Five Things I Am Into Right Now, November 2013

A Charlie Brown ThanksgivingThanksgiving bothers me.

Last year, I wrote a post on the holiday where I summed up all of my feelings around it (You can find that piece here). I wrote about how odd it is to see Woodstock eat another bird in the Charlie Brown special for the holiday and I did this deep thing about how maybe we should reconsider the holiday; as compared to the starting mark for Black Friday. In other words, a typical Southard post.

Well, that post did some good numbers on the site, so I thought it might be fun to take it on again… So I thought… and thought… and then banged my head on my keyboard. Seriously, I have nothing else to say about the holiday. Nothing. Nada. Zip.  I then considered just reblogging that post, but I already did that once before. As Charlie Brown would scream “Argh!”

This year my wife is making the turkey for the first time. I’ll probably attempt to watch some of the Macy parade with my kids (which always seems to have more commercials than floats). I’m not a football dude, never have been. I think that goes back to a memory I have of one of my cousins tackling me which knocked the air out of me. After that I rarely showed interest in the sport.  I was done. So I’ll watch the kids, help my wife when I can in the kitchen, and countdown the days until I can write about Christmas.

I always have something to say about that holiday.

Here are my five things that interest me this November.

An Adventure in Space and Time

An Adventure in Space and TimeI couldn’t let this November slip by without one Doctor Who reference since this is the 50th anniversary of the long running show. And while everyone (including me) is excited about The Day of the Doctor, I’m just as excited for the movie/documentary An Adventure in Space and Time.

For those not in the know, this film tells the story of all of the lucky happenstances that came together to make the concept behind that brilliant show. It was written by Mark Gatiss (first of two references to him in this post) who has contributed to Doctor Who for years and is a co-creator and writer for Sherlock (he also plays his brother Mycroft).

As a fan of storytelling, I love to see the wizard behind the curtain; discover how a great idea comes to life. And ever since Doctor Who came into my life a few years ago I’ve wanted this story. I can’t wait to see it.

Double Down by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann

Double DownI read Game Change (their first book together) almost immediately when it came out. I, like most people, wanted to learn more about the personalities behind the 2008 election. Many, thanks to that HBO movie, thinks the book is only about Sarah Palin, when in actuality she is only in a few chapters of it. A bulk of the book is about the rise of Barack Obama and the journey he had to the presidency. A fascinating read.

So when Double Down came out I had to grab a copy. This book takes over after Game Change, taking on the 2012 election cycle. I’m in the midst of the madness of the Republican primaries and this book is as rich as Game Change was; feeling more like a well-told novel sometimes than a nonfiction retelling.

I follow Mark Halperin on his Time Magazine page and occasionally on Twitter. I usually enjoy his take on things but he can be very cynical. Sometimes his cynicism can be overwhelming and depressing and there are moments of that in this book as well. In his mind, politicians always seem to be about their own legacies and image than about making a positive difference.  That aside, this is still a fun book for those that wonder, scream, protest, complain, cheer, and cry over American politics. It’s all here.

The last season of Poirot

PoirotMy wife and I like to have theme summers (I wrote about this before here). Basically, this theme takes over all our Television watching for the three months. This last summer it was Doctor Who, but a few summers ago it was Agatha Christie.

We both enjoyed Miss Marple but there was something about David Suchet and his take on Poirot that is just mesmerizing. He lives the character, he breathes it. Every nuance, every gesture is Poirot. I can’t imagine another actor taking it on after he shaves off the mustache.

So far my wife and I have watched two of the last five movies. I thought the episode The Big Four written by Mark Gatiss (second reference to him) a lot of fun…. But I think my wife and I have purposely slowed down the watching because we don’t want to see the character die.

Oh, we’ll get to the end before the month comes to a close I am sure, but, man, it was a great ride.

Star Wars: Tiny Death Star

Tiny Death StarOkay, this is so incredibly nerdy and awesome. If you have an iPhone (or some other kind of smart phone) download this free game now. I expected it to be fun, but never this addicting.

Tiny Death Star is a variation of the SimCity games from the 90’s. Like those games you are making a building with a retail stores and apartments… but this is in the Death Star! The freaking Death Star! So you are also making interrogation room and chasing down the occasional rebel. This game finally answers the questions why did the Death Star have to be so big and what was on the other levels.

Now we know there was a pet store, a series of fun restaurants, a music store…. So when Luke blew it up, there were a lot of everyday alien shoppers he took out as well. I plan to keep my eyes out for X-Wings when I am shopping this holiday season.

Our Picnics in the Sun by Morag Joss

Our Picnics in the SunI love being the book reviewer for WKAR. Why? Because every few weeks or so I get a package in the mail that feels like Christmas morning. A brand new book, many times months before its actual release date.

This week I got a copy of Morag Joss’s new novel Our Picnics in the Sun and I couldn’t help myself. Even though I am reading three other books at the time, I had to open it, like a kid peeking behind a corner of the wrapping paper to see a present.

The book begins with an incredibly powerful and well-written description of a stroke. You experience it right along with the character. What he feels, you feel. When he struggles to move and survive you move with him, you fight with him. By the time that chapter was done I was exhausted and in awe.  I can’t remember the last time I was so swept away by a moment in a novel. And that was just the first few pages!

I’m about 70 pages into the book and I’m sure I will have it done this weekend (with a review in December). I also have no idea where she is taking the story at this point, and I find that truly exciting.  For me, definitely more exciting than any holiday football games.

Happy Thanksgiving!

A Jane Austen DaydreamIf you liked reading this post, why not check out one of my books? I’ve had four novels published in the last few years, A Jane Austen Daydream,  Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous DareMy Problem With Doors and Megan. You can find them via my amazon.com author page here. Thanks for reading!

Need an editor? Dream of finishing that book but need some help? Learn about my editing services by visiting this page on my site. Or you can contact Rebecca T. Dickson and request to work with me by clicking the image below.

Rebecca T. Dickson, Editor

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