August was a great month. I relaxed, I enjoyed time with friends, I participated in a fun readathon, I worked my ass off at my jobs, and… I was exhausted by the end of it hence the tardiness of this post.
Let’s Rewind is my version of a monthly wrap up but instead of talking about only books, I include all types of other stuff, like articles… bookish news… commercials… random-ass links… movies… art… podcasts… cartoons… and whatever else happened to me in the month. You know, the usual stuff that people talk about in monthly wrap ups. So read on to see what I did and read this month. You might stumble upon something that interests you.
August got off on a great start in my personal life. A friend, who’s also a bibliophile, and I decided to take a Reading Retreat at a seaside town in Maryland. It was wonderful. (And, as we were planning this trip, we realized that Reading Retreats are becoming more popular. We found various posts on the internet about ideal spots for Reading Retreats.) The plan was to go away for the weekend and read a book or two. But instead, we read only a page or two, lol! 😀
Our first stop was the beach. The plan was to chill and read at the beach, but we instead people-watched and chatted the entire time while taking sips of our “wine” and chomping down on cheese curls. Lol! It was fun. After being battered by the sun, we turned in at a sweet Airbnb. We immediately fell in love with the property — a converted barn house that overlooks a lake. It’s so cute and the yard is so beautiful with its bounty of flowers and trees. Although we hardly got any reading done, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and plan to take a Reading Retreat again next summer. Hopefully then we’ll read books instead of talk about them and everything else, lol! (Visit my IG for pics from the Reading Retreat.)
The rest of August was spent working, hanging out with friends, and participating in the NEWTs Magical Readathon, which is one of the best and most creative readathons I’ve participated in. I had plans for Labor Day, but they all fell through and I instead spent the holiday relaxing, a little sick (the relaxing helped), and getting stuff done around the house. August was a wonderful end to summer. I kind of want to relive it again because I’m so not ready for the intensity of the fall months.
I went so hard on the NEWTs Magical Readathon that all the books I read in August were for that event. I managed to read a mixture of books, comics, and mangas that amounted to a total of 17 things read. That’s a lot for me, and I won’t bother listing them all here. Instead, see my NEWTs wrap up to see how well I did on the readathon and what exactly I read.
Surprisingly, I managed to read a couple articles. I had to force myself to find time to do this, and still I didn’t read as many as I wanted to.
Those with a star (★) are the ones that stuck with me.
Social issues & current affairs
— About capitalism in America and how much it’s rooted in slavery and the plantation system, which may be the cause of its brutality. According to this article, certain processes we take for granted in the workplace were first developed to manage slave plantations.
“When Americans declare that ‘we live in a capitalist society’… what they’re often defending is our nation’s peculiarly brutal economy.”
“Since the 1977 publication of Alfred Chandler’s classic study, ‘The Visible Hand,’ historians have tended to connect the development of modern business practices to the 19th-century railroad industry, viewing plantation slavery as precapitalistic, even primitive. It’s a more comforting origin story, one that protects the idea that America’s economic ascendancy developed not because of, but in spite of, millions of black people toiling on plantations. But management techniques used by 19th-century corporations were implemented during the previous century by plantation owners.”
— On Jeff Epstein and other rapists who get away with their crimes due to the people who enable them and rigged systems that help and protect the powerful and privileged
“In patriarchy, no one can hear you scream.”
“Monsters rule over us, on behalf of monsters.”
★ A Quarter of Humanity Faces Looming Water Crises (nytimes.com)
— A bleak outlook on the future: cities possibly running out of water by 2040
— An excerpt from The Fixer: Visa Lottery Chronicles by Charles Piot with Kodjo Nicolas Batema. The exerpt is about a guy in Togo who helps people manipulate the U.S. visa lottery system so that they can be eligible for the U.S. visa lottery. People in Togo are willing to do this because there are no opportunities for progress in their country.
— Who’s to blame for cancel culture? The writer poses the question about who’s driving it but offers no answers except to present a different perspective that it might not be millenials.
Related interview: Bret Easton Ellis: ‘My Ability to Trigger Millennials Is Insane’ (theguardian.com)
★ Possible Disruptions on the Occassion of My High School Graduation (electricliterature.com)
— A short story in the form of a college essay by Jackson Tobin. (It’s so good! I highly recommend it.) It’s about two twin sisters. One is disabled and a stickler for following rules; the other sister is able-bodied and a prankster. The story is about their relationship. (I suggest skipping the intro and reading it after the story because it might give away too much.)
— All about paranormal romance author Sherrilyn Kenyon and her claims that her husband and her assistant plotted to poison and kill her. The article also touches on her beef with YA fantasy author Cassandra Clare and her current state of affairs — broke.
Revisiting Harold Robbins, the Forgotten “Dirty Old Man of American Letters” (hollywoodreporter.com)
— A profile of the forgotten author known for his raunchy books
Van Gogh’s Letters (blog.pshares.org)
— About an exhibit at Tate Britain, an art museum in London, that focuses on Van Gogh’s time in Britain and the literary sources that influenced him.
“Admire as much as you can, most people don’t admire enough.”
— A look at bed-ridden women throughout literature: what causes them to do it and what it says about women
How to Review a Novel (lithub.com)
— On critiquing novels
“What reviews have in common is that they must all in some degree be re-creations: reshapings of what the novelist has already shaped.”
We Need to Talk About the Aches and Pains of Nonfiction (blog.lareviewofbooks.org)
— On writing memoirs and personal essays: the positives and negatives of writing and publishing deeply personal stories
“The risk of nonfiction is that people are like ‘I know everything about you.'”
What Would You Do to Protect Your Child from Racism? (electricliterature.com)
— Maurice Carlos Ruffin talks about his novel We Cast a Shadow.
“It seems that one of the effects of white supremacy is tokenism, which is where the opportunities for success are artificially limited. In a scramble for resources, the players fight each other instead of the game. I don’t see that letting up anytime soon.”
“For me, character is plot. The person makes the choices, and the choices drive the story. So I don’t care how many pages into a story I am, I haven’t really started it until I know the character.”
Five Things I Learned Writing Wanderers (terribleminds.com)
— Chuck Wendig talks about writing the ginormous Wanderers.
“…characters need stories of their own; they must have agency and problems unique to them and separate from (if eventually intertwining with) the Bigger Story.”
“…sometimes you just have to fix the beginning to fix the ending.”
A short video by Vice about the clothing company Lularoe: scams and pyramid scheme. I knew nothing about this company until I saw this video, but the stuff they got up to is shocking.
This is a new section I’m introducing. I read a lot of blog posts and sometimes share ones that have stuck with me in the Articles section above. But now I’ve decided to feature them in their own section. These are blog posts that have either stuck with me or I’d just like to share (like the articles above). At the end, I’ll link a few outstanding posts I published this month.
Around the blog-o-verse
The Cabbage Chronicle: The Wheel of Time and Classical Fantasy (thefantasyinn.com)
— A satire that pokes fun at classic fantasy and the casting for the adaptation of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series
Creature Concept Design for Writers (arjungwriter.com)
— How the process of developing concept art can relate to writing and help authors develop believable sci-fi/fantasy characters
Mythic Resonance (shsilverlock.wordpress.com)
— About qualities that help make Tolkien’s stories and other fantasy appealing
Plotting vs. Pantsing — Differences in Style #9 (theorangutanlibrarian.wordpress.com)
— A discussion about these two writing processes
Top Ten Tuesday: Books About Books (bibliosanctum.com)
— Recommendations for fantasy novels about books
Some stuff I pubbed
— On Toni Morrison’s passing and what her and her work means to me
— A review of Michelle Obama’s autobiography
Bookish news and other interesting links
Harry Potter Prequel Series Coming to Television (bookriot.com)
— I’m curious but not optimistic about it.
Dracula Miniseries (ew.com)
— BBC One is co-producing a Dracula miniseries with Netflix.
Books to Fashion: 16 Book Covers as Rihanna Outfits (electricliterature.com)
— They did a good job on this, but someone obviously had too much time on their hands to look up the covers that would match RiRi’s outfits.
Best Sellers: 10 of the Best-Selling Books in History (Minus Religious Texts) (mentalfloss.com)
— Harry Potter is on here, of course, and the Lord of the Rings.
Comic Book Recommendations: Comics & Graphic Novels: Drawn Histories (shelf-awareness.com)
— Recommendations for nonfiction comic books that focus on history
Free Essays: 25 Great Nonfiction Essays You Can Read Online for Free (bookriot.com)
— The essays are by contemporary and classic authors.
Stuff I watched in August:
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
I finally got around to watching this on Netflix. I tried it a while back and was immediately bored, but this time I gave it a chance and ended up liking the dark moodiness of it. It made me want to read the book even more because I suspect it’s loads better.
It’s been such a long time since I’d watched this movie that I hopped at the chance to see it at the Shakespeare Theater in D.C. as part of its free movie night series. It was fun watching it with an audience. It made the movie more enjoyable.