Happy New Year! Happy 2012!

 In Memoriam
by Alfred Lord Tennyson

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
   The flying cloud, the frosty light:
   The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
   Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
   The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind
   For those that here we see no more;
   Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
   And ancient forms of party strife;
   Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
   The faithless coldness of the times;
   Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
   The civic slander and the spite;
   Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
   Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
   Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace...

14 Books I Read (and 1 I Tried) in 2011 in No Particular Order

I was put on a path to Scandinavian crime literature by

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (Swedish). I have to tell you, the writing is mediocre to bad at times.  So what kept me reading? First, the story, the plot, and second, Lisabeth Salander, the main character of the trilogy.

The Snowman and Nemesis by Jo Nesbo (Norwegian). Fabulous. Harry Hole is a classic — alcoholic, demon-ridden, heavy smoker, and brilliant. Good writing with psychological depth.

The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg (Swedish) and When the Devil Holds the Candle by Karin Fossum (Norwegian). A friend described the Fossum book as “creepy.” Nicely-constructed plot twists.

And finally

11/22/63 by Stephen King

My Reading Life by Pat Conroy

Love and Summer by William Trevor

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

The Married Man by Edmund White

Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Banks

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace -- I will give this another chance!