The Pleasures of Reading, Viewing, and Listening in 2017
by Christina M. Rau
This year, I wanted to read all the books. Clearly, there’s no time for that, but I did squeeze in a few novels and collections (and a few duds that I won’t include in this list of pleasures, of course).
I latched onto Laura Childs’s Tea Shop Mystery series, reading Death By Darjeeling, Gunpowder Green, Oolong Dead, and Scones & Bones. Keeping in the mystery genre, I also read No Rest For The Dead, a novel written by more than twenty authors.
I picked up a throwback—H. G. Wells The Time Machine—and picked up a follow-up —Ernest Cline’s Armada. In the same speculative vein: Becca Menon’s The Estrangement of Melusine and The City & The City by China Mieville, both of which were fabulous even though I’m still trying to figure them out.
The first book I read through the app BookShout was Jess Walter’s Beautiful Ruins, and it was beautiful. (But I prefer book-books over e-books).
For literary fiction, I dove into some Joan Didion with Play It As It Lays. Even more devastating was Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects. Also, Margaret Atwood’s The Heart Goes Last.
In non-fiction: The World Needs More Canada. Truth.
With every book of prose came a few poetry collections: Rachel Zucker’s The Pedestrians, James Allen Hall’s Now You’re The Enemy, Gabrielle Calvocoressi’s The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart, Paul Violi’s Breakers, Mary Jo Bang’s Louise In Love and Elegy, Tracy K. Smith’s The Body’s Question, Saeed Jones’s Prelude To Bruise, Ocean Vuong’s Night Sky with Exit Wounds, Pramila Venkateswaran’s Thirteen Days To Let Go, Devin Johnston’s Far-Fetched, Margaret Atwood’s The Door, and Francisco X. Alarcon’s Canto Hondo/Deep Song.
The most fun I had reading was Romeo and/or Juliet: A Chooseable-Path Adventure by Ryan North. A choose your own adventure for Shakespeare! In modern day!
When I couldn’t read, like when I was driving, I listened to S-Town (from the people who made Serial) and Dirty John for true-crime and slice of life, The Dear Mattie Show for advice and entertainment, The Sleeper Hit Podcast for fun games, Two Dope Queens for laughs, and TV Tea Time for more laughs.
Viewing pleasure: Wonder Woman, Justice League, and Thor: Ragnorok in theatres. Pretty super, for sure.
Christina M. Rau is the founder of Poets In Nassau, a reading circuit on Long Island, NY, where she's lived all her life. She is the author of the chapbooks WakeBreatheMove (Finishing Line Press, 2015) and For The Girls, I (Dancing Girl Press, 2014). She serves as editor for The Nassau Review at Nassau Community College, where she teaches writing and literature. Aqueduct Press published her collection, Liberating the Astronauts, earlier this year. For her blog, visit alifeofwe.blogspot.com. For everything else, www.christinamrau.com.