As 2022 comes into view upriver, the final days of 2021 flow past, and I couldn’t pass up the chance to reflect on what I’ve read, watched and written this year. (Okay, reflect is a strong word, but it’s been a difficult Christmas, and I’m very tired.)
In books new to me, I opened the year with Ali Smith’s wonderful Autumn, and if my favourite books are like stepping stones on this river metaphor I’m in danger of drowning in, from there I went to An Awfully Big Adventure (Beryl Bainbridge), The Cost of Living (Deborah Levy), Clothes, Clothes, Clothes… (Viv Albertine), Redhead by the Side of the Road (Anne Tyler), Boy Parts (Eliza Clark), Hotel du Lac (Anita Brookner), The Shooting Party (Isabel Colegate), and The Glass Hotel (Emily St John Mandel).
I’m not much of a re-reader, but I got caught in some reading ruts this year, and I found writerly solace in returning to Joyland (Stephen King), Annihilation (Jeff Vandermeer), and Tinderbox (Megan Dunn).
Films. Oh-so-many films. Out of 165 films watched in 2021, I gave 39 of them a rating of 5/5, and of those, my top 10 favourite discoveries, in chronological order of being made, are:
- Blow-up (1966)
- Performance (1970)
- Klute (1971)
- The Long Goodbye (1973)
- Blue Velvet (1986)
- Lost Highway (1997)
- Triangle (2009)
- Riders of Justice (2020)
- Pig (2021)
- Dune (2021)
And because this image blows my mind, here are all 165 from Letterboxd, in reverse order of watching:
Finally, in my writing, I started the year with 25,000 words of a new novel, and I end the year with 22,000 words of a new novel. But I’ve already written enough about that.