It is my goal to find fun things to do every month this year. I got off to a slow start – I mostly hibernated in January. But things have picked up considerably since then!
First of all, Rom and I have set up a new “shared entertainment fund.” We like deciding how we’ll spend the money. There are lots of events coming up, so we’ve already spent half of our funds for March! No regrets, though.
We went to see a local production of The Importance of Being Earnest. Link had studied it in English class a couple of years ago, and convinced me to read the play. As a family, we went to see a community theatre production of it. So I was pleased to be able to attend a professional version. Rom and I agreed that the community theatre version had been very endearing and that the professional version was a bit more sterile. But the costumes and scenography made it worth seeing, and it is a feel-good play!
Rom wasn’t interested in most of the Academy Award nominated films, so I went to see Les Miserables on a night he was out. I am really happy I got to see it on the big screen. I had not read or seen any version before so the plot was a complete surprise to me, although I knew it was a melodrama. I had never seen a musical before in which all the dialogue is sung. I found that the movie/musical didn’t have a showstopper tune that was really memorable – the songs were mostly in service of the plot. I’m sure others would disagree with me on that. One thing I liked about the movie is that a lot of scenes, especially the closing scene, looked just like they would have in a theatre.
I saw one more movie on DVD this month, Young Victoria, featuring Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend. I loved it! Victoria was so strong and independent. Albert was romantic and steadfast to the point of being noble. It seemed they made a perfect match. It was a swoon-worthy love story!
We bought tickets to our local symphony’s performance of the Brandenburg Concertos, which will take place in mid-March. I have loved the Brandenburg Concertos ever since I heard Christopher Hogwood’s Academy of Ancient Music recording of it several decades ago. (I haven’t heard the newer version with Richard Egarr). I am not very familiar with classical music, but baroque really appeals to me. Maybe because the recorder is the only musical instrument I can play!
Our other musical excursions will be much noisier! We have two metal gigs coming up – In Flames in March, and Opeth in April. Far down the road, we have already bought tickets to see Rush in July. Despite being a Canadian band, they have not played in Halifax for over 25 years! Every boy I ever liked was a Rush fan. Maybe that says I only liked nerdy boys 🙂 Rush introduced me to a quote that has stayed with me ever since I heard their album Permanent Waves: “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.” So true!
Once again we passed on the Opera Live show and will need to attend one later in the year.
I fared better with my reading in February. I read:
Noughties – by Ben Masters
This is a novel for particular tastes because it is extremely self-conscious. An Oxford student of English literature is about to graduate, and has to own up to his past mistakes. Elliot goes out drinking and texting, suffers though English tutorials, and stays true to his best mates. I liked the contrast between the beauty and meaning of the works that Elliot is studying, and his actual nights spent puking in toilets! I also thought that the complexities of the friendships in the book rang true. See what you think!
Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child – by Bob Spitz
My memories of Julia Child are half based on seeing her on TV when I was a child, and half based on the recent movie Julie and Julia. I do think the author spent too much time describing the lives of Julia’s parents and grandparents. The book comes into its own when her cooking career kicks off at about age 50! The book confirms that she was a gutsy and ebullient person throughout her long life.
½ of The In-Between World of Vikram Lall – by MG Vassanji
I read this book about 4 years ago. It was chosen as the first selection for a new book club I’m attending on International Fiction. I only had time to re-read half of it before the book club meeting, but we had a great discussion. Our next book is Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter.
½ of Developing Community-Led Public Libraries – by Ken Williment and John Pateman
My colleague co-wrote this book, and it was based on work that the two of us did at different times as part of a national team, all about re-inventing library services based on community needs. The project was inspired by work done by John Pateman and others in the UK, also described in the book. Together, Ken and John have detailed how Canada and the UK have progressed with making public libraries more community-oriented, and less like silent repositories of learning. I borrowed a pre-pub copy from Ken for a few days, and will need to finish it on its release date!
I am currently reading Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. It is exactly the kind of book I like, combining pop culture, technology and antiquities…which makes it kinda steampunk! If you liked Ready Player One or Super Sad True Love Story, you would like this, too. It is much more contemporary than A Discovery of Witches.
I have a stack of graphic novels at home waiting to be read next.
In other book news, I went to a presentation by author Craig Smith, whose latest book is The Journey Continues: An Atlantic Canadian Black Experience. The talk focused on how he did his research on local Black history through personal conversations, correspondence, archives visits, and other distinctly non-Google techniques!
Besides celebrating African Heritage Month, February also brought Valentines Day, which we celebrated 3 times over. We’ve agreed that although we like to go out to eat, we wouldn’t do it on the 14th, when restaurants offer set menus and the staff are just trying to churn people through. So on another day that week, we went out to a cafe for cheesecake, and took our time over it. Closer to the 14th, we exchanged little gifts. Finally, my mom helps to organize a big Valentine coffee party at her church every year, and we always go for the all-you-can-eat homemade coffee cake, tea biscuits and other treats!
In addition to everything else, there was always the Superbowl and the Academy Awards to celebrate as well!
One thing I didn’t celebrate was the weather. It was unusually cold and we had a strange mix of inconvenient snow storms and rain storms. On one Saturday, we were delightfully snowed in. Otherwise, we got out a lot and had fun (except that none of it was actually fun in the snow, ahem!)
Here’s to an equally happy March!