Watch, Read, Listen in July

There are so many great books, movies, tv shows, and albums out there, it was hard to narrow down this list! We're at the height of summer, so I thought I would keep it light and fun, perfect for those hot, lazy days.

Read: Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

I must admit, I wasn't terribly impressed with the first 75-100 pages of this book. It seemed like a rather pale imitation of Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell - the Regency era setting, the plot revolving around the failure of English magic, wicked fairies, and prominent if somewhat underwritten roles for women and black men (characters too rarely seen in fantasy novels). 
Zacharius Whyte is the Sorcerer in question - a black man living in Regency England, chosen by the forces to magic to lead all the sorcerers of the land, much to their dismay. Suffering nobly through everything from snide comments to assassination attempts, he comes across a bit flat until we meet Miss Prunella Gentleman, an orphan and a sorceress in her own right. The way these two characters interact with each other, and with a society that totally devalues them both as magicians and as people, is truly delightful. There's nothing expected about the way the plot unfolds, and there is a lot of fun to be had with every twist and turn.

Watch: Down With Love

This is, perhaps, not the freshest recommendation, but I watched this movie recently and found it utterly charming. Released in 2003 and starring Ewan MacGregor (spelling?) and Renee Zellweger, Down with Love is a pastiche of the Rock Hudson/Doris Day films of the early 60s. It has so much fun with it's premise - a young woman named Barbara Novak writes a book called Down With Love, encouraging women to eschew love the sake of their careers, using men only for casual sex. When the book becomes a sensation, a ladies man journalist named Catcher Block tries to seduce her in order to undermine her claim that she doesn't want love or marriage. 
The movie is light, frothy fun, but I love the fact that it's also unabashedly feminist. It's a very stylish film, both in terms of the costuming (I so want Barbara's yellow dress and black and white houndstooth coat) and the direction, and I never could resist good style.

Listen: Koop - Coup de Grace

Koop is a Swedish electronic jazz duo formed in 2003. I first heard them, inauspiciously enough, in a Starbucks - their song Koop Island Blues was playing, and I liked it so much I asked the girl at the counter if she could find out who was playing. They're incredibly talented, and their music can be melancholy and romantic, a la Koop Island Blues or Strange Love, or upbeat and danceable, like Forces... Darling, or Summer SUn. Coup de Grace is their best of album, and it has all of the hits that I love best. Definitely the kind of music that you want playing at your classy cocktail party, or while you're relaxing at home on a summer day with a cold drink. 

So, what media have you been consuming like ice cream lately? Got any great recommendations for me?