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Year’s End/New Year’s Post 12/13

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The good news is that my reading has really picked up these last few months and lot of it has been great! The bad news is I’ve posted about NONE of it but since my only new year’s resolution is NOT TO WORRY ABOUT IT, here’s me not worrying about it and settling for a few multi-mini-review recaps this January instead. In the meantime, here are my favorite reads of 2012. There aren’t a lot of them but the ratio is good considering how little I read this year. Some of them haven’t been reviewed yet but will be included in afore-mentioned mini-reviews to come, so will be linked later, memory permitting. In no particular order, books I loved this year were:

Fiction:

Wizard of the Crow, by Ngugi wa Thiong’o

The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins

The Shorter Novels of Herman Melville: Bartleby the Scrivener, Benito Cereno, Billy Budd, The Encantadas

Caramelo, by Sandra Cisneros

Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier

The Snow Child, by Eowyn Ivey

(Honorable mentions to:)

Under the Net, by Iris Murdoch

The Bone People, by Keri Hulme

A Persian Requiem, by Simin Daneshvar

So Far From God, by Ana Castillo

Birds of a Lesser Paradise: Stories, by Megan Mayhew Bergman

Non-Fiction:

Other Powers: The Age of Suffrage, Spiritualism, and the Scandalous Victoria Woodhull, by Barbara Goldsmith

Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain’s Gulag in Kenya, by Caroline Elkins

So…how well did I fulfill my reading goals and challenges for last year? NOT THAT WELL! Let me count the ways.

A Year of Feminist Classics–I read one book, which was The Book of the City of Ladies, by Christine de Pizan, months after discussion had lapsed.

Kinna’s Africa ChallengeI actually did okay on this one since there was no specific book count and it overlapped with another of my own personal projects, which was to read Kenyan authors in preparation for the trip I took last August. The Housemaid, by Amma Darko, Imperial Reckoning, by Caroline Elkins, The Thing Around Your Neck, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The River and the Source, by Margaret Ogola, and Wizard of the Crow, by Ngugi wa Thiong’o all counted toward this challenge.

Read and Resist Tucson–I did okay on this one too, I guess, since it was also open as to numbers. bell hooks’ Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics, So Far From God, by Ana Castillo, and Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros counted toward this challenge.

Kenyan Authors–I wanted to read a lot about Kenya/by Kenyan authors before traveling there last summer, and what I did read definitely deepened my experience. Of the five I’d planned on, I got through…three and a half. Those were Wizard of the Crow, by Ngugi wa Thiong’o, The River and the Source, by Margaret Ogola, and Imperial Reckoning, by Caroline Elkins. I started One Day I Will Write About This Place: A Memoir, by Binyavanga Wainaina, but was NOT feeling it and put it down forever within the first hundred pages.

Victorian Spiritualism–This is a subject I find endlessly fascinating, particularly because of its relationship to ideas about gender, and I planned to delve deeply into it by reading three to five books, of which I completed one: Talking to the Dead: Kate and Maggie Fox and the Rise of Spiritualism, by Barbara Weisberg. I did, however, decide to count a book which had not been previously included in my list of options, but was totally relevant: Other Powers, by Barbara Goldsmith. I’ve since read half of The Darkened Room: Women, Power, and Spiritualism in Late Victorian England, by Alex Owen. I do plan to finish it and to revisit this topic seriously when my faculties of concentration are stronger.

So, while I think themed, or focused, reading is essential every now and then, I didn’t do quite as much of it as I’d have liked to last year and am hesitant to commit to any more in 2013. I do have ONE reading resolution, though, which is to START READING POETRY! But I’ll elaborate in another post :)

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Written by Emily Jane

January 9, 2013 at 4:37 am

6 Responses

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  1. Very varied reading and many challenges. This year, I’m yet to join a challenge. The Wizard of the Crow is a book I intend to read at a point in time.

    Nana Fredua-Agyeman

    January 10, 2013 at 9:07 am

    • Yeah, my reading is always all over the place, which is how I like it! But all the challenges proved too much for me. The Wizard of the Crow is SO SO GOOD, so I hope you get to it this year!

      Emily Jane

      January 12, 2013 at 11:38 pm

  2. Of your loved fiction list, the only one I’ve not read and also loved is Wizard of the Crow. Clearly I need to get on that! ;) Both of your nonfic books sound excellent too.

    We’re approaching te new year in the same way: not worrying about last year’s backlog and starting to read poetry! :D

    Eva

    January 10, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    • Forgot to add I also abandoned One Day I Will Write About This Place! Much earlier than you though, because present tense in a memoir horrified me so much I couldn’t concentrate on anything else.

      Eva

      January 10, 2013 at 12:58 pm

      • Haha, that bothered me less than I expected it would…but I just really didn’t like how…impressionistic (?) it was. Too stream-of-consciousness for me!

        Emily Jane

        January 12, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    • Oh, excellent! We’ll have to compare poetry notes! I’m just about to write a post about what I’m interested in reading, maybe we’ll even overlap?! And yes, I think you’d really get a kick out of Wizard of the Crow, and enjoy both the nonfiction books :)

      Emily Jane

      January 12, 2013 at 11:40 pm


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