When the world shut down in early 2020, we were all supposed to become exceptionally productive. For my part, I idled away the year engaging in two time-wasting activities: obsessively tracking the movements of the Great Roving Pathogen and searching for lost media.

Lost media can take any number of forms, but it generally consists of movies, TV shows, video games, music, cartoons, photos and books that have vanished, leaving behind only a few traces or some hazy memories to prove they ever existed. Some media are lost due to negligence, others to the ravages of time. …


The other (obscenely late) night, I watched the prequel to a modestly successful movie franchise. I’d never watched any other movies in the series, and I was surprised by how puzzled I was by the experience. For weeks afterward, a question nagged at me.

Are movie prequels ever any good?

Before we dive headlong into this probably controversial topic ( Star Wars, mes amis!), let’s consider two relevant lists on the subject:

Screenrant’s worst prequels of all time
Screenrant’s best prequels of all time

No, the punchline isn’t that the lists are identical. It’s that the “worst” prequels vastly outnumber…


As the months of 2020 have darted from improbable crisis to even more improbable crisis, it’s become clear that we’re all trapped in some kind of ludicrous fictional universe. It’s the only explanation for the absurd plot twists each day brings.

I have plenty of time to spare, so I took it upon myself to determine exactly which fictional universe we’ve had the misfortune to fall into. It took some work, but I finally found the answer.

The fictional universe we’re trapped in is The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

The Long Winter is a children’s book about Wilder’s…


Grief, they say, has five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Since “they” is Wikipedia, and since I just watched a lineup of five Christmas movies that managed to mirror that psychological construct, I would like to take you on a journey. A journey through five lighter-than-Hallmark holiday films (which you must watch in order or it won’t work!) that will induce a state of festive despondency and then completely eradicate it, leaving you gleeful and giddy.

You can do this any time of the year. 2020 has been a spiral of cosmic horror out of a Junji Ito…


Storytelling is a universal human impulse. Nowadays, novels are written in just about every corner of the planet. But that wasn’t always the case.

Just how old is the novel? Is a novel’s basic essence influenced by when and where it was written? Or is there something that all novels have in common, regardless of the culture that produced them?

Let’s find out!

Google “what’s the world’s first novel?” and the answer you’ll see over and over is The Tale of Genji. Written around 1010–1021 by Imperial lady-in-waiting Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji tells the story of the romantic…


In the middle of October, days before Halloween and months into a plague slash political horror show straight out of a Stephen King novel, I was sitting in my car, minding my own business and eating takeout pastries, as one does In These Uncertain Times.

To amuse myself as I roosted in my vehicle shoving stale and frankly uninspired macrons from the local donut hut into my gob, I had two options: I could read the news, which was reliably appalling, or I could read “ The Candy Country” by Louisa May Alcott, author of the beloved and reassuring children’s…


So, you need to write an essay? Possibly you’re thrilled (probably you’re not). Either way, it doesn’t have to be a dull chore. Essays are as fun and as simple as … ice cream! Don’t believe me? Read on!

What is an essay?

An essay is a succinct piece of nonfiction writing that presents an argument, interpretation or line of reasoning about a specific idea. The word “essay” comes from the French word “essayer,” which means “to try or attempt.” This word, in turn, comes from the Latin word “ exigere,” which means “to examine or test.” …


One slow and sunny summer day, I spent a blissfully pandemic-free afternoon scouring the internet for a recipe for golden rod cake. As I clicked on cooking blog after cooking blog, scrolling through recipe after recipe in a fruitless search for this most obscure of all archaic cakes, a question suddenly occurred to me: Why are recipe posts on food blogs so obscenely long?

Why not find out? I wondered. After all, I was only looking for a golden rod cake recipe so I could waste time snarking in blog form about a badly written pulp novel I’d wasted days…


It’s been called one of the most inept movies ever made, hilariously demented, and pure unintentional camp. It’s on list after list of the worst movies ever made. It’s The Room.

A close watch of this 2003 film lays bare a veritable buffet of stilted acting, baffling continuity issues, illogical editing, and a plot that boggles the mind. And yet, somehow, it’s an intensely fascinating piece cinematography.

The Room has been mocked, memed and memorized by fans. It’s been snark-analyzed to death. And yet, nobody has ever been able to figure out what this bizarre film means.

What is The…

katherineluck

Novelist, journalist, coffee addictist. Books at amazon.com/author/katherineluck

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