Most Important News this year:
The best part of this year was the birth, in May, of my grandchild - after that momentous event, everything else is duck soup and gravy. This baby girl is the delight of our family. A happy child who inspires joy every time she smiles. I can hardly explain the pleasure I feel just watching my own daughter finally understand what it is to be a mother - to watch her interact with her daughter is a feeling so elemental that it defies anything I've ever felt before. When my daughter told me, "I never knew I could love like this." My heart almost burst.
What happened in July?:
The second most important thing to happen this year was me getting the bright idea to have a blog. Yes, it was a very bright idea. I am loving this whole thing. I thank my daughter for the push it took to get me over the edge. She established her blog first and I thought, well, I need to do that too. Why not? She helped me, of course, but I designed it and keep it going. Six months later, here I am.
Books and Reading:
This has also been the year of books for me. Though my reading speed is slowing down as I get older, I still did a pretty good job this year plowing through a large amount of books. One reason why: I did no real work this year. Except for a piece I did for my granddaughter's room, I just stopped painting. Couldn't afford to do it, but did it anyway. Well, in truth, I had little choice:
I've been damn tired it seems, for ages. Been dragging around with no interest in even picking up a pencil. (I'll talk more about my elusive work later on in 2011. Hopefully I'll have something positive to talk about then.) That's all I'm going to say about it now.
Reading has been the mainstay of my life, it seems, forever. But I've never been more grateful for the ability to lose myself in a book than I was this year. And there were some great books in 2010, no question. Here's the link to my List naming all the books I finished this year. (My list of 10 Best Books is linked here.) Of course, I picked up more books than are on this list but since I never finish a book I don't like, what's left is choice. Everything I finished was to my liking - some more than others, of course, but I recommend any title on this list. Next year I'm going to indicate the books I've reviewed on the blog as I go along. I read a grand total of 121 books this year. Not bad, but not great. Maybe I can do better, maybe not. We'll see how it goes. (I didn't count most of the Agatha Christie re-reads.)
Reading Goals for 2011:
I'd like to read at least as many books as I read in 2010. I've joined two Challenges for the upcoming year: the Victorian Literature Reading Challenge and the Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge. I have a feeling the Victorian one will slow me down a bit since these will be books and authors I've probably never read before and I know the writing styles are not conducive to zipping through. As for the Vintage Mystery, that one I can do with my eyes closed (Ha!) since I normally read a lot of vintage books to begin with. I might even do an audio book or two and those I can really do with my eyes closed.
Specific books I have in mind for the Vintage Challenge: While I'm not, by nature, a planner, I do know I want to re-read all of Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey books (something I haven't done in many years). I will also be re-reading my favorite Nero Wolfe books by Rex Stout. (I do this every few years anyway.) I also plan on reading more of Ellery Queen, Mr. and Mrs. North, Hildegarde Withers and authors John Dickson Carr and Carter Dickson (one and the same). It goes without saying that I will also be searching out more of Michael Innes' work as well. I'll also reread a bunch of Agatha Christies, again, this is something I usually do anyway. And I have a copy here somewhere of THE MOVING TOYSHOP by, I think, Edmund Crispin - which I've been meaning to read. Luckily my local library has a lot of older books still on their shelves, plus there's BETTER WORLD BOOKS which has free delivery of used books.
Specific books I have in mind for the Victorian Challenge: So far, I have a copy of Wilkie Collins' WOMAN IN WHITE ready and waiting. Also Rudyard Kipling's KIM, Bram Stoker's DRACULA, Anthony Trollope's CAN YOU FORGIVE HER? and PHINEAS FINN.
I might also give Dickens and George Eliot a try - but I'm not making any promises. I haven't read any Dickens or Eliot since high school and there's a reason for that.
There will be other books this coming year which will distract me, of course, from my Challenge Reading, but that's to be expected. I am eagerly (and none too patiently) waiting for the new book from Robert Crais and the new one from Julia Spencer-Fleming and the new one from Alan Bradley of Flavia deLuce fame, the new one by Jasper Fforde and the new Kate Atkinson. Not to mention anything else that catches my eye and my fancy. And there are several non-fiction books which look very enticing. That's part of the fun of reading - the expectation and, best of all, the possible discovery of something rare.
All in all, I think 2011 is going to be another good reading and blogging year.
So, to all my newfound friends and readers in the blogging community: Thank You. Thank you for helping to make this blogging thing as much fun as it has turned out to be. Who knew?
And, of course, a very Happy New Year to us all.