90s music, A Feather's Force, Ad Astra, Aughts music, December 2019, Diana Gabaldon, Hasan Minhaj, It Chapter Two, Jacy Sellers, London Shah, Magic for Humans, Monthly Mental Munchies, Outlander, Patriot Act, Starship Iris, Tamora Pierce, The Light at the Bottom of the World, Trickster's Choice
December is a decent month, as far as months go. It’s no June or September, but at least it’s not November or February. I’m not a fan of the frosty air, but the spirit of the holiday season (when people aren’t being ugly about how it’s celebrated) bolsters my mood and mindset. It IS a month of celebration and personal indulgence, and what better way to do that than feasting on the mental media munchies we love! Here are the books, movies, shows, and music that made me happy this December!
Books & Stories: I zipped through three…count them—THREE!…books this month, and I feel invincible. As a reader, anyway. I started the month by returning to Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce. I started it last month, but I didn’t have the mental capacity for immersive high fantasy in November. I’m glad I returned to it because I enjoy Pierce’s style of writing. The worldbuilding is phenomenal, though I thought she was perhaps a bit too hesitant to throw obstacles into hero Aly’s path. I don’t plan to seek out the sequel to the book, but I might pick it up if they have it available at the local library. Once that was finished, I moved on to A Feather’s Force by Jacy Sellers and Nicole D’Arcangelo. Jacy is one of the first people I met in the Twitter writing community, and we’ve supported each other through our first manuscripts. I read an early draft of A Feather’s Force, and Jacy and Nicole have put a ton of spit and polish into it since then. I was fortunate enough to attend their book launch in early November and noshed on samples of the main character Ember’s favorite snack—peanut butter and pickle sandwiches! They’re better than you might think! I’m finishing out the month now with London Shah’s The Light at the Bottom of the World. Boy, talk about immersive! Shah’s book throws the reader into a future world when the planet is drowning (think an underwater YA version of Waterworld.) I’m still working on it as of this writing, but I’ll finish it before 2020 gets here!
Movies & Shows: Let me start by saying that I’m not a big fan of zombies, and yet, I can’t NOT watch a good zombie movie. My favorites are the ones that take the tired zombie attack trope and refocus the terror. (Think: Warm Bodies or It Stains the Sand Red.) I’ve been wanting to watch Cargo with Martin Freeman for a long time, and this was the month I made it happen. On my husband’s birthday. (What? He was indecisive, and it came up while surfing, so I made an executive decision!) It was a truly good zombie movie, and I LOVE Freeman, and my husband has since recovered. Mid-month was filled with Magic for Humans with Justin Willman (I’m convinced he’s a real-life Harry Potter), Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj, and Outlander. I’ve thus far read all the books in the main branch of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, though I enjoy each subsequent novel less and less. The storylines are multiplying and meandering, and I’m losing interest. Anyway, I’d watched the first season and some of the second when it debuted on Starz but haven’t followed it since we canceled our subscription in 2016. I finally caught the third season this month on Netflix. More than anything, I love seeing Claire and Jamie’s epic love story brought to life onscreen. Okay, maybe I just love watching Sam Heughan in the role of Jamie. We also watched It: Chapter Two and Ad Astra last week. Ad Astra was okay, but I’m not a Brad Pitt fan so that tempered my enjoyment of it. Hubs and I agreed that we connected better to the first It movie than Chapter Two, but it was still fun to watch.
Music & Audio: The cold weather is sending me indoors to run, and while I can’t stand headphones (I have tinnitus from my military service), I suck it up because I can’t run on a treadmill without the distraction of music. I have a mix of various songs on my old iPod (we’re talking 3rd Gen Nano from 2007) that keep my feet moving for just this reason. The mix includes songs from Moby, Gwen Stefani, Imagine Dragons, Nena Simone, Death Cab for Cutie, White Zombie, Outkast, Harvey Danger, Evanescence, Coldplay, and Eisley. Yes, a ton of 90s and Aughts hits…I guess I’m a creature of musical habit. I’m also catching up with the Strange Case of the Starship Iris podcast. I listened to episode 1 and half of 2 earlier this year but haven’t had time to finish the show. Now that I’ve officially selected a young adult science fiction story for my next full-length project, I need to get into the spirit of sci-fi again, so I’m motoring through the rest of this excellent series to close out 2019. The voice talent is amazing, by the way, and I love all the characters.
This closes out nearly an entire year of sharing the books, short fiction, movies, shows, music and podcasts that propelled me through 2019. So far, the selection of mental munchies heading into 2020 looks great, and I can’t wait to indulge and brag! I hope to see you next month/year!