Here is your weekly hit of “Friday’s Four,” a list of what I’m enjoying or pondering.
What I’m reading —
Saladin Ahmed’s Throne of the Crescent Moon; this fantasy of ghul hunters set in an otherworldly Middle East is an extraordinary example of fleshing out a world we have a notion of (thanks to The Arabian Nights tales); it’s filled to the brim with colorful characters and unique fantastical elements spawned from Ahmed’s fertile imagination. I’m not one who typically enjoys fantasy (there’s usually some rule of the game that’s explained too late in the story for me), but this is definitely a page-turner. The book was a finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, Crawford, Gemmell, and British Fantasy Awards, and the winner of the Locus Award for Best First Novel the year it came out (2012).
App I’m Enjoying —
The Criterion Channel. After the collapse of FilmStruck, a streaming service devoted to cinephiles and lovers of world cinema, obscure films, and arthouse classics, the esteemed Criterion Collection decided to go it alone with plans of launching a Criterion Channel streaming service coming in April. I immediately became a charter member, and before the official launch, they’re streaming a cinematic gem each week, starting on Wednesdays. This week, it’s Wong Kar Wai’s sensational gem CHUNGKING EXPRESS. Unfortunately, this year we’ll see a lot of new video streaming services come online (WB, Disney, Criterion), and it seems that while people balked about paying over $100 for their cable bill. But this is one service I definitely will subscribe to because they have so many dope classic films at their disposal. The thing about FilmStruck, which I hope they do on The Criterion Channel, is that the site curated a wealth of informative additional content, the vaunted “extras” that made Criterion LaserDiscs and DVDs must-purchases. I’m sure Criterion has a wealth of material that probably didn’t even make it to the DVDs and Blu-rays (like Francis Coppola’s commentary on Bram Stoker’s Dracula).
Music I’m listening to —
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse OST. This animated film was in my top 5 films of 2018; I can’t speak highly enough about it, and as I continue to compile playlists for my writing routines, I stumbled across and I have found it fascinating. I’ve, unfortunately, only seen the film once, so only the stand-out images resonate with me when I listen to the music. But I’m itching to see the film again, but it was that damn good.
Quote I’m Pondering —
“Everyone loves the Horatio Alger version of life. What they don’t realize is that these transformations begin in shame, because poverty feels shameful. It shouldn’t, but everyone who’s experienced it confirms this.” – Matt Weiner.