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.
October was a weird month. It seemed to both fly past me quickly yet plod at a slow pace toward its end. October was also a fun month filled with lots of work and travel and fun times at concerts with friends. I also decided in that month to try to save more, though in making that decision, I also ended up spending more too. I guess it wasn’t a great decision to make. For me, it’s usually best that I just go ahead and do a thing instead of making and stating my decision. When I make the decision, sometimes I end up doing the opposite of the decision. It’s frustrating. I frustrate myself.
I read some great books this month. The first I completed was Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, which traces the experiences of Black people through the descendants of sisters from (now) Ghana. I love this book and have placed it on my favorites list. I love how the story is told, how it’s written, and that it encapsulates the history of African descendants in its 300 pages.
Next I completed The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, which was a reread. It’s a YA dystopian novel set in a post-apocalyptic North America where people live in districts, instead of states, that each contribute a specific commodity to the economy. The ruling class live in area called the Capitol and the children of the districts are forced to partake of a televised game where they fight to death. This was a great reread. I enjoyed the story probably more than I did on my first time through so I plan to post a review because I have new thoughts on it all.
Indecisive on what to read next, I did the Try a Chapter Tag, which left me hooked on Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere, her second novel that was published in September. The story is about a single mom and her daughter who are new residents in a suburban neighbor that thinks itself quite progressive. The mother and daughter befriend an all-American, White family who the mother works for part-time so she can focus on her photography. The story touches on a variety of issues such as inequality, stereotyping, and racism. It’s a good read and I highly recommend it. Ng is now one of my favorite storytellers.
I completed October with Katherine Arden’s The Bear and the Nightingale, which was a surprising read because I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would. It’s a fantasy novel (I’m not sure if it’s YA) set in Russia and inspired by its folklore. In it, a young priest visits a village where he condemns the people for holding onto their old traditions and scares them into accepting religion. The only person unaffected by his influence is Vasya, a strong, willful girl said to be the descendant of a witch, who holds tightly to the old ways to protect her people. The story is atmospheric and I liked the fantasical characters included in it but the writing did not captivate me as I thought it would and shortly past its midpoint, I began to lose interest in the story.
Other things consumed in October:
Kirkus Reviews and the Plight of the “Problematic” Book Review (newyorker.com)
— on the Kirkus Review pulling its initial review of American Heart by Laura Moriarty because of the backlash the book has received
Just Admit It, NBC: ‘This is Us’ is (Almost) a Black Show (blackgirlnerds.com)
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a Humanist On and Off the Page (nytimes.com)
— a profile of the author by Dave Eggers
The Object in Writing and Art (blog.pshares.org)
— Annie Weatherwax on how creating art helps her writing
Objects of Fear and Worship: The Evolution of Aliens in Literature (themillions.com)
Hey, Websites: Think Before You Link to Amazon (publishersweekly.com)
“Even as people seek out the expertise of indie booksellers, they treat Amazon as the default for book links. Bloggers write about shopping local while linking to Amazon. Authors appeal to bookstores for book tours and sales but announce their books on Facebook with Amazon links.”
The Extraordinary Antarctic Plants with Superhero Powers (ideas.ted.com)
“They hibernate for centuries and then come back to life! They make their own antifreeze and their own sunscreen!”
Also check out this video on Battle of the HBCUs. I went to an HBCU, so I enjoyed the video.
Kazuo Ishiguro Wins Nobel Prize in Literature (shelf-awareness.com)
George Saunders Wins 2017 Man Booker Prize (publishersweekly.com)
Other awesome ‘ish
Sizing Up Sharks, The Lords of the Sea (nationalgeographic.com)
— an interactive presentation on sharks
12 Magical Harry Potter Mugs (bookriot.com)
— I love the one that looks like a cauldron and the one that says “I can’t Accio a single fuck,” lol!
Worth a listen
“History Is A Harsh Taskmaster”: Ta-Nehisi Coates on How America’s Past Explains the State of Race Today (thekojonnamdishow.org)
Why There Still Aren’t a Lot of Black Women Executives (marketplace.org)
Shows I’m hooked on
The Princess Bride
— I saw it in the theater in honor of its 30th anniversary. It’s just as great and fun as all the other times I’ve seen it.
— I rewatched and completed it and….I thought the ending was wack and there are several things I didn’t like and I think the women are all treated unfairly, especially Dutch, so I wasn’t too happy with the show as it progressed. I did like the fighting parts though. I considered drafting and posting a review but I have so much to say and so little time to sit writing reviews that I doubt I will.
This Is Us
— It’s back and I’m hooked on it still. By the way, read the article on it that I linked above.
— I love the try-outs. It’s becoming a tradition to watch this show with my mom.
That’s it for October. As for November, I’m looking forward to possibly participating in Nonfiction November, but I’m sot sure yet if I will. I’m currently trying to fight off a reading slump. I am unofficially participating in NaNoWriMo, but I’m kinda freaking out about it so my writing is pretty sporadic so far. Also, I gotta rewatch and catch up on Stranger Things. I’ve been doing great so far on avoiding spoilers.