Another year draws to a close. The virus is still with us, mutating as such agents do. Governments around the world scrabble to appear in control by limiting freedoms and encouraging public shaming. Lives are put at risk as healthcare efforts focus on this one infection. Hard won livelihoods are decimated, feeding the myriad health impacts associated with stress and potential penury. It is hard not to despair at the media manipulation and fearmongering. Someone on Twitter described 2021 as ‘rather like a remaindered copy of the previous year’ and this resonated.
At the beginning of December it looked ever more likely that additional restrictions would be imposed in England. Husband and I decided we could squeeze in one more trip away before the hospitality industry became inhospitable again. The hotel we stayed at on the south coast had reintroduced a mask mandate, but the weather was good and the food provided excellent so we had a mostly enjoyable few days by the sea. We walked up and down the local cliff paths for miles. We ran as tourists in Bridport Parkrun. Of course, Edward came along with us. I wrote about his adventures here: Edward Explores: The Dorset Coast.
On returning home we cast our minds towards Christmas. Books make the perfect present so I published my roundup of recommended reads – 23 titles that particularly impressed me from the well over 100 books reviewed this past year – Annual Roundup.
Along with the other Bookmunch reviewers, I contributed to their fine Best of 2021 list.
Robyn’s recommendations came later in the month – Robyn’s Reads of 2021. She has been so busy with work her contributions to the blog have had to be curtailed.
I continue to exercise regularly although this has been somewhat limited recently by fluctuating energy levels and time constraints. Hopefully I will get out more in the New Year.
Husband and I attended two social events this month – a work dinner hosted by the company we are currently contracted to, and a dinner party with the friends husband runs with each Sunday – when he is not injured. I am rarely comfortable in social situations but these events passed without anxiety inducing incident. Phew!
I posted reviews for 10 books in December. Robyn has been too busy on the wards to add to this.
As is customary in these roundups, click on the title below to read the review and on the cover to learn more about the book.
Pupa by J.O. Morgan, published by Henningham Family Press
Glide by Alison Jean Lester (with photographs by Andrew Gurnett)
Here is Where by Morgan Omotoye, published by Open Pen
Foster by Claire Keegan, published by Faber & Faber
Reset by Paolo Pergola, published by Sagging Meniscus
He Wants by Alison Moore, published by Salt
Four Minutes by Nataliya Deleva (translated by Izidora Angel), published by Open Letter
Strong Stuff by A.F. Stone, published by SRL Publishing
The Mask by Elisabeth Horan, published by The Broken Spine
B, A Year In Plagues and Pencils by Edward Carey, published by Gallic
Sourcing the books
Robyn received several gifts of books alongside her usual subscription copies from Illumicrate and Goldsboro.
My monthly ‘books in’ pile was small in quantity but big in quality – two of these were read immediately.
As ever I wish to thank all the publishers who send me their books to review – the arrival of a book parcel remains a cheering event in my day.
My thanks also to those who share my words across their social media platforms. Your continuing support is always appreciated.
And to everyone reading this, I wish you and yours good health and as much mental stability as can be mustered in these challenging times. A New Year beckons. Let’s hope it includes moments of joy and a better appreciation of what is still our beautiful world. Whatever it brings, may we strive, at all times, to be kind xx
Wise words Jackie. Here’s hoping 2022 may be more as we would wish x
Thank you, Linda, and especially for your ongoing support. I wish you and yours a much improved 2022 x