JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Just a two more days to go until we can see 2012 out the door with a sigh of relief. Hurricanes, droughts, horrific murders and the longest presidential campaign in human history made this one for the record books - and not a minute too soon.
Still all of us here at Jungle Reds had our high and low points. For me, a big best-of moment was earlier this month, when my son Spencer received a congressional nomination to the service academies. We're still waiting to see if he gets an appointment, but it was a great way to cap off the year-long application process. A worst moment? Its a toss-up between blowing through yet another book deadline and my colonoscopy.
Best book? CLAWBACK by Mike Cooper, which took two subjects that usually make my eyes cross with incomprehension - high-end financial instruments cutting-edge computer manipulation - and turned them into a page-turning, deeply enjoyable mystery. Worst book? Any thriller that treats women like plot points with breasts. Guys, watch Bridesmaids a couple times, then go back for a second draft.
ROSEMARY HARRIS: Colonoscopy...was that one of the high points? Oh..just reread. ;-)
This may sound obnoxious but my regular life is so good that just sitting by the fire reading is a high point. We're still here. Nothing hurts. The house didn't blow away in the storm. my husband survived a terrifying fall off a balcony. It's all good!
If pressed...finishing my first non-mystery. Obama getting re-elected.They were high points. Favorite book, hard to say and I'm sure I'm forgetting something from early in the year, but I really liked The Informationist. Least favorite - 50 SHADES. Give me a break. I had better sex than that when I was sixteen.
JULIA: I'm laughing out loud right now, Ro.
HALLIE EPHRON: This year our daughter announced she was pregnant - it doesn't GET better than that. We also had an absolutely fabulous trip to Trinidad. We stayed in at the Asa Wright nature center and within the first twenty minutes, standing on their beautiful veranda overlooking the valley, identified 40 birds, species we'd never seen before (they have counted 460 species of bird). Took a hike into the wood and heard what sounded like an hammer hitting an anvil -- we knew it was the elusive bell bird, and that it was high in the canopy ahead of us. We stalked it, got it in our spotting scope, and just stood there marveling at one of the weirdest looking birds ever making its decidedly un-birdlike sounds.
Best book, hands down, EDGE OF DARK WATER by Joe R. Lansdale. Best movie? An oldie that somehow I'd missed: DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS.
On my worst list was dealing with a chimney that needed to be rebuilt. They had to break through the wall in the basement. What a mess. Soot coating everything... still.
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Oh, good stuff...lots of it. Book things mostly, which you know about. Still constantly in delight about this mid-life career addition of being able to make things up. I still look at Jonathan sometimes and forget that his heart is fixed--and I am so happy when I remember he's fine! The dot they took off my face was nothing. And I agree, a lot of little stuff. We inherited part of my mother and step-father's wine collection, so we are having fun with that! And I saw geese flying in a V the other day and burst into applause.
Best book, ah, Trust Your Eyes, by Linwood Barclay. Terrific. And a new one by Becky Masterman called Rage Against the Dying. Best movie? Besides Love, Actually? (which I watched AGAIN)--maybe ARGO, which was absolutely riveting.
My worst list? Interestingly, when a bad thing happens, I say to myself: someday I will forget this, so I'm going to start forgetting it now. The guest bedroom ceiling fell in last week because of a water leak-AT MIDNIGHT--but no one was hurt. And I'm forgetting about that now.
JAN BROGAN - On the best list was my daughter getting into UPENN Medical School and the lovely white coat ceremony in Philly. On the worst list is the investment banking firm my husband worked for in New York; the founding partners will someday find themselves in one of my mysteries as either the villains or the corpse. Favorite book? Either The Steve Jobs biography, Rules of Civility or Major Pettigrew's Last Stand (recommended to my by Debs). Worst book: It's hard to get any worse than Fifty Shades of Grey, which I'm convinced actually subtracts knowledge from you. Best movie: Argo. Guilty Pleasure: the movie TED. Worst movie? I've forgotten it already. How about worst entertainment? The Red Sox's last season. I am still in mourning.
HANK: Jan, I am howling with laughter. It SUBTRACTS knowledge. Like celery and calories. Perfect.
LUCY BURDETTE: Worst thing--so busy can't remember sh*t. Best thing--so busy can't remember sh*t:). Good news--two book out in 2012 and first-ever Publisher's Weekly review! Not good--lost my dad in January. He struggled at the end, but still he was my dad and I miss him dearly.
Read lots of good books this year, including Barbara O'Neal's THE GARDEN OF HAPPY ENDINGS and Vanessa Diffenbaugh's THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS. More good stuff: Lots of great friends and loving and lovable family and wonderful food and endlessly entertaining pets. And bad stuff--what is wrong with people in our world with all this shooting and fighting and negative energy? Let's hope and pray for better in 2013!
DEBORAH CROMBIE: Best things--NO MARK UPON HER making the New York Times Bestseller list. A life-long dream. And finishing the next book.
Worst things--finishing the next book. You'd think I'd know by now that writing is really, really hard work. But there's always the NEXT book, which I'm sure I'll get written in a timely and organized manner...
Losing our dear fourteen-year-old dog, Hallie. We still miss her terribly.
But, best thing again, a new puppy to brighten our days--and wear us out. Viva Dax!
Movies? I think I'll go with a Best TV series. I LOVED Call the Midwife on PBS. I'd read one of Jennifer Worth's books when I was researching a book set in the East End, and they did a fabulous job of bringing the stories to life. (Take note, producers of Jack Reacher, etc. Worst movie? It would probably be Twilight something but I spared myself.
Best Book? So many! But I'm going to make it books and go with a find from Jungle Red; James R. Benn's Billy Boyle series. I still have two books to go to catch up, and am anticipating them. Worst book? Again, I spared myself from Fifty Shades:-)
And best of all, all my family is safe and well.
JULIA: Clearly, ladies, in 2013 we need to go ahead with the book we outlined (with the help of several bottles of wine) at Hank and Jonathan's house: FIFTY SHADES OF SILVER, an erotic novel for the over-fifty set. (Sequels will be FIFTY SHADES OF READING GLASSES and FIFTY SHADES AARP.)
How about you, dear readers? Let us in on your own highs and lows, best and worsts of 2012!
|Hallie's Bell Bird - strange, indeed. Maybe we should make it the official mascot of the Reds in 2013?|