These are a few of my favourite things… of 2017
As we draw to the end of 2017, I wanted to spend a few minutes reflecting on some of my favourite books, TV shows and other things that the year has brought me.
Since we all love books here, let’s start with them!
(And please feel free to leave a comment with some of your own list below.)
One of my happiest discoveries this year was Agatha Frost. She is a cozy mystery author and creator of the Peridale Café series of books. I found these early in 2017 and have been devouring them ever since. They’re light, fun, quick reads – I can easily get through one in a day so I have to pace myself a little!
If you haven’t read them yet, give them a try. Start with Pancakes and Corpses.
The second happy discovery for me was John Green, who is a young adult author.
I was on holiday in the summer staying in a beautiful villa in Spain, and there were lots of little nooks and crannies (do you know what that means if you’re not English? It basically means little spaces and holes – LOL) filled with books to read.
I have a slight obsession with Alaska, the place. I’ve never been but it’s top of my bucket list to get to soon. I watch programmes about Alaska all the time, and so when I saw the spine of a book called Looking for Alaska, it grabbed my attention.
At this time, I didn’t really read young adult books. Not for any particular reason, they just weren’t on my radar. Fortunately, I was on holiday with my teenage niece who saw me looking at the book and told me she’d read it and really enjoyed it. So I gave it a try – and oh my. I. Loved. It.
I’ve become a really keen Green (!) fan since. I’ve read a few more of his titles and I just finished reading his latest release, Turtles All The Way Down, which I really enjoyed.
(Anyone who is connected with me on Goodreads, by the way, I’ve done a pretty awful job of tracking my books read. I do keep a reading list in my diary each year. I need to be better at keeping Goodreads up to date.)
I read quite a bit of non-fiction as well as fiction. As a writer, some of what I read is about the craft of writing, but I like to read quite widely on other subjects too. I pretty much read whatever I can get my hands on!
One of the books that made the biggest impact on me this year was Unfinished Business by Anne-Marie Slaughter. This book was about many things but the thing I took away from it was how undervalued caring is as a skill set in our culture, and how this harms men and women. It talked about how we value careers more than caregiving, how men are typically blocked out of caregiving professions because of society’s expectations, and how women typically can be sandwiched between caring for their young children and ageing parents.
It really struck a chord with me. I have a disabled mother and a young child with Special Needs, so I know that ‘sandwiched’ feeling very well.
It was a really readable book, and I’d recommend you give it a try.
Moving on from books, I’m struggling to think of great TV shows I’ve watched. I’ve tried to watch less TV this year because I’d rather be doing other things – I get more pleasure out of reading.
Very recently I watched Reindeer Family and Me, a documentary about a cameraman who travels to deep inside the Arctic Circle to meet the Sami people and their reindeer. Given my fascination for Alaska and other cold places, this was right up my street!
Earlier in the year, I saw the latest adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express at the cinema. I know it’s been reviewed pretty harshly by a lot of committed cozy mystery fans, but I really enjoyed it. It was cute, fun, easy to watch, even if it wasn’t true to Christie’s Poirot.
I can’t think of any other TV shows or films I’ve loved this year, which is probably a good sign that I should spend even less time watching them next year!
Some of my happiest times this year have been spent snuggled away in my study at home, writing my first cozy mystery, Once Upon a Crime. I always like to have a candle burning while I write (my favourite scents are cinnamon, vanilla, and I discovered the Yankee Candle Christmas Memories this winter which I am in love with!), and I have a beanbag that acts as a footrest so I can sit back and type away happily.
I’ve drank a lot of mocha this year (yes, Sandy Shaw from my Waterfell Tweed books gets that favourite drink from me!) while making words come to life. There’s nothing like a mocha to warm up a cold English day – and the bigger the mug, the better!
So, there’s my summary of some of my favourite things from 2017. It’s been fun sharing this with you, and I’d love to hear some of yours too.
Leave me a comment below 😊