Cover Image: I Like to Watch

I Like to Watch

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https://www.austin360.com/entertainmentlife/20200626/must-see-bookpeople-hosts-tv-critic-emily-nussbaum-for-book-talk
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The reason that I read Emily Nussbaum television reviews in "The New Yorker" was her wit, unique point of view and to articulate why television matters. Now her best articles (and some new ones) have been collected into this book which allows the reader to enjoy her insightful writings on a variety of television shows, from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" to "The Good Wife". But mostly, this book informs you on why television matters and how watching quality tv shows is worth everyone's time.
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Emily Nussbaum is one of my favorite cultural critics--I'm more likely to consume one of her pieces about entertainment media than I am to consume the media itself. The chapters of this book are filled with the same incisive, funny, capacious writing you're familiar with from the pages of the New Yorker. And if you're not familiar with her writing, well then...you're in for a delicious treat.
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Though several of the chapters in the collection I LIKE TO WATCH have been published before, the book's format casts them in a fresh light that allows you both to go on Nussbaum's journey as a cultural critic with her and reflect on your own history of media consumption. It was fascinating to revisit certain pieces (like ones on Sex and the City and Law & Order: SVU, for example) on properties that I associate with another era of my own television viewership and reconsider them in a new light. Reading Nussbaum always feels to me like talking with your smartest friend who shares your tastes and values.
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The best part of Nussbaum's writing as packaged in I LIKE TO WATCH is the reminder--explicit both in how she approaches media and how the book is formatted--that what we watch and how we watch it says something about where and how we are as a culture: about what we value, what voices we raise. It's one thing to have a hazy understanding that this is the case; it is elating to have it elucidated in Nussbaum's brilliant voice.
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I received this book in exchange for a honest review from NetGalley.

If I am being honest this is the most esoteric, academic book I have read in a very long time, probably since college. It really took me back. I have a huge soft spot for incredibly niche writing and criticism (art history student with a love for feminist analysis of classic genre horror) and I really liked this book. The author has a interesting voice and can keep me riveted even when it is a topic I care little for. Much of this book is about fandom in a way and how fandom really shines from critical analysis of the things that you love.
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I'm a huge fan of Emily Nussbaum's writing, and I've been looking forward to this one for a long time! It didn't disappoint. She's witty, funny and sharp, and while at times TV criticism can get too "in the weeds" for me, this book didn't. It's an excellent collection for TV and entertainment lovers!
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Conversational, engaging, and entertaining, New Yorker culture critic Emily Nussbaum's deep dive into the rise of American prestige television is an interesting read for anyone interested in pop culture critique. She explores the intersection of race, gender, and class on prestige television (All in the Family, The Cosby Show, Buffy, The Sopranos, etc.) and this collection corrals over twenty years of excellent writing on the subject. This may be a disappointing read for anyone with a moderate interest in Nussbaum's past work, as only a short portion of the book is new writing, but for lifelong fans of her writing or new readers (I represent the latter), I highly recommend this thoughtful, funny, and intelligent collection of work. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
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Smart and unexpected TV analysis on topics and series that are probably familiar due to popularity. But Nussbaum always finds an unusual angle and provides the background to make her essays entertaining even if you don't watch every show.
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One thing I particularly liked about this book was the culture aspect, some shows I constantly forget about -- not in a bad way -- but because there's so much that comes in a lifetime. Pop culture is an important aspect, and so is watching television (in any compacity). With that being said, Emily Nussbaum gives a wonderful narrative about culture and the things we consume. I enjoyed the narrative and the conversation about the TV. This could be a great book for higher ed teaching and in a pop culture seminar about television. I enjoyed this quite a bit and will use it to teach/look back on/and study pop culture a bit more every 2 or so years!
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I always look forward to reading Nussbaum’s pieces in the New Yorker, so I was excited to be given access to this collection of essays early. It did not disappoint. Whether you agree with Nussbaum’s opinions or not, you will close this book with a new perspective on consumer tv.
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This book, like Emily Nussbaum herself in her online persona, was interesting and very engaging.  While I most enjoy reading about shows I am familiar with, even her writings on ones I have not watched kept me interested.  Recommended for purchase by the Scottsboro Public Library.
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The last two decades have seen significant changes in TV — from the quality of production to how it is consumed — resulting in vastly improved entertainment options. In I Like to Watch: Arguing My Way Through the TV Revolution critic Emily Nussbaum explores the television ecosystem in an anthology of essays.

Nussbaum, a Pulitzer Prize winning critic for The New Yorker, has great admiration for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Norman Lear and The Sopranos. Topics that have recurring rolls in her essays. I found myself agreeing with her more than half of the time and questioning some of her conclusions the rest of the time. But that’s understandable, as the best critics challenge our thinking and cause us to question, or at least justify, our own preferences.

I Like to Watch (digital galley, Random House) does read like the loose collection of essays that it is, without a unifying theme. And the collection fails to satisfyingly explore the impact streaming services have had on the quality and quantity of programs available.

If you share her sensibilities you’ll likely find yourself nodding your head in agreement as you read this book. If you don’t, you will still come away having learned something about your own preferences. But the book will help everyone become more critical and informed TV consumers.
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New Yorker culture critic Emily Nussbaum tackles a variety of TV-related topics in "I Like to Watch", a collection of essays comprised of both previously published and new material. Reflections on the cultural impact of game-changing shows like "All in the Family" and "The Sopranos" are interspersed with Nussbaum's insightful and sharp reviews of modern offerings, including "Jane the Virgin" (which Nussbaum loves) and "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" (which she despises). Profiles of showrunners Kenya Barris, Jenji Kohan, and Ryan Murphy round out the book, and make for fun reading.

More difficult to digest is Nussbaum's piece on her perceptions as critic and fan in the post #MeToo era - unavoidable subject, given the nature of her material, but the essay is dense, meandering, and occasionally borders on mawkish. It is complicated to separate an artist's misdeeds from their creative output, and Nussbaum captures that complexity with a degree of self-consciousness that feels out of pace with the rest of the book.
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A winning combination of short but sweet reviews and in depth profiles, this was a great read! I did enjoy the essays about shows and showrunners I had watched, but still enjoyed the reviews of shows I'd never seen.
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I thought Emily’s essays on some of America’s favorite TV shows were eye opening and thought provoking. I read this book in one setting because Emily’s love of TV made me love it more. It had to keep reading to find out her thoughts and som3 behind the scenes of shows I love as well as those that were new to me.
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An interesting collection of essays on television by TV critic Emily Nussbaum. It encompasses everything from review to thought pieces to celebrity profiles, mostly stuff that was previously published along with two new essays. As someone who has long enjoyed not just watching TV but also reading about it, I really enjoyed reading this. I often found myself nodding along with her, but even if I disagreed with her take on something or hadn't watched a show she was talking about, I still found what she had to say interesting and thought-provoking.
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This is an insightful collection of essays critiquing some of the most popular tv shows of the past 20 years. Even when I didn't agree with the author's assessment, I felt like I still gained a deeper understanding of the shows we watch and are obsessed with. Her writing style is engaging and accessible, and her ideas come across intelligently, but not too academic. Highly recommended for anyone interested in pop culture.
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Phenomenal collection of pieces on an idiosyncratic range of television shows.  Nussbaum is thoughtful, admirably unpredictable in her likes and dislikes, and is dedicated to reviewing TV as TV - novelistic or cinematic TV shows get no credit for aping the virtues of other art forms.  

Also, she’s a hoot - funny and irreverent.  

Buy with confidence.
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Emily Nussbaum is an incredibly gifted reviewer and her writing is always something I look forward to. I was excited to hear of this book, and am impressed by this original idea. A lot of the writing in this book is personal while remaining objective, if that makes sense. However, I think I was the wrong audience for this book as it would have resonated well with me had I seen more of the shows that were referenced. I maintain that it is a good read, is very well written and would be quite enjoyable, (similar to talking with a very articulate friend about a show you really like)  if you really enjoy television!
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I loved to read I Like to Watch, Pulitzer-winning critic Emily Nussbaum’s new collection of reviews and essays celebrating TV. Whether you pick this book up looking for new shows to add to your watchlist (they’re there in spades) or to revisit old favorites in essays about “The Sopranos” and “Sex in the City” (which hilariously describes Mr. Big as “a man practically woven out of red flags”—I’m totally stealing that), there’s so much to enjoy here. All the reviews are not raves—there’s a particularly cutting review of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” which contains the words “tooth-rottingly twee” and a great piece on “Lost” which had me vigorously nodding my head and yelling out “YES!” throughout—but Nussbaum’s writing is consistently cogent, witty and bracing. I particularly liked her longer profiles on the showrunners of “black-ish” and “Orange is the New Black,” as well as on Ryan Murphy (a black man, a woman and a gay man, incidentally—Nussbaum consistently champions diversity in what had been the white male world of television). As fun as these previously published pieces are, however, the centerpiece of this collection is a new essay “Confessions of the Human Shield,” which considers the #MeToo era question, “What should we do with the art of terrible men?” and is one of the best pieces I’ve ever read on the subject. I Like to Watch is worth buying and reading for that essay alone—but there’s so much more to enjoy.

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for providing me with an ARC of this title in exchange for my honest review.
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This book is a collection of twenty or so years of television criticism writing from Emily Nussbaum. This book was a major page-turner for me. I thought I would be taking my time going through each essay individually, but no. Nussbaum's writing and is great that the fact that she's writing about shows I enjoy watching just makes it a billion times greater. Each essay covers a show and it's connection to our culture, politics and much more. Her citicism is brilliant and she even argues that television is art. I will definitely be getting a hard copy of this book and you should too!


Thank you, NetGalley and Random House Publishing for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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