Happy new year! I know it’s early but I hope you’re enjoying 2020 so far.
A few days ago, I posted a personal review of 2019, featuring some of my achievements and activities I’ve enjoyed in the past year, including bullet-journalling, hill-walking, and CrossFit. But today, I’d like to focus on books, reading, and writing.
How was your 2019? For me, it was a mixed bag; although it was generally good, there were also frustrating times. However, this year, I’ve been trying to focus on being more optimistic – you might remember my Reasons to be Cheerful post in May; in keeping with this theme, here is an entirely personal review of 2019, emphasizing achievements and what I’ve enjoyed doing this year.
(I’m also compiling a round-up of my 2019 blog reviews and posts, which will follow here in the next few days.)
I always find Autumn to be a strange time; as I work in education, it often feels as if you get two ‘new starts’ in one year – the usual one beginning in January, as well as the new school/ university year in September/ October. I love the new ideas that this brings, and the general excitement of the season; the general spookiness of Halloween (apart from all the plastic tat) always delights, although I’ve not yet been able to persuade my handsome black cat into posing for photos with pumpkins!
In Kate Atkinson’s complex and enjoyable historical novel Transcription, a former secret service operative is unexpectedly confronted by figures from her past and discovers that although the war has ended, she is once again under threat.
Chloe Benjamin’s novel The Immortalists opens in New York in 1969 where the Gold children – Varya, Daniel, Klara and Simon – seek out a mysterious woman who is said to have the ability to tell anyone the day of their death. The story then follows how this knowledge influences their lives for the next five decades; but do they die on a particular date because of fate or because they – consciously or not – make life choices to fulfil this prediction?
I always have big plans for my summer reading – inspired by newspaper articles and blogs, I get caught up in the buzz, creating my new TBR list, but forgetting that during the summer I don’t really have any extra time for reading. I’ve been out of full-time education for years and so I’m at work as usual during July and August, and any holidays that I do take usually involve either hill-walking or city breaks rather than relaxing by a pool, which leaves little time for picking up a paperback.
In contrast to Gavin Francis’ account of his quiet isolation on an Antarctic research base in Empire Antarctica, seaman Tom Crean endured unimaginable hardships a century earlier when he accompanied Captains Scott and Shackleton on several Antarctic expeditions. In An unsung hero – Tom Crean, Antarctic Survivor, Michael Collins tells the story of an extraordinary but modest man, whose fortitude and loyalty impressed all of his comrades, and who played an important but relatively little-known role in polar exploration.