Sometime toward the end of 2012, I had one of my frequent attacks of DCRH (duck, cover, run, hide) and deleted my Goodreads account and, along with it, the record I had kept there of books read during 2012 and earlier years. Ever heard the expression, “I shot myself in the foot?” So I signed up for Goodreads again, vowing as God is my witness never to pull that trick again. I like the lists, and Goodreads is a simple way to keep them.
You can see my list of books read or listened to in 2013 in the Goodreads “Read” Shelf on the sidebar of this blog. It’s vaguely disappointing to me, despite the presence of several stand-outs. Of the 45 listed, 23 were fiction 22 non. Of the non-fiction, 8 were writing craft, and the others were a mix of memoir, literary nonfiction, social commentary and investing strategy (see DCRH above). Several (fiction and non) were read because I wanted to see how certain subjects were handled, or because I knew the author or their family. The books themselves arrived by hardcover, softcover, mass market paperback, Kindle, and Audible. The two James Lee Burke books were great for late night listening. Whether it’s because of Burke’s over-the-top (or under the bottom) descriptions, or because of Will Patton’s silky voice, I can’t say.
I read most of those books because I thought I needed to learn something technical about writing. Did I learn anything? A little, but not enough for the sacrifice of time. And it was a dodge to avoid confronting actual writing.
Did I love any of the books I read in 2013? Yes. I enjoyed many of them, but only loved one: Tracy Chevalier’s Girl with a Pearl Earring.
Yesterday afternoon I began to think about what (and who) I want to read in 2014. Some names: The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer, The Salinger Contract by Adam Langer, Lookaway, Lookaway by Wilton Barnhardt, authors Jonathan Franzen, Edwidge Danticat, Thomas Pynchon, and I’ve already begun Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch. Great writing. Fabulous books that move me, disturb me, make me laugh. Books outside my comfort zone. No craft books. Lots of poetry osmosed via the written word, audio and video. I enjoy Billy Collins’ animations, but there are so many wonderful poets to explore. I plan art gallery visits for (I’m embarrassed to say) the first time in my life. In other words, this year will be a 24/7 all I can absorb word and image buffet, a glorious tapestry, a mysterious tour of the intersection of souls and imagination.
The University of West Florida is only about ten miles from our home. As an alumnus, I have a free parking decal (actually a pretty big whoop) and can fill my canvas satchel with ten books at a time. The library even has a Starbucks in it.
I can’t wait to get started. I’m eager begin my treasure hunt. Actually, I’ve already begun. There will be moonbeams and nuggets to put in my pocket all along the way. Maybe even a talisman. What are you looking forward to reading in 2014? And are you a little weird, like me, and have a theme word for the new year? 🙂