Here I write my first post on the first of December, heralding the start of Blogmas, an event I learned of on Embuhlee liest where one publishes a blog post every day for the month of December. I’m joining in. Can I do it? …Maybe.
It’s not an enthusiastic reply or a strong commitment, but it’s the best I can do at the moment because there’s no telling how busy my life will get in December. All plans are undecided at the moment, even where Christmas dinner will be.
To kick off this event, I’ve decided to start with a wrap-up of November. In other words, a What’s on Your Nightstand post, which is a monthly meme hosted by 5 Minutes for Books on the last Tuesday of every month that summarizes what you’ve read for the month, what you’re currently reading, and what you plan to read next.
November was a weird month but I was glad for it, the month not the weirdness, because November means holidays and I needed a break. I welcomed the Thanksgiving holiday and went a bit overboard on my Black Friday shopping. Now I look forward to Christmas and New Year’s Day, though with a bit of trepidation because that would mean a new year has come and I haven’t yet done all I wanted to do this year (silly worries, I know).
In my reading life, I missed out on two bookish events that took place in November: Nonfiction November and Tome Topple. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time to participate in either and was swamped with the bunch of books I’d already started reading by then. Maybe I will participate next year…or not. I don’t do well with these reading events.
The Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancey, the second novel in the Monstrumologist series about a boy who is an assistant to a scientist who studies monsters. I loved the first novel but this installment wasn’t as great. It didn’t have as much depth as the first and it contained a silly love triangle that I thought was unnecessary. I liked that we get to see Will Henry in new settings, but I thought the story would have been more interesting if it had all taken place in the Canadian wilderness rather than the New York City.
Girls in Pants is the third installment in Ann Brashares’s Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series about the friendship of four girls who share a pair of jeans. The books are becoming almost formulaic in how the story is structured, but I still enjoy reading them and I thoroughly enjoyed this one because one of the characters uses art to heal relationships.
A Time Code by Ruth Ozeki is part of the Face series, which features short personal nonfiction by authors who discuss their faces. For her entry, Ozeki sits for three hours in front of a mirror and jots down her thoughts on her face almost minute-by-minute. This was an interesting read and was one of the most uniquely structured books I read this year. It has inspired me to try the experiment myself.
Wytches, Vol. 1 by Scott Snyder, illus. by Matt Hollingsworth and Jock, is a horror comic about a girl who is probably having eerie visions of something out to get her…or not. Many readers have said this comic is a scary, but so far it’s not. I enjoyed the story, though I expected the twist at the end and the major reveal regarding the parents. The art is crazy, though. I love the colors!
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs is a young-adult fantasy novel about a boy who learns he’s connected to odd kids he saw in his grandfather’s old photographs. The story started out strong but started to get boring as it trudged on and my interest in it tapered off. I grew annoyed with the narrator, Jacob, and didn’t bother completing the book.
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, a romance novel about a girl caring for a disabled man. It was a good read and I enjoyed it though I thought I wouldn’t like it since I don’t read romance. But this story grew on me and I like how it ends.
Other things I consumed in November:
Has Imbolo Mbue Written the Great American Novel? (lithub.com)
— I haven’t yet read Mbue’s debut novel, Behold the Dreamers, but I read somewhere that Aaron Bady, author of the article above, called it racist so I had to read his article to find out why. It was a good read and it made me even more interested in trying Mbue’s book.
“To flatten this novel into an American success story is to miss the point of it in such a drastic way that I genuinely wonder whether Franzen finished the book.”
“The extent to which Jende Jonga buys into this version of the American dream—America as Not-Africa—makes the novel, frankly, a bit racist. To put it bluntly, it confirms and displays an uncomfortably large number of stereotypes about Africa and Africans.”
Don’t Be Intimidated by Hard Science Fiction (scifiandscary.com)
Using Archetypes to Learn More About You and Your Characters (saraletourneauwriter.com)
Magical Mondays: Magic as Sacrificial Lamb (ladygeekgirl.wordpress.com)
A little victory and the big win (avignettist.com)
— WordPress highlighted this post a while back and I enjoyed reading it. In it the author talks about the people she draws and how people react when they see her drawing in a cafe. I really like her illustrations.
I couldn’t wrap up November without including this video. I’ve had this on repeat since I heard it. Lmao!
Trump won. 😐 I couldn’t believe it at first and now I fear for the state of the country during his presidency. I suspect that he will have to be banned from Twitter for the duration of his term for the sake of national security.
Fidel Castro died. I admired the man.
Places I went
I visited the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture again because someone got me tickets. This time I went with my mom and an older African-American gentleman, who is a veteran of the Korean War. Going to the museum with him made it an even better experience because as we walked through the years and experiences of Blacks in America, he told me some stories of his experiences, such as attending segregated schools and taking segregated buses. I wasn’t able to trade stories until we got to the 90s.
Also, I visited Sweet Home Cafe, a restaurant in the museum that serves food unique to Black culture, and piled my plate with everything Southern and OH MY GOD!! The food was great. Good thing my office isn’t close by or I’d be there everyday for lunch and dinner! But I wish the museum would have a happy hour though, like a Fried Chicken & Beer Fridays or summin.
New word/old word
— It’s an adjective meaning dirty, musty, slovenly. It’s a word used often in Jamaican dialect but I didn’t know it was an actual word in the English dictionary until a few days ago when it was featured on the Dictionary.com’s app as the Word of the Day. All along I thought it was something we made up that was unique to our dialect. 😦 I feel kind of dunce now.
TV shows I’m hooked on
I got a free month of Hulu and was bingeing on Empire for a while. I think I prefer to watch it once per week rather than back to back. When I binge on it, I realize how much of a soap opera it is and I don’t like soap operas. But I love Empire though because of Cookie! 🙂
I recently started listening to The Lit Up Show and I enjoyed these episodes:
- Nicole Dennis-Benn on the Inner-Workings of Jamaica
- The Witches of Salem with Stacy Schiff
- Talking About the Weather with Lauren Redniss
- Julia Pierpont on Becoming a Writer