December Redux: what a year

A pair of burgundy boots rest on a bookshelf of fantasy novels

Is it over yet? I started 2020 with a heap of work that saw me yoyoing to Dublin (…no complaints, Dublin was fab) then flying home for lockdown. It’s been a year that has been endless and timeless and anxious. And now it’s nearly 2021. I wonder what it has in store for us? I’ll do a full 2020 redux early in the new year, but for now let’s look back at December…

Reading Round-up

December reading got off to a slow start, wrapping up some SciFiMonth reads and finding myself reluctant to tackle anything new until I cleared my conscience of some reviews. As not-reading makes me not-happy, I segued into novellas and rereads: here’s to comfort reads for Christmas.

  • The Explorer – James Smythe  ★★★★
  • Bite-size Books:
    • The Furthest Station – Ben Aaronovitch  ★★★★
    • Witches of Lychford – Paul Cornell  ★★★★★
    • The Lost Child of Lychford – Paul Cornell  ★★★★★
    • A Long Day in Lychford – Paul Cornell  ★★★☆
    • The Lights Go Out in Lychford – Paul Cornell  ★★★★
    • Last Stand in Lychford – Paul Cornell  ★★★☆
    • The Empress of Salt and Fortune – Nghi Vo  ★★★★
  • Audio read: The Vela – Yoon Ha Lee, Becky Chambers, Rivers Solomon, SL Huang ★★★☆
  • Dragonspell – Katharine Kerr  ★★★★

It’s not a bad way to end a hard year. At times, it has felt like a hard reading year too – too many deadlines and obligations, too little joy. But there has also been a lot of joy, both in rereading favourites with friends and in discovering new favourites in first-time reads. Check out my Top Ten Reads of 2020 – no complaints here!

Additional Reviews

I acknowledged in early December that I had slid back into a review funk. 2020 has been challenging for giving books the mental space they merit, and once again I had fallen behind and was feeling overwhelmed by the number of books I wanted to review, but somehow couldn’t bring myself to review. Less to ‘catch up’ (there is no catching up, there are always more books) and more to ensure that I don’t end another year with a stack of good reads that I’ve barely talked about, I’ve embarked on Twelve Days of Blogmas to try and get back into the habit (or form a new one by trying – for once in my life – to write shorter reviews 😂).

Watch out for the next batch of reviews through until Twelfth Night.

Stacking the shelves

This month was always going to be big and my shelves were braced and ready.

Or so I thought.

Yes, go ahead, laugh.

My heartfelt thanks to my amazing bookfriends 🙂

Reading statistics

My goal – always – is to read diversely and to love every book. It hasn’t always felt like I’ve managed the latter this year, but my arbitrary star ratings across the year suggest that it has been a good one, on balance. I’ve become less and less worried about hitting the even more arbitrary reading targets I set myself, although in the end I’ve done better there than I expected too.

Books read: 68 / 70 | Game of Books: 544 / 600

  • 12 off the shelf (i.e. not bought in 2020)
  • 18 ARCs
  • 20 bite-size (excl. short stories)

Authors: 21 male (31%) / 41 female (60%) / 4 trans, non-binary or genderfluid (6%) + 2 collaboration (3%)

  • Authors of colour: 19 (33%)
  • LGBTQIA authors: 19 (33%)
  • Non-US / UK based authors: 9 (16%)

I’ll be taking a couple of weeks to mull over what goals I want to set for my reading in 2021 – if any.

What’s coming up?

A whole new year! My plans for 2021 are free-form – I’ll be participating in Vintage SciFiMonth in January, and of course I’ve got both Wyrd and Wonder and SciFiMonth main and mini-events later in the year – but that’s about it. I want to mostly follow my nose in 2021, starting with the books already on my shelves (not to mention the colossal stack that just landed on them). That’s not to say there won’t be plenty of new releases too! For a blogger who boldly said “no commitments in 2021”, I’ve got lots of plans to support new releases in the coming weeks.

I probably will sign up to some challenges because I just can’t help myself, but I won’t be taking them too seriously: my real objective for 2021 is to read on a whim and enjoy myself.

How was your December?