We are big advocates of the joy of the slow read in here in Designist. It’s been known to cut stress, improve comprehension and promote empathy. And we’ve craved all of these things more than before. One upside is that 2020 has been the year in which we’ve had a chance to stack up and dog-ear titles on our bedside lockers. We’ve reached to the shelves for a few classics and on the long-fingered ‘list’. We’ve also had a chance to illuminate our minds thanks to new titles which piqued our attention over the year and we decided are worthy of piquing yours too.
Ruth Medjber’s lockdown project Twilight Together shone a warm photographic glow on the sense of confinement we experienced. Capturing people simply standing at their window at twilight, including our own Jennie, it was a simple yet profound idea which resonates with so many.
Of course, way back in March it felt like Stonybatterite Mark O’Connell was on the money by publishing his Notes from an Apocalypse. He had traversed the globe trying to comprehend the mindset of people who foretold doom for civilization. From conspiracy theorists to environmentalism, O’Connell confronted his own anxiety by unpacking the fervour. And watching such heartbreak unfold brought spiritualism into question, it’s something Ellen Coyne also grappled with in, Are you there God? It’s me, Ellen. On the cusp of turning 30, Ellen contemplated her fractured relationship with the Church and pondered what bits are worthy of retention in our rush to abandon.
Needless to say, all this reading can expand the midriff as well as the mind. Thankfully, The Daly Dish is one cookbook we found ourselves reaching for time and time again. It’s a collection of calorie-conscious recipes which led to Gina and Carol Daly blowing up on Instagram. From Ask Me Airfryer to Savage Snacks, it never failed to deliver a lip-smacking goodness.
On the wind down and in need of some light relief, we dipped in and out of Patrick Freyne’s OK, Let’s do your Stupid Idea. His episodic memoir unfolded his life to date with wit, compassion and generosity of spirit. A companion giggle for the young ones came in the form of Chris Judge’s Eggcorns which had him illustrating the funny mispronunciations of children. We are all allowed to dream of Bumbumbees, doggles and carcodiles.
And when we finally got around to pouring that glass of wine and drawing the ottoman over, it’s The Art of the Glimpse that we turned to. This anthology of Irish short stories is compiled by Sinead Gleeson and married classic scribes with lesser knowns. It spanned centuries and made us realise how cherished we are to live in such a wonderful country with its rich literary heritage. Lights off.