It’s weird how reality works. January felt like it was plodding along and then February felt like it went too fast, as if it ended as soon as it began. I don’t even remember what I did. What happened in that month?
Let’s Rewind is 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.
Seriously, I can’t remember what happened in February. It went by so fast and ended like poof! The only thing that stood out was my cousin’s birthday and… that’s it. It was a laid-back month for me; everything was pretty routine, so nothing interesting happened.
The end of February also marked one year since I attended an in-person event. It’s no surprise that the last such event I attended was an author event. I went to a Pen/Faulkner event on mental health featuring authors Zack McDermott and Esmé Weijun Wang. I remember being furious with myself that I left my copy of Wang’s book, The Collected Schizophrenias, at home so I couldn’t get it signed. But I picked up a copy of McDermott’s book, Gorilla and the Bird, at the event and was at least able to get that one signed. Both books are still sitting on my shelves unread. *Life of a typical book lover*
I was convinced that I finished only one book in February. Imagine my surprise when I realized I actually completed three! Ha!
I totally forgot that I completed Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko in February. It’s YA fantasy inspired by African folktales and has a fairytale vibe about it. It’s about a girl who’s half fairy whose mother intentionally conceived her to carry out a certain duty. It’s hard to describe without giving away a major plot point, but it was a good read. I was really taken in by the worldbuilding and will probably read the next book to see how it further develops.
I also reread the Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison by listening to the audiobook, which is narrated by Kyle McCarley. I thought it was the only book I completed in February because it’s an audiobook and I got through it pretty quickly because I was so hooked. It was as if I was encountering the story for the first time. It’s a fantasy novel about a young goblin who suddenly becomes emperor after his elvish father and half-brothers die in an airship accident. It’s one of the best character-driven stories I’ve ever read.
And I managed to sneak in The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett at the end of the month. It’s the first novel in the Discworld series, fantasy novels set on a flat world that rests atop four elephants that stand on the back of a giant turtle that’s floating through space. This book was, unfortunately, not as engaging as I thought it would be, so I’m glad it wasn’t my introduction to the series.
I haven’t been reading longform articles lately, but here are some short ones that were interesting.
— An interview with romance author Beverly Jenkins on the NPR podcast Code Switch
Designers on What Makes the Perfect Book Spine (penguin.co.uk)
— I don’t think book spines get enough recognition for how appealing they can be. In this article, book designers discuss the types of book spines that appeal to them and what they consider when designing book spines.
AROUND THE BLOG-O-VERSE
All Systems Read (onemore.org)
— Imyril has announced an upcoming scifi reading event for SciFiMonth. It’s a relaxed weekend event that will be held April 2-5. Basically, you chill and read some scifi books and hop on Twitter to talk about them, if you want. Check out Imyril’s blog for more details.
18 Fantasy Books by Black Authors (educatednegra.blog)
— Rachelle, the Educated Negra, recommends several fantasy books by Black authors and also romance ones featuring BIPOC leads.
Reading Recommendations: Black Love (lifeofafemalebibliophile.com)
— Rachel at Life of a Female Bibliophile recommends romance novels by Black authors.
SOME STUFF I PUBBED
— Check it out for Black bloggers to follow and books by Black authors I HIGHLY recommend you pick up.
— From picture books to memoirs and mangas to novels, I recommend a variety of books that made me laugh.
— I posted several book reviews in February. I’m highlighting this one since it’s a debut novel that was recently published.
— I share my thoughts on clichés and tropes: what are they and whether they help or hurt the material I read.
I really like Khadija’s critique of Bridgerton. I love the show and consider myself a fan, but she touches on just about all the issues I had with it.
Suki Gets a Spinoff (darkhorse.com)
— Avatar: the Last Airbender fans who’ve been following along with the graphic novels will be excited to know that a volume focused on Suki will be published in June.
— More good news for Avatar: the Last Airbender fans — WE’RE GETTING MORE SHOWS!! 😀
Idris Elba Partners with Crunchyroll for Afrofuturistic Sci-Fi Series (blackgirlnerds.com)
— A dark fantasy anime series produced by Idris Elba?? What!! Can’t wait!
Wheel of Time Podcasts
— As I try to make my way through the books again, I often turn to these two Wheel of Time podcasts as my reading companions. Both are quite entertaining.
The Wheel Weaves is hosted by Dani and Brett, where Dani is reading the books for the first time with Brett as her guide through the books. I like their podcast because they are great at explaining parts of the books that are confusing to me.
Everybody Hates Rand is hosted by Emily and Sally, who both provide the deep analysis of the series that I craved since I began reading it. I like the series, but I also have some problems with it, and Emily and Sally touch on just about all my thoughts about it. They just say them much better than I ever could.
— This is a dating and relationships podcast hosted by two friends, Yue and Julie. It’s informative and funny and I’m so hooked!
— I’ve gotten hooked on this podcast too. It’s hosted by two librarians, Adam and Jill, who both work at Overdrive. They discuss books and chat with authors, and it’s great.
I hardly completed any books in February because I spent the month watching all these movies and shows.
Kingdom, seasons 1 & 2 | Train to Busan | Big Sky | To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
I can’t believe I waited this long to watch Kingdom! It’s a South Korean TV series set in Korea way back in the day sometime (I have no idea why I initially thought it was set in China, smh) with folks trying to steal the throne (so political intrigue) and ZOMBIES!! Obviously, I love it. I sped through seasons 1 and 2 and can’t wait for the new one to be made and released. It’s based on a manga called Kingdom of the Gods, which I now need to read.
I also FINALLY got around to Train to Busan, which was really good too and convinced me to stop ignoring shows that EVERYONE tells me I’ll like. If you like zombie flicks too, check out Kingdom and Train to Busan. I’m still hooked on Big Sky, which is a network TV show, but I don’t remember what network it comes on because I watch it on Hulu. It’s a thriller/mystery show set in a small town in a backwoods country place somewhere in America. It’s pretty good despite its plot holes. And To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before was a sweet teen movie. It worked great as a palate cleanser after all the zombies and other dark shows.
Schitt’s Creek, season 6 | The Silence
I still haven’t finished season 6 of Schitt’s Creek because… I guess I’m procrastinating because it’s the end. However, I’m enjoying watching the early episodes of it on Fox (I think) with my mom, who’s hooked. I watch her watch it because it’s not her type of show but I love how entertained she is by it. I’ve been curious about The Silence since it appeared on Netflix, so I finally gave in and watched it. It’s a lot like Quiet Place, except it focuses on the beginning of the world going to shit and Quiet Place is loads better.
To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You | The Duff | Love, Guaranteed
To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You, The Duff, and Love, Guaranteed were all watched as palate cleansers to stave off nightmares, lol (I kid! Kingdom isn’t scary, but I did watch episodes back to back to back, sometimes right before bed, so these light, romance movies were needed). P.S. I Still Love You was sweet and The Duff is a typical teen movie. It was entertaining. I have no desire to read either of the books based on those shows. If I was in my usual headspace, I’d think Love, Guaranteed sucks, but after the zombies, I was gung-ho for the light romance and awkward humor.
Sorry to Bother You
And all I have to say about Sorry to Bother You is that it is one weird-ass movie. It and Midsommar take the prize for the weirdest shit I watched in February. I finished both like, “What the fuck was that?”
Midsommar | Fate: the Winx Saga, season 1
However, where Sorry to Bother You had interesting social commentary and humor that appealed to me, Midsommar was almost a bore sometimes and the characters and some plot points felt underdeveloped. I wasn’t feeling it at all.
Fate: the Winx Saga is teen fantasy show that’s apparently inspired by an animated kid’s show from a couple years ago. It’s very… watchable and has entertaining moments, but, GAWD, the characters are frustrating, especially the protagonist. I felt like I was reading a typical YA fantasy novel where the protagonist is all angsty and knows nothing about their past and is willing to find out no matter the cost and wants connection but is an asshole and extremely selfish toward everyone around her and is, of course, the most powerful being ever because she’s the protagonist and, despite her selfishness and stupidity, her friends still go along with her plans and the lead actor boy likes her because… she’s attractive but he doesn’t want to admit that. Ugh! Also, does this huge boarding school only have three teachers?? I only ever see the same three instructors and about as many in-class sessions. No wonder they suck. No one learns anything.
Quantico, season 1 | White Collar, season 1
I gave up on these. They don’t work well for me on rewatch, which I should have expected of Quantico. I enjoyed the early episodes of season 1, but then the show became frustrating before totally losing me toward the end of season 3. Is that when the terrorist is revealed? And there’s a part where a character tries to make a strong feminist statement or something but it fell flat because her actions were questionable. Basically, I was confused about what this show was trying to do. I think it confused itself too.
I loved White Collar back in the day but…. gah! Certain aspects of it seem awkward on rewatch.