The start of a new year is usually marked with an optimistic listing of opportunities and experiences to try, and a resolve to adopt better habits and get rid of bad practices.

Traditionally, it's accepted that these efforts are over-ambitious and rarely pursued for very long, but this year we can all be forgiven for not wanting to think further than the next meal time or getting to the end of the day.

Sometimes, though, it's helpful to have a focus and a goal - so long as we appreciate the journey as much as reaching the destination, and are not too hard on ourselves if we don't come up to the mark!

Of course our choice of activity or diversion is limited by the restrictions on our lives today. These exceptional times are noteworthy in themselves, though, so perhaps you keep a note of what happens day by day or propose to do so in 2021? Diaries of past lives in different times are certainly fascinating, as you can see from my recommended titles this week - Great Diaries and The Closest Thing to Flying.

But if keeping an account of our thoughts, feelings and challenges seems daunting, there are other means of acknowledging and celebrating each new day.

In your regular exercise outdoors, why not take stock of the natural environment like Alistair Campbell, in his appreciation of a Tree of the Day? Or learn to recognise birds by their song, like Melissa Harrison.

Or why not knit or sew a temperature scarf or blanket like the writer, Josie George? Each day she knits a couple of rows in a colour of yarn she's selected to reflect the weather, ultimately creating a scarf in stripes and blocks of colour recording the changing temperatures throughout the year. A fascinating idea!

For me, I'll continue with my book journal, recording the titles I'm reading through the year, though perhaps not being so concerned about exceeding any previous tally - I doubt I'll ever beat the number of books read in 2020!

I hope you will find a way of measuring the value of your days this year, and will join with me in delighting in the riches of books of all kinds.

I wish you health and happiness in 2021, and thank you for reading.