Best of 2017

As in years past (2013, 2014, 20152016), here are some of the things I enjoyed this year (inspired by Eve Tushnet’s annual list).

Best non-fiction read for the first time

  • Christian Texts for Aztecs by Jaime Lara: an academic-press glossy-paged wonder of a history that involves feathered sanctuaries and sunburst monstrances and is the coffee-table book in my dream house.
  • The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander: I’m not one to have my worldview changed overnight by nonfiction; this did it.
  • Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft: a practical manual to recognizing, understanding, and escaping abusers. I would urge everyone to educate themselves by reading it—you may not know it, but someone in your life probably needs an ally.
  • Alternative Academic Careers for Humanities Scholars by the #Alt-Academy collective: in the most academically and professionally challenging year I’ve had to date, this book gave me hope and excitement.
  • A Book of Migrations by Rebecca Solnit: I tend to disregard “travel writing” as a genre. This more than justifies the beauty of it.

Best fiction read for the first time

  • Írisz: as orquídeas by Noemi Jaffe: Whenever this gets translated into English, we’re having a bookclub.
  • Marlena by Julie Buntin: I love nothing quite so much as messy girlhood.
  • Swing Time by Zadie Smith: Except maybe a furious London.
  • House of Day, House of Night by Olga Tokarczuk: Or a sprawling Polish epic.
  • El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes: I loved studying this more than I liked reading it. What a playground for literary theory. What a weird year, that that’s a sentence I just unironically wrote.

edit 12/26/17: add, star, and highlight the overwhelmingly good La verdad sobre el caso Savolta by Eduardo Mendoza, which became an instant favorite.

Best movies/TV watched for the first time

  • Joan of Arcadia: Consistently moving, honest, beautiful, brave. What an unlikely and wonderful thing to have been made.
  • Ugly Betty: I’m glad I’ve finally admitted to myself that I just super love telenovelas.
  • The Good Place: Got in on the ground floor and have been laughing ever since.
  • Slings & Arrows: I watched season one in a blast of paper-finishing relief. It made me miss theatre more than I already do. I want to make things again.
  • Silence: Not only did I love this movie, I really loved the review I wrote of it.

Best performances

Best exhibits/museums

Best posts or articles by other people read in 2017

Best posts or articles by me

[James Madison voice] Highlights
in roughly chronological order

  • I had my first role in a Spanish-language play (Salinas in El gesticulador).
  • I learned TEI and got to work on a really cool text-markup project.
  • I got to quiz Argentines about the American Revolution at a bar. For work.
  • You know, for a while there, I was the happiest I’ve ever been.
  • My Catalan improved a lot. (It’s only been like seven years in the making, lol.)
  • I met my niece!
  • My best friends got married.
  • I got a tattoo that I absolutely love.
  • I started working at the UVa Library’s Makerspace.
  • I started a newsletter about Latin America. (It’s awesome.)
  • I presented about my fav colonial friar to our department.
  • Thanks to America, I got to cross “get on a magazine cover” off my bucket list!
  • I taught 70 university students intermediate Spanish, and I did a pretty good job.

Published by Catherine Addington

I am a translator from Spanish to English and a writer on saints, myths, and icons in both religious and secular contexts.

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