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Review of the Year 2010
Member Name: calypte
Review of the Year 2010
Date: 03/01/11, updated on 05/01/11 (53 review reads)
Advantages: Getting rid of my tonsils and acquiring a new career!
Disadvantages: Needing to get rid of my tonsils, and the previous job!
While I'm gearing myself up for my first 'proper' review not only of 2011 but in some time, what better way to ease myself back into scribbling than with an overview of the past 12 months?
Well, obviously there's been a lot going on in my life over the past year to keep me away from Dooyoo so much - and I mean a LOT! My two biggest changes/achievements in 2010 were a shiny brand new job, and having my tonsils out. The latter was a bigger deal than it may sound: I'd had chronic tonsillitis for 15 months (!!) up until their whipping out in August, and good grief but was it a relief! It took *such* a long time to get diagnosed, after a misdiagnosis of depression would you believe (well, you try having a sore throat for over a year and see how happy you are about it!), and although it's never pleasant to end up in an operating room I am thrilled with the results: I feel like me again for the first time in... well, at least 15 months!!
Which all connects quite a lot with the new job (not least 'cos old job weren't very supportive of me being ill for so long, shall we say!). It's been a huge change for me and my life, and one I'm quite proud of myself for taking the risk with: I'm no longer on a permanent contract, I dropped quite a large chunk of salary, and I couldn't be happier! Bye bye corporate conveyor belt, blinkered little view, and hello learning and challenge and all the excitement and hard work that brings! It's still early days (I started at the end of September), but so far I'm relearning all the stuff from my first degree, applying bits from the current degree, and on top of that have taken on a management diploma course!
So I hope you can understand some of my absence from last year! Here's some of what I should have and meant to write about over 2010:
I read a walloping 74 books over the course of the year, which makes the 5 book reviews I managed a rather embarrassing figure ;) One major thing for me was joining the library for the first time in over a decade (or two, ahem!) - not that I don't own more than enough books, but I liked being able to try some randomness. A lot of that took the form of non-fiction reading, and in the 'self-help'-ish genre, at that: not usually my cup of tea! But I suppose trying to overcome my supposed depression did lead down that path, and as with so much of life you really can get out of such books what you're willing to.
I thoroughly recommend, then, Barbara Sher's 'Refuse to Choose', although it's not easy to get hold of. I'll be rereading this (and hopefully then reviewing!) very soon, as it's echoed with me through the year and I now have the energy to live it! Sher has defined me in this book: I am a 'scanner' - basically, someone with way more interests than time! And this book says, "hey - that's not just okay, it's fab!". Another interesting one was The Artist's Way, which left me feeling that I might be able to reconnect with my creativity in a way I crave. That said, I haven't exactly followed the book's advice (yet!) on writing morning pages and going on artist's dates, but I do like the ideas.
More fun stuff now! My first novel of the year was 'The Book with No Name' by Anonymous - you can see the difficulties of suggesting that for the Dooyoo database ;) It totally ripped off the beginning of Desperado, but it was daft and fun - a good thing in the occasional book ;)
In my favourite genre, sci-fi, I discovered the work of Nick (son of Carl) Sagan with his Idlewild trilogy - books for the computer age, most definitely, with virtual reality and genetics combining with a warning for the future. I also came across Jon Courtenay Grimwood for the first time, with the enthralling 'Stamping Butterflies' weaving three disparate - and not very sci-fi - tales together across time and space. In the 'classics', I at long last read more Philip K Dick - full of imagination, if not the most cuddly of styles; Larry Niven's famous 'Ringworld' which was intriguing and so much shorter than today's sci-fi!; the heartbreaking 'Flowers for Algernon', and several more from the Masterwork's collection. And finally worth a mention is the trailing conclusion of Orson Scott Card's Ender Saga, 'Ender in Exile', which was much better than I'd been led to believe, if oddly repetitive of some of the other novels - well, it is stuck time-wise between and overlapping so much of the others! If you're a fan, I'd recommend that for the author's afterword alone, as he ties the various realities together a bit more.
I must give a huge shout-out for Jim Butcher's Dresden Files. Vaguely familiar from the short-lived TV series ages ago, the books are just fab: full of dry humour, outlandish situations and all the vampires, werewolves and magic that I desire in a lighter read :) I'm currently at 8 out of 12 books, and the series hasn't lagged for me yet!
Oh, I could go on and on, but let's just say I recommend:
* 'The Pillars of the Earth' by Ken Follett - huge, engrossing, and recently a TV adaptation
* Stephen Hunt's dreamlike world, as started in 'The Court of the Air'
* 'Never Let Me Go' - whatever the film does, Kazuo Ishiguro's book is captivating
* Neil Gaiman's anything, but this year 'Anansi Boys' for me
Don't worry, I'll be briefer! ;)
Avatar, Avatar, Avatar! Loved it :) Love the extended collector's edition DVD - all 16 extra minutes worth the viewing - and I might actually buy a Blu-Ray player finally just for this. Don't argue with me on this one! ;) Also thoroughly enjoyed Guy Ritchie's take on Sherlock Holmes even if I didn't rate Robert Downey Jr's accent much - the TV version with Benedict Cumberbatch was more gripping or at least original, imo. Ooh, and Inception - saw it twice, and still enjoyed it confusion or not! :)
Overall, 2010 was a year of great ideas poorly executed in my view. Films like Daybreakers (what if vampires ruled the world?), The Book of Eli, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, Solomon Kane, Alice in Wonderland, Clash of the Titans (how the CGI could this be so boring?!), Iron Man 2, Prince of Persia, Shrek 4, Knight and Day, The Sorceror's Apprentice (the Nic Cage one, rather than Mickey Mouse's version ;)), The Expendables, Salt, R.E.D, and Burke and Hare (and breathe! Phew - watched more movies than I thought this year!) varied from 'could have been better' to 'could have just not been made'. Ahem. At least Tron: Legacy - still falling into the former category - had fab graphics (just, not Jeff Bridges' face!) and a lovely dose of nostalgia.
On the brighter side, the Karate Kid remake was way better than the original, and gave Jackie Chan a lovely serious role. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader surpassed the previous Narnia movies, if not by much. Kick Ass split audiences, but it was a lot of fun and Chloe Moretz deserves to be huge now. And if all that hasn't tickled any fancies I would certainly recommend the cute but not too cute How to Train Your Dragon :)
I'll stop! ;) It is, after all, time to get on with generating material for the 2011 review of the year!
Summary: Overall, a good year :)