March 2021 Reading Update

March 2021 Update

posted in: Personal Essay, Photography, Reading, Writing | 0

Thanks to the change of weather, March was a better month than we’ve had for a while. Not only have we enjoyed the warmer days and extra daylight, but March ended with some really good news: both Holly and I got our first vaccination shot! As I’m sure anyone who has gotten their first shot can attest, it is a huge relief. We will get our second shot later in April. We’ve already made plans to see my brother over the Memorial Day weekend.

Since we have some vacation time to use before the end of the fiscal year, we somewhat arbitrarily already had scheduled to take the week off leading up to the Memorial Day weekend. It’s thrilling to think we may be able to actually do something that week.

That’s not the end of March’s good news. I also was notified that one of my stories has been accepted for publication in Monday Night. It won’t be out until the fall so I’ll write more about that then. It felt good being able to update my list of publications for the first time since October 2017!

Otherwise, it’s just been great to be able to go out for walks more often. Since the time change, we have more daylight after work and have gone out several times which is a nice way to transition from work. Although we had been able to get out on weekends fairly regularly during the weekends, the walks were usually fairly short. It’s been wonderful being able to take some longer walks.


Of course, on most of the aforementioned walks, I had a camera with me. I already posed about some of those outings in my Two Cameras One Kind of Film post, my Minolta X-700 with Kodak Pro Image 100 post, and my Spring Walk with My Canon EOS 5D Mark IV post.

As I mentioned in my Testing My New Replacement Cameras post, I had gotten a Flexaret VI to replace my Flexaret VII which I thought was non-functional only to realize it was actually working (aka user error). I took it out on one of our walks to make sure, and, yes, it works fine which is good news. I used a roll of Ilford Delta 100 Professional.

Winter Tree in Perth and Addison Street Park
Winter Tree in Perth and Addison Street Park

My other photography news it that I bought an Olympus XA, which is something that’s been on my wish list for a while. It appealed because despite being a small camera, it’s not s simple point-and-shoot. It’s an aperture priority rangefinder. It’s actually smaller than I thought it would be and is fun to use. I finished one roll with it but haven’t gotten it developed yet to so I’ll have more to say about that experience later.

Olympus XA
Olympus XA


Certainly, my main writing news is getting a story accepted for publication. It eases some of my frustrations with the submission process and will definitely encourage me to keep submitting stories, at least for the near future.

Writing my Reaching One Year of Self-Isolation post was quite time-consuming, but I also found time for my February 2021 Update as well as the photography posts I already mentioned.

I restarted our food blog,, and posted there twice.

I also sent out another round of submissions (5) and finished a draft of a new story.


Short Stories

I read 2 enjoyable short stories, both, as usual from The New Yorker: The Case For and Against Love Potions, by Imbolo Mbue and Future Selves, by Ayşegül Savaş.

Short Stories Read in 2021

So far in 2021, I’ve read 7 stories that I enjoyed.


The Barnes Foundation has a new exhibit which opened at the beginning of the month: Soutine / de Kooning: Conversations in Paint. It runs until August 8th so I felt there was some chance that we would be able to go see it. But before we heard about our vaccinations, getting there still seemed uncertain so I bought the exhibit catalog edited by Simonetta Fraquelli and Claire Bernardi.

Now that we should be fully vaccinated by mid-May, we can actually make plans to see it, which is rather exciting.

Back in September, I took advantage of an offer from the National Gallery of Art. They had a sale on for a mystery selection of exhibit catalogs. Feeling like it was going to be a long autumn and winter of self-isolation, I decided to order it. I think it was only $25 for 5 books. I didn’t know what to expect, but the selection turned out to be quite interesting.

However, I never actually got around to reading any of them. While I was waiting for the Soutine / de Kooning book to arrive, I decided to read one of the other catalogs so I would keep adding to the backlog.

I chose From Minimal To Conceptual Art: Works From The Dorothy And Herbert Vogel Collection, by John T. Paoletti, partly because it was short and partly because I’ve been interested in the Vogels ever since seeing a fascinating documentary about them that was released in 2008.

I am not well-versed in minimal or conceptual art, and I found his book instructive. I also found out that I don’t seem to be much of a fan of conceptual art.

I was much more interested in the Soutine / de Kooning book, which isn’t surprising since I was interested in both of those artists already. If we do eventually get to the exhibit, it will be the first time I’ve read the exhibit catalog beforehand which I’m guessing could enhance the experience.

The other book I finished in March was This Is How You Lose the Time War, by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone. Holly read it and really liked it so I thought I would give it a try in my effort to expand the types of books I read.

It didn’t quite work for me. Although I’m fine with some ambiguity, I found the first part of the book to be pretty confusing and inconsistent. The context of the titular war is never established. The two main characters (pretty much the only characters) pass letters through time to each other. There was such a disconnect between what they wrote to each other and their other behaviors that the romance that develops never felt feasible.

March 2021 Reading Update
March 2021 Reading Update

Books Read in 2021

So far in 2021, I have read 15 books:

This Creative Midlife Posts in 2021

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