Month in Review: December 2021


Illustration by Pauline Baynes

This month I joined in #Narniathon21 hosted by Calmgrove, with a post about The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I thoroughly enjoyed this venture into one of my childhood favorites and look forward to the next installments. I also summed up my Year in Fiction, my Around the World reading, and some highlights of the blogging year. Yes, December is a very retrospective month!

Books read in December:


I’ve been busy with teaching English to a number of one-on-one students and also leading a biweekly conversation class. I love helping people to communicate and to become more confident in their language skills. My literature-based lessons are attracting some students on italki and I especially enjoy those. I’ve decided to offer lessons to children age ten and up, after a successful experience reading The Wonderful Wizard of Oz with one young learner.

In my own language studies I have one tutor who focuses on German grammar — because I’m basically self-taught, I have some odd lapses and gaps she’s helping me to fill in — and one who also offers literature lessons. I’m pleased that with him I’ve gotten to read several classic short stories and poems, including one I really loved by Berthold Brecht: “Legende von der Entstehung des Buches Taoteking auf dem Weg des Laotse in die Emigration.” Since I started out the year reading a translation of the Tao Te Ching, this was an appropriate way to end 2021. You can read an English translation here.


This month, I shared some pictures from a trip we took to Ticino back in October. In a dreary, slushy time of year, it was nice to revisit memories of that lovely place. And I posted a favorite verse by Rudolf Steiner that characterizes the two sides of Christmas: shepherds and kings, warmth and light.

A few years ago I started doing a review of the year during the “twelve holy nights” from Christmas to Epiphany (December 25 to January 6). I go through my journals and diary and remember all the events of the year, month by month. I write up a summary and add thoughts about where I’ve come to now, in relation to the things I was thinking about and struggling with during that time.

It’s become something I really look forward to and that helps me to gain perspective on my life. It’s encouraging to see how I do learn things and make progress, often in a way that cycles back through the same topics, but slowly coming to a higher level and sometimes a breakthrough. When we’re in the midst of things we often lose sight of where we are in relation to the big picture.

Do you have any practice that helps you to look back at your life and keep things in perspective?

white notebook and yellow pencil
Photo by Dom J on

Linked at The Sunday Post at Caffeinated Book Reviewer, and the Monthly Wrap-up Round-up at Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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18 thoughts on “Month in Review: December 2021

  1. One of the practices I started in 2021 was 3 Good Things. At the end of my weekly summary of my (mostly) bookish activities, I list three things, usually small things, that were good about the week. I also choose a word for the year, and I focus on that word. I did a end-of-the-year summary of these good things last year and this year. This year I chose “love” in the hope that I will use that as my preeminent stance toward the world. I like the idea of your end of the year review.

    I am happily reading the Narnia books for the first time this year. I’m on book 2 now, Prince Caspian, and it’s not what I was expecting. I guess it’s the setting that’s the consistent given in this series, rather than the characters.

    Good luck with your teaching. It sounds like a lot of fun.

    1. That’s right, they really are the Chronicles of “Narnia,” rather than of particular characters (though there are some that recur). I’m so glad you’re enjoying your journey. Love your 3 Good Things idea, I might try that.

  2. The last few years,and particularly the last two, have become more and more horrendous, so we’ve taken to listing highlights as we begin to fill in the next year’s calendar. So for 2021 the best bits I listed were Emily recovering from an operation following a year of crippling arthritic pain exacerbated by catching Covid at the start of the first lockdown in 2020. Then three months later we managed a holiday on the east coast of England, climbed a 600 metre peak in the Black Mountains, and enjoyed a drive which took in the picturesque ruins of Llanthony Abbey, on through the spectacular Gospel Pass before ending in Hay-on-Wye; and lastly, however temporary, I managed to be involved in live music performances of choral works, sacred music and orchestral movie themes. Oh, and we saw family whenever it was deemed safe to do so! It’s occasions like these which remind us that it’s not been all doom and gloom. I can see it’s been the same for you.😊

    1. It’s been tough for pretty much everyone these past two years. We have to find something good to hang on to somehow. I hope Emily has made a good recovery, sounds like she really went through some trials. Travel in our beautiful region has certainly been one of the good things for me, as it has been for you. So glad you got to be involved in live music performances too — I miss that!

  3. Your book list is tempting — I didn’t know about that Tracy Chevalier book, though I ususally like her work.

    best… mae at

  4. My daughter really enjoyed reading The Magician’s Nephew which she checked out from her school library. I think she’d really like The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. I enjoyed the series when I read it. I am glad your lessons with the students are going well. My daughter and I read The Wizard of Oz a couple or so years ago and had such fun with it. What a great idea for an end of the year review! I hope you have a great week!

  5. So lovely to hear you are enjoying rediscovery Lewis’s magical The Chronicles of Narnia – If I hadn’t been so behind with reading, blogging and well life, I would loved to have joined in with the Narniathon. 🦁 Also well on improving your own language skills and teaching others. I am currently learning French on Duolingo, as my mum and stepdad moved to France. Hopefully be able to finally visit them this year! 🤞

    1. Oh, I hope you do! And I hope to visit France sometime too, although it’s right next door, we’ve not been there since the pandemic started.

    1. I saw the first movie when it came out and it was enjoyable. I’m not strongly motivated to watch the others because I like my own images from the books. But I might check them out at some point. Happy reading to you!

  6. I keep a journal but, I’m not always consistent in writing in it. Maybe this year I will journal more. Happy new year.

    1. I went through a long period of not journaling, but I can’t do without it. I think whatever helps you cope with life is good.

  7. I started writing down 3 good things for each day. Some days were harder than others at first, but then as the year progressed, I found joy in all the small things too, like the sunshine or being able to eat my favorite foods.

    1. It’s heartening to hear that this got easier for you over the year rather than harder — i.e. you did not run out of good things to list, or get tired of the exercise and give up. That is a good thing in itself!

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