2014 was a year of significant events: my oldest started high school, my husband and I both became department chairs, and we did a bunch of things to the house (new bathrooms!) that we’d been meaning to do for 14 years. Then, about two weeks ago, my father died in a car accident. So, quite a year. Still processing that last one, as you can imagine.
On the bookish front, I didn’t blog here as much as I wanted to, but I did start writing for Book Riot in May, which I’ve really enjoyed. I have said this every year for the past three, but I really want to blog more in 2015. It’s just a fun thing to do, and way more nourishing than idly scrolling through Twitter.
I also want to read more. Just more pages. I’ve been in a hospital-based book group since September (this month is a memoir, And There Was Light by Jacques Lusseyran), and I signed up for Wendy’s TBR challenge (January’s book is a “short”. Think I’ll finish The Book Smugglers’ Retold, which I started last month).
I don’t think there was anything notable about my reading in 2014, except maybe that I had my first proper glom in a while. I listened to three Liane Moriarty books, and was so sad when I realized I only have only one left on audio with the “good” narrator (there are two others with the “bad” narrator which I plan to skip). I’m not going to recommend her books to you, however, because the two IRL people who read her books on my recommendation both hated them.
I finally finished The Grand Sophy on audio and found it so funny and enjoyed the heck out of it, but couldn’t love it because Sophy doesn’t change. Right now I’m listening to Inside Scientology, which is fascinating, if you’re into that kind of thing. I’m trying to get through Mary Karr’s Lit but I may just have to admit defeat. And after enjoying Gone Girl, I started listening to Flynn’s Dark Places but the characterization of the protagonist is so overwrought I keep giggling:
IT WAS MISERABLE, wet-bone March and I was lying in bed thinking about killing myself, a hobby of mine.
Flynn, Gillian. Dark Places: A Novel (Kindle Location 112). Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
The prose is just so, I don’t know, obvious:
My neighborhood doesn’t even have a name, it’s so forgotten. It’s called Over There That Way.
Flynn, Gillian. Dark Places: A Novel (Kindle Locations 144-145). Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Maybe she’s spoofing other books and I’m not in on the joke.
In 2015, I plan on keeping a 1:3 ratio of diverse to nondiverse books. I’m in the middle of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle which is great, but feels so masculine to me after my typical steady diet of female authored books. I don’t usually keep track of what I read, but I’ll have to if I want to be consistent with this personal challenge. I briefly considered going back to Goodreads but then was reminded of how awful it can be there, so I’ll just use this space.
One thing I resolve not to do in 2015 is take any ARCs. I think I got about 7 ARCs in 2014 and actually read and blogged about 1 of them. Nothing quite guarantees that I won’t read a book like getting it from the publisher.
My progress on my current paper on the portrayal of nursing in Harlequin Medicals is steady but very very slow. Still, I’ve done most of the work and hope to have it sent off in a month or so. In 2014, Beeminder and Jo Van Every’s Meeting With Your Writing continued to be my main supports. I plan to attend PCA in April.
Following the lead of some fellow Book Rioters, I’ve been reading David Allen’s Getting Things Done and experimenting with Omnifocus. If we hadn’t done so much to the house, I would never have tried it, but I ended up cleaning out everything and moving my office, so it feels like a good time to embark on a super confusing productivity system that will probably hone my nearly perfect ability to procrastinate. I am going to have a mind like water, goddammit.
Finally, I glommed Showtime’s The Affair, and really enjoyed it. Ruth Wilson is my favorite Jane Eyre and was also great in Luther. I think fiction readers will like it because not only is the main protagonist a novelist (he’s an obscure literary fic writer, while his father-in-law is a wildly successful commercial fic writer) but each episode is told first from his point of view and then from his lover’s point of view and they differ in interesting ways (he thinks she came on to him, but she sees him as the pursuer; he sees her as dressed much more provocatively than she recalls. In general they each see themselves as more vulnerable, and more honest). It’s very overtly about narrative and so well-acted. Here’s how the creator put it in a discussion of the season one finale:
All that matters, when you’re telling a memory play, which I’ve always maintained this is, is how each party remembers the incident and what that tells the audience about their respective character.
There are cheap and soapy elements, for sure, and I’m not 100% convinced that the divergent narratives will ever be reconciled in a satisfying way, but I think it’s well worth a try.
I’m getting offline now to read more of Tessa Dare’s latest.
I hope you had a good end to 2014 and a great start to the new year!