Here’s a quick list of some of the things this year that I enjoyed the most. The films, TV episodes, music and moments are all chosen from 2013. However, as I mainly read “older” books this year, the books were from whenever – I just read them this year.
- You’re Next
- Star Trek Into Darkness
- Ozymandias (Breaking Bad, S5 E14)
- The Rains of Castamere (Game of Thrones, S3 E09)
- In The Flesh (mini-series)
- The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
- I, Claudius by Robert Graves
- The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon
- Random Access Memories – Daft Punk
- Yeezus – Kanye West
- Trouble Will Find Me – The National
- Get Lucky – Daft Punk
- Retrograde – James Blake
- Joan of Arc – Arcade Fire
- The death of DOMA/Prop 8 being struck down, and subsequent marriage
- Getting a green card
- Cruise to Alaska and Glacier Bay National Park
• Vaughan, Brian K – Y: The Last Man – 7.0
• West, Nathanael – The Day of the Locust – 7.5
• Xinran – Sky Burial – 6.9
• Yates, Richard – Revolutionary Road – 8.6
• Zeltserman, Dave – The Caretaker of Lorne Field – 7.3
There’s a couple of things worth mentioning about these last few letters of the alphabet. X and Z were surprisingly good considering they were “throwaway” letters.
I couldn’t help comparing Revolutionary Road with Rabbit, Run. They had broadly similar themes, in my head. Unhappy couples in the 50s/60s who live dull lives. I thought Revolutionary Road did this far, far better. I understood the characters. Updike seemed to write off Rabbit’s wife as unexplainable – she was incredibly two-dimensional. Compared with April Wheeler, which was a very sympathetic portrait of a woman trapped in a life she didn’t enjoy.
Anyway, I’ll do a longer wrap-up post this weekend on LIFE-LESSONS and such.
Posted in Book Reviews
Tagged 2013 challenge, a-z, A-Z book challenge, Dave Zeltserman, Nathanael West, Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates, Sky Burial, The Caretaker of Lorne Field, The Day of the Locust, Xinran
• Saramago, José – Blindness – 8.0
• Thompson, Hunter S – Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – 8.2
• Updike, John – Rabbit, Run – 6.8
Two things. First, I really didn’t understand Rabbit, Run and I need to find someone who’s read that (and preferably the other ones in the series) to discuss it with.
Second, I’m almost there! Just four more letters left. I think I’ll make it before 2014 starts. I must admit, this challenge wasn’t as satisfying as War and Peace. It’s been good to get to some new authors, but I’ve found myself wanting to stray too much. At least with War and Peace I could still read other books.
I posted an essay/article on Medium. It’s about the phrase “fiscally conservative, but socially liberal.” I don’t know why I posted it there – maybe I just wanted to see how it was as a blogging platform.
Anyway, the post was prompted by a dinner where some people used that phrase (“I’m fiscally conservative, but socially liberal”) to describe themselves. It didn’t sit easy, and I wanted to figure out why.
Brass Check cocktail
At Local Edition on Market at 3rd, there’s a nice bourbon-based cocktail called the Brass Check. I think it’s my favourite on their menu. The grapefruit comes through, but the syrup softens it so it’s not too sour. The Rosebud is pretty good, too.
- Buffalo Trace Bourbon
- Maple syrup
• Morrison, Toni - The Bluest Eye – 7.6/10
• Naipaul, V.S. – A House for Mr Biswas – 8.3/10
• O’Brien, Flan – At Swim-Two-Birds – 2.1/10*
As I’m just over half-way through the alphabet, I’m going to do a top five books so far:
5) In Cold Blood – Capote
4) Under the Skin – Faber
3) Dubliners – Joyce
2) A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius – Eggers
1) I, Claudius – Graves
* I couldn’t even finish it. I made it to the half-way point, then had to stop. The book is supposed to be (partly) a take on Joyce, but I found the obfuscated narrative unreadable. Maybe this is what Finnegan’s Wake is like?