Tuesday, January 01, 2019

It was the year that was: 2018

Oh hai! So we just lived through that. Wow. I don’t even want to speculate what 2019 is going to throw at us. Instead, let’s look back at music and books and stuff.

My Top 25 Plays on iTunes
  • Haiku Hands, “Not About You
  • N.E.R.D., “Hot-n-Fun”
  • Leikeli47, “Wash & Set”
  • Janelle Monáe, Dance Apocalyptic”
  • Shakira, “Whenever, Wherever”
  • The Pointer Sisters, “I’m So Excited”
  • Sarah Slean, “Sarah”
  • Florence + the Machine, “Sky Full of Song”
  • Andy Gibb, “Everlasting Love”
  • ABBA, “Take a Chance on Me”
  • Kate Bush, “Burning Bridge”
  • The Killers, “The Man”
  • RuPaul, “Call Me Mother”
  • Duran Duran, “Hungry Like the Wolf”
  • Grimes (feat. Janelle Monáe), “Venus Fly”
  • Queen, “Killer Queen”
  • Dead or Alive, “Brand New Lover” [single mix]
  • Queen, “You’re My Best Friend”
  • Prince, “17 Days”
  • The Doobie Brothers, “Long Train Runnin’”
  • LP, “Someday”
  • Rosanne Cash, “Seven Year Ache”
  • Electric Light Orchestra (feat. Olivia Newton John), “Xanadu”
  • Jenson Interceptor, “Tiny Thing”
  • Klaatu, “The Love of a Woman”
Honourable (?) mentions
  • Prince, “Extraloveable”
  • One to One, “Love Child”
  • Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs, “Run to Me”
  • Kim Carnes, “More Love”
  • Joni Mitchell, “Talk to Me”
According to the iTunes count (which is a little suspect), I have approximately 16,400 tracks in my library today. At the end of yesterday, 13 percent of those tracks were unplayed (approximately 2,140). On the other hand, more than 20 percent of those tracks had been played at least five times.

Once again, I bought relatively little music in 2018, and very few current releases. One of my favourite purchases was MassEducation, St Vincent’s version of a remix album. It’s an acoustic reworking of 2017’s Masseduction. I also really enjoyed Florence + the Machine’s release High as Hope (and Florence’s cover of “Tiny Dancer” on the Revamp Elton John tribute was charming). I’m still getting to know Rosanne Cash’s She Remembers Everything, and Brandi Carlile’s By the Way, I Forgive You still hasn’t grabbed me. Most of my other purchases were old releases and singles.

As for my top 25: lots of churn in this year’s list. This list is the result of hours spent cycling in the summer and my use of playlists for bus commuting. Lots of the familiar, but also a few high-energy tracks.

Given the gong show that was 2018, it’s difficult to predict what I’ll be listening to this year, but I’ve started with Janelle Monáe’s Electric Lady, which is absolutely fine.

Books and Reading
Well, here’s what some people have been awaiting: the great reveal. The short answer is that 2018 was a TERRIBLE year for my reading, as I finished only 128 books.

Once again, I would point out that my reading is always in competition with my editing and writing, and there are a couple of books coming out in 2019 that I edited, along with (I hope) one that I wrote. But still. Ugh. Though it’s slightly better than 2017’s tally, I can only hope for better in the year ahead.

Of these books, 72 were by women, 50 were by men, and 6 were jointly written/edited. Once again, I read a respectable amount of poetry — but then in the late part of the year succumbed to the Amanda Lovelace titles (a mistake I won’t repeat). I continued to read some series, notably Steven Brust’s Vlad Taltos novels and Martha Wells’s Murderbot novellas (which are getting longer and longer).

Here are my top five notable books last year:
  • Celeste Ng, Little Fires Everywhere 
  • Christopher Paul Curtis, The Journey of Little Charlie (middle grade) 
  • Thomas King, The Inconvenient Indian (illustrated edition)
  • Gabrielle Zevin, Young Jane Young 
  • Robin Stevenson, My Body My Choice (forthcoming January 2019)
I should also note my favourite picture books (which I DO NOT include in my book tally):
  • Sara O’Leary and Jacob Grant (illus.), Owls Are Good at Keeping Secrets 
  • Karlie George and Genevieve Godbout (illus.), Goodnight, Anne
  • Linda Bailey and Julia Sarda (illus.), Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein 
  • Kyo Maclear and Julie Morstad (illus.), Bloom: A Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli
And that’s that! Here’s to more books and music in the months ahead. Happy new year, one and all!

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