Happy New Year, everyone!
This is the time of year that we know there are certain things we can count on: Sentimentality seems to rise to a high level, we're encouraged to reflect on our lives, and we make lists. This nudge to do these things seems to come from all corners, including subliminal messages from our own brains. Why is that?? Is it because we've been programmed into a "Old Year/New Year let's reflect, let's make lists, let's watch a soppy movie and cry" mode over the years? Whatever it is, its all O.K. with me 'cause I am a constant list maker, I tend to over-analyze every action or inaction I make in my life, and I'd rather boo hoo over a soppy movie, or book, better than most anything I can think of.
Lists. This is indeed the time of year when lists are popping up all over the place. How many of you join me in being an avid list maker? I can’t pack for a trip without a list – even for a weekend. If I do, invariably I’ll get to wherever I’m going without my toothbrush or favorite jammies. But aside from all that, my very favorite lists are "Best of" lists.
Since most of the blogs I follow are written by writers and/or book lovers, it’s not surprising that most of them are doing their “Best of 2008” books. I love these! It is too fun to see how some of the same books show up on several lists, but even more fun to spot a book I’ve somehow missed and never heard of on some of them. And, of course, there are all sorts of additional “Best of 2008” lists up and running. Movie lists are also biggies. This isn't one I'm quite as interested in. We don't seem to get to the movies too much any more, and would rather just rent one to watch at home, or re-watch old ones on the classic movie stations - especially those old classics that I know I'm going to need a box of Kleenex next to me while we watch. And of course, there's always that list of "Favorite Classics." Or the "The Best Tear Jerker Movies." I love those! Firmly place "Imitation of Life" at the top of both these lists for me.
These lists go on endlessly, and I think they're all terrific fun. Janet Reid puts her own clever spin on it and has written about 8 things she loved in ’08.
And then there are the pieces being written about reflections on our lives. Not all of these are sentimental pieces, of course. And some of them aren't really reflections in the true sense of the word, but more of a "preview." One of my favorite writers also happens to write one of my very favorite blogs. Check out J.D. Rhoades' "What Fresh Hell is This?" for a preview of 2009.
And Laura Lippman has done her annual (this is #2, but its quickly becoming a tradition, I think) "One Word Resolution Challenge" at her Memory Project Blog.
So. I see I've gotten off on a tangent. Imagine that. But this blog IS after all named "Meanderings and Muses," so bear with me please while I meander and muse.
I knew I wanted to write a New Year's piece, but opened up this composing window to write without a clear thought in my head about what on earth it might be.
My friend Ken Lewis suggested I write about Uncus. Uncus was the dachsund we had when I was in high school. When I left for college Uncus took over my bedroom. The first weekend I came home from school for a visit I went out with friends one evening and when I came home, everyone was in bed. Including Uncus, who was loudly snoring away in my bed. Which, he, unfortunately for me, now considered (quite selfishly) to be his bed. And when I tried to get into "our" bed, he growled at me. Growled. At me. I was stunned. It scared me a little bit, but mostly it hurt my feelings. I'd only been gone a few weeks! I had shared this bed (when it was mine) with him for many years! I knocked on Mother and Dad's bedroom door to share my dilemma, and get a little help, but to no avail. "Oh, he's just kidding. Isn't that cute? ha ha. Just go to bed - he'll be fine." harumph. I don't remember all the details about how I convinced Uncus to share "the" bed, but we apparently came to an understanding about it all.
But I don't want to write about that.
I want to make my own list. My 10 Favorite Books of 2008. But its hard! Don't you think its hard to do a "Ten Best?" I admire those of you who can do that. I'm not going to try to do that. And instead of including just books in my list, I'm adding writers I've discovered this year who moved onto my "new favorite writer" list. Actually, because my memory is so bad, there may be some writers here who I actually discovered last year. But. Since this is my first year blogging, and so my first year for doing this list, who on earth is gonna know - right?! Well, in the spirit of transparency - I do do one of these lists every year at DorothyL, but I'm counting on everyone there having a memory as bad as mine.
In absolutely no particular order - - -
Friend of the Devil, Peter Robinson
Another Thing to Fall, Laura Lippman
Red Knife, William Kent Krueger
Death's Half Acre, Margaret Maron
The Drifter's Wheel, Phillip DePoy
Where Memories Lie, Deborah Crombie
Swan Peak, James Lee BurkeThe Cluttered Corpse, Mary Jane MaffiniBuried Lies, Peter Rennebohm
Mightly Old Bones, Mary Saums
Another Man's Moccasins, Craig Johnson
Baby Shark's High Plains Redemption, Robert Fate
In a Dark Season, Vicki Lane
The Cruelest Month, Louise Penny
The Murder Stone, Louise Penny (available in the U.S. in Jan. under the title "A Rule Against Murder"
Killer Heat, Linda Fairstein
14, JT Ellison
The Black Hand, Will Thomas
Stalked, Brian Freeman
The Price, Alex Sokoloff
Defending Angels, Mary Stanton
Death Will Get You Sober, Liz Zelvin
The Fault Tree, Louise Ure
Hank Phillipi Ryan
Robert Gregory Browne
Toni McGee Causey
Reed Farrel Coleman
Pari Noskin Taichert
(I know. I'm the last person on God's green earth to discover Ken Bruen and Lee Child. What can I say? I am an eejit).
O.K. - now I have to make myself not go back and re-read this list because I know there are books and writers I've just forgotten. One of the things I think I need to do is start keeping a log of what I'm reading. I do sort of do that at librarything.com but its not done by year, so its no help for end of the year "Best of" lists. But. Then again, since this "is" my blog, after all, I guess I can just come back and add to my list any ol' time I want to, huh? Cool!
Now its your turn! Let's hear your favorite books for the year, and what new writers did you discover in 2008 that went immediately on your favorite writers list? Let's see your lists. Or heck, if you have a totally different list you want to share with us, that'll be fun too. Whatever you want to do. Reflect? o.k. - go right ahead. And here's my New Year's hug to each of you.
p.s. - Yes, I did get new earbobs for Christmas! They're gorgeous honey amber drops, with a pendant to match. Santa is a lovely man.