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2012 in Reading and Writing

I have not been very active over the past few months. One of the reasons for this is that A LOT has been going on in RL. A lot of good things but also a lot of challenges mainly for my partner that have generated a lot of stress for both of us. A second reason is that when I have had the time and energy to play around online I have been doing so over at Medium which is a great newish platform on I which I address issues that I wouldn't normally address here. I have also been reading loads and all has not been reading challenges and work which is great because I was feeling as though I was suffocating for a while there when it felt that each book was taking such a long time to get through. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to do a lot of fantastic things in 2012 through work, including attending the Festival America, a 3 day business trip to Paris to meet with French editors and meeting some fantastic authors such as Toni Morrison, Siri Hustvedt, Harry Belafonte, Richard Ford, James Salter and Ben Fountain.

So here's where I stand at the end of 2012 on the reading and writing front.
  • Medium: I was only recently made aware of the existence of Medium when Kate Lee whom I used to work with when she was an agent at ICM, was appointed director of content. The platform itself is evolving and developping but it's a pleasure to spend time on there, reading what others are thinking about current events but also very random things. It's been liberating to try a new platform, it's allowed me to broach different topics and present them in ways different to what I would normally do on LJ. I'm not about to abandon LJ but I must admit that I'm finding less and less motivation to write book reviews and it's been several years now that I've been struggling to come up with interesting content on a regular basis. I think I can find the right balance between Medium and LJ - perhaps have more serious political and current events related posts on Medium and keep all the genre and geeky stulff on LJ but I do feel that I need to move away from book reviews. I still want to talk about SF&F topics but in a different way that allows more in depth reflections on publishing trends. It's a bit hard to describe because I haven't figured out how I want to go about this exactly but I'm thinking about it and a change is definitely in order.
  • Reading Challenges: While I immensely enjoyed participating in calico_reaction's Theme Park book club and Shannon's Around the World in 12 Books challenge this year, it quickly became clear that I couldn't keep up. Being constantly a month or two behind kind of spoils the fun of participating at all. I have so much imposed reading through work already that I feel I need more flexibility in my spare time. So no more book clubs and reading challenges this year, not as long as I have so much reading for work which is not likely to change anytime soon.
  • French Literature: Being in France for the rentrée littéraire reminded me of all the literary excitement that goes on during that time of the year in France when over 400 titles are published in the space of a few weeks and the nominations for all the big prizes are announced. I have read 3 out of the 4 titles shortlisted for the prestigious Goncourt prize and bought loads more books that I am slowly going through. It's been reinvigorating and it's a process I had begun with the French Female Writers reading challenge in 2011 and so I do plan on continuing to read more French fiction in 2013.
  • Mangas/Comics: This is a love of mine that I have neglected since moving to the UK where mangas are not nearly as popular and as widely available as they are in France. You can find them easily of course but selection is limited. However, I have recently discovered an amazing app with a wide range of choices and that allows me to read on my phone so I don't have to worry about putting all my mangas into storage when I move countries again (which is where my mangas are at the moment... in storage in France...). Same thing on the comics side, I couldn't live without ComiXology which really makes it easy to buy at a reasonable price and read comics both old and new. Among the manga series I have recently discovered and am really enjoying are Deadman Wonderland and Pluto but I've also resumed reading Claymore and Full Metal Alchemist. Akira and A Distant Neighborhood are also in my to-read manga pile. As for comics, I am loving Saga, American Vampire and Saucer Country.
  • Laura Kasischke: This is an author that I discovered through work but having recently finished reading her latest novel The Raising, I cannot recommend her work enough. Even if I worked in another agency, I would still admire Laura Kasischke who is a phenomenally talented author and poet. She's brilliant at creating dark and sinister atmospheres that will keep you on the edge of your seat all with exquisite prose. She is definitely my literary discovery of 2012.

That's it for 2012 folks! More once I know more about what I want to do with this blog exactly. I hope you're all spending wonderful quality time with your families and friends and wish you all my best for the year ahead!

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