We did it, folks. We made it through the disgusting dumpster fire that was 2020.
While I know that the changing of the calendar year won’t make a significant difference in the world, it’s nice to be able to kick the worst year of my life out the door and look ahead to something new. I think we just need a reason to celebrate something, even if—maybe especially if—that reason is pretty meaningless in the grand scheme of things.
Looking back on 2020 is hard, if I’m honest, because there’s not much that I can celebrate or be glad about. I hit some new lows in the past year that I previously didn’t know I was capable of. I guess the good part is that I made it through, so now I know I can survive those lows. Still, I don’t even feel that I can say I’ve gotten stronger as a result—instead, 2020 feels like it’s beaten me down in every way and now I’m just begging 2021 to give me a break.
December was another rough month, unfortunately. As much as I enjoy the holiday season, working in retail plus the general stress of the world meant that I basically spent the month in a haze of exhaustion. In terms of blogging, I wasn’t able to write as many posts or blog hop as I would have liked, which especially sucks since the end-of-year wrap-up posts are some of my favorite to read and write. I’ve been trying to catch up over the last few days, but there’s so much that I’ve missed.
Right now, I’m feeling burnt out in pretty much every area of my life. I hate to say it, because it is one of the few things I do that I actually enjoy, but blogging has been a source of stress for me lately, so I think I’m going to be stepping back for a bit. I’ll still post occasionally, I think, just not as frequently as usual. I wish I could start out the new year on a more optimistic note, but these days I barely have the energy to pull myself out of bed, let alone write multiple blog posts per week. We’ll see if taking that pressure off manages to lower the stress.
But anyway, December. I read a total of seven books with an average rating of 4.25 stars, which I’d say is pretty good considering how little time I’ve had. Let’s get into those books, shall we?
Books I read
The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson ⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
I wanted to love this book more than I did, and honestly I think part of it is that I just didn’t read it at the right time. Still, despite the fact that it didn’t quite live up to my expectations, it did keep me on the edge of my seat and managed to surprise me quite a few times. Mini review to come.
Once Ghosted, Twice Shy by Alyssa Cole ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5/5
I picked up this novella because I needed something quick and fun to break me out of a weeks-long reading slump, and it certainly succeeded at that! Though I don’t think this is one that will stick with me for a long time, it was an enjoyable read and I’m looking forward to reading more from Alyssa Cole.
You Have a Match by Emma Lord ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
release: Jan. 12, 2021
Emma Lord’s second novel was so much fun! I still love Tweet Cute a little more, but this one had the same levels of hilarity and cuteness while also balancing some heavier emotional subjects. Review to come.
Why Fish Don’t Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life by Lulu Miller ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This nonfiction book took me by surprise and ended up as one of my favorites of the year! I feel like I’ve already talked about it so much in the few weeks since I read it, so instead of reiterating what I’ve already said, I’ll just send you to my review.
Graceling by Kristin Cashore (reread) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and Fire by Kristin Cashore (reread) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I’m rereading the Graceling books in anticipation of the fourth book’s release in January, and I’m enjoying them so much! I already knew that these books were favorites, but revisiting them just reminds me why all over again. I’m planning on doing a spoiler-filled series review once I’ve finished my rereads, so stay tuned for that!
The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien (reread)
Somehow, despite the fact that The Lord of the Rings is one of my favorite stories of all time, I haven’t reread the books all the way through in probably ten years. Since 2020 was the year of getting back into LOTR, I had to rectify that! I listened to the audiobook of this and enjoyed it immensely. There are so many details from the books that I’d forgotten about, and returning to Middle-Earth always feels like returning home. I have no idea how to rate these books, so I’m not going to try, but let it be known that I loved this reread.
As previously mentioned, I had the absolute pleasure of working a retail job during the holidays, which just reminded me of all the joy and good cheer of the season! (sarcasm) Customer service is always tiring (especially as an introvert) and this past month was especially difficult, largely thanks to covid. The added stress of constantly keeping track of numbers in the store and reminding customers to wear their masks correctly and physically distance, on top of all my usual bookselling duties, was a lot to handle. I came the closest I’ve ever come to crying at work. There were some highlights (like seeing my favorites The House in the Cerulean Sea and The Ten Thousand Doors of January end up as store bestsellers because of my handselling), but overall it was just. so. exhausting. I’m glad the holiday season is over.
Even though this was a very strange Christmas that didn’t really feel like Christmas, I did find some joy in baking Christmassy treats! I especially loved baking a Yule log for the first time, which I think turned out pretty good.
The Prom came out on Netflix and it was a delight! Though it wasn’t perfect, I still enjoyed it for all its campy, glittery glory. It reminded me how much I adore musicals and how much I miss seeing them live. I really hope this ends up as a common high school theatre production (like, this generation’s Grease) because that would be incredible.
I didn’t watch many holiday movies/shows this year, but there were two that I (mostly) enjoyed. Happiest Season also had its problems, certainly, but it was a feel-good holiday movie with a happy ending for its sapphic couple, which counts for something. I didn’t know what to expect going into Dash & Lily, and even though I spent the entire hating Dash (he’s my least favorite kind of person!!), I still watching the entire thing in one night and didn’t hate it. Holiday movies aren’t generally my thing, so anytime I find one that I marginally enjoy is a win in my book.
I feel like everyone and their cat has already raved about evermore by Taylor Swift (including me in my media that sparked joy post), but I couldn’t not mention one of the best things to come out of this December! Even though I think I like folklore a liiiiittle bit more, I’m never going to complain about more music from Taylor Swift. My current favorites of this album are:
- willow | “life was a willow and it bent right to your wind / they count me out time and time again”
- ’tis the damn season | “and wonder about the only soul / who can tell which smiles I’m fakin’ / and the heart I know I’m breakin’ is my own”
- dorothea | “and if you’re ever tired of bеing known for who you know / you know that you’ll always know me, dorothea”
Some other music I listened to this month:
- Minimum by Charlie Cunningham | “how should I walk this earth? / so much worse the further, the further you go”
- Colder Heavens by Blanco White | “now we’re so tired by the things we have seen / all we’ve forgotten only visits in dreams”
- hallelujah by Bea Miller | “it seems ridiculous to live in hell / but I guess that’s what we’re doin’ now”
December blog posts
As previously mentioned, I’m disappointed about how little blogging I was able to do in the past month. But still, here are the posts I did manage, in case you missed any of them!
How many of my anticipated 2020 releases did I read? 🎄 Recently read books 🎄 Media that sparked joy in 2020 🎄 Anticipated 2021 book releases (January-April) 🎄 My top 8 books of 2020 🎄 More 2020 favorites + reading stats (technically published in January but shh)
I almost started writing something here about how I wish I’d done more blog hopping in December…but I’m pretty sure I’ve said a variation of the same thing in every wrap-up for the past six months. Sigh. I guess that’s just the way it is these days. At any rate, in addition to all the end-of-the-year wrap-up posts that I’ve been loving, I found some more wonderful posts from around the blogosphere!
🎄 Shealea @ Shut up, Shealea created a database for 2021 releases by Asian authors and it’s incredible! Go check it out! I have so many books to add to my TBR.
🎄 Marie @ Drizzle & Hurricane Books talked about time management as a book blogger, and what perfect timing, in a month when I was barely able to find time for blogging at all! As usual with Marie’s posts, this one is incredibly helpful and well-written.
🎄 Sophie @ Me & Ink listed 60 anticipated 2021 releases, prompting me to rub my little book nerd hands together and add LOTS of them to my TBR. Thanks, Sophie!
🎄 Lily @ Sprinkles of Dreams highlighted some debut authors that we should all be keeping an eye on. I’m excited for all of these books listed and can’t wait until they’re out in the world!
🎄 Veronika & Sabrina @ Wordy and Whimsical recommended books based on songs from evermore and I’m obsessed with their choices. They’re all so creative and well thought out!
🎄 Aditi @ One In a Million recommended four fantasy novels by BIPOC that deserve more attention. I’m so excited to pick up the ones from this list that I haven’t read!
- Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore (Graceling #3)
- Winterkeep by Kristin Cashore (Graceling #4) – out Jan. 19
- Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid – out May 25
- What Big Teeth by Rose Szabo – out Feb. 2
- Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade
- Beyond the Black Door by A.M. Strickland
How was your December? Are you excited about the new year? What did you read this past month?