Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile

Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile

“Queen Sugar” offers a fresh perspective on the New South, a landscape marred by inequity yet rich in complexity and perseverance. In it, debut novelist Natalie Baszile gives us that elusive treat — an appropriately complex black woman protagonist.

Told through the eyes of a down-but-not-out Los Angeles art teacher, Charley Bordelan, the novel chronicles her attempt to make a life and build a business on sugarcane land in Louisiana. The “gift” of 800 acres from her recently deceased father gives the young widow and her 11-year-old daughter a fresh start, if not an easy one.

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Five Micro-Resolutions for a Healthy New Year

Healthy Virginia Youth Day 2015

Last year I went big with my New Year’s Resolutions.  I had a slew of self-improvement projects on the docket, including the infamous “This Year I Learn to Cook” intention.  Guess what? I didn’t.  I got busy doing more important things, and I learned to order groceries and … Read More


Books: The Greatest Gift of All

Books: The Greatest Gift of All

I think books need some cheerleading these days as gift options for kids. They aren’t (usually) shiny, they don’t (hopefully) make noise and they require some work to enjoy. Nevertheless, books are homerun gift picks because they position literacy as something to be … Read More

Advice and Inspiration for Smart Women

What do women really want? Trust me, it’s not “balance.”

This blog offers a daily exploration of the varied, determined, sometimes misguided, but unfailingly human ways that women pursue meaning and happiness. Peruse the eclectic mix of advice, interviews, trend spotting and social commentary, then let me know what you think.

Here are a few of my favorite posts to get you started:

Come on. Click around. It’ll be fun, I promise!

Maya Smart