public discourse.
But some days it's just easier to go full-bore misanthropist, isn't it?
Against Interpretation and Other Essay by Susan Sontag (non-fiction, audiobook)
After reading these essays I happened to watch Darren Aronofsky's Mother! and it helped me understand why I hated it. There was no surface truth: it was all meant to be interpreted. No vehicle, just tenor. The urge to interpret turned into the creative act, leaving an empty vessel.
So, yeah, good book, bad movie.
My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh (novel, audiobook)
The only fiction I read this month.
I really wanted to like it, but it had a steep hill to climb as it based its narrative of some of my pet peeves: excessive drug use, extended therapy scenes, privileged, passive protagonist... While I hadn't quite read this exact story before (ie from the perspective of a mid-twenties female in New York around the turn of the Millennium) I have to say, it was a slog.
MOVIES & TV
The OA - Season 2 - I can see how some might see this show as a hot mess. It throws so many things against the wall. But to me, most of it coheres. And the stuff they're throwing? It's like they've been stealing my dream journal. Alternate realities. Angels. Cosmic Connections. And reading the same books: The Secret Life of Trees. Mind Games. Three-Body Problem...
The only thing that didn't sit right for me was the final twists, which was altogether too meta for me. If there's a reason Netflix hasn't renewed the show yet, it might be how the season ended. More likely it's that not enough people have watched it yet... I'm guilty for letting this sit on my watchlist for too long.
Or maybe the showrunners caught wind of the likelihood The OA would not be renewed and tried to crowbar some kind of closure (or deadening of expectations) so they could walk away from it? I think that's unlikely. But it's a show that invites theorising, even about it's production.
Crazy Rich Asians
Catch 22 (TV show)
Aziz Ansari: Right Now (curiosity killed the cat)
The Inbetweeners 2 - ugh