A few months ago, I got a cheap fitness tracker to help combat my daily inactivity, resulting from barely leaving my small studio apartment in Tokyo. While I knew 10,000 steps is generally recommended, I decided to aim for a lower and more manageable 5,000 steps, a number so achievable that I’d be more likely to do it consistently.

At first, I would try to explore a new area around my neighborhood every day, but it often led to an inconsistent number of steps, and I’d find myself walking in circles to round out the last few hundred needed to hit my target. Instead, I ended up finding a straight path that is guaranteed to give me 5,000 steps and have walked it most days.

I’m not usually one to enjoy repetition, but the regularity of this daily walk was surprisingly soothing. This was a year where having small achievable goals and setting reasonable expectations felt more important than ever.

I’ve been writing year-end lists of my favorite music and books for many years now. Despite having more time at home, I listened to very little music, though I did read as much as I had in recent years. In honor of that tradition, here is a list of music and books I enjoyed this year, in no order.

Music

psych
• the orielles — disco volador
• kelley stoltz — ah! (etc)
• woods — strange to explain

indie rock
• destroyer — have we met
• soccer mommy — color theory
• andy shauf — the neon skyline
• tops — I feel alive
• a girl called eddy — been around

pop / electronic
• thundercat — it is what it is
• jessy lanza — all the time
• kelly lee owens — inner song

post-punk
• the wants — container

Books

*most did not come out this year

non-fiction
• blockchain chicken farm — xiaowei wang
• chaos — james gleick
• a new program for graphic design — david reinfurt
• the meritocracy trap — daniel markovits
• uncanny valley — anna wiener
• born a crime — trevor noah

fiction
• interior chinatown — charles yu
• weather — jenny offill
• girl, woman, other — bernadine evaristo
• the factory — hiroko oyamada

comics
• rusty brown — chris ware
• nancy — olivia james

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