Three Things Thursday: Catching Up
I missed last week’s post, largely because I was so exhausted I couldn’t come up with one thing to write about, let alone three. So let’s do some quick catching up by category here.
February was, put bluntly, a terrible month. So my work on the book still currently known as Ship Book (potential titles are taking shape, but it’s still a ways from being finalized) slowed way down from my January pace—11k words in February compared to 30k in January. But I’m settling back into a good groove now, and am entering into the last act of the book, so I’m hoping to have a draft complete by the end of March, if not before.
I also got news that my “Hallmark Channel Original Movies and the Economics of Feminism” proposal was accepted for this year’s Console-ing Passions conference, so I will be officially moving my Hallmark obsession into the land of academic research. As is only right and proper.
Let’s do some mini-thoughts on some comedies I haven’t talked about yet:
Powerless: Powerless is still very much a comedy in its infancy—it’s one of those shows where it has all the pieces it needs, it just hasn’t found a way to get them all to click into place quite yet. Once it figures out how to balance the workplace hijinks with the DC-universe in-jokes, I think it might have a chance to take off. The more it can embrace its inner Better Off Ted, the better.
Black-ish: By comparison, I think Black-ish has fully hit its stride this season. Its absurdity has learned to bounce off its social commentary in a really satisfying way—and I am always, always here for Charlie’s completely rational fear of Diane.
The Middle: I’ve watched reruns of The Middle off and on for a while now, but only just jumped into watching it live in the middle of its current season. I think the thing that finally brought me on board was the lived-in nature of the sibling dynamics. They needle and annoy each other endlessly but still have each other’s backs, all of which is reflected in their physicality. It’s great.
Speechless: Unlike Powerless, Speechless pretty much hit the ground running in its debut season. Like The Middle, I think no small part of its strength comes from the children on the show. All of the kids have clearly defined personalities—perhaps especially JJ—and the familial interactions are always sharp.
And some quick blurbs about a few of the books I’ve read the past two weeks:
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: Everyone’s been talking about The Hate U Give, and with good reason. It’s a very well-crafted book that offers beautifully nuanced characters, and the novel’s specificity is its grace. I’m toying with poking at my dissertation chapter about The Outsiders and The Soul Brothers and Sister Lou to develop some longer thoughts about the book and its predecessors, but I don’t want to rush it if I do. If/when it’s ready, you’ll see it here.
The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig: If you think I like this book because so much of it takes places on a ship, then you’d be right. But it’s also a really engaging world and take on time travel that tackles the division between myth and history, with a diverse cast of characters. If you haven’t read the first book, The Girl from Everywhere, get on that.
10 Things I Can See From Here by Carrie Mac: 10 Things is a lovely story about a queer girl with anxiety who has to spend six months living with her relapsing addict father, pregnant stepmother, and twin half-brothers. Her relationship with her father is realistically messy and heart-wrenching, and it was always a battle to see if I was going to be angrier at him or her mother. (Spoiler alert: they both made me very mad.) But that means the stepmother gets to be the steady, sympathetic presence in her life, which is a dynamic I really dig.
Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton: Rebel of the Sands, the first book in this series, was one of my favorite books of 2016, which meant that the sequel had a lot to live up to. But I loooooved Traitor to the Throne. It maintains all of the strengths of the first book, including complex worldbuilding and a genuinely funny narrative voice, without falling into many of the traps that define second books, like unnecessary relationship drama. The book tackles some tough topics, including the way women are forced to compete against each other to maintain power when they’re put into a vulnerable situation, but it never loses its sense of momentum. Like the first book, which builds to a neatly managed reveal, Traitor to the Throne plays fair with the readers by always offering enough information for each twist to be a combination of surprising and inevitable. Now go read both books so that I can shout all my ~feelings~ at you.
Bonus Round: What I Read the Past Two Weeks
- It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot
- Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig
- 10 Things I Can See from Here by Carrie Mac
- Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
- Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton