The Best Of 2020

Oh, 2020. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

It’s becoming a tradition that we can’t fit all we want to write about in our end-year post, and again we had to divide it into two. Before Christmas we wrote about the blog and stats, now we want to share our favourite – and least favourite – books and shows, consumed in this fateful year.

Ola: Well, say what you want, but for me 2020 turned out to be a good time for reading ;). As last year, I decided to divide my best reads into three categories, Fiction, Non-fiction, and Comics. With so many books read, my The Best Of criteria had to be very harsh, so below are the best of the best of the best, which means a very impactful, thought-provoking and delightful read, as well as the even rarer 10/10 rating :).

Ola’s Best of 2020 in Fiction

Neal Stephenson, Anathem (2008)

This was truly one of the very best reads of 2020 and one of the very best SF reads ever. Stephenson’s love letter to Western philosophy and science is pure perfection, and his decision to wrap it into a hero’s journey through a world as like and as unlike our own was a masterstroke, allowing the readers an incredibly immersive experience. The prose is dense, ambitious, unforgiving, but given a chance it shines with amazing clarity and emotion. I owe big thanks to Bart, who recommended Anathem to me; Stepehenson’s Seveneves is good, especially the first part dealing with orbital mechanics, and would’ve been even better if the last part didn’t exist, but Anathem is a masterpiece, clear and simple. If you haven’t yet, read it!

Hilary Mantel, The Mirror & the Light (2020)

The grand finale of the critically acclaimed Cromwell trilogy doesn’t disappoint. It may be more meandering and more sentimental than the naked blade of Bring Up the Bodies, but that’s to be expected since it deals with the final years of Thomas Cromwell, whose tragic history is inextricably linked with that of Henry VIII. A historical novel with grand ambitions, a deep psychological portrayal of human vices and virtues, of naked ambition, egotism and the pitfalls of power, The Mirror & the Light is astonishingly modern, significant novel; a mark of true classic, its contents equally relevant in times of Henry VIII and our own.

Yoon Ha Lee, Ninefox Gambit (2016)

I’ve written all I could about this quirky, thought-provoking read. I loved Lee’s bold, utterly brilliant mashup of Korean mythology and political anti-utopia clad in military SF accoutrements and wrapped up in a stolen identity mystery happening in the middle of a galactic war. Ninefox Gambit is wonderfully ambitious, broad in scope, and lyrical. I’ve read the remaining two books in the trilogy, but sadly, their quality seemed to be deteriorating with each installment, and by the end turned into a political treatise focused on gender issues while what I was expecting was an all-out AI revolution ;).

Bernard Cornwell, The Pale Horseman (2005)

The second installment in the Saxon Stories series, popularized by the Netflix’s TV series Last Kingdom (very good, actually, though I haven’t seen it past season 1 as I want to read the books first ;)) is impeccably written, heart-rending, thoroughly researched, and simply riveting. The first book is good; but only in The Pale Horseman Cornwell achieves the psychological and societal depth to make his work outstanding. Many thanks to Sarah, who recommended this series to me. A review will come one day, I promise πŸ˜‰

Daniel Polansky, The Seventh Perfection (2020)

I was really surprised by this little novella; its impact on me was far bigger than I’d expected judging by its length and the misleadingly obfuscating beginning. But this tiny bit of a book is simply amazing, turning midpoint from a slightly generic fantasy into a Kafkian treatise on the nature and limits of power. I absolutely adored every aspect of it, from the stunningly apt use of the second person perspective to the impeccably structured journey – inward and outward – of the protagonist.

Ola’s Best of 2020 in Non-fiction

Orlando Patterson, Ethnic Chauvinism (1977)

Interesting colors on the cover πŸ˜‰

I read it back in January, never expecting the book will become so valid and important in 2020. Patterson unflinchingly and penetratingly portrays the various aspects of nationalism, ethnocentrism and other forms of tribal affiliations, focusing on their oft-neglected economical foundations. A groundbreaking work; while parts of it got a bit outdated over the last four decades, the main message is startingly, unfortunately relevant.

Dimitra Papagianni, Michael A. Morse, The Neanderthals Rediscovered. How Modern Science is Rewriting Their History (2013)

A very interesting summary of the current (well, probably not so much anymore, even though I read the revised and updated version ;)) knowledge on Neanderthals. Insigtful, succint, illuminating – especially when it comes to taking the blame for Neanderthal extinction off our Homo sapiens shoulders :).

AndrΓ‘s Szunyoghy, Drawing the Human Figure: The Artist’s Complete Guide (2015)

Seriously amazing skill and devotion to the subject matter. Not sure if it works equally well as a guide, it’s a bit dry and generally I find learning to do anything from a book quite trying, but I can just look at the stunning pictures and the artist’s knowledge of human anatomy πŸ˜€

Ola’s Best Of 2020 in Comics

There can be only one winner in this category this year – unfortunately, I’ve read far more rotten comics than outstanding ones in 2020 πŸ˜‰

Brian Vaughan, Fiona Staples, Saga Book 3 (2019)

A shocking ending right before hiatus, opening up countless possibilities for the remainder of the series. Our review says it all, but let me just write that this was a gut-punch at once expected and unexpected. We as readers always knew that reality will catch up to our fairy-tale protagonists, but to witness it happening is a different matter altogether.

Ola’s Best of 2020 in TV Series

I’ve got only two on the list ;). My movie/series watching this year took a serious hit, what with playing Uncharted 1-4 (or rather watching) and reading all those books in between ;).

Jon Favreau, The Mandalorian S02 (2020)

I’m pretty certain we’ll write a separate post on this, so let me just say the ending is just jaw-dropping. So many possibilities!!! (That’s me fangirling πŸ˜‰ The series still can be construed as being in the current Disney canon, but there’s an increasingly growing list of elements that are not compatible with Disney’s vision of Star Wars – and I for one am getting happier and happier!

Scott Frank, Alan Scott, The Queen’s Gambit (2020)

Stylish, impeccably written and filmed, absolutely gripping coming-of-age story of chess, ambition, solitude, love, maladjustment, addiction and chess. Who would expect that chess matches (actually portrayed pretty realistically) can be so nail-bitingly thrilling? πŸ˜‰ I think this series merits a separate review – what do you think, Piotrek?

Piotrek: We share some titles this year, in all categories. There was so much goodness in the culture consumed by me in 2020 that this year can be judged, at least in that regards, as a wonderful one. So much that we won’t have space for the Worst of… so we’ll leave it out of this post, and try to prepare a shorter one next week.

Piotrek ‘s Best of 2020 in Fiction

Well, to begin with, Anathem is also on my list. What could I add after Ola’s praise? It is a masterpiece, for all the reasons she enumerated, a very rich and rewarding book that is not the easiest to read, but most definitely worth it. What I liked the most, and there it seemed to be inspired by Hermann Hesse’s The Glass Bead Game, is the idea of monasteries of secular intellectuals, deemed in this world to be too dangerous to be allowed to wonder the world openly πŸ˜‰ (there are more similarities, like the various games played in the concents). This is my favourite novel read for the first time in 2020.

The other new read on this list will be something unlikely to feature on any The Best Of… made by Ola: Inversions by Iain M. Banks. I’m going through the series slowly, as the supply is finite and I don’t want to reach the end quickly. This was a Culture novel with not that much Culture in it, describing a world technologically far behind, with no overt Culture influences – but with some almost-certainly Culture characters present to hasten the progress that seems to have brought this world to the eve of a Renaissance of sorts. There are some echoes of Le Guin’s Hain cycle, but mostly it’s an interesting, melancholic break from hard SF climate of the other Culture novels.

Special mention goes to a short classical masterpiece, Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat. Loads of fun and an insight into the minds of people we can actually understand, deprived of the benefits of modern technology – as the detailed descriptions of their picnic equipment shows us, but modern people in most ways. Also, it’s the inspiration of much longer To Say Nothing of the Dog my favourite of Connie Willis’ Oxford Time Travel Series. I’ve read Jerome Jerome very long ago, but that technically constitutes a re-read. And when we came to it, revisiting two other books was also the literary highlight of 2020.

First, Herman Wouk’s War and Remembrance, a sequel to his The Winds of War. This was a novel much loved by my grandfather whose worn out paperbacks I inherited and read twice already, and in 2019 I added both titles to my Audible library. The first I listened to in 2019, the second I finished this year. It offers a simplified but well meant view of the Second World War, the ascending American Empire and the end of European dominance of the world. I myself hold a much more nuanced view on these issues, but I feel nostalgic for the optimism that shines through the cruelties described in detail.

The other – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. During the lockdown I started a series of ZOOM meetings with my nieces, and I read them a few books I thought both they and I will enjoy. It was so much fun to revisit this one, and to experience that with two young, eager minds (the youngest one wondered around and listened a bit, but it’s too early for her to listen to concentrate for longer periods of time). Now we’re reading Patricia Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles and the fun continues πŸ™‚

Piotrek ‘s Best of 2020 in Non-fiction

I’ve probably read more non-fiction than in any year since my university days, although most of that is uniquely Polish and unlikely to ever be translated. Marcin NapiΓ³rkowski, a Polish semiotician with a gift of writing popular, understandable books featured here already last year. That doesn’t mean I can neglect his Contemporary Mythology this year. It’s a great mix of scientific analysis and good writing that shows how myths work in the modern world in a way quite similar to how they used to in the eras we usually think of when we here the word myth. How much did I like it? Well, see how many post-its I used to mark favourite quotes:

That was in Polish, but covered quite universal topics. This was a very political year in our little country, and no wonder my lectures reflect that. Careful readers of the blog might have realized I’m no fan of the Catholic Church, and especially its Polish variation. Not having anything against the faith itself, I don’t like the political influence of the hierarchy, their support of our increasingly authoritarian regime, and the effect it has on individual rights of our people. I’ve read several books on that topic this year, and countless articles approaching the subject from various perspectives. The young generation started to look behind the curtain and the stats are encouraging, but that’s something for another time, and another place. My favourite book in the Organized Religion section was The Church System by Tomasz Polak, a renowned Catholic theologian of the 1990-ties that later left the Church.

This is a very serious books describing author’s view on the mechanism that ruled the self image, doctrine and social influence of the Church throughout the ages. Its ability to survive by condemning and expelling some wannabe reformers while incorporating others’ ideas to stay relevant. Polak came to conclusion there’s actually not much alive or relevant under all the decorations and behind all the closed doors. I agree.

But enough about local troubles. The best escapist non fiction of the year had undoubtedly been The Dictionary of Imaginary Places by Alberto Manguel and Gianni Guadalupi. A monumental work published first in 1980 and in Poland in 2019. While I usually go for English versions, Polish translators added some very interesting entries and also the book looks really beautiful:

A thousand pages I browsed through for several months, probably reading most entries – and some several times. Working from home, I needed a short break from time to time, and this was ideal. 2020 revived my interest in lexicons! Chris of Calmgrove reviewed the English version, and his praise convinced me to finally buy this expensive tome after long deliberations πŸ™‚

Piotrek ‘s Best of 2020 in Comics

I haven’t read that many comics, actually. Something to improve next year! Saga was definitely the best one, and I’ve read it all this year. It was epic, and reading it all at once – powerful. I think I’m going to wait until the second half is ready before diving back in, to repeat that experience. And to collect the deluxe editions πŸ˜‰ That means I’m likely to wait a long, long time…

But there was another graphic novel, much less known, and still excellent. Orwell by Pierre Christin and SΓ©bastien Verdier.

A great graphic biography, giving us its hero, but also his times, his class, his political and artistic choices on the wide and convincing background. I’m sure there are great scholarly biographies of Orwell, but this is a great one, and probably more entertaining. Nicely drawn, smartly written.

Piotrek ‘s Best of 2020 in TV Series

See Ola’s list πŸ˜‰ Seriously, both the Mandalorian and Queen’s Gambit open my list as well. I hear good things about the final season of Homeland, but I’ve yet to see it. But, for me, there’s more.

After Life is a black comedy from Ricky Gervais that shows us small town journalist dealing (badly) with the death of his wife. Season first premiered in 2019, 2020 gave us the second one – but I watched both this year. Not an easy topic, but I believe Gervais managed brilliantly, giving us laughs and feels alike.

His Dark Materials had a strong second season. The characters progress, acting and production values are great (beautiful CittΓ gazze!), adaptation of Pullman prose is done brilliantly. If you liked the books, watch it. If not – read the books first, being here means you are a genre lover. My fiancΓ©e isn’t, and is unlikely to ever read the books, but it is something we watch together and she loves it!

I liked the final season of Dark more than most people I discussed it with. I liked how the Lovecraft Country began, enough that I stopped watching to read the book – I’ll get back to the show some time next year. Mrs America was great, a deeply political show about the beginning of American politics we all know and most of us have strong opinions about… Babylon Berlin was great, now at three seasons of the decline ow Weimar Germany. The New Pope shined, Sorrentino’s stylistic gem, even better then previous Young Pope and with some genre elements!

My favourite animation was probably The Liberator, a Netflix war drama miniseries, telling a story of one American Army officer on the Western front. He fought his way from Africa, through Italy and France, to Dachau – and it all happened, more or less how depicted. Solid writing, very good animation, this is not an experiment in form but a very good story about a, well, real hero.

This is way too long and I realise some sort of conclusion should happen about now… what can I say, we both consumed some pretty good media this year, and it was probably one of the things that allowed us to survive 2020. Here’s to even better books & shows & movies (seen in cinema!!) in 2021, may we all be healthy, and happy, and meet people and go to places – but also find time to read & watch great stuff.

Happy 2021!!!

70 thoughts on “The Best Of 2020

  1. I’m happy to see that you both had a great year of reading and watching πŸ˜€ There are some great selections here, and you’ve made me want to add yet more books to my tbr pile. I also really enjoyed The Queen’s Gambit series, and I’m watching the Mandalorian S2 right now. I just finished the Ahsoka Tano episode and it blew me away! Finally, some great jedi action. Piotrek, you’ve made me curious to try the Liberator. Thanks for the rec! Best wishes to you both for 2021🎍

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    1. Anathem is amazing! I do wish I could get that beautiful Subterreanean edition, sigh πŸ˜‰ And The Mandalorian is just perfect – Star Wars as it should be! πŸ˜€

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      1. piotrek

        I’m definitely going to read “Peace” at some point, it’s patiently waiting on my shelf πŸ™‚ Le Guin is often the answer, I just got reminded I only read “Malafrena” and not the shorter stories from Orsinia. And Ellison… I know he comes highly recommended, including by Neil Gaiman, but he’ll just have to wait, TBR cannot be extended forever. But I have some ebooks, if I indeed get a Kindle this year… we’ll see πŸ˜‰

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        1. Wait, what? You didn’t read her Hainish or Earthsea novels?
          With Ellison, you can always take a taste by reading a story by him – he didn’t publish novels. Heβ€˜s… special 😊

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          1. piotrek

            I’m not that hopeless, I’ve read most of Le Guin, but among the stuff still ahead of me are short stories from Orsinia, and I live in Orsinia, in a way πŸ˜‰

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    1. Oh, there is, there is πŸ˜‰ Mantel’s Cromwell trilogy is absolutely amazing, if you’re into historical fiction, and I still have a good few Stephensons on my TBR πŸ˜‰ Wolfe also, come to think of it… πŸ˜‰

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      1. Ah, but look at my following comment 😁
        The Cromwell is interesting: look at the GR reviews! Most of my friends are around 4-5 stars. But the first two community reviews only 1 star.

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  2. While I have not consumed most of what either of you mention, nor does it appeal to me, I am glad you had so many good things. Visuals mediums for me just kind of get hoovered and I forget about them 1 day after the post (and probably an hour after consuming if I don’t blog about it).

    It’s nice to see some enthusiasm for ’20 πŸ™‚

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    1. I bet your summary of 2020 will look completely different – but that’s the beauty of it all πŸ˜‰
      Yeah, I second Piotrek’s comment – there had to be something good about 2020, after all πŸ˜€

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  3. I’m glad you both liked Anatham so much. Reminds me I still need to finish book 2 & 3 of the Baroque Cycle, and Cryptonomicon – but I’m afraid of long books these days. The same goes for the Mantel you mention, Ola – but I know I need to finish that, and that it will be rewarding.

    I like 9Fox Gambit a lot too, but after reading the 2nd installment, which I liked as well, I haven’t felt the urge to read 3. My plan initially was to read some short fiction in the same universe first, and I have a book with some of those on my physical TBR, but never felt to urge to pick it up either. Maybe I got burned out of YHL writing my ethical defense of military sf. Or maybe I got the feeling the trilogy might be too much a one trick pony with all the poetic language, and not enough other stuff to justify a further reading.

    Don’t know the Cornwell, I will look into it, thanks. I also don’t remember if I checked out the Polansky – even though I remember Ola’s review. Either way, will need to check it out again.

    That book of Patterson looks interesting. I would really recommend ‘The Ethnic Phenomenon’ by Van den Berghe, on the same topic, but 4 years older. My review here (https://wp.me/p1tcLv-6NK). They might be complementary, if Patterson focuses on the economic matter, even though VdBerghe goes one layer deeper than that: biological resources – which is ultimately the same, and as such VdBerghe might offer a more encompassing theory. I just checked the index and VdBerghe mentions Patterson 3 times in his book.

    As for Neanderthalers, since a month or so this book has been on my radar: Neanderthal Language: Demystifying the Linguistic Powers of Our Extinct Cousins, by Botha, published this year. It might be of interest to you too. I want to read another Botha book too, 2016’s Language Evolution: The Windows Approach, but I find ZERO reviews of that on the net, so I don’t dare to buy it.

    That drawing book looks good as well, would tie in nicely with my interest in painting, and my assisting with the early onsets into drawing humans of my children.

    Too many good reads on your overview, Ola!!

    I’ve only seen episode 1 of TQG, that was okay, but I’m not sure if I want to continue further, it looks predictable in a way. Could one of you say something how e1 relates to the rest?

    Inversions didn’t work for me Piotrek, which is a shame as I liked Banks so much. I don’t really consider it a culture novel, it wasn’t marketed as such either. How many other Culture books do you have to read? I’m a bit jealous you still have an unread supply πŸ˜‰

    I’m glad you mentioned After Life, I had forgotten that in my own year end post I’m writing, but I’ve remedied that. Great television. Gervais was also so good on that award show this year.

    Anyhow, here’s to the new year! Hope you’ll both continue reading & blogging!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. piotrek

      Thanks!

      I haven’t read beyond “Inversions”, and this year I’ll probably read one or two, to prolong my adventure with Banks πŸ™‚ I also bought a few of his non-Culture books, but read none as of yet.

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      1. Yeah, agreed. I also only read the first book and have dreaded the rest, his language is more difficult in these books I think. On the other hand, I thought book one was amazing, so I should just get over it and start, instead of being the lazy reader.

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    2. Yes, this year will mean more of Stephenson’s books for me! πŸ˜€ Baroque cycle and Cryptonomicon, though I’m not sure which I’m going to read first πŸ˜‰

      Yeah, if reading book 2 you felt like Lee’s ideas somewhat fizzled out, don’t bother with book 3 – it’s actually the worst of the lot, with a rather uncomfortable focus on transgender issues instead of what were the key elements of 9FG.

      I’ll be continuing with Cornwell this year – hope the series keeps the quality, though probably not in every book ;). Still, it’s a very satisfying approach to the Saxon times, and wonderfully shows the ambiguity of the cultural clash between Saxons, Vikings, Christianity and paganism.

      Your ethnic recommendation noted, I’ll look into it. Patterson’s approach was particularly interesting to me as Patterson himself was Jamaican; I feel that his views of the ethnic/racial phenomena were thus allowed to be more radical and scathing, and that’s very refreshing, especially from our contemporary perspective. It is a political book, and no mistake; Patterson sees in ethnic phenomena a socio-political, economically motivated tool, and I feel that reading him is best when accompanied by Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities – another immensely important book on nationalism that should absolutely be more widely known.

      I’ll take a look at Botha, thanks! Neanderthals are so fascinating, especially as we get more clearer picture of how climate change drove them toward extinction – I do wonder if we’re going the same way…

      Heh, thanks, Bart! That’s a great compliment! πŸ˜€

      The Queen’s Gambit gets better with subsequent episodes. The first one is a set up for the rest, so it’s more timid and expository. I’d say it keeps certain predictable elements, especially structure- and general plot-wise but is very unique and frank in its approach to gender and psychological matters; and it’s spot on with its depiction of chess, and moreover it makes it looks thrilling – and that’s really something! πŸ˜€

      Thanks – we’ll do our best! πŸ˜€ Happy New Year to you too, Bart, and all the best for 2021!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I wasn’t aware the climate played a role in the extinction of Neanderthalers.

        Will look into the Anderson too, thanks!

        E2 was already a bit better, I’ll think I’ll continue as it’s only 7 episodes. It sure isn’t bad, but I still don’t get why so many people rave about it. As for it’s take on addiction, I think it’s rather superficial, we’ll see if my opinion chances in a few episodes. I also seriously doubt one becomes a better midnight chess player on tranquilizers. Seems outright BS to me – unless those pills are something like rilatine, but that’s an unlikely tranquilizer, and if so, the effect on the mother seems wrong.

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  4. Wow, what a list to end the year off with. Congrats too yo both. Milou and I also watched Mando and Queen’s Gambit, both good series. There are a lot of books on this list I have never even heard of. Not sure all of it will be for me.

    Hope you both will have a great year end and a happy 2021 to the both of youπŸ₯³πŸ»

    Liked by 2 people

    1. piotrek

      Thanks πŸ™‚

      Well, I moved a bit away from genre and also read a lot of obscure non-fiction, that’s one of the reasons why I reviewed less… we’ll see what 2021 brings πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  5. A good year, at least reading-wise, so… best of times, I believe!
    And my thanks for the recent mention of Mantel’s book, because it gave me the idea to gift the trilogy to a history buff friend, who was very happy πŸ™‚
    Happy New Year to you both!!!!

    PS: looking forward to the Mandalorian review πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re very welcome, Maddalena! I’m very glad I could be of help πŸ˜€

      Happy New Year to you too!!! πŸ₯³

      It’s coming, it’s coming – Mandalorian S02 is definitely worthy of a glowing review πŸ˜€

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  6. So glad you found the Dictionary of Imaginary Places more than worth the expenditure, Piotrek: maybe someday I’ll get the newest edition in English as my copy dates from, I think, the 1980s, but it’s definitely a book to browse at length and at leisure, whatever the language!

    Can’t say I’ve read many books from either of your lists but certainly I share many of your favourite TV and streaming shows, especially after subscribing to Netflix. So, Queen’s Gambit, HDM, Mrs America, have all been fun viewing this year, and now that our son has subscribed us to Disney I’ll finally get round to The Mandalorian, yay!

    Anyway, I’ll sign off with the traditional shout (from my sick bed) in this part of the world at this time of the year, Blwyddyn Newydd Dda!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Welsh harder than Polish? I doubt it πŸ™‚ — in its English transliteration it would be pronounced roughly as Bloy-dthen Neh-width Dtha (stress in Welsh nearly always on the penultimate syllable) — literally ‘Year New Good’.

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    1. Sick bed? What sick bed? Hope you’ll get better soon, Chris!!! And I know it’s not Welsh, but SlΓ inte Mhaith!!

      Ngā mihi o te tau hou! (That’s Happy New Year in Maori :))

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      1. I had a raging pain from a dental abscess which, true to form, arrived in that hiatus between Christmas and the New Year. Luckily I managed the next day to catch our dentist on the only day she was in, but it took 36 hours for the penicillin (and the painkillers) to kick in. Luckily blogging proved to be a welcome distraction!

        Oh, and Kia ora, Ola! (That’s the limit of my Maori, as is Good Health in Irish… 😁)

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    1. Read it, read it, read it… What? Haven’t started already?! Do it now!!! πŸ˜€

      Thanks, S.D.!!! Glad we could meet this year πŸ™‚ All the best for 2021 to you and your family! πŸ₯³

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Lynn, and Happy New Year 2021 to you too! πŸŽŠπŸΎπŸŽ‰ We all deserve something better than this ratty 2020 πŸ˜‰

      Yes, already can’t wait for Mandalorian S03! 😁

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Happy New Year, Ola and Piotrek.

    Phew, what a list. I’m clearly a long way behind with my reading and my viewing.

    I did try the first episode of The Queen’s Gambit, but can’t seem to find enough interest to move on to episode 2. You’ve tempted me to look at The Mandalorian, though. And, thanks for jogging my memory about Bernard Cornwell, I’ve only read a couple of his Sharpe novels, so this would make a good move on. I’ve added him to my wish-list. Happy reading, both of you. Hope 2021 proves as productive as 2020 seems to have been, and a lot more cheery!

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    1. Happy New Year to you too, Cath, and thank you!

      I’d suggest giving The Queen’s Gambit another chance – the first episode didn’t really convinced me either, but the series got better and better with subsequent episodes, and I think you might enjoy it more now after you’ve already watched that set up episode.

      I’m glad I was able to remind you of Cornwell, he’s definitely worth reading! And I do hope you’ll enjoy The Mandalorian, it was a bright spot in the rather dreary landscape of 2020! πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Anathem is high on my priority list after all the praise I’ve witnessed through your blog hahah I can’t say I’ve even heard of any of the non-fiction material you guys read but it’s nice to see how important they are to your reading rotation. I definitely agree for Mandalorian S2 and The Queen’s Gambit! They were loads of fun for completely different reasons! Hope 2021 will have you guys struggling to make a “Best of” now! πŸ˜‰

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  9. Pingback: Birthdays, spicy reveals and even a tag, oh my! – Re-enchantment Of The World

  10. Pingback: Bernard Cornwell, The Lords of the North (2007) – Re-enchantment Of The World

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