March in Review

As always, thanks for reading. Y’all are great! There’s been a lot of participation lately – new people are commenting on my posts and I’m chatting with them on theirs. It’s a fun little blogging community! 🙂 I finished the first round of edits on my first draft ahead of my birthday deadline, but I still need to write up that extra chapter. That and selecting second draft readers are on my April to-do list. More on that in a minute; check out my super busy March:

Books

“Queen by Right” by Anne Easter Smith was our book club selection this month. It’s a historical fiction novel about Cecily Neville, Duchess of York and ancestor of every English monarch from her time to the present day. Cecily’s husband Richard was the guy who kicked off the Wars of the Roses (the houses of York and Lancaster, both descended from the royal house of Plantagenet and both fighting for their claim to the throne.) The book fantasizes about Cecily’s personality and relationship with her husband and children, but, as with all historical fiction (in my opinion), it inevitably gets a bit cheesy. Really, this book made me want to look up info on the real woman and the real wars — much more interesting.

If you want to be super impressed by a first-time author, read “The Tiger’s Wife” by Tea Obreht. The woman is not yet 30 years old and this novel reads like one written by someone twice her age. A young doctor, Natalia, learns of her grandfather’s death while she’s in a remote area administering vaccines to orphans. Natalia receives a call from her grandmother, who tells her that her grandfather died in a village not far from where Natalie is working. Was he on his way to see her, or was he there for some other reason? Natalia investigates the location and recalls the stories her grandfather shared of his childhood to try to piece together the answer.

Half a dozen copies of “To Selena, With Love” by Chris Perez were delivered to the newsroom. I figured, what the heck? Perez is the widower of Selena Quintanilla Perez, the Tejano singer who was murdered 17 years ago when she was only 23 years old and on the brink of mainstream fame. This is the first book he’s written about their relationship and his struggle to pick up the pieces after her death. I was 14 when Selena died and distinctly remember seeing a bunch of girls sobbing in the halls at school that day. Not being a fan of Tejano music, I had no idea who she was. That changed immediately — she was everywhere. Perez’s story is a new glimpse into what we already know about Selena, and a love letter from a husband who has never stopped loving her.

“The Accidental Feminist: How Elizabeth Taylor Raised Our Consciousness and We Were Too Distracted By Her Beauty to Notice.” Whew, it’s a mouthful, isn’t it? Author M.G. Lord analyzes Taylor’s movie roles and personal life to uncover themes of women’s empowerment and equality. Did you know that she worked actively against Hollywood’s Production Code, which restricted content in films for more than 30 years — especially when it came to women’s issues? Me neither! This is a fascinating study of how Taylor expressed her ideals through her work until the ’80s and the AIDS epidemic, when she got up in everyone’s faces as herself. I loved her already; this information makes me love her even more.

Movies

“Safe House” Ryan Reynolds is yummy and Denzel Washington is at his best when you don’t know whether to root for or against him.

“Hugo” A beautiful movie about the power of magic and the magic of art. It deserved all its nominations, but I’m still glad “The Artist” won Best Picture.

“Pina” An abstract tribute to choreographer Pina Bausch. I’m not going to pretend I understood all of it; her company knew what they were doing.

“The Hunger Games” Such a good adaptation! I’ve seen it twice already and would be willing to go again… and again. 🙂

Internet Highlights

Feel like you’re in a rut? Visit the Community of Change for inspiration on how to get out.

This CNN.com article about how children’s books might just have all the answers.

“Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative” by Austin Kleon. His site and blog are great, but I definitely need to have that book on my shelf, like, ASAP.

Sometimes you just have to think out of the box. Or, in this case, inside-out of the box. 🙂

If you’re not inspired by this cancer patient who turned her creative hobby into a business to help pay for her treatment, you have no soul.

“How to Find Your Purpose and Do What You Love” by Maria Popova.

Texas, sadly, looks a bit sparse on this Booklover’s Map of Literary Geography. 😦

Book Madness. Finally, a bracket I can get behind!

Fans of “The Hunger Games” were inspired to start a social campaign to fight for food justice. Awesome.

Libraries of the rich and famous, also known as the site that makes Stefanie drool.

Coming up in April

It’s a wonder I met my editing deadline. March was hopping! (As I was creating this post I noticed all my reading was female-centric. Perhaps a subconscious participation in Women’s History Month?)

I’m going to have to cool it a bit for April because I need to write that chapter and put in my edits so I can have a second draft to give to a pair of readers. (I know who I’m going to ask and will share that info once I get confirmation.) Also, April is Fiesta — a 10-day, city-wide party that will basically consume my life April 19-29. Don’t worry. I’ll take photos. 🙂

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3 thoughts on “March in Review

  1. Pingback: June in Review « stefawrites

  2. I don’t have much, if anything, to contribute to your blog, but I do so enjoy your insights, your observations, and your humor.

    love you

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