Stealing the idea from my friend Lena, I've decided to end 2009, a very tumultuous year, with lists. Lists of my year in review. And like my friend, I love lists. Any OCD freak will tell you that lists are like vacuum lines in the carpet, or post-its, or containers. Organization is to me like porn is to real people. Oh. Baby.
Plus I like the idea of wrapping things up more than the ritual of making resolutions. Bah to change, I say! Instead, let's just write down everything we did and analyze it over and over until it doesn't sounds real anymore. You know, like when you say a word over and over and it doesn't sound like a word anymore? Noon. Noon. NOON. noon. Nooooon. See?
Okay, everybody buckled in? Great. Let's get started.
No, we are not there yet. Now shut up or I WILL turn this car around.
The best books that I've read this year:
- Cry, the Beloved Country Took me a while to get into it, but dudes, once you do, you're hooked. I'm still blindsided by this book.
- The Help Great, great, great story. I don't even want to tell you what it's about. Just read it.
- Oryx and Crake Love Margaret Atwood. Love this book. Political satire in the guise of apocalyptic sci-fi= LOVE
- Pride and Prejudice and Zombies What can I say? This is a fantastic reworking. BUT, you have to be familiar with the novel (or sit through a film version) to get the irony. Just do it. Your reading will be all the better for it. Spoiler alert: "What? No ninjas? Five girls brought up at home with no ninjas?" Classic.
- Animal Dreams Another feat by Barbara Kingsolver. 'Nough said.
- Burro Genius Totally irreverent and I loved every minute.
- Eat Pray Love This was my second reading of this book and I got so much more out of it the second pass through. Love love love this one.
- Moloka'i I've read plenty of post-colonialist novels, but never one about Hawaii and never one about the leper colony on Moloka'i. Fantastic book!
- The Elegance of the Hedgehog Took me so long to care about the damn characters and once I did? Wham! Broke my heart. I actually sobbed out loud at the end. Damn it.
- The Translator Never will I think about the Sudan the same way again.
- The Color of Water Wonderful biography about a black man with a white mother.
- Snow Flower and the Secret Fan Don't waste one more minute. Go. Read this book. China is calling.
- A Thousand Splendid Suns Even better than the Kite Runner. So beautiful. I felt like I was reading art.
- The Memory Keeper's Daughter Heartbreaking and beautifully told.
- Boy in the Striped Pajamas I hate how much I loved this book. Another sob fest. I think I scared my neighbors with my incredibly loud sobbing. I may have even ruined a shirt with my excessive tears.
- The Story of Edgar Sawtelle Great retelling of (spoiler alert!) Hamlet. But even though I figured out its origins early on, it still lets you love it as its own.
- We Were the Mulvaneys I tore through this novel. It is so decadent with characters and I couldn't help but lose myself in all their flaws and eccentricities. You love them and hate them and by the end, you're one of them.
- All the Pretty Horses Okay, so I haven't finished this one yet. But I will have in a few days. Cormac McCarthy is not for everyone nor are all of his novels. I happened to like the Road, much as I hated it whilst reading it. And I despise No Country for Old Men. But Horses is lovely and I have fallen for that 16 year old John Grady. *sigh*
The worst books I have read this year:
- The Secret Life of Cee Cee Wilkes I don't even remember what this was about. Pulled my hair out reading it on a plane.
- Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister Oh Gregory Maguire, you are were so brilliant with the Wicked trilogy, what the hell happened here?
- Veil of Roses What promised to be a great story about an Iranian girl displaced in the US and looking for love without giving up religion, turned into romantic drivel. Lame.
Best decisions of 2009 (in no particular order):
- Moving into a small house. By myself. Happiness.
- Going to New Orleans in April to build houses for the first time. Changed my life. Can't wait to go again.
- Starting a blog
- Nurturing friendships, making new friends and reconnecting with friends I'd lost touch with.
- Therapy. I highly recommend it.
- Exorcising the guilt from my life and learning to love myself all over again.
- Buying my Holga
- Red hair
Worst decisions of 2009 (in no particular order):
- Sushi Douche. I haven't told you about him, Internet, but it was a low point.
- Dating the Man Child aka the douche who dumped me over the phone
- Dressing as myself at 19 for Halloween. Misery.
- Still not getting my next tattoo. Maybe in 2010.
Best Moments of 2009:
- Yosemite. I feel like I've seen some gorgeous places in my young life and this is in the top 5. Breathtaking place.
- Watching Obama be inaugurated as President.
- Having a poem published in literary review.
- Inadvertently ending up on a friend's first date. And then watching their relationship blossom. I always think: I saw this start!
- Seeing a friend get married. One of the most beautiful weddings I've been to and I've been to a lot. And my friend was gorgeous!
- Getting my first washer and dryer. Say it with me: NO MORE LAUNDROMATS!
- Finding a random book fair!
- The thousand little moments which make me happy: hugging a friend, sharing a laugh, a cry, a rant, art, girl time with Morgan, visiting Lynnette, a freak snowstorm, when Lynnette visited me, playing with my nephew Ethan on the 4th of July, when my cats make me laugh, the changing seasons, the smell of the air at dusk, mist on a cold morning that reminds me of Paris
- Growing closer to my dad than I'd ever been. That man is always there for me and I appreciate him more than he'll ever understand.
Worst Moments of 2009:
- Paying way too much for a cab because I didn't have the presence of mind to figure out an alternate route.
- Missing a student loan payment. Stupid.
- Getting way too drunk and sobbing into a friend's shoulder in public. Classy.
- Effing up my bumper. Poor Lola.
- Having my wallet stolen.
- Fearing I'd be laid off and losing a coworker instead.
- Having a friend go through something truly awful and feeling so powerless with the only thing to offer being my voice over the phone, or a text, or email, wanting to take her pain away, wanting to hug her so badly, it physically hurt.
Favorite new finds:
- Euro Grill. Best hummus ever.
- Yogi Tea at Trader Joe's
Favorite new obsessions:
- My Holga
- Google Reader
Favorite new music:
- Ingrid Michaelson
- Coconut Records
- Missy Higgins
- Oren Lavie
Favorite new films:
- Where the Wild Things Are
- Slumdog Millionaire
Favorite new TV shows:
- Mad Men