It’s December 1st! Happy 31st Birthday, A!
It’s the first day of the last month of the calendar year, and I am sitting at my desk, drinking a cup of coffee, surrounded by half-packed boxes and wondering what kind of crazy person moves into a new home during the holiday season. Then I gently remind myself the current owners of our new home simply wanted one last Thanksgiving in the house they’ve owned since the Eisenhower administration and we were kind and understanding to agree to it and possibly we wouldn’t have gotten the house had we disagreed anyway.
I have a small holiday weekend hangover. There has been pumpkin layer cake in the house every day until today. Last night S. threw away the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers. The only thing left is the fixins’ for one last pomegranate martini. It is good to return to routine, to begin having oatmeal for breakfast instead of ungodly amounts of cake with cream cheese frosting, to return to bottled water with dinner in lieu of wine, to eat something that doesn’t resemble fowl. But this morning I feel like a little kid. I just want one more day, to sleep in, to watch movies, to eat cake!
But there is an awful lot to get to this month, isn’t there? And one thing I know for sure, the blogosphere explodes with end of the year tasks, and I already owe a dozen memes and awards and similar items, plus I want to review my resolutions from last year and plan those for 2009, so there is quite a bit of work to be done. Music Lyric Monday and Fess Up Friday will return in January, 2009. For the rest of this month I am going to concentrate on wrapping up 2008.
Since I am currently reading Dennis LeHane’s The Given Day, and given its length and how busy my December looks, and I imagine I will be reading it through much of the month, today seems like a great day to review the books I’ve read in 2008. LeHane’s writing in The Given Day, by the way, is stellar. First, let’s turn to categories from this time last year used in 2007’s book review and see which are pertinent:
1.”Literary fiction” I read because I felt I should, but was pretty sure I’d hate, that I ended up adoring: Um, whoa. I’ve already eliminated two categories from last year that don’t fit my reading list this year, but I am either totally mortified or incredibly proud that I didn’t read anything because I felt I should in 2008. Not sure which way I am leaning, yet…
2. Book I lent to the most people:
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver. I am actually still waiting to get this book back…
3. Scariest book:
Heart Shaped Box, Joe Hill
4. Best book I read recommended by a fellow blogger: The Book of Lost Things, John Connolly (Thanks, Emily!)
5. The one book both S. and I read:
The Thunderbolt Kid (or maybe it’s called The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid…it’s in the bedroom and S. is still sleeping…), Bill Bryson.
6. Most intriguing book: The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, Michael Chabon
7. Hands-down, by far, my absolute favorite book of the year:
The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion
So seven of the fourteen categories from last year hold up again this year. Here are some new categories for 2008. This year I only read 21 books…more than the average American, yes, and for me reading isn’t really a competition, but my goal for next year is to reach 25 books at the end of the year, or basically two per month.
8. Most Educational Book of the Year: Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain
9. NIcest Book of the Year (ie, the kind of book you can give your mother, your grandmother, your daughter that encompasses solid writing and a good understanding of plot and character without anything offensive included anywhere in the text): The Memory of Running, Ron McLarty
10. Book I bought because I thought it was by Richard Price but it turns out I got Richard Price and Reynolds Price confused but that’s okay because I have been a big fan of Reynold’s Price for a long time, so really I thought HE was the Price who wrote Lush Life that received so much attention, but it wasn’t: Noble Norfleet
11. Annual author I try because my dad recommends him, but this year (unlike previous years) I actually agreed with my father’s recommendation: Jeffrey Lent
So, there you have it – my end of year reading wrap up! I look forward to reading yours over the next month, and here is to a successful year in reading for 2009!