I’m finally on time for everyone’s favorite tag!
Usually I am horribly late (aka a week past mid year after everyone’s already done posting) when it comes to posting my mid-year book freak out tag. But for once, I am on time—and actually, perfectly on time since it’s the last day of June for me, and that’s as close to mid-year as you could get! Though my reading has been unprecedentedly slow this year, I can’t be sad since I’ve read so many amazing books!
- Books read: 34
- Rereads: 2
- Average rating: 3.77
- Average rating without rereads: 3.72
- Most read genre: fantasy (29.4%)
- Most read age group: adult (64.7%)
This is the highest my average rating has been in years! Until this month (June), all of my 2022 reads were 3 stars or above, and even then, I haven’t rated a single book under 2.5 stars. Though I’m not reading as many books as I used to, I’m definitely reading more high quality ones/ones more fitting to my tastes, and it makes me really happy to see.
Though I’ve continued to read more adult than any other genre, I’m pleasantly surprised to see that fantasy is only my most read genre by 29.4%! In 2020, it was 47%, and last year it was 37%, so it’s slowly going down each year as I try out different genres. I’m interested to see how this number will change by the end of the year!
666 READING CHALLENGE
I’m actually almost perfectly halfway through the challenge: I’ve read 8/18 books! I’m shocked, to be honest, since I’m usually really behind on my reading halfway through the year.
|translated – 3/6||classics – 2/6||nonfiction – 3/6|
|Things We Lost in the Fire||Giovanni’s Room||Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls|
|The Complete Persepolis||Notes of a Crocodile||Hood Feminism|
|La Bastarda||A Mind Spread Out on the Ground|
1. best book you’ve read so far
Like last year, my favorite book so far this year is a memoir: Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls. First of all, I think about this part every day:
In the mirror you think: I don’t look like a girl anymore.
And then: I look like such a pathetic little girl.
And then: maybe this is what a woman looks like.
And then: I look sexy like this. Beaten. Theirs.
And then: I wish I were a boy.
And then: I look like every other girl there ever was.
Second of all… this book is just so good. Just as good as the quote. T Kira Madden is so vulnerable and honest and unflinching. The best memoirs always make me feel like I shouldn’t even be reading them, with how deeply personal and often heartbreaking they are. At some points, it felt like I was reading a fictional story, and that made it all the more jarring when I reminded myself that no, this was someone’s real life. Not to use this quote, but truly, “If I loved [this] less I might be able to talk about it more.” Masterpieces like this are so hard to review, and any words I use couldn’t measure up to Madden’s. Overall… this is a book about love as violence, and then love as healing and forgiveness.
2. best sequel you’ve read so far
I’ve read only two sequels this year, which were both volumes in a comic series. To choose one of them, I’d say Witch Hat Atelier, Vol 7, because I just love this series so much! With each installment, things get more and more sinister, even though the series still retains its overall light and magical feel. This one felt especially ominous, which makes me so excited for the next volume. I loved that we got to dive more into a character’s backstory, as well as having another lovely teacher-student moment that made me feel so warm!!
3. new release you haven’t read yet but want to
I’m going to be honest, I think I’ve forgotten every single book that has released so far this year… Looking through what I have on my Goodreads shelf, though, I’d say What My Bones Know seems the most appealing to me! It’s a memoir about trauma, healing, and complex PTSD, with also some focus on the immigrant experience. It sounds devastating and heartbreaking—aka the only things I need to know to be sure that I’ll love it.
4. most anticipated release for the second half of the year
Babel: Surprise surprise… RF Kuang’s latest book is of course one of my most anticipated! I actually ended up getting an ARC of this one already, so I’m really excited to read it. I feel like everyone who’s read it has been blown away, and I think I’m also going to lose my mind over it. I’m pretty sure it’s going to fry my brain, but in a good way!
Seasparrow: The humiliating experience of having to admit you’ll never escape the grip of an early 2010s YA series… This is the last book of the Graceling series (aka you’ll never have to hear me cry about these books ever again), and I can’t wait for it!! I don’t know what Kristin Cashore puts in this series but genuinely I feel like I’m buzzing every time I read it. The characters… the themes… everything I could ever want.
5. biggest disappointment
Since I enjoyed most of the books I read this year, I actually don’t have a lot of disappointments! (Bet you thought you’d never hear that from me.) My biggest one, though, would have to be The Death of Vivek Oji. It was a beautifully written book that made me tear up, but I had no idea that it would have incest and that it wouldn’t be explicitly challenged. There was genuinely no need for it! The story would’ve been just as powerful if it had remained a familial relationship. It completely ruined the book for me, and I ended up feeling mildly sick as I continued to read.
6. biggest surprise
I suspected that A Mind Spread Out on the Ground would be good, but I was surprised by how fascinated I was at some of the topics the author touched on! There was one essay that particularly captivated me. It was about the role photography plays under capitalism, with a focus on what Susan Sontag wrote on the same topic. One point that stuck out to me was the idea that as tourists are encouraged to take beautiful pictures of certain areas of nature, we condemn the people who are fighting to actually keep those areas protected. (This is particularly the case with areas important to Indigenous people being destroyed by the government or corporations.) It was just so well-written and incredibly thought-provoking
7. favorite new author (debut or new to you)
I typically like to read more than 2 books from an author before declaring them a new favorite, but I think Christina Soontornvat is definitely on her way to being a favorite author, even though I’ve only read 2 of her books. Whenever I read her stories, I’m reminded of why I love middle grade so much—the lovely messages about the world to young kids; the adventurous, daring aspect that is so kid-like (in the best of ways); the somehow homey and comforting atmosphere despite all the bad things happening. And of course, it doesn’t hurt that the two books I’ve read from her have both been set in a Thai-inspired world!
8. newest favorite character
I feel like this year, though I’ve enjoyed so many of the books I read, I haven’t really found one to “obsess” over like I have in the past? But I think I’d say Mahit Dzmare from A Memory Called Empire is a new favorite character! She’s smart and witty, which made the political “banter” scenes some of my favorites scenes of this book, and she’s also trying her best to do the best for her own country while working through her feelings of longing to belong in the empire.
9. book that made you cry
It was a reread, but Picture Us in the Light made me cry an embarrassing amount. Embarrassing, because on Goodreads I’d written “will I cry again over a book I cried over in 2019 or has 3 years of life made me heartless.” (I’d been expecting to be heartless.) I actually cried even more than when I read it for the first time! I think it was knowing what was going to happen that made it worse, but it was still humiliating.
This is seriously such a beautiful, phenomenally written book. It was my favorite book of 2019 for a reason. I gave it 5 stars both times I read it, guys. (If you are familiar with my ratings, you know I don’t give those out to just any book!!) It’s so good that I don’t know whether I want to push it all at you or gatekeep it… and that’s the highest compliment I could give!!!!
10. book that made you happy
Looking at my reads for this year, I’m realizing how many of them were sad… Luckily, I did read and love Himawari House, which was a very light and lovely story that made me feel all soft and gooey inside! Though it had its sad moments, because apparently I can’t pick up anything that doesn’t have a little heartbreak, it’s overall comforting and warm. It’s essentially a book about belonging and finding yourself, and it displays so many lovely friendships and romantic relationships that will make you feel at least a little less lonely. Truly one of my favorite graphic novels of all time!
11. most beautiful book you’ve received this year
I just got this in Thailand: Piranesi! It was a good 3 dollars cheaper for a hardcover instead of a paperback (what I would’ve gotten in the US), and I’d been eyeing it every time I went to the bookstore in the US, so I just had to get it! Also, the orange-gold foil on the cover was just so gorgeous that I couldn’t resist. Is it my favorite cover of all time? No. But the design of the physical copy is truly beautiful!
12. what books do you need to read by the end of the year?
I just checked my 2021 reading wrap-up to see what books I’d put on my priority list for 2022, and I found that I’ve read 6/8 of the books already?? I’m in shock. I’m actually being a responsible reader. This is a little bit scary… I don’t recognize myself anymore… The 2 remaining books I have left to read are The Sword of Kaigen and Heaven Official’s Blessing, so I’ll obviously be finishing those before the end of the year! (It’ll be so embarrassing if I don’t, actually.)
Other books I meant to read already are The Blind Earthworm in the Labyrinth, White Tears/Brown Scars, and The Stonewall Reader, which were all books I wanted to read for Asian Heritage and Pride month but didn’t. So I, shamefully, will be reading them next month instead! There are also a ton of owned (sapphic) SFF books that I’ve been meaning to read for forever, so I’d like to get to those too, namely The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, Gideon the Ninth, and Foundryside.
how many books have you read? what’s your favorite book of the year so far? any books that made you cry? what are your most anticipated releases?