As we come upon July, I can hardly believe we're halfway through the year. I feel like pretty soon I'll be posting about my favorites of the year instead of a monthly favorite! However, my June favorites were all about twists and turns, including TJ Turner's Angel in the Fog, Amazon's Good Omens, and Netflix's season two of Aggretsuko.
What were some of your favorite books, films, television shows, web series, or podcasts from June? Let me know what you're looking forward to seeing or would recommend seeing in July!
Angel in the Fog
I did a fair bit of traveling in June and, whenever I travel, I have to take a book (or two) with me. I picked up Angel in the Fog by TJ Turner last April on Independent Bookstore Day and hadn't had the opportunity to read it before my trip. I finished it in three days.
A bit of revisionist history in 1860s America, Angel in the Fog follows the story of Molly Ferguson:
"Molly's comfortable life unravels when her Louisiana home is burned to the ground, her family murdered, and she is enslaved in a Baltimore brothel. Amidst the threat of the Civil War, Molly learns of secessionist plans to assassinate President-elect Abraham Lincoln as he makes his way to Washington for his inauguration. She manages to pass this information on to a Pinkerton agent posing as a client. Impressed with her fortitude and intelligence, the Pinkerton Agency arranges for Molly’s freedom and brings her under the tutelage of Mrs. Kate Warne, America’s first female detective. After they save Mr. Lincoln in Baltimore, Molly is sent by the Pinkerton Agency into the Deep South―where the Civil War now rages―a spy behind enemy lines."
I did not realize until after I had finished the novel that Angel in the Fog was part of Turner's Lincoln's Bodyguard trilogy. But, as it's the prequel to the series' other works, it does stand on its own, but I'm interested in reading the other two books in the series to get a better idea of Turner's vision. If you like historical fiction and espionage thrillers, I'd recommend this novel.
Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett
Good Omens is worthy of the hype it's received. Full stop.
A faithful adaptation of its source material―Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's brilliant 1990 novel Good Omens: The Nice And Accurate Prophecies Of Agnes Nutter, Witch―the mini-series is as successful as it is due to David Tennant and Michael Sheen on-screen chemistry as the demon Crowley and angel Aziraphale. Their journeys have been intertwined since Adam and Eve were cast out from the Garden of Eden, and over the millennia, they've developed an unusual frenemies-relationship.
In a cruel twist of fate (or destiny), both Heaven and Hell are betting on the Antichrist to launch Armageddon, and Crowley and Aziraphale have their parts to play. However, they're not ready for the cosmic battle the angels and demons are about to wage on Earth, or for the good times to end.
Neil Gaiman's writing shines in each episode, series director Douglas Mackinnon had done a fantastic job guiding the series, Tennant and Sheen's performances are charming as heck, and the special effects and CGI work are excellent. Good Omens is a fun (is that really the right adjective here?) look at the end of the world and with only six episodes, definitely worth a watch.
Good Omens is the cosmic buddy comedy you never knew you needed.
WHERE TO WATCH: Amazon
As a fan of the first season, I was so excited to get a second season of Aggretsuko. Based on the Sanrio character, Retsuko is a cute red panda who works as an office associate in the accounting department of a highly respected trading company in Tokyo. It’s always been her dream to work as an accountant, but in reality, her bosses are unsympathetic and give her harsh deadlines and she has become a pushover within the company. When she gets pushed to the limit, she goes out after work and takes out her frustration and stress with heavy metal karaoke sessions.
While the first season focused on Retsuko's experiences in the office, season two focuses more on her love life. Her meddling mother tries to set her up with a matchmaker to get her married off, and the pressures of being 25 and single* are overwhelming. She tries to distract herself by learning how to drive and getting her license. At the driving school, she meets Tadano, a seemingly hopeless slacker who turns out to be very different than what Retsuko initially thought and a romantic relationship develops between the two. But, with the pressures of growing up and making mature decisions, will their love last?
Don't let the overly sweet animation style fool you. Aggretsuko is a charming, unique, and relatable way to voice the struggles of being a twenty-something, feeling like you're supposed to be a "grown-up," and having absolutely nothing figured out.
Retsuko just wants to live her life and let love and romance happen organically, but her mother wants grandchildren!
WHERE TO WATCH: Netflix
***In Japan, "Christmas cake" is a slang term used to refer to an unmarried woman who is over 25. Just like Christmas cake sold after the 25th, these women are considered past her prime. In the English dub of Aggretsuko, Retsuko's boss Mr. Ton calls her "calendar," referring to her time running out.