Something a bit different on my blog this week! I watch a lot of bookish content on YouTube and Instagram, and I always enjoy finding out what other people are reading. I’ve never done a tag quiz before, and I thought it would be a bit of light-hearted fun for me and you. Here are my responses to the mid year book freakout tag for 2023. If you enjoy this post, then I tag you to answer the questions yourself!
How has your 2023 reading year gone so far?
I’ve actually already surpassed my reading goal of 23 books! Many of the books I’ve read so far this year have been easy thrillers, and I’ve also got into audio books. I’m having a really good reading year, and I’ve enjoyed a lot of the books I’ve read. Back in 2020, I got a library card to borrow e-books on my tablet through the Libby app. My interest in reading e-books has returned and, so far this year, I’ve borrowed 8 books. I also downloaded the Libby app to my phone and read a bit while waiting for the bus. Lucy kindly gave me access to her Audible account so I can also listen to audio books on the bus (I get motion sick so I can’t read). Needless to say, it’s been BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS this year!
Best book you have read so far this year?
Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell has been my favourite book so far this year. When historical fiction is done well, I get completely lost in the time period and the characters, and that is exactly what happened with Hamnet. You can read more of my thoughts on Hamnet in Favourite Books of 2023 (so far). Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer is a close second. Again, the post linked above goes into more detail.
Best sequel you have read so far this year?
I haven’t read any this year so far.
New release that you haven’t read yet, but want to?
Yellowface by R.F. Kuang because it sounds interesting and a bit different from my usual genres. It is a satirical literary thriller about the publishing industry.
Most anticipated release for the second half of the year?
I want to read Rhys Nicholson’s book, Dish. We saw Rhys recently in Oxford on their standup tour and I haven’t laughed so much in ages! If the book is anything like Rhys’s standup, I’m sure I’ll enjoy it. It comes out in November in Australia, and hopefully it will release in the UK too!
Biggest disappointment so far this year?
I just finished listening to The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths and it was disappointing. I figured out halfway through “whodunit”, and the ending was weird and didn’t fit with the rest of the novel. It was a good idea and I wouldn’t rule out reading more in the DS Kaur series, but the ending really let it down. The Glass Hotel was also disappointing. I thought it was going to be more dystopian given Emily St John Mandel’s other work, but it was just odd and sad.
Biggest surprise of 2023?
Outback by Patricia Wolf. For an e-book I borrowed on a whim, I was gripped! As I mentioned, I’ve been really into thrillers this year and I’ve started reading crime and detective novels. This novel, as the name suggests is set in the Australian Outback and is about two backpackers who go missing. So gritty, so good! I can’t wait to read the next one in the DS Walker series (Paradise).
Favourite new author?
I enjoyed Paula McLean’s writing style in When the Stars Go Dark (another detective story) and would read more by her. I’ve got Circling the Sun on my TBR.
New fictional crush?
I likes how Agnes (Shakespeare’s wife in Hamnet) was a strong woman and was a wise herbal healer. Frida Klein (the therapist in the Nicci French books) intrigues me, though I have only listened to Blue Monday so far.
Newest favourite character?
Bruno from Strangers on a Train has stuck with me as my favourite un-likeable character; a favourite baddie in other words. Gilda from Emily R Austin’s Everyone in this Room Will Someday be Dead is a favourite “chaotic mess of a human” character.
Book that made you cry?
The Lido by Libby Page. What a beautiful ending.
Book that made you happy?
I’m currently reading Wilding by Isabella Tree, which is about Knepp farm estate in Sussex transforming their grounds into a more biodiverse space. It makes me happy to read about the author’s passion and drive to re-wild their land and conserve and restore their environment. Isabella and her husband just released another book called The Book of Wilding, which is a guide to restoring nature.
Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year?
I tend to buy secondhand books or borrow digital content. I haven’t bought anything particularly beautiful so far this year. However, the most beautiful book on my shelf waiting to be read is probably The Secret Garden. I got this as a gift from Lucy’s aunt and it is just gorgeous! Pop-outs, illustrations, and a charming cover – what more could you want in a classic book?
What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
I don’t HAVE to read anything. But, we are reading Animal Farm for book club in October, so I will re-read that. I would also like to finish Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead, which I started in April.