For the past year, I’ve been trying to think up a name/theme for my monthly review posts. I did my monthly reviews as part of the What’s on Your Nightstand meme hosted by 5 Minutes for Books on the last Tuesday of every month. But shortly after partaking of that meme, I skewed to the left of it and started doing my own thing. Instead of only listing what I’ve read for the month, what I’m currently reading, and what I plan to read next, I also included articles, music, art, TV shows, and whatever else I did in the month. I decided that I needed something suited to me and finally, I’ve created it!
I call it Let’s Rewind. It took all of 2 minutes to think up and a long-ass time to design a logo for it (I’m proud of my lil iPod-looking thing), but finally I have something. This Let’s Rewind feature will be exactly like my What’s on Your Nightstand posts (except I’ll no longer feel bad for going against the instructions, haha!). These posts will be published at the end of month and will be a review of what I watched, read, visited, and/or listened to as well as anything else I’d like to mention. So, let’s jump right in!
January surprised me. I usually don’t get sick around this time, but I twice had to call out from work due to illness — cold and sinuses among other things. Ugh! I hate being sick. Otherwise, January was a pretty busy month. All work and no play. I began to feel quite dull and missed the Happy Hours I attended at my old job. The only bright spot work-wise is my part-time hussle at the bookstore. 🙂 I’m enjoying it and am happy and energized every time I go there.
Another bright spot this month that will really manifest next month is that MARLON JAMES!!! is coming to my area to promote his upcoming novel, Black Leopard, Red Wolf, and though I found out about the event kind of late (because I’m always the last to know these things), I was able to get a ticket!!! He’ll be signing books too. It’s the only reason why I decided to get a copy of the hardcover edition.
Apart from my personal life, January has been horribly depressing. I hate watching the news these days, especially with the frustrating government shutdown going on. So many lives have been affected. I don’t see how it makes sense to use people’s livelihood as a bargaining chip to build a damn wall. It angers me so much. Ugh!
City of Dragons, the third book in Robin Hobb’s Rain Wild Chronicles, was the first book I completed this year. I’m buddy-reading the Realm of the Elderlings series with Emily from Embuhlee Liest and we quickly sped through this one and immediately jumped into the fourth book. I can’t say much about City of Dragons without spoiling the series, but I like the character and plot development we get in it.
Shortly after completing Hobb’s book, I decided to give up on Stephen King’s The Stand. I DNF’d it at page 960; it has way over a thousand pages. I was nearing the end but had lost patience with the plot, the characters, the meandering narration, and the writing in some spots. It was a frustrating read and I’m surprised that I made it so far before giving up.
I needed something quick and easy to cleanse my palate after The Stand. I needed a comfort read, so I continued my reread of Tamora Pierce’s YA fantasy novels by picking up Wolf-Speaker. It was the perfect remedy. I was glad to return to Tortall and the magic systems there, though I was frustrated with this story because not much happens for a good bit of it except the protagonist following wolves around, talking to animals, and sleeping. However, it was a quick read and I enjoyed it.
I surprised myself by next reading some nonfiction books. The first one I completed was the audiobook of Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America by Beth Macy (narr.). This is a timely and important read because it’s about the opioid epidemic that’s sweeping the nation and how it began. I highly recommend it.
Next I breezed through Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou. I didn’t expect this story to be so gripping. It’s about the healthcare startup called Theranos that was founded by Elizabeth Holmes. Carreyrou writes about how Theranos began, the company culture, and how Holmes managed to raise billions of dollars from investors in her company without ever displaying a viable product. The story is mindblowing because it’s true and Carreyrou writes it in such a compelling way that you’ll keep reading to the end.
I placed a star (★) next to the ones that stuck with me.
An essay about why we should read books we dislike. The writer urges us to look at the novel as a time machine that can transport us to the writer’s time, place, or possibly frame of mind. Reading such old books, the classics, should not be done to judge the past and our ancestors, but used to illuminate things about ourselves and our generation that we might overlook.
On the pleasure and transcendent quality of marijuana reviews.
A look at the events that caused the Lord of the Rings books to be a success, and the impact of Tolkien’s books on popular culture, book publishing, and the fantasy/science fiction genre.
The Girl is Always Eaten at the End (electricliterature.com)
A short story by K. C. Mead-Brewer called “The Daddy Thing.” It’s a dark fairytale about a girl who befriends a bat and makes a deal with it by sharing her blood.
I love entertaining commercials and this Walmart one is my new favorite. It’s up there with the Van Damme Volvo truck commercial, all the Christmas Coca Cola commercials with the polar bears, and the Dell commencials with that dude Steve. (Don’t judge me y’all. I just like me some commercials.)
Obituary: Beloved Poet Mary Oliver, Who Believed Poetry ‘Mustn’t Be Fancy,’ Dies At 83 (npr.org)
The Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver died on January 17 at her home in Florida. She was 83.
It’s a fantasy book titled Warrior of the Altaii and it will be published this fall.
Tor has started a short fiction newsletter that’s delivered bimonthly.
It’s about two African American prodigies, C.J. and Sebastian, who build a time machine to save C.J.’s brother, who was killed by a cop.
‘Black Panther’ Returning to AMC Theaters With Free Screenings (hollywoodreporter.com)
FREEEEE Black Panther screenings at AMC Theaters in honor of Black History month. FREEE y’all!! The movie will be shown February 1-7. A link for free ticket is provided in article.
It will be adapted for a feature film starring Julia Roberts.
‘Where’d You Go, Bernadette’ Trailer (deadline.com)
Richard Linklater’s novel Where’d You Go, Bernadette has been adapted for a movie starring Cate Blanchett. It opens in theaters on March 22.
My intention was to watch loads of movies this month, but instead I only saw one. 😦 Will make up for it next month.
I FINALLY saw this one. The Ant Man movies are the only Marvel movies I haven’t yet seen, so I’m playing catch up here. I’d been avoiding it because I thought it would be stupid, but it was better than I expected. I don’t love it, but it was okay.
This Is Us
As I’m writing this, I realize that I missed the most recent episode. I still love this show.
It’s a new vampire show on Fox. I had high hopes when I heard of this because I wanted something that would be better than The Strain, which started out good and then sucked after a few episodes. The Passage did not start out on a strong footing and the second episode did not convince me that it would get any better.
First of all, I was pissed at myself because a) I didn’t know it was based on a book and b) I owned the book but gave it away last year without reading it. So yes. VERY pissed at myself. The show intrigued me at first because of the vampire aspect of it but ugh! I was annoyed that again we have a young Black child being led around by a White parental/figure-of-authority. This imagery is repeated again and again and again in media and I’m tired it. There was a chance for that to change with the movie adaptation of The Girl With All the Gifts, but nope didn’t happen. Of course, it could just be that the best actors for the roles happen to be of a particular race. I understand but still, I’m so damn tired of it. Anyway, I like Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s acting as well as Saniyya Sidney’s character. They are the only characters I care about.
Didn’t like the second episode because too much time was spent on the backstory of a character that I don’t care about and wasn’t given much reason to care about. I just thought it was pointless. I’d have much preferred the backstory of one of the other characters. Grr…!! I’m annoyed. I was hoping this would be good.