I’ve been seeing this tag floating around for a few weeks now and since I love doing round-up posts, I wanted to do it! I’ve been having the best reading year of my life so far, and I’m happy to share with you the books I’ve been loving lately…
2019 has been an amazing reading year for me. In January I set the goal of reading 50 books during the year. I was sort of scared of failing miserably. After all, I’d be going to university full time and I planned on increasing my workload.
But apparently I had nothing to worry about! As of July 1st, I have read 58 books, meaning I’ve already beat my Goodreads goal! And boy, do I not intend on slowing down now.
To spice things up, I want to look back at my 2019 goals post and see how I’m doing. Also, since I’ve been using BookRiot’s tracking list religiously, I know exactly how I’m doing in terms of statistics. Yay, math!
Challenge one was to read more adult books and read less young adult literature. I’ve been super successful at this, and as a result, my average rating has shot way up.
Then, I wanted to read more diversely. I’ve also scored high on this front, given that half of the books I have read have been written by a writer of color.
I also signed up for the 2019 Year of the Asian Reading Challenge. So far, I have read 19 books authored by an Asian author. My goal was to read between 21 and 30 books. Well, I’ve almost achieved my goal and I still have quite a lot of Asian books on my soon to-be-read pile.
I also wanted to read more nonfiction books. I think I also achieved this goal, given the fact that I didn’t read much nonfiction last year. Plus, most of the nonfiction books I’ve picked up have been absolutely awesome!
I didn’t set myself a goal related to gender. I know I read mostly books written by female authors and I’m completely okay with that. The one thing that bugs me is the lack of books written by nonbinary authors. I know I can do better than this!
When it comes to format, I mostly read books on my Kindle. A fair share of the books I’ve gotten to this year have been ARCs, and those are always in epub or pdf versions. This past month, though, I’ve been raiding my (temporary) local library and rediscovered a love for print books, especially hardbacks!
As far as book ratings go, I’ve managed to rate my readings an average of 3.7 stars. The breakdown looks like this…
⭐️ 0 books
⭐️⭐️ 6 books
⭐️⭐️⭐️ 17 books
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 23 books
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 12 books
1. The Best Book You’ve Read So Far in 2019
A recent favorite, but one I cherish deeply, is Normal People by Sally Rooney. Everything about it swept me off my feet completely.
For starters, the characters are so complex and well developed. The prose is absolutely fantastic, taking sharp turns when you least expect it. Then, the setting and time jumps between chapters are incredibly charming—they create the perfect atmosphere for the novel. Lastly, the way Rooney writes the themes of love, socioeconomic status, and adulthood is completely graceful.
I’ve already ordered her second novel (Conversations with Friends) and I can’t wait to pick it up.
2. Your Favorite Sequel This Year
Would you believe me if I said I haven’t read a sequel this year? If you know me well, this will be no surprise to you, as I despise book series and the amount of commitment they force me into…
3. New Release That You Haven’t Read Yet But Really Want To
Every day when I wake up I go on the library’s online catalog to see if Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane has been returned yet. And so far, so luck. But as soon as it comes in, you can bet I’ll check it out right away! I can’t even tell you with certainty why I’m so crazy for this book. I guess it has to do with the fact that this is an intergenerational family story, and I’m in love with those stories. It could also be because, according to the synopsis, this tells the story of how two families have been driven apart—and my heart can’t handle those angsty, angsty prejudiced stories.
4. Most Anticipated Release For The Second Half of the Year
In late September, The Water Dancer by Ta-Nahisi Coates will come out. I loved his Between the World and Me book, and so I can’t wait to see how he fares in the world of fiction (this will be Coates’s debut).
Luckily, I got an advanced reader’s copy. You can bet that as soon as September rolls around, I’ll pick it up and devour it whole! So far, I have heard nothing but positive things about this novel. It is shelved as “historical fiction” and “magical realism” on Goodreads. Those are my two favorite fiction genres! Oh, I’m so pumped!
5. Your Biggest Disappointment
I was expecting to love Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid, but sadly I didn’t. After reading (and loving) Evelyn Hugo, I thought Reid’s storytelling would take me away to a punk rock world. Instead, I just felt disconnected from the characters, uninterested in the plot and secrets, and bored from reading the same-old same-old interview snippets. I do think this will make a great movie, and I’d be down for that! Moreover, the interview format of the book was super interesting (at least for a while). It just wasn’t for me.
6. Biggest Surprise Of The Year
Despite all the crazy hype, I wasn’t confident I’d love Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. I guess I’m always weary of books that seem to have literally zero negative reviews. So imagine my surprise when I loved this cute gay novel to pieces! The writing was my favorite part—it’s fresh and young and oh-so authentic. The characters and the dialogue are also awesome. Especially the banter between the White House Trio and Henry and Alex. I found myself smiling a ton while reading it and I got heart butterflies! I’m definitely excited to see what Casey will write next.
7. Favorite New-To-You or Debut Author
I’ve recently finished The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker, and I fell in love with the writing. It’s a quietly beautiful and so freaking charming. The narrating voice is also one of the reasons why I loved the novel so much. The way it knows all and is distant from all the characters added some much-needed sharp punches to the narrative. It’s the weirdest thing: at the same time, it would pull me out of the story and draw me in. Her debut novel is on my to-be-read pile, and I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for what she publishes next.
8. Your New Fictional Crush
I’m not one to fall head over heels for any male (or female) characters. So, I don’t really know how to answer this question… I guess Connell from Normal People is a good contender. The way he grows throughout the novel and the problems he faces really warmed my heart.
9. New Favorite Character
While reading Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon, I found myself loving Tané‘s chapters the most.
She is such a brave character. We meet her at her highest and her lowest points. I love how the author wasn’t afraid of showing Tané’s softer and more vulnerable side. It beats the “strong female character” portrayals of sword-willing soldiers. On top of all that, her relationship with the dragon and the gods made her point of view so interesting. She had such a strong sense of honor that clearly affected her actions. Reading about her made going through this chunk of a book a thousand times easier (and more enjoyable!)
10. A Book That Made You Cry
Well, books don’t make me cry all that often. That doesn’t mean they’re not heartbreaking or touching, I’m just not the kind of person to shed literal tears over a book. (I’ll cry in real life about all other things, though).
11. A Book That Made You Happy
Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim made me ridiculously happy. From the moment I started reading it and learned of the main character’s complicated mother-daughter relationship, I knew it would be an awesome read.
The fact that it involved food and community only made it better. I was so hungry reading it but, most importantly, I connected with my relationship with home-cooked traditional foods.
12. Your Favorite Book-To-Movie Adaptation You’ve Seen This Year
Just today, I watched If Beale Street Could Talk directed by Barry Jenkins. He’s an amazing film director and James Baldwin is a superb writer, so this movie was bound to be a hit for me from the very beginning.
I love how they decided to include word-for-word narrative descriptive passages from the novel. Plus, the lighting, costume design, and setting were exactly how I had imagined them when reading the novel. If you haven’t watched it yet, I highly recommend giving it a shot.
13. Favorite Blog Post You’ve Written
I really like this tag I started. Some of my favorite bloggers took the challenge and answered it themselves. That made my heart feel so warm and fuzzy—it reminds me of why I love the blogging community so much!
14. The Most Beautiful Book That You’ve Bought Or Received This Year
I have to say The Priory of the Orange Tree again! I love how big my copy is, the fact that it’s a hardcover, and how the dust jacket has raised details along the whole cover. Ugh, and those shiny dragon scales? I swear I held that book for hours without reading it as soon as it came in the mail.
15. What Are Some Books You Need To Read By The End Of The Year?
A month or so ago, I wrote down a list of all the backlist books I want to read before the end of the summer. I’m trying my best to get to all of them, so hopefully I’ll have read them by the end of the year, if not by September!
Have you done the mid-year freak out tag yet? If not, consider yourself tagged! I’d love to see your answers 💙