things i liked in 2019

This post contains affiliate links, because I like money, but I s2g I wrote this post before adding the affiliate links and the monetization does not affect my opinions.

It’s been eons since I last made a blog post, and I feel overwhelmed at the prospect of recapping everything that’s happened since June, so instead, I will resurrect the spirit of 2016 me and list some things I liked in 2019. Here they are.

movies watched 2019: spider-man: into the spider-verse, a monster in paris, murder on the orient express (1974), little women (2019)

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which, yeah, came out in late 2018, but I’m including it here because I didn’t watch it until this year. It was truly a delight for my eyeballs, and Miles Morales and his leap of faith got me right in the heart.

A Monster in Paris, a v. charming animated movie from 2011 that my partner and I randomly selected on Netflix one day. It was unexpectedly really, really funny, and I recommend it if you’re in the mood for something fun and a lil funky.

Murder on the Orient Express, the 1974 version with Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery, and Anthony Perkins. I tend not to watch a lot of movies made before the 90s, but the deliberate overacting and dry deliveries in this had me literally lol’ing.

Little Women, the Greta Gerwig version. It is visually gorgeous (whomst among us did not leave this film desperate for Jo’s entire wardrobe!!!), and the storytelling is so tender, with so much loving attention paid to the March sisters. Of Greta Gerwig’s films, I’ve only seen this and Ladybird, but the way she depicts her characters’ humanity, their imperfections and hopes and fears and their basic desires to be good people and feel loved – it all makes me so soft. I also really, really love that Little Women in particular is so effective at treating the ~little domesticities~ of being a woman with gravity.

tv watched 2019 - nailed it - travel the world on exo's ladder - 100 days my prince - busted!

Nailed It!, which is a very soothing combination of cringe-y scripted schticks, wholesome encouragement, and hysterically disastrous baking.

Travel the World on EXO’s Ladder, both seasons of which are sososo calming to watch, or as the EXOs would put it, Healing™. Basically, EXO goes on vacations and has to play games and complete missions to “earn” their food and spending money so they can buy souvenirs. It’s honestly kind of a joy to watch them all just… be together, messing around and amusing themselves and not being mobbed by fans.

100 Days My Prince, a Korean historical romcom series. I love it SO MUCH, and not just because EXO’s D.O. is in it. I guess I’m just a sucker for the fun combination of a fake marriage (and amnesia!) plotline + political intrigue.

Busted!, a Korean variety show that includes Sehun from EXO. (And Sejeong from gu9udan, whom I would like to be, and Park Minyoung, whom I would like to marry.) Basically, there’s an overarching plot involving implanted microchips and detectives and solving mysteries/crimes, and the cast members have to complete a series of absurd escape rooms, alternate reality games, and nonsense tasks to get the information they need. It’s so dumb, and I love it so much.

books read 2019 - know my name by chanel miller - red white & royal blue by casey mcquiston - the prince and the dressmaker by jen wang - station eleven by emily st. john mandel

Know My Name by Chanel Miller. She’s a remarkable writer, but you probably already knew that if you read her victim impact statement on Buzzfeed back in 2016. Reading this book was so, so incredibly painful, but it felt like something I needed to do – to witness her.

Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. I’ve seen some reviewers call this book too idealistic or unrealistic, but, like, the premise is that the POTUS’ son and the Queen’s son fall in love and cause an international scandal, so, like, I don’t know what else you’d be expecting. This book is QUEER and SAD and FUNNY and I LOVED IT. Also, speaking as someone who was once pretty sure I was straight, Alex’s internal monologue when he goes running is TOO real, and, speaking as someone who lost a parent too young, the pie crust analogy about “when your brain isn’t even done fully cooking” broke me, in a very sad and very true way.

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang. This is a YA graphic novel with SUCH A BIG HEART. Basically, the prince secretly likes to wear dresses. I cried!

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. This was on my to-read list for ages. It’s a story about the apocalypse, but rather than glamorizing the destruction and violence that an apocalyptic event would doubtless bring about, it takes a look at the best parts of human nature and our tendency toward cooperation, ingenuity, and hope. It gets a little philosophical about humanity at times, but it seems only fitting for a story about surviving the apocalypse. I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.

books read 2019 - mrs caliban by rachel ingalls - cress by marissa meyer - winter by marissa meyer

Mrs. Caliban by Rachel Ingalls. This short novel is not the source material for Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water, but it does involve a woman falling in love with an amphibious man-creature and shielding him from a cruel society. I absolutely loved it. There’s a dreamy quality to the writing that makes the act of reading of it almost feel like an out-of-body experience, but maybe it was just the sheer novelty of reading about a female character who isn’t a caricature. Dorothy, the protagonist, feels startlingly real, with layers of motivation and an internal life that’s actually believable in its vulnerability and weirdness. She’s so human that it kind of makes my heart ache.

Cress and Winter by Marissa Meyer. I first picked up Cinder early last year, not expecting to get so invested in the characters and plotline, but oh MAN have I loved the entire Lunar Chronicles series. Each of the books is a sci-fi riff on a classic fairytale (Cinderella, then Little Red Riding Hood, then Rapunzel, and finally Snow White), and I love that the female characters behave like Actual People who get to experience infatuation and grief and ANGER, and it’s so refreshing and a little dark and so, sooo entertaining.

books read 2019 - the titan's curse by rick riordan - the battle of the labyrinth by rick riordan - the last olympian by rick riordan - invisible planets by ken liu

The Titan’s Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, and The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan. I started the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series late last year and immediately loved it, and I had to force myself to not tear through the whole series on a reading bender. The whole series was a lot of fun (and surprisingly funny), so I’m looking forward to eventually going through the Heroes of Olympus series as well.

Invisible Planets by Ken Liu. This is an anthology of sci-fi stories translated from Chinese to English, and I didn’t love all of them, but the standouts were “Tongtong’s Summer” by Xia Jia and the excerpt from Liu Cixin’s The Three-Body Problem. I also found the essays included at the end to offer a really interesting look at how Chinese sci-fi has evolved over time.

Attending concerts. I saw quite a few live music shows this year, and honestly they were all experiences well worth the ticket prices. To summarize,

Maren Morris is a goddamn powerhouse, and I love “The Bones” sooo much.

Betty Who’s show was so fun and so queer, and she’s SO HOT.

Carly Rae Jepsen closed her concert with that iconic rainbow wig guy and an explosion of rainbow confetti, which was SHEER JOY.

Seeing GOT7 for free, in lower bowl 6th row seats, was such an incredible experience. It was my first K-Pop concert, and I was so impressed by their endurance dancing, their vocals, the fanservice, their English, and just, like, everything? Including how loudly the fandom showed up for their boys. Also I fell in love with Jackson Wang!!! (And he answered the question I tweeted to 997now!!! Can you believe!!!)

got7 in oakland - oracle arena - crowd photo

My cousin found me in this photo! I’m this white blob on the far right, right next to someone’s Ahgabong:

got7 in oakland - oracle arena - crowd photo - me

Shawn Mendes was a teenage dream tbh. You can tell how much the crowd loves him, and how much he loves the crowd, and he’s got all the wholesome af talent needed to back up his popularity.

Alessia Cara’s songwriting really gets to me. I watched her both as an opener for Shawn Mendes and on her own The Pains of Growing tour, and she can really, really sing but goddamn can she write too. The first time I heard “7 Days,” I was up in the nosebleed seats waiting for Shawn Mendes to come on, but holy shit – I never expected a pop song (or any song, really) to address what it’s like to feel abandoned by your God/creator because you can’t believe how terrible life can be… like, literally the same thoughts I struggled with in my early teenage years, as someone who was raised Catholic and who eventually renounced my faith. She has such a way of picking out small details so her songs feel both personal and universal, like in “Wherever I Live” when she sings “As I hang my stray hairs on the shower walls for decoration” …Brilliant.

The Pentagon concert was certainly on a smaller scale than the GOT7 one, but the fans showed up hella loud, and the boys performed so well. Jinho and Hui’s vocals are no joke, and it was so fun to see them perform “Shine”, “Gorilla”, and “Humph!” live.

I think DAY6 might’ve been my favorite concert this year. I legit still don’t know all the members’ names and faces, but holy shit their vocalists are good. Usually I have an easy time picking out my favorite or at least top few vocalists in a group (Harry in 1D, D.O. in EXO, Onew in SHINee), but I love ALL of DAY6’s timbres. The energy at their concert was insane, in the best way. When the whole crowd scream-sang “why am I aLoOoOoNE” during “I Need Somebody,” I got full-body chills of the type I haven’t experienced since Niall performed “On My Own” at Red Rocks. It was MAGICAL. They also did an absolutely wild mashup of “Shape of You” and “Get Lucky” with several of their own songs, and holy fucking hell, it was so good I felt my soul vibrate out of my body:

Twitter lists. It is so nice to be able to keep up with more than 20 accounts at a time but still have everything organized into useful content streams.

Star Noodle. I had a lot of good food this year – the ube donuts at Twisted Donuts, the hot and sour beef noodle soup at CamboWan, the pho at Súp Noodle Bar, the vegan Vietnamese food at Golden Era, the fried chicken sandwiches at The Bird… I could go on – but Star Noodle was holy FUCKING HELL good. The pork buns are served Chairman Bao-style (so a Peking duck bun with fillings), and they blew my goddamn mind. So did the ramen and udon dishes I tried, especially the mentaiko udon, which is served dry (without broth) and smothered in roe. Holy fuck. If you ever find yourself in Maui, do yourself a favor and make a reservation for Star Noodle. The prices are very reasonable (we paid $67 before tip for dinner for two people), and every single thing we ordered was absurdly good.

Opening joint accounts with my partner. Romance!!!

Eyeshadow! Mostly smudged across the lid and under the eye, mostly orange, and mostly matte, but I love a good duochrome as well. My go-to products have been ColourPop’s Pressed Powder Shadows in Bratty (matte orange), Koi (matte yellow-orange), Made To Last (matte light brown), Glass Bull (duochrome lavender-brown/silver-blue), and Tea Garden (duochrome red/green-gold). I was also very impressed by the color payoff and longevity of the Revlon Colorstay Looks Book Eyeshadow Palette in “Player,” which I bought solely for the GOT7-ish electric green shade. It’s a tiny little palette, but the colors pack a huge punch.

anothertoast - samglorious - revlon colorstay looks book eyeshadow palette - player

Just LOOK at this green! Even I, a fool, was able to achieve a passable colored smokey eye with this palette.

Seeing the Monet exhibit at the de Young. It was such a soul-enriching experience to take a long, slow walk through the museum and to chat about each painting with my mom as we went. I guess I particularly like Monet’s art anyway, but I think I ought to go to museums more in general. I haven’t been to the Asian Art Museum since junior high, and I’d love to make some time to go again.

SuperM. Being in the SuperM fandom has been a lot of fun, but it’s also been weirdly calm, which wasn’t really what I expected considering how many fans seemed to hate the idea of a supergroup. My main K-Pop fandom is EXO, but SHINee was my first K-Pop group, and I’ve come to love NCT 127 and WayV over the past year, so when I talk to other SuperM fans, I feel like a popular high school junior who’s hanging out with the really cool, deeply respected seniors and the super energetic and enthusiastic freshmen at the same time. It’s been a ton of fun so far, and I can’t wait to see them in concert next year. (I’m still struggling to believe that I’m going to see Baekhyun, the man I want to be, and Kai, a man I’ve had a crush on since I was 22, perform LIVE, from the 2ND ROW. I’m not ready, but also I am SO ready.)

Joining EXO group orders on Twitter. I had no idea this whole buyer/seller ecosystem existed before this year, but there’s something really heartwarming about international fans coming together and trusting each other with their money and personal information all for the sake of acquiring, like, a PopSocket with Kyungsoo’s drawing of Baekhyun’s face on it. I’ve also made some regular non-GO purchases through Twitter, which, again, I didn’t know was a thing people did until this year.

The majority of my purchases have been stickers and pins, but I think my favorites have probably been…

EXO GOs - group orders - baowowcorner eggsoo bald kyungsoo photocard pin - xiumin baekhyun seasons greetings 2019 a4 poster - avocado chen drink bottle strap - royalxiumimi anime style exo character stickers

EXO GOs - group orders - 0921morning metal eco straws - butter_pancake_ Baekhyun pizza boy hotel keyring - strawberry cafe hotel keyring - happy9delights phone cases - charm_xiu sticker packs - powerxiu99 translucent xiumin tumbler.jpg

This is also my first year ordering fanmade Season’s Greetings (actually, I’ve never ordered an official one either), and I’m really looking forward to receiving my Xiumin and Sehun diaries/planners from @ICETREE326 and @ohwindyside.

Taking a class to help refocus my career path. I’m hoping to finish the coursework by March or April, at which point I’ll look for a tech job again. I feel significantly better about working in tech again than I did this time last year, so I’ve got high hopes.

Spotify Premium. Yes, I finally caved because their ads are so godawful that I couldn’t take it anymore, but it’s been pretty worth it.

Lots of music, most of which was K-Pop. Some of my favorites, with my must-listens marked with asterisks(*):

NCT Dream – “Boom”* – This song just fuckin SLAPS. I listened to it once and couldn’t get it out of my head for weeks.

ONEWE – “Reminisce about All” – I wasn’t expecting to like this as much as I did, but I couldn’t stop listening to it for weeks.

D.O. – “That’s okay”* – The song, lyrics, and music video are all very, very soothing. I cried the first time I watched the MV, because it made me feel like someone else understood what it was like to… just be okay. To feel kind of gray and heavy, but to seek out small pockets of joy where you can anyway… to love as an act of defiance against an uncaring world. Maybe that’s reading too much into it. But I like to think that’s what Kyungsoo was trying to get at when he wrote/chose the lyrics.

WayV – “Take Off”, “Let me love u”, “Moonwalk”*, and “Love Talk”* – They’re all good, but the melody of “Moonwalk” just SENDS me, and “Love Talk” is surprisingly good in English.

NCT 127 – We Are Superhuman, especially “Superhuman”* and “Highway To Heaven”* – They’re both SO damn good. The vocals in “Superhuman” remind me so much of SHINee, and “Highway to Heaven” is surprisingly good in English. I’ve also been listening to so much of their older music, and my faves include “Back 2 U (AM 01:27)”, “Touch”, “Lips”, “Cherry Bomb”, “Baby Don’t Like It”, and “Paradise”, all of which I think I’ve previously mentioned on this blog.

Key – “I Wanna Be”* – This was the single for his 1st album’s repackage, and it’s SO good. It’s so good that I’m including the music video here to make it even easier to listen.

DAY6 – “I Need Somebody”*, “Time of Our Life”, “Days Gone By”, and “Blood”* – Most of these songs are from their older albums, but goddamn are they good.

ONEUS – “Valkyrie”, “English Girl”, “White Night”, and “Stand By” – “Valkyrie” is a bop and a half, “English Girl” is SO cute, “White Night” is Soft & Sexy™, and I’m not even sure why I love “Stand By,” but part of it is definitely because Keonhee’s lisp is really pronounced in it.

SuperM – “Jopping” and “I Can’t Stand the Rain”* – In my opinion, “I Can’t Stand the Rain” is the superior track, musically speaking, but “Jopping” includes Mark’s INCREDIBLE rap verse (UH you think ya big boy throwin three stacks imma show you how to ball you a mismatch opinionated but i’m always spittin straight facts, throw back i might throw this on an eight track), and frankly, I would punch a bear in the face for Mark Lee.

Baekhyun – “UN Village”*, “Diamond”, and “Betcha” – I loved his entire City Lights album, but “UN Village” is probably my favorite track. Baekhyun’s vocals are so controlled and so smooth on it, and it has the perfect chill vibe for driving around at night. “Betcha” is a big fun bop, and “Diamond” is a goddamn earworm.

Chen – “Beautiful Goodbye”*, “Love Words”, “Good night”, and “Hold you tight” – Chen has an incredible voice, and he’s gotten so good at emoting through his singing. “Beautiful Goodbye” is just heartrendingly pretty (and sad af if you look up the lyrics). “Love Words” and “Hold You Tight” are both upbeat and catchy. And both the lyrics and music for “Good night” are so, sooo soothing. Strongly recommend both April, and a flower and Dear my dear if you’re in the mood for some slow songs.

EXO – literally every song on OBSESSION – The title track “Obsession”* is SUCH a ride, and it’s followed by “Trouble” and “Jekyll” which both have this sort of deliciously nasty, industrial sound I usually associate with NCT 127. After that we get the smooth bossa nova sexiness of “Groove”, followed by “Ya Ya Ya”*, which samples SWV’s “You’re The One” for the perfect 90s inspired bop. The production of “Baby You Are” sounds like it could’ve fit on their previous album, and I mean that in the best way – a sort of pulsing 80s beat with gorgeous vocals riding on top. “Non Stop” is upbeat disco, which works unexpectedly well with their voices and with the other tracks, and “Day After Day”* is a super pretty acoustic (or nearly acoustic) R&B vocal masterpiece. Finally, “Butterfly Effect” is a dance-y, groovy love letter to EXO-Ls that kinda reminds me of their 2016 song “White Noise.”

Taeyeon – “Four Seasons”, “Blue”*, “Spark”, and “Gravity”*, as well as her song with Chancellor called “Angel”* – I’m madly in love with her voice. I guess that’s all I wanted to say.

Harry Styles – “Lights Up” – Harry is the only direction who put out music I really liked this year, and while I still need to sit down and listen to his whole album without distractions, I can safely say that I really loved “Lights Up.” It’s just so vulnerable and earnest, and I think that’s lovely.

Wearing sheerer lip products. I go in and out of makeup phases, and I guess I just got tired of matte lipsticks this year. I’ve mostly been reaching for tints and balms, which are lighter to wear and look much less ~done. My favorite products have been Maybelline Baby Lips (holy grail tinted lip balms tbh), Innisfree Glow Tint Lip Balm in #4 Calendula/Marigold (I believe it’s sold as Calendula in Asia and Marigold in the US. I can’t vouch for the specific Amazon listing I linked, but you can also buy it on the Innisfree US website. #4 wears off gorgeously over the course of a day), and ColourPop lip crayons (I’ve been using Rise N Shine and Z Boys).

Glossier Cloud Paint. I own Beam and Dawn, and while Dawn is honestly a little too vivid for my skintone (and I say this as someone who loves wearing orange/coral makeup), Beam is GORGEOUS. Every single positive review is accurate. It’s easy to apply, a tiny dab goes a looong way, it looks super natural, it’s easy to blend, and it lasts for ages.

Wearing my hair in double buns. I actively avoided wearing my hair in double buns for YEARS because of how many fucking Chun-Li comments I had to field, but I still love the style, and I don’t currently have any bosses or HR people telling me how unprofessional I look, so double buns it is.

anothertoast - samglorious - sam embraces double buns

Berets. Suho from EXO kept wearing berets, and I just thought he looked so friggin cool, so I bought a cheap gray wool beret on Amazon and have been wearing the heck out of it. Berets are great because 1) they’re cheaper than structured hats, 2) they’re dressier than beanies, and most importantly, 3) they can hide your dirty hair. Unfortunately, I don’t have an outfit pic with a beret, but trust me, it’s cute af with some double Dutch braids.

Trying to find go-to recipes. This year, we made a lot of Instant Pot black beans and chicken (for tacos and for salad), as well as a lot of nondescript salads and fried rices. We also made vats of this tomato, bean, kale, and bread(!) soup and this wild rice and mushroom soup, and I baked these simple hot cross buns and these unbelievably fast, super easy chocolate lava cakes.

(ENORMOUS shoutout to CopyMeThat, which is a fantastic, super lightweight recipe organizer that’s extremely useful even if you’re just using the free tier like I am.)

Darning/mending my socks. Practically speaking, it’s pretty pointless to spend a couple hours darning factory-made socks when you can just buy a new pair for like $5, but I find it very soothing to take care of my possessions, especially my clothes. There’s something charming about really well-loved items, and in my opinion, we would all be more conscious and sustainable consumers if we respected our clothing more.

sock darning - visible mending

They may look like a mess… but they’re my mess.

Saturday Skin Wide Awake Brightening Eye Cream, which I received a little tube of as part of a gift set that my cousin gave me for my birthday. I wasn’t expecting anything from this product, but I mean, holy crap. I’d sworn off eye cream after every single product I tried either gave me milia or ended up in my (very long, very straight) eyelashes and subsequently in the oil glands of my eyelids (which would then get clogged like gross little waterline pimples). But this!!! This eye cream!!! Is SO GOOD. It’s lightweight, it dries down quickly, it doesn’t give me milia or clog my eyelid oil glands, and it does actually provide moisture to my undereye area. (I’d previously resigned myself to just applying my watery, non-clogging skincare products up to my undereye area, but they alone were never quite moisturizing enough.) When I run out of my little tube, I think I will actually spend $46 to buy a full-sized bottle.

r/gatesopencomeonin, which is super wholesome.

afloral.com, where I bought an assortment of fake flowers to wrap into a bouquet. Here’s a great and terrible secret: I searched for pretty designer flower arrangements online and then approximated the colors and shapes for each flower with one or more afloral product(s), and when my order arrived, I arranged my fake flowers to as closely resemble the original photo as I could, and they turned out great. The flowers are pretty good quality, and while you can tell they’re fake when you get close enough, they look significantly more real than I expected, and I think it’s all in how organic you make the arrangement look. Highly recommend if you want to have flowers around someone with allergies! I also highly recommend getting heavy duty wirecutters, because some of those stems are really thick.

Here’s what I ended up with:

afloral faux artificial flower bouquet - ranunculus anemone

Pretty good, right?

Hosting, surprisingly enough. My partner and I hosted my cousins at our apartment for 3 days in a row over the holidays. The first two days were to play through a D&D one-shot campaign, which went swimmingly. (Our adventuring party consisted of Bartholequa, Buttholemew, Dandylion, and Mooooses.) (Shoutout to Tirso for hooking me up with the printables, my brother for doing a great job as a first-time DM, and everyone else for surviving!) And the third day was a combination of Mascarade, Overcooked, and Octodad. (I gotta say, playing Octodad in co-op mode and having 4 different people control 4 separate limbs was HELLA fun.)

I thought hosting would be stressful and unrewarding, but it turns out it’s… actually pretty easy to do if you’re not cooking and you have a dishwasher. It also helps that our guests were all very helpful and took on their delegated tasks with gusto. I think it’s been years since my cousins and I all sat down to just play games together, and I think I’ve really missed the sheer mayhem.

Knitting again. My partner kept nudging me to pick up a hands-on hobby again to help manage my anxiety, and I decided to go back to knitting that crop top I started ages ago. It’s a good way of self-soothing because it forces me to be patient (because I’ve had to start over so many times) and present (because it’s easy to drop stitches or forget where I am in the pattern).

Actually changing my phone background/lockscreen. For the longest time, I’d only been using Apple’s default backgrounds or some space photograph or other, but I started using fandom backgrounds (like album artwork or subtle logos, etc.), and it just gives me a tiny piece of happiness to see something I love every time I pick up my phone. It’s the little things.

anothertoast - samglorious - phone lockscreens - baekhyun city lights - chen dear my dear - superm kai - exo obsession

Seeking out literature on childhood bereavement. I read through Bereavement: Reactions, Consequences, and Care (1984) and The Loss That Is Forever this year, and while they’re certainly not feel-good reads, it was tremendously relieving to know that virtually all young children who experience the death of a parent end up constructing elaborate rules and illogical explanations to ensure they can survive the emotional trauma of losing a parent. (Well, they’re not exactly illogical explanations; it’s just that the logic used is immature and incomplete.) Often this will result in adult behavioral patterns like… starting to date much later than your peers, having daily thoughts about your own death, developing an intense fear of growing attached to anyone because they might suddenly die, having difficulty planning for the future because you never thought you’d live so long, experiencing constant paranoia about the unpredictability of the world, fearing strong emotions, fearing your dependence on someone else because eventually you’ll have to learn to live without them, striving to be a problem-free child for the sake of your surviving parent, studying fictional characters for guidelines on how to create your self in the absence of a guiding parental figure, not wanting to have children because you don’t want to burden a child with your potential early death – all of this is true of me, and all of this is common among people who lost their parents in childhood.

It’s still paralyzingly difficult for me to talk about this with other people because it makes me feel so small and pathetic, but reading about others who’ve gone through similar experiences has been useful for my sense of self. It’s also made me even more grateful for the support and warmth of my family, without whom I might’ve progressed down a more self-destructive path to adulthood.

But just so I end this post (and this year, and this decade) on a (very) high note, the last item on this list is…

Reading so much good fanfiction. This is a little embarrassing, but oh well. Here’s a shortlist with my must-reads marked with an asterisk(*):

  • Blackbird* by sixpences (Yuri!!! On Ice, Viktor/Yuuri, M)
    • WWII spy AU. truly cannot believe how good this is. i cried!
  • The Viktor Nikiforov Affair* by YankingAwry (Yuri!!! On Ice, Yuuri/Viktor, T)
    • absolutely hysterical jewelry heist au that made me literally lol
  • Wild by Seefin (Harry Potter, Harry/Draco, E)
    • enemies to friends to lovers! this fic is conversational and meandering and i liked it quite a lot
  • Reparatio by astolat (Harry Potter, Harry/Draco, E)
    • draco uses harry for clout. harry gets attached. it’s great.
  • Light in August* by orestesfasting (Harry Potter, Sirius/Remus, M)
    • “You gonna let me put this gunk on you or what” is right up there with “I thought you were rocks” as the most nonsensical, deeply romantic lines i’ve ever read 🥺
  • annual honesty by hauntologies/tigrrmilk (Harry Potter, Remus/Sirius, T)
    • remus-centric fic that feels like pressing on a bruise!!! read this to hurt yourself! in a good way, i guess.
  • between the motion and the act* by Fahye (Captive Prince, Damen/Laurent, T)
    • The Bachelor AU where laurent is the showrunner and damen is the bachelor
  • Wash Cycle (Heavy Load) by TRASHCAKE (EXO, Xiumin/Sehun, E)
    • honestly this is mostly just smut but god is it funny
  • Exodus by unniebee (EXO, Chen/Chanyeol, E)
    • I don’t know how to summarize this without making it sound fucking awful, but uh… Chanyeol is an Egyptologist in the 1920s and… Chen is… a mummified prince that Chanyeol accidentally brings back to life and then falls in love with?
  • the space between by unniebee (EXO, Xiumin/Sehun, E)
    • sexy steampunk factory AU where sehun is a factory owner and xiumin is a factory worker
  • Get Cocky* by MitchMatchedSocks (EXO, Kai/Sehun, E)
    • this is a wip, but the author’s said that they intend to continue writing it forever with no real ending. this frat au is largely just smut, but it is also HYSTERICAL and WHOLESOME (while also being sexy but also really gross, because frat bros). i mean, this fic basically starts with a size kink prompt and adds in 3 gallons of friendship and best bros and pure idiocy, to wildly entertaining effect. i just… god they’re so fucking dumb. and i love them for that!

And with that… Here’s to 2020! I hope it’ll be a good one. 🥂

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