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Chris Blocker

Literary snobbery and other thoughts by Chris Blocker

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Fiona Mozley
Broken April
Ismail Kadaré
Thrust: Poems
Heather Derr-Smith
The Family Under the Bridge
Natalie Savage Carlson

2013 Year in Review

We Have Always Lived in the Castle - Shirley Jackson, Thomas Ott, Jonathan Lethem The Luminaries - Eleanor Catton The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter - Carson McCullers The Interestings: A Novel - Meg Wolitzer Disgrace - J.M. Coetzee The People in the Trees - Hanya Yanagihara The Lowland - Jhumpa Lahiri War and Peace - Larissa Volokhonsky, Richard Pevear, Leo Tolstoy The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards - Kristopher Jansma A Constellation of Vital Phenomena: A Novel - Anthony Marra

It's probably a bit cliché to look over the past year and review it, but because I love lists, I am a victim of the tradition. Here are a few of my 2013 reading/writing highlights.


The Weeds Shall Inherit

Early in the year I finished a complete draft of my novel, The Weeds Shall Inherit. I did some further research, enlisted some beta-readers, and completed another complete draft mid-year. Soon after, I found out my novel-in-progress was much too long. Industry standard says first-time novelists should debut works between 80-110,000 words. My novel stood at over 150,000 words. So, I've spent much of the year whittling away words. Current word count: 139,000. :/ (But if any agents ask, I'll round down.)


Reads of 2013

I read 65 books and approximately 24,200 pages this year. That's an average of 375 pages per book. Not bad at all (for me anyway). I finally got back around to War and Peace, and I finished reading A Series of Unfortunate Events to the kids. If there's a singular theme for this year, I think it would be newness. The year was full of many authors whose works I've never before read. Favorite reads of the year included

  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Shirley Jackson
  • War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
  • The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers
  • The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton
  • Disgrace, J.M. Coetzee


Favorite Reads Published in 2013

I made it a point this year to read more current books. Of the 65 books I read this year, 24 were published in 2013. Of these my favorites were

  • The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton
  • The Interestings, Meg Wolitzer
  • The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards, Kristopher Jansma
  • The Lowland, Jhumpa Lahiri
  • The People in the Trees,  Hanya Yanagihara
  • Domesticated Wild Things, Xhenet Aliu
  • A Consellation of Vital Phenomena, Anthony Marra


What's in store for 2014?

One clichéd post deserves another, don't you think?