With everything else going on I forgot to mention it, but I became even more of an Arlington resident stereotype last week; I donated money to WAMU, our local NPR station. I started listening to WAMU around the start of the year on my drive to and from work, and I have to admit that I’ve grown to really love Morning Edition and All Things Considered. And from there, well, I’ve started adding podcasts to be automatically downloaded, like StoryCorps, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, or NPR roundups of the week’s news relating to specific subjects (my two favorites are Food and Pop Culture), and most Monday mornings at the gym I spend my hour on the rowing machine and the elliptical listening to the weekend’s episode of This American Life.
So yeah, they’ve given me a lot of entertainment, so with the latest pledge drive I finally crumbled. (It does help that I can make it split over 12 months. That’s not so bad.) But it did make me realize that I really have not picked up much in the way of new music this year. There are still a few albums I’m hoping to get for Christmas (new ones from Aimee Mann and Pink leap to mind), but I didn’t feel the need to rush out and get them. The newest album I can think of acquiring was Tod loaning me Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s Trip the Light Fantastic, which was pretty darn good.
Is this a bad year for music? Or merely a bad year for me finding music that I’m interested in?
On the other hand, I’ve definitely done a lot more reading this year; getting those two hours on the bus at least once a week has certainly helped, of course. I’m almost done with Pride and Prejudice and all of you were absolutely right, it’s very enjoyable. At some point I’ll finally tackle Wuthering Heights, but that will have to wait for a little bit. I took advantage of Small Beer Press’s fall sale and ordered the “everything we published in 2008″ set (which may sound like some huge crate of books but it’s actually just five).
It helped that three of the books were already ones I wanted; a new Geoff Ryman book is reason to celebrate (Cambodia? Really? I’m in!), I’ve been wanting to read Joan Aiken’s works for a while now, and I’d heard very good things about Benjamin Rosenbaum’s The Ant King and Other Stories. So that made the decision easy; doubly so because Benjamin Parzybok’s Couch sounds entertaining, and I’ve always heard very good things about John Kessel too. (And hey, one of the stories in The Baum Plan for Financial Independence and Other Stories involves the Bennet sisters from Pride and Prejudice meeting Dr. Frankenstein and his Monster. It’s like it was meant to be.)
Also on my radar (but for 2009) is NESFA Press’s planned six-volume set of anthologies collecting every single Roger Zelazny short story. I cut my teeth on Zelazny’s Amber novels, and from there went to his anthologies (I still vividly remember telling a friend about Unicorn Variations in the sixth grade and wishing that I could write a short story like Zelazny did) and many of his novels. With half of his anthologies out of print and the other half all scattershot and over the place, a complete, definitive edition of everything? Oh yes. Yes yes yes. It’s just as well that it’s a minimum of four months away.
(Oh, and World of Goo for the Wii is one of the coolest games out there, and for $15 at that! A steal and a half. I actually have to stop myself playing it at times because I don’t want it to come to an end. It’s that good. I would talk about wanting an Xbox 360 Pro, here, but I fear that you lot will just egg me on to buy one. And, um, no. I cannot justify one. Maybe next year.)