Happy New Year! I hope you all had happy and peaceful Christmases. My family went out for dinner on Christmas Eve for the first time, which made cooking on Christmas Day itself feel much lower stakes and therefore less stressful. Recommended if, like me, you nearly came to blows with your brother in 2021 when he innocuously tried to help. Anyway, it was a nice day along the lines of our normal Christmases: food, Scrabble, films. Next year there will be a Doctor Who Christmas special once more – the removal of the Christmas specials was one of many terrible choices Chris Chibnall made during his period as showrunner – and I am already looking forward to that.

I don’t do big blogging (or other) New Year’s Resolutions, having learnt that I can only manage one or maybe two challenges at a time, but I do like to take the new year as a chance to think about what I’ve enjoyed about my reading and blogging year, and what I might like to do differently in the year to come. Last year, I set myself three priorities for the year, which I shall now review.

  1. Cook through Root, Stem, Leaf, Flower
    Nope. I didn’t do this at all. Two reasons: I had to give up up my allotment, so I didn’t have the gluts of fresh vegetables I was expecting. (I couldn’t keep it nearly nice enough to satisfy the retirees who are at their allotments all the time). Also, given the price of both energy and food at the moment, I’m not cooking quite as adventurously as I normally do (alas). I’ve enjoyed the bits and pieces I’ve made out of this book, and it’s very usable, but a big cooking project isn’t really viable at present. Another time!
  2. More non-fiction
    I haven’t read much non-fiction this year – eight books – but it’s more than the last couple of years, and I’ve really enjoyed a lot of it. There are even a couple that I’ve read over the Christmas break and haven’t got round to reviewing yet. Overall, I think this qualifies as a success.
  3. More historical fiction
    Yes, this was definitely a success! In fact, my book of the year was historical fiction – Rose Nicolson – and again, although I didn’t read that much of it, most of what I read I enjoyed.

Other highlights of my year were, of course, my long-delayed trip to Peru (Weeks 1 and 2 here), which was well worth the wait; a trip to Glasgow to see my best friend and her family; and my family coming to visit over the summer. I also had a lot of fun doing a Book Awards this year for the first time, and that’s something I’ll be doing again. What would I like to work on this year? Well, I have a few ideas:

  1. Reduce the amount of books I buy and use the library more.
    I don’t get the same TBR anxiety that a lot of people do, but I do buy a lot of books. Almost all of them are from local charity shops, so I’m not too worried about it from either an environmental or a financial point of view, but I would like to read more from my library and my own shelves. At the same time, I’ve got into better habits with exercising regularly, and would like an incentive to keep going. I’ve therefore decided that I will limit myself to one purchase a month (excluding my Audible subscription), and another purchase when I exercise at least four times a week for the whole month. Yes, I realise this is effectively giving myself a sticker chart. Hopefully it will work!
  2. Finish the Wanderlust Bingo challenge.
    I’m having a lovely time doing some armchair travelling for Wanderlust Bingo. I still have five books to read (or finish), and another four that I’ve finished but haven’t yet reviewed – so it feels like I’m nearly done, but in fact I still have quite a lot of reading and blogging left on this challenge!
  3. Write more Book to Screen reviews.
    I really enjoyed writing about the Lord Peter Wimsey series last month, and I have several other classic adaptations lined up to watch this year (Picnic at Hanging Rock, Rebecca, To Sir With Love, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, In a Lonely Place). I’d like to write a few more of these book-to-screen posts as they are a lot of fun.

In terms of non-reading goals – I am trying to write a book proposal at the moment (for work-related nonfiction, nothing likely to be exciting to the vast majority of people reading this blog!), so I’d like to get that submitted to agents by the year’s end. I’m also very slowly learning to sew, and by the end of the year I would like to be able to move from the “beginner” to the “improver” or “intermediate” categories on pattern websites. And I’d like to go to the London Bookshop Crawl again this year! The Bookshop Crawl was almost the last thing I did in February 2020 Before the Event, and I couldn’t go last year as it clashed with other things. I always enjoy it, and am very much hoping to go this year. (My “one book a month” rule will be suspended for the course of the weekend).

So there we go – no resolutions as such, just a few things I would like to do this year if I can. Happy New Year again, and I look forward to another year of reading, blogging, and talking books with you all!