I read a lot of gaming blogs but you know what posts I really like coming across? The ones where the author shares some of the other things they’ve been enjoying lately. You know… books, movies, podcasts – that kind of thing. It’s like a window into other things that I might enjoy, so today I’m sharing my own. From here on out, Good Stuff for Eyes and Ears will be this blog’s version of “What I’ve Been Enjoying Lately.”
House of Cards: Talk about a series I didn’t expect to enjoy. From the very outset, the idea of a slow-burn serial starring senators and congressmen turned me off. I watched the pilot and turned away for months but hearing other people talk about how great it was inspired me to give it another shot. This series is set in Washington, but, make no mistake, it is 100% about its characters. After a few episodes I was absolutely hook by Frank Underwood’s undying thirst for power and manipulation. I watched both seasons in record time.
Hannibal: This is perhaps one of the most underrated shows on TV. I was hesitant to invest in the show because it could have easily slid into “killer of the week” territory. Though there is a murder every week, Hannibal is absolutely a cable television transplant. It is dark and gory, so the squeamish might want to stay away. But what really sells it is the mystery of Hannibal’s machinations. Rather than sticking with the film and text versions of Hannibal Lecter, this series casts him in the role of a psychologist and retired surgeon, closely tied with the FBI and always on the verge of being caught. It is absolutely entrancing and by far my favorite new show of the last two years.
The Sopranos: I have spent the last two years trying to make my way through this series and finally did last week. Yes, the ending is as bad as you’ve heard, but the ride to get there is magnificent. I was at times turned off by how stereotyped the traditional Italian gangster was (“Heyyyyy!”, track suits, slicked back hair and flared nostrils), but the storytelling and character development really is good. If you missed this when it was on the air, now is a great time to jump back in and see why James Gandolfini was so beloved by so many.
Ready Player One: I listened to the audiobook version of this one and was surprised at how great Wil Wheaton performed as the narrator. I agree with Liore that it relies far too heavily on pop culture references but still found it to be a fun, lighthearted read nonetheless. The references ease up a bit in the second half, too, making for an even airier read.
The Damnation Game: I had an urge for some horror and Clive Barker delivered in spades. This book is bleak and dark, just as you would expect from the man who created Hellraiser and the Books of Blood series. Still, Barker has an incredible imagination and a penchant for very vivid, disturbing imagery. Be warned, this isn’t Stephen King where the scares are psychological and there is an underlying current of hope. Barker seats the reader in a dark place and isn’t afraid to go for the gross-out. It works very well here.
The Lies of Locke Lamora: This is the book I’m reading currently, and I think it’s safe to say that Scott Lynch is a genius. That’s not to say that this book is highest on the hill but it’s clear from the eloquence of the prose that the author is extremely intelligent. The book has an Oceans Eleven vibe, which I hear is a common takeaway. So far, the characterization is excellent and the story is gripping. If the rest of it keeps up this way, I will be picking up the next two books in the trilogy with very little hesitation.
Podcast Beyond: You can hate on the game news beacons all you want but Podcast Beyond is a consistently fun and engaging Playstation podcast. I enjoy the mix of Greg Miller’s over the top exuberance and Colin Moriarty’s restrained intellectualism. I look forward to this podcast every week.
Horde House: I’ve guested with these guys a few times and I really can’t recommend them highly enough. Skie, Xtopher, and Grandpa make a great team with real chemistry. They are real gamers, not industry personalities, and their passion for online gaming comes through in every episode. Also, they’re really nice guys that like having fun on air. I’m down with that. Warning: this is not a family friendly show.
Cat Context: How could I not recommend these guys? Liore of Herding Cats puts on this show every two weeks with her co-hosts Ellyndrial and Arolaide, talking about the week in gaming and geek culture. I’ve long believed that hosts make a show worth listening to and this one has quickly become one of my favorites.
And that’s it! If you have any recommendations, I would love to hear them. Otherwise, hopefully this points you toward something you might enjoy!