45 Books In 2018 #45: TV: The Book By Alan Seppinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz

Guys! I did it! (And that’s not include shit I reread, so really, I did it a while ago.) And there’s still two weeks left, one of which has a long weekend, which means, I’ll probably clock at least three more books.

But it seemed somehow fitting to top off this year with TV: The Book, since my deep love of television is what kept me from reading seriously for a while. But I’ve long believed that TV has been the media some of the best literature this century (and indeed the one that preceded it.) so I was psyched to read some intense critical discussion of the medium. (I’ve got a few other cultural studies books lined up now too, because critical analysis is the main thing I miss about being in school.) (Also the flexible schedule)

I’d read Seppinwall and Zoller-Seitz many times before (Sepinwall’s Mad Men coverage was legendary and Zoller-Seitz was one of the cohosts of the dearly departed Vulture TV Podcast.)  The idea for the book sprang into being when both were working for The Star Ledger (which is apparently the paper that Tony Soprano reads, which kind of annoys me, since The Ledger is more of a Shore paper, and The Sopranos are from where I grew up, Bergen County. Tony should be reading The Record, but I digress…) Their attempt to create a canon of American TV shows is entertaining, thoughtful and steeped clearly in their love for television and each other.

The book reminded me why I loved quite a few shows with it’s observations. (30 Rock’s live action cartoon aspects only really work because Jack’s mentorship of Liz is a grounded reality. Mad Men is actually a story about a daughter realizing who her parents really are.) Made me shake my head in annoyance a few times, (Mad Men’s refusal to marginalize it’s female characters makes it a richer and less warmed over story than Breaking Bad. I know The Wire is awesome but my college roommate’s annoying boyfriend wouldn’t shut up about it, when we just wanted to watch Star Trek so I never fully engaged with it, and stop making me feel bad for not watching it damnit!)

I’ve even decided to start filling in the blanks on the all time greats I haven’t watched. That means I’ve started Deadwood (and it’s wonderful.) And I’ll get around to The Sopranos and The Wire too, I guess. I’ve already watched most of the top comedy (Save The Simpsons, which is just too big for me start on now.) due to my parents being massive comedy fans.

Anyway, I liked reading the book. I’m watching Deadwood now, and I’m sure I’ll write about it. I’m proud of myself for meeting my reading goal for the year, even if my project sort of fell by the wayside. I’m going to keep blogging about what I’m reading. My goal for 2019 is 60 books, 52 of those 60 cannot be written by straight white men. (I’m giving myself the 8 book leeway because I’m a coward…also, I want to finish Dune someday)

I think I’ll be able to pull it off. Hell, even if I just read Anne Rice, I’d be like halfway there. (I will not just be reading Anne Rice…probably…)

Sometime in the next few weeks I’m going to break down my reading list a little bit and talk about what I loved (Crazy Rich Asians, The Witching Hour, Dune) what I didn’t but am glad I read, (David Copperfield, Don Quixote) and what I hated, (Ready Player One, Lasher, Infinite Jest, which I hated so much I didn’t even finish it, something I never ever do) 

Anyway, in the immediate aftermath, I’ll be reading Red Rising by Pierce Brown, Joe and Mary are in love with this book, so I’m gonna give it a shot.

 

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