Letters to Summer

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Letter 78

Letters to Summer is a newsletter written by two best friends living on opposite sides of the country. Every other Friday, we share the things we're reading, watching, listening to, and enjoying. We hope you like it.


Our 2021 Favorites

For our last newsletter of 2021, we looked back on the things that defined our year. Here are ten of our favorite recommendations from the past twelve months—thanks for hanging out here with us.



We recommend

📖 You Exist Too Much by Zaina Arafat

From Letter 54

So I technically read this book in 2020 but keep associating it with 2021, since I read it well into the night on December 28th and spent much of the first half of this year recommending it, over & over again. I still love it so much and it is at the top of my mind as I make my reading goals for the next year.

Summer

📱 Discord

From Letter 70

Discord was easily one of my most-used apps this year—it has become my favorite way to connect with my friends and other communities that I care about. Building a little server for myself and inviting my friends so we could have dedicated spaces to chat about all of our different interests was one of the best decisions I’ve made recently and it’s brought me a lot of joy! Group chats > Twitter forever!

Jillian

🎙 Lolita Podcast

From Letter 56

I sort of dropped off with podcasts this year, spending more time listening to music or pretending I can handle silence, but this podcast remains the best cultural/literary criticism I have ever consumed. As I get more invested in trying to Write About Books, I can only return to Jamie’s expert handling of multimedia analysis and balanced humor. The podcast queen!

Summer

💡 Media backlog

From Letter 54

When I first wrote about my media backlog at the very beginning of the year, I said, “I’m excited to see what it looks like in a few months once I’ve used it more.” The answer is I’m still using it and loving it as a way to keep track of what media I’m consuming or want to consume, what I liked and what I didn’t like and what I loved more than anything, what I’m in the middle of and what I’ve shamefully abandoned. I’ve made some changes to it over the year, and I’m really happy with where it’s ended up. I’ll definitely continue using it next year. You can see my current progress here.

Jillian

🎮 Ace Attorney Franchise

From Letters 57 & 69

Is this cheating? The Ace Attorney Franchise has shaped so much of my happiness this year and it didn’t feel right to not acknowledge both the original trilogy and the prequel series. It feels unreal that I didn’t touch these games until January of this year, but holy shit am I glad I did. I was so lucky to play them while the fandom was (shockingly) so alive & vibrant, to ride the excitement of the anniversary and the release of DGS/GAA in the US, and to be able to get others to play it too. I’ve spent hours and hours and hours thinking about this series and these characters while going through some awful shit (along with the pandemic undercurrent) and I think everyone else should give them a try, too.

Summer

🔗 Hobonichi planner

From Letter 56

There were a lot of long stretches of time this year where I didn’t even look at my planner, to be honest. But when I did use it, I loved it. I think there’s something to be said for things that you take breaks from but always return to after a while. For 2022, I’m switching it up with the Hobonichi Weeks planner, and I can already tell it fits me a lot better. We’ll see if I’m able to stick with it!!!

Jillian

🍽 Chocolate Chip Banana Cookies

From Letter 73

I’ve made these cookies so many times this year? They’re comforting every time and so incredibly forgiving, regardless of how much energy you have when making them. I’m not sure if I actually have a recipe I’ve returned to this many times in a short period, but god. I’m craving them right now.

Summer

🎮 Ikenfell

From Letter 57

I played a lot of games in 2021, but Ikenfell still stands out to me one of my favorites! It’s a really great indie game that I think everyone should play—I won’t speak for Summer, but I know she really enjoyed it too.

Jillian

📖 Gumbo Ya Ya by Aurielle Marie

From Letter 73

I read a lot of incredible books this year, but this title has entered into my mental “forever recommendation” list. I’m excited to revisit it next year & the year after and continue to notice more of the amazing things Aurielle.

Summer

📽️ Promare

From Letter 72

I watched this movie so many times this year! And it was great every time! One of my favorite memories of 2021 was watching it three times in one weekend with a couple of friends. I’ll probably continue rewatching it every once in a while, because I love it that much.

Jillian