So, 2012 was the Year of Reading Dangerously and I read #theLIST with, at times, sheer dogged determination. The question remains, was it a noble quest that has improved me as a person, or is it just a completed check box?
First, I will list the memorable highlights from #theLIST:
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
What did this book do for me? It made me, for the first time in 30 years, turn off the movie Blade Runner. It made me think about what is life, exactly, and why do we cling to it. Everyone in that book is doomed to die, decaying into the kipple that will be the last remnants of human kind. Why distinguish whether it is an artificial life? All will perish. It’s just that simple.
It’s Vonnegut. He looks at the world in a different way. He is sad, weary, and resigned – but he is going out with the last bitter laugh.
This is beautiful and terrible truth that we try to deny – the relationship between men and women when divorce and birth control were unavailable. These gaps led countless people into relationships that are mercilessly exposed in Jack and April Wheeler. Merciless. Everyone and everything is merciless and could, so very easily, be repeated. A cautionary tale that could be a mirror, if one were not careful.
The House of Mirth
There was nothing at all funny about Lily’s descent from the brink of social success to inevitable poverty and shame. But Wharton was a brilliant artist, dazzling us with glittering prose and leading us into ruin, one step at at time.
Now for the Also-Rans:
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Too much science, not enough fiction. A surgical removal of the fish lists would have vastly improved this read.
Overwrought prose almost completely obscured a really interesting concept. If stubbornness had not kicked in, I would have missed it because I would have abandoned the book less than halfway through.
Overall, I read about half of #theLIST this year and will continue on that journey. I have taken on a new appreciation for science fiction, thanks to Androids and Fahrenheit 451. I have reminded myself that one can laugh at a disaster, even if the laugh is cynical and sad. I have gone on adventures and seen myself in some not so flattering lights.
Other notable reads this year:
The Things They Carried
The Casual Vacancy
As for next year, I get a new tag: #36in12. After improving my mind so much, I’m going to the romance genre. I owe myself a bit of mind candy. There may also be a #10thGradeEnglish, too, since I read whatever my daughter reads for her literature class. Antigone, anyone?