The Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag, 2020 edition

I can’t believe 2020 is halfway over. To celebrate a solid six months of reading, and the books that have helped get me through a ROUGH first half of the year, I’m participating in the Mid Year Book Freakout Tag for the first time! If you haven’t participated yet, please feel free to post your answers to this tag too!

1. Best book you’ve read in 2020 so far:

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi. This book about a young person with a fractured sense of self was absolutely incredible. I loved the way this book blended psychological introspection with Igbo folklore, and the lyrical prose really moved me too.

2. Best sequel:

I haven’t read any sequels in 2020 yet, but I do hope to get to Vera Kelly is Not a Mystery – sequel to Who Is Vera Kelly? – by the end of the year.

3. New release you haven’t read yet but really want to:

A Burning by Megha Majumdar, Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan, How Much of These Hills is Gold by C. Pam Zhang, and Death in Her Hands by Otessa Moshfegh. I’ve heard excellent things about the first three novels, and although I haven’t heard much about Death in Her Hands yet, I love Otessa Moshfegh and have high hopes for her latest novel.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year:

I have way too many, so I’m “narrowing it down” to the following six:

  1. The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi. After reading Freshwater (AKA the best book I read in 2020), I am a huge Akwaeke Emezi fan! I can’t wait to read their next novel.
  2. Memorial by Bryan Washington. I really liked Washington’s Lot, so I’m excited to read more of his work!
  3. Throwaway Girls by Andrea Contos. I don’t read very much mystery, but this one sounds really good!
  4. Luster by Raven Leilani. The Goodreads blurb has me sold. Bonus points for positive reviews that compared the Leilani’s writing to that of Gillian Flynn (although Leilani is an ownvoices Black author, and her writing likely holds its own without the comparison to white authors).
  5. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwaab. This is another novel where the Goodreads blurb has me sold. I’ve heard so much praise for V.E. Schwaab and would love to finally read her this year.
  6. Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh. I have been awaiting this book’s release for like five years now. I am so freaking excited that it’s finally happening!!

5. Biggest disappointment:

Dominicana by Angie Cruz. Part of the reason why I was so disappointed by this novel was because I had pretty high hopes going into it. Based on the Goodreads blurb, I thought that it would be one of my favorite WP longlist reads. Instead it was trope-y with underdeveloped characters.

6. Biggest Surprise:

Circe (by Madeline Miller) surprised me because I didn’t think of myself as a “mythology person” prior to this novel, but it was so compelling that now I kind of am. Red at the Bone (by Jacqueline Woodson) surprised me because I didn’t expect much from such a short (<200 page) novel, but it turned out to have more character development and commentary than some 500+ page novels I’ve read.

7. Favorite new author:

Akwaeke Emezi and Leesa Cross-Smith. Neither are 2020 debut authors, but they are both new to me and I’m looking forwarding to reading more of their works!

8. Newest favorite character:

Stubborn Archivist wasn’t a perfect read for me, but I really admired and felt for the novel’s protagonist! I’ll definitely read more of Rodrigues-Fowler’s work in the future, and her compelling characters are part of the reason why.

9. A Book that made you cry:

Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney, How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee, and My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell. There were other books that made me tear up or cry a little bit, but these three wrecked me to the point that I had to stop reading because I was getting so emotional.

10. A Book that made you happy:

So We Can Glow by Leesa Cross-Smith. Although not all the stories in this collection are happy, there is so much hope, joy, and love in this book about female obsession and desire.

11. Favorite book-to-film adaptation.

Definitely Hulu’s adaptation of Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. The show was heavy-handed with the drama at times, but I still thought it was well done. I especially appreciated that the producers/writers made Mia and Pearl black, and another one of the MC’s gay, because it added valuable commentary.

12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought or read:

Hamnet or Hex. Both of these book covers look simple at first glance, but are actually quite intricate when you take a closer look. Plus, I’m a sucker for botanical designs.

13. book you want to read by the end of the year:

THERE ARE SO MANY!!! Ideally I would get to everything that I listed for questions #3 and #4 by the end of this year, although I don’t know if that’s realistic. In addition to those ten books, I also want to read How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, We Want Our Bodies Back by Jessica Care Moore, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, The Hilarious World of Depression by John Moe, and Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid.

Would You Rather Book Tag

Thank you to Gilana for tagging me in this book tag – it looks like so much fun! Gil is a wonderful book blogger who reviews a variety of genres, and has recently been reading through the Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist. I definitely recommend checking out her blog!

The rules:

  1. Answer the questions given to you by your nominator.
  2. Make up your own questions and tag others.

My answers to gil’s questions:

1. Would you rather only read mass market paperbacks or only read stiff, non-floppy paperbacks?

Tough choice, but I’ll go with non-floppy paperbacks. Mass-market paperbacks tend to have smaller print, which strains my rapidly declining eyes. Also, many new contemporary and literary fiction books are only available as non-floppy paperbacks. If I could only read mass-market paperbacks, I would miss out on some great new books!

2. Would you rather have your favourite character be a terrible person in real life or your favourite author be horrible in real life?

Have my favorite character be a terrible person in real-life. Like Gil said, some of my favorite characters are unlikable anyway, so it wouldn’t be shocking (or a problem for me) if I met them in real life and they were awful.

3. Would you rather meet your favourite booktubers or meet your favourite book blogger?

I don’t do BookTube, so definitely meet my favorite book blogger. The challenge here would be picking just ONE favorite book blogger, because there are many that I would love the opportunity to chat with in real life!

4. Would you rather have to dog-ear your pages or have to write on them?

I am a chaotic monster and do both of these things already. I dog-ear pages mainly out of habit; I’ve just done it that way since I was a kid. I write on pages intentionally because it helps me engage with the book more, and process/internalize it better. So if I could only do one of these blasphemous things, it would be writing on book pages.

5. Would you rather have a damaged book delivered to you every time or the wrong book to be delivered to you every time (the second or third time you may get the right one)?

This is a tough choice because I could potentially be okay with both of these. But I’ll pick having a damaged book delivered every time (as long as the damage doesn’t interfere with my ability to read the book). Having the wrong book delivered would eventually get on my nerves, especially if I wanted the book for a reading challenge with a deadline (like reading through the WP longlist before the winner announcement) or a book club.

6. Would you rather be a librarian or a bookseller?

Librarian! If I ever decided to (somewhat radically) change career paths, I would seriously consider a degree in library sciences.

7. Would you rather have your favourite character die in the end or have your favourite character not complete their mission/life goal?

Have my favorite character not complete their mission/life goal. I could see myself getting really into a book where a character fails to complete their mission, but realizes that the journey was still worth it, and that their inherent value as a human being is not defined by their successes or failures. Or a book where a character fails at what they thought their mission was, only to realize that they were prioritizing the wrong things in life. It’s cheesy, but it could be done really well!

8. Would you rather live in a library in space or a live in a library under the sea?

I love Gil’s idea of an underwater city in a sealed vessel, so library under the sea!

9. Would you rather not be able to read any books from your favourite author or have them not publish anything again?

Copying Gil’s answer again: have them never publish anything again, so that way I could at least read and re-read their previous works.

10. Would you rather read everything ever published (even the worst books) or read only one book a year?

I know that it would be impossible to read everything ever published, and that it would entail a lot of books that aren’t good matches for me. But I absolutely love reading and can’t imagine my life without it as a constant…so I would TRY to read everything ever published.

my questions:

  1. Would you rather read an amazing book with a disappointing ending, or a book that is lackluster but gets really good at the end?
  2. Would you rather read only books from your favorite authors, or only books from new authors?
  3. Would you rather write a book (and it could be about anything), or have somebody write a book based on you?
  4. Would you rather read books only as ebooks for the rest of your life, or only listen to them as audiobooks?
  5. Would you rather read only books from series, or read whatever you want EXCEPT that you’d never be able to finish a series?
  6. Would you rather read on the beach or in a cozy cabin in the snow?
  7. Would you rather read in public a book that makes you laugh hysterically or one that makes you ugly cry?
  8. Would you rather read your favorite book out loud to someone else, or listen to a friend read their favorite book out loud to you?
  9. Would you rather be transported to the world of your favorite fantasy/sci-fi novel, or the world of your favorite historical fiction novel?
  10. Would you rather perform in a Shakespeare play, or write a re-telling/re-imagination of one?

I tag…

  • Nirmala @ Red Lips & Bibliomaniacs
  • Rose @ Novels & Teacups
  • Beth @ Beth’s Bookish Backpacking
  • Fatma @ The Book Place
  • Neriman @ Reading Under The Olive Tree
  • Anybody else who wants to do this!!

If you were tagged and can’t or don’t want to do this, please don’t feel pressured to participate. Also, this tag is open to anybody who wants to participate! If you do post your answers to this, please tag me or let me know in the comments so I can read your answers! 🙂