Thursday 17 December 2020

A Year in First Lines

A number of years ago I joined in this meme that takes the first line of each month’s post over the past year to see what it tells you about your blogging year.

I do like an end of year wrap up post that helps me to reflect on what I've read. A Year in First Lines has the added bonus of checking in on the state of my blog.


Can you believe it's this time of year again?!

2019 was a year of working hard, staying close to home and change.
  • It was curious to read this. 2019 was a laying low kind of year thanks to changes in our working and family life. Maybe this is one of the reasons why I haven't found the restrictions now in place thanks to Covid too hard to handle. I had a whole year beforehand to practice!


I had no intention of reading Such A Fun Age. The premise sounded only mildly appealing/interesting.

But really, I'm rather over the whole adulting trope with a world peopled by no-one but twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings. Yet it was hard to completely resist the buzz surrounding the release of this book.
  • I'm a little disappointed that this was the first book review to make this list. It was fun, but not particularly memorable. Ten months later I can barely recall anything about it except the supermarket scene. The things I do for work!


I wanted to love The Forest of Wool and Steel far more than I did in the end. 

A coming-of-age story about a piano tuner from a remote mountain region in Hokkaido had all the right ingredients for me - one as a former (very amateur) piano enthusiast and two, as a recent visitor to Japan. It was beautifully, elegantly written, with gorgeous chapter illustrations showing a piano slowly being returned to the wild. Nature, naturalness and nurturing were ideas that ran through the piece. It's tone was pianissimo (softly, softly), it's tempo larghissimo (as slow as possible).
  • Oh dear. Another forgettable book that failed to really capture my imagination. Although, as we now all know, March was the month that the news about a certain virus racing around the world, hit the headlines. We had also had a mini-disaster at work with a flood in mid-Feb. I was off work for just over a month while everything was being renovated.


I left you at the end of The Covid Chronicles #1, heading off into the wild, wild west with Mr Books.

Our first stop was to visit my parents. This was the first time we found ourselves considering how social distancing might work in the real world. As we drove into town, we realised that we shouldn't hug my parents hello, or even shake their hands. The news was full of images showing Prince Charles bowing to people to avoid shaking hands. So we waved and bowed too!
  • During my time off work thanks to the flood (see March), Mr Books and I decided to go on a roadtrip to the South Australian wine regions. Concerns about a certain virus kept us from going overseas and our roadtrip consisted of listening to Dr Norman Swan's Coronacast updates. During the final days of our trip, we had to do a sprint to get back across the stateline into NSW, just hours before the borders closed. At this time, I had the idea of writing my own Covid updates...The Covid Chronicles were born!


Talking to My Daughter About the Economy took me AGES to finish...and now even longer to review!

I want to be the kind of person that is informed about financial stuff, but honestly, the word economy just makes my eyes glaze over and my brain go numb. Keeping daily accounts and a family budget - yep, got that. Managing things like home loans, savings accounts, superannuation, paying bills - yep, can do. But as soon as you go down that old rabbit hole of world markets, capitalism and economic stimulus, you lose me. Every single time.

  •  Yikes! Yet another book that failed to live up to expectations. My aim for 2021 is to post reviews about books I love at the beginning of the month instead!


Given that we cannot travel outside our home state, let alone the country, at the moment, I thought I might indulge my bookish instincts with my itchy feet and explore the world via bookshops.
  • A new meme was one of the many ways I tried to beat the blogging blues this year. I've only managed to post two Book Stop editions so far, but I have three more in the wings.


Every time I see these very chic, very elegant picture books, I want to say Cla-reece. I have an acquaintance called Cla-reece. However to read these stories, I have to make a huge mental effort to say 'Paris-Claris' in my head a few times to find the rhyme.
  • Picture books are my cheats way of joining in a blogging event when I have not planned ahead well enough. In 2021 I will do better - I will plan ahead!


A big part of the reason I love reading Maigret's so much is the glimpse into life in Paris in the middle of the 20th century. Maigret and the Killer opens with Mrs Maigret and her man, dining out with friends discussing the merits of the Madame Pardon's 'unparalleled boeuf bourguignon...filling, yet refined', provincial cookery that was 'born of necessity', whilst finishing off the meal with the obligatory 'coffee and calvados'.

  • I have come to love my time with Maigret during Paris in July. Thankfully there are so many titles in the series, I will be able to participate in this particular blogging event for many more years to come!

of 20 Books of Summer Winter.

  • Another community blogging event completed, even if I do feel seasonally challenged the whole time!


My edition of the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die is a 2009 reprint by Harper Collins Australia with a Preface by Australian journalist and book lover, Jennifer Byrne. Back in February 2016, I spent one ghastly heatwave weekend, going through this book and compiling my read and to-be -read lists with the idea that I would constantly refer back to it and update it.
  • Another post reflecting my ongoing Covid blogging malaise. I read steadily throughout the year, but I struggled to maintain my blogging mojo. Recycled posts featured more than ever during the later half of 2020.


Welcome to AusReading Month 2020!
Now in it's eighth year, AusReading Month is all about reading and talking about Australian literature.

  • November is my biggest blogging month, with AusReading Month, Non-Fiction November, Novellas in November and Margaret Atwood Reading Month. 


As they say in show business, that's a wrap folks!
AusReading Month is tucked away for another year. 

  • AusReading Month is a huge time for me. I start planning for it in September, so that I can have enough posts for every second day (leaving some spots for the weekly Non-Fiction November posts). The first week of December has become a time of putting my feet up and having a little blogging break. And as you can see here, the rest of the month becomes a time of reflection and meme participation!
What do your first lines reveal about you?


  1. I read an opening lines post a few years ago and it made me very conscious of how often I begin a post with 'I'. November this year nearly began with 'Brona', but that ended up being my second Nov. post. There are enough Maigrets to get you well past you 100th year, Simenon apparently wrote 193 books (Maigrets and Simenons) all up. Bill

    1. I noticed that about my posts the last time I did this book tag. I've been conscious of it ever since, so pleased that only 3 posts began that way this time!

  2. I hear what you say about (a-hem) "strategic" efforts to join in various events, but I hope you never stop contributing children's books to Indigenous Literature Week at ANZ LitLovers. Nobody else does that so it's a really good contribution.

    1. Thank you Lisa. There have been a few come out for Christmas that I am saving for another post in July :-)

  3. This is a really insightful idea, and it can serve to be productive toward your next year, such as you begin your months with a book you will really enjoy or appreciate.


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