Here we are – 2018 has fast departed. As the last days trickled away, I read finished Reading Lolita in Tehran, which was the hardest book I read in 2018. I pressed on, knowing that the effort would be worth it. It was sad and angry and uplifting all at the same time.
Reading has been my balm in this rocky careen towards the end of the second decade in the 21st century. It wasn’t always easy to disappear into a book; sometimes the effort was just too much and I chose instead to binge watch all of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Voyager, and now I’m on Deep Space 9. I also binged Bojack Horseman this year. Most noteworthy: I learned how to knit socks while binge watching said shows (mostly Bojack and DS9). My attempt at a shawl did not turn out. That’s okay, onward.
Goals for 2018:
- Read 50 books.
- Only women.
- Half pre-2000, half-post.
- Review them on the Punnery.
I read 56 books in 2018. 3 of them were written by men. I did pretty alright, I think. Most of them were written after 2000, though. And I didn’t review any books on the Punnery. I barely wrote anything on the Punnery, yet again.
It’s hard for me to write anything these days. Maybe one could say that this is a writer’s block, but I would call this writer’s rage. I’m so incensed that I just shut down. I turn on Netflix, or I open a book, and I don’t think about it. I grab a ball of yarn and start making something while I watch something inconsequential on a tiny screen.
I read not to learn – but to escape from the drone of everyday. Anxiety, depression, the constant disappointment of other people and the futility of that which you cannot stop.
What did I read this year?
So I read a lot of fluffy stuff this year; like Amy Schumer‘s “memoir” and The Greatest Love Story Ever Told by a couple of sitcom actors and Anne Rice‘s The Witching Hour, 500 pages of solid nineties incestuous drama. But I also read Dauphne du Maurier‘s unsettling The Birds, starring a very stoic man and not Tippi Hedren and everything by Nora Ephron collected into one book, including Heartburn, her novella about her own failed marriage, and rupi kaur‘s milk & honey, which feels like a mirror in front of all of us, and Harper Lee‘s Go Set a Watchman, which was never supposed to come out, but I’m glad it did. I read my first novel by a trans artist, jia qing wilson-yang. I learned that Patti Smith watches way too many situational crime shows when she travels in M Train. I read Roxane Gay‘s Hunger and I saw myself. I read The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill and I saw it as a movie.
This year I learned Maeve Binchy is the perfect writer when you don’t want to care about the rest of the world. I read more than one Maeve Binchy novel this year and I’m on my third one right now. Thank you, Maeve Binchy.
I only read a few graphic novels this year. Sabrina by Nick Drnaso, which was about a woman’s senseless death; and I caught up on Marguerite Abouet‘s Aya series set in West Africa, which I wish there were more of; and I met Jillian Tamaki this year. Plus Patti Laboucane-Benson‘s circle of reconciliation.
I never finished Elizabeth Rosner‘s Survivor Cafe nor David Yaffe‘s Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell. Sorry.
This year I won’t constrain myself to only one gender. I’m going to continue reading to escape reality. But I’m also going to strive to write as well as read – because this is where my living occurs. When I put my fingers to the keyboard, I am reminded that I am alive, too. Maybe I’m not a fiction writer, but I see things, too. This is why the Punnery exists – to be my perspective. I wrote elsewhere, or I didn’t write at all. I simply simmered and then lost myself in books or knitting and Netflix.
Goals for 2019
- Read more than 50 books this year
- Write, write, write on the Punnery
I am afraid. I’m committing myself to something I am not sure I can do because for years I would commit myself and then quietly drop off the face of the earth. What makes this year any different than the last? I suppose that’s what time will tell.