Happy New Year! As I type this, it’s still quite a few hours away where I am, but New Zealand had already seen in the New Year as I was making my way in to work this morning (a half-day only–and I’m off the rest of the week, yay!), so I’m just managing to sneak in one last post for 2014.
The Santa-hatted dragon/sea serpent above does seem a bit out of place for a New Year’s post, but I like the reflection it makes onto the pond below. And that’s what the end of the year always is: a time of reflection, of looking back, even while looking forward. So, before I state my 2015 plans, a look back at 2014.
I hoped 2014 to be a relatively low-stress year, or as I stated a year ago, “I’m over self-created non-necessary deadlines.” I have never done so well at a “resolution” of sorts as that one. Somehow my deliberate removal of artificial stresses (e.g., not worrying if I didn’t finish a book in my originally desired time frame) slid over into my work life and other than a few moments of panic (the deadline is WHEN?!), I managed to stay low-key at work as well. Given the madness that is about to descend at work next week (shoot–right in the middle of my January event), hopefully I can maintain this into the new year.
Besides that, my goals last year:
- To participate in The Classics Club’s Jan. 4th readathon. Done & easy.
- To have fun reading as many children’s classics as possible in January. And in February and August and December and…
- Once February rolls around, it will be all mostly Ohio-based reads for a good stretch of time.
I tapered off after June, but I made it through 6 novels/collections.
- Actually manage a book in translation by reading something for o’s Russian Literature 2014. Oops…nothing that qualified as a Russian classic. But…I read 6 novels/plays/poetry collections in translation (1 from Swedish, 2 from Russian, 3 from Spanish) AND read a play and poetry collection IN Spanish.
- Join Richard in reading Don Quixote at the end of the year. Postponed by Richard until early 2015, much to my relief. (Umm…and I still need to start this.)
- Some sort of return to the Cinematic Treasures project. Nope. One of these days…
- A Year of Masterworks (classical music listening project). Stalled out on Bach. I’m just not that big of a fan of (most) Baroque music. It’s now been redesignated as a long-term project.
All in all, not too bad.
Reviewing my books read list, it looks like 2014 was my most diverse reading year since I started the blog. It was about a 2:1 male to female ratio (last year was closer to 1:1), but some of the poems (the ones by Ohio-authors) and both short story collections were by African-Americans (Ohioans), and one novella was by a Latin American. As referenced above, I went from 0 translations in 2013 to 6 in 2014–and, given my plans for the Ohio project, I had only expected to read 1 translation at most. I also read more than just novels (my typical preference), including short stories, poetry, a play, and non-fiction. My various reads also hit 8 of my project lists (2 for Classics Club, 5 for Children’s Classics, 2 for Siglo de Oro, 1 from Realists and Romantics, 2 from Libros españoles, 1 from Senstaion! and 2 from Mysteries & Detective Fiction). Either I have too many project lists (probable) or I’m doing pretty good at staying disciplined (ha!). And I have 29 titles/collections listed in my books read list. I don’t think I could have done better had I planned it… (Actually, the Ohio project was, perhaps surprisingly, largely responsible for the amount of variety in my reading this year, translations excepted.)
So I feel like I should say I had a good reading year. My only regret (besides a mostly lousy reading December) is that nothing stands out to me as fantastic in the same way As I Lay Dying did a year ago. Charming, enjoyable, enchanting, lovely, yes, though, so I probably shouldn’t complain. My favorites for the year, by date read:
- Finn Family Moomintroll – So charming!
- The 13 Clocks – The wordplay!
- The Golden Age: Poems of the Spanish Renaissance – I still can’t believe that I enjoyed these so much, given my reluctance to read poetry. Wonderful.
- The Conjure Stories – I can’t say I enjoyed these so much as they seem important as a view at our past, and also as an example of how a talented author can subvert the expectations of the day.
- Chronicle of a Death Foretold – Either this or The Golden Age is the best book I read this year.
- The Shadow of the Wind – I never blogged this one, but it was pure enjoyment–immersing myself into the world of the novel.
- Let’s Talk About Love: Why Other People Have Such Bad Taste – I WILL post on this one, eventually. A very thought-provoking read about our musical (and other) tastes, and the role culture and society plays in forming them.
- Blue Lily, Lily Blue – I never blogged this one either, but same sentiment as The Shadow of the Wind.
I don’t have many goals for 2015. I’ve decided, in general, to stay away from grand plans for my reading–no big projects for 2015, no limitations. I like the freedom of joining in a spontaneous readalong if I want or of following a thread of thought from one book the next; there were so many threads I wanted to follow in 2014, but put aside in favor of following previously established plans. There is the January Classic Children’s Literature, of course. And I have in the back of my mind some books I’m hoping to get to–but no pressure if I don’t.
One challenge I find I can’t resist, however: O’s Reading England.
The Goal: To travel England by reading, and read at least one book per however many counties of England you decide to read.
Since I don’t want to pressure myself with long plans, I’m just aiming for level 1 (1-3 counties). What’s delightful about Reading England is that there are so many options already on my shelves. I’m sure to read something appropriate this year, especially as every time I think of the idea of this challenge I want to go pick something up to read. Maybe I will finally read one of the Annotated Austens I’ve been collecting.
And with that, I wish you a Happy New Year! Welcome 2015!