My Monthly Reading Challenge


I admit it. I’ve made no progress on my 2020 Reading Challenge. I still have four books to go. I haven’t requested Convenience Store girls from the library. I haven’t purchased my next Gayle Foreman book. And I don’t have a recommended book or a book nominated for an award. (Suggestions are welcome – email me!)

Instead, I’ve been binge watching Netflix. Let me explain.

Part of the reason I haven’t been reading is by the time I’m ready to pick up a book in the evening, my brain is tired. I’ve given my limited brainpower to other things throughout the day so I am not able to digest and remember what I’m reading. I’ve also discovered I need reading glasses. Between these two things, my book consumption is down. Way down.

I still wanted to take in stories. We all know that Netflix and all the other streaming services have plenty of material. Some of it is more interesting to me than others, but I decided to use my time and watch things that aren’t necessarily in my wheelhouse. So without further ado, here is what I’ve been watching.

Netflix:

Guilty pleasure – Glee. I’ve seen every episode before, but I love a good musical. Yes, it is a sappy teenage drama. (Interesting – several of my choices are teenage dramas. Wonder what that means?) But it is easy to watch, the music is great and I’m catching things I missed the first time around. The recent passing of Naya Rivera who played Santana is tragic, but her voice in the show continues to bring viewers happiness. Sort of like Finn Hudson’s goofy grin (played by the late Cory Monteith). It seems odd that a show about young people has lost three of its stars (Mark Salling, the actor who played Noah Puckerman died in 2018) at a young age. I’ve noticed a few articles mention the curse of Glee, but I’m going to focus on the fact that the show highlighted some great songs and talent.

Surprise like – Sex Education. My fourteen-year old asked if she could watch this show and I said absolutely not. Then a friend recommended it to me and I said absolutely not. I finally broke down and watched the first scene of the first episode and said absolutely not. Then another friend, a podcast and a newsletter recommended it and I forced myself to watch the rest of the first episode. Two seasons and 16 episodes later, I am a HUGE fan. (Just close your eyes if you don’t want to watch supposed teenagers having sex. I say supposed because all the actors are in their twenties despite the fact they are playing high school students).

Psychology experiment – Mindhunter. I wasn’t sure about this one either, but it came highly recommended. It isn’t for the faint of heart, but it is a fascinating look at serial killers and how the FBI investigated and researched them. The series is based on the nonfiction book Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit.

Hubby’s recommendation – Ozark. I am a Jason Bateman fan but I’m having a hard time getting into this series. I’m partway through season one, episode two and I’ve pinpointed my problem. I like snarky Jason Bateman, not mean Jason Bateman. So far, I’m not feeling it, but I’ve been told to keep going. I plan to watch some more, but as you can see, I have so many options.

Soap opera TV – Dead to Me. This show has been recommended to me so many times I lost count. I’ve made it to episode 6 then got sidetracked with some other shows (see above). My plan is to head back to this show, especially since I now understand what it is about the show that is repetitive: At the 15 minute mark, there is some big revelation and each show ends with a cliff hanger. I suppose this works, but repetitive cliff hangers get old after a while. Season two is supposed to be different. I’ll let you know when I get that far.

I can’t believe this show is still on the air – Grey’s Anatomy. I didn’t start watching this show until three years ago, but as you know this show came out in 2005. In the past three years, I’ve watched every single episode. Every. Single One. Finishing up season sixteen, I couldn’t decide if I was happy or sad. I’m all caught up, but I already miss Meredith and the gang.

Goonies, Take Two – Outer Banks. This show reminds me a lot of the Goonies. There are high school haves and have-nots. There’s a legend of a sunken treasure ship. There’s first kisses and first love. There’s a couple of murders, too. Season one ended with the door open for another season, but due to the pandemic, no one is sure when that will happen. Despite that, I’d still recommend watching this one.

Waiting (not patiently) for July 31 – Umbrella Academy. Loved season one of this and was thrilled to discover season two releases on July 31. You’ll know where to find me on that Friday.

Disney +

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I am also checking out some shows on Disney +.

Much cheaper to watch at home than on Broadway – Hamilton. But no less spectacular. I turned on the closed captioning to improve my viewing experience. It was hard to understand Lin-Manuel Miranda’s lyrics, but I have a feeling that has more to do with my hearing than the show itself. Glad I finally got to see what all the fuss was about. My favorite character – King George and his slobber.

Who knew superheroes were so flawed? – The Marvel Universe. Over the years, I’ve watched a couple of these movies, Iron Man and Iron Man 2 to be specific. (Looking at you, Robert Downey, Jr.). Since we have Disney + (somehow we got a free trial), I decided to watch all of the movies. The next question was what order to watch them in. There is release order, chronological order and spaghetti order (click here for an explanation and the lists). My friend recommended chronological so that is the way I went. The story arch between all of the movies took me by surprise. I’m fifteen movies in with nine to go. Viewing tip: Spacing out the movies by a couple of days helps prevent burnout, but still keeps the details fresh.

And that is what I have been watching. Maybe next month I’ll be back to reading. 

If you are reading along, let me know how the challenge is going for you! You can send me at carolewolfeauthor@gmail.com or comment below!

Until next time…

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash