OYSTERHOOD is reclusiveness or solitude, or an overwhelming desire to stay at home.
It’s that time of the year when you are asked to reflect on the past twelve months and pick favourites. Yesterday, I wrote a paragraph about my best book of the year for the Sunday Times again. It was an easy choice. When asked the question, I did not even have to think about it. But I did look at the list of all the other books I have finished reading this year (I started many more that will probably also feature among favourites, but I did not have much time for leisure reading, so the list will be completed only next year), and there were quite a few that stood out.
The obvious ones are the books I published at Karavan Press, of course. I read and reread them and loved them so much, I had to see them in print. And it is a list to be proud of:
A Hibiscus Coast by Nick Mulgrew The Skipper's Daughter by Nancy Richards Conjectures by James Leatt Beat Routes by Justin Fox The Pool Guy by Melissa A. Volker Boiling a Frog Slowly by Cathy Park Kelly The Wilderness Between Us by Penny Haw (not Karavan Press, but part of the family)
Others on the 2021 favourites list so far are:
The Psychopath Test: A Journey through the Madness Industry by Jon Ronson Writing and Righting: Literature in the Age of Human Rights by Lyndsey Stonebridge Sovietistan by Erika Fatland A Lab of One's Own: One Woman's Personal Journey through Sexism in Science by Sharon McGrayne and Rita R. Colwell Disruption: New Short Fiction from Africa Slough House by Mick Herron Dance of the Dung Beetle: Their Role in Our Changing World by Helen Lunn and Marcus Byrne Those Who Live in Cages by Terry-Ann Adams Consent by Vanessa Springora Lady Limbo by Consuelo Roland Walking With Ghosts by Gabriel Byrne The Dark Hours by Michael Connelly
Robyn Porteous asked on Twitter what are people most proud of this year. This was also easy to answer, so I replied:
“Finally taking the time to learn how to set boundaries and continuing to grow with the newly acquired self-preservation skills. Work in progress, but it feels good.”
This has been essential for me in the second half of the year and the process was brought on by the breakdown I experienced in July and the work with my counsellor that followed. And I keep repeating to myself: just because you are capable of doing something does not mean that you have to do it.
Thinking about boundaries and responsibilities and love and guilt probably triggered the intense dream I had last night. It even had a soundtrack: Humans – Ennio. It was so vivid that I had to think really hard after waking up whether this was just a dream or a memory. It felt like I had to rearrange my head to make experience fit with reality. At the end of the dream, I was walking and running through Jelenia Góra in the middle of a cold night and felt a sense of freedom and carelessness I hadn’t experienced in a long time. The liberation one feels after walking away from a toxic situation.
Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local. Get vaccinated, please.
“Physical distancing remains one of the key strategies to curb this pandemic.”