I have begun 2022 by focusing on reviews rather than on how I’d like to spend the reading year ahead of me. As the first week of the year winds down, it’s time to check in on my 2021 reading (and blogging) and set some goals for 2022.
The Captain America running meme has its place every year, but particularly so this year. We’ve reached the end of 2021 while my brain is still somewhere in early 2020. I keep seeing the ‘what’s your biggest 2021 flex’ and all I’ve got is ‘I’m still here’ – hunkered down, reading and reviewing, and sending love to those that need it.
November always whizzes by in a blur. As usual, my SciFiMonth didn’t go entirely to plan – while I did read a couple of novellas, I ended up focused on classic SF thanks to the glossy new dramatisations of Dune and Foundation – but I thoroughly enjoyed it. A huge shout out to our epic crew, whose annual commitment to SFnal content warms my heart – watch out for the final Mission Log round-up at the end of the month.
October has been a delightful month of downtime, kicked off with a long weekend catching up with my Mum in the Peak District and continued with two weeks exploring Ireland. It has been deliberately low-key, which extended to making reading and reviewing aspirational (if not quite making not doing either entirely guilt-free). My conclusion? I’d like some more time off please…
September has been very similar to August, but with some bright points piercing the 2021 doom and drama: Shang-Chi stormed in to become my new joint-favourite thread in the MCU and Ted Lasso stole my heart (okay fine, Hannah Waddingham stole my heart). I also got a STACK of life admin taken care of, which has significantly reduced my background stress, hooray!
August has been tricky this year, with migraines and mental health both demanding active management. By mid-month, I’d only finished one book and was still unable to engage with digital editions. I’d love to say I got loads of other things done instead, but I’d be lying – it’s just been a difficult month all round.
July was going to be my month of reading and reviewing all the books, as I had two weeks off. Instead, it turned into an unexpected reading slump and blogging hiatus as the heat dialled up and going away meant getting an awful lot of real-world things done ahead of time. Our trip to the Highlands meant we escaped the worst of the heatwave, although sadly we had to come back a day early following a confirmed close contact / self-isolation ping. Pandemics, eh.
June means Pride and as I had few rigid reading commitments, I indulged in mood reading focused on queer characters. I immediately dived into space opera, which made me so happy I clearly need to balance my recently fantasy-dominated reading diet back out. I’ve loved my fantasy this year (and my fantasy read this month will make my Best of 2021 lists for sure) …but I’ve missed my spaceships.
May is always a joy because it’s Wyrd and Wonder. I started out with big ambitions, but had to dial back posts and social media activity due to a lingering migraine that bit whenever I spent too much time staring at a screen (dammit). I persevered with tree editions (paper doesn’t glare) for some quiet reading in dim rooms, until my brain shut me down with a reading slump. Tch, I can take a hint brain. Well, sometimes.
April began with a delightful weekend of SFnal novellas for All Systems Read, which left me very focused for both hoovering up my reading list and tackling my review backlog. In other areas, April served up a reality check thanks to my beloved and his sense of humour: turns out some jigsaw puzzles really are absurdly hard and take days. SO MANY DAYS. Consider my patience well and truly tested.
I slid off my review game in March, distracted first by Stardew Valley and then by chopping off part of my thumb one Thursday, which is as painful and inconvenient as it sounds (but thankfully didn’t involve a trip to A&E). The kicker? Not the first time I’ve done it. To that thumb. Sorry, thumb. Luckily, I don’t need 2 thumbs to read…
I will never outgrow my love of snow (as I don’t live in a place where we get much of it) so a cold snap and my birthday delivered much glee this month. As it seems I’m getting too old for that much excitement, the second half of the month was spent mostly exhausted, which was at least a solid excuse to just curl up and read.
I am managing my expectations for 2021, which started with me noticing on New Year’s Day that I had acquired a large and rather painful bruise on my knee: 2020’s final gift. It seems as good a metaphor as any for this year. In case I was hoping for better from 2021, I promptly head-butted a door handle. Yes, ridiculous household accidents are my superpower. At least I remember this one…
I’m off to a slow start in 2021: sure, I got my tracking spreadsheets roughed out before new year, but I’m yet to finish a book and I’ve only written half the blog posts I had in mind. So far, 2021 looks a lot like 2020. Time to take stock and reset? I think so.
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…