Posts Tagged ‘A Year in First Lines – 2014’

Well, this seems like a marvelous idea. Many thanks to Jane at Fleur in her World for giving me the nudge I needed to look back on the year in reading and blogging.

In her words:

The last month of the year is here, and so it’s time to play a particular game:

“Take the first line of each month’s post over the past year and see what it tells you about your blogging year.”

It’s an idea that started with The Indextrious Reader, I spotted Annabel playing a day or two ago, and that reminded me that it really is an interesting way to look back at a year…

I’m enjoying this game greatly when I encounter it on various book blogger’s sites this month. Some of the results are wonderfully intriguing. I wonder what mine will look like? Here we go, then.

January

“Why are they whetting knives at Branehog?”

From A Swedish Ghost Story for a Dark Winter’s Night: The Treasure by Selma Lagerlof, first published in 1904.

February

She does it again. Just when I thought I knew everything there was to know about Margery Sharp’s eclectic style, she pulls something new out of the hat.

From The Sun in Scorpio by Margery Sharp, 1965.

March

Van Dusen Garden in Vancouver, February 24, 2014 - There are spring flowers out there, buried for the most part under the unexpected snow.

Van Dusen Garden in Vancouver, February 24, 2014 – There are spring flowers out there, buried for the most part under the unexpected snow.

The last part of February passed in an absolute blur, and I’ve been away from the blog completely but for brief moments to reply to comments.

From Back to Books, March 5, 2014. I was away in Vancouver, in the snow, and I visited the blog briefly to give an update and post a few pictures. That was a busy month…

April

The next three books in my series of Round-Up posts all involve some sort of autobiographical experiences, though they are presented in different ways. Gavin Maxwell’s Harpoon Venture is self-critical and hyper-realistic; Rosemary Taylor’s Harem Scare’m goes for the gently self-mocking humorous approach, while W.H. Davies’ The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp is in the nature of a unemotionally-documented saga, told in the plainest of language by a man looking backwards down the years at his unconventional and occasionally dramatic vagabond (quite literally) days.

From Round-Up Post #2-2014: Gavin Maxwell Hunts Basking Sharks, The Moroccan Rif War Through Innocent Eyes, and The Original Super-Tramp, April 5, 2014.

May

I am breaking my several-weeks’ book-discussing silence to applaud this brief novel by the increasingly enjoyable Muriel Spark.

From Diet Advice and Literary Revenge: A Far Cry from Kensington by Muriel Spark, 1988.

June

There's a light at the end of the tunnel... in this case, that would be the extremely cool (literally) abandoned Othello railway tunnels near Hope, British Columbia. Yes, we've been travelling! Not too far away from home, just touristing in the backyard, as it were. This is about 5-ish hours driving hours from home, not counting numerous stops.

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel…

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel… in this case, that would be the extremely cool (literally) abandoned Othello railway tunnels near Hope, British Columbia. Yes, we’ve been travelling!

From One. More. Thing. (And then I’ll get back to the books!) June 3, 2014

July

Hmmm. Though doubtless a good example of period fiction and an early precursor to the detective-story genre which so abundantly flourished in the decades after Lady Molly’s publication, for actual reading experience the book was not quite as fabulous as I had hoped.

From Class Divisions Were Never So Distinct: Lady Molly of Scotland Yard by The Baroness Orczy, first published in 1910.

August

This post should be extremely easy to write, as it is merely meant to be an enthusiastic recommendation of two things. First and foremost, this stellar memoir by Dodie Smith (I Capture the Castle, The Hundred and One Dalmations), detailing with immense good humour her childhood days in Manchester, when she lived with her widowed mother in a series of family homes.

From Look Back with Love by Dodie Smith: A Ten-Star Memoir, 1974.

September

Prefacing this sure-to-be-rambling post with this information, for those of you who wonder what I’m actually talking about way down below. As different as can be in time periods and settings, but all at heart clinging to a similar traditional structure, that of the Gothic Romance Novel.

From Gothic Concoctions – Mary Stewart’s French Chateau Drama Trumps Georgette Heyer’s Boring Cousin Kate & Madeleine Brent’s Spunky Cornish Fishergirl, September 6, 2014.

October

Pacific Ocean at Long Beach, western side of Vancouver Island. Next landfall, Japan.

Pacific Ocean at Long Beach, western side of Vancouver Island. Next landfall, Japan.

This space has been very quiet lately, and there is the happy reason why, as mid-September brought a rare chance to get away from work and the farm for a few weeks, and with that escape, a time away from the computer.

From September Rambles: My Semi-Secret Automobile Love, and a Pilgrimage to the Pacific, October 2, 2014.

November

Well, now. Some of you will have heard about the recent crash-and-burn of one of Canada’s more prominent radio hosts, Jian Ghomeshi of CBC Radio’s popular “Q” music and pop culture program.

From In Reference to Recent Headlines, a Post from the L&P Archives: 1982 by Jian Ghomeshi, November 5, 2014.

December

Well, I might just make it to my Century of Books (2014 version) goal. That is: 100 books read and reviewed from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014, one for each year between 1900 and 1999. I have 8 years left to read, and 3 weeks to read them in – still quite do-able.

From My Century of Books 2014 – The Deadline Looms!, December 5, 2014.

*****

Well, there it is!

If a theme emerges, it is that of perpetually playing catch-up. It’s been a very odd year in so many ways, some bits good, some not so much.

I took a sabbatical year from my small plant nursery business, and we travelled much more than we usually are able to. I especially enjoyed the rambles we managed in the spring – usually I am much too busy with plants to even think of getting away on a jaunt.

In June my elderly mother passed away, peacefully and utterly unexpectedly – she’d been holding her own tremendously well through a variety of health challenges, and I think we all thought she’d just keep on keeping on. So the year from then on has been shadowed by sadness. Most days are fine, but occasionally I find myself very lost, which is to be expected, I suppose.

On a happier note, I’ve been tackling A Century of Books project this year, and it has been hugely enjoyable. Only a few (four!) left to read, and of course a tremendous number of reviews to concoct. Which is what I should be doing instead of taking part in this diverting little look-back game! 😉

What does your year look like, fellow book people?

 

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