My premise for next year is Benedict Cumberbatch's fault...not really, but he's a jewel so who can blame me?
It all started with a binge watch of Sherlock a few weeks ago…I know that I’m late, but it's been such a long time since I've been enamored by a show. The last show to capture me so fully was Sleepy Hollow (I miss adventures with Abbie and Crane so much!), and that show actually had the same inspiring effect on me. Sherlock is witty and intelligent and fresh, while maintaining the gothic feeling that infuses Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's intriguing tales. The best part: Sherlock and family...they are the most peculiar, fearsome little cinnamon rolls I have beheld in quite awhile. Needless to say, it's been playing on a loop since I started watching. Through this show I discovered the rare gift that Benedict Cumberbatch is. Aside from all of the "shallow" reasons there are to love him (and yes, there are many), there are also that of his otherworldly talent, how he literally sinks into the skin of every character he plays; he's incredibly intelligent, well spoken, kind, and I find myself moved by his integrity and convictions as displayed during interviews. Moved by his commentary on his approach to the craft. His effervescent passion and eye for intriguing storytelling shows in his incredible body of work...many of these films have been adapted from novels that I've had the privilege to discover over the last few weeks. Time spent with Sherlock Holmes in 221 B Baker Street, with Christopher Tietjens and Valentine Wannop (Parade's End), with a father coming to grips with the loss of his daughter (The Child in Time)… these companions were the catalyst for what has been building in me over the last few months.
A desire for intellectual elegance.
Twenty Eighteen began with a wonderful writing workshop, and although, I spent much of the year in the whining throes of writing insecurity, I will take what I learned, and hopefully apply it this year. In 2019, I look forward to rediscovering the curiosity and wonder of classic and "higher" literature. I miss school. Having satisfyingly heavy Norton Critical's to analyze. I remember when I would purposely purchase the old worn and beaten copy, just to compare my annotations with the many readers who contributed to the conversation before me. I miss Chaucer and the beauty of reading aloud:
The effervescent pop of Kerouac's every word. Of reading Lilian Hellman’s “The Children’s Hour” (Play) in high school at my mom’s recommendation, or short stories by Alfred Hitchcock. Books that challenge or delight, or cause me to evolve. Words that may require second or third reads. Books that will eventually wear and tear as they are etched my life, and thoughts as I read. A living diary.
Now of course, I will allow for some "treats" along the way. Maggie Stiefvater's writing is a waltzing joy to experience. I understand that "intelligent" literature is also very subjective to the reader. Books hailed by critics, are not necessarily great books for every reader, and vice versa. But, on the other hand, there is a reason why certain books win Pulitzer’s or critical acclaim. I've grown bored of simply reading for entertainments sake. I would love a mix of entertainment and intellect regardless of genre. There are treasures abounding everywhere.
Here are a few books that I'm looking forward to reading next year:
Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Wolf
Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
Villette by Charlotte Bronte
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
A Child in Time by Ian McEwan
The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gower
This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser (Non Fiction_
Persuasion by Jane Austen
This list could go on for days, and I know that many of these novels are tome length, but I look forward to loving on them this year. Mostly, I'm looking forward to becoming refined next year in more ways than one.
I wish you all the happiest of new years, and I hope above all things that you sprout up into your dreams...whilst reading the good stuff!