2021 and Changing Plans | #BrunchBookChallenge

After living through Pandemic 2020, I wasn’t expecting any miracles in 2021. Even so, not even stretching my imagination to its limit could have prepared me for the year it was. Now, I’m not one to make new year resolutions but I do like to plan things I want to try and accomplish. Let’s just say every plan I made for 2021 took on a life of its own.

52. Art Matters2

January 2021 started with me drawing up a list of books I was approved for on NetGalley for the first quarter. As I began to settle into the routine of reading and crafting, I came across Korean Cultural Centre’s online Korean language hobby course. Having been stuck beyond a point in my self-study for the past year, I immediately signed up for it. I’m glad I did because this program jump-started my language study and helped me get past my hurdles. While this course taught the absolute basics, with help from my online teacher I began studying further on my own.

A couple of weeks after the course ended in April, my family and I caught the corona virus. This was when the delta variant was at its peak. Despite being extremely careful, staying home, and maintaining all safety precautions, it came as a shock when obvious Covid-19 symptoms started showing in all of us within a day or two of each other. Labs at the time were severely backlogged so it wasn’t until a week later that we managed to get an RT-PCR test done. By then, however, our family doctor had alerted us of what to expect.

30. Unbreak Your HeartHospitals were already full and oxygen shortage was all over the news. We tried every hospital and clinic but could not even get an at-home care service. With our energy levels way below zero and my mother suffering the worst symptoms, fear began to grow when our SP02 levels started dropping. Fortunately we received an oxygenator from relatives when the first symptoms appeared and were able to get our SP02 back up in a few days.

Those were a difficult few weeks and remembering those days still makes us shudder. We are grateful for all the support and prayers we received from our family and friends and feel incredibly blessed to have made it through. It has taken us six months to feel the last of the Covid after-effects wear off.

7. The Silent Treatment

For about a month during and after Covid, my reading was down to zero. I couldn’t read a single page. My only entertainment was watching one episode of a kdrama in bits and pieces through the day. In fact, I struggled with attention and focus for weeks after.

By end of May I started posting book reviews and craft-pairings again. This was more to get back into a routine than anything else. I had a few posts ready since April and I started off with those. This allowed me some time to catch up on my reading and get crafting again.

Korean study had sadly taken a backseat again as I couldn’t pay attention to anything for more than an hour or two. Fortunately, Korean Cultural Centre opened registrations for its next regular study semester and I applied. With limited seats on offer, I managed to clear the interview for the Jul-Dec Beginner’s Korean Language program.

The pace was much faster here as compared to the hobby course. A nearly six-hour class twice a week meant a lot of time during the week was now spent studying Korean. We were learning anywhere from 50 to 150 new words and phrases in each class which had to be memorised for spellings and meanings.

11. The Best is Yet to ComeAs exciting as this was, the time for this new activity was eating into my reading time. With Covid, I was already behind on my reading target. Now that I was studying Korean (almost full time), reading 100 books and making 100 craft-pairings was going to be impossible. So, alongside starting language classes, I reduced my reading target to 60 books. This meant a lot of books I had marked to read would get pushed to 2022. Also, my annual 2021 binge-read, for which I had chosen a 20-book series, was also going to remain unread on my TBR.

Like I pointed out at the beginning of this post about changing plans, these were just some of the major ones. But not all changes are bad. Some do bring unexpected surprises, too, which is always a lot of fun. Like reading new genres or experimenting with new craft techniques.

This year I’ve read more illustrated books that include children’s books, comics, and graphic novels. My count for anthology/essays is also up. These are genres which usually make up a miniscule percentage of my annual reading.

In terms of crafting, there were the tried and tested techniques applied in new ways as well as others I experimented with for the first time.

Some of the techniques you would have recognised from previous years include:
1. Quilling: spider and its web, dandelion, lobster, lily of the valley, sunhat
2. Kirigami: yacht, house with a picket fence
3. Hand-lettering: be more unicorn, just breathe, door sign
4. Crepe paper flowers: honeysuckle
5. 2D and 3D Papercraft: snack boxes, film stock, prisms, carousel, wine bottle sleeve, VHS tape, playing bricks, movie snacks, constellations, Instagram button, love in a heart
6. Regular Origami and 3D Origami: telephones, dagger, gorilla with bananas, holdall with tulips, angel wings heart, potted plant, hourglasses, clematis in a flower pot, monster claws, penguins
7. 3D Paper Models: auto rickshawairplane, mini cooper, letter box, vintage camera
8. 3D Chinese Origami: teacup and saucer, pineapple, flamingo, bananas
9. Paper art and Layered paper art: Audrey Hepburn silhouette, Nigerian woman in a geleAries Ram, waves of the seamasquerade mask
10. Prick-and-stitch embroidery on paper: sloth

In addition to these there were many new craft techniques – some using paper and others using new materials like ice-cream sticks, wire, cake and chocolate:
1. Sliceform: lightbulb
2. Sliceform combined with kirigami: 3D flower box
3. Ice-cream sticks: garden bench, bookshelf, artist’s easel, basket of corn, beach lounger
4. Wire craft: doggie charms
5. Food-craft (elevated from 2020’s biscuit furniture): gym equipment
6. 3D Quilling: curly haired girl
7. Popup alphabet: Fun with paper
8. Paracord macramé: camera strap
9. 3D embroidery: flowers
10. Single sheet dimensional landscape: house on a hill

31. The Startup WifebNot even wires piercing skin, getting a 3D embroidered flower petal to curl like it should, or splinters of wood flying dangerously close to my eyes can take away the joy of creating something new. I’ve had tremendous fun making every single project no matter how simple or elaborate. It has always been such a stress buster for me and allows me a creative outlet I cherish.

I’ve linked the craft project I made using given technique in the list above so you can check out whichever ones catch your attention or pique your curiosity.

Additionally, and more importantly, this year brought in some unexpected book related excitement. The first came in January when my book-inspired crafting found mention in The Guardian UK in an article listing ways to beat boredom in the pandemic.  The article published a photo of my food craft pairing for a book I read in 2020.

book-depository-bookmarkThe second big news arrived in October when I won Book Depository’s #READCreate contest. Being one of ten winners, my book inspired crafting is now featured in their first virtual art gallery and is also on their new set of bookmarks that will be added to book orders.

Getting this recognition has meant a lot, not to mention all the love I have received on each of my posts. I imagine all this crafting is inspiring people. So many people have written to me in the past year, especially parents of young children, asking how they can make these crafts. This makes me insanely delighted.

While I read for myself, I make it a point to keep up with HTBrunch’s #BrunchBookChallenge. After all, it was the reason I got back into reading in 2015 after a long hiatus.

My revised 2021 reading target luckily matched their challenge and I even fit in 15 Indian authors. When you scroll further below, you will find a cover collage of all the titles I read this year.

Below that is a list of these 60 books, each linked to my review for the book. Within each blogpost you’ll find a note on the craft pairing at the end: the project I made, how it is linked to that book, as well as the technique and material used.

In a separate post, I also share a shortlist of my favourite titles from my 2021 reading list along with some 2021 Reading Stats (because I love making those).

For now, here are the 60 books I read in 2021. Remember: You can click on any title in the list below to access my review and bookish craft-pairing for it.

2021 Brunch Book Challenge Square Resized

1. Along Came A Spyder – Apeksha Rao
2. Hacks for Life and Career: A Millennial’s Guide to Making it Big – Sandeep Das
3. Eudora Honeysett is Quite Well, Thank You – Annie Lyons
4. The Shape of Ideas: An Illustrated Exploration of Creativity – Grant Snider
5. People on our Roof – Shefali Tripathi Mehta
6. Everything is Beautiful – Eleanor Ray
7. The Silent Treatment – Abbie Greaves
8. Excess Baggage – Richa S. Mukherjee
9. The Dog Share – Fiona Gibson
10. Guru Dutt: An Unfinished Story – Yasser Usman
11. The Best is Yet to Come – Katy Colins
12. The Future Ready Organization: How Dynamic Capability Management Is Reshaping the Workplace – Gyan Nagpal
13. Club You to Death – Anuja Chauhan
14. The Summer Job – Lizzy Dent
15. The Ends of the Earth – Abbie Greaves
16. I Will Judge You by Your Bookshelf – Grant Snider
17. Before My Actual Heart Breaks – Tish Delaney
18. The Good Neighbour – R. J. Parker
19. The Cut – Chris Brookmyre
20. Code Name Bananas – David Walliams
21. Sweet, Sweet Revenge Ltd. – Jonas Jonasson
22. The World’s Worst Parents – David Walliams
23. Tongue in Cheek: The Funny Side of Life – Khyrunnisa A.
24. In Her Tracks – Robert Dugoni
25. Hostage – Clare Mackintosh
26. The Road Trip – Beth O’Leary
27. Lost Property – Helen Paris
28. The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle – Matt Cain
29. How to Save a Life – Eva Carter
30. Unbreak Your Heart – Katie Marsh
31. The Startup Wife – Tahmima Anam
32. The Lies We Tell – Jane Corry
33. Yours Cheerfully – AJ Pearce
34. Pretty as a Picture – Elizabeth Little
35. Why is My Hair Curly – Lakshmi Iyer
36. You and Me on Vacation – Emily Henry
37. Digital Body Language – Erica Dhawan
38. The Wedding Party – Tammy Cohen
39. Eight Perfect Hours – Lia Louis
40. Freckles – Cecelia Ahern
41. The Cat Who Saved Books – Sosuke Natsukawa
42. Warrior: Audrey Hepburn – Robert Matzen
43. Dutch Girl- Audrey Hepburn and World War II – Robert Matzen
44. Of This Our Country: An Anthology – Various
45. The Art of Papercraft – Helen Hiebert
46. The Lost Art of Doing Nothing: How the Dutch Unwind with Niksen – Maartje Willems
47. Written in the Stars – Divya Anand
48. The Eighth Girl – Maxine Mei-Fung Chung
49. The Secret Life of Debbie G. – Vibha Batra
50. The L-Word: Love, Lust and Everything In-Between – Aastha Atray Banan
51. Mega Monster – David Walliams
52. Art Matters: Because Your Imagination Can Change the World – Neil Gaiman, Chris Riddell
53. The Stranger in the Lifeboat – Mitch Albom
54. Green Humour for a Greying Planet – Rohan Chakravarty
55. Wish You Were Here – Jodi Picoult
56. The Impeccable Integrity of Ruby R – Moni Mohsin
57. Dearest George – Alicia Souza
58. Quiet Power – Susan Cain
59. Equations – Shivani Sibal
60. The Book of Not Entirely Useful Advice – A. F. Harold

Have you read any of these books? What was your opinion of them? Is there any book from your reading list you recommend I should add to my TBR? Drop a line in the comments and let me know.

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You can also connect with me on my socials through linktr.ee/AshieJayn.

Here’s wishing you a happy and healthy new year.

2022-01-01 New Year

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3 thoughts on “2021 and Changing Plans | #BrunchBookChallenge

  1. akadipakjadhav

    The list given at the end is the most motivating part for me. Definitely a good read and i have created lot of plans with this guide for year 2022 so thanks a lot for ithttps://bloggingtogenerations.blogspot.com/

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: My Favourite Reads of 2021 – Aquamarine Flavours

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