Happy New Year! May it contain vaccines, hugs, and the outside. Last year, I did not make a Plans and Priorities post in January, for which I ended up being supremely grateful. As if I could have stuck to it. However, I do like doing them, so I’ve come up with a handful of goals for this year. I reserve the right to throw it all out of the window if the world gets any more apocalyptic. (Note: for example, I wrote most of this post before it was announced that people with children could just ask to be furloughed if they’re struggling to do their jobs, leaving the childless to pick up the excess workload without any extra compensation, or added hours in the day).

  1. More science fiction
    Last year, I read astonishingly little science fiction – in part, that’s because my science fiction sweet spot is normally a plague apocalypse, which I’ve been avoiding for obvious reasons – and I miss it. I’ve got plenty of unread science fiction on my shelves, though, and I’d like to get to some of it soon. The Bohr Maker by Linda Nagata and Leviathan Wakes by James S Corey are both near the top of the list.
  2. Progress on my In Lieu of Travel challenge
    The odds of me getting to do my rescheduled Transmongolian Railway adventure this year are not much higher than they were last year, so I’m ploughing on my with my replacement reading list. So far, I’ve only read one of the books from this list (though I am making steady and enjoyable progress with Anna Karenina, which should definitely count as at least two once I’m done with it).
  3. More cookbook reviews
    I had a lot of fun doing these for 20 Books of Summer last year, and since one of my non-book goals relates to trying out new recipes, it just makes sense to do some more cookbook reviews. Dishoom by Shamil Thackrar, Kavi Thackrar, and Naved Nasir, East by Meera Sodha, and Cook Eat Repeat by Nigella Lawson have all either recently arrived in my home or are high up on my wishlist, so I expect that those are the cookbooks I will be reviewing here. Maybe there will be some others as well, though.
  4. Progress on my new Classics Club list
    If I am to read all the books on my new Classics Club list by the deadline, I’ll need to average ten a year – which leaves me eight to read by this September. Other than the aforementioned Anna Karenina, I’m hoping to get to Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope, In a Lonely Place by Dorothy B Hughes, and To Sir with Love by ER Braithwaite in the early part of this year.

My non-bookish goals are pretty simple: publish the main paper from my PhD (this should have happened last year but hey, 2020), limit my screentime after 8pm, go for a walk more days than I don’t, and cook something new every fortnight or so. Should we reach a point where I can start having driving lessons again without wearing a mask, I’ll also be aiming to pass my driving test, but since both car driving and mask wearing are extremely anxiety-inducing for me, I’m placing very little pressure on myself to accomplish this. It’ll be nice if it happens, and that’s all.

Whatever else happens in 2021, I’m looking forward to a year of reading great books and talking about them with you all!