five things i loved in january.

Somecrazyhow, it’s already February, and we’re nearing the 11 month mark of being trapped in our homes!! That’s quite a bit of time we’ve all had to watch, binge, read, and play all of the things.

We can finally say that the end is in sight, like, for really real, but even as the vaccine rolls out, getting back to some semblance of normal is still a long way off. So, I guess you’re still going to need some quality titles to keep you sane and keep you company, and it’s been a while since I shared any sweet, sweet RtM recommendations.

Well, good news – for all three of you reading this – the wait is over! For your consideration, here are five things I loved in January to help you fill the hours you’ll still be trapped at home for the next few months – not new releases, but things I enjoyed for the first time.

Watch! Read! Enjoy! Or don’t. You know, do your thing or whatever.



The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin

In case you haven’t heard yet, N.K. Jemisin is pretty incredible. And you don’t have to take my word for it, as she is easily the most celebrated and decorated speculative fiction writer of the last decade.

If you’ve already read her work, you know it’s powerful, fresh, socially resonant, and constantly surprising. If you haven’t, it’s time to start.

In short, The City We Became is the story of six people who become the personifications of New York City – the five boroughs, as well as the City as a whole – in order to fight an ancient evil hellbent on destroying NYC, followed by our entire dimension. As is the case with all of her work, I’ve never read anything like it before, and I can’t wait for the next installment in the series.

The book is an expansion of one of my favorite short stories from her award-winning collection, How Long ‘Til Black History Month, which is another great place to start if you’re a neophyte. It’s a great way to get a sampling of some of the remarkable places her imagination takes us, and it, too, is an award winner. Then again, it’s a bit redundant to call an N.K. Jemisin book ‘award-winning,’ because they all bring home hardware.



The Last Dance

And speaking of bringing home hardware, I finally got around to watching this docuseries that so many – even some non-sports fans – freaked out about last year. With all that hype, it still exceeded my expectations. I threw on an episode late one night, and it took a concerted effort to resist bingeing the entire thing well into the morning.

Jordan’s golden years covered my pre-teen through mid-teen years, and revisiting how special that era was for sports fans brought me more joy than I’d expected. As a Knicks fan, Jordan was the bane of my existence, costing the Knicks multiple NBA Finals appearances. Still, I’ve always known I was blessed to be witness. For a time, Jordan ran the world, becoming a global phenomenon no other athlete ever has, before or since.

The be honest, I’d come to take for granted that the real reason I think Jordan is the best ever is purely the generational. He was the icon of my young life, so, obviously I’ll be partial to him, right? Watching The Last Dance showed me that my opinion has nothing to do with a mind’s-eye blurred by nostalgia. Jordan was every bit the god I remember him being.



Apollo 11

Another critically acclaimed, universally adored documentary I finally got around to, Apollo 11 takes viewers through the days surrounding the first moon landing, but using only video and audio from the event – no commentary, no talking heads, no narrative tom-foolery for effect. The result is a beautifully crafted, immersive look at one of the most remarkable moments in human history.

If you think there is no way that a collection of newsreel footage and glorified home movies and audio edited together into a seamless whole could be absolutely captivating entertainment, Apollo 11 is ready to prove you wrong.



The Vanishing

This celebrated 1988 Dutch film takes viewers on a dark journey. The story centers on a man’s obsessive attempts to discover what happened to his girlfriend, who went missing when they were on holiday three years earlier. The story not only follows the obsessed Rex, a man now incapable of healthy relationships or living a normal life, but also the unlikely killer and his voyeuristic curiosity about Rex’s unyielding need to solve the mystery. It’s a beautifully crafted piece of cinema, with a haunting ending you won’t forget any time soon. Or ever.


Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I love some good Gothic horror, and Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s newest novel is exactly that. The story follows protagonist Noemí Taboada as she investigates the seemingly deranged and desperate letters received from her cousin, which plead that her life is in danger and that voices speak to her from the walls. Noemí must travel to the once glorious mansion where her cousin lives with the mysterious and reclusive family she’s married into.

Ghosts? Gaslighting? Supernatural evil? Vengeful houses? The eternal residue of tragic romance? It’s Gothic horror, so it could be any or all of the above (it’s not all of the above).

Mexican Gothic is a dark, twisted story full of mystery, creepy atmosphere, ancestral curses, and (possibly) otherworldly peril… sooo, Gothic horror.

Also, when looking for an image I came across Kelly McMorris’s fan art for the book, which I quite liked!