Thursday, December 19, 2013

2013: A Year in Books

I, along with many Americans, made a handful of resolutions in January. And I, along with many Americans, promptly forgot/ignored/procrastinated most of those resolutions. I don't even remember what most of my resolutions were, but the one I was actually intent on was my reading goal. At the end of 2012 my grand total stood at 71. Not too shabby, but I felt I could do better. So in January I set out to have read 85 books by the end of the year, and at least one new-to-me classic a month.

I met the goal handily. I surpassed 71 in September and 85 the second week of November. Final count (I know I'm not going to finish The Real Pepsi Challenge by tomorrow night): 95

48 fiction, 47 nonfiction

9 books were rereads

The longest book I read was Victor Hugo's Les Miserables. The first half really flows, 5/5 the second half drags, 2.5/5. Worth a read, but not my favorite. It wasn't the tragedy and death that made the latter half lag, it was the focus on Marius and Cosette as characters. There's not a lot of depth there. The Bishop, on the other hand, is awesome, and of course, Javert. It's a good book, but you do have to be prepared for fifty page tangents on Waterloo, royalty, whatever caught Hugo's attention.

The oldest book I read was Samuel Richardson's Pamela, published in 1740. It's been out for nearly three hundred years! Crazy. (Another crazy, not-as-fun fact: rape-justification arguments used in this book are still thrown around today.)

The book that makes me happy just by its very existence: Verily, a New Hope by Ian Doescher (Star Wars in the style of Shakespeare! I am one-thousand percent okay with this! Fetch me a sequel!)

The book that I saw in a book store when I was like twelve and wanted to buy but didn't and I just barely got around to reading it: Brainiac by Ken Jennings. (It was delightful.)

And now, Rebecca's Top Ten Books of 2013 (Only books I hadn't read before were considered.) Drum roll, please.

10. Through the Children's Gate-- Adam Gopnik
9. The Ballad of Tom Dooley-- Karyn McCrumb
8. The ABC Murders-- Agatha Christie  
7. The Violinist's Thumb-- Sam Kean
6. Okay For Now-- Gary D Schmidt
5. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks-- E Lockhart
4. The Color Purple-- Alice Walker
3. The Clockwork Universe-- Edward Dolnick (A.W.E.S.O.M.E.)
2. The Kite Runner-- Khaled Hosseini (Read this book. But be aware it will Rip. Your. Heart. Out.)
1. Mao's Last Dancer-- Li Cunxin (Read this book. Just, read it. Read it, read it, read it.)

Honorable mentions:
Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy and Emma by Jane Austen (Fiction)
At Home by Bill Bryson and The Ghost Map by Samuel Johnson (Non-fiction)

"I cannot live without books." -Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Another Year Over....

 So, my first semester back at college is over. It's nice to not have homework due all the time, although next semester is going to be so much more difficult, I don't even want to think about it.  *aggressively avoids*

Other things that have happened over the last few months:

-I got a new job. Still at the airport, but  now I'm at Brookstone instead of RMCF. I get to sell gadgets, gizmos, and whatzits, so I'm pretty content. Also, every geeky girl should get a job at a techie store where she's the only female employee. 5 out of 5, would recommend. My coworkers are great, I got a pay raise, and we have a fun time.

-Looks like my roommates and I are going to have to move again, since none of us want the rent raised. Sigh. Looking for a house, like a car, would be a lot more fun if I had a lot more money.

-I've had the last two days off from work, and I've spent a good chunk of that time shotgunning the first season of Chuck. Casey is by far my favorite character, which is ironic since I'm the pretty much the staunchest advocate of gun control ever. But he's Jayne in the modern world! There are a few complaints about the show, most stemming from my inner raging feminist. But it's a funny show.

-Winter, and Christmas, are here in full force. I don't mind the snow as long as it stays off the road; it's fresh and white and pretty. I love Christmas music, especially the obscurer ones that you never hear but once a year. My coworkers have been calling me a Christmas fanatic, but I can deal with that.

2013 was such a dramatic year. I knew from the beginning it would be, but I could never have seen the rollercoaster that was coming. I did my first real lead role in a musical, I got to perform one of my dream shows (Pirates of Penzance), I even went on a date! I had my emotions completely destroyed by Buffy the Vampire Slayer (thanks, Joss Whedon), and finally got around to watching Inception. 

Who knows what 2014 has in store?