The Wrap: January ’19

christmas 2019.jpg
Is it too late to post a Christmas-Eve picture? Would I care even if it was?

I’m on the hunt for jobs (hire me! I post Christmas pictures in February and forget to post the Wrap for an entire quarter), leases and subleases, and, currently, some kind of working phone. Somehow, through all of that, I’ve read a few books and seen a few shows. I have a lot of posts started in my drafts that I’m excited to share with you all in 8-10 months when they’re no longer viable, but for now, here’s something simple: what I read and watched in January, and what’s coming up in February.

Jump in for tiny planets, love letters, and cultural encounters of all kinds.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

1 Sentence Synopsis: This is the possibly authentic, possibly not, account of Lali Sokolov and Gita Furman’s love story, which began in a Holocaust Concentration Camp.

Review: The line Morris must walk – between a romance story and romanticizing the holocaust, is thin and delicate. Overall, Morris walks it well. Morris’ background is as a playwright, and it shows. While I appreciate a good play more than the next guy, I do like there to be some separation in my art forms. A novel with horribly simplistic writing and overwrought with dialogue is a relatively unenthused process. Sokolov and Furman deserved more than storyteller, and while I’m glad their story was told at all, it seems dubious it could have been handled worse.

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs

1 Sentence Synopsis: An autobiographical slave narrative notable for its subject matter – Black, enslaved, womanhood.

Review: This was exceptional. The debate over whether it could have be written by a slave proves its exemplary nature. Declaring ownership of a Black body was already courageous when this was released – declaring ownership of a woman’s body – a black, assaulted body? Revolutionary and courageous beyond what any White boy in Seattle could type into the cyberspace. I read this as for my African American Literature class (of which you will see many in the following months) but its influence and power goes into all American spheres.

The Little Prince by Antonine de Saint-Exupery

1 Sentence Synopsis: A Little Prince disembarks from a little asteroid, exploring space before crash landing on Earth.

Review: At its core, this is an examination of that tragic moment in every adult’s life when they shed their childhood freedom for the rigidity of adulthood. That child is still there, though its level of dormancy varies. That is why you must always rake out your volcanoes. de Saint-Exupéry also writes a story that offers solace for the depressed and grieving, a kind of therapy outside of The Little Prince’s place in time. This novella may be framed as a children’s book, but, like any good classic, there are lessons here for you no matter your background or age.


Looking Ahead: February

What to Read

In love with love? In love with the world? In love with yourself? No matter who or what Cupid strikes next, these reads will hit you right in the heart.

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman – If you’ve been dumped recently, or you just find yourself in a mess of someone else’s making, sometimes the best thing to do is be thrown into a coaching position with the worst team – in the worst place – imaginable. (Review)

Insomniac City by Bill Hayes – A love letter both to New York and his now-deceased husband, world renowned writer Oliver Sacks, Bill Hayes complies vignettes, photographs, and journal entries for a show-stopping display of love in all its forms. There are some moments that we could do without, but the overall theme is one of finding the beauty in the everyday, and never letting go of the ones we love. (Review)

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown – Sometimes the biggest and best love we know is with a friend. Roz, a robot awoken on a far-off island, has to befriend the scary, odd, and hilarious creatures around her. This middle grade fiction is sure to rise the kid at heart, and remind you to love the people you call home. (Review)

What to Watch

Friends from College – The best friends you love to hate are back. Friends from college follows a group of, wait for it, college friends, as they explore their relationships, lives, and identities in their 40’s. Keegan-Michael Key, Fred Savage, and Cobie Smulders return for Season 2 streaming now, only on Netflix.

Into the Dark: Down – The Hulu & Bloomhouse horror movie anthology is back with a Valentine’s day horror show trapping its victims in none other than a stalled elevator. For those unfamiliar, Into the Dark releases one Horror movie a month, surrounding a holiday in the release month. While there’s a host of tastes available for catering, I recommend The Body and Flesh & Blood.

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part – I’ve never met a Lego toy, movie, or video game I didn’t like. The sequel to the Lego movie that reignited kids young and old to the love of those tiny bricks, returns. I’m sure it’ll be another side-splitting comedy for the whole family where everything turns out to be awesome (In US theaters February 8).

What did you read in January and what are you excited for in February? Let me know in the comments below!

Bryce’s debut collection can be purchased here. 25% of the profits go to organizations like RAINN, 1in6, and End The Backlog. He writes short stories for free here.

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