What I’m Watching/Reading 2023

As of October 2011, I created an index of books I reviewed here. I will continue to list books I am currently reading here, but I will not attempt to write capsule reviews or even to link to them. For that you should check the index of books I reviewed. Movie Reviews will continue to be listed and annotated as before. See also my 2021 reading list,  2020 reading list,  my 2019 reading list2018 reading list,  2017 reading list,  2016 Reading/Watching List, my 2014 Reading/Watching List, my 2013 Reading/Watching List2012 Reading/Watching List, 2011 Reading/Watching List,  2010 Reading/Watching List2009 Reading/Watching List2008 Reading/Watching List , 2007 Reading/Watching List my previous Sept 2004 to Oct 2005 reading list or my Nov 2005 to Nov 2006 Reading List , so definitely check that out as well. See also my Best of 2006 for a scoop about favorites. See also Writers who have Changed Me and Favorite Childhood Reads. A few remarks. I’m reading several books at a time, and to be honest, sometimes I don’t read all of them depending on the content or my interest. Usually however, it’s been a matter of attention span and what other projects I’ve been doing. Also, you might want to check my favorite novels, and my Amazon.com wishlist. Also here’s an annotated photo of my bookshelf Also, I haven’t read most of these books, but I’ve been setting up Amazon lists of classic Texas novels (100 novels and counting). You also might enjoy reading my Amazon list of Unforgettable Forgettable Novels. and my Film Recommendations for 1st year college students. Also see my Best of 2017 list. I’ve also started adding my book inventory to librarything.com. At the bottom of this page you will find a list of movies I’ve been watching.

Starting in late 2018 I started writing a weekly Robert’s Roundup column of ebook deals. This actually gives you a better idea of what I’ve been reading. In 2021 I started a monthly column called Music Discoveries and a parallel one called Auditory Ruminations (about one artist).

Alas, my television broke on May 24; the writer’s strike started on May 2. Let’s see if I actually get more reading done as a result!


  1. Conjunctions and Disjunctions by Octavio Paz. Second time.
  2. Several things by Marco Vassi. In Touch, The Saline Solution, Carcass of Dreams.
  4. Mark Twain: Mysterious Stranger and “Extract from Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven”
  5. Uncommon Arrangements by Katie Roiphe.
  6. Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann (FINALLY!)
  7. Book of all Books by Roberto Calasso. Memoirs of an Italian publisher.
  8. Skeptics’ Guide to the Future. Steven Novella
  9. You’re on an Airplane. Parker Posey memoir.
  10. Martian Chronicles. Ray Bradbury. Rereading.
  11. Tracy Flick Can’t Win by Tom Perotta. A nice easy read.
  12. Premarital Sex in America by Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker
  13. The Hook by Jake Seliger
  14. Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera (reading bits and pieces)
  15. I’m too Young to be 70 and other delusions by Judith Viorst. Humorous decade-specific poems by a kid’s author.


  1. Night Court. pretty terrible reboot.
  2. Last of Me. Mediocre zombie survival series with topnotch production values.
  3. Young Sheldon
  4. Licorice Pizza (2nd time)
  5. Nope. Turns out to be a conventional horror movie with surreal elements. Compare to Close Encounters of the Third Kind and the superior Monsters (directed by Gareth Edwards) which is less horror than suspense.
  6. Kimi.
  7. Argentina, 1985. Fine inspirational political movie about an underdog prosecutor pursuing high level military officials.
  8. Mary Tyler Moore, 2nd season. Great show, particularly admired the fashion and sets!
  9. Newhart — Season 4.
  10. Tar. Great character study which was unafraid to delve deeply into classical music
  11. Making of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. (2001 documentary).
  12. Ghosts. Hilarious supernatural comedy with a winning cast and formula.
  13. Upshaws. Season 3.
  14. Childhood’s End. Brilliant adaptation of this classic Arthur Clarke novel.
  15. M3gan. Great horror film about a lifelike robot who befriends a little girl. Overall I liked it, but apparently the only way to be dramatic is for robots to devolve into killing sprees. (It’s highly implausible for it to be developed by a business without more testing). I longed for more subtlety and ambiguity.
  16. Women Talking
  17. Guard, Irish film. Excellent funny film.
  18. Brooklyn. Incredible adaptation of Colm Tóibín’s novel. About female Irish immigrants who moved to Brooklyn in the 1950s.
  19. The Founder. Rewatched.
  20. Accused. Moderately interesting legal drama. Individual episodes had great scripts.
  21. Liaison. Overly complicated French spy drama. Some interesting twists, but overall a waste of time.
  22. Ted Lasso Season 3 and Marvelous Ms Maisel Season 5. More of the same.
  23. Last Thing he told me. Fascinating stories about a missing husband. Update: Really well-done series; set up well for a second season.
  24. Diplomat. Procedural Dramedy about a US ambassador to UK. Well-done, though kind of absurd.
  25. Extrapolations. TV series that imagines 2037 drenched in climate change and the political drama that ensues from it. It’s rather preachy, but on the other hand, it’s aiming to portray the future realistically
  26. Talladega Nights. (For the bazillionth time).
  27. Lego Movie
  28. Beef, Netflix series.
  29. Animal Control. Liking this series.
  30. Reality, HBO biopic about whistleblower Reality Winner
  31. Platonic, hilarious Apple series with Seth Rogen.
  32. News Radio TV series. Funny if only for those extra moments with Phil Hartman.
  33. Succession. I watched Season 4, starting with the infamous wedding episode. Not that great, but wedding/death episode had great dialogue.
  34. Transatlantic — nice Netlix miniseries about helping German artists and intellectuals escape from France during WW2. Minor liberties were taken with history, but I enjoyed the evocations and also the subtle jabs at current political orthodoxy.
  35. Support the Girls. Good dramedy, but it really didn’t go anywhere.
  36. Fired from Mars. Animated adult dramedy about a clueless office worker on a Martian colony who can’t seem to find his place.
  37. Comeback. Lisa Kudrow.
  38. Dear Mr. Brody.
  39. McMillions. Documentary mini-series which is an amazing shaggy dog FBI sting operation about a MacDonalds monopoly scam. It sags somewhat in the middle with too much exposition about side issues, but the opening and closing are great. Actually saw this when it came out in 2020 during COVID. It was great! Rewatching was just as fun.
  40. Thousand and one. Gritty/harrowing Harlem drama about a mother and son, First time director A.V. Rockwell also wrote the sharp script, with incredible performance by Teyana Taylor who played the mother.
  41. Quiet Girl. Uplifting family drama about a young girl ignored by her own family who spends the summer with her aunt and uncle. Beautiful acting, with great sound design. Interesting how so many things are left unspoken and revealed indirectly. Mom and I disagreed about one of the movie’s premises, but we both thought it extraordinary.
  42. Porridge
  43. Hijack. Nice suspenseful mini-series starring Idris Elba. So far there have been enough plot twists to keep me happy.
  44. Living. Great and serene adaptation of Ikiru about an old bureaucrat whose attitude towards life changes after he receives some bad medical news.
  45. Close . Nice drama of an ephemerality of friendship between two young French boys and the unexpected turmoil that threatens it. This film could be divided into two parts: I was struck how furiously fast was the first part and how painfully slow was the second part was. This movie really captured the excitement and mood swings of pre-adolescence.
  46. Working Moms — raunchy Canadian sitcom about motherhood. Funny and well done, but there are a lot of bare boobies — several in the first scene! and all sorts of sexual references.
  47. Fabelmanns. Fun autographical movie about Spielberg’s boyhood years and some of the drama as well. This is a mainstream movie with lots of set pieces about anecdotes from Speilberg’s life and great film shots. Some have criticized it for its lack of subtlety and its self-aggrandizement. Hey, it’s a Spielberg movie — whaddja expect? Maybe the family stuff seemed a bit too maudlin, but fortunately the action moved quickly through everything. I like that the movie didn’t try to explore the themes of Spielberg’s movies. Who cares?
  48. Daytrippers, 90s film starring Ann Meara and Parker Posey written and directed by Greg Mottola. This charming comedy about a family who goes on a wild goose chase through NYC to investigate an mystery about the daughter’s husband. I laughed and laughed and laughed.
  49. Lincoln Lawyer, Season 2.
  50. Good Fight — decent legal dramedy. 1st season was okay, but successive seasons had ridiculous ripped-from-the-headlines plots, I stopped caring for it. Most entertaining touch was animated Schoolhouse House vignettes about politics sung by Jonathan Coulton. In the last season things picked up considerably; indeed, it was politically subversive. It’s West Wing during a time of political radicalization. In these lawyer procedures, I grow weary of who’s sleeping around with whom; can they just stick with political satire and conspiracy theories? One wonderful touch are the cameo appearances by veteran actors as judges with their individual idiosyncracies.
  51. Dark Winds. Crime thriller set in the Navaho nation based on Tony Hillerman novels. I just loved the atmosphere and characters and indigenous details. First season had lots of great atmosphere; season 2 turned into a predictable gorefest.
  52. Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland. Long PBS documentary series narrating the sad and pointless political violence of the Troubles, as told by some survivors. As an Irish citizen, I thought myself relatively well-informed about events, but this slow and careful retelling called attention to details I must have overlooked or forgotten about. For example, I was amazed to learn that 8 of the hunger strikers (including Bobby Sands) died, which is really shocking (and Thatcher deserves a lot of blame for).
  53. Star Trek. Strange New Worlds. Decent series with a great cast. But some of the self-righteousness got on my nerves, plus the nods made to contemporary pop culture.
  54. Irrational Man. Woody Allen film starring Parker Posey. Decent Dostoevsky-influenced movie about a professor who also murders people for the hell of it. Great cast, average script.
  55. Crash by David Cronenberg. Strange 80s movie about people with fetishes about car crashes.
  56. You Hurt My feelings. Average film about self-absorbed people who realize that other people are talking about them behind their backs. Some nice jibes at artist’s egos; some of the stuff about writers are wrong (people don’t actively dislike books by friends; they just don’t get around to reading them or say it’s not my cup of tea). Was amused at the writing teacher’s shock at discovering that none of her writing students had ever read her book. That certainly rang true!
  57. Only Murders in the Building. Season 3
  58. Teachers, a farce about several crazy lady elementary teachers; a nice antidote to Abbott Elementary’s dramatic ambitions.
  59. Confess, Fletch, a very clever detective story with the Fletch character from the detective series. Great cast, lots of crazy lines and Jon Hamm and Italian ladies. Greg Mottola did a great job with the script and cast; he’s quickly becoming a favorite.
  60. Good Wife. TV legal procedural.
  61. Ron Burgundy, Archorman.
  62. Jimmy Carter: Rock and Roll President. Fun historical look at how Jimmy Carter teamed up with various musicians to rocket to the presidency.
  63. End of Sex starring Emily Hampshire. Cringe sex comedy which I laughed hysterically at parts. (By the end it ended in predictable places. There’s only so much you can do with an R rated flick.