Saturday Night Live

Books I Read in 2015

I’ve been a bit all over the place with my reading the last two years. In 2013, I set a goal of reading 40 books and beat it, and in 2014, I seriously surpassed my goal of reading 52 books by reading 91 (my numbers have been greatly bolstered by reading plays, in case you were wondering).

Since I’m in an English Literature graduate program, I obviously do plenty of reading, but I think I went back to my goal of 50 books in 2015. Though this number might be a bit low based on 2014’s results, I stay plenty busy with my school reading and don’t always have lots of time for recreational reading. I ended up exceeding that goal by reading 69 books in 2015, an achievement I’m pretty proud of. Here’s my full list of reading from 2015–for reference, the titles listed in bold are those I particularly enjoyed.

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
  2. Live From New York, James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales
  3. Will Grayson, Will Grayson, John Green and David Levithan
  4. Looking for Alaska, John Green
  5. Sanctuary, William Faulkner
  6. It’s Only A Play, Terrence McNally
  7. Brother to Dragons, Robert Penn Warren
  8. On Chesil Beach, Ian McEwan
  9. Paddle Your Own Canoe, Nick Offerman
  10. The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, William Inge
  11. Come Back, Little Sheba, William Inge
  12. Bus Stop, William Inge
  13. The Basic Eight, Daniel Handler
  14. Tobacco Road, Erskine Caldwell
  15. My Ideal Bookshelf, Jane Mount and Thessaly la Force
  16. Fallen Too Far, Abbi Glines
  17. Wait for You, J. Lynn
  18. The Hound of the Baskervilles, Arthur Conan Doyle
  19. Dead as a Doornail, Charlaine Harris
  20. In Our Time, Ernest Hemingway
  21. Child of God, Cormac McCarthy
  22. The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion
  23. Love, Rosie, Cecelia Ahern
  24. Airships, Barry Hannah
  25. Crimes of the Heart, Beth Henley
  26. The Woman Warrior, Maxine Hong Kingston
  27. A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole
  28. Joe, Larry Brown
  29. Wolf Whistle, Lewis Nordan
  30. Outlander, Diana Gabaldon
  31. Murder on the Orient Express, Agatha Christie
  32. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Jesse Andrews
  33. In the Unlikely Event, Judy Blume
  34. Angels in America Part One: Millennium ApproachesTony Kushner
  35. Angels in America Part Two: Perestroika, Tony Kushner
  36. The Complete Stories, Flannery O’Connor
  37. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, J.K. Rowling
  38. Quidditch Through the Ages, J.K. Rowling
  39. The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
  40. Paper Towns, John Green
  41. White Teeth, Zadie Smith
  42. Shame, Salman Rushdie
  43. Disgrace, J.M. Coetzee
  44. The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien
  45. The Virgin Suicides, Jeffrey Eugenides
  46. Vita Nuova, Dante Alighieri
  47. Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
  48. Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe
  49. Dragonfly in AmberDiana Gabaldon
  50. We Should All Be Feminists, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  51. Season of Migration to the North, Tayeb Salih
  52. Notebook of a Return to the Native Land, Aimé Césaire
  53. Divine Comedy Vol. I: Inferno, Dante Alighieri
  54. After the Fall, Arthur Miller
  55. Murder in Retrospect, Agatha Christie
  56. Divine Comedy Vol. II: Purgatorio, Dante Alighieri
  57. The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Phoebe Gloeckner
  58. Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence, Doris Pilkington
  59. Divine Comedy Vol. III: Paradiso, Dante Alighieri
  60. The Grownup, Gillian Flynn
  61. Me Before You, Jojo Moyes
  62. The Book of Mormon, Trey Parker and Matt Stone
  63. Harriet the Spy, Louise Fitzhugh
  64. Dracula, Bram Stoker
  65. Doctor Sleep, Stephen King
  66. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, John Boyne
  67. This Side of Paradise, F. Scott Fitzgerald
  68. The Cripple of Inishmaan, Martin McDonagh
Advertisements

Book #76: Yes Please, by Amy Poehler

I’ve never been a very big nonfiction reader, but that’s been a recent change in my reading life since so many celebrities I like are writing memoirs. This morning, I finished Amy Poehler’s Yes Please, a delightful, sweet, sad, and endearing collection of essays. “Parks and Recreation” is my favorite show on TV right now and I adore Amy, so this was a perfect excuse to avoid doing homework and read something easy and fun.

My favorite bits of this book were Amy’s explanation of the only SNL sketch she regrets, the essay about her two adorable sons, the loving acrostic poem dedicated to Tina Fey, and the sections about her experience on “Parks and Rec” and her love for her castmates that absolutely made me weep. If you’re interested, this book is perfect for reading as the weather gets colder and the days get shorter, so hunker down and enjoy.

Emmy Hopes and Predictions: Comedy

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Lena Dunham, Girls
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
  • Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
  • Melissa McCarthy, Mike and Molly
  • Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
  • Taylor Schilling, Orange in the New Black

Amy Poehler Julia Louis-Dreyfus

This category is a perpetually difficult one for me to predict. If I had the opportunity to vote, I would vote for Amy Poehler, no questions asked. “Parks and Recreation” has been criminally underrated, and Poehler’s ever-perfect performance is the heart and soul of the show. I really, really hope she wins it this year, but it’s hard to really say. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is my second pick. She’s won the past two years in this category for very good reason; she is always spot on. In my mind, this race is really between these two great actresses, so I hope one of them takes home the gold.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Ricky Gervais, Derek
  • Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
  • Don Cheadle, House of Lies
  • Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
  • Louis C.K., Louie
  • William H. Macy, Shameless

Matt LeBlanc

Unfortunately, it’s been a long time since I’ve had a very strong opinion about this category because it tends to be a weird mix of a lot of shows I don’t watch. Because I’m a “Friends” fan, I would love to see Matt LeBlanc win, but I really don’t have an educated opinion because I don’t watch a single show on this list. I imagine Louis C.K. is the front runner here, but I thought that last year and was wrong. I just really hope Jim Parsons doesn’t win for the fourth time. I don’t have anything against him, but I don’t find “The Big Bang Theory” funny, and I don’t think Parsons deserves to be the first person to win four times since Kelsey Grammer did it on “Frasier.”

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Julie Bowen, Modern Family
  • Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
  • Allison Janney, Mom
  • Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
  • Kate Mulgrew, Orange is the New Black
  • Anna Chlumsky, Veep

Kate McKinnon

Though I do really like Anna Chlumsky on “Veep,” my favorite in this category is Kate McKinnon of “Saturday Night Live.” She’s a great performer and comedian, and I would love to see someone win an acting award for “SNL” (though that’s probably never going to happen). I imagine McKinnon is an underdog here, but I’m not sure how this category will pan out. Just as long as Julie Bowen doesn’t win and talk about Sofia Vergara’s or her own boobs/nipples in her acceptance speech, I’ll be happy.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • Adam Driver, Girls
  • Ty Burrell, Modern Family
  • Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
  • Fred Armisen, Portlandia
  • Tony Hale, Veep

Adam Driver tonyhalepic

The fact that Tony Hale of “Veep” won this award last year gives me lots of hope for the Emmys in 2014. Hale is completely deserving of another win this year, and I’d be more than happy to see him pull it off. I also really love Adam Driver on “Girls,” but he tends to be a bit under-appreciated by critics. If Hale doesn’t win, I think Andre Braugher might have the next-best shot. He’s great on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” and even though the show was shut out of other categories, I think Braugher might win it.

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Laverne Cox, Orange is the New Black
  • Natasha Lyonne, Orange is the New Black
  • Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black
  • Tina Fey, Saturday Night Live
  • Melissa McCarthy, Saturday Night Live
  • Joan Cusack, Shameless

Melissa McCarthy Uzo Aduba

This one’s a bit tough for me; though I watched all of the first season of “Orange is the New Black,” I’m not really a fan of the show, and so it’s hard for me to choose among these nominees. If one of the “OITNB” actresses does win it, though, I think Uzo Aduba is the most deserving; she’s sweet, compelling and sincere in her role. I don’t think Tina Fey or Melissa McCarthy are nominated for their best “SNL” hosting gigs, but they’re both great, though I think McCarthy was better. And I like Joan Cusack, even though I have no idea what her role on “Shameless” was.

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Nathan Lane, Modern Family
  • Steve Buscemi, Portlandia
  • Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live
  • Louis C.K., Saturday Night Live
  • Bob Newhart, The Big Bang Theory
  • Gary Cole, Veep

Gary Cole Jimmy Fallon

I was very happy to see Gary Cole’s name among the nominees here, so I’m mostly putting my support behind him (though I did find his romantic storyline with Sue very strange). Jimmy Fallon was obviously wonderful on “SNL,” but it seems a little like Justin Timberlake was robbed of a co-nomination since they essentially split the hosting duties. These two are my picks, but I have no idea how things will actually pan out.

Outstanding Comedy Series

  • Modern Family, ABC
  • Louie, FX
  • Orange is the New Black, Netflix
  • Veep, HBO
  • Silicon Valley, HBO
  • The Big Bang Theory, CBS

Veep

Remember when I said “Parks and Recreation” was under-appreciated? Yeah, me too. With “Parks” out of the running, though, I have no problem throwing my full support behind “Veep” as the best comedy of the year. I feel like most people I know have given up on “Modern Family,” so I’d be surprised to see it win a fifth time. Though I don’t support it, I have a strong feeling “Orange is the New Black” will be the big winner. However, after three seasons, “Veep” has proved its comedic excellence, and I hope voters recognize that.

Since I’ve already covered the drama and miniseries/movie categories, this is my last pre-Emmys post. Here’s hoping all my wishes come true on August 25!

Book #51: Live From New York, by James A. Miller and Tom Shales

Book #51: Live From New York, by James A. Miller and Tom Shales

It always feels like an accomplishment to finish a book, but that feeling is a bit sweeter when said book happens to be 600 pages long. Live From New York is a comprehensive history of Saturday Night Live told from the show’s writers, producers, and cast members, and it’s safe to say that there aren’t many details omitted. In my opinion, the book could’ve used a pretty serious revision since I found it to be slow in many places, but that also could have been because I didn’t have much context for some of the people it discussed.

What I found to be the biggest fault with the book was the way it didn’t explain certain situations and people that we discussed extensively. For example, the book obviously talks about Gilda Radner’s death, but not the reason for her death. I found myself doing lots of Googling of people or events because the authors weren’t really making an effort to clarify the references made.

I also wish this book included more on the more recent years at SNL. Though it was originall published in 2001, the paperback edition apparently has more extensive interviews, so I think it would only be fair to add more about the current situation at SNL. The final section starts at 1995 with no definite end date, but since that was almost 20 years ago, I think it’s fair to say that there’s plenty more to add, and as a 22-year-old, the most recent years are most interesting to me. Overall, though, it was a pretty enjoyable read, and definitely worthwhile if you’re a TV fanatic like me.

Now on to what I expect to be my final reading project of 2013: Jane Eyre. It’s never a bad idea to end with a classic, especially if it’s one you’ve never read before. Stay tuned!

Emmy Awards Part 1: My Predictions/Hopes for the Comedy Categories

While I’ve got the time to indulge in one of my very favorite pastimes (award show prediction/discussion/obsession) before I begin my senior year of college, I’ve decided to go full force and share with you my picks for the Emmy Awards, airing September 22 on CBS. In this post, I’ll only be discussing my picks for the comedy categories, but I’ll also be posting about the drama categories, and, if I’m feeling extra ambitious, the miniseries/movie categories. Here goes nothing!

Outstanding Comedy Series

  • The Big Bang Theory • CBS
  • Girls • HBO
  • Louie • FX Networks
  • Modern Family • ABC
  • 30 Rock • NBC
  • Veep • HBO

Because my very favorite show Parks and Recreation was AGAIN shut out in almost all categories, I would be happiest to see either Girls or Veep win in this category, but I’m really not sure how I see this one playing out. I would also be happy with another win for 30 Rock‘s final season. Either way, Modern Family does NOT deserve another win this year, so I’m hoping we’ll see a change here.

Girls Veep

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Jason Bateman • Arrested Development
  • Jim Parsons • The Big Bang Theory
  • Matt LeBlanc • Episodes
  • Don Cheadle • House of Lies
  • Louis C.K. • Louis
  • Alec Baldwin • 30 Rock

This is another difficult category for me. I kind of think Alec Baldwin has won enough for his role as Jack Donaghy, and this season of Arrested Development wasn’t the best. However, I think I’m still rooting for Jason Bateman here, but I’d also be very happy to see Matt LeBlanc win (out of loyalty, of course). However, it’s been a big year for Louis C.K., so a win for him wouldn’t surprise me.

Jason Bateman

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Laura Dern • Enlightened
  • Lena Dunham • Girls
  • Edie Falco • Nurse Jackie
  • Amy Poehler • Parks and Recreation
  • Tina Fey • 30 Rock
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus • Veep

Because Parks and Recreation is my favorite, I’m obviously going with Amy Poehler as my top pick in this category. It’s such a shame that this show isn’t getting the recognition it deserves. However, I think this category really is wide open. I could see Tina Fey winning again for her final season of 30 Rock, and I think Julia Louis-Dreyfus is more deserving for this season of Veep than when she won for its first season last year. But, again, I could also see Girls getting more attention, so Lena Dunham is another viable candidate. Personally, while I love Girls, I think Dunham showed off more of her dramatic skills than comedic this season, so she’s not my top pick here.

Amy Poehler Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Adam Driver • Girls
  • Jesse Tyler Ferguson • Modern Family
  • Ed O’Neill • Modern Family
  • Ty Burrell • Modern Family
  • Bill Hader • Saturday Night Live
  • Tony Hale • Veep

While I don’t think that Modern Family is deserving of taking up half the spots in this category, I’m very happy to see some new faces represented in the other spots. I’m kind of divided between these other three. I think Adam Driver has created a totally original character on Girls, and his comedic style is all his own. Tony Hale is another of my favorites, and I could see him receiving favor here because of his work as another great supporting comedic character on Arrested Development, a role he’s never been nominated for. And finally, Bill Hader is so immensely talented that I’d be very happy to see him win. Overall, I think Hale is my favorite here, with Driver in a close second.

Tony Hale  Adam Driver

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Mayim Bialik • The Big Bang Theory
  • Jane Lynch • Glee
  • Sofia Vergara • Modern Family
  • Julie Bowen • Modern Family
  • Merritt Wever • Nurse Jackie
  • Jake Krakowski • 30 Rock
  • Anna Chlumsky • Veep

This is another tough one for me, because I don’t have a major favorite. I’m kind of hoping Modern Family gets shut out in most of its nominated categories, and again, I’m glad to see some new faces represented here. Personally, my favorite in this category is Anna Chlumsky, but I’d also be happy to see Jane Krakowski win.

Anna Chlumsky

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Bob Newhart • The Big Bang Theory
  • Nathan Lane • Modern Family
  • Bobby Cannavale • Nurse Jackie
  • Louis C.K. • Saturday Night Live
  • Justin Timberlake • Saturday Night Live
  • Will Forte • 30 Rock

Though I’m very happy Justin Timberlake hosted SNL for his fifth time this year, it wasn’t my favorite of his episodes, so here I’m going with Louis C.K., even if it’s for his great monologue alone.

Louis CK

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Molly Shannon • Enlightened
  • Melissa Leo • Louie
  • Melissa McCarthy • Saturday Night Live
  • Kristen Wiig • Saturday Night Live
  • Elaine Stritch • 30 Rock

This one is a no-brainer for me: Melissa McCarthy is a fantastically funny actress, and she deserves recognition for her second hosting of SNL. However, I could see this category going to Wiig, who was previously nominated during her time at SNL, but never won. This would be a good chance to recognize her for her great work with the show, but McCarthy’s episode was better.

Melissa McCarthy