Thursday, December 16, 2021

The Pleasures of Reading, Viewing, and Listening in 2021, pt. 9: Christina M. Rau



The Pleasures of Reading, Viewing, and Listening 2021

by Christina M. Rau




Fanfare for reading as much as I did! I usually don’t get to read a lot, so I made it a priority. The watching was mostly mindless and fun. The listening was heavy on podcasts. Here’s the rundown of how my year shaped up.


Graphic novels and comics: I rarely read visual literature because I have cognitive spatial issues, like I don’t know my left from my right without thinking about it for a moment. I found these easy to follow and enjoyed reading:

Black Hole by Charles Burns, a collected comic series about a plague that descends on teens

In: A Graphic Novel by Will McPhail, in which I punched the page at one point because I started crying

Good Talk by Mira Jacob, yasssssss!


Poetry—I absolutely loved all the poetry I read this year:


Not Sorry by Vicki Iorio

Teahouse of the Almighty by Patricia Smith

Homie by Danez Smith

Magical Negro by Morgan Parker

Core Samples from the World by Forrest Gander

Chasers of the Light: Poems from the Typewriter Series by Tyler Knott Gregson

The Octopus Museum by Brenda Shaughnessy, a specpo collection that poses, What if octopi took over?

Postcolonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz, this collection garners a special yassss


These next two are part of a trilogy by Alexis Pauline Gumbs. I read M Archive a few years ago and published a write up in The Cascadia Subduction Zone. Gumbs’s speculative series is everything sci-fi-fem poetry should be:

Spill: Scenes of Black Feminist Fugitivity

Dub: Finding Ceremony



The Answer Is by Alex Trebek, a sentimental read

Why Buddhism Is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment by Robert Wright

Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction by Damien Keown

Remember: The Science of Memory and the Art of Forgetting by Lisa Genova, within the first two pages, I felt better about how my brain works




They Wish They Were Us by Jessica Goodman, a YA novel that made me never miss being a teenager

That’s Not A Feeling by Dan Josefson, a novel that made me never miss being in school

Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko, the second in a series of tween novels set in Alcatraz that read like young adult historical fiction

How To Kidnap The Rich by Rahul Raina, fast-paced and really a fun read

The Boy In The Black Suit by Jason Reynolds, and anything by Reynolds is good

My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite, fast-paced and refreshing

Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott, thrilling as all Abbott books are

With The Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo, and anything by Acevedo is good

Let The Great World Spin by Colum McCann, a book that led me to think about the Twin Towers again


Books that unexpectedly had whales in them

Make It Scream, Make It Burn by Leslie Jamison

Flash Count Diary: Menopause and the Vindication of Natural Life by Darcey Steinke


Let’s not forget literary journals!

The Disappointed Housewife (

fillingStation (



The Masked Singer

Love Island

Supermarket Sweep, both the old version and the new one

America Says

People Puzzler

I also watched some Netflix: Trial of the Chicago 7, Red Notice, some Mike Birbiglia stand-up, The Crew, The Last Blockbuster, Tiffany Haddish Presents, basically a lot more stand-up

And on Hulu:  Shrill and Vacation Friends

And on Paramount+: The Real World because nostalgia



Reality Gays Podcast

VS (Versus Podcast through the Poetry Foundation)

The Problem with Jon Stewart

Awaken (Rubin Museum)

The History of Standup (apparently, I needed to laugh this year)

Louder Than A Riot

The Dork Forest

The Slowdown (poetry podcast)

Exit Scam


Christina M. Rau is the author of the 2021 poetry collection What We Do To Make Us Whole, the Elgin Award-winning sci-fi fem poetry collection, Liberating The Astronauts (Aqueduct Press), and  WakeBreatheMove (Finishing Line Press) and For The Girls, I (dancing girl press). She’s served as Poet In Residence for Oceanside Library NY, was named Long Island Poet of the Year by Walt Whitman Birthplace, and is the recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Creative Works and a New York State DEC arts grant through Huntington Arts Council. She also serves as Editor-in-chief for the international literary journal The Nassau Review at Nassau Community College, where she teaches writing.

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