1. Why has Amazon just recommended to me a book called Tater's Bear, in a series which seems to be entitled "Siren Everlasting Classic ManLove: Erotic Alternative Paranormal Romance"? When I went to "fix this recommendation" it turned out to be because I had previously purchased .... a Kindle. I've heard it said that rudery would flourish in ebook form in the same way that polaroid cameras will ever be associated with people wanting to photograph their bits without showing them to people who work in Boots. But if I wanted to read about Erotic Paranormal ManLove I would far far rather find some actual bookshop where I could go, hand over money, and take the book away in a one-time transaction, than buy it on Kindle and have Amazon recommending other Siren Everlasting Classic ManLove titles for the rest of my life. Of course I've probably achieved that anyway by clicking on the link.
2. I kept my last year's New Year's Resolutions all year, which is pretty rare in my life, and in general, I think. I deliberately didn't go for the predictable resolutions of an unfit, unemployed, overweight thirty-four-year-old living in her parents' house (which would probably be to take up smoking): instead I vowed to record what I read, rewatch all of Battlestar Galactica, and develop an opinion on East Coast vs West Coast rap. I didn't entirely manage that last, but I did listen to a lot of rap. Because quite a few tracks were depressingly violent or strangely filled with hatred for women I made a playlist called Hip-Hop for Devon Ladies which filtered out the ones which made me feel sad.
Anyway I was trying to come up with some good resolutions for this year, but it's the 4th January now and I may be defeated. I don't want them to be resolutions about things which need doing anyway.
3. One of the problems with growing older, and this relates to both points 1 and 2, is that with increasing self-knowledge it becomes less and less likely that taking the risk of trying something new will pay off. I find it easy to tell in advance whether or not to try foods, books, films, TV series, and all sorts of things, and it's a very long time since I tried something I didn't think I'd like and liked it, no matter how highly it was recommended by others. I think I do genuinely want to find new things to like more than I want to be proved right here. Against my better judgement I have been trying to read Deborah Harkness' A Discovery of Witches, about the forbidden love of a witch and a vampire, because it starts in Duke Humfrey (the Bodleian Library's erstwhile manuscripts reading room) and was written by an academic one of whose factual books is on my to-read list. But it's just not well enough written to be OK. I'm only five brief chapters in but the protagonist is perfect in a sub-Dan-Brown way -- when she calls friends they start the conversation by congratulating her on all the awards her books have recently won and then go on to describe her great beauty in detail. I'm going to have to give it up. How do I teach Amazon that I'm even more put off by Paranormal Romance than Classic ManLove?
4. So here are my final 2012 resolutions, in a more or less finished form:
a) to spend at least an hour every week in a museum or gallery with a notebook and pencil. I'm going to start tomorrow by catching the end of the Canadian Impressionists exhibition at the Dulwich Picture Gallery.
b) to find and satisfactorily test a recipe for almond macaroons (the old-style ones, not the pretty French ones with cream filling)
c) maybe something to do with animals? I admit this one still needs working on.