Thursday, January 01, 2009


And Happy New Year to all of you. I sorta half-woke up before dawn today, causing a weird run of the imagination leading me to believe the sun had gone out overnight. A rather inauspicious omen and I'd just as soon put it behind me.

So, a new year, a new start. I'm going easy on the resolutions this year, though I am resolving (for the tenth year in a row or so) to become fluent in Czech. It's kind of a tradition.

* * *

I meant to do a couple best-of lists yesterday, but obviously, I did not. Some are kind of useless: I think I bought one 2008 album (Firewater, "The Golden Hour") and saw one 2008 movie ("Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist"). Both were good, so, best of!

Books-wise -- five best I read this year, in no real order (and obviously, there's no "published in 2008" rule:

"In Europe" by Geert Mak

"Sahara Unveiled" by William Langewiesche
"The Yiddish Policemen's Union" by Michael Chabon

"Chain of Command" by Seymour Hersh
"Reappraisals" by Tony Judt

Not much fiction this year. The only novel to make it onto the top five list is Chabon -- and all the runners-up were non-fiction. A disproportionate amount of the fiction I read this year was re-reading -- the Lawrence Block orgy, Van de Wetering, a few others.

Maybe that's another resolution: more fiction. Pynchon's "Mason & Dixon" is set to be my hospital-recuperation read post-surgery. Big laughs: at the start of 2008, I put it at the top of my "books to read in 2008" list. Looking at that list, you'll note that I didn't read ANY. 2008, man.

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