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.
Unlike January, February was invigorating. I got my groove back. February was such a stimulating month that I overdosed on books and read more than I’ve ever read in a month, I think. However the high quantity of materials read was helped along by comics, which usually have few pages, and audio books, which I realize are pretty quick to complete. However, I don’t care much about how long my reading materials are. The most important thing is that they entertain or inform me in some way, and the majority of these books were quite entertaining.
Books and comics read:
Gilded Cage by Vic James was the first book I completed in February. It’s a recently published young-adult fantasy novel set in present day U.K., but society is ruled by a group of people who have magical abilities and enslave those who lack such abilities. I requested this for review from NetGalley. Though it kept my interest, I had many issues with the story, which I thought was pretty weak. The plot, characters, and world building could all use more development. It was engaging, but when I completed it, I had many questions about the magic system and the characters’ motivations, which left me feeling unsatisfied with the novel.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern was a reread by audiobook. It’s a young-adult fantasy novel centered on a traveling circus and its performers. Since I have an Audible account and am not sure what to use my points for, I’ve decided to reread books I enjoyed. The Night Circus is a favorite and I was glad to revisit it in audio form. The narrator, Jim Dale, who also narrated the Harry Potter books, did a fantastic job. And since I started this right after completing a Harry Potter audio book, it was as if I was listening to another Harry Potter story. It was a wonderful experience.
I completed Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn on Valentine’s Day. (I wonder if that’s a sign.) I was convinced to give it a try after watching the movie, and I was glad I did. It’s very entertaining. Gone Girl is a thriller novel about a guy who is possibly being framed for his wife’s disappearance. The story is gripping and the characters are unlikable, unreliable, and manipulative; yet I found myself cheering for them.
Eragon by Christopher Paolini was next. It, too, was a reread by audio book. Eragon is the first novel in a young-adult fantasy series about dragons and dragon riders. I was nipped by the audio-book bug after completing The Night Circus and eagerly sought another to listen to. I settled on Eragon, which I’d reread back in 2014 with plans to reread the entire series, but forgot to. Like The Night Circus, Eragon was wonderful in audio-book form. It’s narrated by Gerard Doyle, who did a great job. Upon completing it, I decided to continue with my plan to reread the series, since this visit with Eragon made me realize how much I miss the characters in that world: Angela the witch, Solembum, Murtagh, Sapphira, Orik.
I then completed the audio book of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling, narrated by Jim Dale. I wanted to put this off, but there was no telling when it would be available again on my library’s app. Surprisingly, it wasn’t as great a listen as The Night Circus and Eragon; possibly because it’s my least liked book in the entire series. Still, I enjoyed it and I plan to read and review the physical copy on here some time.
The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak was an entertaining read. It’s a young-adult novel set in the late 1980s about three teenage boys from a small New Jersey town who are trying to get a copy of Playboy that contains scandalous photos of Vanna White, cohost of the popular TV game show Wheel of Fortune. I didn’t know what to expect from this story. I certainly didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. The boys’ attempts to procure a copy of the magazine were funny, and the romance that blossomed later was sometimes sweet.
After completing the audio book of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I didn’t know what to do with myself. At a lost for what to listen to next, I decided to borrow another set of favorites from the library: the Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce. These audio books were narrated by Trini Alvarado. Though the narration wasn’t as great as the other audio books I’ve listened to this month, I was glad to once again immerse myself in this fantasy world and revisit its characters. The Song of the Lioness quartet was initially published in the 1980s. It’s a young-adult fantasy novel about a girl who hides her gender so she can train to become a knight. These were Pierce’s earliest books. Though the writing isn’t spectacular, I loved the setting and the story and still consider it a favorite. They are quick reads and were even faster to consume on audio book. I blazed through one per day over four consecutive days.
I also read The Wicked + the Divine comics, volumes 1-4, by Kieron Gillen, illus. by Jamie McKelvie. The first volume was a reread. It was one of the first comics I read when I decided to become a fan of the form. Back then, I wasn’t interested in the story, but I loved the art. However, after reading Trang’s review, I decided to give WicDiv another chance and this time I blazed through all four volumes. It’s a fantasy comic set in present day U.K. about gods from various myths who are reincarnated as pop stars with superpowers. However, they are only able to live on Earth for two years before they die and return 90 years later to start the cycle again. During this reread, I started to like the story and am eager to see what will happen next. The art is superb. It’s the sort of illustrations I love: clean, thin line work and cool colors. It’s great and I highly recommend it.
Other things consumed in February:
Why It’s Important to Recognize That “Moonlight” Was Robbed Of Its Moment (cosmopolitan.com)
— Yes, Moonlight won and I’m happy for that though I haven’t yet seen the movie. But the mishap that led to the announcement almost overshadowed how monumental the moment was. I was glad, yes, but I was a lil salty too. From the article:
“Institutional racism is often hard to see because we can’t point to an individual person who had bad intentions. Thus we are often taught to think that structural discrimination isn’t real. But institutional racism isn’t about a single actor or intent; it’s about impact. Sunday night’s comedy of errors is only laughable because it’s an awards show. In the lives of everyday black people, this kind of carelessness shows up when a supervisor fails to celebrate the promotion of a black employee, while the promotion of a white counterpart is the subject of copious congratulation — it may have been an honest oversight, but the impact is harmful.”
Being Black—but Not Too Black—in the Workplace (theatlantic.com)
“Where some people have a self, most people have a void, because they are too busy in wasting their vital creative energy to project themselves as this or that, dedicating their lives to actualizing a concept of what they should be like rather than actualizing their potentiality as a human being, a sort of “being” vs. having — that is, we do not “have” mind, we are simply mind. We are what we are.”
— Bruce Lee, a Hong Kong and American actor, philosopher, and martial artist (from a Brain Pickings post)
“Praise … is the confidence in yourself that you get from people whom you have succeeded in pleasing when you haven’t any confidence in yourself.”
— Lauren Riding, an American poet, critic, essayist (from a Brain Pickings post)
Hayao Miyazaki’s Retirement Is Officially Over (kotaku.com)
New George RR Martin story The Sons of the Dragon due out this October (theguardian.com)
Philip Pullman Reveals Details About The Book of Dust… Trilogy! (unboundworlds.com)
That’s it for February. I didn’t go to the movies or watch much TV because my time was taken up by work and feeling extremely tired because of work and smuggling some reading in between working and feeling tired because of work. Hopefully March will be better (it’s my birthday month so Yeahie! 😀 ). And I just got to 1,000 subscribers (so super YEAHIE! 😀 ). I plan to host a giveaway soon-ish. Look out for it.