What’s on Your Nightstand: November 2017

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.

November was an odd month that staggered by in fits of enjoyment. All I can say is that it was great; the time I spent with family, friends, and alone were all immensely pleasurable and made November one of the best months of this year.


Books read:

I didn’t complete many books this month. I do the majority of my reading while travelling to work, but that has been difficult recently because my route changed. I no longer have a set chunk of uninterrupted time to spend reading. Instead, I have to be crafty about stealing time to read, which sucks. I guess I’ll have to start reading at home, which will be difficult because my home is a very distracting place (i.e. my family is loud).

Anyway, this month I completed Fool’s Errand by Robin Hobb, the first book in the Tawney Man trilogy, which I am buddy-reading with Emily from Embuhlee liest. With this novel, we return to our beloved heroes from the Farseer trilogy – Fitz and the Fool. We see how their adventures in the Farseer books affected them and how they have developed since then. I was so glad to return to Fitz’s voice and the characters from the first trilogy that it was hard to break from this story for long. I enjoyed it and am eager to see what happens in the other books.

I then read The Storm King by Brendan Duffy, a thriller/suspense novel about a man who returns to his hometown after the body of a childhood friend is found. The story is about way more than that and sometimes has a sinister feel to it, especially as we learn more about the protagonist and his past. The story has a slow pace, but I’m glad I stuck with it. I liked it and was curious to find out who the killer is. The novel will be published in February 2018.


Other things consumed in November:

I now realize that in months where I don’t read many books, I tend to read lots of articles, hence the many articles listed to below. My job gets boring sometimes, so I cope by reading articles or listening to podcasts as I work. It helps to break up the workflow (reading articles) or make a monotonous task bearable (listening to podcasts). I don’t know if anyone reads the articles and podcasts I list, but I hope one or a few will interest you all because they are really good. I continue to include these links so I can easily find them again later, but I do hope they appeal to those reading this post as well.

To avoid making this post longer than it already is, I didn’t bother to include descriptions for some of the articles, especially if it’s easy to infer what the articles are about from the title.  But they are all good reads and I recommend them all to you.

Articles

The Booker Prize’s Bad History (nytimes.com)

 —a look at the Booker brothers’ connection to slavery in Guyana

“Unbury the Future”: Martha Wells’ Full Speech from the 2017 World Fantasy Awards (tor.com)

— Wells’ speech calls for us all to delve into history to learn about those who are forgotten or were shunted to the side.

“We have to unearth that buried history.”

To the Lady Who Mistook Me for the Help at the National Book Awards (lithub.com)

Finding Solace in Bookstores, in the Face of Cancer (lithub.com)

Seeing Danger in a Face (nytimes.com)

— an opinion piece on racial profiling

My Vagina Is Terrific. Your Opinion About It Is Not. (nytimes.com)

Roxane Gay Wants You to See Fat People as Humans (harpersbazaar.com)

— a profile of the author

Book Chat | On Being ‘Well Read’ (Part 1) (africanbookaddict.com)

— Darkowaa (one of my fav bloggers on here) asks readers and writers their thoughts on what it means to be “well read”

Huldufólk: The Truth Behind Iceland’s Obsession With Elves (theportalist.com)

How to Find Your Forehead (daddingdepressed.com)

— a short piece on our blind spots

“Give trusted people the freedom to help you find your forehead. Give them the voice to speak into your blind spots. Welcome them into the journey of self-discovery.”

Stop Rewarding Men for Turning a Blind Eye to Other Men’s Sins (nbcnews.com)

— an opinion piece on the response to men accused of harassing women

The Overlook Hotel: David Leo Rice On a Post-Human Earth (logger.believermag.com)


Art break

Below is a group portrait of the Discworld characters painted by Paul Kidby, who worked with Terry Pratchett, author of the Discworld books, to provide illustrations for the stories. Kidby has illustrated Discworld books since 2002 and is the illustrator of The Art of Discworld.

painted by Paul Kidby

I found the illustration below in this Guardian article in which Kidby talks about working with Pratchett and shares some of the illustrations he did for the Discworld books. The best of Kidby’s Discworld illustrations were collected and published by Gollancz in November in a book titled Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Imaginarium. 

I’m tempted to get it 🙂 . I feel a little guilty admitting that since I’ve read only one Discworld book so far and am not yet a total fan but, gosh, I love me some art.


News

The Hate U Give Banned by Katy, Texas School District (bookriot.com)

The First Woman to Translate the ‘Odyssey’ Into English (nytimes.com)

Del Rey Nabs New Adult Fantasy Series from Clare in Major Deal (publishersweekly.com)

— Cassandra Clare plans to write an adult fantasy series called Sword Catcher. Clare said the series is “inspired by a story she read years ago about ‘an Iraqi man forced to give up his life to serve as the body double for one of Saddam Hussein’s sons.’ In the series … a boy is kidnapped as a child and forced to change his appearance in order to become a decoy for the cruel son of a despised king.”

J.K. Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter’ Translated to Scots, Marking 80th Language (npr.org)

— This NPR coverage is pretty interesting. The translator, Matthew Fitt, reads parts of the translated book (which makes me want to get it on audio though I won’t understand most of it. I just like how Scots sounds) and talks about being punished as a boy for speaking his native language.

The “Lord of the Rings” of Chinese Literature Is Finally Being Translated Into English (quartzy.qz.com)

— I don’t like that headline. Anyway, I got this bit of news from a Book Riot newsletter. Basically an epic Chinese trilogy by Louis Cha (who writes under the pen name, Jin Yong) that has been compared to the Lord of the Rings will be translated into English. The trilogy is called the Condor Trilogy and it will be translated into 12 books. “The first volume of the first book, A Hero Born, is translated by Anna Holmwood and scheduled for a February 2018 publication date.”


Other awesome ‘ish

Chinua Achebe on the History of the Lion and What It Has to Do with Us (signature-reads.com)

— this is illustrated

Ten Books that Changed the World (granta.com)

A Lifetime of Finding Peace, Purpose and Voice in the Pages of Comics (npr.org)

— NPR is running a special series on fandoms and this entry focuses on a Black woman who loves comics. (Like me! 🙂 )

A Guide to Comics, Webcomics, and Graphic Novels for Reluctant Readers (bookriot.com)

This Database Is Filled with 1,300 Diverse Books for Kids (huffingtonpost.com)

The Kids of Bowery’s Hardcore ‘Matinee,’ Then and Now (npr.org)

— Drew Carolan, a photographer, took portraits of Bowery hardcore kids in the mid-‘80s. This article takes a look at the adults they became.

A Selection of the 30 Most Disappointing Under 30 (newyorker.com)

— for kicks and giggles 🙂

How I Turned My Biggest Insecurity Into My Power Source (refinery29.com)

— Refinery29 partnered with Cover Girl to present a series that explores “the relationship between strong women and the makeup they choose to wear.” I don’t wear makeup (I’m considering to), but I like reading the stories in the series, like this one by Jaraé Holieway.


Worth a listen

Longform Podcast #269: Jodi Kantor (longform.org)

— Kantor is an investigative reporter who worked with Megan Twohey to write the NYT article “detailing decades of sexual harassment payoffs by Harvey Weinstein.” In this podcast, she discusses how she worked on the story.

Jodi Kantor – Amazon and Starbucks (youtube.com)

— a YouTube video of Kantor discussing her article on controversial work conditions at Amazon and Starbucks and the companies’ response to it.

Promethea Unbound (magazine.atavist.com)

— This is actually a long-form article but since I listened to the narration of it (and since my article section is pretty long), I thought I’d place it here. The article is about a child genius whose aspirations changed because of an act of violence. (Scroll down a bit in the article for the audio version.)

The Making of an American Nazi (theatlantic.com)

— another long-form article I listened to. It’s about an American guy who became an alt-right troll and propagandist.

The First White President (theatlantic.com)

— Yet another long-form article I listened to. It’s by Ta-Nehisi Coates and is about Donald Trump’s presidency.

“Replacing Obama is not enough—Trump has made the negation of Obama’s legacy the foundation of his own. And this too is whiteness. ‘Race is an idea, not a fact,’ the historian Nell Irvin Painter has written, and essential to the construct of a ‘white race’ is the idea of not being a nigger.’”

“Moreover, to accept that whiteness brought us Donald Trump is to accept whiteness as an existential danger to the country and the world. But if the broad and remarkable white support for Donald Trump can be reduced to the righteous anger of a noble class of smallville firefighters and evangelicals, mocked by Brooklyn hipsters and womanist professors into voting against their interests, then the threat of racism and whiteness, the threat of the heirloom, can be dismissed. Consciences can be eased; no deeper existential reckoning is required.”

Between the Covers Podcast | Celeste Ng: Little Fires Everywhere (davidnaimon.com)

— Ng discusses her recent novel and other things

Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable (ted.com)

— author and digital strategist Luvvie Ajayi talks about speaking up and stepping outside one’s comfort zone


Video break

I’m not Trinidadian BUT I love listening to Trini parang around Christmas time (sometimes). Here’s one I’m hooked on. It’s funny and there’s lots going on in it, lol! 😀


Shows I’m hooked on

Thor Ragnarok

This was surprisingly good! I had no intention of seeing it, but because I had two hours to spare before attending an event featuring Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, I thought to myself “why not.” I thought it was funny and enjoyed it. I wasn’t crazy about Thor’s sister though. I wish she was more badass, but I like that we see a human/softer side to Hulk, the monster. I also loved that Thor got a haircut. (Lord, Chris Hemsworth is so foine!!!)

Justice League

A waste of my damn money. It was an okay movie, but I didn’t like it. (DIDN’T LIKE IT AT ALL!!) First of all, could we please have Christian Bale back as Batman? I don’t like Affleck as Batman. To me, Batman sucked in the movie and the best thing about him was the sweet Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo he was pushing. (That’s one sexy-ass car. O.M.G.)

I’m not a DC Comics fan so I only went to this movie to see sexy-ass Khal Drogo Jason Momao, but though he was fine as hell all tatted up and shirtless and guzzling beer (or whatever liquor he was drinking) and diving into the raging sea, his character (as well as Flash and Cyborg) felt underdeveloped. And I just didn’t get the Superman storyline (most likely because I didn’t watch Batman vs. Superman, but even so, it felt off). The villain (forgot his name) was wack, but I loved the rock music that played when credits rolled. That was some good music.

Stranger Things 2

Yes!! It’s as great as the first season, though the structure is pretty much the same. I hope they switch it up some for the third one, but wow! It was great. I loved the whole possession/virus take-over story line and I just love all the characters, except Max’s asshole brother. I rewatched season 1 and then went straight into 2. Then I rewatched half of season 1 again over Thanksgiving so I could get my cousin hooked on it too. That mission was a success. (Hahahahahaa…)

Worst Witch

Okay, so Stranger Things scared me a bit toward it’s end because… I get scared easily, so while looking for something lighter to pair it with, I stumbled upon this show. It’s a British children’s fantasy series based on The Worst Witch book series by Jill Murphy.

The show is silly and I actually don’t like it much but for some reason, I can’t stop watching it. I felt the same way about the Series of Unfortunate Events children’s TV show on Netflix: didn’t like it, but couldn’t stop watching. Part of the reason why I don’t like Worst Witch much is because it’s so obvious that they are trying to make it like Harry Potter (the Miss Hardbroom character harkens to Snape and the acting is similar to how Alan Rickman portrayed Snape). It’s so annoying.

Moana

I finally watched this and it was such fun.

Mulan

My favorite Disney movie and princess. I was in the mood for a rewatch.


Whew! That was long. But November was great. As I mentioned above in the bit on Thor, I attended an event where Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie spoke about her creative origins. She was inspiring and though I had a pen and notebook to jot down thoughts and such, I got so caught up in her words that I forgot to take notes. But you can follow this link to hear her speech.

Otherwise, November was all work and family time (which left no time for NaNoWriMo). Family members came for Thanksgiving and made me miss my young days in Jamaica when we would all congregate at my grandparents’ home (usually when someone sent a barrel) and talk and laugh and generally get on each other’s nerves, lol, which is exactly what happened at Thanksgiving. It was all fun. 😀


Well then, how was your November?

14 thoughts on “What’s on Your Nightstand: November 2017

  1. Thanks for allllll these links. I love the Trini video you put up lol. I’ve saved ‘My Vagina Is Terrific. Your Opinion About It Is Not’ , ‘How I Turned My Biggest Insecurity Into My Power Source’ and Celeste Ng : Little Fires Everywhere podcast episode for tonight. Thanks for linking the book chat On Being Well Read too!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. hehe I can relate to the loud family issue 😉 Sucks about the route change though! Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on Fitz and the Fool 🙂 And that’s one of my favourite Discworld pictures (for obvious reasons 😉 ) Man, that’s really mental and so so wrong to ban The Hate U Give! That was such a great article on Achebe. Annie was so fun- that just instantly put me in a good mood 😀 I’m so glad to hear Thor Ragnarok was good- I really need to see that! OH MY GOODNESS- I couldn’t agree with you more about Affleck vs Bale as Batman- I just don’t see it for Affleck. The weird thing is loads of people hated the casting choice but then didn’t end up minding him in Batman Vs Superman- but I was actually the other way round, I was open minded about the casting but didn’t like his performance at all. That said, I haven’t seen Justice League yet, cos I just don’t fancy it enough right now- it sounds like a waste of money :/ Although I have to say Jason Momao is a pull 😉 ah is this the new Worst Witch? Or the old one? I watched the old one as a kid (and loved it) and tried the modern version recently and felt like they’d butchered it. The funny thing is, it was actually a precursor to Harry Potter (the original book series was written in the 70s), so I feel like if anything Rowling got parts from that- BUT I felt like the new version hammed up some HP elements for “dramatic” effect. I still need to watch Moana and Mulan is always worth rewatching (my favourite Disney princess too 😉 ) Jeez- sorry for the long comment- just realised!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol! That’s cool. I don’t mind the long comment. But yea, def see Thor and don’t waste your money on Justice League. Wait for it to hit Netflix or free TV or summin.
      The Worst Witch I’m watching is the recent, 2017, one. It actually made me think that Worst Witch was something developed after the Harry Potter phenomenon. It’s when I got frustrated and looked for the book (because it must be better than this show) that I realized it came out before HP. So yea, I agree they butchered it though I haven’t seen the old Worst Witch TV show or read the books.
      Yup, def watch Moana! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. hehe good 😉
        Great to know! I’m gonna do that then!
        Ahh yeahhh that’s really not good. I think I got five minutes to the end of the first episode and quit cos it was just so badly done. I don’t understand for the life of me why they changed so much of the original story! It might not be something you want to read/watch now, but if you ever get the urge for some MG, then it’s really fun 🙂
        hehe I definitely plan to!

        Like

  3. That is quite funny. I watched the first Worst Witch TV show, as a child. (Between 1998 and 2001) and I loved it. I guess it was one of the reasons why I never got a big Harry Potter Fan. I already had my beloved magic school series. 😀

    Like

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