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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

A Blog Award and a Heads Up

with 16 comments

Thank you Kinna for giving me my first blog award! I’m uncommonly excited about it. It’s the One Lovely Blog Award, and the rules are as follows:

1. Post on your blog that you received the award.
2. Choose 15 other newly discovered bloggers that you love, and award them with this.
3. Send them a message/comment to let them know.

I started blogging last spring, which seems like yesterday, so it feels like all the blogs I follow are still new to me. I’ll do my best to weed out the newest, some of which I haven’t even commented on yet. 15 is kind of a lot! Apologies if any these bloggers have already been tagged. In no particular order:

1. Stuck in a Book

2. Whispering Gums

3. ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

4. Book Snob

5. Caravana de Recuerdoes

6. Book Gazing

7. Silver Threads

8. A Rat in the Book Pile

9. ImageNations

10. Coffee and a Book Chick

11. The Lesbrary

12. The Indextrious Reader

13. Biblibio

14. Jenny’s Books

15. Park Benches and Bookends

Whew! What a list. I will do my best to alert all my “nominees” in the next few days.

And now the heads up. I’m going back to school tomorrow after having taken some time off (insert nervous jitters here). I don’t know how this will affect my blogging. It might slow things down, might speed them up…I’m studying history and political theory, so most of my reading will obviously reflect that. Whether I will choose to post on stuff I’m reading for school or not is as yet undecided. So if things get a little quieter around here, or you notice a shift in content, you know why. Don’t worry though, I have usually been able to keep up a good balance of free reading and school reading in the past. 🙂

How about this: I’ll give the subjects of my classes for the semester and if anyone has a particular interest in reading material for those subjects, let me know in the comments and I will keep track of what we’re reading in that class and maybe compile a reading list and/or just make sure to write about them. This semester I’m taking classes on Islam in the 20th century, history of Marxism, “the age of extremes” (I think this one is about totalitarianisms? Will find out tomorrow I guess), and a history of New York City.

What does everyone think? Anyone else experiencing fall changes on their blogs or elsewhere in their lives?

Written by Emily Jane

August 30, 2010 at 1:39 am