If you know me, you know that I function better in Microsoft Word and paragraphs than Excel or even the most basic kind of list. So, here are a few paragraphs about story in my life this year.
There are three main ways that story impacted my life this year, for better or for worse.
1. Television. Having no real responsibilities outside my job paired with my introverted need to recharge by myself and the fact that I avoid the outdoors at all costs in the winter means that I have a tendency to get wrapped up in a few shows. Besides the fact that I can thank television for starting many of my friendships, my argument for you TV haters out there is that story is story is story. And some of these shows made me think more than a lot of the books I read. Television winners of 2009: Friday Night Lights (thank you Mary Elaine and Carolyn), Mad Men, Damages, The Closer.
2. Young Adult Literature. My job being what it is, I like to stay relatively up to date on what my students are reading. I have a love/hate relationship with YA Lit for many reasons. I love coming across literary heroes for my students and having answers when they ask me what I recommend. I love it when books open windows for life experiences and make my students deeper, more well rounded people. But, sometimes my brain stops working when I’m reading a lot of Young Adult Lit, or it only stays in teacher mode. I read so many young adult novels this fall/early winter (Impossible, Your Own Sylvia, The Secret Garden, The Mysterious Benedict Society, The Tenth Circle), that I’m ready for some seriously challenging and thought provoking adult fiction.
3. Book Clubs. This was by far the best part of my reading year. A friend and I decided to start our own book club and read: Lolita, Anna Karenina, The Brothers Karamazov, Anne of Green Gables, The Savage Detectives, The House of the Spirits and The Age of Innocence. Our meetings are some of my favorite nights and reading books with someone makes me a better reader…I read more closely and carefully. If you’re not in a book club, start one. We started by wanting to read more of the classics that we somehow were never assigned to read.
4. I am my mother’s daughter and come from a long line of readers. When my brother and I were little, we were “required” to read for at least 30 minutes every night. I laugh now because my brother and I both have a ridiculous amount of books piled up on our nightstands. My mom and I both bought the same book for my brother for Christmas. We are both in book clubs. I no longer bring books home because I know she’ll have a few that I want to read since my last trip. My cousins are my favorite book recommenders (and television commenters, for that matter) and the ones that keep my “to read” pile nice and high. I love it.
Books on Deck for 2010:
The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
No Logo by Naomi Klein
(plus all the ones on my blog sidebar. I’d better get on that.)