As I write this during a new, snap 5 day level 4 lockdown in Melbourne, looking at events of the last 6 weeks, it certainly appears as though 2021 doesn’t have much more to recommend it than 2020 had. It’s early days yet, and at least 2021 has offered hints for optimism here and there. It’s not much, but in the absence of water, people will drink the sand, to quote Aaron Sorkin.
Still, I’ve tried not to let it all bog me down too much – or at least any more than it already has. I’ve been reading consistently, though not as frequently as I usually do. This has more to do with a birthday gift than it does current events though. Anybody heard of the board game called Wingspan? I hadn’t until I received it; it calls itself an engine building game – your goal, using cards, food tokens, and eggs, is to build out a bird habitat. It’s a beautiful game, but we were dubious – the instructions cover 3 different booklets! Still, we gave it a go and after a few awkward games, started to get the hang of it and now we’re hooked. We play pretty much every night, at least one game, sometimes 2. It’s not a high-intensity, action packed sort of game, but it’s thoroughly enjoyable. I’ve already bought the European expansion pack and have put my name down for the back-ordered Oceania expansion.
In other bird related news, the beginning of our snap, 5 day lockdown coincided with the Great Backyard Bird Count, which I’d planned to hit big with several national park excursions. That was obviously nixed, but we did hit a couple of local parks within our 5km limit. No new and exciting birds, but one or two less common ones were spotted. And of course, I’ve actually counted the birds in my own backyard.
A Long-billed corella, dismantling pine cones from the top down.
I’ve been on a non-fiction reading streak; 2021 has not seen a single fiction title read so far. Which is good, since I have an alarming number of non-fiction titles on my TBR, so I may be reading slower, but I am accomplishing a more significant TBR reduction.
Also unusual this year is that to date, every title has been written by a man. I don’t make any effort to read more of one gender than another; my natural reading taste for mysteries makes my shelves female heavy without any effort, and even a large percentage of my non-fiction, popular science books are written by women, so the string of all male authors felt unusual.
The biggest accomplishment amongst these reads it my completion of Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi, which has been on the TBR some years now. I’ve also completed a long-in-process book about feeding wild birds. Both reviews will be forthcoming. Just the other night I grabbed another book – non-fiction, travel, but the first by a woman for me this year – called The Stone Boudoir about small villages in Sicily. Yes, please.