the best of 2020, for whatever that’s worth

It was not my intention to completely abandon this blog, but, well… I mean, you were here for 2020, right? You saw what a fucking colossal bugfuck nightmare this year was. I am writing this post from my kitchen table while my 7-year-old scream-plays Minecraft with another of his 2nd-grade buddies, and while contractors are rebuilding our roof and upstairs office, and I am barely keeping my shit together.

Working from home meant that I didn’t have a commute anymore. Which is great, objectively speaking, but it also (perversely) meant that, because I was no longer beholden to the whims of NJ Transit, I ended up losing my favorite music listening/book reading hours. And it is impossible to listen to music or read books while your 2nd grader is doing remote learning directly behind you, and while your new puppy is chewing on your pants.

And to be honest, it’s not like I was able to absorb that much. Goodreads tells me I finished 90 books this year, but there’s maybe only 10 that stick out in my mind; and Goodreads does NOT report that I also started and read the first 20 pages of at least 50 more books which now lie cluttered in my Kindle’s backlog. I didn’t listen to that much music (because there really wasn’t much of an opportunity to), and Spotify’s Year in Review reflected less of my own musical proclivities and more that the afore-mentioned 2nd grader gained access to my Spotify account on the iPad and completely ruined the Discovery algorithm forever and ever. (My son’s musical tastes are, apparently, copyright-free dubstep that he hears as the background music on YouTube videos.) And as for movies? I’ve watched Tenet, and WW84, and that’s pretty much it.

I did play games, as one does, but it’s not like I kept an accurate record of what I played. I’ll be lucky if I can remember enough for a top 10 by the end of this post.

Anyway: my 2020 was spent in isolation, and that also meant a bit of a retreat from social media. And because I was determined to not put any more negative energy into the internet than there already was, I ended up not posting anything here. And if me not whinging on the internet helped to make 2020 even marginally less shitty, then, well, you’re welcome.

BOOKS:

As noted above, I apparently finished 90 books this year. Let’s not even pretend that I’m going to talk about all of them. Let me at least offer up my favorite books, then; these are the books that I loved, that I still remember, and that I would happily re-read in the future, in no particular order:

  • “Nothing to See Here”, Kevin Wilson.
  • “Things in Jars”, Jess Kidd.
  • “Middlegame”, Seanan McGuire.
  • The Murderbot Diaries, Martha Wells.
  • The Interdependency Trilogy, John Scalzi.
  • “Home Before Dark”, Riley Sager.
  • “Piranesi”, Susanna Clarke.
  • “Hench”, Natalie Zina Walschots.
  • “The Stranger Diaries”, Elly Griffiths.
  • “The Glass Hotel”, Emily St. John Mandel.
  • “Where the Crawdads Sing”, Delia Owens.
  • “A Collapse of Horses”, Brian Evenson.
  • “The Troop”, Nick Cutter.

GAMES

  • Hades, Nintendo Switch.
  • Ghost of Tsushima, PS4.
  • Tony Hawk 1&2 (remake), X.
  • Assassins Creed Valhalla, X.
  • Immortals Fenyx Rising, X.

I should’ve written about 10,000 words about Hades this summer; it was, arguably, one of the key things that happened this year that kept me from going completely insane. And in an ordinary year, I’d write about the Series X console, and I’d talk a bit about Cyberpunk 2077 and such, and we’d be caught up. But, well, here we are.

MUSIC

  • Haim, Women in Music Pt. 3
  • Tame Impala, The Slow Rush
  • Run the Jewels, RTJ4
  • Hum, Inlet
  • Louis Cole, Live 2019
  • Blitzen Trapper, Holy Smokes Future Jokes
  • bdrmm, Bedroom

Cheers, all. See you on the other side.

Author: Jeremy Voss

Musician, wanna-be writer, suburban husband and father. I'll occasionally tweet from @couchshouts. You can find me on XBL, PSN and Steam as JervoNYC.

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