I don’t want to suggest that January was a terrible month, but boy howdy have I had better.
It started well enough, I suppose, the surprising celebrity deaths that started stacking up notwithstanding. But somewhere along the way, I caught a cold, which developed into two or three days of this weird lingering exhaustion I was half-convinced was pneumonia. I’d have stayed home from work if I hadn’t already been home for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
That’s right, I spent the first three-day weekend of the new year feeling sick and too tired to really do much of anything.
And then a week later my back went out.
I did spend several days home from work because of that. I managed, somehow, to get through Thursday at the office but then needed to stay home until the following Wednesday. That was the weekend of our first real blizzard, Winter 2016 arriving late to the party and desperately trying to get all the snow done at once. So at least I didn’t have to shovel, I suppose. But that was only because I could barely walk.
I’m mostly better now — I can walk again, for one thing — and while I still have aches and twinges, I’m trying to work through those with ample stretching and relaxation. I’m not lying in bed all day with the heating pad any longer, but I also haven’t put the heating pad away altogether.
A week after I went back to work, I was off from it again, however, this time for a trip to Sanibel Island, Florida. (That’s where the picture above was taken.) My father has family down there, and we were there to visit and celebrate my sister’s birthday. I stayed for a long weekend, while she and my parents stayed on for another week in the sun and sand.
Which pretty much takes us to February.
So, anyway, books and movies and stories and such I enjoyed in the first month of the year…
In January, I watched five movies, none of which I would characterize as great. They were:
- In the Realm of the Senses
- Mystic Pizza
- The Gambler
- Permanent Midnight
I’m just young enough to have missed out on TRON when it was in theaters. It was definitely part of the background noise as a child of the 1980s, but I’d never actually seen more than a few minutes of the movie. It’s okay, but I’m not entirely sure I was ever missing out.
In the Realm of the Senses is…well, very graphic. Mystic Pizza was very thin but has some great performances in it. The Gambler doesn’t necessarily have that, but it does have a very good soundtrack. And Permanent Midnight…well, Ben Stiller’s pretty good in it, I dunno. Nothing I’d call remarkable.
I read just one book — The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters — but I liked it a lot.
I read a bunch more short stories, though, continuing a habit I picked up last year of reading one a day. In total, that’s thirty-one short stories for January. My favorites were:
- “That Lucky Old Sun” by Carrie Cuinn (Apex)
- “In the Woods Behind My House” by by Nicolette Barischoff (Podcastle)
- “The Godbeard” by Lavie Tidhar (Strange Horizons)
- “Cat Play” by Mari Ness (Metaphorosis)
- “Girl in Blue Dress (1881)” by Sunil Patel (Flash Fiction Online)
- “The Cassandra Project” by Jack McDevitt (Lightspeed)
- “Amaryllis” by Carrie Vaughn (Lightspeed)
- “The Return of the Thin White Duke” by Neil Gaiman (Trigger Warning)
- “Ghost Champagne” by Charlie Jane Anders (Uncanny)
- “A Kiss With Teeth” by Max Gladstone (Tor.com)
- “Toad Words” by T. Kingfisher (Red Wombat Studio)
- “This Chance Planet” by Elizabeth Bear (Tor.com)
- “Windows” by Susan Palwick (Asimov’s)
- “The Blue Afternoon That Lasted Forever” by Daniel H. Wilson (Carbide Tipped Pens)
- “A Call to Arms for Deceased Authors’ Rights” by Karin Tidbeck (Uncanny)
- “The Astrakhan, the Homburg, and the Red Red Coal” by Chaz Bentley (Lightspeed)
- “Who Binds And Looses The World With Her Hands” by Rachael K. Jones (Podcastle)
The first five are from 2016, the rest from earlier.
And finally, in January, I listed to some music: