We’re halfway through the year. Back in March, we gave you The Culture Guide for the first quarter. Another three months on, and we’re happy to provide a rough round-up to the best in film, games, television, books and music that 2018 has provided so far.

Books

Back in April, The Stella Prize went to Tracker by Alexis Wright. It’s an astonishing biography of Indigenous activist and force of nature Tracker Tilmouth.

And if you like award-winners, the Miles Franklin Literary shortlist was announced a couple of weeks ago.

You can also check out the best books of the year so far according to Esquire, Entertainment Weekly, and ThrillistThere’s also a round-up of other award-winners over at BookBub

Australia’s best-sellers continue to be The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape (who’s been in the number one spot for ages, he’s now the most successful Aussie non-fiction author ever), The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson, plus a whole lot of books about how your gut needs to settle down (we’re all currently obsessed with our bowel).

To be frank – I stormed through the Stella Prize shortlist earlier in the year but have since been in a recreational reading slump as I’ve been subsumed in other stuff for work. However, I’m planning to get to the Miles Franklin shortlist. And please share your 2018 book recommendations with us all!

Film

For US Domestic box office, the biggest films in 2018 so far have been, in descending order: Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Incredibles 2, Deadpool 2, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Solo: A Star Wars Story, A Quiet Place, Ready Player One, Peter Rabbit, Ocean’s 8, A Wrinkle in Time, Fifty Shades Freed.

For a round-up of the years best films that you haven’t heard of, you can check out lists from Thrillist, The Guardian, and The New York Times.

On Australian Netflix, I’ve spotted a few hidden gems. Annihilation starring Natalie Portman (scary, sci-fi thriller), Dunkirk (Oscar contender from 2017, suspenseful war film), Moana (big Disney hit from 2017), Your Name (big anime hit of 2017),  and IT (Stephen King horror hit from 2017).

I have a one year old, so I don’t watch movies, I sleep. Share your recommendations.

TV

In our household nothing quite beats the viral hit of Netflix’s re-launched Queer Eye, which is great, feel-good reality television. Other Netflix binge hits for us have included the latest true crime series Evil Genius and the touching interview series My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman.

The second seasons of The Handmaid’s Tale, Atlanta and The Good Fight are all garnering critical acclaim, and are available on SBS on Demand. The second season of Dear White People on Netflix is also worth a look.

Netflix continues to dominate the addictive documentary niche with its successful series Flint Town (following police in Flint, Michigan) and Wild Wild Country (following the rise of religious/cult leader ‘Osho’ in America).

Video Games

Playstation’s release of God of War had almost universal perfect scores when it came out a couple of months ago. It’s unique blend of character, story-telling and action has made it an instant classic of this console generation, and is likely to take out many Game of the Year nods by Christmas.

The surprise of the quarter has come from superb indie platform Celeste, available on Nintendo Switch.

Monster Hunter World, a massive RPG, is still dominating the lives of many who have become obsessed with its intricate systems.

But if you’re in conversation with any teenager, the free-to-play Fortnite is likely dominating their life.

Check out best games of the year lists from IGN, The Guardian and Games Radar.

Music

Jay-Z and Beyonce surprised everyone by dropping a new album, ‘EVERYTHING IS LOVE’ (under the name ‘The Carters’). Unlike their other titles, it’s available on Spotify (despite Beyonce saying ‘fuck you’ to the service on one of the tracks). It’s good, but hasn’t quite set the world on fire. (Picture from video ‘APESHIT’ featured above – they shot it in the motherflippin’ Louvre.)

Kanye West has also dropped a bunch of content. His album ye explores his relationship to bi-polar, and the album KIDS SEE GHOSTS is a collaboration with artist Kid Cudi.

There are also headline-grabbing releases from Cardi B, The Weekend and Shawn Mendes.

Hillsong album and the soundtrack to The Greatest Showman are currently at the top of the iTunes Australia album charts. The tops songs are from 5 Seconds of Summer, Conrad Sewell, Amy Shark, Clean Bandit and Panic! At The Disco.

See best music of the year (so far) lists from Esquire, AV Club, Vulture and Time

Hit us up with your recommendations for entertainment to get us through the cold Winter months.

We’ll be back at the end of the week.


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