I saw a friend mention she hated year-end recaps, and I suppose in some ways I agree. When everyone’s doing, it does get a tad trite.
However, I do also want to praise where praise is due, especially in a year like this, and so I will present very shortly and sweetly, I hope—the media I consumed over the course of 2020 that I most enjoyed.
2020 was very weird in that, like many, I found it incredibly difficult to read long-form fiction. I can’t for the life of me figure out why the pandemic should make that so, but it was very true. Not all of these things were published or made in 2020.
However…the books I loved most were these:
Swordheart, T. Kingfisher – Truly hilarious sword and sorcery romcom fest. Sincere and poignant and fun all at once.
Night Shine, Tessa Gratton – I gulped this up and afterwards considered not writing ever again. This Miyazaki paean was so filled with heart and soul, such gorgeous worldbuilding, and iconic characters that I literally wept at how beautiful it was in some places, a thing which I’d not done in many years.
The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Kelly Barnhill – The worldbuilding in this was just lovely and the ways in which it all fit together were like an immense Goldbergian contraption that nevertheless worked beautifully.
Catalyst, Sarah Beth Durst - This was just plain fun. My daughter and I read it together and really enjoyed the sheer fun and friendship of it.
“The Salt Witch” by Martha Wells. Uncanny Magazine. A stunningly beautiful reverie about disasters, natural and un-.
"Winter's Heart" by Vanessa Fog. Hexagon Magazine. A deeply felt story about motherhood and resting in the winter of life.
Continuing with my obsession with Korean and Chinese dramas:
Romance is a Bonus Book – A sweet K-drama ostensibly about life at a publishing company, but also about the deeper books of the heart. I had been going through a rough time with writing when I watched this, and it actually made me want to write again.
The Wolf – Probably a terrible pun, but I gobbled this one up within days of starting it. It has all of my magic buttons—secrets held too long, layers upon layers of plot, Super-Broody Angstmuffins of Doom, and more!