The Worst of 2020

Oh, 2020. It was the best of times, it was the worst of timesโ€ฆ And here we’ll focus on the worst ๐Ÿ˜‰ Or, to be more fair, just on the most disappointing for us personally, for as you will see, most of the works mentioned below enjoyed quite a lot of acclaim and following.

To be true to our title, we should probably start and stop this post at COVID-19, the wellspring of our woes (though there are a few hopeful signs along the way, from the evidence of effective and efficient trust-based cooperation above the national level to the human-caused limitation of greenhouse gases emissions). But as this is predominantly a book blog, with a small but significant addition of comics, TV series and movies, we feel we need to elaborate a bit and avoid easy finger-pointing.

As in the previous summary post, we wanted to divide our choices into a few categories: Fiction, Non-fiction, Comics, TV Series; but as Non-fiction this year proved to be a major hit without any misses (YAY!), we’ll omit this category.

Ola’s Worst of 2020 in Fiction

Here the choices are easy, at least for me – though for many might seem quite controversial, as some of these books seem to have become fan favorites ;). But what can I say? By now you really shouldn’t be surprised by any of this ๐Ÿ˜› So without further ado, here it is:

R. F. Kuang, The Poppy War (2018)

That’s the only book on this list that I wrote a review of; I felt this instant favorite of the bookish community deserved a critique, and whether I achieved the goal of making it measured and not just scathing, it’s for you to judge. So let me just quote the crux of my review here:

Nanking Massacre was a truly horrible event, an atrocity for which there can be no excuse. The world should learn more about it, so that it stops being a footnote in history books. But using it in a fantasy book as a plot device designed to further the main characterโ€™s evolution into a vessel for a demonic/demigod entity and as a rationale for her own acts of genocide seems beyond bad taste.

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The Vacation Post

I was going to say I’m not going to complain my vacation is coming to an end, but I just did ๐Ÿ˜‰ A bit over two weeks away from work, most of it spent on our Sicilian escapade, a small miracle in the Covid-infected world, and maybe an act of selfishness, but we really needed a break, and obviously we obeyed all the special rules.

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Eastern Sicily – as we only had time to see this part of the island – is beautiful, and full of history. Beauty and power of nature was represented by Etna, an active volcano that overshadows entire neighbouring area, and occasionally threatens its inhabitants. We were not in danger, but still impressed by the roaring sounds and the puffs of steam.

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Silva rerum (5) feat. discarded books and awesome presents

I got this for my recent birthday (still young, but each year a little less so ๐Ÿ˜‰ ):

Isn’t that wonderful? I’ll never be able to do anything similar, but I sure appreciate it a lot. I have to confess that an elfish warrior is my favourite RPG character. Not very original, I know, but I’m stable in my preferences. Never had such a great miniature though!

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Reading and blogging in 2018

1. Blog

What a year it has been! Both the Re-Enchantment blog and my reading habitsย  have evolved. On the blog – a year of two-shots, discussions with old & new friends, at home (and in commute ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) one of re-reads, non-fiction and a bit of classics. I was so busy working on my project to read more of these that I feel I should actually read more fantasy next year! Maybe it is time to finally get to Erikson? But I will also continue with this-wordly stuff ๐Ÿ˜‰

My favourite Christmas present – fourth book in this wonderful Polish edition of Le Guin, this time – almost 1200 pages with Gifts, Voices, Powers, Always Coming Home and Changing Planes. They are really going for the whole set, I think ๐Ÿ™‚

Starting with blog – it was a solid year for us. I only have WordPress stats, and Ola says it’s around the same numbers again on LinkedIn, but we’re at 5,780 views today, with 53 published posts. It’s not much more than 2016, our second best year, but then we had 103 posts – weren’t we diligent ๐Ÿ˜‰ Even in 2017 we managed to write 72 posts, so there is a worrying trend, but I think an average of one post per week is sustainable, even with our other current commitments. All the posts – since Re-E’s start – have a total of 288,910 words together, that would be quite a long novel!

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Book Blogger Insider Tag

We’re rather selective about tags, but when Lashaan from the one and only Bookidote blog tagged us with this one (thanks!) we decided it’s interesting enough to participate ๐Ÿ™‚

1) Where do you typically write your blog posts?

Ola: At my desk, where my computer usually resides ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s a very neat wooden desk by a large window, and having my back to everything else helps me to concentrate on the task at hand ๐Ÿ™‚

Piotrek: My desk is where my computer resides always, as it’s a desk-top. This desk faces the entire room, becoming a kind of the bridge of the SS MyHome. Sometimes I call it my battlestation, I do some gaming here ๐Ÿ˜‰ I also really need two screens, both at work and here, it’s just so much better than a one-screen setup, for any work with sources. Or just to watch YouTube while I pretend to work…

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2) How long does it generally take you to write a book review?

Ola: Hmm, do we count the preparation time? ๐Ÿ˜‰ I almost never write reviews right after reading a book, so the books usually stays with me for a while before I start writing. But the writing itself takes anywhere from 2 to 6 hours – the Two-shots definitely take more time than single posts, but are so much fun! The Witcher post took probably up to 8 hrs, but it was an exception.

Piotrek: It depends on the amount of research. 4-8 hours usually? I write slower than I used to in the university days, and I work more with number than words, so maintaining a blog is a great exercise, but also a challenge.

3) When did you start your book blog?

February 2015

Long time ago! ๐Ÿ˜€

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