Hey [20]19

180 Janis Joplin, backstage, Grande Ballroom, Detroit 1968.
180 Janis Joplin, backstage, Grande Ballroom, Detroit 1968.

I read 57 books in 2019.  Thanx to Tyler Cowan, who taught me to discard with abandon books I start but end up not enjoying.  Read only what makes you really excited to get back to your book, and you’ll make the time to get back to your book.  And have a better time when you do.

Best fiction discovery: Lionel Shriver.  I discovered her starting with The Mandibles and ended up reading four more, my favorite probably being We Need to Talk About Kevin for its sheer staying power, closely followed by the Post-Birthday World.  I really love parallel universes.  So Much for All That would have been another favorite were it contained to the main plot, and had it discarded with the subplot.

Best non-fiction discovery: Meghan Daum.  She writes essays that just talk out of my own brain.  See: the Unspeakable; this year’s Problem with Everything.  Some of Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived in That House also resonated.  She has also written a novel, the Quality of Life Report, which I read years ago before I knew she was herself.

What happened in my life this year that didn’t take place on my couch under the reading lamp?  I turned 50, obviously, and got some clean medical screenings.  My spouse and I greatly enjoyed 2 weeks in coastal Maine.  A new mudroom was completed on the back of our house.  All of this could have been predicted; the real wild dominoes fell at my job.  My manager experienced a life-changing injury in late February; and [the product that I work on] experienced a 6-hour outage on April Fool’s Day.  As a result, one of my best work-pals is now my boss, and we haven’t done any meaningful work since April.  You just never know.

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