A year of idleness and full-time entertainment consumption has put me in the ideal spot to provide my unwarranted recommendations to you, ranging from all categories across the board. Recommendations are not necessarily limited to anything published in 2020, merely something I have watched/read/listened to this year.
First off; books.
While finishing the last book of my 24-reading goal it’s quite fitting that this latest addition to the challenge is also the one I provide as recommendation. Fresh in mind fresh in heart aye? I’ve chosen this first and foremost because we all can use a travel book in these times to lose ourselves in, especially with such a friendly and erudite guide. Patrick Leigh Fermor writes about his journey on foot from Hoek of Holland to Constantinople in a surprisingly educating and highly entertaining manner. The first of the trilogy: A Time of Gifts spansfrom the start all the way to the middle Danube. It is worthy to note that he travels in 1933/3, with what Germany was going through at that time it is incredible to hear the voices of both sides during his travels. Second, he wrote this book 30 years after he travelled so it also provides a lot of reflection as occurs in such retelling. Now it is by no means a comparison to a historical travel book such as Geert Mak’s In Europe. It is much more a story of an intelligent but compassionate 18-year-old that decides to talk a long walk and meet the most amiable characters on the way. The element that instantly will amaze any reader is the hospitality of those he meets on the way. As Patrick was at that time a student with little funds it is astonishing to see how his reliance on strangers was almost unavoidable due to the heavy insistences of the offers. If you won’t read it for the travel, do read it for Fermor’s internal rambling on art, nature, history, and politics. His 5-page spanning reflection of Brueghel the Elder’s work is a good example. Without giving away too many spoilers, if you, regretfully, have put away your wanderlust somewhere on a dusty shelf than do read this amazing travelogue to take a sip of all things absent.