2014 in review

Goodbye, 2014. Hate to see you leave, love to watch you go.

Wait. Nope, I’m thinking of something else.

2014’s been both a challenge and a delight. Personal problems, professional challenges, and a lot of time spent in my own head and on this blog were basically the common threads of the year. Here are some highlights.

Books I read

As this is nominally a reading blog, here are my reading highlights of the year.

Comics

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2014 was the year I finally delved into comic books, fully embracing my inner Marvel (and Chris Evans) fangirl. Comic highlights include my first, Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye, as well as Andy Diggle’s The Losers and Brian Michael Bendis’ Age of Ultron. Last comic of the year was Mark Millar’s Civil War, because I just can’t wait for Captain America: Civil War to come out (I may be doing a little happy dance in my seat just thinking about it).

I’ve really enjoyed branching out into comics this year. It challenged my ideas of how and why I enjoy reading – confirming some suspicions that yes, actually, I am just in it for a ripping yarn, and debunking previously held opinions about the word-to-picture ratio of a complex, gripping story.

Nonfiction

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Another way I’ve branched out this year was by properly diving into reading nonfiction. I’ve been dancing around the edges of memoir and essay for a few years now, and jumping into George Orwell’s Essays and Benjamin Law’s Gaysia only served to encourage and delight. I walked into a brand-new bookstore just up the road from my house in the week before Christmas and found not one but three nonfiction books I was interested in. I’m challenging myself to purchase and read all of them by the end of February – gotta keep that nonfiction spark burning!

Fiction

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I joined a couple of book clubs this year that broadened and challenged my choice of novel, and helped me get around to reading books that I’d been thinking about reading or that had been recommended to me a while before. I loved loved loved Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, which I shared with my local book club and pressed onto a good friend and both my parents with much success within weeks of finishing it. Many thanks to the Bloc Club for introducing me to Brooke Davis’ Lost and Found; other favourites include Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five (I’m still puzzling over that one), and Wayne Macauley’s Demons and The Cook. Unforgettable, that last one.

Songs I couldn’t get out of my head

I love pop music aimed at teenagers and I’m not even ashamed. The only reason I’m not going to see Taylor Swift in 2015 is that I missed out on tickets – $250 is a little out of my budget. There were a lot of songs I listened to in 2014, but these three (once they came out) I listened to every day, every week, sometimes multiple times in a day, because I couldn’t get them out of my head.



2014 Highlights

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My partner and I went to Tasmania for our ten-year (ten years! What the actual deuce?!) anniversary, and it was pretty amazing. My favourite moment was walking around Lake St Clair on a drizzly, grey day, breaking in our new snow jackets, getting our jeans wet, and not even caring.

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I don’t take pictures much, but I Instagram my coffee a lot. So many instances of taking a quiet moment with a coffee and a book made up what feels like the bulk of 2014, but this one was a particular favourite, as I was taking a moment in between sessions at The Wheeler Centre’s New News journalism conference. So many great speakers from publications including the Herald Sun, The Age, the ABC and the Guardian Australia challenging, questioning, and confirming the role of Australian media in a world where anybody can be a reporter, and we all want to get our news for free. I’m still turning these panels over in my head, and I can’t wait for next year.

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So many drunken Thursdays with this angel and her seemingly neverending TV queue basically kept me from unravelling this year. Thanks, bb. You’ll be awesome in your new job.

So that’s 2014 in a nutshell. Hard to believe that 365 days of books and coffee and wine and birthdays and travel and challenges and support and pop culture and peanut butter on toast can be distilled into one short post, but that’s life, I guess. We remember moments, not days (thanks Kikki.K). Here’s to a great, challenging, decisive, wonderful 2015 filled with good books, great friends, and many bottles of wine.

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