Memo to Jeff, following his highly entertaining and nonetheless wise post on Monday: it’s not that I’m naive enough to believe that a new year means a new me, or a new world, or new beginnings in any major way. But wouldn’t it be good to have cause to believe that this particular new year could be better than the one that just ended? Or at least no worse?
Let’s dream a little. I was half-watching a TV show the other evening which invited viewers to suggest good things that might happen in 2017. They included an end to all the mayhem in the Middle East; Donald Trump showing some decency by stepping down before January 20, having realized he can’t hack it; rain in Africa where and when it’s needed, and maybe even aid deliveries unimpeded by terrorists and inefficient governments.
So far, much as it grieves me to point it out, in many respects 2017 isn’t looking much different from its predecessor. Children are still dying in Syria. Donald Trump is still... Donald Trump. Terrorism and drought are still vying for the top spot in much of Africa. But a wise person once said that if you can’t change the world, try to change the way you look at it. So dreaming aside, I’m trying to be positive in a sensible way.
Here are some good things I know will happen:
New books by some of my favourite authors will be published. (J D Robb, Phil Rickman, Chris Nickson are already in progress. Others will follow.)
Other books, already published, will become available in paperback. (Ruth Downie, Elly Griffiths, Stef Penney are on the cards. There will be more.)
Some brilliant books will come my way, through reviewing and recommendation (mostly) or pure chance (occasionally). This seems to happen regularly. Towards the end of last year I received Jane Harper’s stupendous debut The Dry to review, and a friend steered me towards The Light Between Oceans – the book, not the much-filleted version they turned into a rather trite movie – and it’s finds like these that make me confident it’s a trend that will continue.
And since all the good things that come easily to mind are book-related (and you won’t hear me apologizing for that, especially not on this blog), it looks as if my best option for dealing with the world in 2017 is to escape from it into well-wrought fiction. No change there, then.
When the Dead Guy blog was set up all those years ago (nine? ten? eleven? I’m not sure; I wasn’t there at the beginning) there was a distinct chain of crime-fiction-related activity from idea to bookshelf: author, agent, editor, publisher, publicist, reviewer, bookseller. People have come and gone, but the chain is mostly still there; I started out as publisher, moved sideways to editor when I sold my publishing house, then kind of took on a roving commission which covered editor (sorry, Terri – you get first dibs at that now, since you edit twenty or thirty books to every one of mine), reviewer and occasional bookseller. Above all, though, I’ve always been a reader, and a pretty avid one, of the world’s favourite genre. So maybe that’s my role for 2017. Books need readers, and there’s no eighth day in the week to encompass that.
Happy new reading year to one and all. I’m enjoying mine so far. Hope you are too.
PS: a question. What would happen if Donald Trump really did step down? Does anyone know?