Happy New Year Post: A 2013 Recap

by Stefan Slater

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I know. I know. I’m a little late. Like… a couple of weeks late. But forgive me, please? I was sick–struck down by a vicious, merciless cold two days before New Year’s Eve. No worries though, as I spent the night watching Orange is The New Black with my GF, which is never a bad thing (I did wear a bandana to make sure I didn’t spread a plague with all my coughing–it’s all about being considerate). I was also on deadline, and I have two new articles that just went to print that I’ll be sharing here shortly. But, since it’s a new year and all, I thought I’d go ahead and do two very important things:

List my writing goals, which are as follows–

1) Sell a short story.
2) Write for one of my big goal publications (Men’s Journal, Tor.com, etc.)
3) Go on an epic trip and write about it for one of my big goal publications.
4) Write every single day. Even when I’m sick. 🙂
5) Continue to develop my freelance career.
6) Keep up my surfing. (Work’s been cutting into that, and boy, do I need my surfing to keep me sane.)

OK, that was fun and uplifting. Now, let’s switch over to the fun stuff (i.e., the second important thing I had to discuss with you all).

My favorite books of 2013–

Fiction: This one was tough. And when I say tough, I mean chewing-through-mummified-200-year-old-leather tough. I started reading more in 2013, and it was the first year of my full-time freelance career, which meant that I went through A TON of books. And I’m not saying that to brag–there were still plenty of books that I didn’t get to. So, not counting graphic novels or audiobooks, I went through roughly thirty books. Most I liked. Some, like The Yellow Birds or A Sound of Thunder and Other Stories (Ray Bradbury), were truly moving. Others, like Mockingbird and NOS4A2, were a rolling-bucket-of-monkeys-on-LSD fun (and yeah, that’s a good thing). But if there was one book that affected me the most, it had to be Horns, by Joe Hill. It was both simultaneously torturous and pleasurable, and it hit home in a way that was uncomfortable–the way it dealt with adolescent relationships and perceived wrongs was so very raw and relatable. I lost sleep stressing over Ig’s dilemma–and that rarely happens to me. Have you picked it up yet? Do so. Come on, go on, get up and grab a copy.

You back?

Cool.

And now on to my favorite graphic novel/comic book of 2013: Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. It’s brilliant. I could go on and on, so just do yourself a favor and pick up a copy. In second place, East of West by Jonathan Hickman. I’m a sucker for revisionist westerns, and this one was particularly inventive and original. Who knew that Death could ever pull off a Stetson so well?

Nonfiction: I didn’t read much nonfiction last year, and that’s something that needs to change this year. But the top two have to be The Devil in The White City by Erik Larson and Sweetness and Blood by Michael Scott Moore. Both understand their subject matters well (World’s Columbian Exposition/H. H. Holmes and surfing history, respectively). Check ’em out.

Ok, thanks for reading, everybody. I’ll be checking in a little more regularly in 2014 with updates on my writing and stuff. Take care, and happy belated new year. Stay stoked and keep writing.

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