Arts & Entertainment, Books, Film and TV

What we liked this reading break

As another reading week comes and goes, McGill students once again return to the textbooks. Even so, the fleeting time away from school has served as a great opportunity to devour new content and re-discover some hidden gems. Here are The McGill Tribune’s favourites from Winter 2022 Reading Week.

The Secret History (1992) — Chantay Alexander, Contributor

People actually read during Reading Week? It’s hard to put down a novel as entrancing as Donna Tartt’s 1992 debut, The Secret History, a foray into the ominous, whimsical atmosphere of dark academia. This is the type of book best read by candlelight with a glass of hard liquor. Despite being written three decades ago, its recent rise in popularity on the popular TikTok community #BookTok alerted a new generation to the book. Tartt’s flawed yet captivating characters sink into the depths of exclusive East Coast scholastics, ancient Greek history, and brutal murder—what more could you want? The collegiate backdrop and vast Vermont forestry provide a picturesque framing for Richard Papen and his newfound class of five’s gradual descent into ethical corruption, intimate betrayals, and riveting explorations of psychological decay. I found The Secret History an intoxicating page-turner, the quintessential modern Greek tragedy, untangling the harshness in beauty at every turn.

7 Days in Hell (2015) — Arian Kamel, Staff Writer

While I was doing my daily three-hour readings of SSMU emails over the break, as any good McGill student would, I stumbled across 7 Days in Hell. A 2015 HBO mockumentary, 7 Days in Hell follows an epic tennis match between Aaron Williams (Andy Samberg), who rocks a haircut that can only be described as a mix of Snooki and Pikachu, and Charles Pool (Kit Harrington), an English tennis prodigy who gets relentlessly bullied by the Queen. What can I say about this film? I laughed, I grew, I rekindled a relationship with my father who left to pick up milk 14 years ago, all in the span of 50 minutes. This is a story about love and friendship, about a legendary seven-day tennis match that shocked the world, and most importantly, about the Queen calling someone a “fuck nut.”

Scream (2022) — Suzanna Graham, Staff Writer 

Alone in the house this reading week? Take advice from the cult classic movie Scream: Don’t answer the landline. That is, if you still have one in 2022. Instead, head to the theatre and watch the newest edition of Scream—a hilariously meta requel of the 1996 original. Return to Woodsboro, California where a new killer wears the Ghostface mask in pursuit of those connected to the original victims and survivors. Despite the new cast of teen victims and (assumed) villains, the film welcomes back Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox) and Sydney Prescott (Neve Campbell), who can still kick some Ghostface butt. This is the movie for Scream-fanatics, those who can survive a good jump-scare, and everyone rooting for Drew Barrymore in the original film’s opening scene. 

Rupaul’s Drag Race Season 14 (2022) — Adrienne Roy, Contributor

Season 14 of Rupaul’s Drag Race premiered on Jan. 7, and the competition is as fierce as ever. The Drag Race franchise has grown exponentially in the past few years, but the American iteration has always been a fan-favourite of viewers around the world. This season is particularly remarkable, diverse, and historic: Maddy Morphosis made headlines and sparked some controversy as the first heterosexual, cisgender man to be cast on the show. However, this season has also been a glass-shattering one for the transgender community, with Bosco, Jasmine Kennedie, and Willow Pill joining Kerri Colby and Kornbread Jeté as the five openly transgender women chasing the title of America’s next drag superstar. Season 14 is igniting important conversations about marginalized communities while serving juicy, drama-filled episodes.

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