Recent Enjoyments

An acquaintance asked for recent books or movies I liked. This is what I wrote.

We enjoyed watching an effortlessly charming little BBC comedy called The Detectorists; series 1 and the Christmas special are best, with series 2 and 3 good but not as new and blooming wonderful as series 1. Small people, small ambitions, small stakes, all of the characters leaving no traces in history but trying — very, very hard — to enjoy themselves while they're at it.

I'm reading Tom King's graphic novel Vision: The Complete Series, about the Avengers android moving his synthetic family to the suburbs. Tragedy is seeded in the first issue alongside the whimsy. I sit down each night to read a chapter with anticipation and dread.

Also: The Abominable Mr. Seabrook by Joe Ollmann. The graphic novel bio of forgotten travel writer William Seabrook was overlong but interesting; Seabrook created or popularized the word "zombie" and for a time succeeded as a gonzo adventurer/writer in the early 20th century; he achieved some small fame and notoriety that he could not maintain.

Two good movies: Submarine, a coming-of-age movie (based on a novel) directed by Richard Ayoade (best known as Moss from the brilliant BBC comedy The IT Crowd); a blend of sodden Welsh gloom and dark humor with some quirky storytelling techniques that add to the fun without overshadowing the story.

Also, a great little documentary called Seth's Dominion, about the Canadian cartoonist/artist/book designer Seth. There's a companion book/DVD. Set this portrait of an artist creating his own self-sustaining and fully imagined world against the Seabrook bio and discuss.