2020 Progress Report

2020 Progress Report

It’s an understatement to say that 2020 was a weird year, I know. In my own working world we closed our libraries in March not knowing when we were going to reopen. We were redeployed to the phones, calling the elderly and vulnerable first, then contact tracing later on. Right now I’m working shifts in a testing centre. Each lockdown and reopening has me more and more worried that this may be the slow death of libraries.

Reading has, therefore, been a very welcome escape, as it has been for so many of us. And while nearly all of my 2020 reading choices were about comfort, fun and fighting off The Slump, it was still a pretty awesome year.

 

Achievey MacChieverson!

I continued to play well with others in 2020 and had a blast taking part in Vintage SciFi Month in January, Wyrd and Wonder in May, Spooktastic Reads in October and SciFi Month in November. I particularly enjoyed three incredible read-alongs: The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison, Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey and Golden Witchbreed by Mary Gentle. And I also did a buddy-read of Do You Dream of Terra-Two? by Temi Oh with the lovely Maryam of The Curious SFF Reader who may just have become my favourite reading buddy because I had so. much. fun.

In other news, it was the year of the book tag and of the eighty posts I made (just take a moment with me here to be oh-so-impressed by that eighty!), eighteen were tags. Turns out I really like book tags.

What else? I received my very first ARC in 2020. Shadow in the Empire of Light by Jane Routley might not have been what I was expecting, but it was still good fun and I enjoyed the whole experience enough that I requested a second one: Skyward Inn by Aliya Whiteley, which I’m reading right now. I don’t think I’m going to become some kind of rabid ARC fiend any time soon, but I am quietly pleased about these two. It’s like I’ve being given a gentle pat on the head and a lollypop for having done well.

Another first was the guest post I did over at JonBob’s to celebrate the first blogiversary of Parsecs & Parchment. I was truly delighted to be able to contribute to the celebrations. If there’s one thing that I’ll remember 2020 for (other than the obvious horrors) it’s all the lovely people I’ve talked about books with over the year. You’re all so awesome and I feel like I’ve gotten to know a few of you so much better this past twelvemonth.

Finally, I gave the blog a mini makeover in 2020 and made myself a new logo thingummy. This was prompted by a tweet (I’m 95% sure it was Tammy who tweeted it?) that talked about making following and finding things easy to do on your site. I’m ridiculously pleased with how my blog looks at the moment as a result, which is a terrible vanity, I know, but I can’t quite help myself.

Anyway, that really is enough chinwagging from me – let’s talk books!

 

Favourite books read in 2020

This year was all about the comfort read, but I still managed to stumble across a happy handful of new-to-me authors.

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Best cover art of the year

Andrew Davidson’s cover art for Temeraire by Naomi Novik and JoeyHiFi’s for Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor made looking at these books as much of a joy as reading them.

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The book I didn’t want to end

The Starless Sea. I just really liked being in this book. I know a lot of people have had Things To Say about it and I don’t care, I loved it for all its peculiarities.

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Series started …

I unwittingly started Alison Goodman’s Lady Helen trilogy with The Dark Days Club. I thought it was a stand-alone novel and now the completionist in me needs to read the other two. I also started reading Patricia C Wrede and Caroline Stevermer’s Cecelia and Kate trilogy, and the Lady Mechanika graphic novel series created by Joe Benitez.

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…And series finished

I reached a kind of end to Garth Nix’s Abhorsen series and am currently psyching myself up to read Clariel and Goldenhand. I’m still in two minds whether to carry on reading, or quit while the going’s good.

More conclusively, I finished Julie E Czerneda’s original Web Shifters trilogy with Hidden in Sight and Dave Freer’s Dragon’s Ring duology, which means both of those can be crossed off my Great Series Read Project list (even if I have just had to add three new series *ahem*).

 

Characters I was most delighted to meet in 2020

Zacharias Wythe and Prunella Gentleman, Lirael and the Disreputable Dog, Blue and Red, Phèdre and Joscelin, Cecelia and Kate, Richard and Alec, Mahit and Three Seagrass, Temeraire and Captain Laurence, the Corta family, Maia the Goblin Emperor, Mirabel, painter of doors, and a very fictional Girolamo Savonarola. It’s been a bumper year.

 

Places I was most delighted to visit in 2020

Orthe. I loved it, I can’t wait to go back, I want to learn all its secrets, I plan to retire there.

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My favourite non-fiction reads

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Best graphic novels

Since comfort has been my watch word I’ve been loving Giant Days by John Allison and Lissa Treiman. So much so that I have erased my own memories of my rather crappy uni experience and have adopted Susan, Esther, Daisy, Ed and McGraw’s story as my own. These are now my memories!

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Best book mail

2020 being what it was I bought way more new books than I normally would. The loveliest, newest and most anticipated of which were:

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I also received a beautiful book called The Madman’s Library by Edward Brooke-Hitching from a friend of mine which is just a dip in delight of bookish oddities from across the ages.

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My new total for books that I own but have yet to read now stands at 217. I am both delighted and ashamed in about equal parts.

 

Posts I’m most proud of?

I had an absolute blast writing up Books with a body count for Spooktastic Reads, and even more fun making up the little blood splat graphics for it.

And I was very pleased with my post about Jo Walton’s books too.

I also read a thing that said a blogger *should* know what their most popular stuff is. I don’t really look at the stats side of things on WP very much (because Zzzzzz), but I did and found that the Fun for Monday tag posts are by far the most viewed – which suggests either that everyone loves a list, OR my reviews are really bad! But since I enjoy tags so much, I guess you’ll all be getting more of what you like – but I’m doing it for me dagnabbit!

 

The book I least enjoyed this year

There can be only one, and it was The Death Worms of Kratos by Richard Avery. Such a promising title …

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*spit*

 

And that’s it – 2020 all wrapped up and packed away. Now, let’s get on with February shall we? January seems to have been an eternity long!

37 thoughts on “2020 Progress Report

  1. That cover for Lady Mechanika 😲 I’ve not heard of it and don’t know what it’s about but I want to read it based on that cover art alone.

    Totally with you on getting to know a bunch of fab bookish pals last year. I don’t know what I expected from starting a book blog but it was one of the biggest and most pleasant surprises to meet some great people with a shared love of reading and you’re definitely up there as one of my fave people to chat with Mayri 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I continue to be jealous of your ability to play well with others. I hope it continues to bring good things your way 😀

    WordPress has been doing its level best to retire old themes and bring on new ones and I have to admit, I like a lot of them. Very open, airy and lots of space. And your new logo is just great. HOw long did it take to create that?

    Clinks a glass to February being better!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Returns glass clink. Thank you. 😃
      Yes, I like a lot of the themes I see people updating to now – I find too much into distracting and difficult so that space is very appealing.
      My logo took me about an hour – the background image is from iStock and I just used MS Word to create the lettering. Very low bar over here. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I also loved taking part in the Kushiel Readalong and of course, reading Terra Two and then Lovecraft Country with you was awesome, you’re the best reading buddy! 😀 ❤️
    And you have every right to be proud of the design of your blog and logo, I’m always to lazy to improve mine (though my logo needs a makeover for sure, I did it years ago very fast and it shows lol).
    Your reviews are great don’t worry about that, it’s just that everyone loves a list and a tag! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If February could fly by, I’d be grateful. Bad month for me.
      After that it would just be nice to see things relax a little and everyone be a little kinder, no? 😃

      Like

  4. I would think the libraries are even more important than ever, but safety first… in my country, there are now closed for… two months this time, I think, after being open for some time in-between lockdowns.
    “My new total for books that I own but have yet to read now stands at 217. I am both delighted and ashamed in about equal parts” – I would be afraid to make this count, it’s likely… a bit more, maybe 3-4 hundred. But I’m reading more than buying, lately, I’m a recovering bookaholic 😉
    We also should get a proper logo one day, we just use a public domain graphic right now… yours is great! The layout is also very cool, although I always forget the place to ‘like’ is at the top 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree that libraries should be considered more important than ever … I hope we’ll be given the chance to prove it.
      Yeah, I had a feeling my 217 wouldn’t stand up to others’ numbers! It bothers me because I’m such a slow reader – that 217 represents years and years of reading time, and there’s all the library books and new titles that will just keep stacking up too. So much pressure!! Ha ha! 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Book tags are such fun to do!! And sometimes they are great ways to give and receive book recommendations.
    I love that cover of Lagoon. I haven’t yet read it, but I searched until I found that edition before purchasing it years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! Yeah, I bought Lagoon because of that cover! 😃
      And yes! Book tags are absolutely the best, and a great way to talk about older, obscure or childhood books, which I love. ❤

      Like

  6. Congrats! 🎉🍾 So many great achievements in a year that was weird and difficult and just very, very tough all around. Seems like you turned it all to your advantage, and I’m impressed with your stats! (Especially buddy reads, I suspect I’m just too lazy for them 😅)

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Eek, well, how to phrase it… I was never in the woods! 😅 On holidays, yes, in the wild, yup, certainly, but on the beaches and lake shores, not in the woods! It’s all Piotrek’s misinformation campaign! 😆

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Lynn. ❤
      I'm keeping my fingers crossed for all our libraries. We're still running virtual reading groups and children's rhyme sessions, but, as you can imagine, it's nowhere near the same.
      Happy February reading for you too. x

      Like

  7. I missed your body post count when it was first published – thanks for linking it up, what a fun idea, haha. I work in a public library as well. Things here in Canada have been quite different from the States. (Actually I am not sure whether you are US or UK or otherwise based? But you get my point.) I was laid off in March when libraries closed and only got back to a bit of library work in November. I can only imagine what it would be like to work in a testing center. I hope you’re able to safely return to your regular work sooner than later!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A fellow library person! ❤
      I hope you too are able to return to your library soon. Have you had to do other work, or were you completely laid off?
      (Oh, and I am in the UK). 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was completely laid off – very few staff at my org had the opportunity to take on other work. We reopened most branches in September (though with limited hours, so I was still laid off) but I finally got back to FT librarian-ing last month. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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