Well, what a year, huh?
Who would have though that the words ‘unprecedented’, ‘Covid normal’, Self-isolation’, ‘social distancing’, ‘Black Lives Matter’, and ‘Karen’ would have made their way into our everyday language? That the news would be full of Corona Virus information, forsaking all other news! That Zoom would have become part of our ‘norm’.
Oh, and let’s not forget ‘Megxit’, although that was at the beginning of the year when things were still ‘normal’, so we’ve probably forgotten (or not cared) about Meghan and Harry leaving the Royal Family.
In this awfulness, families have been separated, borders closed, people have lost loved ones and businesses are struggling. Mental health has been at an all time low for many of our young people and domestic violence has risen.
However, the book industry seems to have loved this awful year. I’ve spoken to book shops owners who’ve told me their turnover has been up 30% on last year. If there was a silver lining, this is it.
COVID has made us all go back to basics – cooking at home, reading, being with each other. Talking. Again, this is another silver lining. As much as my heart hurt hurts for the people who have lost loved ones through this horrible virus, perhaps our society needed a reset. To remember how to be grateful, how much we love our families as friends and we appreciate seeing them when we can. I know I’ve certainly had a few checks and balances this year, with my family being in South Australia and not having seen them for nearly twelve months (and with our Premier willing to slam the borders closed at the first sniff of community transmision, I won’t be going to see them any time soon, for fear of not being able to get back here).
Books and music have been my constant companions this year. The places to go to lose myself and pretend that the world isn’t disintegrating outside.
With this in mind, I thought I’d share some of my favourite reads this year. And they’re only some – I’ve got too many to mention! But these are up there. (click on the titles to read more about them.)
The Lost Love Song by Minnie Darke
The Good Teacher by Petronella McGovern (if you haven’t read Six Minutes, I suggest you do!
Women and Leadership by Julia Gillard and Ngozi Okomjo-Iweaka
Last Survivor by Tony Park
Gathering Dark by Candice Fox
I also discovered some new artists – now I’ll put a disclaimer here saying my music of choice is country. If you don’t like it, then my suggestions aren’t going to be useful to you.
My hands down favourite song of the year is Down to One by Luke Bryan. Check out the video for it.
Another discovery I made is Maya Ixchell – now she is a star in the making – only has two songs on iTunes, but they’re brilliant. I met Maya when she was singing at a book launch I did in Busselton. She SLAYED a cover version of Jolene and I became an instant fan! Here’s her video clip for Hurt Me.
I’ve listened to the swirling music of Kacey Musgraves, Lady A, Gordi, Oh Harlow and The McClymonts, along with the vibes of Luke Combs, Luke Bryan and Keith Urban (I’ve just bought tickets for this concert in December! Let’s hope he actually gets to Perth to perform!).
Of course I’m a diehard Taylor Swift fan, so her two new albums have found their way onto my playlists too.
These are just a few of my favs who have helped me get through tand maybe you’ll like them too!