23.12.11

So...2011!

So, we have reached the end of 2011. Where has the year gone? I feel like this one has flown by. 

Looking back, it's been a mixed bag, overall, in terms of writing, blogging and reading - if I were to summarise this year in a sentence, it would be as 'the year in which I read a lot of books I didn't want to be reading'.


Books

I know that must sound awfully morose, but is more a lesson than anything. In short, I accepted too many books for review, out of excitement and inexperience, and read them all as I feel that free books deserve a review. Unfortunately, many of these books were not to my taste ('The Quality of Mercy' is the most pertinent example), but scope to rant is good sometimes, I suppose. This was then compounded by becoming involved in a book club, which was fab in theory, but choosing the books democratically meant that, again, I was reading books I wouldn't have chosen myself. These two things combined meant that, though my reading breadth has increased, my certainty that the best judge of my reading habits and wants is me has only been deepened by this. I am an old-fashioned book snob - reading the books that others 'enjoy on holiday' has only made me more certain of this fact. Sorry guys.


Anyway, my favourite books of the year were 'The Tiger's Wife' by Tea Obreht, 'The Woman in White' by Wilkie Collins and 'The Night Circus' by Erin Morgenstern, from the other day. I also really enjoyed 'The Book of Human Skin' by Michelle Lovric, 'Dior by Dior', by Dior, and 'The Paris Wife' by Paula McLain, which somehow I never got around to reviewing. Maybe something to do in 2012.

The biggest disappointments/outright dislikes were 'The Radleys' by Matt Haig, which was vampire trash self-consciously dressed-up as something cleverer, and 'The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox' by Maggie O'Farrell, which was a huge disappointment as I'd heard good things about Maggie O'Farrell. Both of these books felt amateurish and rudimentary, and Esme Lennox had one of the most underplayed and frustratingly nonsensical endings I've ever come across. Anyway, I'm quite enjoying my Dickens odyssey, ready for the bicentenary, and look forward to making random and idiosyncratic book choices in 2012, depending only on how I'm feeling at the time.

Films
 
I saw some good films this year: 'Midnight in Paris' was a joy, 'Jane Eyre' was beautiful and 'My Week With Marilyn' was just lovely. The Oscar goes to Michelle Williams, obviously. I also spent a lot of time this year rewatching 'Inception' and 'The Social Network', as well developing a huge girl crush on the hilarious Emma Stone: 'Easy A' is the wittiest thing I've seen in a long time ('what do you think I've got down there? A gnome?') and 'The Help' was pretty good too. That's another book to read in 2012, methinks.

Writing

The big writing change in 2011 was that I  found employment as a writer, which is wonderful and dreamy, and seems to be making my creative muscles stronger through use about 16 hours (including blogging, other writing) a day. I literally now write all the time, which is the dream, isn't it? Save for writing prize-winning novels, of course, but hopefully that's to come... :) On that subject, Nanowrimo was a wonderful revelation for me, and I look forward to doing it next year. There's also another project on the horizon with another blogger in 2012, but more on that hopefully in the months to come.


Resolutions

My resolutions for 2012 are keep writing, finish first novel draft, get involved with more inter-blog activities and read exactly what I want, when I want (with the exception of Dickens, but that's a rod of my own making). Is it reassuring or laughable that these are not too different from my resolutions last year?


So, to close Merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays! if Christmas ain't your thing. Here's to a healthy, happy and prosperous 2012; I will see you once I've eaten myself stupid, given all my gifts with insane excitement and been slightly disappointed by New Year's Eve :)

P.S. A huge thanks to Nicole at Book Lush for the lovely stack of books that arrived today!
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