Pop Culture Free Time: February 2021
Well, hello! And welcome to Pop Culture Free Time for February 2021. As with last month’s–the Pop Culture Free Time January 2021–I’m at a bit of a loss. Maybe it’s the panda medic, but it’s hard to keep track of the things I enjoy. But again, I’ll guess we’ll find out what I remember.
And if you’re new here, this is just a monthly compendium of the pop culture-y stuff I turned to for relaxation.
February 2021 Free Time Book Club: What I’ve Been Reading
I hadn’t read any books by Christina Henry before, although they’ve certainly caught my attention. If you haven’t heard of her, then you should know that she has a knack for dark retellings of our favorite children’s stories. These include books like Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook and the two-part Chronicles of Alice.
image via Berkley
However, I read Near the Bone, which does not base its plot on a traditional story (as far as I know). Instead, it’s about Mattie, a woman trapped in an abusive relationship. She lives in an isolated cabin on a mountain with her captor/husband. Then something shows up. Well, two somethings. One may or may not be a dreadful beast. The other is a trio of cryptid hunters. Neither arrival bodes well for Mattie, especially if her husband finds out.
I plowed through this book, desperate to find out if my suspicions were correct. They were not, but still, I loved it. (Near the Bone will be available on April 13.)
Other Books I Liked
I also enjoyed Factory Girls, the second book in Alissa Grosso’s Culver Creek series. In fact, I thought it was an improvement on the first book in the series, which I liked but not as much as this one. And if you’ve read C.J. Tudor’s books before, then you should pick up her new one, The Burning Girls. In addition, I found Ronald Kelly’s The Halloween Store, and Other Tales of All Hallows’ Eve a screaming delight. Oh, is it not the season for Halloween stories? WRONG! It is ALWAYS the season for Halloween stories. (And they’re set in the South? Please fetch me some oxygen.)
Finally, Andrew Mayne’s upcoming Mastermind was also great. However, it’s not available until September, so if you haven’t read his Naturalist series or his Jessica Blackwood series, then you should get on that. Mastermind is a crossover between both. (And in case you didn’t know, Mayne is a magician who just decided to start writing mystery/thrillers and pack with them with fun facts and intrigue. I might dislike him on principle if his books weren’t insanely good.)
What Are You Watching?
First of all, I am still watching a ton of reaction videos. But that’s not the only thing I watch on ye olde YouTube. I discovered Alasdair Beckett-King through his very accurate video “Every Single Scandinavian Crime Drama.” (Forbrydelsen Hive, rise up!) But now he’s just taking things to a wildly imaginative level.
(Watch “The Little Man Who Lives in the Crisps” to understand the final scene cameo.)
As for actual TV, I haven’t watched anything new to me this month. I’ve still been watching the returns of my existing favorites. For example, I’ve really been loving Prodigal Son this season. After the show solved season one’s big mystery, it was easy to imagine that it might run out of gas after that. Thankfully, though, that hasn’t been the case.
Season two of Nancy Drew has also been a banger. Even though it started like, a month ago, it basically just started last week, because they had to finish off their season one story (preempted because of the you-know-what). It’s only gotten spookier and more touching. And somehow Riverdale is not bad now? It’s still not prestige TV–please–but it’s gotten way more tolerable since the time jump.
The Things I Listen To In My February 2021 Free Time
As with last month, I haven’t listened to any podcasts that are new to me. I’ve just been enjoying my usual ones. In particular, RedHanded, which I mentioned in the November 2020 Free Time, has been very good lately. Like I said back then, they cover cases that not every true crime podcast covers, and that’s still true. Recently, for example, they’ve done episodes on the politically-motivated murder spree of Anders Breivik, as well as the (politically-motivated) murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
In addition to that, I’ve had Haim’s new version of “Gasoline,” featuring Taylor Swift, on repeat.
Bringing in Taylor to scream-sing, “I GET SAD! You know I get sad,” seems obvious when you think about it, after all.
And that’s been my Pop Culture Free Time for February 2021. What’s been taking up your free time in the past month? Tell me in the comments or on our social media.
featured image of Prodigal Son via Fox
Salomé Gonstad is a freelance writer who grew up in the swampy wilds of south Alabama. When she's not yelling about pop culture on the internet, she's working on a supernatural thriller about her hometown. Also, we're pretty sure she's a werewolf. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.