Marching Into March

March is here and as I type this post and look outside, I see rain-snow mix—the first snow we’ve had this year. It’s a month of promises for warmer weather and gardening, which is quite interesting since March was named after the Roman God of War, Mars. Militaries resumed their crusades after the interruption of winter.

Do you know how many observations and national days there are in March? PLENTY! Take a look here on National Day Calendar. I thought I’d look into some books regarding a few of March’s National Observances either as a theme, title, or anywhere else it fits. 😀

1) Let’s start with a few combined ones: National Flour and National Celery. We need to honor the crunchiness and complimentary additive of celery, plus flour needs recognition for its versatility and being a long-standing staple in the kitchen. Since I doubt I’d find books with celery or flour being the theme, I’ve decided to choose books that entail recipes.

I read this book last year and gave it

My Synopsis: It’s 1950’s Louisiana and Greenmount State Penitentiary needs a prison cook. As a child who grew up in the shadow of the prison, Ginny Polk takes on the job. She’s witnessed the abuse by guards in the prison—heard the men cry while beaten—never seeing them as monsters. Ginny wants to show compassion in their last hours, so she prepares the last meals for those on death row. She learns of their favorite dish, and consults with the prisoner’s relatives to get the recipe right. Even though it’s frowned upon, the warden, Roscoe Simms, allows it being that he’s involved with Ginny and was best friends with her father. Things take a turn when Ginny receives new information from a death row inmate about her father’s murderer.

This one I never heard of or read, but I just added it to my TBR list. 😀

From Amazon: After the unexpected death of her parents, painfully shy and sheltered 26-year-old Ginny Selvaggio seeks comfort in cooking from family recipes. But the rich, peppery scent of her Nonna’s soup draws an unexpected visitor into the kitchen: the ghost of Nonna herself, dead for twenty years, who appears with a cryptic warning (“do no let her…”) before vanishing like steam from a cooling dish.

A haunted kitchen isn’t Ginny’s only challenge. Her domineering sister, Amanda, (aka “Demanda”) insists on selling their parents’ house, the only home Ginny has ever known. As she packs up her parents’ belongings, Ginny finds evidence of family secrets she isn’t sure how to unravel. She knows how to turn milk into cheese and cream into butter, but she doesn’t know why her mother hid a letter in the bedroom chimney, or the identity of the woman in her father’s photographs. The more she learns, the more she realizes the keys to these riddles lie with the dead, and there’s only one way to get answers: cook from dead people’s recipes, raise their ghosts, and ask them.

2) Of course, I need to add one of my favorite snacks, National Peanut with its first inception in 1941 as National Peanut Week. Peanut butter, raw, and roasted, they are delicious alone or in a recipe.

What better way to introduce this special snack than to add one of my favorite comic-strips, Peanuts. Snoopy was the best character.

Unfortunately, this book isn’t offered on, so I can’t add it to my TBR list. 🙁

From Amazon: Over the span of fifty years, Charles M. Schulz created a comic strip that is one of the indisputable glories of American popular culture—hilarious, poignant, inimitable. Some twenty years after the last strip appeared, the characters Schulz brought to life in Peanuts continue to resonate with millions of fans, their beguiling four-panel adventures and television escapades offering lessons about happiness, friendship, disappointment, childhood, and life itself. 

In The Peanuts Papers, thirty-three writers and artists reflect on the deeper truths of Schulz’s deceptively simple comic, its impact on their lives and art and on the broader culture. These enchanting, affecting, and often quite personal essays show just how much Peanuts means to its many admirers—and the ways it invites us to ponder, in the words of Sarah Boxer, “how to survive and still be a decent human being” in an often bewildering world. Featuring essays, memoirs, poems, and two original comic strips, here is the ultimate reader’s companion for every Peanuts fan.

3) This list wouldn’t be complete without National Umbrella. What else is better to keep us protected from March rains? If it is good enough for Mary Poppins, it’s good enough for the rest of us.

I actually found a book titled Umbrella. I’ve never heard of or read it, but it sounds interesting.

From Amazon: “A brother is as easily forgotten as an umbrella.”—James Joyce, Ulysses

Audrey Death—feminist, socialist and munitions worker at Woolwich Arsenal—falls ill with encephalitis lethargica as the epidemic rages across Europe, killing a third of its victims and condemning a further third to living death.

Under the curious eyes of psychiatrist Dr. Zack Busner, assumed mental patient Audrey Death lies supine in bed above a spring grotto that she has made every one of the forty-nine years she has resided in Friern Mental Hospital.

Now retired, Dr. Busner travels waywardly across North London in search of the truth about that tumultuous summer when he awoke the post-encephalitic patients under his care using a new and powerful drug.

Weaving together a dense tapestry of consciousness and lived life across an entire century, in his latest and most ambitious novel, Will Self takes up the challenge of Modernism and reveals how it—and it alone—can unravel new and unsettling truths about our world and how it came to be.

And this concludes our National days. Maybe you’ve read one of these or you’re interested enough to read one or two of these books during their observation month.

 The brown buds thicken on the trees,
Unbound, the free streams sing,
As March leads forth across the leas
The wild and windy spring.

–Elizabeth Akers Allen (1832–1911)

If you could request a National Day, what day would it be? A humorous day or one to bring awareness to?

Observations, Awareness, and Reading,