Movies: Uh, I don’t think I watched any movies. I might have rewatched LILO AND STITCH with my daughter if that was this year? Gave up half-way through ONWARD.
TV: Watched two anime series this year. I am in love with the ASCENSION OF A BOOKWORM Can’t wait for 3rd season. Also, highly rec HAIKYU. So good! Enjoyed watching FORGED IN FIRE. Sort of watched MANDALORIAN. Enough to know the highlights but watching a child (baby yoda) endure all that traumatic violence made me feel physically ill. So, yeah, didn’t actually watch it. I watched my family watch it.
Books: I had a goal to read 50 novels, which I didn’t but if you count picture books I made it.
I read comics/graphic novels:
I read so many PLANT VS ZOMBIES comic books. My kids got obsessed with them and loved loved loved them! I was mildly amused by them but was pretty done with reading them after I finished two. But my kids begged me to read them to them so I ended up reading a lot. I’ve only listed 4 on goodreads but I read more.
EL DEAFO by Cece Bell was so good! I also read pretty much everything else Cece Bell has published. Those aren’t posted on goodreads either but my friend had a pile of her picture books when the library was shut for lockdown and let us borrow them.
I read Non-Fiction:
Rachel Poliquin writes the best animal themed SUPERPOWER FIELD GUIDES. They are long (100 pgs) and detailed and extremely hilarious. We reread BEAVERS and MOLES and purchased EELS and OSTRICHES during the lockdown when the library was closed.
Lots of Romance:
Oh, Regencies, the current bread and butter of Mormon women fiction writers. I love you and I hate you. I love you because you’re one of the things I can stand to read. I hate you because sometimes it feels like you are the only thing I read. JEN GEIGLE-JOHNSON–I loved discovering this new author this past year. A FORIEGN CROWN is everything an inspirational historical romance aspires to be. Sarah M. Eden launched a new series THE GENTS. I’m always waiting to see what Sarah will write next. Loved WHERE THE STARS MEET THE SEA by Heidi Kimball. PROMISED gets five stars for making imitation-archaic dialogue feel snappy and modern. ESTHER HATCH is so good at funny!
THE DOCTOR AND THE MIDWIFE and LOVE AT LAKEWOOD MED So, I’m surprised I can do these. People die. There are injuries. There is blood and even a little gore but when people are trying to help it’s not violence and I can deal with it. So, I hope to read more of these in 2021. Maybe it will rehabilitate my crazy non-violence brain.
MORMON REALISTIC FICTION
Still love reading Mormon Realistic Fiction it’s so hard to find nowadays so I ferreted out some reads from the backlist. JUMPING OFF PLACES I reread out of nostalgia this month, a historical set right at the cusp of the pioneer trek west. It’s still so good. It breaks all the rules. A woman with a child can go on a wild adventure. A family can tell a prophet no. Two people can still love each other even if one believes and one doesn’t. I feel like this book was before it’s time and if it found the right people it could be one of our great classics. Read the fun and light-hearted PERFECT SET by Melanie Jacobson. PRETTY MUCH PERFECT by Sally Johnson. More fun fluff. Except, ‘fluff’ might not be a completely fair way to characterize Johnson’s work. In my experience, her novels press the characters to question the Mormon culture status quo more rigorously than the typical LDS romance. Then I read PRAYERS IN BATH by Luisa Perkins. It is fairly short but I really loved it. I think it should be put on lists intending to introduce people to LDS fiction. It’s short, approachable, and makes the reader reflect on their beliefs and assumptions in a way that provokes great discussions. It easily straddles that middle road where it will appeal to more literary fic leaning folk and those that enjoy a strong genre fiction plot. In that same sweet spot as BOUND ON EARTH by Angela Hallstrom.
I TRIED to read Fantasy:
Every fantasy book I read keeps failing me. I tried D.J. Butlers Clockwork Charlie and it was good. I read the intro chapters and immediately recognized that he was a clever and competent storyteller. Then the dad got kidnapped and I was like…I can’t do a family separation story right now. Then I tried Spinning Silver by Naomi Novak which I specifically picked up because it was recommended as Fantasy with no violence in it. Then it ended up one of the main characters had a physically abusive Father that she was actively living with and getting beaten by. I was like how do you not define that as violence? I meant NO VIOLENCE. Also, tried Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie. Oh my heck. Talk about DARK fantasy. I couldn’t finish it. Also tried From Unseen Fire by Cass Morris. It’s an alternate Roman fantasy and someone got murdered in the prologue and I was like…okay, it’s Rome, deal. Then someone got murdered in the first chapter. I was again like…okay, let’s just read a few scenes here and there in the book and see if we get any break from this. More murders. So…I gave up. Then I tried The Curse of the Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold. And there is this whole sequence in the first chapter that has to do with a dead body and I was like…nope! I’m out! Sorry, I don’t do dead bodies and I have no clue what your character wants. I’m done. Also read 60% of the Will and the Wilds by Charlie Holmberg. The MC falls in love with a gross satyr like creature and I couldn’t do it. Cross-species romance is way too weird for me. I’ve noticed that alien romances seem popular on Amazon? And I’m just like–No. No, I can’t do that trope.
Wait! I remember one Fantasy book I loved this year! Guess what? It was also a Regency! THE TELLING TOUCH by Kiera Domingez. Adored it!
Thinking about Trying Poetry:
I’ve tried and put down more novels than I’ve read the past couple years. So, I’m wondering if I’m just over fiction? Maybe? So, I decided to try poetry collections. Really loved Ursula LeGuin’s collection in 2019. Also James Goldberg’s PHEONIX SONG. So far, I’ve collected more poetry than read it. Next year, I hope I move these titles off my mental to-read list: Darlene Young’s HOMESPUN AND ANGEL FEATHERS, James Goldberg’s SONG OF NAMES, and DOVE SONG. Maybe I should try the FOB BIBLE after that?
I read some Short Stories: I finally read THE LEVIATHAN WHOM THOU HAST MADE by Eric James Stone. Holy heck! It was perfection. I loved all of it! Also, read many of the FearIrreantum stories. Didn’t super love any of them but I definitely found a few interesting. But as they were meant to be spooky and that’s not my thing, that’s expected. Oh, I have been wanting to tell WILLIAM HENRY MORRIS that his STATE OF MORMON ART: 2021 on the arch-hive was my favorite story of his that I’ve ever read. This realist take made me laugh and nod in agreement at the same time. My only complaint is that he left out any pithy critiques of Mormon women’s obsession with the romance genre! Are love stories truly eternal?
Music: Can’t stop listening to David Archuleta’s THERAPY SESSIONS, POSTCARDS IN THE SKY and WINTER IN THE AIR albums. AVI KAPLAN. Loved TAYLOR SWIFT’s new sound. Fell hard for BEN PLATT’S original work. Listened to MADILYN PAIGE. LEWIS CAPALDI.
I played so much ANIMAL CROSSING.
Also, loved WANDERSONG. Currently stuck in a blizzard but I’ve loved playing this game and will one day figure out how to ride the crystal-powered flying narwhal out of the blizzard and save the world from collapsing with the power of song!
I finally, after a year of playing, beat Ganandof in BREATH OF THE WILD.
Currently playing PAPER MARIO
Nostalgia playing MARIO 64 cured some serious December blues.
So much karaoke. I like to sing. My main singing outlet was church on Sunday. That no longer happens. Now, I sing lots of Karaoke.
Comedians ODDONEOUT and JAIDEN ANIMATIONS