2020 Wrap Up

It has to be said, and for this reason I want to get it out the way first: I didn’t achieve my GoodReads total of 2 books a week which is a crying shame as that should have been totally achievable. 

Caveat, this might slightly change if I find the other books that I read and not recorded this year

I discussed in this earlier post why I didn’t meet my goal. Non Spoiler alert – Pandemic blues

80 isn’t that bad though and an improvement on last year. I’m going to count that as a win. Yes!

Enough about that/ Obligatory pandemic reference aside. Let’s get to the point of this post: to wrap 2020 up for me in a nutshell

The High/Lowlights were:

  • Coronavirus
  • Moving house
  • Read less than expected and wanted
  • Really recovered my love of music

Despite 2020 wanting to suck the joy out of our marrow, it doesn’t mean I can’t celebrate the books I did read.

Awards

It was actually a struggle to get to a shortlist. I finally settled on these fine books.

CategoryWinnerStar Rating
CategoryWinnerStar Rating
Book of the YearCorporate Gunslinger: A Novel
by Doug Engstrom
4
Ebook/KindleGirl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo5
AdultHyenas by Michael Sellars4
ChildrenDewdrop by Kate O’Neill5
Middle GradeOrphans of the Tide by Struan Murray4
YA/TeenHigh Rise Mystery by Sharna Jackson4
AudiobookThe Boy In the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds4
Library BookStation Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel4
ARCNo Mod by Derek Porterfield4
ReReadThe Silver Metal Lover by Tanith Lee5
Wish I hadn’tNot Your Idol, Vol. 1 by Aoi Makino2
2020 Engrossed Reader Book Awards

What are your thoughts on the winners in the various categories? Agree or Disagree? Let me know in the comments. On a personal front, I’m just pleased to have read some gems this year.

Music

Music literally saved me this year from falling into a never-ending pit of despair. Because of that, there will be plenty more music posts to follow in 2021.  It got me to be upbeat when I couldn’t find the reason to be. What I’ve been listening to for the past few months is listed here .

Where I listen to music most is via Amazon Music. I generally pick an artist or album and give it a whirl.  In the last few days, I’ve been trying out  – My Soundtrack station – songs that Amazon thinks I like – and it has been pretty good.  I’d say 90% right. it has tracks that I love, I’ve heard and like and those which I’m enjoying getting to know.

Have a listen for yourself here.  The range is broad, from alternative, drum and bass, Christian contemporary, grime, rock, r&b, metal, urban. You get the picture – random stuff with an emphasis on guitars.  FYI this is a shuffle playlist, do expect the unexpected as I did today which was to go from Prince to Slayer. A tad disconcerting if you weren’t aware that might be a possibility, nevertheless as a segue it works and reflects my scope to a tee.

In December I listened to a lot of Christmas classics which was fun, many in Zoom Christmas quizzes. Like last year, Classic FM is great to listen to just before going to bed and on waking up, it’s mellow and eases you perfectly in and out of sleep.   Magic Soul got me to dance around the kitchen while making shortbread and other delights.

If you’re interested in more about my music interests please take a look here which is the music category link for all music related posts. Keep your eyes peeled for more posts in this category soon.

Watching and Streaming

Amazon

  • The Boys – words elude me to summarise how much I enjoyed Season 2.  Which is a good thing before I open the floodgates to the overflow of gushing praise.  Make time to watch if you’re up for adult themes where superheroes are treacherous a-holes aka the celebrities of this fictitious world.
  • Upload A science fiction comedy-drama series where you can have your afterlife uploaded into a virtual world. We see the many reasons why that’s a hellishly bad idea. Liked it a lot.
  •  This Is Where I Leave You Family comedy dramas don’t usually top my watch list, however this family was nuts – in a good way.
  • Alex Rider Watched this at the beginning of the year and now can understand why the books are so popular. Maybe I should read one.
  • The Handmaid’s Tale Season 1. This year I reread The Handmaid’s Tale and read The Testaments. That made me reconsider watching the tv series.  Tough going but worth it.

Better never means better for everyone, he says. It always means worse, for some.

Commander Waterford to OfFred, The Handmaids Tale

Netflix

  • Always Be My Maybe – an outlier as a Romantic Comedy but Keanu Reeves has a cameo…enough said! When I stop being facetious, it was actually a good movie about real life: disappointments and taking a chance on love. Sweet.
  • Archer – Rewatching the first three seasons – Remembering all the funny lines and scenarios.  I am so tempted to download the song Mulatto Butts for my ringtone. The dysfunction is real and fun.
  • The Old Guard – this fantasy thriller about almost immortal mercenaries who protect the world, covered all my genres including history and myth. Another graphic novel that I should be getting into.
  • Fighting With My Family is my introduction into the sports comedy drama genre. This wrestling film about a family trying to make it in WWE was great. Good observations on family dynamics and perseverance.
  • We Can Be Heroes – got a bit misty eyed whilst watching it on Bank Holiday Monday.  Which is unusual being that it’s a cheesy type of movie that I’m normally not that fond of.  I blame it on subliminal advertising.  I must have seen the trailer every single time anyone logged into Netflix for a week which led to  me choosing it for the evening movie.  Schmaltz aside, it  was ultimately about team work and parental approval, themes we can all relate to.

Disney

The Mandalorian – Season 2. The Child is the best.  One of the few shows that wasn’t binged watched primarily because episodes were released weekly.   There’s likely to be another post in the future on this as I plan on watching Season 1 and 2 back to back again at some point before Season 3.  I know that my like is almost moving into obsession: I randomly have Grogu’s picture as my WhatsApp story at least once a week.

  • Finally saw Hamiliton .  Which is a relief, I can finally stop playing the stupid lottery and never winning tickets.  – Great songs.  Been listening to them on and off for a while.
  • Onwards – Elf brothers who go on a quest to find magic and perhaps have more time with their deceased farther.  Standard Disney/Pixar faire, doesn’t mean that it didn’t touch the heartstrings.

Honourable mention to Westworld on Sky One,  Season 2 was very, very good. I discussed it a little bit in an April post It kind of lost the way for me a little bit, at the end of the season. Be that as it may, I should still give Season 3 a shot sometime in the future.

And that is me all caught up. A whirlwind tour of the year that was in leisure activities.

Pandemic aside, changes and difficulties, it’s refreshing to see what’s on the horizon. I am looking forward to to the new year.

2021 I see you.

Engrossed Reader

Female, in her 40's who reads when she can, often to the detriment of sleep. Enjoying most genres and formats with a preference for ebooks, mainly for convenience

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