I’m getting in early to carry out a Creative Round Up 2016 Hit List ClickBaity Endeavour. It goes without saying that 2016 had plenty of flaws. I immersed myself in a lot of reading material and music during the year, because art helps me to escape and find solace. It is elevating and pure. *Leaky eye*. I find it’s helpful to end a year by listing what was positive about it, and that’s why I feel it’s important to reminisce about the art I’ve enjoyed. So I’ve gone and done it.
Disclaimer: Most of these weren’t published in 2016.
– We Learn Nothing: Essays by Tim Kreider. Awesome, powerful and funny essays about human relationships.
– The Wicked Boy by Kate Summerscale. A riveting tale that’s a proper page turner.
– The Circle by Dave Eggers. The coolest premise, and ridiculously entertaining.
– A second attempt to finish The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (it’s much better the second time around actually) has failed, but I will get there, I swear.
– The Bad Seed by William March. It’s about a psychotic child on the rampage and was written in 1954. Compelling, written simply and impactfully. A super read. I read it on my Kindle at night in bed and it was worth the migraines.
– The Year of Living Danishly: My Twelve Months Unearthing the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country by Helen Russell. Insights into Denmark and why the people are so happy. It’s a lot about hygge, it’s a lot about open-mindedness and being progressive. Unsurprisingly.
– Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey. Because there’s no right or wrong way to set about creating, just as long as it gets done.
– The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking by Oliver Burkeman. A refreshing perspective on the forced positivity that’s infecting every discourse nowadays.
– I listened to some audiobooks too, ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ made for easy listening, but best of all was Stephen Grosz’s ‘The Examined Life’. It was a fantastic listen (can I say that, is that a thing that people say?) I use the Audible app which is money well spent for people who cannot tolerate silence (me). I tried to listen to The Secret History by Donna Tartt but it was just too long, and I already know the story inside out. What was I thinking? I also listened to lots of stuff from Ann Rule, America’s original true crime author.
[Most of my reading this year – unlisted here – was related to my Masters in Creative Writing, so I haven’t been reading purely for pleasure. RACKING SOBS. My summer thesis was about John McGahern’s management of female dialogue in his short stories, I’ll post about it some other time. In 2017, I’m looking at the nuances of female friendship in literature, a pretty wide subject with a great deal of reading.]
This album was divisive, but I loved it. Junk by M83. (It even became the writing soundtrack to a novel I’ve been working on, and I normally don’t listen to music as I write). Other musicians I’ve really appreciated this year are Andy Shauf and Thundercat, and Lady Gaga’s album Joanne really took me by surprise, I haven’t much cared for her avant-garde ways up to now, but songs like ‘Sinner’s Prayer’ really hit the mark for me. I also loved ‘Wolves’ from Kanye West, ‘Peace’ from Kenton Slash Demon, and ‘Catapult’ from Jack Savoretti. I took a deep dive into some old time crooners like Frank Sinatra (!) following on from a Netflix documentary I watched about his life, and ‘Angel Eyes’ and ‘In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning’ found their way onto my Spotify playlist. I don’t know if that’s cool or not but I don’t really care. They’re like lullabies for grown-ups, and grown-ups need lullabies too. Oh, and I had huge fun listening to Tame Impala ‘Let It Happen’ and ‘The Less I Know The Better’. I find their lyrics most amusing:
Someone said they left together
I ran out the door to get her
She was holding hands with Trevor
Not the greatest feeling ever
She said, “Pull yourself together
You should try your luck with Heather”
Then I heard they slept together
Oh, the less I know the better
Whatever happens in the year to come, here’s hoping that it brings us lots of great books and music to help keep us sane. This is the kind of stuff that helps make life worth living. Creators, you’ve got a very worthy job to do. Do carry on with it.
I’m feeling rather sociable. Let’s connect on Goodreads!