The Therapy Diaries Chapter 9: 2021 Review no. 23586839358

Every fucker else is, so why wouldn’t I? Here we are, my 2021 review. The tl:dr of it is this; it was another year which COVID fucked up. The longer version is below.

Btw, if anyone has read this far, hell if anyone even clicked on this, another year in review from another nobody, writing as if they mean something, hey that’s awesome! I write this for myself, and assume no one else reads it, so if someone is, welcome! And yes, it is all as messed up as it seems. But what can you do? Cheers, raise a glass to pandemic year three; may COVID one day soon fuck off.

I’ll start with my favourite book of 2021 – nb this isn’t necessarily a book that came out in 2021, just one I read that year. My reading takes me, temporally, all over the place, and I don’t always get round to a book the year it came out. So the books I mention, as well as films, games, etc., may not have been released in 2021, but were consumed greedily by me in 2021. Yay capitalism!

So my favourite book of 2021 is: I don’t know! Honestly, I can’t remember most of the books I read last year. It isn’t just books; I don’t remember most of the year. That’s the thing about mental health problems, and frequent dissociation; your memory becomes like a, you know, one of those thingies. A cartoon, but not all the frames are present. You know that episode of The Simpsons when Homer gets uber drunk at the dinner party? When he’s trying to remember, it’s like *talking, eating, laughing* *scene missing* *dancing and having fun* *scene missing* *scene missing*. That’s basically how my memory functions. Or doesn’t function, as often the case is.

Luckily, for books at least, I used Goodreads, so I can glance at that and pick out some of my favourite reads of the year. I was going to say no particular order, but these are ordered chronologically in terms of my reading them. So the books I enjoyed in 2021 are as follows:

  1. My Name is Lucy Barton, Elizabeth Strout
  2. Rosemary’s Baby, Ira Levin
  3. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
  4. Little Weirds, Jenny Slate
  5. Slapstick, or Lonesome No More!, Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
  6. How to be Good, Nick Hornby
  7. The Tesseract, Alex Garland
  8. Jailbird, Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
  9. About a Boy, Nick Hornby
  10. Exciting Times, Naoise Dolan
  11. Notes From Underground, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  12. Here, The World Entire, Anwen Kya Hayward
  13. Anything is Possible, Elizabeth Strout
  14. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey
  15. Strong Stuff, AF Stone
  16. The Outsider, Albert Camus
  17. Lullabies for Little Criminals, Heather O’Neill
  18. Girl, Woman, Other, Bernadine Evaristo
  19. Luster, Raven Leilani
  20. May We Be Forgiven, AM Homes
  21. The Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels
  22. Breathe Free, Nina Jones
  23. My Sister, The Serial Killer, Oyinkan Braithwaite
  24. Virtue, Hermione Hoby
  25. Olive Kitteridge, Elizabeth Strout
  26. How the World Works, Noam Chomsky
  27. The Moon is Down, John Steinbeck
  28. Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens
  29. We Can Do Better Than This, edited by Amelia Abraham
  30. Exhalation, Ted Chiang
  31. The White Album, Joan Didion
  32. The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion
  33. Oh William!, Elizabeth Strout
  34. Cannery Row, John Steinbeck
  35. The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins, Irvine Welsh
  36. Player Piano, Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
  37. Requiem for a Dream, Hubert Selby Jr.
  38. Filthy Animals, Brandon Taylor
  39. Crossroads, Jonathan Franzen
  40. Play it as it Lays, Joan Didion
  41. Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche
  42. In Their Absence, Hannah Stevens
  43. The Cat Who Saved Books, Sosuke Natsukawa

So there you have it; my top 42 books of 2021, apparently. I didn’t plan to list so many, but it’s only when I look back at the list of books I read in 2021, I realise just how fucking long the year was.

Real Time update; the list is now 43 books, not 42, as looking back through the list made me realise I’d missed one. Which one was it? You’ll never know.

Going back to the length of the year; the first book I read in 2021 was Slade House by David Mitchell. If you’d have asked me, before I looked at the list, when I read that book, I probably would have said something like “what book? Never heard of it. Are you sure I’ve read it?” *reads the blurb* “Oh yeah, I’ve read this. I’m not sure when, a few years ago?”

I’d be wrong, obviously, but I don’t think I’d be that wrong. January 2021 does feel like several years ago. How many I couldn’t say, but certainly far over and above the one that it has actually been. What is it about January in particular being such a memoryhole? I mean, I struggle to remember most months, dissociation and all that, but January just has this particular aura to it, a rumour, a hesitancy, a hazy shimmer that makes you question whether it ever really happened at all. If you told me that it went from December 2020 to February 2021 I’d believe you, because I have no evidence to the contrary. Not even anecdotal, nothing.

So this, like all my blog posts, has gotten away from me a little bit; it seems like, based on the word count, this is just the books part of my 2021 year in review. Which means I’ll be adding at least one more, for films and games, maybe two if they end up needing their own lists. I’ll probably then do a general one, talking about things that don’t especially need categorisation. Or can’t be categorised as easily as books can; for example, in December I had a wonderful trip to the Natural History and Science Museums in London. I had planned to contrast this with something wildly different to prove the failure of categorisation, but I honestly can’t think of single other thing that happened in 2021.

Wait! I saw Holly Humberstone three times! Which was wonderful, but I’m not doing a list for gigs, and a list for museums/days out, etc.

This has gotten away from me again. Fuck it, I’m out. Tune in next time for films or games, or both, depending on how I feel, and what happens when my fingers and the keyboard decide to hang out.

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