Staff Reviews

Two Directors Make Strong Debuts in These New Release Movies

October’s new release movies showcased two great new talents in directors Boots Riley (Sorry to Bother You) and Bo Burnham (Eighth Grade).

Riley, who made a name as a rapper with the group The Coup, has directed one of this year’s most original movies. Titled Sorry to Bother You, the film follows an African-American telemarketer named Cash Green who uses “white voice” to advance his career. The events that follow pits Cash in the middle of a conspiracy that satirizes modern race relations, capitalism, and power itself. The movie is filled with inventive imagery and absurd twists—and is probably unlike anything else you’ve seen this year. The movie received an R rating for language, sexual content, and drug use.

Bo Burnham, who some might recognize from his career as a stand-up comedian, directed a painfully relatable coming-of-age film called Eighth Grade. The film follows Kayla Day, an eighth-grade student who struggles with anxiety and produces video blogs on improving confidence and self-image. The movie shows Kayla navigate recognizable middle school struggles—first crushes, pool parties, and looking cool at the mall—but also explores the effect of social media on teens. The movie received an R rating for language and some sexual references.

You can place them both on hold now.

Get Scared in a Hurry with These Spooky Short Stories

Casual horror readers might associate the genre with Stephen King’s thousand-page tomes, but some of the most satisfying scary reads can come in the short story format. King has published a few great short story collections, as well as writers like Bentley Little, Joe Hill, Chuck Palahniuk, and more. Check them out below:

Stephen King [Editor]: Flight or Fright

Joe Hill: 20th Century Ghosts

Bentley Little: Walking Alone

Chuck Palahniuk: Haunted

The Best Horror of the Year: Volume 4

Nico Walker: Veteran, Bank Robber, Prisoner, and Now a Lauded Novelist

Nico Walker — the debut author who is making waves with his novel, Cherry — did not follow a traditional track to publishing his first novel. At the age many young authors would attend writing classes or workshops, Walker served as a medic in Iraq. Later, he’d return to the United States with PTSD and became addicted to heroin—a habit that he supplemented by robbing banks in the Cleveland area. He is now serving 11 years in a Kentucky federal prison for those crimes, where he wrote Cherry on a typewriter.


The book was later sold to Knopf, and movie rights have been acquired by the Russo brothers, who directed Avengers: Infinity War.



The novel seems to fictionalize this experience, pulling the reader into Walker’s gritty worldview with lean, choppy prose that’s comparable to Donald Ray Pollock’s, who also hails from Ohio. The book is a tough read, blending a nameless narrator’s love story with strong imagery of war and addiction, but its critical reception has been strong. Vulture mused that Cherry “might be the first great novel of the opioid epidemic.”

Put Cherry on hold today.

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