MENU

Jacqueline West, Writer

Bestselling author of The Books of Elsewhere and Dreamers Often Lie

So long, 2012

January 2, 2013    Tags: , , , ,   

Well, another year is over.  I’m a bit more well-read, a bit more well-traveled, and a bit better at using my cell phone (now I can take photos AND email them to myself!).  Most of my 2012 writing energy was expended on drafting and revising and re-revising Volume Four: The Strangers, re-re-revising the Shakespearean YA project, and embarking on Volume Five.

According to my files, I wrote eight poems this year, but I don’t remember doing it.  (Hmm.)  I also saw my kids’ play, “Under the Bed,” performed.  I wrote/rewrote a couple of short stories and had a few accepted or published by various exciting places (BTW: My odd little story, “Paper Dolls,” is available in the new issue of American Athenaeum: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1480290270/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_9S2Zqb1SWDRRQ).   I also traveled around several parts of the US and got very good at packing a week’s worth of clothes in a weekend-sized suitcase.

And still–for some reason–I feel as though I didn’t get enough done.  But I did manage to read a few books.

Here’s what I accomplished, reading-wise, in 2012:
(Titles in bold are rereads; asterisks mark books that Ryan and I read aloud together)

THE RED AND THE BLACK – Stendhal
* MOCKINGJAY – Suzanne Collins
THE SCRAPBOOK OF FRANKIE PRATT – Caroline Preston
AMERICAN GODS – Neil Gaiman
BREADCRUMBS – Anne Ursu
CHIME – Franny Billingsley
THE NIGHT CIRCUS – Erin Morgenstern
ANGRY HOUSEWIVES EATING BONBONS – Lorna Landvik
* FOOD RULES – Michael Pollan
THE NEW YORK TRILOGY – Paul Auster
THE JOY OF HOBBY FARMING – Michael and Audrey Levatino
THE BIG CRUNCH –  Pete Hautman
OKAY FOR NOW – Gary D. Schmidt
THE PARTICULAR SADNESS OF LEMON CAKE -Aimee Bender
SO MANY BOOKS, SO LITTLE TIME: A YEAR OF PASSIONATE READING – Sara Nelson
THE NAME OF THIS BOOK IS SECRET – Pseudonymous Bosch
THE RED TREE – Caitlin R. Kiernan
REVOLUTIONARY ROAD – Richard Yates
NOTES FROM A SMALL ISLAND – Bill Bryson
THE PARIS WIFE – Paula McLain
LIFE AND DEATH – Andrea Dworkin
WITH OR WITHOUT YOU – Brian Farrey
THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY – Henry James
AMERICAN PIE – Pascale la Draoulec
UNWIND – Neal Shusterman
THRESHOLD – Caitlin R. Kiernan
THE DROWNING GIRL – Caitlin R. Kiernan
GARLIC AND SAPPHIRES – Ruth Reichl
IF ON A WINTER’S NIGHT A TRAVELER – Italo Calvino
A TALE DARK AND GRIMM – Adam Gidwitz
ZIP – Ellie Rollins
ALL THE PRETTY HORSES – Cormac McCarthy
SATURDAY NIGHT: A BACKSTAGE HISTORY OF SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE – Doug Hill and Jiff Weingrad
SURVIVOR – Chuck Palaniuk
* MURDER OF ANGELS – Caitlin R. Kiernan
SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED – Anne Lamott
SOMETHING RISING (LIGHT AND SWIFT)  – Haven Kimmel
THE GLASS CASTLE – Jeannette Walls
LOW RED MOON – Caitlin R. Kiernan
JAZZ – Toni Morrison
LIES (AND THE LYING LIARS WHO TELL THEM) – Al Franken
AN ACCIDENTAL ADVENTURE #1: WE ARE NOT EATEN BY YAKS – C. Alexander London
MAMA MAKES UP HER MIND (AND OTHER DANGERS OF SOUTHERN LIVING) – Bailey White
THE GRAPES OF WRATH –  John Steinbeck
SLEEPING AT THE STARLITE MOTEL – Bailey White
A PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES – Howard Zinn
* RAMBLES AROUND NEW ORLEANSRoy Blount Jr.
* GONE GIRL – Gillian Flynn
LOOKING FOR ALASKA – John Green
SPARROW ROAD –  Sheila O’Connor
DEAR GENIUS: THE LETTERS OF URSULA NORDSTROM
DANDELION WINE – Ray Bradbury
* DOWN RIVER – John Hart
STANDING IN THE RAINBOW – Fannie Flagg
GEORGIA BOTTOMS – Mark Childress
* MY NEW ORLEANS – Rosemary James
CLOUD ATLAS – David Mitchell
ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD – Kendare Blake
THE SOLACE OF LEAVING EARLY – Haven Kimmel
THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES – Ray Bradbury
CHASING VERMEER – Blue Balliet
LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS – Laura Ingalls Wilder
LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE – Laura Ingalls Wilder
THE MAGUS – John Fowler
BETSY-TACY – Maud Hart Lovelace
BETSY-TACY AND TIB – Maud Hart Lovelace
MONEY – Martin Amis
SAVING GRACE – Lee Smith
THE SINGER – Cathi Unsworth
WONDER – R. J. Palacio
BLUEFISH – Pat Schmatz
WINESBURG, OHIO – Sherwood Anderson
I, CLAUDIUS – Robert Graves
RED CARPETS AND OTHER BANANA SKINS – Rupert Everett
* INSIDE OF A DOG – Alexandra Horowitz
THE FAULT IN OUR STARS – John Green
THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN – Katherine Applegate
BETSY AND TACY GO OVER THE BIG HILL – Maud Hart Lovelace
BETSY AND TACY GO DOWNTOWN – Maud Hart Lovelace
TITHE – Holly Black
ANYA’S GHOST – Vera Brosgol
HEAVEN TO BETSY – Maud Hart Lovelace
MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN – Ransom Riggs
BETSY IN SPITE OF HERSELF – Maud Hart Lovelace
BRINGING UP BÉBÉ – Pamela Druckerman
THE TIGER’S WIFE – Teá Obreht
BETSY WAS A JUNIOR – Maud Hart Lovelace
THE WOLVES OF WILLOUGHBY CHASE – Joan Aiken
KRAMPUS: THE YULE LORD – Brom (not the dog)
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN – Lionel Shriver
* VISITING TOM – Michael Perry

Several of the books I read this year were the ones people raved about–the ones on every bestseller list, the ones mentioned for every award and honor, the ones being made into movies as we speak–and with just a few exceptions, I found myself either disagreeing strongly with the raving people or scratching my head in bafflement.  Among the few I didn’t disagree about are John Green’s THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, which was just as beautiful and as near-perfect as everyone says and CLOUD ATLAS, which not only drew me (slowly but entirely) into its story but dazzled and awed me with its craft.  There are many other special, wonderful books on this year’s list (WITH OR WITHOUT YOU, THE TIGER’S WIFE, THE GLASS CASTLE, OKAY FOR NOW, THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN…), but the ones that really shook me up were THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES — a reread, but one I fell in love with even more deeply this time around — and WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN, which I started before the shooting at Sandy Hook and finished afterward.  Its characterization is brilliant, the questions it raises are  terrifying and fascinating, and the added resonance of current events actually made my hands shake while I turned the pages.

Also, every writer and editor in the world should read the letters of Ursula Nordstrom.

Happy 2013, everybody.  I hope you spend it with good books, good health, and good people.

Spectacles

Lizard-Cats and Olive Costumes (Happy Halloween!)

October 31, 2012    Tags: , , , ,   

Behold: This year’s jack-o-lanterns.  We carved them with friends on Saturday, and mine is already starting to look a bit backward-leaning and droopy (it’s the one that appears to depict a cat crossed with a chubby lizard), but Ryan’s creepy face just gets creepier as it shrivels.

If anyone’s looking for a last-minute literary costume, check out Books Together.  There you’ll find step-by-step instructions for assembling your own Olive Dunwoody costume, and links to several other book-based costume ideas.  (You can also enter to win a set of seven fantastic Halloweeny books published by Penguin, including The Shadows!  Go!  Go NOW!)

Speaking of giveaways: the Facebook All Hallow’s Read giveaway ended this morning, and I’ve contacted the randomly selected winner.  (I asked entrants to name the fictional character they’d least like to encounter in real life, and there were a slew of great responses: multiple mentions of Cthulu and Count Olaf, as well as votes for Randall Flagg of Stephen King creation, Commander Woundwart from Watership Down, Eric Cartman (I agree–he’s terrifying), and Snooki.)  Thanks, everyone.

Poetry news:  My poem, “Wendigo in the 21st Century,” was a finalist for this year’s SFPA poetry contest.  You can read the winners and see the full list here.  The SFPA is also hosting a Halloween poetry reading; visit their Halloween page to hear me reading my Rhysling-nominated poem, “Escaping the Dawn” or to listen to other great poems and poets.

And, finally, my super-cool new t-shirt:

(Here’s the local paper’s write-up.)  Two days until showtime…

Spectacles

Subscribe to Jacqueline's Journal with RSS


Jacqueline West on Facebook
Jacqueline West on Instagram  


Contact Jacqueline:   Email   •      •      •   Mail



© Jacqueline West