What’s on Your Nightstand: September 2018

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.

September was a much better month than August, probably because I didn’t do much in it. But this was good for me. I wasn’t as stressed, and I was able to relax and find confidence again in things I’m great at. So September was a great month for regaining my footing, my balance — though it ended with me fucking up my phone. GAH!!!

Books read:

I kicked off September with a series of quick, one-sitting reads, the first of which was Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops by Jen Campbell. It’s a humorous book of anecdotes recounted by booksellers around the world. The conversations overheard and scenarios witnessed were sometimes too comical for me to believe.

I then picked up Sky High by Germano Zullo, a delightful children’s picture book illustrated by Albertine that is about two neighbors battling to build the largest and grandest house. It’s a quick read, of course, and though there isn’t much plot, it kept my interest and the illustrations were entertaining.

That same day, I completed Spot, the Cat by Henry Cole (illus.), a children’s picture book about a boy searching for his pet cat. It’s a sweet, fun story and I liked the detailed pencil drawings that accompanied it. There are lots of buildings because the story is set in a city, so that delighted me. I love illustrations of buildings.

I then moved on to a novelette I’ve been curious about — Mother of the Sea by Zetta Elliott, a YA fantasy story about a girl who’s taken from her village in Africa and sold into slavery. The majority of the story takes place aboard the slave ship as it traverses the Middle Passage. This was pretty good and I liked the fantastical elements in it. I just wish the story was longer and we saw more of the fantastical being.

Craving to return to Tortall, I picked up Tamora Pierce’s Wild Magic, a YA fantasy novel about a girl who can communicate with animals who is searching for a new home. This was a reread for me, but it had been years since I’d last read it. I was glad, when I completed it recently, that it was just as enjoyable as the first time I read it. I look forward to continuing the story.

The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells was also another wonderful surprise and a reread. It’s a classic sci-fi novel about an invisible man who terrorizes a town. The story was just as entertaining as when I first read it years ago and was a quick read, though I did struggle a bit with the way Wells wrote the dialogue to match the dialect of the people.

Another reread: The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks, narr. by Paul Boehmer is the first novel a grimdark fantasy series and is about a boy who becomes an apprentice to an assassin. I want to continue with the series, so I reread this by audio book. I wasn’t a fan of how it’s narrated, but I was glad that I still enjoyed the story. I was glad to see the badassery of DURZO BLINT again. 😀

Then I got hooked on The Book of Hidden Things by Francesco Dimitri, who is an Italian fantasy author. This is his first novel in English and he translated it himself. I loved it. It’s a fantasy novel about four guys who made a pact after high school to return to the same place in their hometown every year to hang out, but this time one of them doesn’t show up. The others search for him and shit start to get weird. It was so well written, which is a huge part of why I love the book. I love the descriptions of the setting, the weather, the food, everything! And the mystery in it kept me so hooked that I quickly completed the story.

This was the biggest surprise of my September reads — Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen. It’s the musician’s autobiography. I listened to the audio book, which he narrated himself, and was surprised that I loved it. I’m not a Springsteen fan and am not familiar with his music, but boy did I wish I was as I listened to him tell me about his life. This was a great read. Love how Springsteen narrates it and loved the prose.

I wanted to catch up on the Amulet series, so I borrowed books 2-4 from the library and blazed through them. Amulet is a middle-grade fantasy series written and illustrated by Kazu Kibuishi. It’s about a girl and her family who move to her great grandfather’s house after a tragic accident and learn that she’s destined to be a stone keeper in a another world. The story starts out okay, but the more I read it, the more I enjoy it and want to know more. I plan to continue with it.

And finally, I ended September with Robin Hobb’s Dragon Keeper, the first novel in the Rain Wild Chronicles, a fantasy series that’s part of the larger Realm of the Elderlings series, which I’m buddy-reading with Emily from Embuhlee liest. It was a good beginning to what I’m sure will be a great story. Already I’ve taken a liking to the characters Alise Kincarron Finbrook and Rapskal.

Other things consumed in August:

I don’t have much for these sections this month. I haven’t read many articles and haven’t been keeping up with bookish news. After the stressful weeks in August, I had no desire to read about today’s issues or people’s opinions on society or any other matter. Life was hard and hurting and I’d rather just dunk my head in a book until it stopped. So, I managed to read a few things but not much. Here’s what I got:


I place a star () next to the ones that stuck with me.

Social issues & current affairs

Yuval Noah Harari: The Myth of Freedom (theguardian.com)

Yuval Noah Harari posits in this article that free will is a myth and we are more deeply affected by what’s advertised to us than we realize. He also touches on possible repercussions of certain advancements in science. (Personally, I think people are already aware of all this but don’t want to admit it. I think it’s easy to see that hysteria is threatening to overflow but people are trying to avoid it by turning to certain ideologies.)

On writing

 The Debut Novelist’s Guide to Battling Imposter Syndrome (lithub.com)

About the writer’s struggle with imposter syndrome. It’s such a honest portrayal of how difficult it can be to work past it. I really like the writing and could strongly relate to what’s written.

“It’s hard to feel like your stories matter if you feel you don’t matter.”

Don’t Write a Book About Cancer, and Other Advice (lithub.com)

A funny little article about the writer’s experience battling cancer.

On reading and other bookish things

★ Please Stop Talking About the “Rise” of African Science Fiction (lithub.com)

The writer talks about science fiction stories written by African authors, which, the writer argues, is not something new.

“Africans have been writing science fiction since at least the 1920s, and have produced bodies of work in literature and sequential art to the present day, work which has won critical acclaim and literary awards. Because of all the above, it would be difficult to justify the idea of an ’emerging’ African interest in science fiction in 2018.”

Happy 35th Anniversary, Alanna the Lioness (bookriot.com)

A sweet tribute to Alanna: the First Adventure, which kicked off Tamora Pierce’s YA fantasy novels set in Tortall. The Alanna books — the Song of the Lioness series — are some of my all-time favorite novels and I often reread them.

Why Does the US Change So Many Titles? (theguardian.com)

About why the titles of books published in the U.K. get different title in the U.S.

“The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, a Stuart Turton novel renamed The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle in the States because, apparently, Americans die more frequently.”

Other awesome ‘ish

These Laser Tag Wands Deliver Some Hogwarts Fun Without as Much Studying (io9.gizmodo.com)

JAKKS Pacific has created interactive wands to use for wizard laser tag. (That sounds so cool!) Inspired by the Harry Potter franchise, these wands have motion censors in them that tracks the gestures of the user as they practice spells. The wands recognize 11 different spells, like Incendio and Wingardium Leviosa. (I’d love to try one!!)

Europe’s Oldest Intact Book Was Preserved and Found in the Coffin of a Saint (openculture.com)

The book, St. Cuthbert Gospel, was found in the coffin of St. Cuthbert and is dated between 700 and 730. It will be on display at the British Library in London, U.K., in an exhibit opening on October 19 called “Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War.”

Shows I’m hooked on

Mary and the Witch’s Flower

I finally gave in and watched this and enjoyed it so much! It was fun and delightful and reminded me of the few Studio Ghibli films I’ve seen.

Iron Fist

I’ve been so hooked on this show! I binged on seasons 1 and 2 in a week. Now I plan to get caught up on all these Netflix Marvel shows. Iron Fist was interesting. I loved the fight moves and the villain Madame Gao. Didn’t like the protagonist, Danny, much because of how naive and headstrong (bad combo) he can be. I need him to get some common sense. Loved Colleen Wing, Danny’s girlfriend, though. She’s a total badass and I think she pairs well with the detective lady (Misty?) as partners fighting crime. I’m curious to see what happens next.

The Dragon Prince

I think this is a Netflix original. It looked interesting and the quick preview on Netflix made me think of Avatar: the Last Airbender, so I tried it out. Ehh… I don’t think I like it. The story seems like it will be very cliche and will lack complexity. I like the graphics though and might continue watching it for that.

Well, that was my September; how was yours?

25 thoughts on “What’s on Your Nightstand: September 2018

  1. Think my phone or your site is playing up ,jumps all over the place , won’t post
    Cheap phone, long gap for it’s little signal to jump?
    And what a touchscreen you get for $10!
    How’s your z?


      1. I’d like a drone phone , a silent drone, to hover close by ,
        Just a whistle and presto ,
        I should contact Mr Tesla
        ‘A submersible hover phone please.


  2. No , just streaming dandelion radio mostly , man they have some terrible tunes , but then they have some it stuff , mainly new to me .a Halloween sort of playlist at the mo , been the season and all. But yup , Gud song , i remember seeing a sign outside a guitar store asking , ” please don’t ask to know the cords to s t h ”
    Wow big day
    Concrete tomorrow


  3. “Wake me up when September ends ”
    Or was that November?
    No that’s the rain i think in November!
    So yeah September ,
    It ended like it began , building ,
    Building, building, building,
    So yeah , a little bit of hurting!
    Small nail , big hammer , AIM slightly
    OFF ,
    I wonder if you have ever hit your thumb
    With a hammer?
    Shakily held the next tiny nail ,
    A tremble A slight doubt ,
    THEN ……

    Yus , yus , yus
    There must be a word that describes the loss and suffering caused by the sudden death of a loved one such as an iPhone 10 or so.
    our phones would know what went were in septy !
    So yes the pain is real .

    OH and landscaping , I remember now !!
    Build / scape the land
    What’s that ? I should buy goats!
    Scape goats (hahahaha)

    Not much i can recall, reading wise for September or podcast or film.
    Music though, since you mentioned Springsteen!
    I heard an interesting cover of his ‘on fire’ song sung by a female artist on dandelion radio (name?)
    That’s some powerful lyrics the boss was writing there!!!
    ” sometimes it’s like someone took a knife baby edgey an dull an cut a six inch valley through the middle of my skull (or soul?)
    Or something like that.
    And one of the most (word?) Opening lines
    “Hey little girl …….



      1. Good question what am i building,
        The short answer , i guess , is a entertainment facility , THE longer , maybe a stairway to heaven , up anyway. The EAST wing , you know , heads east. Not overly LARGE at the mo , but nice exposed trusses and wooden stairs to the first (mezzanine at this stage ) floor.


  4. I barely remember my September. *lol* The past few weeks have been super-busy on my end, so it’s a struggle to pick out specific things that happened.

    Reading-wise… I don’t remember all of the books I read in September, but I definitely finished A Room Away From The Wolves by Nova Ren Suma and Trail Of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse. The former was eerie and lyrical, a good example of Suma’s unique style of magical realism – and an excellent choice of book to read at this time of year. The latter was AWESOME and could very well be one of my favorite reads of the year. There aren’t enough fantasy stories out there with Native American characters, or written by Native American authors.

    Imposter syndrome. Yes. You don’t even need to be a debut author to experience it. I recently wrote a DIY MFA post that offers tips on writing an introduction to another writer’s book, based on my experience with writing the intro for A Literary Tea Party, and dealing with imposter syndrome was one of my tips. I felt it a few times while working on that piece of the cookbook, but I realized I couldn’t let it stop me. And in the end, I’m glad I listened to my intuition instead of my doubts. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I struggled to recall my September too when I started to draft this post, lol.

      I’ve seen/heard lots of folks talking about Trail of Lightning but wasn’t sure if I wanted to try it. I’ve heard it’s urban fantasy, which I haven’t read much of.

      I’m glad you were able to work past the imposter syndrome. I struggle with it too especially when it comes to writing stories. I always feel as if I need to learn more stuff before I can really start writing a story, which is silly, but that feeling/reason pops up every time I settle down to work on a story.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think most people are categorizing Trail of Lightning as urban fantasy because it’s the easier “box” to put it in (humans vs monsters in a realistic / contemporary setting). But it takes places in the Navajo reservation, which is more rural / desert than city, and many of the characters are Navajo or people of color. Navajo culture and lore also play a big role in the story. So if you’re wary of urban fantasy, I’d still recommend Trail of Lightning because it’s so unique.

        With imposter syndrome, sometimes the best way to overcome it is to simply say “Screw it” and just do the thing anyway. XD And the more often you practice that attitude, the less likely you’ll give in to imposter syndrome each time. So don’t let the fear that you “need to learn more” stop you. Just get started, and if you run into something you don’t know, find a way to inform yourself so you *can* continue moving forward. It’s easier said than done, I know, but it really does work. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ooohh. Well, when you describe it like that then, yea, I wanna give it a try.

          🙂 Thanks so much for the advice. (Gawd knows I need it.) I’ll follow it for NaNoWriMo. I have an idea kicking around in my head so I want to draft a plan this month and see if I can do it next month. Fingers crossed.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Glad you liked The Invisible Man! It’s such an interesting sci-fi book.
    It seems like we have opposite tastes in tv shows, Zeezee! I adore The Dragon Prince (though haven’t finished it yet), I really liked the concept and the story. Meanwhile I didn’t like Iron Fist at all, I couldn’t get past the first season’s first few episodes and lost interest in the rest. However I looooove Daredevil, hope you get to that one soon and end up liking it as much as I did!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Invisible Man was interesting and I’m still puzzling out my feelings about it. I thought it interesting that before becoming invisible, the man was an albino. It’s a fact that’s mentioned only once or twice in the story, I think, but says much about how the man was treated before his invisibility and what propelled him to choose to become invisible.

      Lol yea, seems so. I’ve only seen 2 or 3 episodes of Dragon Prince so my mind might change later. The flow of the story and some characters’ actions/choices doesn’t flow as smooth as I’d like, but it’s all very interesting still.
      Totally understand about Iron Fist because I almost gave up on it when I started season 1. I kept watching because I was determined to see all the fights and gradually I started to like it though I became increasingly annoyed by Danny.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea, it was a good month and Wild Magic is a good read, if you like that sort of thing. It was fun to see the protagonist strengthen and grow in her power.


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