There’s no denying this year has been a doozie.
Usually, around this point in December, I do some kind of round up of the year. However, on a purely personal level, not an awful lot has happened! I’ve written, spent far too much time on social media, watched TV and read lots of books. Doesn’t sound too bad, does it? If only it hadn’t been dominated by the ever-pressing fear of COVID and the restrictions on everyday life. I can’t wait to see the back of 2020! Thank goodness for the clever folk who have produced a vaccine. Let’s hope it offers the promise of some kind of normality for 2021.
So, have there been any highlights? Yes. A few quiet, socially-distanced ones. Books first.
I’ve already mentioned Laura Bambrey’s The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness, which I loved. I’m awarding it my book of the year!
I’m finishing 2020 with another fabulous read, albeit of a very different kind. A glance at a Twitter thread led me to Fran Hill’s, Miss, What does Incomprehensible Mean? As an ex-teacher it appealed enormously. It’s the fictionalised memoir of a year in the life of an English teacher in a secondary school. It’s very, very funny but also moving. I’m tempted to buy a copy to give to everyone who says, with an eye roll, ‘Oh you teachers, you knock off at 3 and have all those holidays.’
Other writers I’ve enjoyed this year are Jane Cable, Christina Courtenay and Kate Ryder. It seems a good time for dual narrative and timeslip novels.
On TV I’ve devoured Emily in Paris and Home for Christmas (a quirky Scandi romcom) and lapped up the new All Creatures Great and Small.
I really needed escapism and comfort! I’m currently loving Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year, and Neil Brand’s The Sound of TV on BBC4.
Like most, I’ve discovered Zoom meetings. A weekly one with some writer buddies has kept me going and encouraged me to finish the book which refused to be written. I must shout out a huge thank you to Alison May, Janice Preston, Lynn Forth, Morton S Gray, Helena Dixon and Elizabeth Hanbury. Tuesday mornings gave me something to look forward to and put structure into an otherwise flabby week.
I can’t wait for next year. Roll on 2021. Hopefully, I’ll have 4 new books out and life will get back to something like normality.
I hope 2020 hasn’t been too awful for you and that you and your loved ones have come through. Wishing you all a Happy Christmas, or as happy as we can make it. Thank you, as ever, for buying, reading, reviewing and supporting.