Archive for January 4th, 2013

January 4, 2013

Looking forward, looking back

Looking Back:

The Strange Horizons 2012 in review piece is now up here. In my little section I recommend Stella Gibbons’ Starlight, Nilanjana Roy’s The Wildings, Nick Jackson’s Secret Life of the Panda, Jessica Langer’s Postcolonialism and Science Fiction, Janice Pariat’s Boats on Land, Adam Roberts’ Jack Glass and Margo Lanagan’s Sea Hearts as SFFnal books that are likely to stay with me from this year.

I’m not sure how I managed to delete a bit on Alan Garner’s Boneland but that too was one of the highlights of my year in reading. Boneland is such a tricky book to get one’s head around and I’m still not sure if I can claim I actually liked it. But there was so much to it – the sort of reading experience that involved multiple rereads and stalking around the room muttering to oneself and pulling other books off the shelves and making notes on everything.

Other high points of 2012 included Thanhha Lai’s astonishing Inside Out and Back Again, Anne Carson’s translation of Sophocles, Antigonick, Helen DeWitt’s Lightning Rods, Anna Kavan’s Ice, Zachary Mason’s Lost Books of the Odyssey (these were the only two not published in 2012, I think)¬†and Zadie Smith’s NW. Also Jan Morris’ Last Letters from Hav and Christopher Priest’s The Islanders, which I wrote about together for my National Geographic Traveller column here. I loved reading and writing about the stories shortlisted for the Caine Prize (I’m particularly fond of my defense of Stanley Kenani’s “Love on Trial”, shunned by everyone else), and I hope to do that this year as well.

2012 was a year of rereads including Tove Jansson’s Moomin Books, Vance’s Lyonesse trilogy, The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper and most of the Swallows and Amazons books. I’m glad I did this, but I’m going to make a conscious effort not to spend too much time on rereads this year.

 

Looking forward:

Having said which, hilariously, I promise to return to my big Antonia Forest series reread soon, with a piece on Peter’s Room.

In my last post I mentioned a number of 2012 books I hadn’t been able to get around to reading. I’m looking forward to all of those this year. 2013 releases I’m particularly excited about include Anne Carson’s Red Doc (a sequel to Autobiography of Red!) and Karen Russell’s Vampires in the Lemon Grove. I’m also going to make a bigger effort this year to read more Indian writers as well as other chromatic writers, having realised that only about 10% of the authors I read are non-white. For the rest– we’ll see?