Mid-Year Book Freak-Out Tag 2020

I don’t usually do book tags, but this one is all over book blogs and Booktube, and I thought it would be another interesting exercise in looking back at what I’ve read, specifically what I’ve read so far this year. I’ve seen different sets of questions posted for this tag, so I’m using the questions that are relevant to me.

1. How many books have you read so far?

I’ve read 53 of the 75 books I challenged myself to read this year, but I think I’m going to end up reading closer to 100 books total. Having three months off from work and now having the entire summer off from school, I’m getting a lot more reading done than I normally would have.

2. Rereads?

Yes! I am a big fan of rereading books that I love, and I have reread nine books so far this year. I’m rereading the Young Wizards series by Diane Duane right now, and I have six more of those to reread. With roughly five and a half months left in the year, I might be rereading other books, too. We’ll see what comes up.

3. Best book(s) you’ve read so far this year?

I don’t know that I can choose just one. The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez is phenomenal, as is The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. Both made me feel all the feels. I also really enjoyed Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo.

4. Best sequel(s) read so far this year?

Aside from the Wheel of Time series (which I’m not considering for this question), I’ve only read two sequels this year (not including rereads) and they were both excellent. Come Tumbling Down is the fifth (and most recent) book in Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series, and The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang is the second book of the Poppy War trilogy. I really enjoyed them both.

5. New release(s) you haven’t read yet, but want to?

There are two new releases I want to read but haven’t gotten to yet, and I had to either order both from across the pond or wait for them to be published here in the States. Of course I had to have them RIGHT NOW, so I ordered them even though I probably won’t get to them until after their pub dates here. Heh. They are Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell and The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld.

6. Most anticipated new release(s) in the second half of the year?

All the publishing dates got so screwed up this year (#ThanksCovid) that I don’t know what’s coming out when anymore. I deal with this on a month-to-month basis right now. Plus, I’m always so backed up on my reading that I very rarely get to read something as soon as it comes out.

7. Biggest disappointment?

Definitely Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. Damn you, Hype Monster. I’m usually really good about choosing books and I don’t come across many disappointments, but this one was NOT what it was cracked up to be. Ugh.

8. Biggest surprise?

Graceland by Bethan Roberts. I’m not a fan of Elvis, so I didn’t think I’d enjoy this one as much as I did. I never would have chosen it on my own if I didn’t have to read it for a book club, and I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was and how well it kept me interested.

9. Favorite new author (debut or new to you)?

I’m going to go with Bernardine Evaristo and Lucy Foley for this one. I will definitely read anything Bernardine Evaristo writes after reading Girl, Woman, Other, and while the Lucy Foley book I read (The Hunting Party) wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be, I’m definitely interested in reading more of her stuff.

10. Newest favorite character?

I’m very fond of Mirabel from The Starless Sea, and I’m also quite fond of Loial, Lan, Mat, Moiraine, and Nynaeve from the Wheel of Time series. Oh, and Finnick from Mockingjay!

11. Book(s) that made you cry?

The Vanished Birds and The Starless Sea. Le sigh.

12. Book(s) that made you happy?

The Starless Sea, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, and Longbourn by Jo Baker.

13. Favorite book-to-film adaptation watched this year?

I don’t watch many movies anymore, and I don’t know that I’ve watched a film adaptation of a book this year. But on the TV show front, I really enjoyed Normal People (based on the book by Sally Rooney, which I haven’t read yet), and I very much enjoyed The Magicians (based on the series by Lev Grossman). I’m sad The Magicians is over.

14. Most beautiful book(s) you’ve purchased/received this year?

Hands down this is Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell. This book cover is GORGEOUS, and is one reason why I’m glad I bought the British edition instead of waiting for the U.S. edition.

15. Which book(s) do you need to read by the end of the year?

I don’t necessarily HAVE to read anything by the end of the year, but I committed myself to the #20for20books challenge, so I should probably read more of those. I haven’t read very many of them so far. And I WANT to read them, so I should get on that.

How was your reading for the first half of the year? Any big disappointments or big surprises? What new releases are you especially looking forward to in the second half of the year?

Authors I’ve Read the Most

Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl hosts a weekly Top Ten Tuesday meme, and while I don’t participate, I enjoy reading others’ TTT posts. This week, though, the topic was Top Ten Authors I’ve Read the Most, and I was interested to see which authors would make my list. Some of the authors I could have listed off the top of my head, knowing that I’ve read a ton of their books, but others surprised me because I haven’t read their stuff in years and I’d forgotten that I’d read so many of their books in the first place.

Another thing I found (and knew to be true, but it was nice to have it confirmed) is that some of my favorite authors are not necessarily authors I’ve read the most. A number of my favorite authors haven’t written a ton of books, and so I’ve been able to read only three or four. Figuring out who I’ve read the most also reminded me that there are books by some of my favorite authors that I haven’t read yet, and I need to get back to them.

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July 2020 Reading Plans

How is it July already?! I’m not usually one of those people who laments how fast/slow a week/month/year went, but June felt like it was one week long short. Sigh.

I didn’t read any of the Women’s Prize longlist books in June, so I’d really like to get back to that in July, but in light of J.K. Rowling being an absolute ass and me feeling like the Harry Potter world has been ruined for the foreseeable future (I’m not here to debate whether or not it’s okay to still be a fan of the stories — I personally can’t comfortably be a fan of that world right now), sj and I have decided to reread Diane Duane’s Young Wizard series, which is pre-HP and which we actually enjoy more.

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June 2020 Reading Wrap-Up

June was kind of a weird month. I thought I was going to get a ton of reading done, but then I had to finish up school stuff and we reopened the library to the public, so I had less time to read than I thought I was going to.

I was able to finish seven books in June, which is still fantastic:

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June TBR

Who has two thumbs and has never read The Hunger Games series?

This gal!

I do (and don’t) know why I haven’t read it yet. The first book came out the same year that the last book of the Twilight series came out, and the Hype Monster was real. In my circle, the same people who were raving about the Twilight series were also raving about The Hunger Games, and it turned me off a bit. Now, don’t get me wrong: I read the entire Twilight series and I *did not* think they were terrible. They were super readable (my husband and I read them all in the span of a week and a half), and while I didn’t *love* them, I didn’t dislike them at all. But there was something about diving into *another* YA fantasy series that EVERYONE was raving about that I wasn’t down for. I was a little afraid of the Hype Monster. So I decided to wait a while…and I kind of forgot all about them.

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