Happy New Year!

Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come - Tennyson

Happy 2016! For all of my readers (all 20 or fewer of you!), I hope the new year brings you much happiness and joy and some strangeness as well.
The most popular blog post for 2015, by a large margin, was actually from May 2013, which intrigues me. Why that post? How many new eyes were looking at it this year? The most popular post written in 2015 was the first Magpie Monthly, published in June.

2015 was a good year for me. I took my first sabbatical, which made me realize (a) how much I needed some breathing and thinking space and (b) how, really, every job needs to build in some kind of sabbatical, even if it’s a shorter one than academics have (two weeks of vacation time just isn’t enough). I was pretty productive during sabbatical–reading, watching movies and TV series, writing poetry, and even writing a new story–but post-sabbatical I kind of fell into a creative slump. Returning to the classroom was more difficult than I anticipated, which did nothing for my creativity, but I also had the most pleasant distraction in the form of a new relationship, which sent my creativity in other directions. So my resolution for 2016 is to actually work on making space and time for my own creative needs, which means pulling back on other things. I’ll let you know how it goes.


Even I slowed down to the usual crawl once the fall semester started, I did read and watch more in 2015 than I have in the last five or six years combined. For those of you who like lists, the rest of this post will make you delirious!

BOOKS (Novels, Nonfiction, Anthologies, Single-Author Collections, and Chapbooks)—49 in total. I thought Kate Bernheimer’s The Complete Tales of Lucy Gold would be the 50th, but, alas, I haven’t finished it yet.

  • The Memory Garden – Mary Rickert
  • Blackbird House – Alice Hoffman (coll)
  • Among Others – Jo Walton
  • The Ice Queen – Alice Hoffman
  • Keeping the World Strange: A Planetary Guide – ed. Cody Walker (essays)
  • By Nightfall – Michael Cunningham
  • What Remains: Stories and Interviews – Ellen Klages & Geoff Ryman
  • Horse, Flower, Bird: Stories – Kate Bernheimer (coll)
  • Zac’s Haunted House – Dennis Cooper (GIF novel)
  • Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can’t Avoid – Lemony Snicket
  • Dragon, Dragon and Other Tales – John Gardner (coll)
  • The Sleeper and the Spindle – Neil Gaiman & Chris Riddell
  • Hansel and Gretel – Neil Gaiman & Lorenzo Mattotti
  • Year’s Best Weird Fiction, Vol. 1 – eds. Laird Barron & Michael Kelly (antho)
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – Marie Kondo
  • Get In Trouble: Stories – Kelly Link
  • We Three Kids – Margo Lanagan
  • Trigger Warning: Short Fictions & Disturbances – Neil Gaiman
  • A Little Gold Book of Ghastly Stuff – Neil Gaiman (coll)
  • Glimmerglass: A Novel – Marly Youmans
  • Young Woman in a Garden: Stories – Delia Sherman
  • Wilde Stories 2014: The Year’s Best Gay Speculative Fiction – ed. Steve Berman (antho)
  • Holiday – M. Rickert (coll)
  • Today I Am a Book – xTx
  • The Crimson Alphabet – Caitlín R. Kiernan (chapbook)
  • Radiant Days – Elizabeth Hand
  • Mythic Delirium – eds. Mike & Anita Allen (antho)
  • The Winter Triptych – Nicole Kornher-Stace
  • The Silver Pillow: A Tale of Witchcraft – Thomas M. Disch (chapbook)
  • Mrs. Fox – Sarah Hall
  • Black Helicopters – Caitlín R. Kiernan
  • The Man with the Knives – Ellen Kushner (chapbook)
  • The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
  • I Don’t Know the Author or the Title But It’s Red and It Has 3 Zombie Stories In It – Kelly Link (coll)
  • How a Mother Weaned Her Girl from Fairy Tales – Kate Bernheimer
  • The Shop of the Mechanical Insects – Ray Bradbury (chapbook)
  • Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination – J.K. Rowling (chapbk)
  • There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby: Scary Fairy Tales – Ludmilla Petrushevskaya
  • The 10 Letters Project: A Year of Art and Friendship – Jen Lee & Tim Manley
  • Safe as Houses: Stories – Marie-Helene Bertino
  • The Best American Short Stories 2014 – ed. Jennifer Egan (of note: “God” by Benjamin Nugent)
  • The Boy Who Lost Fairyland – Catherynne M. Valente
  • Red King Black Rook – Steven Archer (chapbook)
  • Available Dark – Elizabeth Hand
  • Wylding Hall – Elizabeth Hand
  • The Gay Man’s Guide to Timeless Manners and Proper Etiquette – Corey Rosenberg
  • How Not to Read: Harnessing the Power of a Literature-Free Life – Dan Wilbur
  • The Bride of Frankenstein: Pandora’s Bride – Elizabeth Hand
  • The Brides of Rollrock Island – Margo Lanagan


I won’t list them all here, but I read 82 short stories, most of them from Daily Science Fiction, but also from Lightspeed, McSweeney’s Quarterly, Nightmare, Ideomancer, Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, Weird Fiction Review, Short Story Thursday, Tor.com, The Guardian, and Subterranean Press Magazine.


Likewise, I won’t list all the graphic novels I read last year here. My total read was 105, which was a bit disappointing.

TV SERIES—I’m three episodes into the second season of Penny Dreadful, right now, which so far has been terrific (well, I’m no fan of the Frankenstein storyline, but otherwise I’m loving this season).

  • Batman: The Animated Series (entire re-watch)
  • Penny Dreadful: Season 1
  • Hannibal: Season 2
  • Where the Bears Are 3
  • Elementary: Season 2
  • Superman: The Animated Series, Vol. 1 (re-watch)
  • Downton Abbey: Series 5
  • Haven: Season 4
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog: Season 2 (re-watch)
  • Ultraviolet (re-watch)
  • Doctor Who: The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe
  • Doctor Who: The Snowmen
  • Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor
  • Shakespeare Retold (mini-series)
  • Twin Peaks: The Complete Series (re-watch)
  • Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries: Series 1
  • Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries: Series 2
  • Mr. Selfridge: Series 1
  • Adventure Time: The Complete 4th Season
  • Inside Amy Schumer: Season 1
  • Inside Amy Schumer: Season 2
  • Garfunkel and Oates: Season 1
  • Key and Peele: Season 1
  • Key and Peele: Season 2
  • Inside Amy Schumer: Season 3

MOVIES—only 59 watched, which was kind of disappointing. Tonight I’m going to see Sisters with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler in the theater, which will be the first time I’ve been to a theater to see a non-animated movie since 2012, when I saw Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild . (My first visit to a theater since 2012 was in November to see The Peanuts Movie) Sheesh!

  • Yeah Kowalski (2013; short film) – dir. Evan Roberts
  • Lo sono l’amore [I Am Love]  (2009)dir. Luca Guadagnino
  • Batoru rowaiaru [Battle Royale] (2000) – dir. Kinji Fukasaku
  • The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) – dir. Paul Greengrass
  • The Covenant (2006) – dir. Renny Harlin
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)dirs. Anthony & Joe Russo
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) – dir. James Gunn
  • Much Ado About Nothing (2012) – dir. Joss Whedon
  • Gohatto [Taboo] (1999) – dir. Nagisa Oshima
  • The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996) – dir. Renny Harlin
  • Far From Heaven (2002) – dir. Todd Haynes
  • A Single Man (2009) – dir. Tom Ford
  • The Six Degrees of Helter Skelter (2009) – dir. Mike Dorsey
  • Noordzee, Texas [North Sea Texas] (2011) – dir. Bavo Defurne
  • Tony Takitani (2004) – dir. Jun Ichikawa
  • The Wolves of Kromer (1998) – dir. Will Gould
  • Crying Freeman (1995) – dir. Christophe Gans
  • The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014) – dir. Lasse Hallström
  • I Married A Witch (1942) – dir. René Clair
  • Dorian Gray (2009) – dir. Oliver Parker
  • Lucy (2014) – dir. Luc Besson
  • A Heavenly Vintage (2009) – dir. Niki Caro
  • Dark Portals: The Chronicles of Vidocq (2001) – dir. Pitof
  • Cronos (1993) – dir. Guillermo del Toro
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010) – dir. Edgar Wright
  • L’écume des jours [Mood Indigo] (2013) – dir. Michel Gondry
  • Donnie Darko (2001) – dir. Richard Kelly
  • Eraserhead (1977) – dir. David Lynch
  • The Summer of Gods (2014; short film) – dir. Eliciana Nascimento
  • Suddenly, Last Summer (1959) – dir. Joseph L. Mankiewicz
  • The Golden Horns (Baba Yaga) [Zolotye roga] (1973) – dirs. Viktor Makarov & Aleksandr Rou
  • Baba Yaga (1973) – dir. Corrado Farina
  • Ka-Boom (2010) – dir. Gregg Araki
  • Transporter 3 (2008) – dir. Oliver Megaton
  • Carnival of Souls (1962) – dir. Herk Harvey
  • The Passion of Darkly Noon (1995) – dir. Philip Ridley
  • Watchmen: Director’s Cut (2009) – dir. Zack Snyder
  • These Girls (2005) – dir. John Hazlett (re-watch)
  • Rashomon (1950) – dir. Akira Kurosawa
  • World’s Greatest Dad (2009) – dir. Bobcat Goldthwait
  • Storytelling (2001) – dir. Todd Solondz
  • Winter’s Tale (2014) – dir. Akiva Goldsman
  • The Telemachy (2012) – dir. Alexander Nally
  • Song of the Sea (2014) – dir. Tomm Moore
  • Persona (1966) – dir. Ingmar Bergman
  • The Innocents (1961) – dir. Jack Clayton
  • Franklyn (2008) – dir. Gerald McMorrow
  • Daybreakers (2009) – dirs. The Spierig Brothers
  • Following (1998) – dir. Christopher Nolan
  • Chinatown (1974) – dir. Roman Polanski
  • Red Riding Hood (2011) – dir. Catherine Hardwicke
  • Ice Blues (2008) – dir. Ron Oliver
  • L’inconnu du lac [The Stranger by the Lake] (2013) – dir. Alain Guiraudie
  • The Last Straight Man (2014) – dir. Mark Bessenger
  • Real Genius (1985) – dir. Martha Coolidge (re-watch)
  • The Men Next Door (2012) – dir. Rob Williams
  • Freier Fall [Free Fall] (2013) – dir. Stephan Lacant
  • The 10 Year Plan (2014) – dir. J.C. Calciano
  • The Peanuts Movie (2015) – dir. Steve Martino


This entry was posted in Happy New Year. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Happy New Year!

  1. Robert,

    Slowing down that acts such as this one, reading and responding being one, is a pleasure of retirement. I noticed in your list RASHOMAN and PERSONA, then of course thinking of identity and its role in some films, even CHINATOWN. In all these cases recalled what a role film played during my teaching days. My friend at Murray State and I revised our top ten personal lists for years.

    I trust things go well.

    bob p

Comments are closed.