What’s on Your Nightstand, 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. For my posts, I also include articles, music, art, TV shows, and whatever else I did in the month.
January was rough for me. After all the wrap-ups and reflections and look-ahead posts, I was drained and wasn’t in the mood to read or blog. I instead spent much of my time watching movies and TV shows and now have so many TV shows I want to keep up with that I’ll have to make a schedule for them. I also read a couple interesting articles because of the divisive administration currently in power in the U.S., but I didn’t keep track of them so unfortunately, I won’t be able to share much in that section. But, enough of my rambling. Here’s what I did in January.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling, narrated by Jim Dale, was a reread by audio book. These are always fun to listen to because I practically know the books by heart. However, it’s here that I begin to falter because I think I’ve only reread Half-Blood Prince once or twice. This and the last book aren’t favorites of mine. Actually, they make me a bit emotional, which is why I don’t revisit them. Rereading Half-Blood Prince, however, made me realize how unfair life is for Draco. It made me sympathize and pity him more. It also made me realize that I really don’t like Harry or Ron and I wish Hermione and Ginny had chosen better boyfriends.
Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed was a bit of a surprise because I really liked it. I’ve wanted to read one of her books ever since listening to the Longreads podcast episode on which she was a guest. Tiny Beautiful Things is a self-help book composed of advice columns Strayed wrote as Dear Sugar for The Rumpus, an online literary magazine. The book caught me by surprise because I thought it would be entirely about relationship woes and I’d be bored by it. However, despite the majority of it being about relationship woes, the advice Strayed gives is universally relatable and can be applied to many situations.
Identity Crisis by Brad Meltzer, illus. by Rags Morales and Michael Turner, who did the original series covers, with inks by Michael Bair, letters by Ken Lopez, and colors by Alex Sinclair. This is a comic book that is set in the DC Universe. It is a bit of a murder mystery: Someone has murdered the spouse of one the heroes so the Justice League tries to find out who did it. It’s not as action packed as other comics, but the story is engaging and it touches on an issue involving memory wiping, which occurred in a previous story. The artwork is bright and detailed and does a great job of emphasizing the characters’ emotions.
Gilded Cage by Vic James is a YA fantasy novel set in the present day, but there are folks with magical abilities who enslave those without it. The story was compelling and held my attention, but the world building and character development were weak. I had many issues with this one, which I’ll discuss in a review post.
I DNF’d two books this month but since I didn’t make much progress in them, I won’t write a review for them. They are:
The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff, which is a nonfiction book about the Salem Witch Trials. I’ve wanted to read this ever since I first heard of it, but it was hard to get into the book (I fell asleep every time I attempted to read it) despite my interest in the topic. I do like that Schiff’s recount of that time in history is written like a story so it was as if I was reading a novel rather than a history book. However, it made me question much of the facts. I guess most of it is suppositions since not many facts have survived that event. I think I’ll try this book again but in audio book form.
A Quest for Heroes by Morgan Rice is a YA fantasy novel that I did not like at all. The premise of the story is based on one of my favorite tropes — the simple farm boy becomes a great warrior, — which is why I wanted to read it. But I didn’t like the writing style so I quit the book.
Other things consumed in January:
Do Not Look for Me at the Women’s March on Washington (nytimes.com)
Doomsday Pred for the Super-Rich (newyorker.com)
— This was interesting, funny, and unsettling.
The Immigration Ban is a Headfake, and We’re Falling For It (medium.com/@jakefuentes)
Guest Blog: Idealism And The Greatcoats by Jamie Ryder (mightythorjrs.wordpress.com)
On Being Translated Back to Myself (nytimes.com)
10 Outstanding Short Stories to Read in 2017 (longreads.com)
—I’m just including this here so I can easily find it later.
— Basically Marlon James is writing an epic fantasy novel (THAT I MUST READ) and it will be published in the fall next year (I CAN’T WAIT!!).
Word Up! D.C. Will Get a Museum of Linguistics (citylab.com)
— The thriller flick that recently dropped in theaters. Directed by M. Night Shyamalan and starring James McAvoy, the movie is about a man with dissociative identity disorder who kidnaps three teenage girls. I liked the movie. I thought it was great, when comparing it to some of Shyamalan’s other work. I took a gamble by seeing it because Shyamalan’s movies often disappoint me.
Movies I might see:
The Great Wall, The Lego Batman Movie, Hidden Figures, The Founder,
— FX gets me. I love their TV shows, or rather, the ones I’ve watched. Taboo quickly became a favorite though I’m still confused about the protagonist James Keziah Delaney. What I love about the show, though, is the eerie atmosphere and the sense that there’s something a bit…weird about Delaney. I wonder what exactly his connection to Africa is, other than his mom. I need to know more.
Other shows I’m hooked on:
This Is Us — It’s great and sweet and everyone should watch it. By the way, I read this article couple days ago about how Chrissy Metz (Kate) had only 81 cents in her bank account before getting the role on the show. She also talks about how booking a great TV show job doesn’t mean you’re super rich.
The Magicians — This one is a hit or miss with me. Last season, I liked every other episode; but this season is meh. The only character I like so far is the Beast and his singing.
The Expanse — I was confused 90% of the time last season. I haven’t yet seen the first episode for this season. Looking forward to it though.
Fixer Upper — It matches This Is Us in sweetness. Who doesn’t like Chip and Joanna Gaines?
The Last Ship — I just got hooked on this and blazed through Seasons 1 and 2. I need to get caught up on Season 3.
Black List — I’m pissed they haven’t yet revealed who Elizabeth’s daddy is though we all know who it is. Come on, man!
Grimm — I’m just getting into this. Not what I expected.
Waiting for these to return:
Stranger Things — Of course! By the way, Lol at Winona Ryder’s facial expressions during David Harbour’s speech at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Into the Badlands — I hope this will return. I need to know more.
The Strain — Season 4 is coming. I can’t wait! 😀 I’ll start reading the book after the TV show is done.
Good Witch — This is going to return, right? I need sweetness in my life with a little magic.
Gave up on these:
Suits — Same thing every damn season.
Teen Wolf — Random hookups all the damn time, underdeveloped plot lines. A lot of what happened in previous seasons still not explained. I’m done.
Empire — Similar to Suits. Cookie and Lucius aren’t enough to keep me hooked anymore.
Quantico — Season 1 pissed me off. That final episode sucked. I was pissed Miranda resorted to sex to undermine her colleague and then had a feminist-empowerment pep talk right afterward with Alex (ugh! rolls eyes). Much as I like some of the characters, I’m too pissed to continue watching.
— I am SOOO hooked on this podcast. I just started using iTunes’s podcast feature and found Red and Ivan while searching for bookish podcasts to listen to. This is exactly what I want when I listen to bookish podcasts. These guys are hilarious and they hold nothing back. Since I listen to it at work (probably a bad idea), I often stifle my giggles but there are times when a big laugh escapes and then my coworkers look at me as if I’m insane. Lol! So far I’m working my way up from their book-club readalong for A Game of Thrones. I haven’t yet listened to new episodes, but I might peep that one on Taboo. They’re hilarious and get so raunchy sometimes. I like that.