Amateur Writer | Professional Nerd

January 2021: What I Read, Watched, and Heard

We are in 2021, which started with serious 2020 vibes, but has been looking up since January 20th. While trying to survive this panorama and watching America’s homegrown terrorists storm the Capitol building, I was still able to enjoy some good books, entertaining movies, hilarious podcasts, and informative blogs. Keep reading to get all the deets!

Books + Blogs

Comment 4 Comment Challenge 2021

This year, I am trying to make more of an effort to visit other blogs. To help motivate me, I signed up for the Comment 4 Comment Challenge hosted by Elgee Writes. This month, I visited Bitch Bookshelf and Books and Livres and am looking forward to visiting their blogs more often during 2021. I also read voraciously this month. I’m already 4+ books ahead in my 2021 Goodreads Reading Challenge!

Alexander Hamilton: The Graphic History of an American Founding Father by Jonathan Hennessey 

Alexander Hamilton The Graphic History of an American Founding Father

This is the perfect read for anyone who wants an overview of Alexander Hamilton’s life and his role in the founding of America including the American Revolution and Continental Congress. However, I must warn you the story is choppy and slightly disjointed. Chapters jump from one event to another without much of a transition. Overall, I was able to overlook that because of all the history I was learning. I also appreciated being able to get a lot of information in less than 200 pages. In the end, I felt underwhelmed about Alexander Hamilton in general. I still don’t get the hype. Maybe I need to read the ginormous Alexander Hamiltion biography that inspired Lin Manuel Miranda next. Rating: Laborious Literature

A Great Big Cuddle by Michael Rosen

The poems are silly and funny. The illustrations are beautiful and engaging. This is a great book for family story time. My favorite poems were “Lunchtime” and “Are You Listening?” because the associated illustrations made me laugh out loud. My main criticism is this book seriously lacks diversity. Why are there only a handful of children of color? It is disappointing for a book published in 2015 to have exponentially more animals and creatures than children of color. Rating: Page Turner

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Dear Martin Book Cover

Before reading Dear Martin, I was worried about this book feeling too similar to The Hate U Give. Although the stories are similar, Dear Martin has different vibes than The Hate U Give. If you’ve been avoiding Dear Martin because you think you’ve already read this story, then think again, friend. I appreciated Justyce not being the only representation of Blackness to readers, and the book does an excellent job of presenting the spectrum of anti-Black racism. Above all else, I like that this book did not leave me devastated and in tears. Dear Martin is by no means a feel good story, but it did leave me feeling more hopeful. Rating: Carpe Librum 

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

What I loved most about Year of Yes was how it felt more like a conversation than a book. I felt like Shonda and I were chatting over brunch and she was sharing all these anecdotes and lessons learned during the year she challenged herself to stop saying no to everything. There were plenty of lessons to be learned like ending the Mommy Wars, letting go of toxic people in, and embracing the Ride or Dies. Truer words have never been spoken. Rating: Carpe Librum 


The holiday season is officially over, so Mr. J and I are off the Christmas movie train and are back to our regular ITN schedule. That means continuing on our journey of the Fast and Furious franchise and partaking of more Netflix original movies. 

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Since The Black Guy Who Tips (AKA one of my favorite Black podcasts) moved exclusively to Spotify last year, I have been listening to most of my other podcasts on Spotify. At work, I had to listen to podcasts on my desktop, and the only available option was Stitcher. I’m happy to say that I much prefer Spotify’s desktop platform to Stitcher’s. Spotify’s mobile app is much better as well. I still listen to a few podcasts using Apple’s Podcast app, and I have actually added a new podcast to my listening rotation. Earlier this month, we said goodbye to Dan LeBatard on ESPN. Since I enjoy Dan, I decided to follow him on his next endeavor, so I subscribed to the LeBatard and Friends Network. I’m still listening to Highly Questionable with Bomani at the helm, but it’s not be same without Dan and Papi.

What amazing things did you read, watch, or listen to this month?

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