Well, here we are. The last day of another year. Or at least it will be when you’re reading this. I don’t think any of us quite expected that 2021 would be even more exhausting than 2020. In fact I’m not sure any of us thought that it was possible to be even more tired than we were last year. And yet. At the end of 2020, with vaccines against covid arriving I think we all thought that by the end of 2021 things would be back to normal again. And now, we’re all wondering if things will ever be normal again. But you have to hold on to something don’t you, and I’m holding onto the fact that I’ve now been jabbed and boosted, we did go on holiday (twice!) this year and that I made it back into the theatre as well. So I’m still in a better place than this time last year – even if omicron is causing some problems right now. Consider this the pandemic evolution of the old Obsessions of the year posts.
I think that the general ennui of 2021 can be seen in my reading habits. I’ve read slightly less books than I read last year – but then in March I traded in my commute to London to a short walk to the spare room when I changed jobs and lost my train reading time. I only had about a month and a half of regularly being back in the office this autumn but I never really got back to my regular nights away from home for work – so I lost that reading time in the evening too.
I’ve also read a lot less physical books this year than you would expect considering that I’ve been at home so much with so much access to my to-read bookshelf. But then I have grown somewhat obsessed with my kindle streak in recent months and you know what I’m like when I get something in my head. And of course it continues to be much easier to binge a series by clicking on the buy next button on Kindle and reading it straight away than it is to wait for the next one in the series to turn up.
I have re-read a lot this year – some books more than once. And I only allow a book to count on the list once each year – even if I’ve read – or listened to it more than once. And if we were including those in the list we’d be way over last year’s total because I’ve done most of the Peter Wimsey cannon more than once, along with a lot of the Amelia Peabody books, several of the Inspector Alleyns and my favourite Georgette Heyers.
And that leads me on to another of the trends of the latter part of this year – my retreat into the familiar. I think I said last year that I was spending a lot of time reading romance and cozy crime because I knew that they would work out already in the end. But since the summer I’ve been listening to the same audiobooks over and over again. I think after nearly 2 years of pandemic living I’ve started clinging to the familiar in the same way that I frequently do the ironing watching the same Miss Marples or Inspector Alleyns that I’ve watched dozens of time before. And that’s how we got to a point where I wrote a magnum opus about Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane.
So here’s to 2022. May it be better than 2021.