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Friday, January 1, 2021

2020 on Goodreads2020 on Goodreads by Various
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

May you live in interesting times.

I think someone has been saying that a bit too much, a bit too loudly, and with a scattershot aim and a reach that can circle the globe.

Maybe we should all just get together, tie up 2020, and throw it, alive, in an unmarked grave filled with live spiders and a dedicated and heavily firewalled Facebook account devoted to people complaining about how bad 2020 is.

Who might be game?

FORTUNATELY, introverts like me got off relatively lightly. I'm in my natural element, but that isn't to say I wasn't touched. Worrying for others is pretty stressful. But then, there ARE books to make things a little brighter. Or in the case of 2020, more aware, angry for the sake of others, and wishing that people would calm the f**k down and start listening to each other instead of trying to pull another power play. Of course, it also means that truth needs to come back in a huge way. People have to be utterly honest about what they want again. Or maybe for the first time in a lot of cases. I'm not seeing a lot of that except at the rawest of moments, and a lot of the hope I should be feeling drains away in the reactionary moments.

I miss consideration. And respect for human rights. I want people to stop trying to tear everything down and try to actively start building bridges. Is hate easier? Really? Or is it just a way to suicide in a way that pricks your pride?

I miss cooperation. I miss working together with people on something big and wonderful.

And yet, with a year of twitter, politics, mass riots, Covid, and a slew of other tragedies that could have been prevented without eventually resorting to stupid blame games or conspiracy theories, I still feel hope.

Balance is here. It's in those of us who search for it. I want to believe that humanity is a bunch of freaking morons, but something deeper inside of me knows that we really aren't. It just SEEMS that way. Like some big illusion or a class clown making a show of it to get the attention of the teacher because no one else is paying attention to him. Or her. Or them.

Seriously, I think we're all better than this and MOST of us know it. We really shouldn't let the outliers and the loudest speak for us all. That's a different kind of idiocy.

So let me just say that I love you all. Be strong. Be wise.

If you really want to talk about books, I will, but I'll just mention the ones that sparked something wonderful within me. The ones that stay strongest in my memory out of 527 read this year.

David Zindell reaches the top of the list with his Requiem for Homo Sapiens. From Neverness to War in Heaven, this was the biggest, broadest, most gorgeous set of books I've read in years, not just THIS year. I have to kick out a number of my top 20 books of all time to make room for these.

Loved the huge tome of Sanderson that just came out. Rhythm of War.

Fell head over heels for Jim Butcher's return to Dresden with Peace Talks and Battle Ground.

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars was something rather amazing. Paolini broke out good into SF and I had a genuinely awesome time.

Men on Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream - and Why It Matters made me cry and rage and start re-evaluating my life.

The Doors of Eden is one of the best SFs of the year.

Mind you, I've read a lot of books this year and if I don't mention most of the very, very good, it's not because I didn't think they deserved it. I'm merely mentioning the ones that hit me in the feels across the board.

There ARE a number of really great race-issue books, economics books, psychology books, history books, and even AI science books that I loved this year, too, but getting into those might take a book to write about those books. :) Suffice to say, they were a necessary and always edifying addition to the year.

And with that -
I wish you a good night.
Not a good year -
because the year was shite.

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