recently hearted books & movies

courtneybooks, movies

Now that I’m between books I have some LEISURE time!

But not as much leisure time as I would like, sob.

But still.

Leisure time for me is spent reading books and watching movies and trying not to move around too much while I do either.

I’ve been pretty fortunate in all of my selections recently, so I thought I’d share ’em with you. Here’s what I am surrounding myself with as of late:

1. The films of Kiyoshi Kurosawa

I can’t remember the last time I got all excited about a director to the point I had to see every single movie he’d ever made. Kiyoshi Kurosawa, where have you been all my life? This man is a total genius. I love movies (and books) that understand and explore loneliness and isolation and people fumbling their way through life and wanting more–even if the “more” they want isn’t actually all that much–and Kurosawa understands these things beautifully. Consistently. Every single one of his movies makes my heart feel whole and purposeful. THAT IS HOW MUCH I LOVE THEM.

Lots of J-horror here. Kairo (Pulse) is my favourite of all his films. It’s about ghosts and the internet! Avoid the terrible remake. I could watch Kairo over and over again. It’s incredibly slowly paced, but that’s a huge part of its charm and when it really gets going it’s like someone has their hand inside your stomach and is squeezing your guts, which is exactly how you should feel when you’re watch a good movie, in my humble opinion. IN PAIN. Kairo also has parallel storylines, which always makes me want to experiment with the ways I write my own novels. Retribution is my next favourite Kurosawa film, then Cure and Seance. Tokyo Sonata just came in the mail and I have heard incredible things about it. I’m going to watch it TONIGHT! Also on my To-Watch list: Charisma, Doppelganger and Bright Future.


I saw this today–I’m watching it again while typing this actually, it was so good–and I don’t know what is wrong with me that I’d wait so long to watch it because it’s been on my radar forever. It want to say it’s Canada’s equivalent of Night of the Living Dead, except it’s BETTER. Pontypool takes place in a radio station in Pontypool, Ontario, and involves a zombie virus that is spread by the English language. Certain words are infected and if you say them, you will be too. It’s so clever and well done and the small cast is an amazing cast. The book the movie’s based on is on its way to me RIGHT NOW and I can’t wait to read it. Aaah it was so so so so good. SHUT UP OR DIE!

3. Good books!

I’m on a roll!

Left to right: The Lighter Side of Life and Death by C.K. Kelly Martin, One Bloody Thing After Another by Joey Comeau, Stolen by Lucy Christopher, Shit My Dad Says by Justin Halpern and Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omolulu. I’ve shared my thoughts of them on my GoodReads (friend me!) but here are the cliff notes for my blag–

The Lighter Side of Life and Death: This book was WOW. This book is WOW. C.K. Kelly Martin is one of my favourite YA authors. Her novels are so significant and important and everyone–EVERYONE–should be reading them. The way her characters experience all of these firsts is so thoughtfully and sensitively handled. As an author, she shows respect for her readers and her books are so incredibly realistic. The way she pinpoints emotional truths makes her narratives so universal and so special. What she is doing is not something you see in YA novels every day and anyone who wants to write a YA should read one of her books before they even attempt it.

One Bloody Things After Another: This is AMAAZING and it is so worth your time. Joey Comeau’s writing so understands, well–people! He gets the way they have secrets and that gets me right in my ol’ ticker. And then he sets his novels in these fantastical, strange, unsettling and practically impossible situations and presents them in a way that makes them seem possible! This is a zombie/ghost/coming of age novel that feels POSSIBLE. IT FEELS LIKE MY NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOURS! Also one of my favourite things about his work is the way his characters are violent and the way they internalize and process violence. I’ve said this of his work before and I will say it again: he doesn’t waste a word.

Stolen: This book blew me away. It is absolutely stunning. What a beautifully intense book. Incredibly vivid setting, but not overwritten. This novel is brilliant. Like I said–STUNNING. That’s about all I can say. Every mind-blowing and positive adjective that is out there applies to this book. That is how I feel about it.

Shit My Dad Says: I like the twitter but I loved the book. The relationship Justin Halpern has with his father is clearly a loving one–not that anyone is debating that because if they are, they’re stupid. Heartwarming and hilarious.

Dirty Little Secrets: What a sad, good book. This is a very consuming, intense read with what I think is a very fitting, perfect ending. And the pacing was just spot on. Omololu frames the story over the course of twenty-four hours and it doesn’t drag at all. It’s just fantastically done. I am sometimes disappointed with novels that have incredibly heavy subject matters–the ones that only want to skim the surface and not really delve right into it but can still claim the edge and importance of the subject they’re writing about; books that don’t look directly at the very thing they’re about! This was not the case here. Dirty Little Secrets looks directly at the topic of compulsive hoarding and forces you to do it too.

Books I am in the process of reading: Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly and Making the Run by Heather Henson, both of which I’m early into but am having difficulty leaving alone for extended periods of time.

Movies I’m spending my Friday night with: Tokyo Sonata (eee!) and Splinter. And probably Pontypool again because DID I MENTION IT IS AWESOME.

Have you watched or read anything worthwhile THAT I SHOULD KNOW ABOUT?

For my leisuring, I mean.