My Favorite Things: Best of Summer 2016

They might not be raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens, but that doesn’t mean that we love them any less. Welcome back to My Favorite Things, a weekly column where we gab about the greatest in geek. This week, we’re not just talking about our favorites of the moment, but our top picks of the whole summer. From Ghostbusters on the big screen to Pokemon invading our phones, Summer of 2016 seems to be all about banking in nostalgia. But what ended up sticking with us the most? Our columnist have weighed in on a list that includes superhero showdowns, collectible cats, nostalgia driven TV, creepy horror novels, a super famous heroine, and yes, one Ghostbuster.

Keyes’s Favorite Thing is… Jillian Holtzmann!


I actually went back and saw Ghostbusters a second time (as I threatened to, with my mom). And I’ve concluded that the parts of the movie that made me cry like a baby mostly had to do with Jillian Holtzmann. Clearly from the amount of love she getting from the rest of the interwebz, I am hardly alone in my admiration. Indeed, as I write this, her 6” Mattel action figure is not only sold out, it’s currently going on Amazon on the secondary market for over thirty dollars. There is a reason why one Holtzmann is currently trading at, oh, three Erins. It’s not that Erin was a bad character, exactly. It’s that Holtzmann was that great a character, which is why she is my favorite thing of the entire summer. Let me name some ways in a non-exhaustive, totally not even an adequate accounting of her awesome list, to wit:

  1. She dances while dual-wielding blowtorches and isn’t even phased when she accidentally sets the paper towels on fire.
  2. She later dual-wields two proton whips, in a scene that makes my eyes a little misty to recollect upon.
  3. The Goggles. We should all be so lucky as to be able to rock the goggles with a single iota of her panache.
  4. Virtually every time she appears on screen, she is bestowing upon her fellow women further tools of ass-kicking.
  5. Her mentor is Sigourney Weaver, and we all now know that safety lights are for dudes.

And I didn’t even get into how inspiring the character is for the LGBT community (mostly because, as a straight cis female, I’m not qualified to speak on it — but it is undoubtedly yet another way the character is just pure amazing.) We should all be very, very thankful that Kate McKinnon has embodied this character and bestowed her unto us, the masses, making 2016 suck just a little less.


J.L. Gribble’s Favorite Thing is… Captain America: Civil War!


Despite the cries of “fake geek girl!” such a statement might evoke in other corners of the Internet, some us are purely Marvel Cinematic Universe fangirls. And my favorite thing this summer was absolutely Captain America: Civil War. In the overarching plot line of the Marvel films (that I watch with limited knowledge of the graphic novels), we have reached a dark point for our heroes. While some people questioned why this Captain America film seemed to about the Avengers as a whole, I viewed it more as how the team has become essential to the character of Steve Rogers. Thus, the ending of the film is made all the more devastating by the sacrifices Cap must make. For the next 2 years, we’ll be meeting new heroes, catching up with old friends elsewhere in the galaxy, and checking in on what Thor and Dr. Banner have been up to while the rest of their team disintegrates back home. I’m not sure how much of Cap (and Bucky) we’ll see until Avengers: Infinity War in 2018, but I have faith that this recent upheaval and the addition of some new blood to shake things up will bring the team together stronger than ever before.


Nu’s Favorite Thing is… Stranger Things!


My favorite thing for the summer of 2016 is Netflix’s original series Stranger Things. It’s a terrific blend of nostalgia (the show is set in 1983), science fiction, horror, and fantasy, but at the heart of it, the show is very human. What I loved about it was the acting. Winona Ryder plays the mother of the boy who has disappeared due to paranormal forces. I was also a big fan of David Harbour, who plays the local chief. I love it when good guys get to be good guys. The kids on the show are also great. Each one brings a certain personality to the show that makes it memorable. You won’t ever look at Eggos the same way again. If you’re a fan of the ’80s (especially the genre movies that came out during this time), then definitely check out Stranger Things.


Shara’s Favorite Thing is… Neko Atsume!

I saw a pig.

Wait, scratch that.

I woke up, thumbed on my iPhone, tapped the button for Neko Atsume, and saw a pig. There should not be a pig on this adorable, Japanese kitty collecting game I’ve been obsessed with since September. Nope, no pigs allowed, but there it was. A pig (piggy bank?) on the deck, and I wondered, what did it mean?

I soon found out: overnight, Neko Atsume had released an update, an update that included THREE NEW CATS (including one rare one) and new items (including a dinosaur scratching post!) you could purchase to lure those frisky felines into your yard so you could take pictures and, forgive me, collect them all (and their treasures)!

This update thrilled me to pieces, and stupid as it sounds, it was a bright, burning ray of sunlight during some of the hardest weeks of my life. Neko Atsume always makes me happy, but this update? It brought me joy.

Especially when I discovered that the rare cat? Was a PIRATE CAT.

So call me simple, call me a Crazy Cat Lady-in-Training, but this upgrade to Neko Atsume was absolutely my favorite summer thing!


Nancy’s Favorite Thing is… Ms. Marvel!


It may seem strange, having recently made an ENTIRE POST about how much I love Squirrel Girl, that I would select another superhero as my favorite, but I just love what they’ve done with Ms. Marvel this summer. I just flew through the most recent trade paperback. In Super Famous,  Kamala is forced to deal with some of the consequences of her rising popularity. No one writes Kamala better than G. Willow Wilson, and it’s comforting to see that Ms. Marvel continues to be just as compelling and relevant of a character in a post-Secret Wars universe. Super Famous would be a pretty apt way to describe her, as Kamala is now an Avenger! It’s been so satisfying to see fangirl Kamala headline such a big title (Mark Waid’s All-New, All-Different Avengers. The first trade paperback, The Magnificent Seven, is out and worth reading), as well as appear in her own solo title, AND make appearances in Brian Michael Bendis’s always amazing Miles Morales’ Spider-Man title. Next up, World Domination?


Lane’s Favorite Thing is… Disappearance at Devil’s Rock!


What’s better than a creepy story around Halloween? A creepy story in the middle of summer! Paul Tremblay’s been on my radar since I read A Head Full of Ghosts, which was sufficiently evocative, that though I didn’t love A Head Full of Ghosts, I was intrigued by his writing. So when I saw his Disappearance at Devil’s Rock pop up this summer, I sampled it, decided I had to keep reading, and snagged a copy. The premise is extremely simple: three middle-school-aged boys go into the woods one night to hang out at “Devil’s Rock.” Only two come back. Tremblay mixes slow burn thriller here with a single horrific touch of the supernatural, making Disappearance at Devil’s Rock one of my favorite summer reads so far. If you like Tana French’s In the Woods, or novels built partially around ephemera (notes, video recordings, etc), try Disappearance at Devil’s Rock. Tremblay does a really nice job of leaving enough loose ends to make you feel like you’ve stumbled on an eerie true-crime story, and ties up neatly enough to be satisfying.

So what was your favorite thing of the summer? Did we miss anything in particular? Any thoughts on the selections above? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!



  • Shara White August 29, 2016 at 7:45 am

    I can personally attest that I enjoyed the hell out of ALL of these things (besides my own, of course). In fact, I may or may not have finished Disappearance at Devil’s Rock in less than 12 hours…

  • Nancy O'Toole Meservier August 29, 2016 at 9:20 am

    Yeah… Captain America set the bar pretty high. I don’t think anything else that came out this summer really measured up for me, movie-wise.

    And I have a feeling I would get waaay to addicted to the cat game.

    • Shara White August 29, 2016 at 1:14 pm

      Do it! It’s a free game! It’s adorable!!!! And seriously, it’s the only iPhone game that’s held my attention AT ALL. I’ve been playing since September, and it’s super low-key.

      • Nancy O'Toole Meservier August 30, 2016 at 7:11 am

        I suspect I’ll give it a go in a few months. Right now, my quest to Catch them All on Pokemon Go is all-consuming, but I honestly can’t see myself doing this when it starts to snow.

  • janicu August 29, 2016 at 11:18 am

    What, I have never seen the piggy bank in Neko Atsume, and I have the upgrade. I must have missed it. What kills me is that I have seen Bengal Jack, but Sapphire and Jeeves have come by 7 times and I’ve missed them EVERY time. Whyyy.

    • Shara White August 29, 2016 at 1:15 pm

      Which yard are you using? I was on the original yard (still am) when the upgrade hit, and there was the pig!

      Sapphire and Jeeves are SO finicky. They like the Tower of Treats and the pretty, lacy blue parasol. Keep trying!


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