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.
I’ve been struggling with my reading since the beginning of the year, but it picked up this month. Finally, I’ve started to read books that capture my attention and no longer do I feel like hopping from book to book. But though my reading took a positive turn this month, I was ill for most of it due to my allergies reacting to the pollen in the air.
I’ve spent almost all of April with a stuffy nose, itchy throat, headache, a cough, and sometimes a fever. I took a break from blogging a couple weeks ago because I was too weak to do much, returned because I felt better, but now I’m sick again, though not as much as last time. I now realize that doctors give good advice and I should have rested, as my doctor had prescribed (I’m stubborn so I often don’t do as I’m told). Anyway, back to the fun stuff.
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah was a surprising read because I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did. It’s an autobiography by the comedian who also hosts the satirical news program The Daily Show that covers his early years living in and growing up in South Africa. Noah was born during apartheid, a policy that enforces segregation and discrimination based on race, hence the title of his book because romantic relationships between Blacks and Whites were against the law much less having a child of mixed race. The book was insightful and informative. Along with hilarious anecdotes about his childhood, Noah also shared his opinions on the social construct of race and tells us what it was like to live under apartheid.
Letters to a Young Writer by Colum McCann is a nonfiction book of advice to writers. I learned of the book when I read an essay by McCann that appeared on Literary Hubb (see “Don’t Be a Dick” below). I liked the essay; thought it was funny; so when I saw the book at Barnes & Noble one day, I bought it (because I had a coupon) and immediately started reading it. I think this is a book that writers at any stage (beginner or established) will appreciate. McCann is forthright but sincere in his advice and sometimes amusing too.
Since I heard the Wheel of Times series is actually being adapted for a TV series, I decided to continue reading it. I decided to reread the first five books by audio book, so I read The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan, narr. by Kate Reading and Michael Kramer. A couple years ago, I stopped reading the books after completing the fifth novel, The Fires of Heaven, because I was frustrated with Jordan’s writing and the antics of some of the characters. However, listening to the audio book made me long to immerse myself in that world again and accompany the characters on their adventure. It took a while for me to get used to the narrators, though.
I miss The Strain, a horror TV show that airs on FX. I was considering to rewatch the three seasons that are already out when I remembered that I own the book. The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan was the last book I completed in April and what a great ending it was for the month. The story is basically a vampire-zombie apocalypse set in New York City and it’s AWESOME!!! The story starts out slow but once it got going, I was so hooked.
Other things consumed in April:
Should Alice Goffman’s Work Cost Her a Faculty Position? (chronicle.com)
Dear Ms. Paper: Why Does Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing Bother Me So Much? (brittlepaper.com)
In Defense of Worldbuilding (lithub.com)
Viet Thanh Nguyen: In Praise of Doubt and Uselessness (latimes.com)
The Swashbuckling History of Women Pirates (smithsonianmag.com)
Long-Awaited Sixth ‘Game of Thrones’ Novelization Gets Release Date (shelf-awareness.com)
‘Wheel of Time’ TV Series Lands at Sony (variety.com)
New African Folklore Inspired Fantasy Snapped Up by Angry Robot Books (fantasy-faction.com)
Ken Liu to Write Star Wars Novel: The Legends of Luke Skywalker (unboundworlds.com)
Microsoft Unveils Digital Bookstore (publishersweekly.com)
Because BuzzFeed is awesome
The Ultimate Caribbean Dancehall Quiz (buzzfeed.com)
Other awesome ‘ish
Here’s How to Finish That Fucking Book, You Monster (terribleminds.com)
The Best Anime for Beginners to Watch (nerdist.com)
Stuff to Blow Your Mind (itunes.apple.com)
— I listened to several episodes of this podcast but I linked it here to point out episode 174, “The Strain: Dissecting del Toro’s Vampires,” which was freaking great!! I listened to it before starting on the book and I think it’s a great supplement to both the book and the show because they discuss the scientific/biological inspirations for the show’s creatures. I highly suggest this one and that you all watch The Strain. Go watch it NOW!!! 😀
Nerdist Podcast: Jordan Peele (nerdist.com)
— Peele discussed Get Out, working on it and what inspired it, etc. If you watched the movie, I suggest you listen to this.
How to Design a Life — Debbie Millman (tim.blog)
— All three of these podcasts are very inspiring and worth the listen.
The Boy Who Hasn’t Lived (theboywhohasntlived.com)
— A Harry Potter podcast on which a fan of the books buddy-reads them with a friend who has never read the books or watched the shows. This one was fun and I love the Trini accent of one of the hosts. I wish they would do more episodes though.
MuggleNet Academia (mugglenetacademia.libsyn.com)
— Another Harry Potter podcast, but this one is an analysis of the books. It’s so great. I enjoyed listening to it, but was sad to find out that they no longer produce new episodes. But, since I’m new to it and it has been going since 2011, I have lots of episodes to keep me occupied.
If you all know of good Harry Potter podcasts, recommend some to me below.
“Being successful requires being proactive and not waiting for life to come to you. It means you’re on offense, not defense. You’re active, not passive.”
“Whereas empathy refers to the projection of oneself into the personality of another in order to achieve better understanding, and sympathy describes and affinity of feelings between people, compathy refers to feeling with another person.”
— The Discourse of Character Education: Culture Wars in the Classroom by Peter Smagorinsky and Joel Taxel (I needed somewhere to store these definitions.)
Shows I’m hooked on
— I’m so late to this but DAMN! this show is good!! I’m on season 2 now and I can’t wait to see what happens next. I love shows and books like this where we see people on the precipice of losing their innocence and morals and all that shit and devolve into something they thought they’d never be. …Well, that’s what I think will happen. I think I’m right, but don’t tell me. NO SPOILERS!!!
— My love-hate relationship with this show is on the positive side now, so I’m hooked.
Into the Badlands
— Shiiiittt!!! I love it. Quinn is one of my favorite characters though he’s mad as fuck.
— Still watching and still loving it, which is surprising to me because it’s not what I expected. I thought it would be like Supernatural, but it’s more Criminal Minds/Law & Order mixed with Supernatural/Charmed.
— I saw a bunch of Studio Ghibli films in April: Princess Mononoke, which was great and I can see how Avatar: The Last Airbender was probably influenced by it; Spirited Away, which is one of my favorites along with My Neighbor Totoro, which I saw last month; and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, which was okay, but I slept out most of it. Actually, I fell asleep in all of these but that’s because the movie theater seats were too comfortable. I don’t like them, those recline ones. I prefer the regular seats.
— I went. I saw. And I was like “whhaaattt??” It was great. I liked the story. I LOVED the fights. The little girl was great, but my favorite parts were Wolverine vs. Wolverine. 😀
The Fate of the Furious
— I had no intention of watching this at first, but I had 2 hours to kill while waiting to attend something and since I was in the mood for fights and fast cars, I saw it. I loved it. I love all these shows. The story might not be the best, but I’ll always watch it for the action and I’ll see anything that hints at the Rock fighting Jason Statham. Watching this movie though, makes me realize that the Fast & the Furious movies have become superhero movies with Don and his band of merry warriors off to save the world.
— It’s the movie with Brad Pitt that came out in 2006 that focuses on four groups of people on three continents who’re all connected in some way. It was a really good show. Sad, though. The deaf Japanese girl’s story was the most emotionally striking to me. I had to pause the movie sometimes because tears attempted to escape me. And the story that focused on the Mexican lady was also upsetting.
— It wasn’t what I expected, but it was sweet. For some reason, I thought of The Neverending Story, which I haven’t watched in years.
Kubo and the Two Strings
— Eh, it was okay. I was surprised that Kubo is a boy, though. I didn’t pay attention to the name before watching. I just saw the character and assumed it was a girl. I liked the animation, but wasn’t impressed by the story. All the kids’ animated movies seem to be about the same things. They’re all too similar to each other.
Other stuff I did
— After trying FOREVER to get tickets to this amazing art exhibit, I finally got a ticket and attended. I loved it so much and now I want to learn more about Kusama and see more of her art. I’ll do a post on my adventure soon.
Okay, so that was longer than I expected it to be. Here’s what I’m looking forward to in May:
- Participate in the Bout of Books readathon, which will be held May 8-14. I’m sick with allergies so this is perfect.
- Read some comics.
- Watch these movies:
- Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
- The Fifth Element (It will be shown in theaters for its 20th anniversary)
- Drink and be happy.