Welcome one, welcome all, to the Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag, 2016 edition. Please, hold the applause.
Let’s just get this typical response out of the way – I can’t believe it’s already July. There, I said it. Well, actually, that’s genuinely quite scary to me to realise 6 whole months have been and gone. However, thus far, 2016 has been a bit trying (to say the least) so hopefully the latter half of the year will see things move onwards and upwards.
Let’s linger on the year thus far though, at least in terms of my reading, as I do the Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag. (Also, I’ll say this now, if you haven’t done the tag yet and are feeling particularly retrospective, consider yourself tagged by me.)
Best Book You’ve Read Yet in 2016
I’ve had a really good reading year so far in 2016 so it’s really, really tricky to pick just one book for an answer to this question, so I’m going to cheat and pick three: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher, Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff, and, most recently, A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab.
Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2016
A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab, no questions asked.
New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To
I haven’t read The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater yet, the concluding novel in The Raven Cycle, but by god I want to get to it soon and then, on the other hand, I want to put it off as long as possible because once I finish it it means there are no Raven Boys books left to read.
Most Anticipated Release For the Second Half of the Year
As you can see from my Top Ten Tuesday post on this very subject, I’m really looking forward to the second illustrated edition of the Harry Potter series, The Chamber of Secrets, as illustrated by Jim Kay. Weirdly it’s a rare way to feel as though you’re reading the series for the first time, which is never a bad thing.
I wouldn’t say it was a disappointment because I was damn sure it would be terrible but Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones seems pretty apt. Do I need to explain? The Shadowhunters TV series is a lot better than the books deserve.
Perhaps also Robin Hobb’s Assassin’s Apprentice. Don’t kill me. I don’t know whether I expected too much or whether I just was not getting what everyone else sees but I actually found it kind of a boring book and not much actually happens. It was a weird narrative voice too, straddled that fantasy and more literary fiction boundary and it didn’t seem to ever decide what it was, which frustrated me personally. I’m sure my opinion on this is categorically wrong but it’s my opinion, sorry.
I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised by It’s Not Me, It’s You by Mhairi McFarlane, so much more than “chick lit” as people undoubtedly will dismiss it.
Favourite New Author
Not a new author per say (or at all) but new to me is Jenny Lawson. Witty, intelligent, not afraid to be both honest and hilarious about sad and happy things alike and I really appreciated her books this year. It also made me realise I don’t hate non-fiction/memoir, so definitely kudos for that.
Newest Fictional Crush
Alucard Emery/Prince Rhy/Kell from V.E. Schwab’s Shades of London series. Yes, all three of them, together, maybe. I’m sure fanfic to that effect must exist. Also maybe Jem Carstairs from The Infernal Devices trilogy because pff he walks all over Will Herondale, in my eyes.
Newest Favourite Character
I’m really starting to appreciate the characters mentioned above, from the Shades of London trilogy, especially Prince Rhy whose character growth and exploration in the second book really helped flesh him out as a character and made me like him all the more. Likewise, my love for Kell increased, and Alucard is a brilliant foil (well, sort of) to Kell. And, well, I do love me a pirate… sorry, “privateer”.
Book That Made You Cry
Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air. I don’t think I really need to explain why, just check out the synopsis.
Book That Made You Happy
Apart from Jenny Lawson’s books which I’ve already mentioned, I have to say Ayisha Malik’s Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged. It definitely kept me laughing through an otherwise boring train journey home, and the ending made me grin like an absolute idiot. To say it’s a Muslim Bridget Jones is a little reductive but it hits the right ball-park in terms of expectations. (I reviewed it here if you’re interested in learning more)
Favourite Book to Film Adaptation
I’m struggling to think if I’ve even seen a single book to film adaptation this year. Oh, wait… there was this little TV miniseries adaptation called The Night Manager based on John le Carré’s book of the same name and, yeah, I suppose that adaptation might have been okay…
… in case you haven’t been around here long, let me explain how restrained I’m being: I bloody love this face and that face played the main character, Jonathan Pine, the eponymous night manager, alongside Hugh Laurie as the antagonist, Richard Roper, so I mean obviously the adaptation would be everything I could have asked for.
Favourite Post You Have Done This Year
I’m still not entirely happy with the quality (or the quantity) of my blog yet this year, but I did really enjoy doing the Top Ten Tuesday ‘Songs I Wish Were Books‘, mainly because it gave me the chance to imagine all sorts of scenes based around Hozier’s music.
Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year
It would have to be Zen Cho’s Sorcerer to the Crown because, I mean, come on, look at the prettiness. But also I recently bought Jessie Burton’s The Muse and it is pretty damn aesthetically pleasing too.
What Books Do You Need to Read By the End of the Year
Short answer: a hell of a lot of them.
Long answer: this shelf on Goodreads.
Realistic answer: I’d like to make progress on all the series I need to catch up with/complete, plus it’d be nice to get to some of these imminent releases. Also I should probably tackle at least a couple of the heftier “project books” on my TBR shelf in the winter months. We’ll see, though. (I wonder how many of my posts I end in this slightly sombre fashion?)