content by

Molly Templeton

Do You Ever Stop and Think About Paragraphs?

The first sentence of Angélica Gorodischer’s Kalpa Imperial is more than 200 words long. Two hundred and seventeen, if my hasty count is correct. I’ve had writing assignments meant to cover entire movies or concerts that were shorter than that. And there is more to that single paragraph—in the edition translated by Ursula K. Le Guin—before the writer moves on to the next thought, the next indent.

I think about this paragraph, with its one epic sentence, a lot. And I’ve been thinking about it more since an online event a few months ago during which the interviewer asked Kelly Link if there were any questions she wished people would ask her. Link said, after thinking for a moment, that she would like to talk about paragraphs. That she had questions about paragraphs.

And all of a sudden, so did I.

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The Mystery of Good Omens 2 Is Finally Revealed

Until now, teases for the second season of Good Omens have been quite vague. Where will the series—based on the novel by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett—go as it veers off the page? A surprising mystery! That could mean literally anything.

Hands up: Who predicted that it would involve the archangel Gabriel (Jon Hamm) having totally forgotten who he is, and turning to Aziraphale for help?

And that maybe this will lead to some kind of war?

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Witches Not Done Running Amok; Hocus Pocus 3 Is Happening

The Sanderson sisters can’t be stopped. Last year’s sequel Hocus Pocus 2 was apparently #5 on the list of the year’s most-streamed movies, so—inevitably!—Hocus Pocus 3 is now in the works at Disney. Sean Bailey, who runs the part of the company in charge of reimagining animated films into live-action behemoths, confirmed this in an interview with The New York Times.

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Creating Summer Reading Assignments for Grown-Ups

It’s time to read outdoors without cold fingers, to shed coats and cardigans while reading on the bar patio, and to turn my mind to a long-beloved topic: summer reading.

This is a concept we will have to define in order to talk about: I don’t mean summer reading in the beach reads and blockbusters sense. I mean it more like it was meant in elementary school: reading you do over the summer that maybe—sort of?—counts towards school. When I was a kid, it was like being told to do something I wanted to do anyway. Read more books? Cool! It was a pleasant non-challenge, like the time we were supposed to collect gold stars inside a construction paper folder for every fairy tale we read. I would have used up every gold star in the school if they’d let me.

What I want from summer reading now is a little different.

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What Do You Spy in the Title Sequence for Good Omens 2?

The unexpected second season of Good Omens—Prime Video’s adaptation of the book by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett—arrives in just under two months, which means it’s time for the teasers and hints to start appearing. And what a treat this one is: The full title sequence for the new season, which is our first real hint at what the story might be about.

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Mandy Moore and Kumail Nanjiani Will Star in Insidious Spinoff Thread

The Lambert family’s story is over (theoretically). But the Insidious franchise remains. Deadline reports that Mandy Moore (Dr. Death) and Kumail Nanjiani (Obi-Wan Kenobi) are set to star in Thread: An Insidious Tale, which is described as “an offshoot project” rather than a film in the main franchise narrative.

Presumably it will still be quite frightening, regardless.

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It’s Turtles vs. Superfly in the Trailer for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem

Marvel doesn’t have a lock on mutants, that’s for sure. The latest iteration of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arrives this summer, and Mutant Mayhem looks to be a charming (and gorgeously animated) tale just absolutely packed full of mutants—though some dream of going to high school, and some dream of mutant world domination. (Somebody call Magneto!)

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Black Mirror Turns Red (Briefly) in a New Trailer for Season Six

Netflix keeps calling the upcoming season of Black Mirror “The most unpredictable, unclassifiable and unexpected season yet,” which seems like a high bar to set. But maybe they’re onto something? The trailer for the series highlights the five standalone “films,” which range from the experience of a women who finds herself the subject of a prestige Netflix—um, I mean Streamberry—series to a mystifying, Aaron Paul-starring story set in space. And one haunting tale gets a little title card that says it’s presented by Red Mirror.

The connecting tissue is, of course, the mind of creator Charlie Brooker.

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The Biggest Character of the Summer Arrives in Boots Riley’s I’m a Virgo

First: Did you watch Boots Riley’s Sorry to Bother You? Because if you didn’t, you should. It might—might—give you some idea what you’re in for with I’m a Virgo, the writer-director’s new series about a 13-foot-tall Black man from Oakland who, after spending much of his life hidden, ventures out into the world for the first time.

Also Walton Goggins plays a superhero who seems like a real pain in the ass? If this combination of details isn’t enough to pique your interest, I’m not sure what to say.

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Barbie Is Basically Neo in the New Trailer for Barbie

“Do you guys ever think about dying?”

Listen, if I had ever made a list of things I did not expect Barbie to say, this question would probably be on it. But Barbie is a Greta Gerwig movie, and there are a lot of unexpected things in it. Including the fact that Barbie (Margot Robbie) gets Birkenstock-pilled into discovering the real world.

Yeah, I said it: Barbie is basically Neo.

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Do You Know Who Illustrated This Classic Wrinkle in Time Cover?

If you are of a certain age, you remember it well: The creepy, haunting, downright iconic—and totally weird—cover of the 1976 Dell edition of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time.

But while many of us remember being scared by (and/or fascinated with) this image, there’s an unexpected mystery behind it: No one seems to know who the artist is.

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Place and Tome: On Two Kinds of Unforgettable Reading Experiences

A few months back, The New York Times asked Leigh Bardugo what books got her into fantasy as a genre. She named a handful of books, adding,”I think any time you can remember where you were when you read a book for the first time (Dune—tiny motel room on a miserable family trip, A Swiftly Tilting Planet on the white shag carpet in my grandparents’ back room) that means something.”

And it does, doesn’t it? Over the months I’ve been writing this column, I’ve mentioned more than one book about which I remember the specifics of my first reading experience: trying not to audibly cry on a Greyhound bus as I finished Where the Red Fern Grows; reading Lavinia on a train, the sound of wheels on tracks locking in with Le Guin’s prose; wading through Wanderers on a (pre-pandemic) plane, increasingly creeped out by the people too close to me. 

Would I remember these books the same way if I had read them elsewhere? What alchemy makes these memories so clear? What is it that makes some stories coalesce so clearly in our minds, like postcards you can flip back through?

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