Visions of Paradise

Sunday, January 02, 2005

The Year in Review

The Year in Review: My recreational time is primarily spent reading books and magazines, and listening to music, almost to the total absence of watching television and movies. So here are a few observations on the past recreational year:

I bought or received 25 books this year, starting with the historical novel Star of the Sea in January and finishing with sf novel Etched City in December. I have read 16 of them entirely, and portions of three omnibus volumes (Jack Vance’s Demon Princes Volume 1, James White’s Beginning Operations, and Dimensions of Sheckley). The best book I read all year was Guy Gavriel Kay’s alternate history novel The Last Light of the Sun, with runners-up being Jennifer Vanderbe’s historical novel Easter Island, Jonathan Strahan’s collection Best Short Novels of the Year (2003), and–for pure fun–John Varley’s The Golden Globe and Jack Vance’s The Star King.

I bought or received 19 music compact disks or boxed sets this year, starting with Fairport Convention’s live Cropedy and finishing with a Christmas present from Andy, John Fogarty’s Deja Vu All Over Again. This was definitely the year of retrospective music, since my favorite cd was Cropedy, with runners-up being two “greatest hits” packages, John Mellencamp’s Words and Music and Jackson Browne’s The Very Best of. I also enjoyed a nine-cd set The Folk Years, which contained primarily folk-rock of the 1960s, everybody from Dylan to Mamas and Papas and everybody inbetween.

I subscribed to 6 magazines this year: Locus (the newsletter of the SF field), Bookmarks (containing reviews of a wide variety of book genres), Tracks (a serious music magazine), Historical Fiction Review/ Solander (4 issues of endless reviews of novels and 2 issues of fascinating essays about historical fiction), SFWA Bulletin (useful articles on the professional side of writing), two semi-annual f&sf fiction magazines (Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet and Postscripts). For 2005 I have added Paradox (a magazine of historical and speculative fiction) and plan to renew Locus, Tracks, and possibly Postscripts. The others were worthwhile reading, but I rarely dwell on the same magazines for too long (except Locus, which has been invaluable to me for the past 30+ years).


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