I feel the first disclaimer I should put here is that I thought it had been a long time since I read Matt Haig’s The Humans, but a look at instagram informed me it was January, so I threw it in the video anyway.
Turns out, it was not January. It was some time in 2019. I don’t know how I managed to mix that up, but as it’s definitely one of my favourite books of recent years – if not just generally a favourite – I shall keep it. Plus, I can’t be bothered re-doing the video. I’d have to put on a Presentable top again, and that’s asking a lot these days.
So that’s the first disclaimer – that not all of these books are from 2020. The second is that I also spend a certain amount of time talking about rage-reading and DNFs, of which I had an unreasonable proportion this year (the Did Not Finishes, not the rage-reads. Thankfully there was only one of those, but I still can’t get it scrubbed out of my brain. It just won’t go. *sobs*). I’m still not certain if the amount of books that just didn’t work for me was me being picky (I am, these days. I don’t read enough books to stick with ones that aren’t capturing me), or 2020 just making it harder to focus. I know there was at least a certain amount of that.
Because that was 2020, wasn’t it? Everything was different. Everything changed. And as we tiptoe into 2021, it feels rather like more of the same so far. The UK’s back in lockdown. The virus romps on. There’s good news (vaccines) and bad news (more infections, among other issues that have kept me stuck to my news apps once again), and we have to just keep muddling along as well as we can.
And that is okay. Lovely people, muddling along is fantastic. However it looks for you – if it’s books and cake and naps and blanket forts, or home improvement projects and learning musical instruments and new languages – it’s all good. Do what you need to do to keep muddling on. Be gentle with yourselves. Take time to figure out what you need, and do what you can to get it (you know, as long as it’s legal and no one’s getting hurt, as tempting as that throne made from the skulls of your enemies feels as a DIY project – and I know it does). Hug your fur family. And your human family, if it’s safe to do so. Call your friends, if that’s what you need. Hibernate. Watch old movies. Read favourite books. Eat good food – and by that I mean food that makes you feel good, not Good Food as dictated by the health magazines.
And whether your way of surviving this is building a three-story bird house with gingerbread detail on the balcony, or re-reading Lord of the Rings for the twenty-third time, embrace it. Let go of the guilt that you haven’t been as productive as the memes on instagram would have you believe you should have been. Throw out your sourdough starter if it’s become a chore. Relegate your new running shoes to summer casual if the thought of even putting them on makes you want to set them on fire. Or just set them on fire, if you’ve got a fire extinguisher handy. Whatever works. Just keep muddling on.
You’ve come this far. You have done brilliantly. So just keep going, lovely people. Be good to yourselves and each other.
And now you can watch me hold a Magnus Chase book and declare I can’t remember the name of the main character. Sigh.
Now over to you, lovely people. What were your favourite reads of 2020? How did you find your reading might have changed through this strange year? Did you read more? Less? Look for escapism? Crave learning? Let me know below!
Now I’m off to make more tea and probably have another cookie. Because that’s me muddling along. 🙂