2020 Meet Me

As the magic of Christmas and the shortest day sit behind us, the hazy fun of midnight on New Year’s and the crazy diet and exercise plans in the first weeks of January slow down we’re settling into a new year and a new decade. I’ve been spending about the whole of January trying to convince myself to post something on what the new decade means to me. So here goes, a personal post on my reflections on the new year.

I’ll start the post by doing what everyone always does at the end of something- looking back. Given it’s the start of a new decade it seems people are looking way back: considering our 2009 selves, cringing at that bad hairstyle and reminiscing that crazy holiday, thinking of the friends we’ve made, the ones we’ve lost and the ones we’ve kept with us.

As you can imagine, starting 2009 at just 13, the cusp of teenagehood, I have definitely changed. I couldn’t even possibly describe who I was back then. One post I did at the start of 2019 that will always be a favourite of mine was looking back at the books that made me, titled To all the Books I’ve Loved Before. I chose a book for every year of the decade that shaped that year or played some part, in some way.

2019 me

Going into 2019 I’d just moved into a new flat with my boyfriend, started my first proper job and was a couple months into what I hoped would be my life. Or at least for a few years.

It wasn’t until September this year that the permanence began to stick. At university I’d moved house every year, at boarding school I’d moved rooms. Every year I tacked up the same snaps and posters, arranged slightly differently, printed off a few new ones and stepped back to admire my room and each year I’d stuff them into an envelope, throw them in a suitcase, scratch off and ball up the bluetack and put them away for a summer before using them again in September. This year I didn’t realise until October that I was half expecting to do that. I was surprised when we put our Christmas tree up, in the same place, again. I was surprised we still hadn’t gotten round to putting up those photos, stuffed in an envelope in my suitcase upstairs, still. I was surprised to still be there and honestly totally relieved.

Having come from education, through the sticky years of untucked shirts and being forced outside at lunchtime, to the scrappy binders and cursive pages of slightly more important school, to finally dragging on a hoodie and yawning my way through a 9am lecture with a professor I could hardly hear and a handful of bleary eyed strangers on my first day of uni. It was a decade of total change. I kept being told about the person I would be, planned this monotonous life for myself in the back of my head. I’d do the gruelling 9-5 office job, cook bacon and eggs on the weekend and probably do something dull like clean the house.oj Saturdays. My work changes everyday, my weekends are spent with friends, I’m borderline vegetarian and don’t tend to do fry ups and well, the house tidying does happen. Occasionally. It’s nothing like envisioned but in everyway better.

The year 2020 is going be big. I’ve been on the grad scheme since 2018 and I still have pictures on my phone of us all huddled outside work in thick winter coats up in Manchester proclaiming ‘Class of 2020’. And now I’m actually staring that straight in the face.

On the outside not much has changed: I’m still commuting into London, bleary mornings, lashes laden with sleep and too cheery train announces offering to sell me a five pound KitKats, to the hectic world of work to the calm evenings spent flopped on the sofa with my boyfriend that will no doubt dot our wild early twenties. Getting settled into a permanent team at work, rather than rotating around, is one thing 2020 will bring that I’m looking forward to. Starting to climb the greasy pole, seeing my work all the way through to production and getting really great friends and colleagues that I stay with for longer than six months.

The word balance is sort of what I’m desperate to achieve this year. I have sunken into that crazy exercise fad that, as a teenager, I’d roll my eyes at. I have started doing strength exercises every night before bed and am trying to go to indoor cycling classes at the gym once a week. I’m pushing to stay a tad healthier although I am still scoffing leftover Christmas chocolate.

I want to be more bold in my writing this year. Posting more personal and discussions posts to really push myself out of my comfort zone and to have some more unusual stories on the blog, hence this post. I also want to get my writing out there. I love writing fiction but I hate sharing it, showing it, discussing it. I actually think I’m sort of rubbish. But I can never improve if I don’t try, and being too afraid to start is probably not the best way about it. So c’mon 2020 me, I can do this!

The last thing I’m hoping 2020 will bring is a better balance with my friends. I’m hoping to build up lasting relationships and also hoping to reconnect with some of the ones I’m starting to feel I’m loosing. I still have crazy relations with people from uni who I occasionally talk to and meet up with to reminisce, which makes me feel like the friendship has sort of stagnated, but I would really like to reconnect properly. I want to make some really close friends at work, a trip to the cinema today being the first time I’ve done anything with work mates besides the pub. One day I’d love to invite them over to my flat but it still feels like we’re not at that point yet.

So there you have it. Let’s see what 2020 me can accomplish. I’m always overly ambitious at the beginning of the year, I’m 100% that person who throws their all in at January and, as my snarky friend pointed out when I said I’d practice French everyday, most resolutions don’t last to the end of January. I’m desperate not to burn out. But I’m also just looking forward to a new year in what has so far been a great build up.

The 2020 Book Releases You Need to Know About

Some of the wisest and most astute amongst you will have noticed that last week we celebrated the beginning of a new year. And with a new year comes new books and the surrounding song and dance we bookworm do in anticipation. As part of that dance I write them all down, tell anyone who will listen how excited I am for their release, ogle at the cover, stalk the arc reviews, snatch up the novel on release day and leave it to gather dust until 2025 when I finally maybe read it. So here we go, my 2025 reading list.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

1. Having absolutely adored The Hunger Games, tearing through it in mere days at the height of GCSE stress, I am dead excited for it’s prequel. Which games will it feature? Who was president before Snow? Will we have District 13?!

The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue

2. Depending on how much you’ve been following this blog you may know I um slightly love VE Schwab and everything she’s ever written. So yes I’m a tad desperate to pounce on her new novel, coming out this year.

A Heart so Fierce and Broken

3. Will Grey ever go home? Is Rhen still super moody? And what mess will Harper get them all into this time?? These are the questions I have as I anticipate the sequel to A Curse so Dark and Lonely.

One of Us is Next

4. Oh my, One of Us Is Lying completely blew me away. I will admit the blurb of this one didn’t sound so great but I didn’t think I’d like One of Us is Lying as much as I did. I’m going in open minded.

Queen of Volts

5. I am semi cheating popping this one on my list since I haven’t read the Ace of Shades sequel (arg library system why isn’t it available?!). But I am still excited for this series and have great plans to read them both this year.

White Light

6. I’m never sure about Samantha Shannons books. I hear great things but I’m always put off by something. With Priory it’s the size, with The Bone Season it felt pretentious. This is the fourth Bone Season and I suppose it’s somewhat here as a placeholder for maybe I’ll read the others in 2020.

Children of Vengeance and Virtue

7. I’m cheating a tad, this novel came out in December but I’m adding it to the list because I was in Australia for its release and didn’t get back until the new year. Bring on Zelie, Amari and their exciting magic system.

The Starless Sea

8. Again, came out at the end of 2019 but I’m going to count it. I loved The Night Circus and can’t wait to see what else this author can do.

The Notorious Virtues

9. Alwyn Hamilton will always be a favourite author of mine. Rebel of the Sands was a stunning series and I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next.

The Cousins

X. We are in for a treat bookworms because Karen McManus has not one but two books out next year. Given how much I utterly adored One of Us is Lying and Two Can Keep a Secret I’m dead excited for both her new releases.

Let’s Compare Notes

So there you have it! The releases I’m looking out for this 2020. Which novels are you excited for this year? Leave a link or comment below!

I’ll have my review of Nocturna up at some point soon, otherwise you’ll be able to meet another bookworm over here on Friday.