Monday, December 31, 2012

All the best books of 2012

I love top ten lists. I especially love them about movies and books. It doesn't really matter to me whether I agree with the person who is choosing; what I like is that someone took the time to assess their year, with their particular lens, and puts their opinion out there for the rest of us. My friend Rupert would always have talk about our top ten significant moments of the year at his and Scott's beautiful New Year's day gathering.  Not necessarily the best,—but the most significant. Now that I live far from him, and rarely get to celebrate New Years together, I still make my list.

Here you go, more or less chronologically (but not necessarily in order of importance.)

January. My friend Howard died after a very fast, very aggressive illness. He actually died on my birthday, which of course was just coincidence, but gives me one more way to stay connected to him. I miss him daily. He was one of the warmest, smartest men I've ever known, and he was a huge model for me, because he changed careers more than once, and figured out how to integrate his many skills and varied pasts into his new pursuits.

February. I started performing again. Not a lot yet, but very comfortably. I stopped when I came to NYC, and focused more on writing, and less on performing. Now it's time to step out front again (and keep writing.) The first thing I did this year was a Busby Berkeley-style dance number choreographed by Ariel Speedwagon. I went on to sing a few times, sometimes solo and sometimes in a group, most significantly, here. (That link will only be live til mid January.)

August. Some very skilled surgeons but a valve from a very generous cow into Josh's heart, and it works.

September. I spent a week writing a screenplay I've been thinking about for years. I didn't finish it yet because then I had to go back to work, but it was a great start. 

Also September. My friend Lori died. She was the best friend of one of my closest friends, and the mother of one of my favorite people on the planet. She had an incredible capacity to love, and she was also a brilliant writer and activist.

October. I moved to a huge apartment and actually like coming home for the first time since moving to NYC. I waited 14 months for it -- from August 2011 to October 2012 (is that 14?) and it is still not actually done (the landlords are here most every Tuesday-Saturday working on it) but it's big and light and in a wonderful neighborhood near good friends.

Also October. Hurricane Sandy. 

November. Obama got reelected. I was very scared that maybe he wouldn't. I was pretty disappointed in much of what he did over his first 4 years, but I also respect much about him and with all my soul wanted him to win against Romney, and not just as a less of 2 evils—but because I think he's humane, brilliant, and reachable.

Out of chronological order, but taking place from January to December: I met and/or got closer to a slew of wonderful artists: Yehuda, David, Rachel, Shane, Anthony, Lily, Liz, Jawole, Maria, Paul, Susan, Alicia, Morgan, another Alicia. If I left you off, you too.

And that leaves one slot open -- either for things you think might have been significant in my life (because I don't always have the best memory) or for something that still might happen in the last 24 hours of 2012. I'm open to your suggestions! Maybe it's actually (I am suddenly inspired by Taylor Mac's recent FB update about his top ten artistic delights of the year)

Also all through the year, from January to December: Taylor Mac's workshops of what is going to become a 24-hour concert of the history of popular music in America. They are brilliant, entertaining, and fascinating. He does a gorgeous job of integrating historical context into a cabaret show of songs that one might (often) not expect to hear in a cool kids' club. I suggested one to him (I told him the Jews need a decade) and he did a brilliant job of 1900's tenement songs, at the JCC. Also, I've had a wonderful time as an audience member at every single one of these shows—have made new friends, because he is actually succeeding in building community through his performance.

So yes. there's ten. But I'm still open to suggestions. I probably won't bump anything off the list I already have, but I'll add it on.

But I digress. (But I don't.)  I love top ten lists. Especially about books and movies. And so for my selfish pursuit of joy, I read the NPR list of best books of 2012, and the NYTimes list, and the Salon list. I looked for some less mainstream lists as well, but didn't come up with much to recommend to you. Anyhow, I looked at all these lists, and I made some choices, and I downloaded a bunch of e-books to read on the subway on my long commutes. 2 hours a day—that's some serious reading! Starting with NW, The Yellow Birds, Far from the Tree, The Marseille Caper, and The Round House. See you with my nose in a book, and hopefully you'll have a nose in yours.

No comments:

Post a Comment