Halfway Home – Online Reading Challenge

Hello Readers!

In the midst of all the festivities and bustle of the holidays, have you been able to find some time for yourself to read? Have you found something set in New York City? We’d all love to hear what about what you’re reading!

If you just don’t have the time (or energy!) to read right now, how about a movie? Take a break from the holiday madness and watch a movie (or two). There are lots set in the Big Apple. Bonus! These have a Christmas backdrop as well!

You’ve Got Mail with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks is that rare rom-com that is funny and sweet without being mushy. The Christmas scenes will make you nostalgic for the past and who doesn’t love Meg Ryan’s apartment?

Elf with Will Ferrell doesn’t really need an introduction. It’s become a family tradition for many and for good (hilarious) reason.

Home Alone 2 with Macaulay Caulkin uses New York City as it’s playground with iconic scenes in the toy store and Central Park. Christmas in New York never look prettier.

Miracle on 34th Street. And of course you can’t forget about this classic. It hits all the iconic New York City Christmas moments (and probably was responsible for how many of us imagine New York City to be at Christmas)

But what if you’d had enough of Christmas madness for the moment and just want to escape for a bit? Try some television shows – Friends will never get stale (in my opinion) and Sex and the City still pushes the envelope. Then there are cop shows – several billion seasons of Law and Order and it’s many offshoots, Blue Bloods, NYPD Blue. And there’s no shortage if comedy is what you crave – Seinfeld, Will and Grace, 30 Rock. No excuses – there’s plenty of New York City for everyone!


New Comedy and Action Series

jane the virginJane the Virgin is a romantic dramedy so there are both comedic and dramatic elements to the show. Gina Rodriguez stars as Jane, a young Latina woman who is very religious. Jane is hardworking and has vowed to save herself until marriage. During a routine exam, Jane is accidentally artificially inseminated. Coincidentally the donor is not only a married man, but the owner of the hotel she works at. Gina won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy in 2015 and the show was nominated for Best Comedy. The second season begins October 12 on the CW.



iZombie is a comedy crime series. Rose McIver stars as Liv who has recently been turned into a zombie. She now finds herself hungry for human brains. To appease this appetite, Liv takes a job at a morgue where she is free to eat lots of brains. The twist is that every time Liv eats a brain, she gets snippets of memories and takes on a bit of that person’s personality. Liv uses her ability to solve murder crimes by eating the victim’s brains. It may sound strange, but the show has received great reviews. Season 2 premieres October 6 on the CW.


The Flaflashsh is an action super hero spin off series. TV viewers first met The Flash on the action TV show Arrow where he appeared twice. Grant Gustin plays Barry Allen/Flash as crime scene investigator with superhuman speed. An exhibition gone wrong creates a man made thunderstorm. Barry is turned into what is called a ‘metahuman’ after he is struck by lighting. Barry soon learns there are others like him causing trouble  in his town of Central City. He vows to use his power to stop the other metahumans. The Flash won the People’s Choice Award for Favorite New TV Drama. Season 2 starts October 6th on the CW.



It is rare that a novel based on a successful television program amounts to anything more than a slap-dash rehash designed to turn a profit, but in the case of Erin Kelly’s Broadchurch: A Novel the story is as finely fashioned with words as the 2013 British crime drama is with moving images. Both explore the ramifications of an eleven-year-old boy’s shocking murder on the life of a coastal tourist town in Southwest England as two detectives gradually uncover a complex network of closely-held secrets.

At the center of the story is the relationship between the two investigators assigned to the case. Detective Ellie Miller, an integral part of the Broadchurch community, struggles with the need to delve into her friends and neighbors’ affairs while suffering the loss of young Danny alongside them. She is at odds with DI Alec Hardy, unexpectedly brought in to fill the leadership position on the police force that Ellie had been promised. Alec takes a cold and cynical attitude in conducting the investigation and is skeptical of Ellie’s ability to remain objective. He bristles and becomes more defensive under the watchful eye of the press: both local and London-based journalists are suspicious of his handling of an earlier child murder case. With each question the detectives raise, each encounter they have with a Broadchurch resident, further suspicions mount. In a cascading effect, relationships begin to falter, irretrievable words are spoken, and yet more harm is unleashed.

Kelly relates the story through the eyes of other main characters as well, including bereaved mother Beth Latimer and opportunistic reporter Karen White. She takes full advantage of the novel form to explore the principal players’ internal lives: their memories, their questions about the case as more information is gathered, their reflections on their own behaviors and interactions with others in the community, and their concerns for the future once the truth is finally revealed. She deftly weaves these musings into the action and closely examines the consequences of the investigation on each character without sacrificing suspense.

In addition to Chris Chibnall’s superb writing, the award-winning television series Broadchurch (BAFTA Best Drama Series) features Olivia Colman (BAFTA Best Actress) and David Tennant’s nuanced performances, Olafur Arnalds’ evocative music, and cinematographer Matt Gray’s gently charged contemplation of the Dorset landscape.

Read Broadchurch: A Novel and watch Broadchurch the series, in no matter what order. The experience of one enriches that of the other.