It is never too late to be what you might have been.— George Eliot
So, it’s that time of year. Well, my entire bookish journey can be seen by hitting that loud orange button you may notice without any effort. (Random fact, due to Goodreads’ choices, this year I had to resort to some technological magic to avoid being swallowed by giant book covers and superfluous information, but the huge orange box that leads to my reading challenge is still there. Blue is always the safest choice, humans.)
Since I don’t have many eloquent words to share, clearly, I believe it’s wise to let Adulthood Is a Myth speak for me; a magnificent book I reviewed recently, brimming with countless pearls of wisdom expressed through simple pictures that my goldfish could have drawn.
Reader, I told you we were going to come back. You have been warned.
Swann's Way, Anna Karenina, Snow Country, The Decameron, No Longer Human, The Bell Jar, Russian poetry, my first Calvino, my second and a half Sōseki, my third Mishima. This year has been quite enriching when it comes to books. Some were utterly captivating...
...while a few were a variety of words I could not follow even if they were holding enormous neon signs over their heads.
I perfected some well-known habits, though I gave up trying to read books while walking on the street, after some awkward experience involving coffee.
And my talent for enjoying a rainy day was never wasted, thanks to the satisfying combination of books and movies.
I should mention that, while I’m in another city now and starting all over again, other aspects of life haven’t changed that much during this strange year since regardless the place, wherever you go, you take yourself with you.¹ Therefore, some ways of thinking continued to knock some little door in the vicinity of my mind.
However, one of my goals for 2016 was to be less socially awkward; a brave attempt at challenging my DNA, thinking that might improve my communication skills and even make my life better, despite a myriad of other existential crises, both meaningful and absurd.
And I am pleased to announce that on many occasions, it wasn’t that bad, even though there were times when sociability totally backfired.
Someone who is reminiscent of everything one shouldn’t do in a friendship once implied that I give common sense platitudes. Perhaps that’s what I do and am doing right now. Another person once wrote that I give myself fully; perhaps that’s what I shouldn’t do since most of the time people don’t value such attention—sorry, I’m not blindly generous; I do expect some reciprocation. Personal things aside, this charming place named Goodreads has brought me much joy and some moments of sadness, the ineluctable dichotomy of life, but this is where I choose to express myself for the time being and naturally, I’d rather lose sight of anything that doesn’t bring me joy (Gilmore reference minus Marie Kondo) than to be divested of my humble sanctuary.
I have to thank all the wonderful people who enrich my life with their reviews. And I'm also grateful for every kind comment I receive, regardless of the level of nonsense of what I write.
This was a good literary year and I hope the next one will be just as rewarding and exciting. And that’s what I wish you all: wonderful books, great music, exceptional movie marathons, knowledge, mystery, excitement, new places, new perspectives and loving, honest, amazing people around you who never (or almost never) take your love and friendship for granted, who have the remarkable ability to make you want to be a better person, changing the things you wish to change, reaffirming the virtues you possess. There are always people worth having around, and it takes courage to say and do the things so as to not losing them. Solitude has its charms but they never last forever, so unless you are an Aristotelian beast or god, you will need people, so let’s hope they bring color to your life, simplicity to your world, and a special place for you in theirs; otherwise, adiós. Their loss. And time is finite.
I read an interesting and unusual book recently, and as I write these wandering, disconnected thoughts, I remember a particular passage.
I can say more or less the same thing as the Pretorian Prefect who was disgraced under Vespasian and went to end his days in the country: ‘I have spent seventy years on earth and I have lived for seven of them.’Jean-Jacques Rousseau; Reveries of the Solitary Walker, p. 154
If well lived, perhaps seven years are more than enough but, human beings I knew, I know, I thought I knew or will never know, I hope those words never describe your entire life.
Happy New Year. Now, if you’ll excuse me.
¹ Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book