The TV show Penny Dreadful recently became available on Netflix and it’s consumed my life. I’ve always loved Gothic literature – Dracula being one of my all-time favorite novels – so I’m totally geeking out over seeing some of my favorite characters come to life in a totally new way. I’m also in love with whoever cast this show. Who knew that Timothy Dalton, Patti LuPone, Billie Piper, and Eva Green make such an amazing combination? And don’t even get me started on Josh Hartnett. I don’t know where he’s been hiding, but he has real acting chops and gives my favorite performance on the show so far, even next to beloved actors from Harry Potter and Doctor Who. It is a Showtime production, so it’s a little gory and there’s some weird sex stuff, but those grisly details are to be expected from a show with a name like ‘Penny Dreadful’. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes drama, the supernatural, British actors, classic literature, and seeing butts of all varieties.
– Laura Jewell, Staff Writer
What’s Normal Anyway? by Morgan Boecher is hilarious and real. It’s a graphic novel that my roommate bought at this year’s FlameCon about Mel, a trans guy on his journey through transitioning and just… living life. I love everything about this, from the simplistic art style to the snappy and witty jokes and punchlines that sometimes only take a panel or two to deliver. Mel is a great character through whom the reader learns about his struggles with transitioning, coming out to his parents, and what it means to be, well, “normal” – whatever that is. Sometimes it’s funny (like the “gift basket of male privilege” strip), other times it’s serious, but it’s always engrossing and enjoyable. And you can actually read the comic online – I obviously highly recommend it!
– Gabby Taub, Fantasy Reviewer
One series I’m reading (finally) is the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan. While it’s written for a younger audience, these books contain a youthful, innocent vibe. In my opinion, they can and should be read by all ages. The characters are lovable and relatable, and the writing style is unique and immersive. Each book focuses on a quest and brings new surprises, all based on Greek mythology but with fresh, new twists. Fun and light-hearted, this series is pretty easy reading, yet it still has enough adventure to keep you turning the pages. As I discovered, the hype behind this series was well-deserved. Since these books have been around for a while, I’m sure most people have read them already, but if you haven’t, you should definitely give them a try! In the meantime, you can find me in New York avidly searching for Camp Half-Blood.
– Sky Destrian, Assistant Books Editor
I’m getting around to my biennial reread of Harry Potter and I just have to say that I have never appreciated the struggle that Harry goes through in The Order of the Phoenix. He’s witness a friend’s murder, seen one of the most evil wizards of all time come back to life, and was essentially kidnapped by a lunatic right after fighting for his life. When I first read the fifth book, I had a similar reaction to most people – why is Harry being such a brat? On this reread, though, the darker threads of the story – starting in the beginning of the series and coming out in full force in the fourth book – are more visible to me. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m getting older and have a better understanding of what’s going on around me, but his anger and sadness and hopelessness resonates a lot more with me as an adult than it did when I was younger.
– Christina Casano, TV & Film Writer