Before I set forth resolutions for 2013, I'd like to review 2012, what I accomplished and how well I adhered to my resolutions.
My reading goal was forty texts, for which I was far ahead of schedule until I started my job. I ended up finishing just short of my ambitions, but that's okay. More than anything, I wanted to increase the quality of my reading while broadening my horizons, and I did that. Hurrah!
Here's a more detailed recap of my reading goals:
Read 40 texts. I completed 36. Since I failed to reach fifty percent of my reading goal in 2011 (I blame all that literary criticism -- what a distraction!) and more or less abandoned pleasure reading with the commencement of my job, I'm fairly pleased with this result.
Read more non-fiction. I kicked some major ass here and thoroughly enjoyed myself in the process. I read seven non-fiction books this year, which accounts for nearly twenty percent of my reading. What an improvement. These ranged from author biographies (Bill Bryson's Shakespeare) to essays on reading (Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman). Hopefully this trend continues in 2013.
Read more poetry and drama. I read two books of poetry (Sylvia Plath and Elizabeth Barrett Browning) and two Oscar Wilde plays. Not a bad start on the whole. The good news is I've recently been accumulating some texts that fall under these categories by writers such as John Keats and Richard Brinsley Sheridan, so I'm gearing myself up for continued growth in this area.
Read more 20th century/contemporary fiction. Again, major success! In the past I've been drawn to awful YA fiction when not in the mood for Victorian density. Not to say that there's no merit in this genre -- there is -- but more often than not I'd finish a YA novel wishing I hadn't wasted my time. So, I promised myself I'd seek out higher quality literature for my escapist reads, and I'm happy to say I've experienced few reading regrets this year as a result. Nearly a third of this year's texts are literary 20th century/contemporary publications, and I'm pleased to report I found some new all-time favourites (e.g, I Capture the Castle; this book is, without question, the bee's knees).
Here's the funny thing: while I'm proud to have pushed myself outside my comfort zone, I feel as though I barely read from the long nineteenth century at all. Nevertheless, the Victorians accounted for nearly one fourth of my reading. This goes to show how much I rely on them. Maybe I'll shift this year's focus back to my beloved era.
Read from my Classics Club list. I read eight titles from this exhaustive list. I need to quicken the pace.
Read from libraries. Don't buy books. Ha! I was doing quite well with this until I generated an income and decided to reward myself with (what else?) multiple trips to the bookstore. Also, I received gift cards for my birthday; and books you didn't technically buy yourself surely don't count, right?
Despite my hopeless book-buying compulsion, I read nine texts that had been sitting on my shelf for some time. 21 were borrowed, either from friends or the library. Only four were texts I purchased this year. Not too shabby. Of course, this doesn't account for all the books I bought but haven't yet read, but I'd rather not count those at the moment....
Right, that's the books. Now let's move on to general resolutions:
Get published. No, not yet. I'm still working on this one. I did, however, present at my first academic conference this fall and have two more on the horizon.
Get creative with cooking. Success! I wanted to try various vegetarian recipes this year. Not only did I do that, I managed to convince my resolutely omnivorous family that meat-free dishes can be tasty too. Over the past months I've tried the following:
Chana masala with cream and extra veggies
Sweet potato curry
Goat cheese pasta by Giada de Laurentiis
Quinoa-stuffed zucchini boats
Mexican quinoa with black beans and cilantro
Roast potatoes (for Christmas dinner, obviously)
Visit a Literary Mecca. No literary pilgrimage for me in 2012. I had to content myself with local mini-breaks, but I'm not complaining. It was lovely to get away for as long as I did, and I can look forward to holidays further from home in 2013.
Earn money of some sort. Success! Not only did I get a job, I'm finally on the career ladder I want to climb.
Get in shape. Ha! That's all I have to say on the subject.
I have some photos from 2012 to share, but that will have to wait for another post. How did you fare with your 2012 resolutions?