We did it! We made it through 2021. Well done us. What. A. Ride.
First things first, a huge tome-sized *thank you* for all of your support, book recommendations, memes, tags, podcast tips, and general love during this year. Creating any content on a regular basis is a huge, rewarding undertaking, and it would not be worth it if it wasn't for you. So this is a very heartfelt fist-bump of appreciation.
I'm taking a month off from 17 December (TWO DAYS TIME!) to 17 January so the bookmark will return to your inbox on 18 January. I've got a big ol' pile of books to read over the break so I'll have plenty of new reads to tell you about when I get back. I'm looking forward to hearing what you're reading on your summer / winter break too. There's also several books pre-ordered in my Kindle which I'm waiting in anticipation for in early 2022. More on those next year though.
Speaking of next year, have you caught the December special podcast mini-series How We Read yet? I'll be sharing more episodes of these conversations as the bonus member content on Patreon from January. So if you've enjoy these episodes so far, make sure you check out the membership options to hear more like this in 2022.
As is obligatory in December, this newsletter is my round up of my best reads and listens of the year. I'm 44 books down, and I will caveat that I might update this list over the next 16 days as I get through some more. But for now, this is how it stands. So keep scrolling to see what made the list, and then hit reply and let me know what would be on your list. I'd love to compare notes.
Until next year, have a very well-deserved break. And if you celebrate, Merry Christmas.
In resting well,
PS. To borrow from Austin Kleon (and everyone else who borrows this from Austin Kleon), this newsletter and the podcast are 'free but not cheap'. You can support their ongoing creation by becoming a member on Patreon, buying me a coffee as a one off 'thank you', purchasing a card from the Good Press card store, or leaving a podcast review on the website. Thanks!
Best books of 2021
Here we go, the best books I read this year (so far)... in no particular order.
4,000 Weeks by Oliver Burkeman AND The Sunny Nihilist by Wendy Syfret
Two books that tackle the meaning of life from what seem like opposite sides of the coin (life is short so everything matters vs life is short so nothing matters) but are incredibly similar in their ability to provide a whole lot more freedom to live, and do so on your own terms.
Show Your Work by Austin Kleon AND Find Your Artistic Voice by Lisa Congdon
Two people whose respective art I love, both created books about doing the damn work, and then putting it out in the world. Get it done.
Everyday Creative by Mykel Dixon
Whatever work you do, please read this. I love Mykel's take on injecting creativity into your daily life and work that goes beyond the usual tropes of yet another brainstorming activity with sticky notes.
A Promised Land by Barack Obama
An equal-parts fascinating and terrifying look into what happens inside some of the most powerful rooms in the world. Wonderfully reflective, human, funny, and insightful.
Honourable mentions to Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, and Turning Right by Kay Bretz, which were close contenders for the above list.
I've only got through a handful of fiction this year, but hands down the best one I read was Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar. Outstanding.
PS. Are you looking for a great gift for someone to round out a weird year? How about helping them take better notes on the books they read? Enjoy a 15% discount on your very own copy of the Archley's Book of Books book journal, here^.
Ear food - best of the year
Here are my top five podcasts and albums of the year (again, not in a particular order, I'm too fickle for that).
🎙Podcast: Maintenance Phase - Hilarious and challenging, I've laughed aloud as much as I've been very angry about the utter nonsense that floats around in the health and "wellness" (bleugh) space. Particularly the ingrained fat-phobia and totally unscientific junk peddled by grifters across the decades. Plus, Michael and Aubrey are an absolute delight. (Spotify | Apple)
🎙Podcast: 60 Songs That Explain the 90s - I have absolutely loved this series. The structure is great and it's been a trip down memory lane that's both nostalgic and illuminating (so many things that you thought were totally fine in the 90s that on reflection, were not). (Spotify only)
🎙Podcast: Unmistakable Creative - I've more been a dipper into this podcast but I've taken a lot from the conversations about creativity, work, life that Srinivas has had with his guests. (Spotify | Apple)
🎙Podcast: Chat 10 Looks 3 - An oldie but such a goodie. Sales and Crabb are always my go-to podcast when I need to unwind and feel like I'm chatting with friends. (Spotify | Apple)
🎙Podcast: You're Wrong About - I've learnt so many things from popular culture that I had totally the wrong idea about. Especially stories where someone (spoiler: usually the woman) is painted as the villain by the media when that might not actually be the case. (Spotify | Apple)
🎵 Albums of the year
Unlike the other categories, I've limited this to my favourite albums released this year. It's been a mood...
Kidamnesiac by Radiohead (Spotify)
Pink Noise by Laura Mvula (Spotify)
Not Your Muse by Celeste (Spotify)
Flying dream 1 by Elbow (Spotify)
Californian Soil by London Grammar (Spotify)
Reprise by Moby (Spotify)