Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 Reflections: Reading, Writing, Rituals

Another reading year gone by. While I haven't been on the blog much, it has been a rich year for books, with some of my favorites of the year pictured above. Notably missing is Luis Alberto Urrea's beautiful, autobiographically-inspired House of Broken Angels (it had to go back to the library months ago). Maybe it was life in general or maybe it was the heightened, fraught climate of public discourse that left me more vulnerable, but it was definitely a year for books that got to my heart. House of Broken Angels and Rebekah Frumkin's The Comedown were sweeping, satisfying family sagas which left me dabbing away a few tears, as did Tommy Orange's brilliant and powerful There There, and Anthony Marra's intricately connected story collection Tsar of Love and Techno (for the record, Mr. Marra, you are now two for two in making this reader teary over your books, this latest also inspiring a homemade graphic). Leading the deliciously escapist, suspenseful, devour-in-a-single-sitting category were Claire Fuller's Bitter Orange and Tana French's The Witch Elm. The book which surprised me the most was Monique Roffey's The White Woman on a Green Bicycle, an Orange Prize finalist from years ago, picked up used at a book sale somewhere. This beautifully written novel explores the complexities of race, colonialism and complicity in a pivotal historical period in the Caribbean through the lens of a European woman, frustrated in her marriage, who begins a one-way correspondence with a rising Trinidadian political leader.

There wasn't much of it that wasn't work-related this year, although I loved participating in Midwestern Gothic's 2018 Flash Fiction challenge. As always, the photo prompts were awesome - you can learn more and read the winning stories at the MW website. I haven't decided yet whether to try to find a home for my little pieces, or maybe just pop them up here.

Some habits die hard, and though #FridayReads seems to have lost its momentum, I still often share mine out of habit.  #SundaySentence on twitter has become not only my virtual book club, but also my tribe. Launched years ago by David Abrams, devoted readers share a Sunday ritual of observing and sharing one true or beautiful or impactful sentence of the week with other readers and writers. The sentences and their sharers inspire, enlighten, and often introduce me to a new book or author, but they have also created a real community of reading friends around the globe.

What were your favorites of the year, and what books, dreams, or practices lie ahead for you in 2019?

Happy reading, and Happy New Year!

1 comment :

  1. I didn't realize you write flash fiction. It's a challenging form, especially if you're not sure what to write. Lydia David writes beautiful flash.


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