lycomayflower keeps trudging along, book in hand, in 2020 (part the tooth)

Discussão75 Books Challenge for 2020

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lycomayflower keeps trudging along, book in hand, in 2020 (part the tooth)

Editado: Jan 2, 9:29pm

Welcome to the second part of my 2020 reading thread! Click here to go back to part one. Click here to go to my introduction post. The picture above is a shelfie of one of my bookcases, featuring Supernatural novels and a lot of sff YA.

This first post contains an on-going list of the books I've read this year, with the most recent reads at the top. Click on the book title to go to the book's post within the thread, where you will find a review. Numbers in parentheses are page counts for each book. Click here to visit my 2019 thread.

Total Pages: 14,699

79.) Revelations (309)
78.) Wintering (255)
77.) Lost Wolf (216)
76.) The Most Magnificent Thing
75.) Lisette the Vet
74.) Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish (369)

73.) The Thief (279)
72.) A Jedi You Will Be
71.) There'll Be Peace When You Are Done (275)
70.) Song of the Old City
69.) Crush (62)
68.) A Long Road on a Short Day
67.) Fence, volume 4 (~100)
66.) Fence, volume 3 (~100)
65.) Fence, volume 2 (~100)
64.) Fence, volume 1 (~100)
63.) Huntsman (173)
62.) Snow Birds
61.) Sheets (238)
60.) Open and Shut (292)

59.) Boys of Alabama (282)
58.) Better Than People (279)
57.) Beyond Shame (332)
56.) Prince & Knight

55.) Giant Days, volume 10 (~100)
54.) Hither, Page (223)
53.) I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness (185)
52.) When No One Is Watching (352)

51.) Sorted (288)
50.) Moonstruck vol. 1 (~100)
49.) Soaked!
48.) Wake of Vultures (339)
47.) Surfacing (218)
46.) Sitcom (383)
45.) The House You Pass on the Way (114)
44.) The Avant-Guards vol. 2 (~100)
43.) Kristy's Great Idea (156)

42.) The Avant-Guards vol 1 (~100)
41.) Just Like That (303)
40.) How to Be an Antiracist (240)
39.) Rattlesnake (222)

38.) The Book of Delights (audio)
37.) Pet (203)
36.) Frostbite (168)
35.) Silver in the Wood (105)
34.) The Fire This Time (215)
33.) James and the Giant Peach (audio)
32.) Sticks and Scones (317)

31.) Not a Day Goes By (276)
30.) The Uncommon Reader (audio)
29.) Family Don't End with Blood (252)

28.) Fan Phenomena: Supernatural (137)
27.) A Curious Beginning (337)
26.) Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (303)

25.) A Quiet Life in the Country (250)
24.) Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (341)
23.) Fan Art (353)

22.) The Rabbit Listened
21.) Those Pesky Rabbits
20.) The Paper Bag Princess
19.) The Dream Thieves (437)
18.) Fangasm (239)
17.) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (309)

16.) Television, Religion, and Supernatural (135)
15.) Tin Man (213)
14.) Bingo Love (~100)
13.) Down among the Sticks and Bones (187)
12.) Thornhill (533)
11.) The Raven Boys (409)
10.) Lumberjanes vol 3 (~100)
9.) Nightwoods (259)
8.) Aloha Rodeo (224)
7.) Molly of the Mall (282)
6.) Mooncakes (243)
5.) Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama (290)
4.) Scaredy Squirrel
3.) Homo Sapiens (416)
2.) The Christmas Deal (235)
1.) Over the Hedge

Editado: Jun 5, 2020, 9:34pm

Hello! My name is Laura, and this is the thirteenth year I've kept an LT thread tracking and reviewing my reading. I read pretty widely, but I'm most likely to read romance, memoir, mysteries, YA, sci-fi, fantasy, and literary fiction. I'm in my late-thirties, work as an editor, am married to a fellow reader, and carry on living in the south (it's been the majority of my adult life now) despite constantly missing winter and wanting to move back north (I grew up in north-east Pennsylvania). When I'm not reading, I like to do photography, write, crochet, swim, and watch TV (I'm currently watching (at various paces) Supernatural, Schitt's Creek, Black Sails, Upstart Crow, The Crown, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel). I also keep a bookish blog at (unofficially and unintentionally on hiatus in 2019, but roaring back in 2020). Please feel free to talk to me there or here on LT. I love a good bookish conversation!

My Favs and Least Favs for 2019:

Top 5 Reads of 2019:
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
Phoebe and Her Unicorn
Band Sinister
A Fatal Grace

Worst Reads of 2019
The Book of Strange New Things
Sharp Objects
One Year Gone

Check out my goals for my reading life in 2020 here.

Editado: Jun 5, 2020, 9:42pm

Even my non-goaly goals have pretty much been scuppered by the upheaval that is 2020, but. I'm still trying? Kind of? In theory?

I had a lot of well-defined goals in 2019, and I fell down on aaaall of them. (Whevs. It was a very busy, in some ways very hard, and in others very wonderful non-reading year). So this year I'm in the mood for not goals. I'm setting no specific goals for kinds of reading to do this year (you can see the kinds of goals I set (and which did not work for me) in 2019 here). I'm not even setting a number goal for books read by authors of color and LGBTQIA authors this year. (Reading poc and LGBTQIA authors still is and always will be important to me, I just need a break from all the *tracking*.) I'll see how I do without those kinds of goals and reassess setting some again when 2021 rolls around.

Here are the things I *do* want to focus on in my reading life in 2020:

*Read from my shelves
*Limit buying books to read "some day" rather than *now*
*Read what I buy
*Choose reads carefully to try to have fewer reads that are just *fine*

Jun 5, 2020, 9:39pm

My goober extraordinaire, Thursday:

Jun 6, 2020, 8:03pm

Happy new thread! Awesome pic. 😀

Jun 6, 2020, 8:28pm

Happy new thread, Laura. Your goober is pretty cute. : ) Cheers to not goals.

Jun 6, 2020, 8:49pm

Happy new thread!

Jun 7, 2020, 3:45pm

>4 lycomayflower: Saddest dog as ever was.

Jun 7, 2020, 8:58pm

>4 lycomayflower: Lovely pooch, Laura!

Happy new thread.

Jun 10, 2020, 9:23pm

wave* Very handsome/pretty dog

Jun 12, 2020, 5:10pm

Happy new thread, Laura!

I'm sure you and Amber will be thrilled to hear that Mr. Fine has finally wore me down and we've started watching Supernatural. Horror is not my thing so I cross-stitch or play games on my phone during the scary bits (which is most of the episodes right now) but I'm willing to stick it out for the mumbleteen seasons. I think we just finished episode 16 of season 1. Progress won't be lightning fast as we watch it once a week (we have a TV schedule because I love plans) but there you have it. I'll finally recognize some of those gifs. :P

Jun 12, 2020, 6:58pm

Happy new thread, Laura, and Thursday is adorable!

Jun 22, 2020, 4:36pm

Happy new thread!

>4 lycomayflower: Ooh, pupper!

Jul 3, 2020, 10:16pm

>6 Berly:, >7 figsfromthistle:, >8 laytonwoman3rd:, >9 PaulCranswick:, >10 Kassilem:, >11 MickyFine:, >12 bell7:, >13 foggidawn: Hello, all! Thank you for the new thread salutations! Thursday accepts all your oohing and aahing with great delight.

>11 MickyFine: OOOOO! Yay! I hope you are still enjoying. The scary bits will lessen a bit as you go, though they will always retain that ability to creep you out, right though all mumbleteen seasons. Do let me know how you are liking it or if anything particularly strikes you as you go! (And feel free to start a gif party here anytime. I have been woefully... not here lately. But a gif would probably unlurk me!)

Jul 3, 2020, 10:20pm

32.) Check Please! Book 2 Sticks and Scones, Ngozi Ukazu ****1/2

The second (and last, I'm pretty sure) book collecting the webcomic Check Please! This concludes Bittle's time at Samwell and on their hockey team and continues to follow his relationships and friendships and his career as a baking youtuber. Just as delightful, fun, and sweet as the first volume, and the art is bright and wonderful. I love this strip to bits.

Jul 3, 2020, 10:27pm

33.) James and the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl, read by Julian Rhind-Tutt ***1/2

I'd never read this one before and enjoyed it well enough on audio. It has Dahl's signature absurdity and sense of both the fun and the slightly gruesome. There wasn't *quite* enough story for me to be fully engaged, but Rhind-Tutt did a good enough job reading it and doing voices that I mostly didn't mind that. Note that there's some period-typical unpleasantness like fat-shaming and other body-negativity and some throw-away racialized comments that are distasteful, at best, today.

Another read with my friend; another good convo afterwards.

Jul 3, 2020, 10:38pm

34.) The Fire This Time, edited by Jesmyn Ward ****1/2

An anthology of essays (and some poetry) by Black writers about race. An important book, and one I expect I'll return to. I also intend to seek out more work by several of the authors included here. The essays I found particularly striking were Honoree Fanonne Jeffers's "A Defense of Phillis Wheatley's Husband," Ward's "Cracking the Code," Wendy S. Walters's "Lonely in America," and Edwidge Danticat's "Message to My Daughters."

Jul 3, 2020, 10:48pm

35.) Silver in the Wood, Emily Tesh ****1/2

This novella is part fairy tale, part love story, and all wonderful. I don't want to say too much for fear of giving things way, but if you like faeishness in a tale, and gentleness that exists not at the expense of sharp realities, and stories about love and affection, you should check this out. A "clutch it to my chest book" for me.

Jul 3, 2020, 10:52pm

36.) Frostbite, J. Emery ***1/2

A novella about a monster hunter and a vampire who get snowed in and fall in love. It's a trope-fest (I'm in), and a reasonably fun one. A little light on story for me, but I enjoyed myself.

Editado: Jul 3, 2020, 11:59pm

37.) Pet, Akwaeke Emezi ***

I wanted to like this YA novel so much better than I did (especially since it features a trans girl but is not about being trans). It started out pretty wonderful, and I still think the premise and theme are pretty cool. The book is set in Lucille, a near-future city where all the monsters (that is, people who hurt other people, especially those who hurt others based on their race) are gone and the angels (leaders) who led the revolution are revered. But in a world with no monsters, who will recognize any new monsters who come among us?

Jam, the seventeen-year-old girl at the center of the story, lives a happy life with her parents and hanging out with her best friend Redemption. Until one day Pet, a monster (angel?) in one of her mother's paintings, steps out of the painting and tells Jam there is a monster (person) in her community who must be dealt with. Jam has to deal with deciding whether to believe Pet, what to tell Redemption (whose family Pet claims is harboring the monster Pet's after), and what to do with the monster she and Redemption find in his home. Okay, good stuff, with some compelling, if not *super* nuanced metaphors going on. But then it falls apart when the monster Pet is hunting is revealed.

It turns out that Redemption's uncle has been sexually abusing Redemption's younger brother. And that is for sure one of the most monstrous things that humans do to other humans. But the thing is, it *isn't* "monstrous," which isn't to say that it isn't horrific and appalling. Sexual abuse is *human*, in that it is a thing that humans do to humans. And the book just doesn't grapple enough with that for me. It calls what the uncle does "evil," and it *is*, but that doesn't make it not also *human.* When you set aside some human behavior as "monstrous," you fail to recognize that that monstrous behavior is part of humanity. This is fundamentally human evil, and I don't think Pet deals enough with the fact that the monsters in the book (all our monsters) are *us.* At least it didn't read as such to me. The uncle is tortured, and there's some talk of rehabilitation (for all the monsters), but *that* is what I really wanted to hear more about. What do you do when you find the monster (us)? How do you reconcile the fact that some people are monstrous, but still people? For a book that is so much about how we must look at what is evil in order to continue to *be able* to see what is evil, I was expecting more about what we do when we realize that what we see when we see evil is not some othered monster but the very humanity we're all a part of.

This won many awards, and I did so love the beginning. So I wonder if I missed something. It brings up such a tough, tough subject, one I think most of us do shy away from looking at because it is *so* awful, but then the treatment of that subject left me feeling unsatisfied with the book's whole treatment of human evil.

Jul 3, 2020, 11:40pm

38.) The Book of Delights, Ross Gay, read by the author ****1/2

Poet Ross Gay set himself a project of writing an essay each day for a year about a delight he had experienced that day. The Book of Delights is a collection of some of those essays. And it is just wonderful. The topics range from simple pleasures to heavy subjects, but there truly is always delight in each one. Listening to Gay read the book was a joy, and I suspect I will both listen to this again and find myself a hard copy for flipping through and rereading. Recommended.

Jul 4, 2020, 9:15am

>15 lycomayflower: Oooh, there's a second one! Must track it down.

Editado: Jul 4, 2020, 10:34am

>20 lycomayflower: "How do you reconcile the fact that some people are monstrous, but still people?" Breakfast table conversation this morning was along these lines, in the context of removing statues from government property and changing the names of sports teams, etc. How do you honor the GOOD some historical figures did while still acknowledging that they were flawed human beings whose behavior in some areas we would find ... well, monstrous.

Editado: Jul 4, 2020, 12:12pm

>23 laytonwoman3rd: It's a tricksy thing, all right. I rewrote that review three or four times and I'm *still* not happy with it. It's so hard to get at the issue without diminishing the pain and harm inflicted by "the monstrous."

But. Just. Take the statues down and change the sports team names. I don't have any qualms about either of those. I'm more concerned about how do we rehabilitate and move forward knowing that the evil is in us than I am about honoring those who did both good and bad. Though, yeah, that too.

Jul 4, 2020, 12:31pm

>22 scaifea: YES. It's so good.

Jul 4, 2020, 3:57pm

>24 lycomayflower: Agreed. I'd also add, how about just no statues at all? They come too close to worship for my comfort.

Jul 4, 2020, 5:50pm

>26 scaifea: That is exactly what I think. Let's treat our military, political and civic leaders as human beings.

Jul 4, 2020, 5:55pm

>27 laytonwoman3rd: *smart head nod* YES.

Jul 4, 2020, 6:16pm

This here is a post for today, just for FlamingRabbit. *waves*

Jul 4, 2020, 11:08pm

In this difficult year with an unprecedented pandemic and where the ills of the past intrude sadly upon the present there must still be room for positivity. Be rightly proud of your country. To all my American friends, enjoy your 4th of July weekend.

Jul 7, 2020, 3:57pm

>14 lycomayflower: Well, I've made it through season one. The ghost truck episode made me laugh a lot (unintentionally, I think) but I do enjoy Sam and Dean, even if they walk into a horror movie every week and are forever SPLITTING UP. Never split up in a horror movie!

Jul 13, 2020, 9:22pm

>30 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul!

>31 MickyFine: Lol, yeah the monster truck episode is kind of notorious for being... not great. Though I do like the further establishment of Dean's hidden/squashed down feelings in that one. *snork* yep. Always with the splitting up!

Jul 13, 2020, 9:54pm

39.) Rattlesnake, Kim Fielding ****1/2

Drifter Jimmy picks up an old hitchhiker who passes away in his sleep in Jimmy's car, leaving a note for the son he abandoned years ago. Jimmy means to deliver the letter, but when he meets Shane, the old man's son, and feels a spark, he can't resist the warmth and kindness and connection when Shane asks him to spend the night. Jimmy keeps meaning to pass on the letter... tomorrow. But he's seduced by what he has with Shane and with the feelings of home that sneak up on him in the small town of Rattlesnake and at the inn where he's been offered a job, and tomorrow keeps getting pushed back.

This is an example of my absolute favorite kind of romance novel--most of the story is really character study and revolves around small observations of who the characters are and how they interact. Both Jimmy and Shane have their issues (Jimmy's are about a crappy family of origin and self worth issues and Shane was in a terrible car accident that changed nearly everything about his life), and they are handled very well. I loved the characters, I loved the town (which felt real and not like some sappy fantastical small town), and I loved the story. Even a couple of weeks after finishing the book, I keep thinking about it and just longing to return to the feeling of this story. Recommended.

Jul 15, 2020, 3:16pm

Welp, had my first Supernatural influenced nightmare. Watched the episode with the ghost of H.H. Holmes last night and was having creepy murderer dreams afterwards. Mr. Fine usually switches us over to a sitcom after a few episodes of Supernatural (right now it's Scrubs) before we head to bed so my brain has other things to feed on but it didn't work this time. :P

Jul 15, 2020, 3:57pm

>34 MickyFine: Oh no! I'm actually surprised that I don't have SPN-induced nightmares sometimes. Laura, should I tell her about my lukewarm boyfriend dream...? Sort of a nightmare of another kind...

Editado: Jul 17, 2020, 11:19am

>34 MickyFine: Oh no! That strategy is usually tried and true for me too (that or reading a few pages of Pride and Prejudice), though I seem to be pretty inured to SPN at this point. That *is* a very creepy one.

>35 scaifea: *snork* Of course.

Editado: Jul 17, 2020, 10:59pm

40.) How to Be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi *****

I expected this to be a good book and an important book, but I was a little surprised by just how much I *enjoyed* it as well. Kendi interweaves his discussion of racism and antiracism with narrative about his own life, and this technique works to great effect to illustrate the concepts he's discussing. He is also able in this way to show his own growth from racist to antiracist, which may help diffuse any defensiveness a reader might have about the subject matter. Enthusiastically recommended.

Jul 18, 2020, 7:48am

>37 lycomayflower: Well put, Laura. I liked how he placed his personal journey alongside the concepts. I hadn't thought about how this technique would counteract reader defensiveness, that's a great point. And it works!

Jul 18, 2020, 9:14am

>37 lycomayflower: I *need* to get to this one soon.

Jul 31, 2020, 10:12pm

>39 scaifea: It really is very good...

Editado: Jul 31, 2020, 10:20pm

41.) Just Like That, Cole McCade ****

Summer Hemlock returns to his hometown and his high school to take a job working for Fox Iseya, a teacher he had a crush on as a teenager. There's definitely chemistry between them now, but Summer has to learn who Fox really is (rather than who Summer thought he was when he was eighteen), and Fox must learn to get past the grief of losing his wife.

I really enjoyed this romance novel--the characters were intriguing and the shifting power dynamics between the heroes was fascinating. I also liked the portrayal of Summer's anxiety on the page. Things may have gotten just a tiny bit over dramatic in the end, but mostly I was enjoying myself while a little sliver of my brain was going "really?" in the background. I'll be picking up more by McCade.

Editado: Jul 31, 2020, 10:55pm

42.) The Avant-Guards, Carly Usdin ****

The first collection of issues of the comic The Avant-Guards, which follows the members of a newly formed women's basketball team at an arts college. I immediately fell in love with all of the characters here (especially Charlie and Liv, who the comic seems to be focused on, at least for now), and I love the diverse representation of races, sexualities, and religions. This gives me a little bit of a Giant Days feel, and I'm really glad to have something to look forward to reading as that series finishes up.

Ago 1, 2020, 10:50am

In 1992 (when I was eleven), I started keeping a notebook listing the books I've read, thanks to a boy I had a crush on who did the same thing. I've been keeping such a notebook ever since (thanks, David, wherever you are!), and last night I filled up my most recent notebook--which I've been using since 2008.

The journal:

It's first page (way back when I was unmarried and still in PhD school--aaaas is evidenced by the fact that most everything on that first page was reading for my comprehensive exams):

The last pages:

With it's compatriots:

Ago 1, 2020, 8:25pm

>43 lycomayflower: Ooh, I love this. I bet it's fun to flip back to random points in time, look at what you were reading, and see what other memories that stirs up.

I hope you had a new blank notebook close at hand as well!

Ago 1, 2020, 9:34pm

>43 lycomayflower: That's super cool! I started keeping track of my reading while still in grad school, but after awhile I abandoned the written form for keeping it exclusively online. Either way, I also find it really fun to page back and look over my reading at particular points in my life.

Ago 2, 2020, 6:07pm

But what does the new notebook look like? :D

Editado: Ago 7, 2020, 10:12pm

>44 lauralkeet:, >45 bell7:, >46 MickyFine: Oh yes, it *is* fun to page back through them. Especially the really old ones. Better than a journal, I sometimes think!

Here's the new one:

Ago 7, 2020, 10:21pm

43.) Kristy's Great Idea, Ann M. Martin ****

I just keep hearing about the Baby-Sitters Club lately, what with the new Netflix show and the host of one the podcasts I listen to doing a BSC book club. It feels like the BSC books were ubiquitous when I was eleven or so, and I remember reading and enjoying them for several years as a kid. But I'd never revisited them until now. I was surprised by how engaging this was, despite being very simple, in narrative style, plot, and characterization. It's hard to say how much of that enjoyment was nostalgia (I remembered this volume surprisingly well, and I think I must have read it repeatedly as a kid), but I think it's safe to say that I wouldn't have been quite as engaged as I was if it was just the looking-back factor. I'll probably read a few more of these, at least, when I want something quick and pleasant. Oh, and FYI, the new show is very good, and does a *wonderful* job of updating the series from the mid-eighties to the 2020s.

Ago 8, 2020, 7:55am

Ago 8, 2020, 9:03am

>47 lycomayflower: I *love* that. My oldest two book journals are a bit fancier, but then I just started using composition notebooks.

Ago 17, 2020, 8:53pm

>50 scaifea: I can't resist nice journals, but my book notebook is literally the *only* thing I have ever used a nice journal for for more than, like, a month.

Ago 17, 2020, 8:56pm

44.) The Avant-Guards Vol. 2, Carly Usdin ****

I'm still loving this. A diverse group of women finding themselves, playing basketball, being friends, and doing college. It's great. I'm in on this comic, for sure.

Ago 17, 2020, 9:08pm

45.) The House You Pass on the Way, Jacqueline Woodson ****

Staggerlee is biracial and doesn't feel like she ever quite fits in in her mostly Black town. When her cousin comes to visit one summer, she begins to question her sexuality as well. This short, quiet YA novel was a delightful exploration of a teenager discovering who she is as well as a gentle portrait of a family.

Editado: Ago 17, 2020, 10:33pm

46.) Sitcom: A History in 24 Episodes from I Love Lucy to Community, Saul Austerlitz ***

Austerlitz explores the sitcom as a form by focusing for one chapter on one significant episode of each of the twenty-four sitcoms he thinks are the most important. He includes some discussion of related sitcoms in each chapter as well, so many shows that don't get a chapter treatment are still mentioned. I enjoyed this thoroughly when I was at least somewhat familiar with the sitcom he was discussing and almost not at all when I wasn't. Which, look--it's hard to explain humor, so I don't necessarily hold Austerlitz strictly to blame for this, but I feel like if you're going to write a book on sitcoms, you ought to be able to describe what makes a show or episode or bit work to someone who hasn't seen it? And mostly he just didn't. The book certainly wasn't a waste of time (I've seen a lot of what he discusses, and when I had, the discussion ranged from fine to great), and I learned some stuff even when I couldn't fully follow him. YMMV, I suppose, especially since Austerlitz is clearly biased (of course he is--how could you not be?) and he and I don't really agree on what's funny. He thinks Seinfeld is amazepants (I know, I know, a lot of people do), and I... so very do not. (I'd be really curious to see whether sitcoms line up in any way with people's Hogwarts houses--do any Puffs like Seinfeld?) The book also already feels dated (it was published in 2014) for what it necessarily leaves out. I mean, shows have premiered, had enviously long runs, and finished since this came out.

Editado: Ago 17, 2020, 9:56pm

47.) Surfacing, Daniel Stephens **1/2

A romance novel that is as much (or more?) about grief than it is about love. After losing his husband and young son to a car accident, Chris moves to the small lake town in Maine where he used to visit his grandfather as a child. There he begins to heal, with the help of his neighbors and Jake, with whom he feels a spark. Also, there's a wolf?

I'm afraid I just didn't get along with this novel. Some of the descriptions were pretty good (there's an equinox party that Stephens describes particularly well--I recognize that party, I've *been* to that party), but I never really felt like I got to know the heroes and I *really* don't know why they fell for each other. It was never clear to me which (if any?) of the characters were of Native American descent, but there sure were Native American spiritual practices happening--and that didn't sit super well with me. Then there was the word repetition. And the wolf, who I guess was some kind of spirit guide? Helping Chris heal? Question mark? *shrug* YMMV, I guess.

Editado: Ago 17, 2020, 10:38pm

48.) Wake of Vultures, Lila Bowen ****

CW: rape, violence, harm to animals, brief body horror, historically accurate racially insensitive terms, possibly poor Native American representation (about which more in my review)

If you put Lonesome Dove in a blender with Supernatural and added a generous heaping of queerness, I think you might get Wake of Vultures. Nettie Lonesome is half Black and half Native American, though she knows nothing of her parents or to which tribe she might belong. She is more comfortable living as a man than as a woman, and she comes to understand that she is attracted to both men and women. Oh, and after killing a man in the barn one evening and watching him turn to sand, she can now see monsters. And she's haunted by the ghost of a woman who wants her to kill a monster that has been feeding on children in the desert. Nettie goes on a journey--a literal one to fulfill her quest and a figurative one to sort out what she can about who she is and how she will be in the world.

This was a strangely compelling read for me, "strangely" because I can't quite put my finger on what kept pulling me through it. I felt a little kept at a distance from everything, especially Nettie, but the setting and premise were interesting, and I wanted to see how Nettie would get on. I just... kept going, without really fully knowing why.

Aside from that ambivalence is my concerns about the Native American representation in the novel. This is not an own voices story, and I'm just unsure about Bowen's use of words like "Injun" throughout the novel, used by most of the characters as a label only and not as a derogatory term. Bowen discusses in her author's note the problem of how to make choices about words in historical narratives where the accurate word may be hurtful to readers now, but her discussion feels a little... off-hand and not nuanced enough and almost flippant? Then there's the question of her use of Native American shapeshifters in the story and of some other figures which may or may not be from Native American spiritual practices. I've done some research on the novel, and I can't find much about these aspects of it, save a handful of one-star Amazon reviews which literally say only that the representation isn't good and nothing about why or how. So I don't know. Proceed with caution, I guess. I will say that nothing struck me as awful or icky itself, beyond just my questioning of whether someone not from this background should be writing about such things in this way. But, as a white woman with very little knowledge on this subject, I also don't know what I'm talking about. There are two sequels to Wake of Vultures. I don't think I'm going to read them. Do with that what you will.

Ago 18, 2020, 8:45am

>56 lycomayflower: Nice review. Have you checked out the guy she sometimes collaborates with, Kevin Hearne? His website is interesting, and he sounds like someone your human housemate may have encountered in his reading.

Set 7, 2020, 3:01pm

49.) Soaked!, Abi Cushman ****

It's raining and ruining Bear's fun. The other animals are still managing to have a good time, but not him. Just when he figures out how to enjoy himself even in the plan-ruining rain, it stops! *GRUMP* This picture book is fun and silly, and I loved the illustrations. This will be heading to my nieces when the holidays roll around.

Set 7, 2020, 3:07pm

50.) Moonstruck vol. 1 Magic to Brew, Grace Ellis et al ***

On paper this comic--LGBTQ rep with racial diversity and magic--seems like it should be right up my alley. But it just didn't pull up my socks. Too much in medias res, not enough world building maybe? I had no specific complaints, so YM seems likely to V.

Set 7, 2020, 3:14pm

51.) Sorted: Growing Up, Coming Out, and Finding My Place, Jackson Bird ****1/2

Jackson Bird's memoir is a delight. It's a personable and engaging memoir of his childhood and beyond, tracing what it was like growing up trans but not out. He also includes a lot of great information about transgender issues and resources, so the memoir can also function as a bit of a primer. Recommended.

Editado: Set 7, 2020, 3:22pm

52.) When No One Is Watching, Alyssa Cole ****

CW: racism; historical, systemic racist practices; white folk being super ugly and racist; racist, non-consensual medical experimentation on humans

This thriller about gentrification in a Brooklyn neighborhood was a fascinating combination of history, all-too-believable current-day racist conspiracy, and light romance. I'm not usually terribly into thrillers because I find they tend not to do enough character development to hold my interest, but not so here. I enjoyed the main characters thoroughly and wanted to stick with them, find out what happened to them, and route for them. Recommended, but see my content warnings.

Out 11, 2020, 1:26pm

*waves at anyone still checking in on my floundering attempts to thread this year*

I have a pile of *counts* five books that need reviews. Maybe today....

I *am* keeping my "read 2020" tag up to date, so if you're, like, *gasping* to know. :-p

Out 11, 2020, 2:26pm

Hi Laura! Happy to see you and hope the fall is treating you well. *hugs*

Mr. Fine and I have just started Season 4. :)

Out 11, 2020, 2:57pm

>63 MickyFine: OooooOOOOOOoooooOOOO SEASON FOUR. *happy sigh*

*waves at Laura alongside Misha*

Out 11, 2020, 3:55pm

>63 MickyFine: Hi, Micky! Your gif made me grin like a fool.

>63 MickyFine:, >64 scaifea: SEASON FOOOOUUUR. *glee*

*waves*, hiya, Amber.

Out 13, 2020, 1:18pm

So, season four is good then? ;)

Out 15, 2020, 6:55pm

>62 lycomayflower: *waves at anyone still checking in on my floundering attempts to thread this year*

>63 MickyFine: I made it! I am here. Waving back at you. What a year! I really should start watching this show--the gifs all make me laugh.

Out 16, 2020, 10:50am

We watched the Monster Movie episode last night. I have heart eyes for it. That is all.

Out 16, 2020, 11:04am

>68 MickyFine: *bounces* I love that one!!

Out 16, 2020, 11:37am

>69 scaifea: Very seasonally appropriate. I can see pulling out that one for future Halloweens.

Out 16, 2020, 11:58am

>70 MickyFine: Ha! Yes! Although, to be fair, pretty much any SPN episode would work for Halloween.

Out 16, 2020, 12:12pm

>71 scaifea: True, but thus far there's only a handful that haven't grossed me out or creeped me out enough that I'd be willing to rewatch.

Out 16, 2020, 1:22pm

>72 MickyFine: *snork!* Fair enough.

(Hello, Laura. Nice thread you've got here.)

Out 26, 2020, 9:31am

>21 lycomayflower: Oh, I did not know Ross read his own audiobook! That's so perfect; he's such a phenomenal reader.

Out 26, 2020, 10:24am

>74 hmwendt: LOOK WHO'S HERE!

Out 26, 2020, 3:00pm

>74 hmwendt: , >75 laytonwoman3rd:

>74 hmwendt: Dude, it was such a delight (heh) to listen to him read it. Just amazing.

Out 26, 2020, 3:15pm

>68 MickyFine: I LOVE that episode. So so brilliantly done and fun.

Out 26, 2020, 3:19pm

>75 laytonwoman3rd: Am I, though?

Out 26, 2020, 3:19pm

>76 lycomayflower: Okay, well done, you.

Out 28, 2020, 12:01pm

>78 hmwendt: Close enough.

Out 29, 2020, 12:22pm

53.) I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, Austin Channing Brown ****

A memoir in which Brown discusses living in the US as both a black woman and a Christian. I remember enjoying this and really appreciating Brown's voice, but I've waited too long between finishing and reviewing to go into specifics. A good choice, though, to add to any list you might be making of books to read featuring diverse voices.

Editado: Nov 29, 2020, 10:06am

54.) Hither, Page, Cat Sebastian ****

I loved this mystery/romance novel, which I thought was pretty much equal parts of each genre and which therefore felt just perfect to me. Set right after WWII in England, there's all manner of nefarious village shenanigans and secrets afoot, and the country doctor and the spy (it all comes clear, promise) sent to investigate a suspicious death are drawn to each other. I loved it and hope Sebastian will make this into a series.

Editado: Nov 29, 2020, 10:08am

55.) Giant Days, volume 10, John Allison et al ****

Reading a volume of Giant Days always feels like visiting with friends. I love these guys, and reading about them entering into their final year of university reminds me so strongly of the bittersweet feeling of my own last year of college. This volume, as always, is full of humor and heart and great characters and fantastic art. Strongly recommend this whole series.

Editado: Nov 29, 2020, 10:12am

56.) Prince & Knight, Daniel Haack and Stevie Lewis *****

This picture books follows a prince as his parents try to find a woman for him to marry. But nobody suits. Then one day there's a dragon attack, and the prince goes to fight the dragon. In the process, he meets a knight, and oh! *he* would suit. They dispatch the dragon together, save each other, get married, and everyone is thrilled the prince found the person who will help him in his reign and in his life. *sigh* Perfect. And the illustrations are bright and fun. Wholly recommended.

Editado: Dez 6, 2020, 12:14pm

57.) Beyond Shame, Kit Rocha ***1/2

An erotic romance about found family and love in a dystopian world. Good character stuff and world building and the sex is well written. Do mind that it's erotic romance--much sex on the page. It was bordering on too much for me (that's not a criticism, just personal preference), but YMMV of course. There's a whole series of these, and I am looking forward to reading some more of them because the found family aspects were awesome.

Editado: Dez 6, 2020, 12:13pm

58.) Better Than People, Roan Parrish ****1/2

Simon likes animals more than people. Jack breaks his leg and can't walk his dogs. Enter Simon, who finds Jack on an app designed to help people who need pet care connect with people who'd like to hang out with some pets. Simon and Jack hit it off, not least because Jack accepts Simon's anxiety and doesn't try to fix it. This was a wonderful romance with a lot of great character stuff on the page and good representation of anxiety. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Editado: Dez 6, 2020, 1:11pm

59.) Boys of Alabama, Genevieve Hudson ***

Literary fiction about a teenaged boy from Germany who moves with his parents to Alabama because of his father's job. He then gets wrapped up in the world of the other boys at his private school and seduced by the charm (?) of a religious fanatic running for office. Threads of sexual questioning and homophobia run throughout the story. I was perplexed by this novel, which I never really found any footing with. And the end was ambiguous and deeply unsatisfying in a way I associate strongly with certain kinds of literary fiction and generally find annoying at best.

Editado: Dez 6, 2020, 1:14pm

60.) Open and Shut, David Rosenfelt ***1/2

The first in a long-running series of mystery/legal procedurals about a lawyer and his dog. I enjoyed this well enough but kept wishing the main character was more nuanced under his smart-aleckiness. (Has Dean Winchester ruined me for smart aleck dudes who aren't hiding a whole mess of nuance under their sarcastic exterior? Yeah, very probably.) I enjoyed this well enough but am not dying to read any more. Also: not enough dog.

Editado: Dez 6, 2020, 1:18pm

61.) Sheets, Brenna Thummler ***

A graphic novel about a teenaged girl trying to keep her family's laundromat business afloat after the death of her mother and admist her father's depression. The ghosts help. I never could quite settle into what the tone here was supposed to be. It sometimes felt depressingly dark and other times almost whimsical, but the the shift from one to the other didn't quite feel controlled.

Editado: Dez 7, 2020, 3:40pm

62.) Snow Birds, Kirsten Hall and Jenni Desmond ***1/2

A picture book about birds that stay around in winter. Nice illustrations but somehow didn't fully grab me.

Editado: Dez 7, 2020, 3:34pm

63.) Huntsman, Morgan Brice ***1/2

Shifter Liam is on the run from a bounty hunter who collects shifter kills. When his car breaks down, his mechanic is another shifter, and they grow attracted to one another. A fun shifter romance with some neat worldbuilding, though ultimately I was left feeling like I wanted a little more from the story--more depth with the characters, more details about the world. Intriguing enough that I'll probably read more in the series and almost certainly more by the author.

Editado: Dez 7, 2020, 3:46pm

64.) Fence, volume 1, C.S. Pacat et al *****

65.) Fence, volume 2, C.S. Pacat et al ****1/2

66.) Fence, volume 3, C.S. Pacat et al ****1/2

67.) Fence, volume 4, C.S. Pacat et al ****1/2

The first four volumes of the comic Fence, about Nick Cox, a talented but not well-trained high school fencer who wants to compete at a high level. He receives a scholarship to a school where he can fence, but he must make the team to stay on. The first four volumes follow Nick as he first arrives at school, begins practicing with the team, and nurses his rivalry (and friendship?) with elite fencer Seiji. This comic is a delight, with great friendships, lots of queer rep, and neat fencing sequences. I'm looking forward to more of it.

Editado: Dez 7, 2020, 3:49pm

68.) A Long Road on a Short Day, Gary D. Schmidt and Elizabeth Stickney ***1/2

A short illustrated chapter book following a young boy and his father as they travel around to all their neighbors seeing who is willing to trade for what. They are hoping to eventually end up with a cow for Ma, and they must hurry, as it is winter and they have a long way to go before the sun goes on such a short day. Has the potential to be charming but somehow missed the mark and ending up underwhelming for me. YMMV.

Editado: Dez 8, 2020, 12:17pm

69.) Crush, Richard Siken *****

What is *THIS*? A poetry collection that I loved to bits and clutched to my chest? If you've been following my thread for a long time, you know that I don't generally get on terribly well with poetry, but this one, man. It is so good, and so heartbreaking, and so, like, beautifully, unbearably *attentive* to detail and nuance of moment and emotion. Just. Read it. But, be aware, it will wreck you.

Editado: Dez 8, 2020, 12:20pm

70.) Song of the Old City, Anna Pellicioli and Merve Atilgan ****

A beautifully illustrated picture book about a little girl wandering around Istanbul, enjoying the people, the sights, the food, and the culture. Just lovely.

Editado: Nov 19, 2020, 4:49pm

71.) There'll Be Peace When You Are Done, edited by Lynn S. Zubernis ****

This collection of essays by fans of and cast members from Supernatural is all about the legacy of the show and how it has changed people's lives. As with the first volume (Family Don't End with Blood), some of the essays are better than others, with the ones from the cast members being the ones with the strongest general appeal. But there are also some real gems from fans in this volume, and for any member of the SPNFamily, this is kind of a must read, if for no other reason than to hang out in the feelings as the show ends (today!). Again, as with FDEwB, there are also lots of really lovely photos and fanart included that are a joy all by themselves.

Nov 19, 2020, 6:56pm

>83 lycomayflower: through >96 lycomayflower: I gotta say, I feel a bit shortchanged.

Nov 19, 2020, 8:24pm

>98 laytonwoman3rd: Oh, they're coming. Maybe even tomorrow. I just didnt want to get any *more* behind.

Nov 27, 2020, 2:27am

This Brit wishes to express his thanks for the warmth and friendship that has helped sustain him in this group, Laura

Nov 27, 2020, 11:16am

Just dropping by to say that last night I watched the "It's a Terrible Life" and "The Monster at the End of this Book" episodes of SPN and was delighted. Makes up for a stretch of more grim/gross episodes. :)

Nov 27, 2020, 3:13pm

>100 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul!

>101 MickyFine: Micky. I watched "It's a Terrible Life" yesterday too. Whut.

Nov 27, 2020, 3:33pm

>102 lycomayflower: Twinsies. It'll truly be a freaky Friday if you, me, and Amber all watch the same episode on the same day. ;)

Nov 27, 2020, 5:27pm

>101 MickyFine: >102 lycomayflower: >103 MickyFine: Get right out of town. I'll give you one guess which episode I watched yesterday (no cheating, Laura)...

Nov 27, 2020, 5:27pm

>104 scaifea: Series finale?

Nov 27, 2020, 5:29pm

>105 MickyFine: *SNORK!* We don't speak of that one, Micky. We don't *ever* speak of that one. EVER.

Nov 27, 2020, 5:29pm

It's like happening here.

Nov 27, 2020, 5:58pm

>106 scaifea: At the rate Mr. Fine and I are going, I might know why by this time next year. :P

Nov 27, 2020, 5:58pm

Nov 29, 2020, 10:19am

Heigh-o, y'all. Books 54-56 (starting at >83 lycomayflower:) now have wee reviews. Shouldst anyone (>98 laytonwoman3rd:) be wanting to see. More to come eventually.

Nov 29, 2020, 10:19am

>110 lycomayflower: Anything you say, Sam Wesson. *sigh*

Nov 29, 2020, 10:35am

>112 scaifea: How many people were calling down to IT just in the hopes of getting to talk to Sam Wesson for a few minutes?

Editado: Nov 29, 2020, 10:43am

>113 lycomayflower: Okay, I now need a show about how some office person spends his/her day slightly breaking their tech so that either Sam or Felicity will have to come and 'help' them...

Nov 29, 2020, 10:40am

>114 scaifea: Omg yes.

Nov 29, 2020, 11:05am

>83 lycomayflower: #54 See, you might have me with that one.

Dez 6, 2020, 1:19pm

Books 57-61 (starting at post >86 lycomayflower:) now have mini reviews!

Dez 6, 2020, 1:19pm

Dez 6, 2020, 2:30pm

>89 lycomayflower: I call shenanigans on your tag line.

Dez 6, 2020, 3:02pm

>119 laytonwoman3rd:. Say what now?

Dez 7, 2020, 3:50pm

Books 62-68 (beginning at >91 lycomayflower:) now have mini reviews.

Editado: Dez 7, 2020, 4:14pm

>93 lycomayflower: Is Fence a bit like Check, Please (if you've read the latter, which I have been meaning to get to for a while)?

Dez 7, 2020, 4:18pm

>122 MickyFine: I HAVE, and I *loved* it. Hmm. Check, Please is a bit more... adorable? Soft? But I think that if you liked C,P, you'd probably like Fence.

Dez 7, 2020, 4:22pm

>123 lycomayflower: Good to know. Once I read it, I'll consider Fence again. :)

Dez 7, 2020, 4:25pm

>124 MickyFine: Excellent. Of the two, I miiiight like Check, Please just a touch more? It gives me the warm and fuzzies.

Dez 7, 2020, 5:20pm

>120 lycomayflower: Ahem. My review of First Degree in which I believe I said them very words.

Editado: Dez 7, 2020, 10:35pm

>126 laytonwoman3rd:

Oh, wow. I went and looked and you, um, did indeed say *exactly* that.

Dez 8, 2020, 7:51am

Dez 8, 2020, 10:08am

>127 lycomayflower:, >128 lauralkeet: Can't escape the genes, apparently.

Dez 8, 2020, 12:25pm

Books 69 and 70 (starting at >95 lycomayflower:) now have mini reviews. (Y'all, I dug a poetry collection! WHUT.)

Dez 8, 2020, 12:38pm

You're caught up!

Dez 8, 2020, 12:44pm

>132 MickyFine: *basks in being caught up* *realizes have finished three other books in the meantime*

Dez 8, 2020, 1:15pm

Dez 8, 2020, 1:20pm

Dez 8, 2020, 3:31pm

>130 lycomayflower: Come, LOVE being related to me (and all the other weirdos in the pool).

>101 MickyFine: Wait....there's an episode called The Monster at the End of This Book??? I was superb at reading that book out loud.

Dez 8, 2020, 4:35pm

>136 laytonwoman3rd:, >130 lycomayflower: Wait. You doubt the *sincerity* of my love-expressed-through-Jensen-at-comic-con-gif? How dare.

Editado: Dez 8, 2020, 4:41pm

72.) A Jedi You Will Be, Preeti Chhibber ****

A children's book retelling Luke's story from Return of the Jedi in pictures coupled with rhyming text about becoming a Jedi told in "Yoda speak." Adorable and fun.

Dez 8, 2020, 5:48pm

>138 lycomayflower: I believe I detected a visual "tone".

Dez 9, 2020, 1:18pm

Dez 11, 2020, 5:56pm

73.) The Thief, Megan Whelan Turner ****

This was my first foray into this series, and I enjoyed it very much. In fact, it was one of those books that I liked more and more as I went along. Turner somehow manages to keep you completely engaged and convinced you're following the story just fine while all the while building up to a wonderful reveal/twist. Gen, the main character, is fascinating and just gets more and more so as the story goes on. I'm looking forward to reading more in the series.

Dez 11, 2020, 6:02pm

74.) Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish, Grace Burrowes ***1/2

Lady Sophie unexpectedly must care for a baby alone in the run-up to the Christmas holidays. A chance encounter with one Vim Charpentier and a worsening snow storm mean she is stuck in the family's London home with Vim over the course of several days. Much loving on a baby and falling for one another ensue. And then complications. I enjoyed this holiday romance novel well enough, though it felt perhaps a little overlong? Maybe I only felt as much because I haven't read the earlier entries in the series and therefore wasn't as invested in the occasional chapter following other members of Sophie's family. But the tender moments between Sophie and Vim as well as the overall feel of the book (and the delightful and never twee interactions among the characters and the baby) convince me that I should read more of the series. I'll start at the beginning this time.

Editado: Dez 11, 2020, 6:11pm

75.) Lisette the Vet, Ruth MacPete ***

A picture book about a little girl who wants to be a vet and saves the day at school when the classroom pet gets hurt. I thought the story was just a little thin, but I don't think you can overstate the importance of being able to give a book about a little girl who wants to be a vet (and written by a female vet) *to* little girls who want to be vets. Which is exactly what I'll be doing with this book.

Dez 11, 2020, 6:07pm

76.) The Most Magnificent Thing, Ashley Spires ****

A little girl who likes to tinker has an idea for the most magnificent thing. She goes about making it, but it all comes out wrong. So she quits. And then she tries again and overcomes the problems she encountered the first time. A nice message, great illustrations, and really nice text that includes a lot of vivid verbs. Sending this to one of the nieces for her birthday.

Dez 11, 2020, 6:16pm

>144 lycomayflower: Congratulations on reaching 75, Laura!

Dez 11, 2020, 9:46pm

>144 lycomayflower: You WILL be the cool aunt...*sigh*

Dez 12, 2020, 12:16am

Felicitations on reaching the magic number, Laura!

Dez 12, 2020, 8:42am

Dez 12, 2020, 9:17am

Congrats on 75, Laura!

Dez 12, 2020, 3:13pm


Editado: Dez 19, 2020, 9:53am

>147 laytonwoman3rd: Well, perhaps, but *you're* the one they get to see.

>149 scaifea: *grins*

>146 FAMeulstee:, >148 MickyFine:, >150 bell7:, >151 drneutron: Thanks, all! There was a good stretch there when I thought I wasn't going to make it this year.

Dez 24, 2020, 7:14pm

Congrats on the big 7-5!!! And

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May 2021 bring you less need for masks, loads of peace and joy, good health and, of course, books!

Dez 25, 2020, 11:25am

I hope you get some of those at least, Laura, as we all look forward to a better 2021.

Dez 31, 2020, 6:10pm

Editado: Dez 31, 2020, 8:44pm

77.) Lost Wolf, Sam Burns ***1/2

Sawyer is running away from his pack and an abusive, murderous alpha when he runs (almost literally) into Dez, an alpha in a small pack with two other alphas. Sawyer finds acceptance and a family in the pack--will he also find a mate in Dez? Of *course* he will, don't be silly. And that's one of the things I love about romance--always, but especially in 2020. It's gonna work out how it should. I enjoyed all the characters here, the found family aspects, and the romance--as well as the way Burns plays around with tropes and expectations from the alpha/beta/omega dynamic that is popular in fanfic.

Dez 31, 2020, 8:42pm

78.) Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times, Katherine May ****

Wintering is a memoir of difficult times in May's life as well as a meditation on winter as a season. She considers the power of lying fallow, both in the natural world around us and in our own lives. This was just a delightful read and did what so many of my favorite memoirs do: it entwined the narrative of May's life with all sorts of relevant information about the world. Recommended.

Dez 31, 2020, 9:22pm


As the year turns, friendship continues

Editado: Jan 2, 12:39pm

Doing this for flamingrabbit, who'd rather not try hunting around for new threads. Laura's 2021 thread is here.

Editado: Jan 3, 6:37pm

79.) Revelations, Nikole Knight ****

When college freshman Riley starts noticing a pair of young men around campus who no one else seems to be able to see and who appear whenever Riley is in danger, he starts down a path where he learns more about the world than most people ever get to know. I'm tempted to call this Twilight with angels instead of vampires and a boy protagonist rather than a girl--and I guess that's not super off base, but it also feels, mmm, reductive? Riley's coming to slow realizations about himself, and the angels who are guarding him are each fascinating themselves. The backstory for the world of the angels is compelling (if only hinted at here), and I'm intrigued to keep going with the series to discover how Riley will come into his own and what will happen with his relationships with the angels--not to mention there's a bigger plot brewing. An interesting start to the series.

Editado: Jan 2, 9:49pm

That did it for 2020. I'm always just a little *grump* about ending on such a NOT ROUND NUMBER, but I'm pretty pleased to have surpassed 75 at all this year.

My Favs and Least Favs for 2020:

Top 5 Reads of 2020:
How to Be an Antiracist
The Book of Delights

Worst Reads of 2020
Boys of Alabama
Not a Day Goes By

My 2020 Stats:

Books: 79
Pages: 14,699
Fanfic: A *lot*

Print: 50
Audio: 3
E: 0
Graphic: 5
Comics: 10
Illustrated: 11

Fiction: 62
Nonfiction: 16
Poetry: 1

Male Authors: 23
Female Authors: 57
BIPOC Authors: 14
LGBTQIA+ Authors: 24
In Translation: 0

Jan 2, 9:43pm

Join me here for 2021.

2020 thread, out.