What are you reading? Watching?

February has been, overall, a rainy month here. On top of that, I got COVID–for the second time (the first was in November of 2020)–got put on Paxlovid and then developed a terrible rash. So I’ve been staying in and reading and watching. Goodreads tells me I read eight books this month and Dr. Feelgood and I’ve streamed three TV shows.

We watched three female centric shows: Bad Sisters, Mare of Eastowne, and Dead to Me.

I–even with its occasional fantastical plot–adored Dead to Me. The relationship between Judy (Linda Cardellini) and Jen (Christina Applegate) is one of the best portrayals of adult female friendship I’ve ever seen. The show manages to be very (intelligently) funny and, especially in its last season, remarkably moving. All the supporting actors are superb–who knew James Marsden could be so funny?

Bad Sisters was fun but so morally iffy that, by its conclusion, I was ambivalent about its joys. Sharon Horgan is brilliant but this dark comedy is missing a soul and it didn’t quite gel for me.

I struggled to finish Mare of Eastowne. Yes, Kate Winslet’s acting was astonishing but the portrayal of women’s lives in middle America felt elitist and sexist. I kept imagining a bunch of bros in their SoCal mansions being SOOOOO sure that any woman who lives in a medium sized town, in a crowded house, with a job that doesn’t require a graduate degree must of course live a life of misery. I don’t need happy endings to enjoy a film or a TV show but something that seems to punish its characters is not my cup of tea.

My reading has been hit or miss. I’ve read, in general, books that aren’t out yet, several by wildly successful authors and have… not been impressed. (One exception to that is Madeline Hunter’s May release which I thought was excellent.) I can, for mystery readers, recommend a debut thriller about, yes, patent law. Joey Hartstone’s The Local, while not perfect, is a fun, compelling read and I loved learning about the strategy behind patent lawsuits in the U.S. I also was blown away by the graphic novel Marry Me A Little by queer cartoonist Rob Kirby. (Full disclosure: Rob’s husband was a friend of mine in graduate school.) I’m not really much for graphic novels but I loved this one–it’s a book I’d like to give to many!

How about you? Watched or read anything fabulous lately?

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