Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Week 33/66: Welcome the New Year at the Halfway Point

Happy New Year!

My sabbatical's halfway over.  It's been glorious!

I usually give a rundown on my biking over the year, but I hardly biked this year.  Going on a long trip, even though I took my bike and used it a few times, really breaks up the summer and the biking mojo.

When I got back from my trip, it seemed to rain non-stop for three weeks.  (It didn't really, but it felt like it.)

In violin news, I'm still on book 4, though I'm working on the 3rd Seitz concerto movement and the first movement of the Vivaldi A minor concerto.  I'm also working on a violin concerto by Oskar Rieding in B minor.  I always thought "minor" meant it was going to sound saddish or something, but neither of these feels that in the least.  And the Rieding is quite surprisingly beautiful (surprising because I'd never heard of him before a couple of the viola students were playing this piece in studio).

Last year at this time, I was starting to practice again after a hiatus in the UK.  I had fun in the UK, but I'm happy to be practicing more.  There are times when I feel like I'm not making any progress, but then I think where I was with shifting and double-stopping a year ago, and I've definitely improved, especially on shifting.  Vibrato, not so much.

In 2018, kept a reading list for the first time in many years. Looking at the list, I read 52 books (not counting books for work, but including books on CD while driving). I made an effort to read books by women and people of color (recognizing that both of these categories are potentially problematic and even if they weren't, I can't necessarily tell from just names.). How did I do?
29 by women, 23 by men.
11 by women of color, 3 by men of color.
20 non-fiction (almost all the books on CD are non-fiction because I'm limited in my choices: mostly the library has non-fiction, or mysteries, or thrillers, and I avoid mysteries and thrillers; most of the books on CD seem to be by white men). 30 fiction. 1 poetry, 1 play
Top favorites for the year (in no particular order):
Tommy Orange, There There
Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones
George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo
Ahmed Saddawi, Frankenstein in Baghdad
Clementine Beauvais, Piglettes
Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow
(Notice a pattern? Even making an effort, I didn't read that many books by people of color. And the books by women weren't among my favorites, mostly.)
The only author I read more than one book by was Louise Erdrich.

While 2018 was a political mess, it was a good year for me, personally.  
I hope 2019 holds good things, too.

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