I feel like December slipped away so quickly, I couldn’t really enjoy the holidays because… well, I wasn’t really in the mood for celebrating. At least I managed to read a decent amount of books to finish off 2020 strongly!
Displacement by Kiku Hughes tells the story of the Japanese internment camps in the USA. I’ve never learnt about that such things happened in WWII to people with Japenese ancestry. And we’re talking about approximately 120 000 people! I think everyone should read this graphic novel because it teaches a lot. I loved the art style too.
I reread The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows because I needed comfort. Thankfully, it lived up to my memories as I enjoyed as much as I did when I first read it in 2018. I adore all the characters and the epistolary novel form makes this book even better.
I liked Dear Justyce by Nic Stone even better than the first book. I actually forgot a lot of the things that happened in the prequel, so I think this could be read as a stand-alone novel too. Everyone just seemed more fleshed out in this novel, and Quan was better as the main character in my opinion. It was a moving read, and I might have shed a tear or two… Especially reading Nic Stone’s reasons for writing this.
I read A Barnum-rejtély by Gyula Böszörményi on the last day of 2020. It was entertaining, full of humorous dialogues and intrigue! It’s set in a circus, which I’ve never really liked, so I didn’t care about that aspect, but apart from that, I enjoyed it a lot!
I buddy read Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire with Hsinju @ Hsinju’s Lit Log. It’s the second book in the Wayward Children series, though it’s more of a prequel, as we got to read about Jack and Jill’s story. I was so eager to read this one because I found Jack to be a fascinating character and I wanted to know more about her. Well, her past is depressing, to say the least. This story is really a commentary on society and rubbish parenting. Jack and Jill’s parents wanted them for the wrong reasons – to move forward in society’s hierarchy because they noticed that kids are a great way to become more popular. Awful. I wish this was the only thing they did badly though. But alas, no! They thought twins were creepy, so they forced two different gender roles on the kids. Jack became the mom’s little girl: dresses, quiet, polite, always still, while Jill was the dad’s little tomboy: short hair, always in motion, adventurous, brave. They never at once thought that this is not what their children want. They couldn’t care less about their needs. Horrible. I found one comment extremely true and hard-hitting at the beginning: it’s not fair that there are people who can’t have children, fight for it for years and years, but with no result. And then there are people like Serena and Chester, who don’t even want to have offspring, but they succeed on the first try. I also found the commentary on gender stereotypes really interesting to read about, it was infuriating. One last thing I’d like to mention is Jack’s germaphobia. Hsinju said that Seanan McGuire wrote in one of her tweets, that Jack is an autobiographical character, though she is not a germaphobe, but suffers from OCD. I found this aspect really relatable, and while – thankfully – it was not triggering for me, it might be for some of you, so keep that in mind before starting this book!
March: Book Two by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin is the second instalment of the March trilogy, which tells the life of John Lewis, who was one of the key figures of the civil rights movement. I’m reviewing this one from the perspective of a person who hasn’t learnt about him in school, so I have little to no knowledge about these events. I found that this one was not for people like me, because it didn’t explain things as much as the first book. There were loads of people who were not really introduced, events that could have been explained more. I obviously still found it educational.
Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire was also a buddy read with Hsinju! I enjoyed it a little bit less than the previous book in the series, but this one is definitely lighter and more fun! I also liked that we got to know a tiny bit more about the worlds, though it was still confusing.
I’ll Be Home For Christmas by Mason Deaver is a cute short story with Ben and Nathan from I Wish You All the Best. I found it a little repetitive, but I enjoyed it nevertheless. The description of anxiety was on point, I really related to Ben’s thoughts.
Darius the Great Deserves Better by Adib Khorram is the sequel to Darius the Great Is Not Okay. I have to tell you, I actually enjoyed the first book better because it didn’t have romance. This one had a love triangle (well, not as annoying as in earlier Young Adult books), which I dislike. I found it a bit boring at times, but I enjoyed it overall. Darius is a darling character, and I’d read anything about him. I also appreciated how the author wrote about depression.
The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie is the first Tommy and Tuppence novel, which I’ve first read in 2012, so not really recently. I have never been a huge fan of Christie’s adventure type stories, and this was not an exception. It wasn’t bad, it’s just not my cup of tea.
Sheets by Brenna Thummler is a cute graphic novel, but I didn’t really like it. I found the story really flat and uninteresting. The ghosts were nice and I loved those parts, but it wasn’t really my cup of tea apart from that. The art style is amazing though.
I participated in one read-a-thon, which was the Taylor Swift Playlistathon. It started in November and ended in December. I managed to read six of the thirteen planned books during the read-a-thon (Down Among the Sticks and Bones, The Secret Adversary, Rick, Szer’usz világ, I’ll Be the One and The House in the Cerulean Sea). In addition to that, I read another three from my tbr list after the read-a-thon ended (Dear Justyce, A Barnum-rejtély and Darius the Great Deserves Better) and DNF’d the remaining four books, so I basically aced this!
Knives Out is finally available on Netflix, so I watched it with my parents. We all enjoyed it, I think it was really well done, it had its twists and turns. And I loved the dark humour. If you like Agatha Christie, don’t miss out on this movie!
I read Howl’s Moving Castle in 2020 and I have to be honest, I didn’t like it at all. However, I still wanted to give the movie a shot, so I watched it in December. I still don’t love it as much as a lot of people, but the landscape was unbelievably beautiful and I enjoyed it much more than the book.
I watched The Queen’s Gambit on a whim. Netflix started playing the trailer and it had me hooked. I love the actor, Anya Taylor-Joy, who played Emma in the new Emma movie. This mini-series was probably one of the most disturbing stories I’ve seen last year. Not that it was graphic, not at all, but it is so dark and sad and deals with addiction. Still, I’d absolutely recommend watching it, and you don’t even have to care about chess to enjoy it. Though it made me pick up my chessboard, which I haven’t played with in years.
Taylor Swift blessed us with a brand new album, evermore! *insert screaming here* I’ve already shared My top five evermore songs as books, but I still wanted to shout about it here too with more songs I absolutely love. So apart from those five, champagne problems, no body, no crime, marjorie and evermore are the ones I want to highlight. Ugh, I don’t even know where to put evermore in my TS album ranking. I feel like the more I listen to it, the more I want to place it as first, closely followed by folklore, and then Lover, reputation, 1989 and Red. (I don’t really care for her first three albums.) Every time she comes up with something new, I just can’t stop listening to it. She’s truly a genius.
Also, how come I didn’t know up until December that she recorded the entire folklore album live and shared it on November 25? It’s called the long pond studio sessions and it’s absolutely amazing. I want to mention cardigan and my tears ricochet, as I think they are even better than the studio versions (which I didn’t know was even possible).
I know I talked about BTS in my November wrap-up too, but I became an even bigger fan. All of the members are so humble and hard-working, I have huge respect for them. I discovered even more of their songs and there are two I’d like to talk about, Spring Day, which became my absolute favourite song of ever by any artist. Every time I listen to it I feel like crying, it’s just that beautiful and meaningful. The second is Blue & Grey, which is from their latest album, BE. It’s also a really sad song as it’s about depression. I turn to BTS every time I’m feeling blue because their music really touches the listener’s soul. Also, if I need a little pick-me-up, I start watching BTS interviews or funny videos and it really helps.
So, this post was basically 50% books and 50% music! I’m not complaining though, I always love writing my wrap-ups. Thank you for reading the whole way, I know they tend to be super long, so I appreciate if you are still here!
What was your favourite book in December? What music did you listen to? Do you also like Taylor Swift or BTS? Have you seen The Queen’s Gambit?