'Dear March - Come In -'
A monthly round-up of great reading, writing, watching, and listening
‘Dear March – Come in –
How glad I am –
I hoped for you before –
Put down your Hat –
You must have walked –
How out of Breath you are –
This is an extra end-of-the-month post to highlight some of the great writing and other artistic work I’ve been enjoying throughout March. To receive more discussions on all things literature, please consider becoming a free or paying subscriber.
I’ve always struggled a bit with March; there are a lot of personally difficult anniversaries this month, and although I do get excited with the appearance of new life, it is always tinged with an aura of sadness.
However, I get that tingly excited feeling when the month approaches its end, and it feels like the whole of spring and summer are at our fingertips!
On this celebratory note, I thought I would try something new this month. I’m introducing a round-up of great writing I’ve been enjoying – both on Substack and elsewhere – as well as sharing links to some newly discovered podcasts and documentaries. I hope you enjoy!
What I’ve been reading this month…I’ve just finished reading Charlotte Mendelson’s The Exhibitionist, which I found thoroughly engaging and at the same time, somewhat rage-inducing. It has forced me to return to the difficulties of women who make art, and has sparked an idea for a future newsletter.
In the meantime, this review of the recently released audio book, read by the wonderful Juliet Stevenson, is worth checking out.
I just picked up a copy of The Body Lies by Jo Baker, a book I devoured a couple of years ago and absolutely loved for its clever use of metafiction. I found in this Atlantic article evidence that I am not alone in loving a re-read!
I do really like to discover new books, but I find that particularly in times of stress or when there’s just a lot going on, I often turn to a familiar book as a source of comfort. Does anyone else find this?
The piece that most made me smile this month was this article featuring women who have opened independent bookshops as friends! I’ve written before about my interest in female writer friendships, and this feels like a lovely extension of this.
Substacks I’ve been enjoying…I hadn’t completely acknowledged the fact that it was three years since the start of the first Covid lockdowns this March until I read Liz Gumbinner’s brilliant post on her Substack I’m Walking Here. It isn’t something I want to dwell on, but I love Liz’s way of writing and how she sets out the piece, covering the important stuff, but also making room to acknowledge some of the lighter moments of the pandemic in New York City.
Also, recently launched and out of my usual comfort-reading zone, the ‘Animated’ Substack has been keeping me entertained. If you ever find yourself boring your offspring about the cartoons you loved as a kid…this is the one for you!
What I’m watching…BBC 2 have been showing a series of three documentaries this month about one of my favourite artists, Frida Kahlo. It’s now available on BBC iPlayer, if you missed it.
What I’m listening to…I’m a huge podcast fan and this month I’ve discovered not one but two new shows to keep me happy!
Firstly, I’ve been making my way through back-episodes of Anne Bogel’s ‘What Should I Read Next?’ which has caused me to order more books than I can possibly read…and just last week, one of my favourite Substackers Dr Kathleen Waller of ‘The Matterhorn’ just launched her first ever podcast episode.
I hope you find something here to inspire you! I’d love to know any books/articles/podcasts or shows you’ve been enjoying in March – as well as great Substacks to discover – please leave any suggestions in the comments so we can all enjoy them.
Next week, I’ll be posting the next installment of my in-depth study into the short story for my paying subscribers. I’ve put a poll below on which you think I should cover next: Doris Lessing or Jean Rhys.
That’s all for March – looking forward to welcoming in April and hopefully more spring sunshine – I’ll be back on Sunday with my regular newsletter, exploring more 20th century women’s writing and contemporary connections.
Postscript: A Narrative of their Own is a free weekly newsletter where I share my research and knowledge as an independent scholar into the work of 20th century women writers and their relevance to contemporary society and art. If you would like to support more of my work, for just the price of a nice coffee per month, please consider upgrading to become a paying subscriber.