I'm grateful for books in 2021
What a year 2021 has been. I don't know where to start? There have been intensely great things about this year — I traveled to California for the first time and spent nearly a week soaking up the LA sun with my good friend after witnessing one of my best and oldest friends get married in a tearjerking ceremony. I met a horde of new friends on a different trip out West and explored gorgeous canyons and national parks. I bonded with my cat. I bonded with my roommate. I discovered parts of myself I had no idea existed. I made incredible new friends.
There were bad times as well. I checked into a hospital because my mental health was so rocky. Then I quit my job for a similar reason. I've been unemployed for four months now. I have come close to achieving my dreams only to have my hopes dashed against the wall a breath later. The Covid-19 virus has raged across America and the world and caused death, economic disruption, despair.
And through it all, the good and the bad, I've read.
I've read more this year (nearing 70 books) than I have since I was in middle school. I've read young adult fiction, nonfiction, fantasy, romance...I've read all the books.
Well, not all the books. I haven't even read all the books on my shelves...and my book cart...and the piles on my floor...or in files on my computer and Kindle...
There are just a lot of books out there, okay! And I haven't gotten to nearly enough of them but I'm working on it.
Anyway, the point is that I've read a lot of books and they've brought me a measure of solace.
When I was in the hospital in May, I read A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown and allowed my mind to wander, imagining myself in that fantastical land and fighting alongside Karina and Malik.
Later on I dove into Chanel Miller's gripping, searing memoir, Know My Name, and cried tears of sorrow and anger at her depiction of the trauma and hell she went through after being sexually assaulted by Brock Turner in 2015. The book is written so beautifully and Chanel touches so eloquently on the fissures and failures of the justice system in America, of society in America, and it was truly incredible.
I had the joy of reading a ton of romance novels, too. I continued on with Sarah MacLean's sexy, addicting romances set in London of the 1800s, featuring bastards and rakes and the women whom they fall for. I discovered new authors I love, like Rosie Danan and Ruby Barrett and Talia Hibbert. I read Casey McQuiston's latest swoon-worthy queer romance, Lily Menon's first foray into adult romance, and made my rip-roaring way through like a dozen Katee Robert novels.
I read many of the Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan on audiobook. They were my cooking companions, and let's be real — if it weren't for audiobooks and podcasts giving me something to stimulate my brain while I was cooking, I likely wouldn't have prepped a single meal this year.
I read a handful (never enough) of queer romances this year, whether middle grade, young adult, or adult, and I felt fizzy sparkling joy and love imbibing those stories.
I could go on, but I think this is enough to paint a picture of my year. Through ups and downs, I surrounded myself with books and those stories and words held me up and pressed me onward and that is why I'm so, so grateful for books this year.
I'm grateful for the stories contained within, the authors who pour themselves into the pages, and everyone else involved in the process of getting books into my hands.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have a book to read.