Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Friday, February 19, 2016

Setting up some spring reading with these March and April book releases

 With the move from Groundhog's Day to Easter Bunny season getting faster, there's one thing that readers long to see as the start of spring time, even more than blooming flowers and that first sight of a robin; brand new books.

Sure, summer is a big book season but don't count out spring. Despite the shorter time span for that window to be open these days, those early stirrings of warm yet not sweltering hot weather are perfectly suited to encourage outdoor reading, not to mention being able to concentrate better on the words across the pages.

This set of March and April new titles should offer a nice bouquet of literary posies that create a interesting scent of imagination and knowledge for the budding book gardener:

AUSTEN REPLANTED: The latest modern take on Jane Austen's classic Pride and Prejudice comes from author Curtis Sittenfeld as part of the Austen Project yet I'm sure it will stand alone on it's own merits.

Eligible has Liz Bennet and her sister Jane living in New York but coming home to Cincinnati to check on their ailing father. With the family home in bad shape, their mother is eager to have all of her five girls line up for Chip Bingley's Bachelor-esque dating show in order to solve all of their problems.

Liz is not on board with that and also not happy to deal with Bingley's doctor buddy Darcy and his snobbish ways. Personally, I like the reality show element being added here as P&P has proven to be suitable for that style of story telling and Sittenfeld's new look at such a familiar story needs a sharp twist to be able to compete with the many retellings that are out there. This should be quite engaging to check out, indeed(April):

A TRIPLE PLAY OF LITERARY LADY POWER: I found at least three nonfiction titles due out this season that have to do with strongly solid creative women and while one of them happens to be fictional, each one brings a grounded in reality resonance to her legacy.

First up is Claire Harman's biography, Charlotte Bronte: A Fiery Heart, that focuses on how Charlotte's upbringing with her rather close knit family helped to bring about the emotional depths that lead her to write such passionate novels as Jane Eyre and Villette.

Even though Charlotte supported her sisters Anne and Emily with their own writing efforts, her own talents were manifold and lead to a life of artistic independence that brought her equal shares of sorrow and joy. By revisiting this author on the 200th anniversary of her birth, Harman presents a vivid portrait of Bronte highlighted by the frame of her Haworth home(March):

 With the recent announcement of a new Little House on the Prairie movie in the works, there is sure to be a revival of interest in Laura Ingalls Wilder, the creator of that iconic children's series that lead to the memorable TV series that many of us grew up with.

The timing couldn't be better for The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder , which has both personal and professional letters that have only been available to scholars until now. Editor William Anderson includes among the bounty of letters some of the correspondence between Ingalls Wilder and her editor Ursula Nordstrom along with responses to the many fans of the books and contributions from her daughter(and later author/editor) Rose Wilder Lane.

Little House readers will find this immensely interesting but I do suspect that even newcomers to this bookish slice of Americana might see plenty to explore here as well(March):

Last but up,up and away from least, blogger Tim Hanley follows up his excellent examination of a DC Comics legend,Wonder Woman Unbound, with another take on an  iconic comic book heroine who is just as well known to the public and is just as underestimated.

Investigating Lois Lane traces the pioneering path of the woman that many simply write off as "Superman's girlfriend" and shows what an amazing character she truly is. Lois has had her unfair share of damsel in distress moments(not to mention bad romance times with the Man of Steel) yet she's also proven to be smart, brave and willing to take risks that are not backed up by super powers.

The book not only chronicles her ever changing image in the comic books, her live action and animated renditions of Lois are also included. Hanley's spotlight on Lois Lane promises to show what a true superhero this savvy lady is in her own right(March):

A DANCE HALL DEBUT: Short story writer Alison Love hits the dance floor with her first novel, The Girl From the Paradise Ballroom, that adds a new groove to a well worn routine.

Singer Antonio is surprised to realize that he has meet Olivia, the wife of his wealthy patron before. She instantly fears that her past as a dance hall hostess at the Paradise Ballroom will be revealed but with the approach of WWII, both she and Antonio find themselves drawn together for support in more ways than one.

 I received this book courtesy of Library Thing and even though the author is new to me,a good period romance is well worth the page turning. Love promises to provide a sweet steady beat with a few fresh steps that you can dance to(April):

 NOVEL LOOKS AT HISTORICAL LADIES: The life and times of birth control crusader Margaret Sanger are at the heart of Ellen Feldman's upcoming novel. Terrible Virtue follows Margaret from her days as a nurse seeking a solution for other women like her own mother, who was trapped by poverty and ill health from improper care during her many pregnancies.

Her struggles to begin a respectable women's health clinic in the early days of the twentieth century were met with various obstacles from religious figures and community leaders, forcing her at one point to leave the country. The toll on her personal and family life was harsh at times as well.

Nevertheless, Margaret persisted in her social justice work, with the aid of a few allies such as Emma Goldman, and her firm commitment paid off as her efforts resulted in the development of the birth control pill along with the foundation of Planned Parenthood. Granted, this is a novel but if you're looking for more backstory on the origins of the movement for a woman's right to choose, this book sounds like a fine introduction to me(March).

Allison Pataki continues her look at Empress Elisabeth of Austria-Hungary that began in The Accidental Empress with Sisi:Empress on Her Own. Here, she is no longer the blushing young bride but a woman who is now ready and willing to take up what reins of power are at her disposal.

While her husband Franz Joseph is distracted by maintaining political alliances, Sisi soon realizes that her input in such matters proves to be of true value yet that power play doesn't give her the deep down  personal satisfaction that she longs for.  In keeping a balance between head and heart, Sisi has to choose which one is worth sacrificing.

I also received this from Library Thing but will probably read The Accidental Empress first. I'm sure that this book can be enjoyed without having read that one yet I did enjoy Pataki's The Traitor's Wife and would like to indulge in the full literary feast that the author has prepared(March):

I do hope that this spring selection helps any of you out there seeking a new read for the warm days to come. Out of all of the struggles that a reader has to deal with, picking the next on your book waiting list is a challenge that knows no season to skip over:


JaneGS said...

I would love to read the Claire Harmon bio of CB--Harmon is one of my favorite biographers and Charlotte and her siblings are a wonderful subject. Is the French film you showed a clip of in French (I assume so, with subtitles). My favorite is still the BBC bio from the 1970s based on Gaskell's bio of Charlotte, and I would love to see that remade, perhaps without the 1970's hairstyles :)

I'm on a LIW kick myself--I must say that I found the documentary a bit grating. I really hate reenactments like that because they always make what I love about the Little House books seem so corny. But that's just me.

Great post with wonderful info.

lady t said...

Thanks,Jane-I do believe that Bronte movie is in French(haven't seen it but the trailer felt right to me when I found it on YouTube).