It’s March. Again. Maybe still.
It’s been a weird month for me. I actually felt like I coped better during January and February this year, perhaps due to the stay-at-home order in my province which meant that my job at the library was limited to helping with curbside pick-up of holds, a much safer prospect than being in close quarters with patrons to provide computer support and directions. As the stay-at-home order lifted and we resumed operations (and were told that we apparently don’t qualify for any level of vaccine prioritization despite working with the public without being able to enforce a mask mandate and without the protection of plexiglass??) my mental health has deteriorated and I had tech issues as my hard drive mysteriously crashed and I had to pay to replace that. Despite the exhaustion of feeling like, at least in my province, we’re no better off and are, in fact, worse off than a year ago, I did manage to have a solid reading month, reading 10 works.
Stats: My reading this year continues to be overwhelmingly white, which is not a good look, but everything 9/10 were by women or nonbinary authors. Four of my reads were new releases and I wasn’t absolutely blown away by any of them so I’m going to make an effort to read from my backlist in the next few months.
“The Daughter of the Forest” by Juliet Marillier
“Winter’s Orbit” by Everina Maxwell
“Brown Girl in the Ring” by Nalo Hopkinson
“Slippery Creatures” by K.J. Charles
“Julius Caesar” by William Shakespeare (re-read)
“The Echo Wife” by Sarah Gailey
“Northanger Abbey” by Jane Austen
“The Lost Apothecary” by Sarah Penner
“The Councillor” by E.J. Beaton
“The Raven King” by Maggie Stiefvater (re-read)
Monthly Total: 10
Yearly Total: 28/60
Favourite: “Daughter of the Forest” is a 500+ page mass market and I read it in a matter of days I was so consumed. I did have some issues with it, but I understand why Marillier is such a beloved fantasy author and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
Least Favourite: “The Lost Apothecary” is a case of a really interesting concept executed poorly. There’s very little about the book to recommend and I can’t see myself reading future titles from this author.
Next Month: I read a lot of new releases and while I enjoyed (most) of them, they didn’t absolutely blow me away so I want to concentrate on some backlist titles and go be a little less strict in my reading. I will be reading “Mansfield Park” for Jane Austen Book Club though and I’m hoping to catch up on some of the Shakespeare plays I skipped in the last month or two.
***Seen on Screen***
WandaVision – Late to the party, I know, but I’m 5 episodes in and so far enjoying this strange MCU property. I’m too young to have much of a point of reference for sitcoms from past decades, but I’m finding Elizabeth Olsen’s acting and ability to suit the style of each era of television interesting and I’ve enjoyed the peeks we’re getting so far at what’s going on. I’m not unspoiled about how it plays out but it’s still engaging to watch it all unfold.
The Falcon & The Winter Soldier – Honestly I’m a little disappointed by this one so far but each episode has been better than the one before so I think it will pick up. I’m not sure this show knows what it wants to be. There’s some attempt to grapple with larger world economic issues, but also tackling race relations in America with Sam’s story, and there’s all of Bucky’s trauma to contend with, and now there’s Hydra involvement/super soldiers and I worry that they’ve bitten off more than they could chew. Possibly (probably) this could have used a longer (13 episode) arc like the Netflix Marvel properties that had the time for character development and to amp up story arcs. Instead, much like the marvel movies themselves, it feels like we’re getting action with a side of banter while character development is only sprinkled on top. Bucky especially deserves better, but so does Sam.
***Stage on Screen***
“Victoria” by Northern Ballet – Northern Ballet is one of my favourite ballet companies and if I lived on their side of the Atlantic I would be a regular attendee of their performances. They recently streamed “Victoria”, a new ballet choreographed by Cathy Marston about the life of the Queen, as part of their pay-what-you-can season. The ballet uses a frame narrative in which Victoria’s youngest daughter, Princess Beatrice (an expressive Pippa Moore) reads her mother’s diaries after Victoria’s death and comes to understand her mother at last. Abigail Prudames gives a tour-de-force performance as Victoria, in the first act as the austere widowed Queen and then, as Beatrice reads earlier volumes of the diaries, as a bright young woman navigating the corridors of newfound power and falling in love. Marston’s choreography shines throughout. My only quibbles were that the ballet seems to want to document every aspect of Victoria’s life, which can make the storytelling confusing and the characters hard to follow. Like so many video captures of ballet performances there is sometimes a tendency to zoom in too closely instead of letting viewers see more of the stage and movement, but this is negligible. There’s a conversation to be had about whether Queen Victoria and the Empire she represents is really the best subject for a newly commissioned work but when the work is this good the answer is murkier.
“The Dreamers Ever Leave You” Excerpt from The National Ballet of Canada – I love this ballet so much. Robert Binet’s short contemporary piece inspired by the beauty of the natural world as depicted in the works of Group of Seven artist Lawren Harris moves me every time. It was originally commissioned as an immersive experience presented at the Art Gallery of Ontario where the audience could move around the dancers as they performed. I’m so in love with the gorgeous piano score by Lubomyr Melnyk, the evocative lighting and spare costumes, and the quality of movement. “The Dreamers Ever Leave You” reminds me of the beauty and the harshness of the Northern landscape and this filmed excerpt is gorgeously shot as well. Please give this a watch, you won’t regret it!
Watch it Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWYs5djBhT0
What have you been up to for the last month? What was your favourite March read? Comment and let me know!