Richard Blanco Reads "One Day" at the 2013 Presidential Inauguration

I was really impressed with Cuban-American poet Richard Blanco and his original poem "One Day" which he wrote and read for the 2013 Presidential Inauguration. I heard an interview on NPR with him and was really impressed at how thoughtful, eloquent and receptive he is and all of this was made apparent in his beautiful poem.

I was really proud watching a fellow Latino read a poem at yesterday's inauguration. As a Latina studying English in undergrad, I always felt like the odd one out. There weren't many Latinos in my program (in fact I only remember seeing two in odd classes but they weren't English majors) and the school's Latino/a association would send me a letter every term/semester encouraging me not to drop out of school because that's what Latinos do. Those letters still anger me to this day. I wish I would have kept one. I would have framed it and put it up on my wall as I went on to graduate from both undergrad and grad schools. Against many odds, I am a Latina, who got two Liberal Arts degrees and pursued her love of arts and literature.

Reading a little more online about Richard Blanco, I found out that he is an Engineer and poet. I thought this was an interesting combination in which he employs two very different sides of his brain. It reminds me of my start in Zoology (I was really good at Biology, Science and Math) but my switch to English. I could identify with Blanco and I am very glad he was chosen to deliver the inaugural poem. I'll definitely be checking out Blanco's work in the future.

Weddings and Movie Stars

Weddings and Movie Stars
by Tony Nourmand and Graham Marsh
Hardcover, 287 pages
Reel Art Press
April 2011

Find the book on:
Barnes & Noble

This review originally appeared on my classic film blog Out of the Past.

Weddings and Movie Stars is a beautiful coffee table book available from the experts in quality photography books, Reel Art Press.

In June of last year, I attended Book Expo America, a big book industry trade show held every year in New York City. I saw a sign for a company called Reel Art Press, a small indie UK publisher I had never heard of. I thought I'd stop by their booth and check out the Kennedy coffee table book they had been advertising. When I arrived at their booth, I was pleasantly surprised to see multiple high quality classic film related coffee table books including one called Weddings and Movie Stars. I was about to get married in a few weeks and it just seemed like kismet that I found out about this publisher and the book. As soon as I got back home, I ordered the book and had so much fun reading it and looking at the wonderful photographs. Since one of my wedding's themes was Classic Hollywood, it was nice to own this.

Weddings and Movie Stars is a huge book! It is 11.75 inches wide and 13.75 inches tall and clocks in at about 7 pounds in weight (I measured it and weighed it myself). The quality photographs are a mixture of black and white and full color and they are gorgeous making this book total eye candy. The images are mostly from real life movie star weddings but also include on screen weddings. You'll see images from the Hollywood elite of the 1920s through to the 1970s with a few modern images. It ends with a somewhat odd tribute to The Graduate (1967) which I think they could have done without.

The photographs in this book are stunning. Some take up a single page or fill up a two page spread. Other pages have a couple images on one page. Basically what I am trying to say is that these are big luscious pictures that you will want to look at over and over again. Each photograph comes with captions which provide detail information about the couple and the wedding. There are lots of great anecdotes and stories as well as trivia bits about the designer of the gown, the circumstances of the wedding, and the inevitable quips about the various divorces that followed.

This book is $79.95 which is quite pricey but Weddings and Movie Stars is a collector's piece and worth the investment. This would make a really nice gift for a new bride especially one like myself who appreciates the style of the 20th century. It would also make for a great addition to anyone's coffee table. When storing it, lay it flat on its back or spine side down if you are putting in a book case, make sure it's spine side down. I made the mistake of putting the book on a book shelf sideways with the spine up and the heavy pages pulled at the spine ripping it a bit. It's a heavy book so make sure you take care of it!

They listed Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz as getting married in 1930 when the correct year was 1940. Oops! Also there are several non-movie star weddings including all the members of the Beatles but for the most part it sticks to actors and actresses.

You may not find Weddings and Movie Stars at your local bookstore but you can find it online at various bookstores and for sale at Reel Art Press.

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge

2013 Reading Challenge

2013 Reading Challenge
Raquel has read 0 books toward her goal of 75 books.
view books

Every year, I wake up on New Years day and set my next yearly reading challenge on Goodreads. I get so excited to do this and to think of all the books I'll be reading throughout the year. This year I set a challenge of 75. That was my challenge last year too but I had to drop it down to 60. Wedding planning, the actual wedding and honeymoon ate up a lot of potential reading time (although I did read two books during my honeymoon). This year I don't have any major things to plan, except for buying a house, so I hope I'll have more time to devote to reading.

I love following the reading challenge widget on Goodreads as the year progresses. It lets you know how far along you are and if you are ahead based on number of books set and time of year or if you are behind. Whenever I'm behind, it's good motivation to get reading and add some more books to the list. I'm so glad that Goodreads came up with this idea!

I have three chunksters from 2012 to finish which will count towards my 2013 list but otherwise it'll be all new books.

What's your reading challenge for 2013?
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