What I’ve Been Reading and Watching

Moon Witch, Spider King.

Brutal, earthy and poignant. James’ ongoing Night Star trilogy goes back to events before the first book, and the single protagonist, Solonga, the eponymous Moon Witch is compelling and complex as any character in fiction. The patois James uses for her has a gorgeous rhythm to it, and the story itself is a series of body blows and head-tingling ideas and images.

Barry –

Bill Hader plays a hitman trying to be an actor. That sold me right there, and the show has been a macabre delight. It also has a great supporting cast, the kind of characters who wouldn’t be out of place in Elmore Leonard’s work, genuinely great action and a central turn from Hader which is becoming unnerving.

The Batman.

The look and structure harken back to the character’s roots, visually it borrows from German Expressionist cinema, Se7en and every solid procedural since time began. It isn’t a superhero movie, which is bland fare these days, Pattinson has a detached intensity and sullen charm, guided by the intelligent playfulness and focus he brings to every role and makes it his own. If you don’t like him, wait because they end up rebooting these things every few years anyway. Paul Dano as the Riddler, has a sweaty intensity and manages to capture the petulance of the character in a way I really enjoyed. Plus, Batman punching criminals never gets old.

The Memory Police Yoko Ogawa

An island where, over time, the memories of things disappear. Birds. Snow. Hats. Men in uniforms enforcing impossible edicts without empathy or recrimination. This book was unsettling, and had a dream-like quality which makes the overall concept and execution all the more effective. I finished this in a day, but it stayed with me long afterwards.

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