September 05, 2018

Currents: What I've Been Reading, Watching, Listening to, etc.

As you know, one of my 40 Goals by 40 Years Old is to read more--I have a goal to read 40 books (before I'm 40) and to read the Bible from cover to cover. As someone who is a very slow reader and easily distracted by pretty much everything (not to mention bipolar), it takes me forever to finish a book (if I finish it at all).

However, I would really like to reach these long term goals, so I've been chipping away at them slowly. Already this year, I've read more books than in the last three years combined!

Anyway, I still have other forms of entertainment--podcasts, a few digital games, and TV shows--so I'm trying to balance out the vices (mainly TV) with some reading. Here are some current things I've been reading/watching/listenting to/playing...

What I'm Reading...

The Gender Game - This is the first book of a young adult series written by Bella Forrest. I was told that if I liked The Hunger Games and Divergent, I would love this series. It took me about half of the book to get into it, but but I'm almost finished with it and I'm definitely hooked! In fact, I told myself I can't finish it until I write this blog post, haha. (There really should be a better title for the book--I put off reading it for so long because the title sounds dumb.)

(Don't worry, there are no spoilers here) - In a nutshell, this book is a dystopian story about a divided nation--there is Matrus, a kingdom ruled by women; and Patrus, a kingdom ruled by men. Each has its own set of laws and ways of life. The main character, a girl (I think she's about 18?) named Violet is on a quest to reunite with her brother, who was taken from her in Matrus when she was 8 years old. She has to perform a task for the queen (by going undercover to Patrus) and the queen says that if she completes the task, she'll be able to see her brother.

It sounds cheesy and kind of ridiculous, but what post-apocolyptic young adult book doesn't? To be honest, I am mostly hooked on the romance subplot--it's along the same lines of the Katniss/Gale/Peeta drama in The Hunger Games, Tris and Tobias in Divergent, and Bella/Edward/Jacob in Twilight. Teen drama, being torn in two directions, forbidden love, etc. I'm a sucker for that.

Now that I'm hooked, I'm sure I'll be reading the next (six!) books in the series. Anyway, here is a link to the first of the book series on Amazon: "The Gender Game" by Bella Forrest.

What I'm Listening To...

I never, ever listen to audiobooks. When I've tried, I always found myself getting distracted and realizing that I missed everything in the last couple of chapters. So, I usually don't bother with audiobooks; I like short audio (like podcasts).

However, now that I'm going to be in the car for two hours a day (driving Noah to and from school), I decided to give audiobooks another try. Amazon was always advertising a free Audible trial, which included two free audiobooks (to keep, whether you continue the trial or not--I'll link to it below). To be honest, I signed up for the free trial, got my free books, and then canceled the trial (knowing I probably wouldn't use it enough to justify the cost). But I figured it was worth giving audiobooks another try.

(Here is a link to sign up for the free 30-day trial--you have to give them your credit card info so they can charge you if you decide to keep the membership, but you get two free credits to "buy" audiobooks that you can keep! In full disclosure, I get a commission for the referral, but I honestly didn't even know about that until I just went to look up the link to post here.)

Anyway, one of the books that I chose with the free trial is called "Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood" by Trevor Noah. I started it yesterday, listening to it solely while I'm driving, and I love it so far! Maybe listening in the car is my solution to audiobooks, because there aren't any other distractions--I just watch the road and listen to the book.

I didn't know this when I got the book, but apparently Trevor Noah is a celebrity--he is the host of The Daily Show. I'm not sure what drew me to buy that particular book, but it had really great reviews, and it was a memoir--I love memoirs!

I'm really glad I got the audiobook version, because I think that his voice (Trevor Noah is the narrator) makes the stories so much greater. His South African accent brings the stories to life and makes them even funnier (the accent is only mild, and he's very easy to understand). He changes his voice when reading conversations between people, which is entertaining.

Anyway, I'm not very far into it (about two hours out of eight), but listening to this book has made me rethink audiobooks in general--I will definitely give another book a try after I'm done with this one! (And luckily, my library lends out digital audiobooks--there is usually a waitlist for the popular ones, but I don't mind waiting)

I've also been listening to some podcasts, but haven't searched out any new ones in a while. When I was scraping the ceilings last week, I turned on a podcast and just listened for hours. My very favorite is still This Is Actually Happening  (and thankfully, there are so many episodes that I still have several that I haven't listened to yet). I have been listening to Risk! recently again as well (which is a pretty similar show--true stories by everyday people).


What I'm Watching...

I've been really excited for the fall season of shows to start back up, so I haven't been watching anything super interesting lately. I've actually been watching more movies than I have TV shows.

I discovered the coolest website/app several months ago that made me want to watch more movies... it's called Letterboxd, and it is basically like GoodReads--only it's for movies instead of books!

Below is my "diary" page--where it keeps track of all the movies I've ever seen (I backlogged a lot, but obviously I can't remember every movie I've ever seen, so I just add to this whenever I think of it).

You can keep a list of movies you've seen; rate movies; review movies; read reviews from others; make a queue of movies you want to see; create lists of movies (for example, I have a "Tom Hanks" list so that I can keep track of the Tom Hanks movies I've seen as part of my 40 Goals list); search through/follow other people's movies; see what movies are popular this week; browse similar titles; and even see where you can watch each movie! (Netflix, Amazon, in theaters, etc.)

If you're going through movies on the app and you find one you want to watch, you can just tap on "Go Watch It" and it'll show you all of your options...

When it's still in theaters:

This is the greatest app ever for people who like movies. (Unfortunately, I don't get commission for recommending this--because clearly, I'm am very excited about it, haha.)

Over the summer, a few of the movies I've watched (for the first time) are:

The Meg (I went with Eli, who had been SO exited for months to go see it)
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
47 Meters Down
Patriots Day
John Wick 2
Friday the 13th (the original)
The Money Pit

I really liked The Meg and Jurassic World. Ever since the first Jurassic Park movie came out, I've been in such awe of what they are able to do with movies like that and have it look so realistic.

The movie 47 Meters Down was terrifying! I didn't mind the sharks as much as the thought of being stuck in a cage at the bottom of the ocean--that is one of the scariest scenarios imaginable.

Patriots Day was amazing! I can't believe I hadn't seen it before.

Loved John Wick 2. I've always liked Keanu Reeves.

Friday the 13th was fun, because Noah's birthday fell on Friday the 13th this year and he wanted to have a viewing party for all the movies. The kids only ended up watching two of them, but I'd never seen them before, so it was fun. And listening to Noah and his teen friends watch it was so funny!

The Money Pit was HILARIOUS. I loved the banter between Tom Hanks' character and his wife, especially at the end.

As far as TV shows, I can't think of any that I've watched lately! I think the last was the second season of The Handmaids Tale. I'm really looking forward to the return of This Is Us, Shameless, and the Chicago shows--Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, and Chicago Med. Jerry and I watch them together, and we're excited for them to start up again.

What I'm Playing...

I've never been big into playing games on my phone; it drives me crazy enough when I see my kids doing it! But, I was bored one day and decided to start back up playing a ridiculous drawing game. It's cleverly titled "Draw Something (Classic)". And it's basically like Pictionary except you draw it on your phone and then it sends it to whoever you are playing with.

That person has to guess what it is, and then it's their turn to draw something for you. I'm really terrible at it (it's so hard to draw any sort of details with my fat fingers on my tiny iPhone) but that's what makes it so fun. Jerry and I make fun of each other's drawings and basically act like children.

I also started playing the games on "Lumosity" again. I used to play them a long time ago, but just kind of forgot about the app. I like these games because they are more "grown up" and there is a reason behind playing each one (memory, problem solving, attention, etc.). As I've said a thousand times, my biggest fear is getting Alzheimer's disease one day, and whether "exercising" my mind actually helps or not, I like to think that it does! And some of the games are fun.

My favorites are the train game, where you have to correctly direct (by flipping the track) different color trains to the corresponding stations within a certain amount of time (when all the trains are there at once, it's SO confusing and everything happens so fast). I finally unlocked the last level (level 14) on that game, and I was super excited when I did it! haha

I also like the coffee making game, where you have to prepare a ton of orders of coffee--some with one cream, some with two, one or two sugars, one or two cinnamon sticks, and a few other things. You have two minutes to complete all the orders, which is just ridiculous when you get to the last level (I just unlocked that one yesterday)!

Another favorite is where you have to direct your "ship" to the X using the shortest path without getting hit by any of the other ships. You have to think several steps ahead, and it's challenging, but I love problem solving.

This turned into a much longer post than I anticipated! Anyone else reading/watching/listening to/planing something good? Please share!


  1. I'm so glad you shared about letterboxd and I'm about to go download it!! I have told my husband so many times I wish there was a good teams for movies because I'm so bad at remembering names of them.

  2. I'm currently THOROUGHLY engrossed in the 'silo series' by Hugh Howie if you're looking for something to read. I've been very into the 'teen adult' books like Divergent and Hunger Games just like you. I'm so proud to be reading a series of books that I think might actually be for adults LOL. Apparently there was a movie in the works, but I think I saw it might become a TV series first?

    You helped goad me into getting into some podcasts on runs, but truthfully I prefer running to music...and now I'm podcasting more during my commute to work. I'm currently into Slow Burn season 2 - delving into the details of Bill Clinton and all his scandals. I think I'm a few years older than you, so I didn't pay much attention to this stuff as it was going on in my teen/college years...and I'm fascinated listening to it.

  3. don't forget to check out the library for downloadable audio and videos!

  4. The readers on audiobooks make a huge difference on if I can last or not through the whole book. My kids and I listen to them on road trips all the time. I actually have a liking to YA audiobooks!

  5. Love the movie app! Can’t find the “go watch it” feature though?

    1. You have to scroll to the very bottom and it's way down there on the right. I didn't even notice it until after I'd been using the app for a few weeks!

  6. This movie app sounds awesome! I'm going to go look for it and download right now. I love movies too. My current favorite is Deadpool 2 (um hello Ryan Reynolds) but I'm a sucker for all the Marvel movies. Sadly I haven't been reading much this summer. I need to get back in to it. In summer I watch a lot of The Office because nothing else is really on and its my fav :) lol

  7. I love seeing others people's reading lists, it helps me to add to my "to be read" pile! Thanks for the heads up about the movie app!! I immediately sent this to my son who is a film fanatic and he instantly said "Thanks Mom, I think this is actually something I'll look into", hahaha!

  8. You might like Tina Fey's autobiography, Bossypants. My kids couldn't stop talking about how funny it was -- they listened to it on a long drive to Memphis.

  9. I love listening to audiobooks while I drive. It is a great way to listen without distractions. Based on some of the books you say you like, I think you would enjoy The Selection series by Kiera Cass. I listened to it on audiobook, and the narration is really good, but it is probably great to read it as well.

  10. I do audiobooks in my car too and I LOVED Trevor Noah's book. I am a sucker for a good memoir.

  11. I got really into the British show “Call the Midwife”. Season seven starts on Netflix in the US on Monday!

  12. The Gender Game sounds great... just requested it from the library. And thanks for mentioning Letterboxd--that sounds amaaaazing. I love Good Reads and was always wondering if there was something similar for movies!

  13. I'm currently reading Exit West. I have to have it read by next Saturday for a book club, but luckily it's going really quick! As far as watching, I've gotten sucked into True Blood. The show is a little over the top, but I'm more than happy to watch for all the Alexander Skarsgard I'm getting in my life! And as far as podcasts, I really enjoy Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard.

  14. is half the price of Audible and just as much selection if you decide to cancel your audible account!


I used to publish ALL comments (even the mean ones) but I recently chose not to publish those. I always welcome constructive comments/criticism, but there is no need for unnecessary rudeness/hate. But please--I love reading what you have to say! (This comment form is super finicky, so I apologize if you're unable to comment)

Featured Posts

Blog Archive