This is the time of year to look back, a writer’s dilemma. It seems like I am always mulling on memories, lingering over scenes half-remembered, reconstructed as fiction. But as 2013 ends, this is a happy look back at my literary highlights of the year, as I prepare to pop the champagne and get ready to sing “Auld Lange Synge" (does anyone on the planet know all the words to this song?!):
Cheers! to My Literary Crush of the Year:
Alice McDermott from That Night to Charming Billy and now on to Someone. I’ve read everyone of her novels and I think Someone is one of her best – it travels down some of the same streets as the one before – Brooklyn, Long Island’s South Shore, a young girl looking into her neighbor’s world and then into her own, an Irish-American girl trying to make sense of the ordinariness of life. I loved Someone.
Cheers! To Best Literary Find in My New City – The District of Columbia:
I met my literary crush Alice McDermott here hand selling books on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I also attended readings by Edwidge Danticat and Elizabeth Wein 9also author of the best YOUNG ADULT novels that I read this year CODE NAME VERITY and its sequel: ROSE UNDER FIRE). Best of all, I found a new home to buy books, discuss books, breathe books.
And cheers to:
The Best Books I read with my book club:
I love being part of a book club! We read many good books this year – but I loved the Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaughand Wonder by RJ Palacioand The Fault in Our Stars by John Green -- yes, our book club of women of a certain age love to read young adult novels -- and these two stories made us cheer and cry.
Best Poetry Find:
I took an amazing class with her: Grand Theft Poetry and realized that poetry can be found, stolen, nourished in many places.
Best Self-Published Book:
Tales of a Hungry Life: A Memoir with Recipesby Maria Schulz -- rollicking tales of a large Italian-Puerto Rican family in Queens – and the recipes are delicious!
Best Indie Book:
Recommended by the imitable workshop leader (at another best new find: Bethesda Writer's Center) Mark Cugini: Crapalachia by Scott McClanahan—“a biography of place” a very peculiar place in Appalachia and the people there, written in vivid short scenes.
Favorite “classic” book re-read:
The Joys of Yiddish by Leo Rosten – read for research, with naches for the language, which as a kid my father sprinkled around our dining room table. Oy!
Best Movie Based on a Novel:
CATCHING FIRE based on Suzanne Collins Hunger Games series, as if you didn't know. But best new addition to the cast: Phillip Seymour Hoffman. This December, the movie just crossed 700 million in box office world wide. May the odds be forever in their favor!
Best Television Series Based On a Novel:
House of Cards starring Kevin Spacey and awesome Robin Wright - is based on the novel by same name by Michael Dobbs (interesting a British writer and politician). I am currently binge-watching for the holidays on Netflix!
So farewell to 2013, I am already looking ahead to 2014 – in February, look for the publication of my second novel: BEFORE MY EYES (St. Martin’s Press) on 2.11.14. I will not forget old friends…
...For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne...
Much more in 2014!! Caroline