Recommended Reading 2015

As I do every year at this time, I present a curated list of books I read during the year, presenting few that I think truly stand out and are worthy of your time and energy.

This year, I heartily recommend you read:

  • Adrift by Paul Griffin
  • Queen of the Deep by Kay Kenyon
  • Becoming Steve Jobs by Brent Schlender & Rick Tetzeli
  • The Girl with the Wrong Name by Barnabas Miller
  • I Am the Traitor by Allen Zadoff
  • The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
  • A Prayer for the City by Buzz Bissinger




Defending The Force Awakens

Star Wars: The Force Awakens logoSo, it turns out plenty of people have some problems with The Force Awakens, including some friends of mine.1

A lot of the complaints about the movie seem to boil down to “It was just a retread of the first one!” So rather than argue the point with each person who bothers me about it, I figured I would rebut the most common points here and now. Then I can just point to this post when someone brings it up and sleep the sleep of the just.

Starkiller Base = Death Star

The biggest complaint tends to revolve around the similarity between TFA‘s Starkiller Base and the original movie’s Death Star. And, yes, I will cop to a moment of “This? Again?” when I first bespied Starkiller Base in all its IMAX glory.

But… [Read more…]

  1. The fact that we are still friends despite disagreeing about something so monumental speaks to our maturity…or maybe to our mutual fear of having to go out and find new friends.

WiRL: “Have I Read This Before?”


It’s Christmas, so we do…nothing special. 🙂

Episode 45: The One with Morgan’s Memory Problems

Morgan cheats on Barry. Taking stock of what we’ve read this year. Morgan’s memory is terrible. Barry resists going all Campbell on Star Wars. Wisdom from Sylvia Plath. Plus: Great first lines!

Star Wars Thoughts

Star Wars logoWarning: Spoilers for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (Duh)

In no particular order…

  1. Man, oh, man, did I love this.
  2. I managed to stay spoiler-free, which wasn’t easy, but I went into it not even knowing any of the new characters’ names. I knew there was a dude named Kylo Ren, but didn’t know who he was.
  3. I thought I was prepared, but when I saw the crawl begin and the words “Episode VII: The Force Awakens,” I felt my heart hammer in my chest. I realized that since I was 10 years old, I’ve been waiting for this moment on some level…and on that same level, I figured it would never come. But holy crap — there it was, up on the screen!
  4. Love Rey.
  5. Love Finn.
  6. Love Poe.
  7. Basically, they did a great job with the new characters. Mega-impressed. It would have been easy to fall back on the old favorites, but they put in the time and the effort to make me fall in love with the new kids.
  8. Speaking of which… Since they’re going to use these new characters for future movies, it seems like the obvious move is to kill Leia in Episode VIII and then bump of Luke in Episode IX. Man, that’s gonna hurt. I can’t lie.
  9. Looks like Harrison Ford finally got his wish to die in a Star Wars movie.
  10. I bet when Kylo Ren threw Solo’s body into the pit, Chewie was thinking, “I should have strangled that little fucker in his crib.”
  11. I was weirdly waiting for a moment where Kylo Ren would bump into Chewbacca. “Uncle Chewie!”
  12. Am I the only one who thought of the Throat of the World as Rey was walking up those steps to meet Luke Skywalker?
  13. I am doubly happy to have the remote-controlled BB-8 now that I’ve seen “him” in action.
  14. My only quibble with the movie: I wish Threepio had continued his standard intro into “Human-cyborg relations. I am fluent in over six million forms of communication.” Because there’s nothing more awkward than a droid that won’t shut the hell up.
  15. Sorry, Ken Leung and Greg Grunberg are terrific actors, but they totally yanked me out of the movie when they showed up.
  16. So…the new super-weapon destroys two systems, then, right? The one it fires on and the one of which it eats the sun. Yikes. Good riddance.
  17. I hate the name “Snoke.” But that’s OK.
  18. Gotta say it again: So impressed with the new characters. They found just the perfect balance between “These people are cool” and “These people are newbies.”
  19. Please tell me Max von Sydow wasn’t just there for the hell of it. There’s got to be more to his character. Right?
  20. Ditto for Captain Phasma. Did she somehow survive?
  21. Not being a fan of Girls, I don’t know enough about Adam Driver to be a fan of his or not, but damn was he perfect casting for Kylo Ren! He’s got the voice of a badass villain, but when he takes off that mask, he looks like a scared little boy…which is just what the role needs. Awesome.
  22. How the hell did Maz end up with Luke/Anakin’s lightsaber? That went flying off to eternity when Vader hacked off Luke’s hand in Empire.
  23. Bring on Episode VIII!

WiRL: “A Tumblr in a Corner of the Internet”

Episode 44: The One with Morgan’s R&R

Barry reconsiders NaNoWriMo. Picking Morgan’s brain. Is writing an compulsion? Should it be? Leia walks like crazy and gets a sibling. An update on Morgan’s agent search.