2020 was rough. I came into it full of enthusiasm. I had a goal that year to read books only written by female authors. I was going to read at least one newly-released book every month. I was going to publish at least two reviews per month. I was gonna collaborate with my blogging partner on a list every month. I developed a new format/system for my reviews because I struggled with writer’s block a little bit in 2019. I had plans! Ambitions! Schemes!
I was on target to accomplish all of that for a little while. But, eventually, I just…stopped posting. I got bored with my reviewing format. The plague and the political turmoil and real-world work obligations stressed me out and sapped my energy. And, frankly, the vast majority of the 2021 books that I read were just….blah. All of the hyped literary darlings turned out to be kinda duds for me. At the end of the year, I make space on my shelves by selling books I don’t care about. I only kept one book that I read that was released in 2021: Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo. Since I didn’t have a lot of enthusiasm for what I was reading, I didn’t have a lot of passion to take the time to knock out a few paragraphs about the books.
I missed writing, though. I don’t like feeling pressure (even when it’s self-inflicted). And I don’t like reading and writing about stuff that I’m not in the mood to read or write about. That little mental tick of mine is why all of my previous efforts at gaining access to pre-released stuff for reviewing ultimately fails…because I refuse to read stuff I’m not in the mood for because it’s “my job to do it.” Screw that.
So, this year, I’m going back to basics. I’m “finding the fun.” I’ll write about books, when and how I feel like writing about them in the moment. Instead of super-structured plans and strategies, I’m just going to share with you guys what I’m excited about. Or maybe super-irritated about. But definitely what I’m passionate about. Because that’s the fun part!
And because a “looking back” type post feels incomplete without a list of superlatives, here’s a quick list:
(1) Best Book of 2021: Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
(2) Best Stuff I Read in 2021 (regardless of release date): Wayfayers Series by Becky Chambers
(3) Best Big Book That’s Been On My Shelf Forever That I’m Glad I Read: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
(4) Biggest Surprise That Rekindled a Love for Adventures a Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Leia, Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray (seriously, I binged the Rebels series because I was so jazzed by this book)
And because a “looking ahead” type post feels incomplete without a list of stuff I’m stoked about in the upcoming year, here’s a quick list:
(1) The Star Wars High Republic initiative
(2) Book 3 of Joe Abercrombie’s Age of Madness trilogy
(3) A new Wayfarer book by Becky Chambers
What about you guys? What did I miss out on in 2020? What’s going down in 2021 that I should have circled on my calendar?