Well, folks, it’s been a year, hasn’t it? Another year, another covid variant, or two, or three… And here we are again, Zoom-bound and footie-pyjamas-donned, growing more feral and introverted. At least I am.
This year, I gave up any attempt to bake bread and Twitter. While I didn’t read as many books as I wanted to, I regained some reading focus, got through more grading, and started to take a daily walk, all formerly abandoned by mindless Twitter scrolling. I gave up trying to raise my Netgalley stats by reviewing ARCs and stopped requesting them. (I have an ARC “backlist” stretching to “the crack of doom,” so you’ll still see me review one occasionally. At this end of another pandemic year, I have a diminishing desire to read romance; sad, but there it is.)
I ordered more books and maintained a TBR I might get through if I have a future as Methuselah. I saw a friend and went to a café (at the same time; I don’t do things by halves, when I go, I go BIG), something I haven’t done in two years. I haven’t been to a museum, restaurant, or movie, and don’t think I ever will. I did read some books, not as many as I wanted to (see Twitter addiction, now broken), but 2022 looks good reading-wise.
I did a lot of cooking and baking and listened to podcasts while I did. Emerging from lockdowns meant commuting again, so I listened in the car too. Here’s my listening and reading year, or at least what I remember of it. (I used to watch films; this year, I managed two: News of the World, which I loved, and Nomadland, which I hated. I did watch my southern neighbours cut through the Gordian knot of their democracy on January 6th and, to mix my allusions, remain convinced no one can put Humpty-Dumpty back together. I also watched, with deep shame and horror, the revelations of my own country’s reprehensible treatment of indigenous peoples. Again, like most, I watched covid news with equal parts dread and hope.)
Book of the Year: Tana French’s In the Woods
Romance of the Year: Kate Clayborn’s Love At First
Non-Fiction Book of the Year: Richard Greene’s Russian Roulette: The Life and Times of Graham Greene
Favourite Podcast: The Rest Is History
Favourite “Limited Series” Podcast: LRB’s Encounters With Medieval Women (especially episodes 1 and 2, on Mary of Egypt and Julian of Norwich, respectively)
Best New-to-Me Podcasts: Something Rhymes With Purple & Fireside
Favourite “Books” Podcasts: Writ Large and Backlisted
Favourite Podcast Episodes: Writ Large on Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, Encounters With Medieval Women, Episode 2, “Anchoress” (on Julian of Norwich), Fireside on and with Elaine Pagels, and Backlisted on E. Nesbit’s The Railway Children
Podcast Episode That Made Me Re-evaluate My Life: Ministry of Ideas’ limited series, Making Meaning, episode 1, “You Don’t Have to Be Special”
Podcast That Taught Me Things I Didn’t Know: C-SPAN’s Lectures in History, “Anti-Semitism Between WWI & WWII,” with Professor Pamela Nadell of American University and “Food During the Great Depression,” with Professor Pamela Riney-Kehrberg of Iowa State University
What about you? What did you read, watch, or listen to that left you enthralled, disappointed, or indifferent?