“Friends, Romans, countrymen! Lend me your ears!”
Happy Monday, all. How are you on this bright September morning? It’s fall, and I could not be happier about it. School is back in session, and it’s almost time to break out the sweaters.
I have been seeing this lovely mid-year book tag going around and while it isn’t necessarily mid-year anymore, I thought I’d give it a go.
What is the best book you’ve read so far in 2021?
I read a lot of amazing books this year, but I think I can narrow down the best to two. Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment and Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose.
Dostoevsky’s studies of guilt, murder, and paranoia are phenomenal, and I think C&P is one of his best works, right up there with The Brothers Karamazov. Raskolnikov is a character you can’t easily forget, and the story breaks your brain and your heart.
Meanwhile, I also fell in love with Umberto Eco’s tale of murder in a monastery. The Name of the Rose is full of shocking twists and turns, and the contemplative discussions of theology and the consolidation of power were wonderful. I still miss Brother William and Adso so much.
What is the best sequel you’ve read so far in 2021?
That has to go to Crooked Kingdom, the sequel to Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows.
I absolutely loved this duology, even after I swore I would never read YA. Bardugo’s fantasy hasn’t always been my favorite (I’m looking at you, Shadow and Bone), but the Six of Crows duology is the best modern fantasy I’ve ever read. Seriously. It is that good. And as good as the first book was, the sequel, Crooked Kingdom, was just as good.
*cries in Jesper*
What is a new release you haven’t read yet, but want to?
Mexican Gothic by Silva Moreno-Garcia has me very interested! A Mexican spin on Jane Eyre and the Gothic Victorians? Yes, please!
What is your most anticipated release for the second half of the year?
The 1619 Project by Nikole Hannah-Jones is a book that’s been talked about quite a lot in classes lately, and it’s one I’ve added to my to-read list! It is supposed to be a detailed account of the history of racism in the United States, from the first slave ship’s landing in 1619 to the BLM movement. It just seems like a fascinating account to read, especially as we become more aware of racism in public spheres.
Which book was the biggest disappointment of 2021?
It’s honestly between E.K. Johnston’s novel Ahsoka and Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone trilogy. These were the absolute worst books I read this year. Ahsoka was washed out and shallow and boring, and Shadow and Bone was typical-self-deprecating-YA-teen-girl-reluctant-chosen-one fare.
All that to say, the Netflix show was much better, but I still would rather have a show about the Crows than about Alina and Mal. 😑
Which book was the biggest surprise of 2021?
Candide, by French philosopher Voltaire. Because really: what the hell was that?
Also I was pleasantly surprised by Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The meaning of life is 42 and we’re all controlled by mice, so live it up, guys.
Who is your favorite new author in 2021?
Leigh Bardugo and Umberto Eco.
Do you have a new fictional crush/ship?
Kanej Kanej Kanej. ALL THE KANEJ THINGS.
Because we stan a skeptical, glove-wearing crook and his hyper religious ninja girlfriend.
I’ve said enough. NOW READ SIX OF CROWS.
Who is your newest favorite character?
Inej Ghafa. AGAIN. SIX OF CROWS.
I’m also cosplaying as Inej for Halloween (and the costume is looking FIRE), so comment below if I should do a fun photoshoot with ropes and ninja stars.
What’s a book that made you cry in 2021?
I don’t cry for books very often, but Shūsaku Endō’s Silence made me really cry, especially towards the end.
Silence is the kind of Christian fiction we need, and it’s honest handling of Christian suffering, guilt, loneliness, and doubt was spectacular and I felt like I was reading about myself at so many points in the story.
I still have to watch the film, but I don’t wanna go back to Sad Town™.
What’s your favorite book-to-film adaptation you’ve seen in 2021?
The Netflix Shadow and Bone show AGAIN. I’m honestly not sorry, because it’s so good. They made Alina and Mal so much better in the show, and Alina is a Powerful Girl Who Knows Who She Is™ and I stan. Furthermore, the Darkling was so well written and I loved him in the show (whereas I hated everything about him in the books). *screams in Ben Barnes*
What’s your favorite bookish post you’ve written in 2021?
Definitely “Why I Loved The Secret History and the Invasion of Academic Aesthetics.”
Because I LOVED The Secret History and I will not be apologizing for that anytime soon. To my best friends who hated this book
also known as the Donna Tartt haters: you know who you are, and you know I’m looking at *you.*
What’s the most beautiful book you’ve bought in 2021?
I think this copy of The Maidens by Alex Michaelides is particularly gorgeous:
What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
Okay, honey, I’ve got a few.
- Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (I’m currently reading this and it is GOOD)
- The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
- The Maidens by Alex Michaelides
- Fifth Sun: A New History of the Aztecs by Camilla Townsend
- How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler
- Bunny by Mona Awad
- Dune by Frank Herbert
- And . . . alright, I’m probably going to go out on a limb for you Ioan, but I will try to finish the dreaded If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio. Probably. Maybe. Vielleicht.
There’s more, and I’ll probably end up reading more to be honest.
Well, there you have it! An on-schedule blog post AND a super fun tag. I had so much fun doing this, so thank you to everyone who had this tag circulating. I saw it on a lot of blogs, so thanks for all the bloggers nominating me. I guess.
If you’d like to participate, here are the questions below!
- Best book you’ve read so far in 2021
- Best sequel you’ve read in 2021
- New release you haven’t read yet, but want to
- Most anticipated release for the second half of the year
- Biggest disappointment in 2021
- Biggest surprise in 2021
- Favorite new author in 2021
- Newest fictional crush/ship
- Newest favorite character
- Book that made you cry in 2021
- Book that made you happy in 2021
- Favorite book-to-film adaptation you saw in 2021
- Favorite bookish post you’ve done in 2021
- Most beautiful book you bought in 2021
- Book you need to read by the end of the year
Hab Spaß und bis Bald!
12 thoughts on “The (Kind of Late) Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag”
“The meaning of life is 42 and we’re all controlled by mice, so live it up, guys.” *DABS*
I love your love for Kanej, this makes me very happy *heart eyes*
I, too, would’ve been completely happy with a show solely about the Crows. I don’t need any of those other guys, especially not *checks smudged writing on hand* the Black Duckling 😛
“The Black Duckling” just about made me wheeze 😂😂😂. WE JUST WANT MORE KANEJ. Darklina needs to take a backseat 😂.
Gracious! This is quite the list of questions. The best book I’ve read this year was The Lost Road, by J.R.R. Tolkien. I think I read it twice in the span of two months. The biggest surprise I had was rereading the Iliad. I never dreamed I would read that monstrous boulder again, but I am so happy I did. (My post on this was also probably my favourite bookish post this year: “The Unexpected Value of Rereading the Iliad”). The things you discover in rereading…
Oh! The Lost Road? I’ve never heard of that before! There’s another book to add to my to-read list! The Iliad is another one that I need to re-visit. I love Hector and Andromache so much *sniff sniff*. Was I the only one who thought Achilles was a little bratty? 😂
You’ll find it in Volume 5 of The History of Middle Earth, edited by Christopher Tolkien. Tolkien and Lewis had an agreement that one of them would write a time-travel novel, and one a space-travel novel. Lewis wrote the space-travel one, which turned into The Space Trilogy. Tolkien started the time-travel (The Lost Road), but never finished it and Lewis ended up writing the time-travel one too.
And no, you are not the only one who could think of a thing of two to say to that epitome of hubris. Or was it immaturity…? 😉
I’m glad you enjoyed the Crows duology! I’m still deciding whether to read it or not…but I’m glad that many of my friends love it!
Ughhhh, I’m so disappointed to hear that Ahsoka was a letdown. I added it to my TBR a while ago, excited for more of my favorite Jedi girl, buuuut it’s now off my list due to all the negative reviews. *sighs* Ahsoka is SUCH an amazing character, and I wish we had a book that ACTUALLY does her justice. (Hopefully the show will…)
Ooh. *raises hand* I vote for an epic Inej photoshoot!
I’ve heard that Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is both good and ridiculous. It’s on my list! As are Silence, Crime and Punishment, and The Name of the Rose. (Assuming I can discipline myself enough to read the entire Crime and Punishment…XD)
Definitely👏🏽start👏🏽the👏🏽crows👏🏽duologyyyyy!!! It’s fantastic, and I had so much fun reading it. It was just *fun* and I genuinely felt like I was on an adventure. And I think I’ll definitely be doing Inej pics soon (I’m also cosplaying Zelda so that should be fun too)!
About Ahsoka. *warbled screaming* I, too, was also disappointed. Our favorite Jedi girl did *not* get the book she deserved. I’ve heard some people liked it though, so maybe it was just me? You might like it! I just felt like the plot lagged a little, and the side characters were poorly developed. I don’t know. You might feel differently about it though!
AHHHHH Hooray for all of the to-be-read additions! LOL you gotta psyche yourself up for C&P 😂. But it really is worth it 🥺.
Okay, but we can all agree those mice have fallen down on the job lately. *cries in Arthur Dent
Great post! I always love this tag when it comes around. 😁
*cries back in Arthur Dent* Those mice probably got into Beeblebrox’s wine stash or something. SMH
Thanks so much for your comment, Kate, and welcome to the blog! I’m sorry I’ve not replied to this sooner. I hope you enjoy future posts!
That’s the only explanation at this point. 😭😭
Aw, thank you! It’s great to be here. 😁
I like your blog but I have to nitpick. It’s Candide by Voltaire, not Voltaire by Candide!!!
I’ll have to read that Umberto Eco book. I have read tons of Dostoevsky but no UE.. if you like C&P I highly recommend “No Longer Human” by Osamu Dazai. Contemporary of Mishima, one of those depressed post-WW2 Japanese fiction books. It even references Dostoevsky!
Oh my, did I really write Voltaire by Candide? What clumsiness! I’ll have to fix that post haste. That must have been one of my caffeine-deprived days when I wrote that.
Ooh, I’ve just been looking at “No Longer Human,” and it looks fascinating. I’ve just added it to my Goodreads at your recommendation! And yes, Name of the Rose is a fantastic novel. You’d definitely enjoy his work, especially if you enjoy Dostoevsky.
Many thanks for your comment! Glad you’re enjoying the blog. 🙂