2013 round-up

1 January 2014 | ,

Inspired by the escapologist Robert Wringham’s round-up, I am compelled to think of 2013 as a whole and somehow capture what those 12 months brought. I think it was a period of ups and downs. It started with ‘Ghost Cheese’ indeed and ended with Paris and modernism neither of which I can complain about. In between were breakdowns, and doubts, as well as too many poor style decisions I have decided to address in a 2014 New Year’s resolution.

Yet, despite what the sandwich meat days brought, I have been very fortunate to feel, in the most direct possible way, the love of friends. I went to Hong Kong to see Hayley and declared myself a cutie who could sing ‘Livin’ on a prayer’ and not remember it. I maintained correspondence with Peter and Linda, as assiduously and enjoyably as other things allowed me to. I danced with Tom, Ruth, Julie, Vickie, Andrew, Alex, Jane, Rosina, Gypsy, Patricia, Miranda, Salma, Aby, Suzi, Cath, Sita, Natasha, Irene, Jade, Vince and many others. I performed at the Grand Ole Opry, Tramway, the CCA. I read to her aloud at the Ministry of Truth. I worked with Ama and learned so much. I taught in Berlin and made one of the days (that Thursday), have more than 24 hours. I ate a lot of macaroni cheese, and even more broccoli. I wrote with Ellie. I published a book. It made my eyes bleed but now I know I can do it and may even do it again soon. I kept on with with the DiaMat book group; it makes me think if the world as a place of possibilities. I joined another book group and read the works of ornery women. I sang a Christmas card. I saw three pieces by Tino Sehgal. I got two PhD students through. I did not see my friends enough but know they understand; I did not see my family enough but I also know they understand. I went on holiday with my dad to Berlin again. I felt closer to my mum (she started dancing!) and I spoke to my brother every month of the year. I played Scrabble in a naked sauna in Amsterdam. I also went to naked baths in Japan. A stranger entered my house and found me naked, which gave both of us the fright of our lives. I spent Christmas in Egypt and saw where the 10 Commandments were given (no Charlton Heston, although I kept thinking of the film).

And I read a lot, well, at least fiction and by my own standards. My 2013 New Year’s resolution was to read better and I think I achieved it, even though I did not manage to finish 3 of the books on my list (Libra, No Name and Ada). I have awarded four prizes:

[RED]: The book I would recommend (closely followed by ‘Heroines’)
[GREY]: Don’t touch it (with ‘Anthem’ as a close second)
[GREEN]: Book revelation of the year (‘Frankenstein’ was my other choice)
[BLUE]: Most pleasurable reading experience (‘Where’d you go Bernadette’ almost made it)
[*]: Read with Neil, aloud
Should have abandoned reading

  • Heroines by Kate Zambreno
  • The Rainbow by D. H. Lawrence
  • Die Trying by Lee Child
  • The Bat by Jo Nesbø
  • The Complete Father Brown Mysteries Collection by G. K. Chesterton
  • The Turn of the Screw by Henry James*
  • Death by Analysis: Another Adventure from Inspector Canal’s New York Agency by Bruce Fink
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (* partially)
  • Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel
  • Nineteen Seventy Four by David Peace
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
  • Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
  • The Complete Short Stories by Muriel Spark
  • Strictly Bipolar by Darian Leader
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  • A Far Cry from Kensington by Muriel Spark
  • Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin
  • Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway*
  • La fiesta del chivo by Mario Vargas Llosa
  • Anthem by Ayn Rand*
  • High-Rise by J. G. Ballard
  • The Dying Animal by Philip Roth
  • L.A. Confidential by James Ellroy
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker—But I am glad I kept with it and finished it
  • A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Blood Memory: An Autobiography by Martha Graham
  • The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction by Walter Benjamin
  • One-Way Street and Other Writings by Walter Benjamin
  • Madness, Women and the Power of Art, ed. by Frances Davies and Laura González
  • The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick
  • One Dimensional Woman by Nina Power
  • Persuasion by Jane Austen*
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • Memento Mori by Muriel Spark
  • The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad

For 2014, I have given myself the permission to abandon books and a much less worthy reading list, with space for whimsy, experimentation, and whatever the year throws at me. Start recommending if you want.


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