2016 in Review

2016 has been a pretty calamitous year for a lot of people and arguably the world–personally, it’s been an eventful one for me. Not good, not bad. Just eventful. I relocated temporarily to the opposite coast, among other things, and am currently enjoying mild rain and overcast skies on New Year’s Eve and getting to consider that inclement weather. I’ve spent more time with my family in the past five months than I have in about six years; I’ve undergone a harrowing move and a very stressful foster cat re-homing (with a happy ending!), I’ve changed jobs and insurance plans twice. I’m hoping 2017 will be a little more placid, for the sake of making headway on creative projects and other things, but that’s not entirely up to me! Either way, I’ve emerged from 2016 with a little less money and a few more life skills. But my family and I are in good health, my cat is happy, my life while not in order is at least stable, and I will be eating tteokguk tomorrow and reflecting on how much worse it could have gone.

In books, I probably did the least reading in 2016 that I’ve done in ages: no more than about 30 books, not counting partial rereads and the like. I “discovered” Frances Hardinge and fell in love in late 2015 and early 2016, particularly with Fly by Night and The Lie Tree; she was my favorite YA/kids’ lit venture of 2016, though I also had a reasonably good time with Leigh Bardugo and Six of Crows, and was massively let down by Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven King. I went on a bit of a Star Wars nostalgia-cheese kick with Jude Watson’s Jedi Apprentice novels, which are great if they are exactly what you are looking for. I read some romance novels–m/m (Aleksandr Voinov) and m/f (Tracey Garvis-Graves)–which were what they were, more or less, and I dipped into memoir with Rebecca Solnit (The Faraway Nearby) and Lidia Yuknavitch (The Chronology of Water). I also read a few famous things for the first time–The Daughter of Time comes to mind–and reread a few for the nth time, like Lolita and Northanger Abbey.

My favorite book of 2016 was Alexander Chee’s The Queen of the Night: a sumptuous, ridiculous, epic, no-holds-barred kind of book that delivers exactly what you want it to. Sometimes you just want to read a book like that. It’s grand in scope and lovely in the particulars. I really can’t wait for the disappointing but richly appointed movie adaptation.

2015 was the first year in a while I played almost none of the IF Comp entries, so 2016 was pretty light on IF in general–I played and reviewed a few Twine games, and team-played a few classic old parser games with my best friend (puzzle-solving with a friend is really a treat). I discovered the pleasure of room escape, which I’ve been dedicating a fair number of my weekends to ever since.

As for personal projects, I keep hacking away at my novel and my hopeful Spring Thing entry for 2017, as well as a few shorts. More about all of those as more is established!

Happy New Year and all the tteokguk you could wish for.

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About Gabriel Murray

I am agog, I am aghast!
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