BOOK: Housekeeping (1980)

HousekeepingYear: 1980Author: Marilynne RobinsonLength: 332 minutes / 5.53 hours As I'm working my way through Pulitzer winners and finalists, I approached Housekeeping with skepticism. I knew nothing about this book other than its inclusion on these lists for "high literature." Having now read it, this book completely underwhelmed me. I'm going to include this with other books of literature like One Hundred Years of Solitude or Ulysses, both of which I found extremely boring and lacking of any kind of plot that I could latch onto. At least this was short and had some occasionally flowery prose. Even now, thinking back on what I read, I can't pick out anything significant that happened in this book. That I'm having trouble remembering what it was about should indicate how little impact it had on me. I vaguely remember there being something about an aunt who was a drifter and the bigger metaphor of "home is where the heart is." And, of course, extrapolating...
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MOVIE: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes (2023)

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & SnakesYear: 2023Rating: PG-13Length: 157 minutes / 2.61 hours I think it's hard to appreciate how The Hunger Games movies did a decent job of adapting the source material for the big screen while not evolving into a behemoth of a franchise. That Suzanne Collins made it clear that there was only the three books, and she didn't want to do anything else until she was ready was a welcome change from an entertainment industry that likes to squeeze as much money out of popular things as fast as possible. With this in mind, I can applaud The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes (2023) for being respectful of the original trilogy while also trying to expand the narrative in prequel form. While not a completely necessary prequel, it was still interesting to see how early versions of the Hunger Games were run. Of course, our knowledge of how they eventually evolve into something worse is...
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VIDEO GAME: Pokémon Go (2016)

Pokémon Go Year: 2016 Rating: E Time Played: ~170,000 minutes / ~2,862 hours Ever since Pokémon swept the world in the mid-1990s, fans of the franchise have longed to live in a world where they could actually interact with these creatures. On its surface, Pokémon Go scratches that itch by fusing a location-based game with the successful franchise. I can literally go out in the tall grass and catch virtual Pokémon on my phone. I really enjoy this concept and play the game daily, but there are still plenty of things that it could improve upon. I understand the need to prevent players from cheating, but the need to be connected to the internet constantly—especially when exploring less urban areas with poor cell service—makes this game entirely too frustrating to play. The only times I can consistently trust that the game will work correctly are when I'm sitting on the couch at home connected to Wi-Fi. This game has had several controversies from its developer,...
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MOVIE: The Marvels (2023)

The MarvelsYear: 2023Rating: PG-13Length: 105 minutes / 1.75 hours The problem with extremely critical and vocal reviews of a movie like The Marvels (2023) is that often the problem is the fans themselves. There's an amount of misogyny that's present in fans of comic books that is difficult to ignore here. And with so many people saying this movie is bad just because it's led by three women, it comes as a bit of a surprise when it's actually pretty passable. Granted, it still relies heavily on having seen almost everything else in the MCU, but we'll get to that in a second. While I'll admit that I'm still watching these movies because it's basically a sunk cost fallacy, I found The Marvels to be entertaining. It's maybe not as goofy as any of the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, but it has heart based on the characters' connections. It also has perhaps one of the most underappreciated twists that had me...
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