Thursday 31 December 2020

2020 Wrap-Up

Writing a summary of 2020 feels an almost impossible task. It’s been a surreal and challenging year, and there’s little enthusiasm surrounding the new year as the pandemic ramps up once again. I hope you have found moments of joy nonetheless, and that any wounds the year has inflicted will heal over the coming months and years. There’s a sense of collective trauma that has encouraged more open discourse around mental health, and this is one thing that I hope we’ll continue into the years ahead. Our worlds have shrunk this year and for many, the pace of life has slowed dramatically with empty days stretching out, yet months passing rapidly, leaving a sense of disorientation when we realise quite how much time has passed. It’s been surreal and often lonely, but there has been beauty within it, communities coming together, time to contemplate the things and people that mean the most to you, and a chance to look more closely at your surroundings. In walking the same streets over and over I’ve noticed little details I would previously have marched past in a rush to get home or to go to work. The changing of the seasons has garnered far more attention as we see the increasingly familiar landscapes change, flowers blooming, trees turning golden, and for some, the first laying of snow. This increased connection to and appreciation of nature has been another slice of light in a dark year, and one that I hope I don’t lay aside carelessly when life offers some return to ‘normal’.

I have become more involved in the wider book blogger community this year, cheering each other on, encouraging endlessly increasing to-be-read piles, and taking part in virtual readalongs that have made the act of reading more social, allowing us the chance to discuss books as we read them. It’s been an invaluable source of joy, thank you to each and every one of you who has been part of this in any way. Regular readers will have noticed a new presence on the blog this year - blog tour posts. These have been a great opportunity to broaden my reading, bringing some contemporary fiction into my book pile. Many of the books I would never have picked up otherwise, and although they weren’t all to my taste, there have been some real standout reads, notably The Beast and the Bethany and Amari and the Night Brothers.

I’ve read slightly more books this year than the past few and it’s been quite a mixed bag. My first read of 2020 remains a highlight - The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose, a

beautiful novel connecting disparate lives through art. Questions of Travel by Michelle de Kretser also had me thoroughly engaged in a story that spans decades and continents. On the non-fiction front The Moth: Occasional Magic had me marvelling at the strength of the human spirit and the huge breadth of experience. Van Gogh: A Life was one of the biggest books of the year and succeeded in bringing to life the intricacies of this most famous of artist’s journeys. Finally, a book that topped the non-fiction bestseller charts, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, a book that everyone should read at least once.

I’m not one for planning my reading too far in advance, but my short-term reading list includes The Midnight Library by Matt Haig, which I’ve heard wonderful things about; The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante; and a spot of Agatha Christie. The latter part of 2020 has been somewhat lacking in non-fiction and so I intend to jump back on that bandwagon, recommendations always welcome. 

I hope your shelves are overflowing with excellent books to dive into and that the new year holds some wonderful things for you all. And remember, after every storm the sun will shine again. Wishing you peace, love, and good health for the days to come.

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