Reading Log: February 2024


MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios, Joanna Robinson, Dave Gonzales, and Gavin Edwards

One of my friends co-authored this one! Not as dishy as I was hoping about the recent stumbles, but still an interesting narrative.

The English Experience, Julie Schumacher

Outrageous: A History of Showbiz and the Culture Wars, Kliph Nesteroff

“You just can’t take a joke anymore” b/w “Kids are too sensitive these days” is a record endlessly on repeat.

The Book of Love, Kelly Link

ARC, full review here

Filterworld: How Algorithms Flattened Culture, Kyle Chayka

Loved Kyle’s last book, love his writing on the internet for The New Yorker, and deeply enjoyed this throughout, even if it felt once a chapter like an interesting path worth exploring more was noted before heading down a path that was less interesting to me as reader (and, in a few places, a little dubious in terms of overall hypothesis). Still some excellent food for thought w/r/t the general algorithmic greige of everything.

Palo Alto: A History of California, Capitalism, and the World, Malcolm Harris

I’ve been knawing at this one for slightly over a year, and flying home from Finland gave me the focused space to finish the final chapters. Deeply researched, deeply enthralling (if heavy at times), and following on from Harris’ great prior work in Kids These Days.

The Christmas Appeal, Janice Hallett

A rare miss from an author I’ve really liked, this was purely fine after all her other stellar novels. honestly, it feels like it’s the tacked-on christmas special to a britcom that had otherwise fully finished its run and just needed to run in place for 30ish minutes.

60 Songs That Explain the ’90s, Rob Harvilla

The sort of music book I love, a great mashup of cultural criticism and personal anecdote on a bunch of different 90s music.

Toxic: Women, Fame, and the Tabloid 2000s, Sarah Ditum

the past is a foreign country; they do things differently there, and YIKES has the way we treated celebrity women in the 2000s aged poorly. Great criticism/recent history.

A Cut Below: A Celebration of B Horror Movies, 1950s - 1980s, Scott Drebit

A few chapters of this got repetitive (it feels like the author wrote each movie write-up separately without going over the full assembled chapter to remove redundancies), but a passionate salute to B-grade horror that added a bunch of stuff to my Tubi/Plex/etc. watchlists.

A History of Fake Things on the Internet, Walter J. Scheirer

More academic than I tend to stick with. Some really interesting ideas on how digital fakery has been part of the internet for longer than we think it has, with lots of great case studies, but completely whiffs the ending by looking to the metaverse/NFTs as a potential vision for the future.

The Other Valley, Scott Alexander Howard

ARC, full review here

American Woman: The Transformation of the Modern First Lady, from Hillary Clinton to Jill Biden, Katie Rogers

ARC, full review here

West Heart Kill, Dann McDorman

there’s an effort to be “meta” here - you’re reading a mystery novel AND you’re aware that you’re reading a mystery novel - but proceeds to do nothing with that.

While the RIYLs for this (like Evelyn Hardcastle, etc.) do something with that meta-ness plotwise, this is content to just leave you at arm’s length, aware that you can see the scaffolding of this mystery novel set in the 70s but never quite sure why you’re being allowed to see it or what that adds. As it turns out: not much!

total books, February: 14

total pages, February: 5093

total books, 2024: 25

total pages, 2024: 8660