Netflix Book Tag

Netflix book tag

I’ve been following author/blogger Kristen Brand, who writes “speculative fiction with a punch,” and her most recent post introduced me to the Netflix Book Tag challenge.  The challenge was invented by A Darker Shade of Whitney, who runs the Accio Books channel on YouTube.  It’s basically “What if Netflix was books?” 😀  Or:  12 prompts based on Netflix categories.

Since we’re all binging both books and Netflix right now, this sounded like a fun and fitting game!

Side note:  I’m highly intrigued by three of Brand’s recommendations:  Pixie Me Up, by Willow Mason (purely because of the top-hatted kitten on the cover); Heroine Complex, by Sarah Kuhn (because demon cupcake fights sound like a brilliant scenario for a new cooking show); and Yokai Attack, by Hiroko Yoda and Matt Alt (a survival guide for travelers through Japanese folklore…I’m really hoping it’s in the style of Jon Stewart’s Earth: the Book).

Anyhoo, Tag!  I’m it!

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1. Recently Watched:  The last book you finished reading.

Cover of The Mercies, by Kiran Millwood Hargrave. A dark blue profile of a woman's head against a red background. The woman's long hair flows like water behind her, and the white fluke of a whale rises out in the middle of the ripples. The author's name and title are in manila-colored font, and the T in "The" is written like an ancient rune, like an arrow pointing up.

The Mercies, by Kiran Millwood Hargrave.  Reviewed here.  On Christmas Eve, 1617, a freak storm drowns nearly all the men of Vardo island, off the Arctic coast of Norway. The remaining women are left to fend for themselves until the king sends a commissioner from Scotland to restore proper patriarchal order.  But by the time the commissioner arrives, some of the women have grown to like their independence.  Some of them are questioning why they need to reject their indigenous Sámi neighbors, or even whether feeling sexually attracted to another woman is a sin after all.

2. Top Picks: A book/books that have been recommended to you based on books you have previously read.

A black box set of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, featuring the four book covers on the spine and an image of a green dragon's head on the front. The dragon is staring at the viewer with a narrowed eye. She has about five wide spikes curving from the back of her head and three horns protruding from the front.

My writer’s group knows me so well by now that I’m loathe to take their book recommendations lightly.  Therefore, when Sarah Maree told me I needed to experience the fairy tale fun-poking awesomeness that is the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, I stole the nearest pair of seven-league boots and hurried to the library.  So far, I’ve been highly impressed and totally amused (see my review of books 1 and 2).  These are perfect books for bad days. and I’m very much looking forward to watching Cimorene and Mendanbar subvert more tropes.

3. Recently Added: The last book you bought

Cover of Babysitters Club #23: Dawn on the Coast. On a classic California beach, a boy with short blond hair and a pair of orange and blue swim shorts is throwing a red bucket of water at a smiling older girl. She has a long blond ponytail and is wearing a bright pink one-piece swimsuit. The tag line says: Dawn's a California girl!

Two Augusts ago, I mentioned a few bookish podcasts I’ve been listening to, to keep my spirits up.  One of my absolute favorites right now is The Babysitters’ Club Club, by Jack Shepherd and Tanner Greenring.  They’ve pulled me back into the hilariously surreal world of Stonybrook, Connecticut.  Who knew there were so many factions and conspiracies in this quaint New England town?  How could I have not realized that it’s all bread, all the way down?

Anyway, I was craving a light read that would give me some vicarious summer beach feels without all the grim-drama of the California Diaries (which, to be fair, have inspired some of the greatest BSCC episodes to date).  And so, I downloaded a copy of Dawn on the Coast to my Nook and spent a very enjoyable evening running around Disneyland, playing county fair games, soaking up beach vibes, and eating avocados while painting my nails I mean holding a very srs bsns babysitters’ meeting.

Random hot take:  Jill should have gotten her own California Diary.  I agree 100% with Jack and Tanner: she’s a rebel in her own right!  Those unicorn shoes and “I Love Boxers” shirts are legitimate fashion statements, and you know what?  An evening of nail painting and Disney movies sounds way more #friendshipgoals than a drunken rave at an unwitting teacher’s yard.  I would’ve loved to read about Jill’s journey through eighth grade, learning to stick to her own principles and find her own crew while also learning to handle more adult issues and realities.

Phew!  Glad that’s off my chest!  Dawn on the Coast was a very relaxing read full of sunshine, fresh air, and Good! Clean! Baby! Sitting! Fun!!!

4. Popular on Netflix: Books that everyone knows about. (2 you’ve read and 2 you have no interest in reading)

Cover of Strange Planet, by Nathan W. Pyle. A dark lavender background, with a light blue and a salmon pink stripe at the bottom. In the middle of the cover is a salmon pink circle with a blue head in the middle. It is a very simply drawn head, like a tall, stretched bubble. Curving over the top of the circle are the words "Imagine pleasant nonsense."

Everyone under the star must know about Nathan Pyle’s Strange Planet comics by now.  These are heartwarming snippets out of the lives of various beings.  Originally (and ongoing-ly) posted to Facebook and Instagram, many of the comics are now available in book form (with a second book on the way!)  Watch as these lovable beings raise offspring, complete education, watch their favorite athletic groups catch airborne orbs, and sing well-known songs in being-speak.  Tell me “I’m Treading on Starlight” doesn’t sound like a classic Bowie song!

On a similar musical unit, the Hitchhiker’s Guide books are fairly popular, and poke fun at Earthly (or at least British) traditions from the p.o.v. of the second-to-last human and his alien friend.  If you prefer good-mood satire, I suggest sticking to Books 1-4.  Apparently, Douglas Adams was going through something when he wrote Mostly Harmless.  I personally prefer the scooters-into-the-sunset ending than the Everything is Awful ending.

A Song of Ice and Fire box set, featuring Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister on the front. He has short, dark blond hair, is clean-shaven, and is gazing contemplatively toward the right. Behind him is some kind of verdigris wall plaque and beside him is a tall candle stick.

As for popular books I have no interest in reading, my first choice is the Game of Thrones (*ahem* sorry, A Song of Ice and Fire) series.  I’ve seen enough episodes to know this world is waaaaay too grimdark for me.  Like, nobody ever gets a break.  Nobody gets to (spoilers) just have a lovely wedding ceremony where the most notable incident was the reveal of the fabulous honeyfingers  provided by the Mother of Dragons before she proceeded to consensually take over the world as Immortal Queen of the Six Kingdoms.

For my second choice, I’m siding with Whitney.  Fifty Shades of Grey can stay fifty feet away.

5. Comedies: A funny book

Cover of The City of Dreaming Books, by Walter Moers. The entire cover is filled with book spines stacked on shelves. At the bottom is a jagged black space in which a single book is opened, cover facing you. From behind the book, a small red eye-stalk sticks up, with a round yellow eye staring at you.

Also two Augusts ago, I asked for recommendations of even more fluffy, feel-good escapist reads, and my fellow Bookwyrms did not disappoint!  Sj immediately pointed me to The City of Dreaming Books, by Walter Moers.  It’s not exactly fluffy…it gets pretty terrifying, actually…but it’s also whimsically meta and surreal and so drenched in bibliophilia you’ll smell like the Rare Books section of every library in the world after you’re finished.

One of these days, I’m going to share with you the GIF monologue I gave to sj after finishing the book.  Tina Fey absolutely makes an appearance.

6. Dramas: A character who is a drama queen/king.

Cover of Eyes Like Stars, by Lisa Mantchev. A girl with shoulder-length blue hair looks over her shoulder at the reader, just before stepping through a grey curtain. Her head is surrounded by three fairies with glowing white wings, like butterfly wings. The girl is wearing a dark dress with off-the-shoulder short sleeves.

Well, if we want to get literal, I could point to Bertie (short for Beatrice Shakespeare Smith), the protagonist of Eyes Like Stars (reviewed here).  She literally grew up on a stage and certainly has an issue with the concept of self-restraint.  I guess it doesn’t help that she’s surrounded by some of the most famous drama royals in all of (western) literature (who are all apparently literally real people, at least in the confines of the Théâtre).

On a shameless self-plug note, that was a particularly fun review to write.  I’m especially proud of my “redacted” inner commentary on the infuriating parts of the story 😉

7. Animated: A book with cartoons on the cover

The cover of Lumberjanes vol. 12: Jackalope Springs Eternal. Five teenage girls and their cabin counselor stand, hunched, over a green creature that looks like a cross between a pug and a lizard. It has four manila-colored spikes on its back and two horns, one on either side of its head, plus two fangs, one on either side of its mouth. Its eyes are red and bug out on either side of its face.

If you want to see hardcore lady types in a Gravity Falls type setting, you need to sign up for Camp Lumberjanes (reviewed here).  There are rogue gods, magic kittens, punk rock mermaids, salty selkies, Indiana Jones style booby traps, feminist swears (that are totally kid appropriate and educational), and adorable f/f romantic shenanigans.

There are thirteen volumes so far, with #14 coming out in May.

8. Watch it again: A book/book series that you want to re-read

The cover of Sweet Valley Twins #12: Keeping Secrets. It's a salmon pink cover with a giant circle in the middle. Two manila-colored ribbons curve over the top and bottom of the circle, featuring the title of the series and the name of the creator, Francine Pascal. Inside the circle is a scene inside a pizza parlor. Two blond-haired girls sit at a table with a typical red and white checked cloth. The girl on the left has her lips pursed like she's hearing a scandalous secret. The one on the right is smiling secretively. Between them, you see a third girl sitting at another table. She has long red hair and has a shocked, nosy expression on her face.

I recently e-bayed myself two very nostalgic favorites (one of those what-took-me-so-long moments):  the very first Babysitters Club book I ever read and the very first Sweet Valley book I ever read.

Even in light-read terms, these are pretty far apart on the nutritional scale.  Keep Out, Claudia! is a kid-friendly (albeit heavy handed) lesson on fighting racism and bigotry, while, from what I remember, Keeping Secrets is a soap opera episode in which the twins struggle with the heartbreaking decision whether or not to reveal their family’s random made-up language to their friends and teachers.  Party invitations are on the line, you guys!

9. Documentories: A non-fiction book you’d recommend to everyone

Cover of Steal Like an Artist, by Austin Kleon. It's a simple black cover with large white text that looks like it's been written with a thin Sharpie marker.

Last October, my good friend Larkynn reviewed a fabulous how-to-be-creative guide by Austin Kleon, and I liked it so much I read the follow-up guides as well.  In Steal Like an Artist, Show Your Work! and Keep Going, Kleon offers thirty bits of counterintuitive advice that feel both obvious and mindblowing.  Like:  quit trying so hard to be original.  All of your favorite artists are a mashup of their best influences.  Also:  don’t be afraid to “sell out.”  Nobody actually wants to be a Starving Artist.  And also:  if you make something and someone out there hates it?  Make something they’d hate even more.

I don’t agree with everything he says, but it sure felt like (almost) every time I found myself thinking, “Wait, what?” or “Yeah, but…” Kleon followed up with a caveat or a seemingly contradictory point that either fleshed out the first point or, at the very least, admitted that Your Mileage May Vary.  “Do the work every day, no matter what,” he says.  “No holidays, no sick days.”  But also: “Take care of yourself.”  Get enough sleep.  Take some time to “just sit around and do nothing.”

And, in case you were wondering what kind of art Kleon himself creates, I highly recommend his “redacted poetry” collection, Newspaper Blackout, which was inspired by the likes of David Bowie and some guy in the 18th century who mashed up lines from different newspaper columns to make funny headlines.

10. Action and Adventure: An action packed book

The Hunger Games box set. It's a plain white box with a golden Mockingjay symbol on the cover. It's a golden circle closely surrounding a bird in flight. The bird is curved in on itself so its long, thin beak almost touches its tail, which is shaped like a curved, upside-down V (almost like the Star Trek insignia). In the bird's beak is a long, thin arrow that cuts diagonally across the bottom half of the circle.

I’m going to admit something now that may lose me a few Bookwyrm friends.  I occasionally Marie Kondo my bookshelves.  Most recently, I made the gut-wrenching decision to get rid of (by which I mean sell to Half Price Books so someone else can enjoy them) a few titles that no longer bring me joy even though they’re in my favorites list.  One of these was the Hunger Games trilogy.  It’s a total thrill-ride, and Katniss is one of the most badass action heroes in modern literature yes I will fight you on that, but I just don’t see myself re-living every gut-punch and tragedy she experiences.

I’m still waffling over the movie adaptations I own, because Jennifer Lawrence, but I’m starting to think even her awesomeness can’t make me re-watch nine hours of her being traumatized the whole time.

11. New Releases: A book that just came out or will be coming out soon that you can’t wait to read.

Cover of Stranger Planet, by Nathan W. Pyle. This time, you see a bright blue sky with a few clouds. At the bottom of the cover are a few salmon-pink hills overlooking an ocean. One blue being is running after a second being, who is riding a bicycle. Next to the cyclist are the tiny words: "Commence the danger." In the middle of the cover is a salmon-pink circle with a blue being's head gazing into the upper left corner of the book. On either side of this being are a red, three-eyed dog and a white cat.

Did I mention the Strange Planet sequel — Stranger Planet — is coming out in June?

12. Max: Tag some people

Apparently, Max was a Netflix feature for people who got Netflix through their PlayStations.  It was a game show that basically chose stuff for you to watch.  Anyway, I’m not comfortable putting specific people on the spot, so I’m just going to tag All The Bookwyrms Who Feel Like It!  If you’re reading this post, you’re It!

GIF image of Stephen Colbert, on the set of the Late Show, saying "Tag! You're it!" and running away.

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“Cbs Tag GIF” from Giphy.

11 comments

  1. Thanks for the shout-out! And I like your picks. I’ve seen Eyes Like Stars around forever and have been meaning to read it. This is the first I’ve heard of The City of Dreaming books, and it looks awesome.

  2. Another awesome post! I’m not sure I’ll tag in either, but this is certainly a fun challenge (and I love your gif, I keep staring at it because it just cracks me up!) I am very interested in reading Yokai Attack, Strange Planet (I didn’t know all the comics got put together in a book!! OR that there’s a sequel coming!) Also, I am so happy that you loved Steal Like an Artist so much ❤ I really liked it, too and I'm glad you think it's share-worthy as well. OH! Also, I've heard wonderful things about Lumberjanes. I think it's getting bumped up on my TBR list now 🙂

  3. This is such a fun tag! I did it on Instagram couple months ago. Dying to read The Mercies, if only Amazon will ship it already.

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