2021: My Year in Books

No one reads the same book. For a complete list, see Memo from Reconciliation Office RE: Annual Counting of the Tomes.

January: It was the patient, cut-flower sound of a man waiting to die. Neither a beginning or an end, but a gathering of stories that remain unfinished. He swept the floor, washed the tables, and rubbed down the bar, moving with methodical efficiency. Last came the polishing of the bottles. As he went through the motions his eyes were far away, remembering. He did not hum or whistle. He did not sing.

February: We’re tucked away so safe and sound that he’s practically fading into the woodwork. This place is killing him. You see, there’s a fundamental connection between seeming and being… we all become what we pretend to be.

March: Will return when your things are genuine. Prisoner or guest? A realization that things went according to plan.

April: Witchers and witches and truths lost to time. Towers keep the secrets of the dead. Children leave childhood behind. Destiny cannot hear your screams. Would it matter if it could? Would you stop? Would destiny change?

May: A switch to mysteries, something with resolution. The tragedy behind us we search for the reason a life was ended. Locked in a room, trapped in a country house, the usual suspects sometimes include our protagonist. We investigate every possible action, record every mundane detail. We attend uncomfortable meetings to discuss how the pieces could come together. We share theories, present evidence. In the end, there is still a dead body but now we know how and maybe even why. Then the investigation ends and we return to the mundane details. Does how and why matter to a corpse?

June: Patroclus gives us this and this and this. The chorus of an ancient love song. It fills the soul. It is both the how and the why. Standing in the graveyard, this and this and this becomes hope.

July: Old friends continue to argue about the best way forward. After trauma, we survive. We no longer have to do things on our own, which is good because it is too much to do alone. It feels like too much to possibly give more. We’ve built a house of cards. We are aware of it’s structural fragility. One gust of wind, or more realistically, a cough, and the whole thing comes down. But wouldn’t it be great if we ended up together? Can we trust each other after so much time apart?

August: Middle School Science Teacher Saves Humanity. Hero credits curiosity and having no other choice but to try something in order to survive.

September: Old Gods awaken, in me. They are a part of me as each grain of sand is a part of the desert. Shadows from the past stretch lazily and are called to action by my restless soul. Death must come first. This season of decay and rot fuels the loamy growth of spring. The end is only the beginning. The journey beyond comfort lies ahead.

October: Sherlock Season Begins. We follow the red thread to a conclusion. The elderly deduce the tragic end of Mrs. McGinty. Remembering the past often provides a solution to the way forward, even at Halloween parties.

November: An elderly lady resets all our retirement goals. Maud shows me the way. Expect the unexpected or plan for tragic accidents. Dress accordingly and accessorize with care. You never know when a cane will come in handy…

December: The voices are in the walls. Figures loom in the mist. Death lurks in the shadows of celebrations. It seeps in. It consumes you until you are changed and can begin again. You have to save me. I cannot save myself as much as I wish to, I am bound, threads like iron through my mind and my skin and it’s there. In the walls. It does not release its hold on me, so I must ask you to spring me free, cut it from me, stop them now. For God’s sake… Hurry, Catilina.