It is that time of year again, when everyone comes together to share how the reading experience has been so far. At the half-way stage, let’s have some fun seeing what my reading year has been like so far and how I’m doing with the goals I set in January!
This tag has been a staple for many people over the years, so let’s dive into the questions.
Best book so far?
I have absolutely no idea. I’ve read some really great books, given out lots of five stars if you go by the ratings, but nothing really absolutely jumps out at me for the title of best book. Here’s a little top-five so far:
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Anatomy of a Soldier by Harry Parker
The Wicker King by K Ancrum
Enigma Variations by Andre Aciman
You may notice there are a few things missing on this list that you might expect from me if you’ve been following me here and on other social media. Yes, I prefer Enigma Variations to Call Me By Your Name. I have omitted Circe by Madeline Miller. And no, The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInnery has not made it in after me gushing about it at the beginning of the year. It is really close, though, and there are other books I could easily have picked as well. I may do a more detailed explanation in another post. Let’s just see how the rest of the year goes!
Best Sequel so far?
A second mention for A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas. Better than the first one; way better than the third. I fell in love with the characters and the way the story was woven together, the flipping of a story we thought we knew right on its head. It is YA fantasy romance and I love it. No shame.
New Release you haven’t read yet but want to?
I have a few. I think the biggest title I haven’t gotten to yet is Children of Blood and Boneby Tomi Adeyemi. I’ve heard nothing but positive things about it, so I really need to get to it soon. But we also have:
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
The Earlie King and the Kid in Yellow by Danny Denton
Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi
And those are just some of the ones I own…
Most Anticipated Release in the second half of the year?
VENGEFUL BY V.E. SCHWAB AHHHH!!!!
I would also love it if the next Gentlemen Bastards book came out this year from Scott Lynch, but I will restrain myself from getting too excited for that one…
This, seriously makes me want to cry, but … Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. I had so much hype for this book and believed I would absolutely love it with all my soul. But I just couldn’t. The world-building was amazing, and Lazlo is just the sweetest little beaut and I loved him a lot. And that’s the thing. If the entire book had been written from his perspective, I probably would have loved this. Instead, it is a dual perspective and I hated the other character. I did not care about them. I rolled my eyes every time it was one of their chapters. The whole balance between these two ruined it for me, and so I finished it, disappointed. Do I want to pick up the sequel later this year? I really, really don’t know…
I’m going to go with The Exquisite Corpse by Alfred Chester. This is a book no one has really heard of, but I found out about whilst reading Diana Athill’s Stet for university. It is an utterly bizarre, highly perverse, queer freak show of a book that, to this day, doesn’t make much sense to me. However, once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down. I had to keep reading. Compulsive and, yeah, I loved it.
Favourite New Author?
I have two: Patrick Ness and Andre Aciman. It is pretty much my mission for the rest of the year to read their entire backlists, quite frankly. I had read A Monster Calls from Ness last year, but it wasn’t until picking up More Than This and reading the first few pages of The Knife of Never Letting Go that I realised how incredibly talented this guy is. Sorry it’s taken so long…
And for Aciman, well. I love him for very similar reasons, I think: the writing style. I’ve picked up another of his, Eight White Nights, which I will be getting to very soon.
Newest Fictional Crush?
Um… I don’t actually think I have one…
New Favourite Character?
I am going to go with Tomasz from More Than This by Patrick Ness. This young, Polish boy is just the light of that book, and I absolutely adored him. Kvothe from Name of the Wind is also totally badass; Loki from The Seafarer’s Kiss is one of the most intriguing iterations of the character I’ve seen and loved it, and Circe from Circe should also definitely get a mention. Oh! And Donut the cat from Head On by John Scalzi. I love that cat.
Book that made you cry?
There are three: Anatomy of a Soldier, Call Me By Your Name and Circe. I cried buckets at them all.
Book that made you happy?
Lock In by John Scalzi, narrated by Wil Wheaton. Funny, engaging, great characters and a fantastic narration. If you can get audiobooks, I highly recommend. Also, the eBook of the Opal short story from Maggie Stiefvater, because I need more Ronan Lynch in my life.
Favourite Book to Movie Adaptation?
Has to be Call Me By Your Name. The way the book and movie blend together is utterly fantastic, and having both gives a fullness to the story that enhances both mediums. I love the performances – Timothee Chalamet is extraordinary as Elio – and that final scene as the credits roll still gives me goosebumps as I cry hysterically with my soul shattering into a thousand pieces inside me… I’m ok. Promise.
Favourite Review you’ve written?
I haven’t done any standalone reviews this year, only wrap-ups, so I think we’ll skip this one!
Most Beautiful Book?
Circe. Hands down. Not only is that dust-jacket to die for, the naked hardcover is practically pornographic. And the end papers! Oh, the end papers! Seriously, so beautiful.
Books to Read by the end of the year?
Pahahahaha!! Well, I wanted to clear most of my to-read shelves this year and that is not even remotely happening. In fact, I have added more books to it than I have read because I am a bad person (but an excellent bookworm, I think you’ll agree). So, I have A LOT to get through. Let’s make a list of the highlights, shall we? I’ll exclude the ones mentioned above:
The Rest of Us Just Live Here | The Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness
The Ice by Laline Paull
Eight White Nights by Andre Aciman
The Nine-Chambered Heart by Janice Pariat
A Year of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winman
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Simon vs the Homo Sapien Agenda by Becky Abertelli
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
Nod by Adrian Barnes
Rainbow Bridge by Gwyneth Jones
The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris
In addition to the books I haven’t gotten to from my Books to Read in 2018 list:
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman
Finding Camlann by Sean Pidgeon
The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch.
That is a lot of books! But we’re only halfway through the year, so six more months of awesome reading to go. I’m 48 books into my 100 book goal this year, which I am really pleased about, but am not cutting down that unread pile by any stretch. Uh-oh. I think the words Book Buying Ban are definitely in action now…
I haven’t been doing so well with maintaining the blog, but it’s been a year of ups and downs and a lot of things going on, so, sadly, something has to give. I’m hopeful I can pick things up again, but we’ll just have to see how it goes. I’m back on Twitter now, which is great. Instagram has gone through a bit of a change again, just because maintaining the way I was posting was making me pretty unhappy – and that’s not the point! So I’ve gone back to a more casual set of photos, and I am feeling a whole lot better. It’s also been so great to focus so much on LGBTQ+ titles (so check it out if you want some recs!).
Look out for my wrap-up next week, which will be filled with all of the queer joy of Pride Month!!