Amanda Gates

2016: What I’ve been watching and reading

The Americans: The first two seasons of this show are available on Prime. It’s dark, but very interesting. I never really knew much about Russian spies and the Cold War. But if any of this in the show is even a bit of the truth, it’s crazy that this is what was going on in the early 80s. Also, how hard was it to be a spy without cell phones and email! I really like the two main characters, even if they do hate Americans and are trying to destroy us.

I’m not sure when more of the seasons will be available (for free), but I think the fifth season just started up again on FX, so it would be nice to keep going.

House of Lies: The first two seasons of this are also available for free on Prime. Tons of swearing, tons of sex. Frankly, they’re pretty awful people who do pretty awful things in love and business. It can be a bit depressing, actually, that these people are so self-destructive. But there’re some really funny parts, too. And Kristen Bell is in it, and I’d watch her read the phone book, so. (Don Cheadle is excellent too!)

Not sure when this will have more eps available either, but I would keep watching.

The Good Wife: When I heard this show was ending this season, I knew it was the perfect time to start. Stream straight through, no waiting! Like Scandal, this is a delicious surprise. Josh Charles can really do no wrong in my eyes and I enjoy Julianna Margulies, too. It’s funny because the first season is filled with guest stars who went on to be in Scandal.

I like that each episode is procedural, but also has Alicia’s marriage storyline flowing throughout. To think about why someone would stay with their husband in that situation is interesting.

Untamed: The Wildest Woman in America and the Fight for Cumberland Island: My first biography of five I want to read before I’m 40. I had no idea this place existed, that this person existed or of the literal fight she's been a part of for the last 40 years. It's quite amazing.

I learned a lot (more) about the human destruction of wilderness and it makes me sad. I learned so much about sea turtles. That one smart, strong, brave lady could do as much as she has to try to save a small slice of American wilderness is pretty empowering.

Notorious RBG: The second biography of five I want to read before I’m 40 (first two about women! Woo!). I had no idea how amazing Ruth Bader Ginsberg is. I mean, a woman on the Supreme Court must be pretty awesome, but to read, case by case, her fight for equality… it just proved it. She’s fought for women. She’s fought for men. People of all classes and races.

I loved learning about her childhood. Her fight to go to law school in a time when women weren’t really doing that. How many times she herself spoke in front of the Supreme Court in the name of equality BEFORE she even became a member of it. The fact that she was nearly unanimously appointed to the Court. Her marriage to Marty was nothing short of inspiring. That he said, time and again, that he was put on this earth to help her get to where she was meant to be (and he was no slouch either!). I loved that the authors put in sections of her dissents and footnoted them so we could see just how she would stick it to her fellow judges when they made the wrong decision (in her eyes).

I feel badly that she might end her career on the bench in the minority. But knowing she’s there for a while longer makes me feel better about some of those rights men are trying to take away from women. She’s got our back.

The Girl on the Train: I was late to this party, but the book was worth the wait. A gripping thriller. Great storytelling. I could hardly put it down. Are the characters a mess? Yes. But I liked the suspense of it. Sometimes fast, gripping reads are what I need.

Me Before You, Big Little Lies & Where’d You Go Bernadette?: Read all three of these on the beach and they were the perfect picks for a vacation. Loved the first two for the engagement and speed and fun characters. I would read more by both those authors. I didn’t really enjoy Bernadette; she annoyed me and I mostly rolled my eyes.  

The Secret Keeper: I really love the way Kate Morton tells her stories. With this book, I found myself reading fast through the present-day stuff to get back to the chapters about the past. But only because I knew that part of the story held the key to everything. While The Forgotten Garden will (I believe) always be my favorite (I should really just read it again), all her books so far have been joys to experience. 


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