Revisiting 2021 Through First Lines

Woodcut showing birds for each month of the year

As 2021 comes to an end it’s a good time to reflect on the blogging year, with the aid of a fun meme created by Brona from Brona’s Books.

The “rules” for the “Year in First Lines” are quite simple. Find the first post published in each month. Extract the first line from each post. Then reflect on what that tells you about the past year. I tweaked this a little to add a second/third sentence for Sample Sunday and Six Degrees of Separation posts which tend to begin the same way each time.

Here goes.


Top 10 Favourite Books of 2020

As we welcome in a new year (hopefully less ghastly than the last one), I thought I’d take a look back at my favourite books of 2020.


Benediction by Kent Haruf: life’s small dramas #Book Review

Kent Haruf’s third novel in the Plainsong series reminded me of  the oft-quoted (and misquoted) comment by Henry Thoreau that “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”


Crime Fiction Takes Centre Stage In Wales

With perfect timing for St David’s Day and the start of Wales Reading Month, crime authors in Wales have just announced plans for the first international crime fiction festival to be staged in Wales.


The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley – glimmers of magic

Steampunk meets historical fiction meets magical realism in The Watchmaker of Filigree Street. It’s not a happy encounter.


Why Your Book Blog Could Be Losing Readers

Ever wondered why some of the people who have been following your book blog, have suddenly stopped? .


10 Books To Travel The World

One of the things I miss most about travelling overseas for work, is the chance to ask my colleagues for recommendations of books to read from their countries.


Six Degrees from Eats, Shoots and Leaves to Offshore

This month’s Six Degrees chain begins with a book that was hard to miss back in 2003. EatsShoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynn Truss seemed to be in every newspaper and all over the internet.


Sample Sunday: Decision Time On Books From Uganda, Korea and Turkey

Moving along the shelves of my unread books, I’ve arrived at the letter I. The three books I’m featuring this week are actually the only three I own where the author’s name begins with that letter. By coincidence they all seem to be set in countries with troubled histories.


#20booksofsummer: It’s A Wrap For 2021

Drum roll please. Stand my for an important announcement!


The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald — a tragicomic gem about life

I began watching the film version of The Bookshop with high expectations — a bookshop setting; a heroine who believes books are an essential commodity and a community determined to prove her wrong. 


Nonfiction November 2021: My Year in Nonfiction

It’s Non Fiction November time again. To kick off this month long celebration, Rennie at What’s Nonfiction suggests we take a look back at the last twelve months and talk about our favourite non fiction reads of the year and the books we’ve recommended most often.


Fear by Gabriel Chevalier – indictment of “heroic” warfare

The decades following the end of World War 1 saw a boom in publication of war literature and memoirs as survivors sought to make sense of the conflict and devastation.

What do these first lines tell me?

There wasn’t any great revelation. The exercise just reinforced what I pretty much already knew:

  • I have a mix of content : memes (Six Degrees) and updates on reading events (like 20booksofsummer and NonFictionNovember)
  • The non-review content tends to dominate. This isn’t intentional. I’ve been struggling with my review mojo for a couple of years as I explained in a post back in the summer When The Last Thing You Want To Do Is Write That Book Review. Many bloggers weighed in with some very useful advice that I’ve started to adopt. It’s something I want to focus on improving in 2022.
  • Good to see that at least one of these months featured literature from Wales.

What do your first lines say about you? 


What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

14 thoughts on “Revisiting 2021 Through First Lines

  • Fun! I think my first post of the month is usually my previous month recap, so the beginnings are not very original

    • I think you could just skip to the first post that isn’t a regular topic.

  • Hm… Very rarely my first lines will be something other than a Throwback Thursday or a #6Degrees… I’ll have to take a look and see. Very interesting post. Happy 2022!

    • If that’s the case, you can always do first lines other than the memes

  • What an interesting way to examine your year in reading! I hadn’t heard of this exercise, but I’m intrigued by it.

  • That April intro is very snappy! You have a clever way with words:)

        • That is so sweet of you. I needed a reason to smile today and you provided it so thank you!

  • Another tumultuous year, Karen, but at least we had the comfort of books. Let’s hope that this time next year we’ll have positive things to look back on as well as the books! Blwyddyn Newydd Dda. 🙂

    • It would be good to think we will get some degree of normality in our lives and can start talking about things other than vaccines and virus loading etc

  • This is an interesting exercise!

    • It is, I find it interesting to look back at the year and see what I was writing about


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