I normally don’t do back-to-back posts, but in this case I saw the 2020 mid-year book freak-out tag over on Food for Thought so I had to hop on 😀 I love book tags and I’ve been meaning to do one, so I figured this was as good a place as any to get started!

The links in the first question lead to my reviews/thoughts on each book. Subsequent links in this post will generally lead to the books themselves. For the purposes of this tag, I have chosen to exclude Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (J.K. Rowling), Three Souls (Janie Chang), and Neverwhere (Neil Gaiman), all of which I had previously read.

Best book you’ve read so far in 2020

Hang tight, I’ve got a list.

  1. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
  2. The Great Passage – Shion Miura
  3. Purple Hibiscus – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  4. The Map of Salt and Stars – Zeyn Joukhadar
  5. The Book of Longings – Sue Monk Kidd
  6. The Girl with the Louding Voice – Abi Daré
  7. Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi

Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2020

I’m going to have to pass on this one. I actually haven’t read any sequels this year, unless you count the Soul Eaters I binged earlier (which, since I haven’t been counting mangas, I don’t).

New release you haven’t read yet, but want to

I was originally on the fence about Mexican Gothic (Silvia Moreno-Garcia), but I’ve been getting more and more interested lately, particularly since it was highly reviewed in the paper. I’m also looking forward to How Much of These Hills Is Gold (C Pam Zhang), which I bought a couple of months ago and haven’t touched since, and Conjure Women (Afia Atakora).

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

I really really really want to read Girl, Serpent, Thorn (Melissa Bashardoust), which is getting released in two days. I’ve never read Bashardoust, but it’s about a girl who poisons people with a touch and it’s supposed to have LGBT themes so I’m intrigued. And, since I’m bad at this and I can’t pick just one book to be excited about, I’m also looking forward to The Thirty Names of Night (Zeyn Joukhadar), which is about a closeted Syrian American trans boy and sounds heartbreaking. It’ll be great.

Biggest disappointment

The Dove’s Necklace (Raja Alem). I’ve already explained in great length why I was disappointed with this book, so I won’t repeat it here.

Biggest surprise

This one probably has to go to Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China (Jung Chang). I went into it expecting a dry history textbook and was very pleasantly surprised, even if it did take me two months to finish it.

Favorite new author (debut or new to you)

I’m torn between Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Purple Hibiscus) and Zeyn Joukhadar (The Map of Salt and Stars). Both their books were excellent, and I’m super excited to read more of their works.

Newest fictional crush


Newest favorite character

Gonna have to go with my top eight because I’m so incredibly bad at picking just one of anything sorryyyyyy T_T I tried ranking the eight but it turned out to be impossible so they’re just listed in the order in which I read their books.

  1. Eleanor Oliphant (Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine)
  2. Red (The Girl in Red)
  3. Aunty Ifeoma (Purple Hibiscus)
  4. Rawiya (The Map of Salt and Stars)
  5. Ana ben Matthias (The Book of Longings)
  6. Adunni (The Girl with the Louding Voice)
  7. Chani (Dune)
  8. Alia Atreides (Dune)

Book that made you cry

Okay, so lately I seem to have become one of those people who weep over books and I now have a goodreads shelf named Heartbreakers, which I’ve built up considerably this year, but The Map of Salt and Stars really did me in. I originally had a list here, but I realized after writing it that Map was the one that made me cry the most.

Book that made you happy

It’s a close call between The Great Passage (Shion Miura) and Chocolat (Joanne Harris). The Great Passage is about a handful of Japanese geeks writing a dictionary, which really spoke to my soul, but Chocolat is set in a charming French village, has lots of chocolate, and is one of the sweetest, kindest books I’ve read in a long time. In other words, it was exactly what I needed to read after Purple Hibiscus smashed my heart to pieces.

Favorite book-to-movie adaptation this year

I haven’t really seen any movies because COVID, but in general I don’t go for book adaptations, (1) because they rarely do them right and (2) because I don’t really like going to the movies. This can vary depending on how excited I am about the movie, but usually I avoid theaters because I can’t just turn off the TV if I don’t like the movie.

That being said, I am still looking forward to the Dune movie coming out in December.

Favorite review you’ve written this year

My best reviews were probably the ones for The Silence of the Girls and The Dove’s Necklace, which were written before I started on my present habit of talking too much in my reviews.

Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

The Map of Salt and Stars. I’m a sucker for books with blue covers that remind me of the sea and/or the stars, and this one was just so perfect.

What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

I need to finish the Dune Chronicles before the movie comes out. While the movie only covers the first half of the first book, I still want to read the whole series in case they reference later books. I’m also making it a goal to read the older books on my shelf that haven’t been touched because I keep wanting to get rid of them, but I won’t do that until I’ve actually read them.