I am an enthusiastic practitioner of the art of looking backwards, of cataloguing all of the things I have experienced for an archive nobody ever asked me for and making conscientious notes for a test I’ll never actually have to take. These habits only really serve me well one time of year, and thankfully that time is now, because it is Best Of season. All across the internet, and probably also between the pages of plenty unseen diaries, lists assessing the sundry offerings of 2021 are being compiled: the best memes, and the best tweets, and the best of everything else.
I come to you, predictably, with my list of Best Books. Except I feel uncomfortable with the word “best”, for fear of offending all of the many other deserving books I read this year, so instead I am going with the more explicitly subjective qualifier of “Books I Loved.” Love, of course, is always complicated, and so it means different things for different titles. Some of these books made me laugh and some of them made me cry and one of them made me cry because of all the laughing. I was educated, entertained, and enraged at various points during my reading year, which is I think all I can really ask from a bunch of words on a page.
Continue reading “Books I Loved In 2021” →
If you are looking for a way to make time feel like it is passing exponentially faster, try committing to the idea that you will write recaps of what you did each month. Somehow all 28 days of February passed without me ever stopping to take stock of my consumption habits, and before I had reconciled myself to that, suddenly March was over as well. I’ll blame it on the homogeneity of pandemic life, where one day tends to blur into the next without the structure of our old way of life to differentiate between them.
Continue reading “March 2021 Review” →
Have we ever needed a quote to be true more than this one? Housebound, locked down and ~isolating for much of the past year, books were in many ways our single means of escape, our one opportunity to have meaningful life experiences outside of our steadily narrowing worlds. But this is pretty grandiose talk from someone who wasn’t an especially prolific reader in 2020. Books remained a significant part of my life, but I fell short of a lot of my literary goals. Plenty of books were returned to the library unread, and the majority of the year’s most discussed titles never made it to my shelves. I truly had nothing but time, so that’s no excuse. Let’s blame tiktok and instagram.
But even if my final tally number was disappointing, a handful of books still managed to leave lasting impressions in my brain and on my soul. Some were novels I was able to devour in a matter of days, others required more time to understand and to savour. Some were memoirs, some were journalistic investigations and some were, at their core, just old fashioned love stories. One was a novel I know I’ll think about regularly for the rest of my life.
Right now I have no idea what 2021 will hold for us, if we’ll be able to have real adventures on our own or if it will still be safer to live them vicariously. Either way, I hope I remember that it’s books, and not the instagram search bar, that never fail to provide the most rewarding and immersive escape.
Continue reading “Books I Loved in 2020” →
“The world is a book and those who don’t travel read only one page.”
So says St. Augustine, prolific writer, philosopher and one time Bob Dylan muse, and so echo countless travel bloggers with aesthetically pleasing Instagram grids. Unfortunately, global circumstances being what they are– with borders closed, planes grounded, cruise ships stranded indefinitely– it is not exactly the most relevant attitude to take right now.
So, I propose an alternative thesis: “Books are the world, and those who don’t read stay only in one place.”
Continue reading “Destination By Imagination: 7 Books That Take You Somewhere Else” →