# The music that kept me going
- The Mountain Goats
- according to Spotify this is what I played the absolute most - all 5 of my top 5 songs came from The Mountain Goats. It was the music I played most of the time in the car, when Wren & I were listening together, when cooking, when working... all the time.
- Taylor Swift's new albums: Folklore and evermore
- Also some selected older songs that approach the same level of moodiness
- The Chicks's new album Gaslighter
- for those moments this year when I needed angry divorced woman energy, which is to say, whenever I wasn't listening to emo tswift
I read 31 books this year - much more than I've read in any other year since childhood.
# The Trifecta
I read three nonfiction books this year that I think about all the time. They seem to come up as relevant in practically every conversation I'm in. They shaped my thinking and gave words to thoughts I had inklings about but hadn't found the right articulation for yet.
- Bullshit Jobs by David Graeber
- Can't Even by Anne-Helen Petersen
- Down Girl by Kate Manne
# Other nonfiction
I loved Why Fish Don't Exist on audiobook, read by the author Lulu Miller. I also loved Because Internet, which is definitely the most-hyped book that I read this year, and deserving of all of it.
# Fiction I loved
- all the Wayfarers books by Becky Chambers (beginning with The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, in which a space ship crew solves big but not existential problems through the power of friendship)
- all the Muderbot books by Martha Wells (beginning with All Systems Red; 4 novellas and a novel)
- Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik. Epic medieval fantasy that doesn't center Christianity, and mostly centers female characters. Yes, please!
- Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse. Epic historical fantasy set in central America, with strong female characters, bisexuality, and men in skirts. Yes, also!
- "How Long Until Black Future Month" by N.K. Jemisin, an anthology of short stories, some of which you may recognize as early versions of her other work, and some which are entirely new. Those new stories were my favorites.
- my first Discworld books by Terry Pratchett, including Going Postal, Mort, and Small Gods
- "You're Wrong About" - deep dives into historical events & complex topics
- "Flash Forward" - explorations of a variety of possible & not-so-possible futures, and how we might get there. Understanding possible futures often requires looking closely at the world as it is today, and I always learn something new.
- "Open World" - a speculative fiction podcast, with an audiodrama or read-aloud story as the first half of each episode, and an interview with the creators as the second half. Every story I've listened to so far has been so good, and they are always hopeful, though sometimes in surprising ways.
- "Robot and Crow" is my favorite episode so far, but I haven't listened to the whole season yet.
- walks while on phone calls
- walks on prairies
- instagramming my walks
- polymer clay
- a recently developed hobby, but one I am entering into with gusto
- gardening & plant identification
# Video Games
- Animal Crossing: New Horizons. I was in deep on the trend early in the pandemic, and even wrote about how it was bringing my coworkers together as a workplace. I spent so many hours playing the game, and getting to pick out outfits, decorate, and even travel to see other people on their virtual islands really did help me cope with quarantining.
- Spiritfarer is another game I really enjoyed playing, also on the Nintendo Switch. Like with many games I've tried, I was convinced to play it by reading a review from my friend Russell.
# Purchases that brought me joy
# Small things
- Snag Nab-It, for getting snags out of knitted clothing
- Garden knife, great for slicing through taproots when weeding.
- tiny command hooks for hanging decorations from every possible surface
# Bigger things
- I owe much of my success in reading so many books this year to getting a Kindle Paperwhite. It let me get new books from the library at any time of day (or night), and let me read comfortably in the evenings even though I detest bright lights at night.
- At first I just wanted it for reading web articles and newsletters, but over time I've discovered other uses, unlocked with a hand-me-down Apple Pencil I got from my sister. I like the Nebo app that lets me convert my hand-writing to text instantly, which is great for writing poems and blog posts, and am learning to use the Procreate app to make digital art.
- pink velvet couch/yellow velvet curtains
- yes, I am a millennial going through a pandemic velvet phase, next question
- really though, I did a lot of decorating and organizing in the house this year and made things feel a lot more homey and "us" than they did before, even though we've now lived here for several years.
- clothes I feel really good in: a variety of overalls, corduroy pants, pretty dresses.