- Succumb to Fox News hysteria, dig myself a large hole in my backyard, line it with concrete, make a bulk run to Costco, and hole up with piles of Glenn Beck/Ron Paul literature to wait out the 2012 Mayan apocalypse, only venturing forth to meet our inevitable alien overlords when I can reasonably expect to assert my new position as king of the mole people (after I’ve battled and vanquished Pat Robertson for the title); or
- as I’ve already survived two (2!) raptures in 2011 using nothing but cynicism and common sense, consider myself well-nigh argmageddon-proof, and soldier on.
As per usual, the answer lies somewhere in-between (although if we were scaling this on a horizontal line, I’d definitely fall far closer to option 2).
2011 was a busy year for me. I read voraciously, watched movies fanatically, finished and submitted a new manuscript, went to work every day, and even started working out on a semi-regular basis. Now, having surpassed 100 books read and achieving a personal best of 25 push-ups in a row without vomiting, I look at my 2012 prospects and get instantly fatigued.
So shelf-monkey.blogspot.com will now solely become a review site, one I maintain purely for personal reasons. I like books, I like talking about books, I like recommending books, and occasionally I like trashing books. I’ll be streamlining this site somewhat, ridding the blog of certain posts, perhaps altering the look. But rest assured, the content will be of the same middling calibre you’ve come to expect and tolerate from a low-rent Canadian author such as yours truly. I’ll make occasional cross-over posts, but I feel I need to separate the professional me from the blogger me. This new blogger-me will be known online as Tasha Chestnut (not really).
I think I’ll cut back. I went for broke last year, and while I don’t regret it, I didn’t stop and smell the pages enough. So while I’m going to still read new books and review them (hopefully more regularly than of late), I’m planning to go back to my stacks and luxuriate in some past favourites. Rereading a novel is always a treat, because while the book has not changed, the reader has. I’ve already gained new insights into Jim Dodge’s Stone Junction. I was in my mid-twenties when I first read it (taken from a bargain bin on a whim, became one of my absolute favourites, don’t you love it when that happens?), and while I fell in love instantly, I lacked the knowledge to judge it on more than surface grounds. Now, a lifetime later, I am catching the freewheeling seeds of its progenitors in the text, the styles of Tom Robbins, Thomas Pynchon, Kurt Vonnegut, and Richard Brautigan that were unknown to me at the time, but have since served to evolve my personality.
After Stone Junction, I’m going to dance my fingers across the shelves and see what strikes my fancy. I’ve already put aside The World According to Garp (I estimate I’ve read this ten times already), The Iowa Baseball Confederacy (estimate: six times), Henderson the Rain King (four), and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (twelve). Perhaps I’ll make a contest of it, a la my past Critical Monkey series devoted to the novels we were all avoiding. Haven’t decided yet, although I will review them all here.
And beyond that, who knows? There’s a cornucopia of awesomeness always on the horizon, some with buzz, some surprises. I’ve already read a few upcoming releases (a perk of the position), and while I won’t review them yet, I will say keep a close eye out for Christopher Meades’ The Last Hiccup and Scott Fotheringham’s The Rest is Silence.
So bring it on, 2012! Ancient Mayans be damned! We have nothing to fear but fear itself, and the 2012 general U.S. election!