2022 Favorite Things in Books, Movies, TV, Podcasts, and Comics

I think the majority of us expected this year to be easier. There was supposed to be this “return to normal” after COVID-19 decimated our lives. Instead what happened was there was more greed than ever and far less compassion. I get it: companies invested their money into real estate which was sitting empty. That’s not an excuse to demand people return to environments when they now have the technology to stay the fuck home.

There have been almost 11,000 deaths in the US alone from COVID-19 over the last 28 days!

covidtracker.com screen

I went for an annual physical and my doctor warned me, COVID and URI cases were on the rise. Within weeks, my parents and I had it. All of us have three vaccines, but as I said, there’s less compassion. People don’t want to mask anymore. Businesses are no longer doing what they should with the cleaning protocols. It is exhausting, but goddamn, being a human is exhausting too. We don’t need the additional burden of being sick humans. Trust me, I know. I’m a chronic pain and fatigue person long before COVID-19 was discovered. Three of my friends died (probably from underlying conditions and no one mentioned COVID, but it feels like it was probably there).

People returned to the movie theaters, me included but I masked. Sometimes when I’d leave the house I’d even wear gloves if I had to touch door handles and such. I did that when rigging aerial setups because I care about the students and the business. I know we’re closing soon, but we don’t need an outbreak too.

Louise Belcher dancing

The return to movie theaters meant part of the entertainment industry switched back to its old ways. Movies weren’t streaming instantly. They would come out on services quicker (and charge fairly, I guess). There are too damn many services though so besides the hundreds (yes multiple hundreds) each month on high speed internet and cable, there’s the expense of Hulu, Netflix, Prime, Disney+, and YouTube. Those big privileges and I have taken advantage of all of them this year.


I’ve watched more YouTube than ever before. I’m baffled that people have a million subscribers. The channels my mother watches are mostly about thrifting or homemaking and usually they’re people with an average of eight children! And that channel is their only income! My head wants to explode.

I keep my viewing to things about arts, crafts, and writing, like author interviews. Here are some of my favorite channels:


Writing related:

Animal Stuff:


Audio Podcasts (Stitcher links):


I’ve managed to add a lot of the comic books I’ve read to my GoodReads list along with novels and short stories.

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Yes, Please  Amy Poehler Dey St. memoir
Crime Hits Home anthology Hanover Square Press short stories centered on the concept of home; several stood out
Wayward Chuck Wendig DelRey sequel to Wanderers; AI takes over people during a pandemic to “save” humanity and the planet; see full review; Kobayashi maru ending twist
The Paradox Hotel Rob Hart Ballantine Books see full review
Life’s Messy, Live Happy Cy Wakeman St. Martin’s Press see full review
Like a Sister Kellye Garrett Mulholland Books see full review
Daring Greatly Brené Brown Avery self help
Secret Identity Alex Segura Flatiron Books see full review
Surviving Storms Mark Nepo St. Martin’s Essentials see full review
The O.C. D.P. Lyle independent see full review
Child Zero
Chris Holm Mulholland Books see full review
The New Neighbor
Karen Cleveland Ballantine Books see full review
The Wilderwomen Ruth Emmie Lang St. Martin’s Press see full review
Devil’s Delight M.C. Beaton/R.W. Green Minotaur Press see full review

Of my list, I’d say my favorites for this year were: The Wilderwomen, Devil’s Delight, Child Zero, and Wayward.


Instead of listing all the comics I’ve read, since some were one or two issues to get a feel for the series, I’ll list the ones that were my favorites of complete stories. Of ongoing or miniseries titles, catch Crashing and The Deadliest Bouquet.

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Snow Angels volume 2 Lemire, Jock Image I wasn’t disappointed in the continuation of the story.
Charlie’s Spot George O’Connor (w), co-created with artist and writer Meredith Laxton, colored by Allie Pipitone, and lettered by the one and only Taylor Esposito Comics Experience 4 issues that show the lives of people who essentially live in a city park. The story centers around Charlie, a Gulf War vet with PTSD who left his family and won’t return until he’s better. Healing comes from a surprising place: the buskers and passersby who look up to him. even the police.
Paris (English translation) Andi Watson, Simon Gane Image incredible artwork leading the reader from Paris to NYC telling the story of two young women falling in love and as a B plot, the story of two men who also have to keep their affair secret.
The Ghost in You: a Reckless book Brubaker/Phillips, Jacob Phillips (c) Image Part of the Reckless series but fine to read on its own especially since the main character of this one is not Ethan; it’s Anna who ends up on a very Scooby-Doo style case when hired by former scream queen Evilina.
Underfoot Emily S. Whitten, Ben Fisher, Michelle Nguyen Lion Forge post-apocalyptic intelligent critters are worried about the next great flood that made the giants disappear.
Skybound Presents: Afterschool anthology Image/Skybound incredibly creative short stories in horror genre centered around teens
The Ghost of Wrecker’s Cove Angelica del Campo (w), Ricardo Liniers Siri (a) , Christian Argiz (c) Comixology see full review
Unretouchable Sofia Szamosi Lerner Graphic Universe Olive takes a summer internship before art school working in the digital photography department of Fash magazine. It’s a very Ugly Betty S1 story with a main character and secondary characters to adore for their uniqueness. Olive goes on a roller coaster of confidence, lacking, doubt, and ethical questions about how all images we are bombarded by have been manipulated. she learns that some people in the images and behind user accounts aren’t even real people. Highly recommend this one.
Time & Vine Thom Zahler (w/a), Luigi Anderson (c) IDW The most unique time travel story I’ve ever read. Ready for retirement, Jack takes on a protégé Megan to take over his winery where drinking bottles in the magical cellar take you back to that vintage’s year.
Warning Label Thom Zahler Webtoons/Kickstarter Romance comic involving a couple of geeks. Danielle has been cursed by an ex that every time someone asks her out, they get her warning label about truthful personality traits that could be seen as flaws in a relationship. She and Jeff find ways to work through their flaws.


Stand-up Comedy Specials:

Getting out into a packed theater while masked was a bit uncomfortable, but still the best way to see stand-up comedy. To celebrate my 50th, we went to Newark to see the new Iliza Schlesinger act which you can now see on Netflix, “Hot Forever.” She was wonderfully more casual in appearance in person than for a special (that freaking outfit is more Beyoncé than comedy and very distracting). She wore one of her tour t-shirts, jeans, and sneakers. Her jokes are still 99% heteronormative with classic “women do this” and “men do that” style but with updated references. She put her personal life out there in this one by briefly talking about having a miscarriage before having her daughter. She didn’t get into graphic detail about pregnancy at all the way Ali Wong does.

NJ performing arts center exterior

Ali Wong “Don Wong” Netflix
Mo Gilligan “Momentum” Netflix
Iain Stirling Prime
Christian Finnegan Prime
Jo Koy “Live from the LA Forum” Netflix
Sheng Wang “Sweet & Juicy” Netflix
Fluffy Gabriel Iglesias “Stadium Fluffy” Netflix
Hasan Minaj “The King’s Jester” Netflix
Helen Hong Prime
Neal Brennan “Blocks” Netflix
Erik Rivera Prime
Romesh Ranganathan “The Cynic” Netflix
Sebastian Maniscalco “Is it Me?” Netflix
Tom Papa “What a Day” Netflix
Jim Gaffigan “Comedy Monster” Netflix
Corey Rodriguez Prime
Nick Kroll “Little Big Boy” Netflix
Paul Virzi “Nocturnal Admissions” Netflix
Iliza Schlesinger “Hot Forever” Netflix
Janelle James “The Comedy Lineup” Netflix
Taylor Tomlinson “Look at You” Netflix
Fortune Feimster “Good Fortune” Netflix
Cristela Alonzo “Middle Classy” Netflix
Trevor Noah “I Wish You Would” Netflix
Joel Kim Booster “Psychosexual” Netflix
Phil Wang “Philly Philly Wang Wang” Netflix
Pete Davidson presents the Best Friends Netflix
Hari Kondabolu “Warn Your Relatives” Netflix

To be perfectly honest, some of these may have been 2021, but I tend to watch things a hundred times or more if I like them. I’m also sure this is not a complete list because I don’t always open up a spreadsheet to jot down what I’m putting on the television.


Don’t Look Up Leonardi DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence by Adam McKay cataclysmic asteroid event handled with realistic political and media responses; way too long!
The Unforgivable Sandra Bullock, Vincent Donofrio, Richard Thomas, Viola Davis intense drama about an ex-con wanting to know if her sister who ended up adopted, is ok.
Winter’s Bone Jennifer Lawrence depressing af
Mission: Impossible 1-4 Tom Cruise fun to watch
The Guilty (American version) Jake Gyllenhaal brilliant directing & acting; few actors ever seen on screen due to filming during COVID and the director was in quarantine in a van the whole time. Officer with anger and PTSD issues working at dispatch center ends up misunderstanding a situation when a woman calls saying she was abducted. Joe has to be the connection between the woman Emily, her daughter and ex-husband. The twist isn’t great but if it wasn’t there, there wouldn’t be as great of a payoff.
I, Tonya Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney more creatively directed than I expected (Craig Gillespie)
Turning Red Rosalie Chiang, Sandra Oh excellent matriarchal story
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Fala Chen, Michelle Yeoh loved it!
The Bob’s Burgers Movie H. Jon Benjamin, John Roberts, Dan Mintz, Eugene Mirman, Kristen Schaal, David Wain, Kevin Kline, Zach Galifianakis A lot of focus on Louise, which I love; the burger restaurant is dire straits even more than usual and there’s been an old murder to solve.
Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Xochitl Gomez found myself rooting for Scarlet Witch
Thor: Love & Thunder Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman see full review
The Adam Project Ryan Reynolds had problems with the audio quality, quiet vocals and loud explosions; not bad for a time travel movie
Prey Dan Trachtenberg (dir), Amber Midthunder excellent but I wish directors would give some light source like a full moon instead of pitch black scenes where I can’t see a thing.
The Gray Man Russo Brothers (dir), Chris Evans, Ryan Gosling, Ana de Armas, Jessica Henwick Wildly fun assassin covert ops film
Before I Go to Sleep Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, Mark Strong Amnesiac wakes up every day with no memories; interesting take on the trope.
Devil in Ohio (miniseries) Emily Deschanel, Madeleine Arthur Psychiatrist who had an abusive childhood tries to save a girl from a Satanic cult. The girl, Mae, disrupts the entire household and even school. In 8 episodes, the story is paced well and filled with extreme tension. It’s not as hokey as 80s movies but it’s not as brilliant as Midnight Mass. Still, the very end delivers a final twist that you feel something coming but don’t know what it will be. See full review.
The Good Nurse Eddie Redmayne, Jessica Chastain based on the true crimes of Charles Cullen, serial killer nurse. The directing and screenplay made for incredibly tense scenes. The lights were always low. It was about night shift nurses and patients dying but even the at home scenes were dark and shadow filled.
The Bad Guys Sam Rockwell, Richard Ayoade, Marc Maron, Craig Robinson, Awkwafina, Anthony Ramos, Zazie Beetz fun heist animated movie
Where the Crawdads Sing Daisy Edgar-Jones, Taylor John Smith, Harris Dickinson, David Strathairn adequate screenplay but it felt rushed with how Tate & Kya grew their relationship and also with the reveal ending of the killer. Enjoyable.
Coming 2 America 2 Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Jermaine Fowler cute movie basically the same as the first but with the groom from Queens and the bride from Zamunda
Beneath the Leaves Mura Sorvino, Paul Sorvino (who is like a cardboard cutout) the guts of the plot had potential but the serial killer’s motivation was stupid. Then the ending was left unfinished.
Eye in the Sky Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, Alan Rickman, Barkhad Abdi a UK/US collab team struggles to take out a building with known terrorists because there’s a little girl next to it; makes an entire compelling drama around basically one scene, one thing happening.
Lost Girls Amy Ryan, Gabriel Byrne based on the true story of the Long Island serial killer and the police department’s lack of interest in solving the crimes because victims were sex workers.


Chris Evan shooting

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