The Wrap: 2020 In A Nutshell

2020 has been a year, and quite oddly I’m both glad and hesitant to see it end.

Hello friends, old and new, and welcome to my last post of 2020.

This year for me has been quite honestly a hard one and I’m sure it’s been the same way for a lot of you all. But despite that, despite all the hardships, 2020 also brought me some of my best moments, people and my greatest achievements.



HOW 2020 WENT IN MY EXPERIENCE 

I guess this is just a repeat of what I said earlier, but 2020 was a mix for me. It was mostly hard for me, but there were some bright spots.

This year, I finished my third year of university (in January), started and almost finished the first semester of my fourth year, although ideally I should be finishing the second semester of the fourth year but, *waves in general direction of the world this year*, everything just happened. I worked in the labour wards (which I enjoyed), worked in the paediatric units (the only kids I enjoyed working with were neonates), worked in the community and in the critical care unit (I loved this posting). I guess as far as my clinical experience went, despite it being cut short due to the pandemic, this year was my favourite. I have a clearer view of what I enjoy and what I don’t and also developed my skills and confidence in patient care <3.

On the blogging front, this year was also quite nice. I hit major blog goals — I passed the 500 followers milestone and I’m closing in on 600 —, found some amazing bloggers whose work I love, somehow managed to gain the respect of some of my favourite creators (I’m still not over this!), created some of my favourite features on my blog and even organised an online book festival. But my experience blogging this year wasn’t all positive, I suffered from many episodes of burnout, developed anxiety related to reviewing (I’m getting better now), and ended up taking many breaks.

My general well-being and mental health this year? Eh… she existed, kinda.

WHAT I ACCOMPLISHED THIS YEAR

Books

Quite surprisingly enough, despite my many reading slumps and long lasting depressive episode, I was able to read 137 books this year. Somehow I managed to read more than twice the amount of books I read last year, webcomics included.

Of this 137 books, I found some favourites like this A Song of Wraiths and Ruin, Love From A to Z, Raybearer, The Death of Vivek Oji, Pet, The Year of the Witching, The Daevabad trilogy and so many more.

I guess reading wise, despite it all, this year has been kind to me.

Blog and Bookstagram 

This year has to be my favourite year since I started blogging because despite everything, I am very proud of my work this year.

This year I launched the first edition of The Black Experience (if you’re a Black bookish creator and are interested in taking part of TBE 2.0, you can find the form here), celebrated my first blogversary, planned and organised a virtual book festival, Let’s Get Lit, with the help of my friends and some amazing book bloggers. Shout-out to Lil @Utopia State of Mind, Krisha @Bookathon, Rameela @Star Is All Booked Up, Arina, Celeste @CelesteHarte, and also Author of Conquest, Natalia @AlgareteLatinx, Noura @ The Perks of Being Noura,  Wendy @What The Log , do check out their respective blogs and works! 

I also created some more blog series like It’s Queer Here, which celebrated the lesser represented queer voices; By The Cover, a new series about books and their covers, and Bookish Wishes of an Atypical Girl along with other solo blog posts.

With my bookstagram, I was able to stick around for a bit, got to 500+ followers, I found a style that suited me and learned makeup for book looks! 

Life and School

Well, this year was more of a struggle in this department. 

With the exception of 2018, I had my longest depressive episode, my schooling was delayed because of the pandemic so I lost most of this year and well next year is going to be tough to make up for the time wasted this year. My physical symptoms/chronic pain became worse, and a couple more difficult events I don’t feel comfortable talking about happened.

With all that, I had some positive things happen in my life this year. I like to consider all the good things that happened with my blog, bright spots in my life this year. Aside from that, I was able to get an official diagnosis for depression this year and I started therapy and medications for both the affective and somatic (physical) symptoms. And like I said before, I had fun with my clinical experience this year. 

I also discovered a love for horror, Taylor Swift songs, kpop (well, more love for kpop lol). I developed a better relationship with my siblings, gained the best friendships both in real life and online and got a bit better at expressing myself. 

I guess in total, 2020 wasn’t all that bad.

BOOKS I READ IN 2020

It’d be too stressful to list all the books I read this year, so I’ll be linking my Goodreads reading challenge here and my reading spreadsheet although it’s still unfinished.

Goodreads Reading Challenge 2020

Reading Tracker/Spreadsheet 

*Credit goes to Fadwa @WordWonders for the spreadsheet template. Check out their sites and support them.


POSTS MADE IN 2020

THE BLACK EXPERIENCE 

The Black Experience: Introductory Post

The Black Experience: Debut Black Releases In 2020

The Black Experience: Books by Black Authors in 2020 (Part 1)

The Black Experience: Debut Author Corner

The Black Experience: Race Isn’t A Trend

The Black Experience: The Need For More Black Representation

The Black Experience: Favourite books by Black Authors

The Black Experience: The Case For Black Mediocrity

The Black Experience: Fantasy Books Inspired By Caribbean & African Lore

The Black Experience: Being An African Blogger

The Black Experience: Books by Black Authors in 2020 (Part 2)

The Black Experience: Favourite books with Black characters in love

The Black Experience: Favourite Black Content Creators

The Black Experience: The Danger Of The Single Story

The Black Experience: Books with Black Aromantic characters/ by Black Aro Authors

The Black Experience: Being Black And Muslim

The Black Experience: Anime recs with Black Characters 

The Black Experience: Unicorn At The End Of The Rainbow — Black Muslims In Media

The Black Experience: Graphic Novels/Comics With Black Representation

The Black Experience: Classifying Nigerian Music Genres As Book Genres

The Black Experience: Books With Black Characters That Made Me Feel Seen

The Black Experience: Tokenism In Literature — Black Bodies As Love Interests And Sidekicks

The Black Experience: Queer Books By Black Authors

The Black Experience: Colonial Mindset — The Nigerian Case

The Black Experience: Books By Black Authors In 2020 (Extra)

The Black Experience: The Òrìṣà Inspired Book Tag

IT’S QUEER HERE

It’s Queer Here: Introductory Post + Black Trans Lives Matter

It’s Queer Here: Asexuality In Literature

It’s Queer Here: Queer Books By Black Authors II

It’s Queer Here: No Coming-Of-Age Moment — Experiencing My Queerness

It’s Queer Here: How Disability Is Affecting My Queerness

It’s Queer Here: The Uncertainty Of Questioning

It’s Queer Here: Queer Books With Neurodiverse And Disabled Rep

It’s Queer Here: How Being Autistic Affected Coming Into My Queer Identity

OTHER LISTS

#Diversereadsof2020: 20+ Books By Muslim Authors Releasing In 2020

#Diveresereadsof2020: 10 2020 Releases With Aspec Characters.

15 Books With Bisexual Representation By Authors of Colour

28 Books By Authors Of Colour That Should Be On Your Lists This Spooky Season

Celebrating 30+ Nigerian Voices In Publishing 

By The Cover: YA 2021 Book Covers I Adore

WRAP UPS AND TBRS

Wrap Up: January & February 2020

New Tbr System

OTHER POSTS

1st Blogiversary And Post Of The Year

Let’s Talk About Allyship

What Book Blogging Costs Me

QUESTIONS FROM TWITTER 

A few days ago, I asked people to send me questions they wanted to ask me whether it was about my experience this year, my plans for next year or random questions they’d like to ask. 

So in this section, I’ll be answering the questions I got <3.

Q: How many books am I planning on reading next year?

Quite honestly, I don’t have a specific number in mind, but I’d love to read as much or even more than I read this year. Because next year is going to be really busy for me, I just want to be able to read and discover more books I’ll love <3.

Q: Most memorable reads?

I have so many! 

My most memorable reads, which are mostly new favourites, are:

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A Brown, Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko, Indigo by Beverly Jenkins, The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwake Emezi (please read this book!), Pet by Akwake Emezi, Love from A to Z by SK Ali, SLAY by Brittney Morris, The Electric Heir by Victoria Lee, And The Stars Were Burning Brightly by Danielle Jawando, The Kingdom of Copper by S.A Chakraborty, Punching The Air by Ibi Zoboi and Dr Yusef Salaam, Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia, Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo, Work For It by Talia Hibbert, The Candle and The Flame by Nafiza Azad.

Ok, I should stop there.

Q: Books I wish I didn’t read?

Muslim Girl by Umm Zakiyah — I thoroughly hated this book.

Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams — It was so disappointing it felt like a waste of time.

The Lost City by Amanda Hocking — I have a whole review on why I hate this book and I just want my time back

Half of the Cyborg Seduction series by Laura Dohner — I know I wanted to reflect on how bad my reading tastes were a few years ago, but I wish I didn’t remind myself. I have no idea what younger me was on back then.

Mayhem by Estelle Laure — I’m still so confused when I think of that book 

The Virgin and The Beast by Stasia Black — This is the reason I now truly fear my extremely bored and self destructive moods. I would like to zap this out of my memory.

More than Maybe by Erin Hahn — It would have been a good book but the excessive use of ableist language is something I want to unexperience.

Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge — I was expecting it to be as excellent as Cruel Beauty but I was extremely disappointed.

And maybe half of my favourite books so I can experience them for the first time all over again.

Q: Series I hope to finish 2021?

The Daevabad trilogy by SA Chakraborty, The Brown Sisters by Talia Hibbert, The Poppy War trilogy by RF Kuang, The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala.

Q: A book that surprised me?

Definitely Raybearer, and also ASOWAR, Love from A to Z, You Deserve Each Other, And The Stars Were Burning Brightly, Eliza and Her Monsters, Punching The Air, SLAY, The Death of Vivek Oji, Indigo and The Love and Lies of Rukshanna Ali.

For Raybearer, I had such high hopes for it and I was completely wowed by how it managed to meet and surpass them. I can’t possibly quantify the way I love that book and the same goes for ASOWAR and Love from A to Z, they completely wowed me.

With You Deserve Each Other, I wasn’t really a fan at the beginning. It had seemed generic but it turned out to be one the best and most heartwarming romances I’ve ever read. Same goes for The Love and Lies of Rukshanna Ali (but its not romance), I didn’t like it at first, it came so close to pissing me off but the last 30% had me crying and overwhelmed.

With Eliza and Her Monsters and Stars, they are the best books with mental illness rep I’ve ever read. I read Stars because I wanted to support a Black author and I came out with a favourite for life.

Vivek was surprising in how it made me feel and I felt seen. Indigo and SLAY, I was excited for but won a place in my heart.

Q: Was I into books this year?

Not all the time. Some months, I just didn’t want to read. Some months, my brain felt overwhelmed and for some months, the thought of reading gave me anxiety.

My reading is affected by my mental state and for long while I was depressed so reading wasn’t really going at those times.

Q: A moment of mundane magic this year?

Oof, this is a tough one, but any of the moments with my family and friends. I feel like this is huge because I haven’t really had a good relationship with some members of my family and the growth of our relationship and my personal development feels magical to me. 

Q: Plans for fun and self love in 2021?

I don’t have many plans yet, but I do have some. I intend to widen my social circle a bit, both because of my psychologist orders and there so many amazing people I want to know. I originally intended to get out more and go places with my friends this year, but with the pandemic I wasn’t able to do so it’s a 2021 goal now. I want to build better coping strategies. 

I want to go kayaking again because I love it and find it relaxing. I want to explore Lagos. I’d love to go to the Ake Book and Arts Festival, browse bookstores across the state. Go an art exhibition with my siblings, mum and friends. I’d love to talk to my siblings and cousins more. And most of all, I’d love to be true to me.

Q: Favourite memes?

My favourite question!

I’ve lost some of my favourite memes, but here are some I love!

(Live footage of me 24/7)

I have more!! but I should stop here :(.


And well, it’s a wrap! (ok that was a good pun) 2020 has been a lot, good and bad, and now it’s time to look forward to the new year.

Thank you all for being with me this year, and for reading this post. 

I hope you have a lovely New Year’s Eve and if you’re in 2021 already, I hope this year is better than the last.

Love you all, and wishing you best. 

See you on the flip side, with all my love,

~ Em/Zainab. 


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5 thoughts on “The Wrap: 2020 In A Nutshell

  1. Burn out was my word for 2020. With all of the things happening in the world, blogging felt another obligation at times instead of an escape.

    I hope to read A Song of Wraiths and Ruin this year. It’s glaring at me from my shelves.

    Like

  2. Enjoyed the post. I should give Raybearer a read this year because I’ve heard such great things. Congrats on all you accomplished in 2020, and may 2021 be even better.

    Like

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