Aisha Malik’s favourite things of 2020

I rediscovered my love for reading, watched lots of shows and endlessly scrolled through TikTok

The Umbrella Academy Season 2

When I wrote this list last year, I ended it with: “Here’s hoping that 2020 will be even better than 2019!”

We really had no idea what was coming.

It goes without saying that 2020 was an insane, unexpected and completely absurd year. Like many others, I found solace in connecting with friends and family and spending more time on my hobbies. This included reading, writing, baking, or just watching TV shows and movies.

Below are a few of the things that got me through this incredibly messed up year.

Favourite TV show: The Umbrella Academy (season 2)

I remember looking forward to the second season of Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy all year, and when it was finally released in July, it was something familiar amid the craziness of the pandemic. The second season was filled with the hilarious family banter and weirdness that I loved in the first season.

The second season included the mix of humour and drama that made the first one so great. Everything is more cohesive and there’s a fair amount of crazy twists that make the season worthwhile. The ending was great and definitely leaves viewers excited for the third season.

Honourable mentions: The Boys (season 2) and Supernatural (season 15)

Favourite movie: American Murder: The Family Next Door

As someone who watches and reads a lot of true crime content, the Chris Watts case is one of the most intriguing and horrifying stories in recent years. It’s worth noting that this story has been covered in several other documentaries and podcasts, but the Netflix documentary film adds a bit more to the story.

It includes never before seen police footage depicting law enforcement interacting with Chris Watts, along with text messages, social media posts and home video footage from his wife. I was on edge while watching it and didn’t stop thinking about it for days. Netflix does a great job of crafting this story while still doing justice to telling the horrific tale of what happened to Shannon Watts and her children.

Honourable mentions: The Half of It and The Invisible Man

Favourite app: TikTok

TikTok on the App Store

If someone had told me at the start of 2020 that TikTok would be my most-used app this year, I wouldn’t have believed them. I decided to download the app in January, and since then, I’ve spent way too much time on the app.

Although at first, TikTok seemed like it was catered towards 14-year-olds, soon enough, the algorithm got accustomed to my interests, and it became a source for me to just shut my mind off for a few minutes (or hours…).

As silly as it may sound, TikTok really helped me get through quarantine.

Favourite book: The Silent Patient

I remember reading The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides during my Go Train commute to and from downtown Toronto in January (remember when this was a thing we did?) and becoming instantly hooked from the first page. It was the first book I’d read in months and I was shocked at all of the twists and turns. I can honestly say this is the best psychological thriller I’ve read in years.

Once I finished the book, I sought out similar thrillers but nothing compares to this one. I will say that I rediscovered my love for reading after I finished The Silent Patient. I’ve read more in 2020 than I did in the past five years combined.

Honourable mentions: Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell and My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing

Favourite articles: COVID Alert app coverage

COVID Alert app on iOS

I wrote countless news stories this year, but I had the most fun with my coverage of the federal government’s COVID Alert exposure notification app. From Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first announcement that the government was going to launch such an app, to the latest developments from a week ago, I thoroughly enjoyed writing about the app.

It was also great to sit down (virtually, of course) with one of the developers who helped create the app. With widespread misinformation about the app being spread all over social media, it was important for me to clear up some misconceptions about the app.

2020 simultaneously felt like the longest and shortest year ever, but it’s finally officially coming to end.

Happy New Year!

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