1. My favourite books read in 2009 were Lorrie Moore’s “A Gate at the Stairs” and Roberto Bolano’s “The Savage Detectives”. I read many good things this year, but those are the ones that stuck with me the most.
2. One of my favourite reading memories was the morning of my thirtieth birthday. That weekend Andrew and I had been in Toronto for my bridal shower at my parents’ house, and then we took a long detour back to Montreal through New York. We stopped in Ithaca for the night and the next morning, my birthday, I woke up absurdly early and read Karen Solie’s “Pigeon”. It was quiet and sunny and peaceful.
3. The two readings I did in 2009 were so fun. I wrote about the reading at the TZL already. The reading at Le Pick Up was also fun and probably the oddest setting for a reading that I’ve ever done. Depanneur Le Pick Up is not just a dep by name – it’s really a dep, with shelves of cereal and toilet paper and fridges full of beer and pop. But, it’s a little different because you’ll also find things like vegepate and soy milk, and there’s a zine rack by the door, and the lunch counter serves pulled pork sandwiches (real pork and vegan equivalent). It was set up so that the reading was done in the back corner, next to the ATM machine, in front of a few shelves of tampons, near the fridges.
4. I stuffed three seasons of Mad Men into one year and as a result feel more in control of my career and wardrobe.
5. I bought an Iphone after I unceremoniously dumped a bottle of Vitamin Water on my Ipod and couldn’t stomach the thought of music-less commute to work. Instead of spending money on another Ipod, I decided to consolidate my phone and mp3 player into one device. It was probably my favourite purchase of 2009. I also now understand the appeal of e-readers. I’m definitely not in the market for something like a Kindle (I don’t need any more electronic devices), but it’s nice to have certain books loaded on my Iphone to read when the book I have in my bag isn’t cutting it.
6. I quit my job and started a new one, and it felt good.
7. The songs I listened to the most did not come out in 2009, but I listened to The National a lot, and Neko Case (“Middle Cyclone” was a 2009 release!), the Pixies and Julie Doiron (especially “I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day” and, recently, the folky side project Daniel, Fred and Julie).
8. Cafe Comme Chez Soi was my favourite brunch find of 2009, followed by The Sparrow. Boite Gourmande wins for consistency, reliability and lots of good sunshine.
9. Istanbul was strange and beautiful. We walked everywhere and I stopped and petted nearly every stray kitten we passed (many). I got pummelled in a steamy Turkish bath. We drank a lot of tea. We took a ferry to Asia. Michael Jackson died and we watched many MJ videos in our hotel room. We sat on the roof of the hotel at night and listened to prayer calls from all of the mosques surrounding us. I should’ve bought more scarves, but it was hot and I didn’t have enough foresight. We ate a lot of food.
10. Getting married was so much fun, but intense too. We gathered people we loved and went to Greece and did things like rode scooters around the island and went swimming in blue salty water and drank lots of weak white wine and ordered Greek salads. On our wedding day it rained, but then it stopped, and my girlfriends did my makeup and my hair and made sure I looked pretty, and I cried a lot, and Andrew and I danced to “Northern Sky” by Nick Drake, and the bottom of my dress was muddy from the rain, and my mother accidentally locked us up on the roof, and Andrew and I read each other poems we wrote for our vows and they were embarrassing and personal and so full of love, and wow, yeah, it was intense.
So, 2009: an intense, full year. A great year. But I’m ready for 2010 to start and I have big plans for this upcoming new year. I’m excited to share them with you.