Another year down the drain. Where did the time go?? I must be getting old or something because it seems like 2018 was just beginning. I had a busy year but managed not to do a ton of things. I do have a few highlights, though. I am going to be better about doing a year in review post from now on, mostly to keep myself on track and see what I actually did and what I need to do better in the future. Might as well share it with the interwebs. 🙂
Things that I didn’t actually do:
My sweet girl started 3rd grade. She goes to a school that teaches a grade level ahead and she’s killing it. Math isn’t her favorite subject, but she does a good job with it. Better than I EVER did. And she loves reading, which delights me to no end. She reads wayyy above her grade level. Her favorite books are the Wings of Fire series. We also just read the first Harry Potter book and now she’s obsessed. She loves Star Trek, Dr Who, and Star Wars, so I feel like maybe I’m doing something right. She’s so smart, funny, pretty, and kind. She is also stubborn and defiant and challenging and headstrong and brave. She’s my little Viking and as frustrating as she can be at times, I wouldn’t change one single thing. She is stronger than I am in a lot of ways and I try hard to foster her individuality and teach her that it’s ok to speak up and use her voice in ways I was never allowed to do when I was little. I am so proud of her and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. Right now, though, she has a super gross cold, so I imagine what she comes up with with be some form of snot…
My mom started going to an all-women’s boxing gym in early spring and loves it, which makes me super proud of her. With the exception of probably Amy, my mom could most likely kick every one of my friends’ asses without too much trouble. That’s handy, since most of my friends could use a good ass kicking. 🙂 She got me started in on it as well, and so I’ve been going since May. I can throw some hard punches now for a little girl and am getting in pretty good shape. Thanks for talking me into trying it out, Mom!
My favorite books of 2018:
- Doc: A Novel by Mary Doria Russell
- Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
- A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
- The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden
- If We Were Villains by ML Rio
Favorite podcasts I discovered:
- Literary Treks. All about Star Trek books!
- The Minimalists. They have a great overall website.
- The Tim Ferriss Show.
Movies I saw in the theatre:
- Christopher Robin. I took my daughter to see it. We both fucking loved Eeyore. But I think this is the only movie I actually went to all year. I just don’t enjoy them like I used to. I want time to stop while I’m in the theatre so it’s the same time when I get out as it was when I went in. Since it’s not, I tend to feel like I’m wasting my time. If I went to another movie this year, damned if I can remember it.
Favorite new shows I discovered:
- Star Trek: Discovery. I just got the DVDs of this for Xmas, so this is a BRAND new discovery (heh, see what I did there?) of 2018 for me. I absolutely refuse to pay for a subscription to CBS All-Access when most of the shows on CBS are, IMO, utter shit, and even the paid subscription has ads. Fuck off, CBS. I’ll wait for the DVDs. That said, this is a fantastic new addition to the Trekverse and I have a feeling I’ll be writing posts about this.
- Shetland, by Netflix. It’s based on a series of novels by Ann Cleeves, which I’ve never read. I’ve found the plot itself to be fairly typical, just another police procedural. But I watch it for the cinematography. Ye GODS, it’s so fucking beautiful in the Shetland Islands! There’s no sun, no shadows, it looks cold and miserable and I have to go there immediately. It looks like a place where I would never get migraines unless it was hormonal.
Wherein I use my thinking part:
- I made a concerted effort to write a review for every book I read this past year. For the most part, I managed it, but I think there were a couple I might have missed. In 2019, I’m going to work on writing better reviews than I did in 2018. I’m also going to write fewer reviews FOR other people except Discovering Diamonds, because I want to read more for my own pleasure.
- I started a post-graduate certification program in Tolkien Studies through Signum University. It’s been excellent for me, getting to think again. Mostly, I feel like I’m losing my mind and my brain will start leaking out my ears any minute. Starting grad classes again has been a great kick for me, helping me to see that I do still have some brain cells, and I can still write good papers. Out of my first class (I’ve done 2 so far, and need a total of 5 to complete the program), I submitted a paper to the major Tolkien conference in England for August 2019. I don’t know yet if it’s been accepted. The CFP isn’t closed until February, so I won’t know until after that. It would be shiny if I get to present my paper, but if I don’t, that’s ok. If I don’t, it will save me a shit ton of money since I’m planning to go to Scotland in October 2019, but if I do get to present my paper, that will be cool, too. It’s about how liminal space in literature helps define character identity, using The Hobbit and Coraline as my example texts.
- One of my coworkers and I started a book club at work for all the staff and faculty in our college. Really, it’s all about being able to read at work… Our first book was Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. The next is going to be Circe by Madeline Miller.
Speaking of reading, I did pretty well with my reading goals this year. I topped out at 97 books, not counting ones I DNF’d. In total, I read 21,131 pages and listened to 246:45 hours of audiobooks. I averaged 8 books a month. I read 59 books by women (60%) and 38 by men (39%). I read 24 books by authors of color (not quite 25%). In 2019, I’d like to bump that up to at least 30%. I read mostly SFF (33), historical fiction (25), and literary fiction (16), with other genres falling in here and there. I didn’t finish the Read Harder 2018 challenge, but I got 19 out of 24 tasks:
- A book published posthumously: NA
- A book of true crime: NA
- A classic of genre fiction: The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien (fantasy)
- A comic written and illustrated by the same person: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
- A book set in or about one of the five BRICS countries: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
- A book about nature: NA
- A western: Doc: A Novel by Mary Doria Russell
- A comic written or illustrated by a person of color: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
- A book of colonial or post-colonial literature: Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
- A romance by or about a person of color: A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev
- A children’s classic written before 1980: The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
- A celebrity memoir: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
- An Oprah Book Club selection: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
- A book of social science: Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari
- A one-sitting book: Sea Witch by Helen Hollick
- The first in a new-to-you YA or MG series: Grimmtastic Girls#1: Cinderella Stays Late by Joan Holub
- A sci-fi novel with a female protagonist by a female author: An Unkindness of Ghosts by Solomon Rivers
- A comic that isn’t published by Marvel, GC, or Image: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
- A book of genre fiction in translation: NA, unless you count A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
- A book with a cover you hate: The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald
- A mystery by a POC or LGBTQ+ author: Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke
- An essay anthology: Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids edited by Meghan Daum
- A book with a female protagonist over the age of 60: Misfortune of Vision (Druids Brooch #4) by Christy Nicholas
- An assigned book you hated or never finished: NA
And, really, the biggest thing of 2018 is that I was approached by an editor at Pen and Sword Books to see if I wanted to write a book about a couple medieval queens for them. Umm, YES? I’m waiting for the contract, which has been approved but not sent to me yet, so I’ll wait to share more deets, but that honestly about blew me away. I’m so excited and I am looking forward to the process.
In 2019, some goals I have, other than writing the book and doing what I can to help the Resistance put 45 and his tribe in prison, are:
- Read 150 books
- Start running again and do a 5k
- Start journaling again
- Embrace minimalism
- Eat cleaner
We’ll see how things pan out. 2019, let’s do this.