Let’s Rewind March, which was a lot more fun than I expected, and also my birthday month! 🙂
Let’s Rewind is my version of a monthly wrap up but instead of talking about only books, I include all types of other shit, like articles… bookish news… commercials… random-ass links… movies… art… podcasts… cartoons… and whatever the hell 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.
March was wonderful and not because my birthday popped up because it didn’t go as planned. Still, I enjoyed my birthday for what it was and hope to partake of some of things I had planned for it later this month.
As is often becoming the case lately, I was super busy in March with my jobs, but I enjoyed them although I was sometimes tempted to quit my second job because of how tired I was on some days and how much my free time has shortened. These days, I have to make plans weeks in advance to hang out or run a simple errand because of the amount of work hours I put in on the weekend. But there’s a reason for this, a goal, which I’m not yet ready to share on here, so I’ll persist with juggling these two gigs.
I did some travelling at the end of March too and was able to visit Providence, R.I., for a conference on copy editing. It was a wonderful experience. I learned loads, made some connections, and even met one of my book blogger friends — Sara Letourneau, who is a writer, poet, and an editor. (Sara is a freelance editor. You can visit her website to see what services she provides.) I’ve only ever met one other blogger in real life who I’m familiar with on here, so I was ecstatic to meet Sara.
I also bought Dreyer’s English by Benjamin Dreyer, who is copy chief at Random House, and got him to sign it. I got lucky. I wasn’t interested in the book, despite it being a best seller, until I heard Dreyer talk about writing it and his experiences as a copy editor in a session at the conference. I like Dreyer’s personality and because he said one of the feedback he got on the book is that the writing sounds like him, I decided to buy it and get it signed. A local independent bookstore was at the conference selling books that would interest attendees, and I managed to get the last copy they had on the last day of the conference during Dreyer’s book signing session. I was plenty pleased about this.
I also took a stroll around Brown University’s campus and snapped pictures of all the beautiful buildings I saw and even found a Lovecraft-themed book stop, which was pretty cool. You can check out my photos on my Instagram page. Overall, this visit to Providence was a wonderful and great way to end the month.
If not for audio books, I probably wouldn’t have completed as many books as I did this month. However, the first book I completed was a hardcover copy of To Night Owl from Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan & Meg Wolitzer. It’s the first book I’ve read by either author, and I loved it. It’s a middle-grade contemporary novel about two girls who are raised by single dads who are dating each other. The story is like the movie Parent Trap but with a twist. The girls don’t want their dads to be together or to go to the summer camp their dads want to send them. The entire story is told through emails. It was a fun, sometimes hilarious, read. I highly recommend it and think it’s one all age groups can enjoy.
I wanted something to listen to at work, so I downloaded the audiobook for The Alienist by Caleb Carr from my library. It’s narrated by Edward Herrman. It’s a historical fiction, psychological thriller novel set in New York City in mid-1980s in which characters use new methods (for the time) such as fingerprints and psychological analysis, to solve a series of murders. It was a compelling read. I whisked through it so quickly that I became convinced that the best books to consume on audio are thrillers, which led to my next read.
Red Dragon by Thomas Harris was just as compelling and just as quick a read on audio. I almost finished it in a day. The audiobook is narrated by Alan Sklar and was not what I expected. I thought it would be a prequel to The Silence of the Lambs and would focus on a young Hannibal Lecter, but instead we are given a different serial killer and follow an experienced detective, who had caught Hannibal Lecter, as he tries to solve the case.
Next, I took a chance on a book I had never heard of from a genre I don’t often read. Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen is described as “Jane Eyre meets Beauty and the Beast,” which I think is a fitting description. It’s a historical fiction, steampunk romance novel about a young woman who visits her ailing newlywed cousin to find out what’s causing her cousin to be ill but encounters a ghost while trying to puzzle out the mystery of her cousin’s illness. The audiobook is narrated by Saskia Maarleveld, whose accent kept me hooked on the story. Though a different genre, Beauty and the Clockwork Beast was just as compelling as the thrillers above. I look forward to trying another book in the series. Supernatural creatures are part of the book’s world, so I’d like to know more about them.
Those with a star (★) are the ones that stuck with me.
Social issues & current affairs
★ Why Donald Trump Could Win Again, by Dave Eggers (theguardian.com)
— Eggers talks about the turn out at two rallies in El Paso, Texas: one was a Trump rally; the other was by Beto O’Rourke, a former Texan congressman and Democrat who’s campaigning to run in the 2020 presidential elections. Eggers talks about the diversity of the crowd, the attendees’ political leanings and their opinion about Trump, and how the crowd at the Trump rally compare to that at O’Rourke’s. The article was a bit unsettling because of the misinformation given out at the Trump rally (like the cries to “finish the wall,” which hasn’t even started construction yet) and that people are drawn to the show of Trump’s rallies. They expect to be entertained there, which is part of the reason why his rallies draw such large crowds.
“…to write a story or a poem or an essay is to make a claim about what we find beautiful, about what moves us, to reveal a vision of the world, which is always terrifying; to write seriously is to find ourselves always pressed against not just our technical but our moral limits.”
— The writer talks about his experience with dysmetropsia (a.k.a. Alice in Wonderland syndrome), a disorienting condition that affects perception, and how it affects his writing.
Authors & publishing
Why Marlon James Decided to Write an African “Game of Thrones” (newyorker.com)
— A profile of Marlon James that talks about James’s life in Jamaica and the events that led up to him writing his recently published fantasy novel, Black Leopard, Red Wolf.
★ A Suspense Novelist’s Trail of Deceptions (newyorker.com)
— A profile of Dan Mallory, a.k.a. A.J. Finn, author of The Woman in the Window, that exposes the lies he told to get into book publishing. Reading this article made me think of Elizabeth Holmes (she created the medical startup Theranos), who I read about in John Carreyrou’s Bad Blood, and Billy McFarland (creator of Fyre Festival), which I learned about from the two documentaries (on Netflix and Hulu) on the scam Fyre Festival.
What I Bought With My Oprah’s Book Club Money (thecut.com)
— Tayari Jones, author of An American Marriage which was an Oprah Book Club pick, talks about how being chosen for Oprah’s book club affected her finances and why she will keep her day job.
Let’s take a moment to reminisce on one of my favorite series of movies — Kid n Play’s House Party.
I surprised myself by watching a bunch of stuff in March.
I went to a free screening of it with a friend and fell asleep a few minutes into the movie. I didn’t like it; I thought it was cheesy, but the animation was cool.
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this movie. I like that it’s fantasy and has lots of fighting. It was entertaining.
This was such fun! It’s not exactly what I expected, but I enjoyed it. Jack Jack was my favorite, of course.
What We Do in the Shadows
This is a new comedy on FX and it’s flipping hilarious! I started watching it by chance. I was searching for something to watch on TV when I found it and it had me cracking up. It’s about vampires trying to adapt to modern life. It’s so funny. I’ve been telling everyone I know about it and someone told me it’s based on a movie! I didn’t know that! Now I have to find and watch that movie.
Fyre (on Netflix) and Fyre Fraud (on Hulu)
After reading John Carreyrou’s Bad Blood, I recommended it to almost everyone I know. Someone mentioned the Fyre Festival and finally I watched the documentaries. Both documentaries are worth watching. They are about the Fyre Festival, which was created by Billy McFarland and the rapper Ja Rule. Many people paid thousands of dollars to attend the festival, but it never happened. People were told there would be performances by major celebs, that they would stay in luxury tents or on yachts where they would be served by celebrity chefs, but none of that happened. It turned out to be one big fraud.
I think it’s worth watching both documentaries to get the full story, but the one on Netflix — Fyre — made me cringe as I watched. McFarland struck me as either really dumb and in over his head, or extremely conniving with little to no conscience or remorse for how his actions affect others.
Into the Badlands
I love this show! I’m sad that it’s now on it’s last season, but I understand why it would wrap up so soon. The story is weak and isn’t intriguing enough. However, I look past that because I enjoy watching it for the costumes and the martial arts.
I’m still hooked on this though the story has lost me again. I think this show works best for me when I can marathon it. I hate having to wait a whole week for the next episode.
The first season has ended. It was okay but not gripping, so I don’t think I’ll continue with it. I’m just not interested in the story or the characters. I was hoping for more complexity.
That’s it for my March. How have you been? What are you reading or watching?
I planned to catch up on Game of Thrones before the new season airs this year, but that plan failed. Now I think I’ll complete the TV series after I complete the books, that’s if the books are ever completed.