Cultural Consumption | July-September 2020

An open book, viewed from close up. Photo by Reghan Skerry.

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Cultural Consumption is a quarterly roundup of (almost) everything I’ve been reading and watching. It’s a way to share and promote amazing work, and it’s a way to hold myself accountable, so I don’t just keep watching the same few comfort-food movies over and over again.

Here’s what I loved in July, August, and September.


How to Be an Antiracist – Ibram X. Kendi
This is a more personal—and more readable—book than I was expecting. (I’m not sure why I expected it to be a drier, slower read, but I was thrilled to be proven wrong.) This was already required reading. 2020 just drove that point home. ★★★★☆
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Gideon the Ninth – Tamsyn Muir
Lesbian necromancers in a Gormenghast-esque manor house mystery. In space! That’d be enough to get my attention, but it’s the voice and worldbuilding that blew me away. I can’t wait to read the next two books in the trilogy. ★★★★★
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Ninth House – Leigh Bardugo
It took me forever to get into this book—weeks to make it past the first hundred pages. And then I read the rest of it in a weekend. ★★★★★
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Bombshells Vol. 3: Uprising – Bennett, Andolfo, Braga
Everything about Bombshells delights me: the concept, the art, the inevitable ‘Justice League of Their Own’ joke. I actually put off reading it for a long time because I suspected it would turn into a bit of an obsession. (I was correct.) ★★★★☆
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The Skin We’re In – Desmond Cole
Canadians like to tell ourselves that this country isn’t as bad as the US when it comes to anti-Black racism, as if that’s a standard worth measuring ourselves against. This is an excellent, Canadian-focussed perspective. ★★★★★
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Tarot for Self-Care – Minerva Siegel
My education continues. This is a wonderfully accessible book—the spreads and card interpretations are some of the best I’ve read, and I love that each card has specific activities associated with it. ★★★★☆
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Inception (Trailer)
Sometimes a very very good movie will sit on my to-watch list for a full decade because I can’t be bothered to watch a movie that’s two and a half hours long unless I’m in the mood. But then—because I also can’t be bothered to avoid spoilers for ten years—by the time I do watch it, enough of that movie has made it into my subconscious that it’s like watching an old favourite. ★★★★☆

Little Women (2019) (Trailer)
Unlike a lot of girls who grew up wanting to be writers—and feeling like Jo March—I was never obsessed with Little Women. This version manages to take everything I did love about the story and turn it into something 14-year-old me would’ve actually connected with. ★★★★☆

The Old Guard (Trailer)
In some ways, this felt more like a television pilot than a standalone movie—there’s a big interesting universe here and I want to see more of it. I also want to see Charlize Theron kick ass on a regular basis, so if Netflix could get on that, I’d really appreciate it. (The comics have been on my to-read list for a while, and this just bumped them up a few notches.) ★★★☆☆

The Big Sick (Trailer)
This is the best romantic comedy I’ve seen in years: genuine and sweet and painful in all the right ways. (And actually funny.) ★★★★★

The Devil All the Time (Trailer)
I kind of feel like this is more ‘interesting’ than ‘good.’ It’s beautifully shot, and the performances are amazing (I mean… just look at that cast. It’s incredible). But there are threads that never really go anywhere, and in the end it’s just a bunch of men using the women in their lives as excuses to be awful, presented without comment. That said, I really did like it, and I have absolutely no desire to ever watch it again. ★★★★☆

Rewatch: Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn