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2023 Year in books

Classic literature often portrays reading as the antidote to loneliness, sadness, and isolation. But I’ve found my love of books nestles more closely to the fact I am insanely, annoyingly, incorrigibly curious. About everything. 

I simply cannot fathom how so many go through life without experiencing the profound joy of a beloved character overcoming hardship, or fascination about a life you’ll never experience first-hand, or simply shutting off from the world to sit in hours of silence with a bloody good story about which you had absolutely no idea about four hours earlier. I certainly don’t pedestalize reading above all else; I love a good 10-part Netflix series as much as the next person, believe me. But a life without books? Unimaginable. 

My favourite book: ‘Yellowface’ by R. F. Kuang

It’s genuinely not often that I sit down to read a book…and physically, physically cannot put it down. I started reading this on Saturday morning, and was still sitting there, unmoved, hours later when Matt got home from football—and he was playing away that day. The pacing, the unique subject matter, the examination of human emotion, racism, and identity: all so elite that I bought this book and sent it to three of my friends to read as well. A standout novel for me. Just so, so, so good.

If you do, you'll win - if you don't, you won't

“You can have everything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it.” - Sir James Matthew Barrie

Caitlin Jenner put this another way: “I learned that the only way you are going to get anywhere in life is to work hard at it. Whether you're a musician, a writer, an athlete or a businessman, there is no getting around it. If you do, you'll win - if you don't, you won't.” 

So many people assume that true success requires being born with natural talent. But natural ability and Olympic/award/record-winning talent are two entirely different things. Cristiano Ronaldo didn't fall out of the womb clutching five Ballon d'Ors; he dedicated his life to earning them. He worked hard; it paid off. 


Not only does it take years and years of hard (and often invisible) work to become truly successful at anything, you also have to give up one hell of a lot to become the best of the very best - whether you're naturally talented or not.

Many of us aren't prepared for the sacrifice it takes to get there, which is why so few of us win medals and so many of us hide behind phrases like 'naturally talented'. They may very well be, but they also spent three hours a day practising instead of rewatching Gossip Girl and obsessively painting their nails (guilty as charged).

While we're not all aiming for Ronaldo-level heights, it's important to remember that if you want to be successful at something, you pretty much can be. But only if you're motivated and dedicated enough to work your ass off for it (and maybe have a lil sprinkling of natural talent too). If you do, you'll win - if you don't, you won't.

Lockdown number three

As always, life continues to come in bursts of stability followed by unrest, happiness then frustration, and motivation followed by a complete lack of interest in doing anything other than sitting on the sofa with a glass of wine and tray of Ferrero Rocher. In fact, the only thing that's remained relatively constant recently is my hellbent dedication to doing Pilates every morning — if only to cling onto some semblance of a balanced life. Lockdown three, ya really killin' me slowly.