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.
August was good to me 🙂 . I got so much reading done in August because of the 3 readathons I was participating in: Tome Topple, the Reading Quest, and Bout of Books. Not only did I read loads of books, I also consumed lots of articles. But that’s because I was bored at work and thought it best to use my lack of nothing to do to get through the many newsletters I’m subscribed to. I discovered some great articles in them.
Because of all the reading done in August and because I have lots to highlight in the things I read, this will be a very long post. I don’t expect anyone to read everything here, but I urge you all to check out the Articles and Podcasts sections below because there are some great thought-pieces listed in them.
The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks is a fantasy novel about guild rat Azoth who apprentices himself to a notorious assassin. This story was so engrossing that I completed its 600+ pages in 5 days and bought a box-set of the trilogy upon completing this book, which is the first in the Night Angel Trilogy.
Completing Weeks’s book made me willing to continue with another tome I’d started earlier this year, Eldest by Christopher Paolini, the second novel in the Inheritance Cycle fantasy series about a farm boy who becomes a dragon rider. I enjoyed this series the first time I read it but rereading this second book was difficult because much of it is boring.
I then picked up The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (illus.), which is an illustrated middle-grade historical-fiction novel about a talented boy who manages the clocks in a busy Paris train station. Although I’ve seen the film adaptation, I’d forgotten much of it by the time I read this so I felt almost as if experiencing the story for the first time. I enjoyed it.
Afterwards, I read Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki by Mamoru Hosoda, illus. by Yuu. I’m not sure which was produced first, the manga or the anime, but this, the manga, has some beautiful artwork, which I preferred in color. The story is about a woman who raises her two half-human, half-wolf children on her own after their father dies. It’s such a touching story and I enjoyed seeing who/how the children choose to become, what life paths they decided to follow.
The Journey by Francesca Sanna (illus.) is a beautifully illustrated children’s book about a family that has to immigrate to another country when their homeland is ravaged by war. Like in Wolf Children, the father died and it’s up to the mother to find a safe place to raise her two children. It’s another heartfelt story and one I think many can relate to or have heard before.
Another illustrated children’s book I read was Where Are You Going, Manyoni by Catherine Stock. The story is set by the Limpopo River in Zimbabwe and follows a little girl named Manyoni as she walks to school. The illustrations focuses on the geography and animals Manyoni passes on her way to school.
I then completed my first Terry Pratchett novel — Equal Rites, which is about the first female wizard of Discworld, the fantastical world in which Pratchett’s Discworld series is set. Though at first I feared I would DNF the novel, the plot picked up around the middle and I began to pity myself that I’d waited this long to get started on Pratchett’s books.
Then I read a slew of comic books, starting with Birthright, Vol. 1: Homecoming by Joshua Williamson, illus. by Andrei Bressan. It’s a fantasy story about a boy whose disappearance tears his family apart. About a year after the boy’s disappearance, the police brings a man into custody who claims to be the boy but no one believes his story — the man says that he’s from an alternate world where he has lived for years and was groomed to become a warrior, hence his advanced age and fantasy warrior getup. The story is interesting and I really like the concept so I bought myself the second volume.
I also reread Saga, Vols. 1-3 by Brian K. Vaughan, illus. by Fiona Staples. The reread was actually better than my first time through. This time I picked up on details I missed before, like Hazel’s name, which symbolizes that she is a product of her mom, who has green eyes, and her dad, who has brown eyes. I also thought Gwendolyn was in love with The Will on my first read, but now I’m not so sure. I’ll have to read it a third time! 😛
Apart from the first volume, I think Saga, Vol. 4 is my favorite of them all. The characters gain more complexity here and we see some issues pop up in their home life and how they handle them. This volume had me on edge the entire time and I stayed up late into the night speeding through it. It made me so anxious that I had to stop and check the end before continuing because I was worried about how things would turn out.
Though the story is still good and still has my interest, it began to drag a bit in volumes 5 and 6. I was still on edge, but some things took longer than expected to resolve and I no longer know how I feel about the characters. One of my favorite characters seems to have become quite dislikable and a villain I despised is now gunning to be in my favorites. I’m all confused.
I finally completed Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames, which took longer than I expected to complete. It’s a fantasy novel about a band of veteran warriors who embark on a quest to save the daughter of a band member. The story was a good read and very entertaining, but I think I’d have enjoyed it more if I’d waited until next year to read it, after I’d forgotten about the hype surrounding the novel.
I’m convinced doing so would have made Kings of the Wyld more enjoyable because that’s what I did with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany, Jack Thorne, and J.K. Rowling, which I read and completed in a day. I read so many negative reviews of this book that I thought I’d dislike it. (Good thing I avoided the spoilers.) Instead, I loved it!! 😀 It was a great read and I enjoyed it though I hate time travel in novels.
Other things consumed in August:
The Toxic Drama on YA Twitter (vulture.com)
About the “toxic” atmosphere of YA Twitter. The article discusses the treatment of Laurie Forest’s novel The Black Witch and the fact that some bloggers and vloggers are made to feel guilty about what they read. Follow up this article with:
A response to the article above on YA Twitter.
Both are great reads and make great observations about YA Twitter and book publishing, but I agree that YA Twitter is toxic because of the huge backlash some peeps receive for simply sharing what book they’re reading. It’s as if people are being forced to agree with majority opinion. (My quick 2 cents.)
Reading Jane Eyre While Black (lithub.com)
“The lens through which you experience a piece of fiction is always your own personal and historical context.”
“Much has been written about Jane Eyre and its revolutionary feminism. But many of these readings are not intersectional. Instead, they promote a particular understanding of white feminism, one that erases women of color and fails to consider the demeaning ways Brontë draws any woman who isn’t white.”
“To call this book feminist is to forget about me, that I am a reader too, that I am a woman too. That according to Brontë, I am a savage.”
The Real Problem with Political Correctness (signature-reads.com)
“The problem with dismissing political correctness … is that doing so reinforces cultural entitlement.”
How Instagram Makes You Basic, Boring, and Completely Deranged (broadly.vice.com)
“How Olivia Sudjic’s novel Sympathy and the Aubrey Plaza-starring Ingrid Goes West ‘demonstrate [that] Instagram relies on a feedback loop of self-absorption.'”
An article by Nigerian author Ayobami Adebayo, whose recently published novel, Stay with Me, tackles the topic.
Great Expectations: An Interview with Ayobami Adebayo (theparisreview.org)
This interview made me want to get her book. I’m looking forward to reading it. Here’s the quote that made me want to get the novel immediately:
“I wanted to look at what would happen if you could choose to be what you’re supposed to be, and how the community, in trying to help you become what you think you should be, turns on you.”
“One of the ways we survive darkness—and there’s a lot of darkness in this book—is to find reasons to laugh. Laughter in those kinds of situations becomes essential. It’s not a luxury.”
When You’re From Two Countries, and Don’t Quite Belong to Either (signature-reads.com)
As someone who has so far spent half her life in a country she wasn’t born in, I could relate to this article. Sometimes when I visit my homeland, I feel connected yet disconnected at the same time, which is why I’ve always thought of myself as “in between.”
“There is no country on this earth, then, where I am completely at home. No one place that claims me, that just fits, easily and naturally. I have faith that things will be different in the future, but right now, at this moment when the war for American identity and values rages on, I have a country where my life and memories are, which sometimes doesn’t recognize me, and a country where I was born, which knows that I have left.”
On Living, and Thinking, in Two Languages at Once (lithub.com)
Author Camille Bordas talks about “bouncing between French and English.” The essay caught my attention because I’m often curious about how multilingual people navigate language: what language do they think in; which do they prefer; etc.
My favorite part of the essay is when Bordas says she decided to write in a foreign language because she knows her mom wouldn’t understand it. It’s a way of creating distance between herself and her family to give herself the liberty to write what she wants.
“Today there’s little intellectual or material investment in writers: literary prizes and shortlists are meant to sell books, and, although there’s a plethora of them, the Man Booker is the only one that has a real commercial impact.”
I Used to Be a Writer — Then I Got Sick (lithub.com)
“Emma Smith-Stevens on losing control of her body and her identity.”
The Useful Dangers of Fairy Tales (lithub.com)
An Ode to the Sun (lithub.com)
From Karl Ove Knausgaard’s new book of personal essays, Autumn.
“We are all aspiring … but you have to be hungry.”
A Total Beginner’s Guide to Keeping a Journal (nymag.com)
2017 Hugo Award Winners (thehugoawards.org)
N.K. Jemisin won best novel (I still haven’t read her books yet); Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire won best novella (yeahie!!); fucking Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening by Marjorie Liu, illus. by Sana Takeda won best graphic story (YESSSS!!!) 😆
The YA Bestseller Brought Down by the YA Community (publishersweekly.com)
I included the trailer in my last What’s On Your Nightstand post.
Barnes & Noble Launches the B&N Podcast (shelf-awareness.com)
I’m so excited for this! Now I have a new podcast to subscribe to.
Author Nnedi Okorafor is the writer of the new Marvel universe comic featuring a superheroine from Nigeria.
Dan Mazer to Helm Supernatural Comedy ‘Anya’s Ghost’ (deadline.com)
Vera Brosgol’s YA supernatural comic book is being adapted for the screen. See my review of it here.
The Smithsonian’s First Asian-American Lit Fest (smithsonianmag.com)
A New Type of Library in a Once-Abandoned Colorado Ranch (savingplaces.org)
Two bookstore owners open a live-in library at a formerly abandoned Colorado ranch.
Australia Extends Tax to Online Overseas Book Orders (shelf-awareness.com)
English Translations of Obscure Medieval Texts Go Online (hyperallergic.com)
Because BuzzFeed is awesome
Other awesome ‘ish
Harry Potter Character Myers-Briggs Personality Types (geekologie.com)
Infographic: Periodic Table of Literary Villains (the-digital-reader.com)
Shelf Life: Novelist Hanya Yanagihara on Living with 12,000 Books (theguardian.com)
A little tour of the author’s one-bedroom apartment in NYC
Another video break ’cause I feel like it
Lit Up Show: Episode 80: Trevor Noah on His Memoir Born a Crime (thelitupshow.com)
I highly recommend this podcast to everyone, whether or not you read his memoir.
James talks writing, inspiration, films he uses to teach writing, and other things.
Hank Garner Podcast: Episode 114 | Brent Weeks (hankgarner.com)
After reading The Way of Shadows, I looked for a bunch of stuff on Brent Weeks. This interview was good and got me excited for the Lightbringer series.
Hank Garner Podcast: Episode 113 | Christopher Paolini (hankgarner.com)
This was a good one to listen to shortly after reading Eldest, the second in Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle series. What stood out to me in this interview was Paolini discussion about a mistake he made in the language he made up, which made a blessing his character bestowed on an infant a curse.
Both of these are great podcasts: inspiring, insightful, and funny as hell!
I can’t do this without an art break!
In my last post, I featured an artist who reimagined the mascots of fast food chains as anime characters (some of which were hot!!). This time I’m featuring the work of Wil Hughes, an Australian digital artist, who converted pop culture icons as nightmarish hyper-realistic 3D models.
If you’re scared of clowns, close your eyes as you scroll down. Here’s Ronald McDonald:
(see more on deMilked)
Also check out this quick comic strip: Everyday Life of a Metalhead Couple in 10+ Adorable Comics by JP Ahonen.
And that’s it for August. I didn’t watch much TV and of all the movies I wanted to go see, I only saw Atomic Blonde, which was good and made me want to read more of Velvet, a comic book series I love.
I really wanted to see the solar eclipse, but I was busy working and missed it, though my side of the world didn’t see much of it anyway.
There’s a lot of political shit going on in my side of the world too. Lots of hate and discrimination and all that… It’s frustrating. I only hope things will get better, though I believe things will get a lot worse before it gets better.
Anyway, wherever y’all are at I hope you’re happy and safe.
Let me leave you with this cool tribute by Google for the 44th anniversary of the birth of Hip Hop.