Our next episode is right around the corner, so it’s time for a little update on what Pay checked out since the last one. Buckle up!
JK, you don’t need to buckle up.
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
So I got ambitious this year and made my Goodreads Reading Challenge 24 books. I was like, “Two books a month? That’s nothing!” Guess what?Turns out it isn’t nothing! For me, at least. Anyway, one of the two books (eek) I’ve managed to finish this year is Crazy Rich Asians. I’m sure you’ve heard of it since the film adaptation was a huge deal last year. I’m often curious about the source material when I find out a movie is an adaptation, so I decided to pick up this one. It’s about a Chinese-American economics professor, Rachel, who accompanies her boyfriend and fellow professor, Nick, back to his native Singapore for the summer. There, she’s surprised to find that his family is stupid rich and none of his snotty relatives think she’s good enough for him.
I generally liked the book but it wasn’t the page-turner I was hoping for. Kwan includes a lot of helpful cultural context, but those notes could be a tiny bit distracting at times. And there are like, a million characters. At some point I just gave up trying to keep track of who was related to whom, and who had done what to the other, and why this person didn’t want this other person to marry that other person. Having said that, the side characters ended up being more interesting to me than Rachel and Nick – something that was more noticeable in the novel. Also, the novel highlighted just how shitty it was for Nick to not give his girlfriend any warning about his upbringing. It made me hate him a little. Anyway, the book was alright but I don’t think I’ll read the other two in the trilogy. But you better bet I’ll be watching the sequel when that comes out. The first film made me really want to go to Singapore.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Wow, “Fahrenheit” is a hard word to spell. I very rarely pick up a classic, but I’ve always been intrigued by this one. It’s about a dystopian future where books are outlawed and firemen burn books instead of putting out fires. Our main character, Montag, starts questioning his job and embarks on quite a ride because of it.
It was kind of a slow start, and even though it’s short, it took me a while to get through. But after a certain point, things start to pick up and it ended up being more exciting than I thought it would be. Now I’m curious to check out the HBO movie (staring two different Michaels – B. Jordan and Shannon). I haven’t heard great things about it, but you know what? I’m gonna watch it and form my own opinion, dammit!
Sorry to Bother You (2018)
I’d been meaning to watch Sorry To Bother You (dir. by Boots Riley) since it came out last year and I just got around to it. I was immediately drawn to this movie thanks to what I thought seemed like a random cast. The most important member of that cast being Steven Yeun, who alone is enough to make me want to see a movie. He has great cheekbones and seems very delightful and if you like to smile, you should watch him go to a Korean spa with Conan. (Actually, anytime he’s on Conan is fun.)
Anyway, the movie. It was… very weird. I think I liked it? It’s a sci-fi comedy about a guy named Cassius (LaKeith Stanfield) who starts to rise in the ranks at a telemarketing company by using his “white voice” (voiced by David Cross). A bunch of stuff happens and then he stumbles upon some truly wild shit that I won’t ruin because really, you should go watch it yourself. It’s not at all what you would imagine. But if you do watch it, and that is what you imagined, let’s talk. Because your brain is just as strange as Boots Riley’s and I’d like to know what other weirdo thoughts you have.
The movie did have some interesting things to say about race and labor and I liked the use of surrealism and comedy to talk about those things. But when we hit the wild shit I mentioned before, I got a little bit confused by what we were supposed to take away from the movie. When I think about it a little more, I think it still makes sense? But honestly, who knows? Either way, I did enjoy watching the movie and would recommend it. Mostly due to the aforementioned wild shit.