Monday 31 December 2018

Farewell 2018

2018 has been a hugely stressful year with politics and democracy around the world in crisis. I hope you’ve found a way through the madness and that 2019 will bring less division and that the progress that has been made for equality continues to grow. 

Book haul from Hay Literature festival, almost all read
For some positivity, this has been my most prolific blogging year. Thank you readers regular and occasional for coming along for the ride. For the first time I‘ve also kept a book log so I can look back and see what I’ve read this year, something I should really do for theatre and exhibition visits too. My to-be-read pile may not have shrunk this year but I have got better at reading books when I get them. There’s still a whole library’s worth waiting to be read though, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Taking part in FutureLearn’s How to Read a Novel course (twice) really opened my eyes to more contemporary works of fiction. It’s a brilliant course for both readers and writers and if they run it again with the next wave of James Tait Black shortlist books I’ll be signing up once more.

An unexpected highlight of the reading year
Some book highlights of the year include The Sport of Kings, The Lesser Bohemians, Notes on a Nervous Planet, and The Price of Belonging (blog post due on Wednesday). They are varied but all made me think and feel and enriched my life. There were also a few that I expected to love but didn’t as much as I’d anticipated. Middlemarch looked promising in its early chapters but I found the strange, strong-willed Dorothea became disappointing in her transformation into a meek, subservient wife. Rebecca, although interesting and one I’d happily discuss for hours, has a narrator that became tiresome in her naivety and moaning. Despite not being quite what I'd expected I’m glad I read them.

Non-fiction also made a re-appearance in my reading and is something I intend to carry on into the new year. I also hope to read more Margaret Atwood, any recommendations gratefully received (I’ve read The Handmaid’s Tale and Oryx and Crake and watched Alias Grace so want to wait a while before reading it). What are you looking forward to reading in 2019?

Whistler, Canada
As for travel, Canada feels so long ago it’s hard to believe I was there this year. Whistler was a definite highlight. The snow and cold were more extreme than I’d previously experienced and the Airbnb would have made the perfect place for a writing retreat. Closer to home I thoroughly enjoyed spending more time in Wales and exploring the beauty of the Pembrokeshire Coast. And then there was Paris and the day trip to Auvers-sur-Oise which would happily have extended to a long weekend. We have some ambitious travel aims for this year which we’ll hopefully find a way to fund. My to-visit list is becoming almost as long as my to-read list. Where will you be exploring in 2019?

As with every year there has been successes and failures, stress and joy, and I expect the new year dawning will hold its own rollercoaster. My hopes for us all are to stay happy, loved, and creative, and to make the most of this beautiful life we’ve been given. Be the change you want to see.

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