Monthly Recommendations: January 2021

I missed talking about the things I love on a regular basis, so these rec posts are back for 2021! The content in them may vary on what I’ve been doing for the past month but they’ll always be some combination of book, TV, movie, and music recs that have gotten my attention in the past month. But these aren’t just about me, I also want to know what things you’re currently loving and we can all share our interests and have even more fun with them.

Book Title: Queen Move

Author: Kennedy Ryan

Genre: Contemporary Romance

I’m pretty sure this book ended up on a lot of Best of 2020 lists and no matter how many it was on, it still wouldn’t be enough. This is one of the most gorgeously written romance books I have ever read. It’s my first by Kennedy Ryan and I was blown away at her poetic language and the yearning she infused in the whole story. It’s a childhood friends-to-lovers, second chance romance and the emotional grounding in these characters is the feature at every step of the way. We get Kimba and Ezra’s story from their first meeting when they were babies to their first kiss and separation to their reunion as adults and it is as magnetic for the reader as their bond is for them. You cannot help but invest in their story, the love between them is so special and rare that through everything that happens, there’s faith that it will survive because something like that can’t just disappear. I cannot recommend it enough and I will leave you with this gorgeous phrasing because it blew me away when I read it, “She was there for my scaffolding – there when my flesh was knit over my bones. And if love is not an emotion, but a type of eternity, an infinity that lives in our hearts, then we have always been in love.”

Show Title: Run BTS

Episodes: 126 (at time of posting)

Where to Watch: vlive/weverse

I am still struggling to watch much scripted TV so I’m not even managing to keep up with returning shows let alone start many new things. And to be honest, my fandom brain space is probably about 75% BTS at the moment anyway so it does not leave much room for content that isn’t related to them. But fortunately for me, they have not one but three different shows to enjoy (so don’t be surprised if Bon Voyage or In the Soop make an appearance in a later monthly rec post) so I still have something to watch when nothing else is working for me. Run BTS is a weekly variety web show that features the group doing a variety of challenges or playing games. I’ve seen about half the show so far and in that time, they’ve gone bungee jumping, done cooking challenges, acted in skits, visited Niagara Falls and so much more. It’s a chance for them to try new things and sometimes get pushed out of their comfort zone (more so for some members than others) while being silly and competitive with each other. One of the biggest draws of the group (other than the fact that they are extremely talented performers) is their chemistry and ease with each other and that’s on full display in each episode. It’s loud and chaotic a lot of the time and more fun for it. Very little has made me laugh harder than this segment and on the opposite end of the spectrum, the poems they were challenged to write to each other were sweet and genuine in a way that made me really emotional. It’s exactly the kind of content I needed this month and that I’m sure will be frequently rewatched in the future. 

Movie: The Old Guard

Where to Watch: Netflix

I am truly terrible at watching movies, if I manage to watch 4 in a year I’ve done well. But I started this year with The Old Guard and it was everything I hoped it would be and more. It was the superhero movie my heart needed with its emphasis on using what has been given to you to do good, even when you can’t see the results, and the idea that we need other people. The family that the Immortals form is strong and good and even when it fractures, it doesn’t break because these people are bound together by experiences no one else can share. They will lose everyone else in their lives but walk through it with the idea that they will be by each other’s sides. They have chosen each other for centuries and continue to do so. It’s a movie about regaining hope and purpose in the face of what looks like a losing battle. I can’t wait to see where this story goes from here (and just to spend some more time in this world and these characters) and need everyone I know to watch this movie before the sequel comes out.

And finally, some music recommendations for the month! I have historically been very terrible at actively listening to new-to-me music in favor of listening to the same things I’ve liked forever with only a few new additions at any given time but at some point in 2020, I got tired of everything I already knew and needed to refresh my music habits. It’s my only bit of pop culture consumption that makes me insecure because I feel like I spent a lot of my teen years hearing that everything I liked was somehow wrong and made me worse as a person and have yet to fully break out of that fear of sharing my tastes with others but I’m doing it anyway because it really has made me happy to discover new things in the past month or so. Not all of these are recent releases but they have all been on repeat for me the past month so it still counts.

I hope you found something that excited you to check out somewhere in this post and be sure to leave me recommendations of the things you love and want to see more people love as well.

4 thoughts on “Monthly Recommendations: January 2021

  1. I really need to watch The Old Guard. It was on my list when it first came out and then I got sidetracked and lost sight of it. Need to rectify this weekend.

    I need folks to pick up The Jane Austen Society not merely because I love all things Austen and Regency but because it’s truly a wonderful story about friendship found in loss and fandom. I adored it.

  2. I’m so bad at commenting kjashfkjdhasf but yaaaas to your Run description :3 our chaotic dumbass sunshine boys.

    and thanks for sharing your fave music!! you dont ever have to feel insecure about it. to heck with those people – you like what you like, and you should to people about it!

    this is my current earworm by txt!! if you look up the lyrics yes the song title is literally 9 and three quarters and a hp reference heh

  3. I am so excited to see the return of these posts because I always want more of your writing and your recs and also because I love having a space to talk about random pop culture things I love that don’t fit in with anything I can write for NGN!

    As far as TV goes, if people are not watching WandaVision, I’m just assuming it’s because they don’t have Disney+ because otherwise they are MISSING OUT. It’s weird and wonderful and Elizabeth Olsen is doing amazing work that probably won’t be rewarded because award shows are garbage at recognizing genre TV that isn’t GoT, but every week I fall more and more in love with the very deliberate choices she’s making to show us how very not okay this woman is. And with every episode, I keep getting more and more invested in her story, to the point where I can see this ending up with her as my favorite MCU character (which shouldn’t shock me this much because Jean Grey was always my favorite X-Men character and there are SO MANY parallels between those women).

    I’ve been bad about picking up new movies this month, but I did watch One Night in Miami and was blown away by every performance in it. It’s a really beautiful story of friendship, idealism, and finding your voice on your own terms. The really intimate and warm relationship between the men isn’t something the media usually gives us from a group of Black men, and as someone who loves any and all stories about how your friends can help you grow and see the world in a new way, this story spoke to my soul.

    And then there’s books. Listen, I know everyone already talked about Get a Life, Chloe Brown! last year, but I’m a slow reader and behind the times. But I’m obsessed. It was sexy and romantic and super swoon-worthy, but it was also a very real depiction of what it’s like to live with chronic illness. I had a friend in high school who missed most of our senior year because of chronic pain, and this story reminded me a lot of how many people just kind of abandoned her because she wasn’t “fun” to hang out with (even though hanging out with her and watching movies together is still a highlight of my high school memories). It’s a sad but true fact of living with chronic illness, and this book doesn’t shy away from that fact. It also features one of my favorite lines in recent memory: “Life hurts…It’s unavoidable. But I know the difference between torture and growing pains.” I now have the next Brown Sisters book coming in from Amazon today, and I can’t wait to get started with it!

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