My 2018: More books (and even fewer films) On 29/12/201830/12/2018 By RebeccaIn Films, Miscellaneous Books I read in 2018, in the order I read them Books – I didn’t hit my target of 52 books in 2018, but I got close (50). I will start something else before the year is out, but I’m unlikely to finish it quick enough for inclusion here (unless I pick something short, but that would feel like cheating). I’ve only included things I’ve read for pleasure or personal curiosity, not anything I’ve read for work. I don’t continue with a book that becomes a chore (life is too short), so any of the above can be taken as ‘readable’ (not wishing to damn with faint praise but in my experience people’s taste in literature is harder to determine than their taste in films, so I wouldn’t recommend everything to everyone). There’s a range of genres, formats (I’ve developed a taste for short stories), and a mixture of fiction and non-fiction – something for everyone! I make no distinction between ‘new’ and ‘old’ titles, but the highlights for new-to-me books (Hope in the Dark was a re-read) were (in alphabetical order by title): and our faces, my heart, brief as photos – John Berger Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life – Yiyun Li Down the Rabbit Hole – Juan Pablo Villalobos Evening Descends Upon the Hills – Anna Maria Ortese The Goodbye Look – Ross MacDonald The History Thieves – Ian Cobain Jagua Nana – Cyprian Ekwensi Loitering with Intent – Muriel Spark The Man Who Walked Through Walls – Marcel Aymé The Redemption of Galen Pike – Carys Davies Wise Children – Angela Carter Honourable mentions: The Lady and the Little Fox Fur – Violette Leduc; The Little Virtues – Natalia Ginzburg; all of the Walter Mosley titles (all part of the Leonid McGill series). 2019: I’m just going to keep on reading, and try to avoid having periods where I don’t read at all (I had about five weeks between September and October where that happened this year, which was the longest I went, but there were several other shorter periods as well). I didn’t really carry out my intention of attempting longer books, so I’m going to aim for that as well – maybe have some short stories on the go at the same time. Other reading – A selection of the articles and essays that I’ve found informative, chucklesome, enraging, or thought-provoking this year (where they are available online) [a-z by title] (a couple of the LRB articles are behind a paywall – I’ve tried to pick ones that aren’t – but if you sign up with your email, you can usually read them without charge): After the Fall – John Lanchester, London Review of Books Can history help? – Linda Colley, London Review of Books Dorothy Allison: Tender to the Bone – Amy Wright, Guernica Fascism is not an idea to be debated, it’s a set of actions to fight – Aleksandor Hemon, LitHub Five Myths About the Refugee Crisis – Daniel Trilling, The Guardian How do we write now? – Patricia Lockwood, Tin House In Praise of the Photocopy – Alejandro Zambra, The Paris Review Lying in Politics: Reflections on the Pentagon Papers – Hannah Arendt, The New York Review of Books [from 1971] My year of living ignorantly – Christopher Hebert, The Guardian NHS SOS – James Meek, London Review of Books The paranoid fantasy behind Brexit – Fintan O’Toole, The Guardian Short Cuts: Homelessness – Danny Dorling, London Review of Books Statement on Visit to the United Kingdom – Professor Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights There’s a national emergency all right – but it isn’t Brexit – Aditya Chakrabortty, The Guardian Two Hundred Fifty Things an Architect Should Know – Michael Sorkin, Reading Design Weaponising Paperwork: The Windrush Scandal – William Davies, The London Review of Books I’m aware that I have probably missed things this year – and will in the future as well – because I closed my Twitter account. I’ve signed up for mailing lists of publications that I find interesting, and I’ve tried subscriptions to a range of print titles…I might miss some things, but I’m still finding a rich seam of information. Music – Most-listened-to albums in 2018, in order of release date I tend to be behind with music, so it’s actually quite surprising that a third of the twelve albums above were released in 2018. The rest aren’t necessarily new purchases (I think three were, but the rest I’ve had for longer), but collectively these were the albums that I listened to most often (usually in the form of my iPod shuffle whilst at work) throughout the year. The impetus for Lauryn Hill’s appearance was the realisation that the album came out twenty years ago (the year I left school and started university). In terms of ‘new discoveries’, Dessa and Rosalía were the highlights. For a musical dunce such as myself, this 38min video (in Spanish but subtitled) exploring what Rosalía does musically in El mal querer – and explaining why it is innovative – was enlightening. Films – Total films I’ve watched this year, in the order I saw them No, that’s not my ‘best of the year’ (rolls eyes) but the sum total of films watched by me in 2018 (so far). I didn’t watch any films in the first half of the year (I watched some TV documentaries, but that’s about it), and more than half of the above were watched in December (due to the combination of being off sick for a week with norovirus and then the Christmas holidays). That Spanish cinema catch-up didn’t happen. If I have another year where my malaise in relation to cinema extends beyond writing about films to not even caring to watch them, it’ll probably be time to shutter the blog – but I’ll see what happens. I’m reading a lot more because I’m enjoying reading for the sake of reading; I need to get back to watching films for enjoyment, and leave the writing to one side. Becoming Cary Grant (Mark Kidel, 2017) was my favourite of what I watched (I saw it twice); it is a melancholic (the reverberations of childhood trauma throughout his adult life) but insightful portrait of one of my favourite actors. I particularly liked the discussion/analysis of how different directors utilised and developed different aspects of his star image/persona. It made me want to hunt down some of his films that I haven’t yet seen. It screened on TV as part of Imagine, so I don’t know whether it had been edited or whether the redundant and tacked-on Alan Yentob introduction was the extent of the tinkering. The Dead Nation (Radu Jude, 2017) is also very good (making Radu Jude three for three where I’m concerned – Aferim! and Scarred Hearts have both previously been in my ‘best of the year’ posts), and a further dissection and exploration of Romania’s murky history. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to see “I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians” (Radu Jude, 2018) in some manner. Dawson City: Frozen Time (Bill Morrison, 2017) should have been cinematic catnip for me, but fleeting moments of magic aside I found it long and meandering. Rogue One (Gareth Edwards, 2016) has Diego Luna, and that’s probably enough to warrant third position (although Logan Lucky (Steven Soderbergh, 2017) did make me laugh at various junctures). 2019: the films mentioned at the end of last year’s post are still things to catch up with, alongside the likes of Leave No Trace (Debra Granik, 2018), First Reformed (Paul Schrader, 2018), Faces Places (Agnès Varda & JR, 2018), You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay, 2018), Isle of Dogs (Wes Anderson, 2018), Western (Valeska Grisebach, 2018), and Let the Sunshine In (Claire Denis, 2018). Plus more Spanish titles: Quién te cantará (Carlos Vermut, 2018), Petra (Jaime Rosales, 2018), La ciudad oculta (Victor Moreno, 2018), Entre dos aguas (Isaki Lacuesta, 2018), Viaje al cuarto de una madre (Celia Rico Clavellino, 2018)…and more. A certain man from La Mancha also has his new film out next year (in the Spring in Spain – I’ve not yet seen a date for the UK). Anyway, for now I’ll wish you health and happiness in 2019! Share this:Click to email a link to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Mastodon (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading... Related
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