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.
March had its ups and downs but overall, it was a good month. I had a very low-key celebration of my birthday (actually, it wasn’t a celebration, but I enjoyed what I did) and started planning for a vacation that I’m really looking forward to later in the year. I also went to see Black Panther a second time and enjoyed it almost as much as I did the first time (the jokes weren’t as fresh the second time).
The most exciting thing I did this month was attend the NoVa Teen Book Festival, which, though I’m no longer a teen, I thoroughly enjoyed. I grabbed a copy of Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone as soon as I arrived and attended a panel session where Adeyemi spoke alongside Susan Dennard, Audrey Coulhurst, and A.C. Gaughen about a variety of topics. By the end of the session, I wanted all their books, but since I had placed myself on a tight budget for the event, I just jotted down the authors’ names so I’ll remember to get their books from the library (and reminded myself to read my copy of Truthwitch).
I also attended a session featuring Rachel Hartman and Linsey Miller, which was the second reason why I wanted to attend the event because I really like Hartman’s books. I was excited to ask her about the Seraphina novels and what inspired the religion in the world and how she went about developing it. Hartman was there to discuss/promote her new novel Tess of the Road, which I didn’t like much, but I thought it would have been rude to say so to the author, plus she really doesn’t need to know that. I was just glad to have the opportunity to meet an author whose work I enjoy and tell her how much I like it. (I kinda hinted at her that I hope there’d be more Seraphina books with Orma in it. I really liked Orma.)
I didn’t get my copy of Children of Blood and Bone signed because I’m not fussy about getting autographs and such, but now I’d like to attend more such bookish events and am trying to stay informed about when bookish events and authors are being hosted in my area.
Apart from all that, I surprised myself and got a lot of reading done.
I’ve been bitten by the Song of Ice & Fire bug and once again I’m rereading the books. The first novel I completed in March was the audiobook of A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin, narr. by Roy Dotrice. Again I was hooked, anxious, and anticipating what would happen next. Oddly on this reread, I felt pity for Theon. I don’t think that has ever happened to me before. I don’t usually care for him, but this time I felt sorry for him because of how misdirected he is and the stupid decisions he makes.
I next completed School for Psychics by K.C. Archer, a YA paranormal novel that will be published on April 3. It’s about a 20-something young woman who enrolls at a school that trains psychics to become government agents to escape her gambling debts. The premise sounds interesting and I didn’t mind the first couple pages, but as the story progressed, I lost interest due to the immature antics of the characters and lack of consistency in the plot. I DNF’d it.
I completed the audiobook of The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien. I listened to the U.K. dramatized version of the story. It was my first time reading/listening to The Two Towers, but unfortunately, I liked nothing about it. It was hard to decipher what was going on sometimes and some character voices were hard to make out as well. I did not like this at all.
Audubon: On the Wings of the World by Fabien Grolleau, illus. by Jérémie Royer, trans. by Etienne Gilfillan, is a nonfiction graphic novel about ornithologist John James Audubon, who’s most known for his book Birds of America, which contains 435 paintings of birds observed in their natural habitat. The book was a wonderful, informative read that I highly recommend. It does a great job portraying Audubon’s determination to accomplish his goal to paint all the birds of America, but it takes some creative license on how it portrays other parts of his life.
Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi is one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. It’s a historical novel set in Uganda about a clan that was cursed in the mid-1700s and how that curse affects descendants of the clan over the years. I enjoyed reading this and loved how it’s written. The writing is accessible and the story so immersive that I got sucked in as soon as I began reading. I highly recommend it.
I then read a couple graphic novels and illustrated books, the first was Flotsam by David Wiesner — an illustrated children’s book about a boy who becomes curious about a camera he finds at the beach. Meh… I wasn’t blown away by the story or the art. It was okay.
Here by Richard McGuire (illus.) was very interesting. It’s a historical (I guess) graphic novel that focuses on a room (or maybe “space” is the better word) and what happens there over several years. I believe this is so far the most unique graphic novel I’ve read, and I liked it.
The Dam Keeper by Robert Kondo (illus.) and Dice Tsutsumi (illus.) is a middle-grade fantasy graphic novel about a pig who maintains a machine called a dam (looks like a windmill) that keeps back the darkness that threatens his village. The story is both sweet and sad, and the characters are endearing. I really like the illustrations and am looking forward to trying the next book in its series. I believe the creators of The Dam Keeper work for Pixar and the graphic novel was initially a Pixar animated short film.
The Golden Fool by Robin Hobb was SO DAMN GOOD!!! 😀 I’m so glad I read it and am so hooked on the story and can’t believe all that happened and was revealed and…just…gosh man! 😀 I LOVED this book. I think it’s now my favorite Hobb book. If you haven’t yet tried any books by Robin Hobb, I highly recommend the Realm of the Elderlings books. Start with Assassin’s Apprentice.
I recently completed The Oddling Prince by Nancy Springer and… I’m still wrestling with it in my mind. It’s a YA fantasy novel about a prince who is glad to learn he has a half-fae brother, but the arrival of his brother disrupts the boy’s relationship with his father, the king, and brings about a change in the king. I was interested in the story when I started it, but the quick pace prevented me from being immersed in it and minimized some character development. I didn’t enjoy it much.
Other things consumed in March:
Influence of comics
— A look at the history of The Killing Joke: its creation and influence
The 5 Most Twisted Versions of the Joker in Comics (thecomicvault.wordpress.com)
— Comic Vault gives us a quick run-down on the most messed up Jokers.
‘Picked Apart by Vultures’: The Last Days of Stan Lee (thedailybeast.com)
— Apparently Stan Lee is being exploited by those around him and might soon be broke despite the profits he’s made from Marvel movies.
On Monstress and Mental Health (bookriot.com)
— A look at Monstress as an allegory for mental health
The Financial Whisperer to Trump’s America (politico.com)
— A profile of radio personality Dave Ramsey, who offers financial advice
Reading, books, author-reader relationship
On Invisible Beauty (themillions.com)
— On the writer’s fantasies about authors and appreciation for books
“Perhaps I did not learn my lesson when I realized that books were the constructions of authors, because authors for me are just as much a construct of my imagination.”
“Beauty avoids our grasp because it’s made of the same, ephemeral texture as imagination.”
Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Three: Take Three (blogs.publishersweekly.com)
— On the long wait for the unforeseeable third novel in Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles. The article also discusses author-reader relationship and whether or not authors owe their readers anything.
Up in Smoke: Should an Author’s Dying Wishes be Obeyed? (theguardian.com)
— Discusses the lengths some authors go to preserve their reputation in posterity; also touches on the recent reveal of Harper Lee’s will
— On the need for a greater variety of children’s books featuring characters of color
Emily St. John Mandel on Station Eleven, Katrina, and Apocalypse Lit (unboundworlds.com)
— An interview with Emily St. John Mandel. I like what she has to say about the effect of technology on society, the appeal of apocalyptic narratives, and the restrictions of genre.
— A pretty cool short article by Sean Grigsby, a professional firefighter whose debut novel, Smoke Eaters, was published in March.
Cirque du Soliel’s OVO opened Bafta with a tribute to Guillermo del Toro’s Shape of Water.
(Isn’t it beautiful??!! I wish I could have seen it live.)
Books/comics in the works
— Nnedi Okorafor will write Wakanda Forever, which focuses on the female warriors from Black Panther.
Viola Davis Writes Sequel to Kids’ Classic Corduroy (people.com)
— The actress connected with Corduroy’s best friend, an African-American girl, as a kid. Davis’s book, Corduroy Takes a Bow, will be published on September 4, marking the 50th anniversary of Corduroy.
New Novel Coming from ‘Book Thief’ Author Markus Zusak (publishersweekly.com)
— Zusak’s new novel, Bridge of Clay, will be published on October 9 in the U.S. and Australia and on October 11 in the U.K. It’s a coming-of-age story about 5 brothers, “including Clay, as they learn the secret of their father’s disappearance.”
Upcoming book-to-movie adaptations
— A very long, sometimes detailed, list of almost all SFF book/comic book to film/TV adaptations in the works
— Mary Poppins Returns will pick up right after the classic 1964 film. It stars Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Meryl Streep and will hit theaters on Christmas Day this year.
— It will be a 6-part series based on Good Omens, which was written by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. The series is set to air on BBC in 2019.
— Yep, Supernatural goes Scooby-Doo.
JK Rowling Fires Pottermore Editorial Staff (bookriot.com)
Sherman Alexie Accusers Go on the Record with NPR (shelf-awareness.com)
— “Three women have gone on the record with NPR’s All Things Considered — and at least seven others have spoken off the record with the show — about author Sherman Alexie’s abusive treatment of them, confirming the anonymous and somewhat vague allegations that have been made recently online.”
B&N Starts Nationwide Book Club (publishersweekly.com)
— The book club will debut in the spring, May 2, and will be held at B&N’s stores starting at 6 p.m. The club’s first book pick is The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer, which will be published on April 3.
If “Game of Thrones” Characters Lived in Disney World (demilked.com)
Artists from Combo Estudio reimagined Game of Thrones characters as Disney movie characters, and the result is hilarious, like the white walker above. (Lol!)
Other awesome ‘ish
Book Towns are Made for Book Lovers (atlasobscura.com)
— Check out some book towns for your bookish bucket list
8 Non-Romance Manga Created by Women (bookriot.com)
— YES!! I love the action ones and want to read more.
— Classic SFF book recommendations
Tor.com Reading the Wheel of Time (tor.com)
— A pretty cool reading of WoT because it’s the first time the reader is trying the series. I like that posts focuses on themes in the book and digs into the characters and the world. It’s really interesting and I’m enjoying reading them. It makes me want to continue with the books.
8 Free Online Databases to Find Diverse Artists (chroniclebooks.com)
— This is part of Chronicle Books’ Diversity in Publishing series on their blog.
Travel Butterfly World (sociallyawkwardbookworm.com)
— Some really beautiful butterflies in this post. Makes me want to go visit Butterfly World.
I mostly listened to audiobooks in March, so not many podcasts this time.
BBC World Book Club
— This is one of my favorite bookish podcasts. I love the discussions they have. Whenever I complete an episode, I’m eager to go read the book that was discussed, which is what motivated me to read Jane Eyre when I did. I highly recommend you check out these few I recently listened to:
— In March, the BBC World Book Club was hosted from Boston (I’m not sure if they’re still there). Diaz was one of the authors they interviewed. If you’ve read his The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, then you should give this a listen.
— This also was a good listen and it made me want to go get and read Zafon’s The Shadow of the Wind. I was interested in what Zafon had to say about book-to-movie adaptations (which I’ll do a post on) and using computers to write (which is different from the many, many authors who urge writing with paper and pencil).
— An oldie (from 2003) but goodie. I listened to it before (and probably shared it on this blog before too, who knows), but I returned to it when I saw the headlines for the Discworld TV show adaptation. In this podcast, Pratchett said he wouldn’t allow the Discworld books to be adapted, but maybe he had changed his mind since then before he passed.
— Yep, George R.R. Martin has his own podcast, or rather had his own podcast since there are only 8 episodes. Anyway, I’m on a Game of Thrones kick now, so I didn’t mind listening to them. They’re all pretty short, no more than 10 minutes or so. I really liked Episode 3, where he talks about writing.
Art break — again!
Aren’t these cakes beautiful! 😀 I wouldn’t want to cut or eat any of them. The superhero wedding cake is from this list of comic book wedding cakes featured on Bookriot, and the Harry Potter cakes are all from this list of Harry Potter cakes also featured on Bookriot.
Shows I’m hooked on
Because I went to see it again this month and still enjoyed it.
Seasons 1 & 2 are on NetFlix and I’m hooked.
That’s the 2007 movie based on Stephen King’s story. It stars Samuel Jackson and John Cusack. I watched it by random and wondered if the story was written before or after King had completed The Shining.
It’s back on and Kelly Clarkson is so funny! 😀
Looking Forward to…
Into the Badlands
I think the new episode will air on April 22, so I need to catch up and be ready for it.
I’d like to go see it at the Ford’s Theater.
Cirque du Soliel
One of its shows is coming to my area and I really want to see it!
Soo… that’s March. I thought this was going to be a short post, but I surprised myself.