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Okay, so we’re a bit past the actual middle of the year–but this tag has been making the rounds in the bookish blogosphere lately, and I couldn’t resist it doing it myself!
But first, a quick note: I set this post to publish automatically on Monday morning because, as you read this, my family and I are likely still hiding from Hurricane Ida. I probably have no electricity or WiFi, which was why I wrote this post ahead of time. Depending on the situation, I may also have to delay the September issue of The Wordsmithery. But I’ll still be active on Twitter, cell service permitting, so be sure to follow me there!
Without further ado, please enjoy this fun recap of my reading life thus far in 2021–and I’ll put the same questions at the end so you can copy/paste them if you want to do this on your own blog.
Best book you’ve read so far in 2021?
Definitely Shusaku Endo’s haunting masterpiece, Silence*. As I wrote in my review of both the novel and the film based upon it, the Lord practically dropped this story in my lap–and it challenged, comforted, and moved me in so many different and important ways. Definitely worthy of a re-read!
Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2021?
Of Literature and Lattes* by Katherine Reay. It’s the sequel to her novel The Printed Letter Bookshop, which is a DELIGHTFUL book and written in a similar fashion as Kathryn Stockett’s The Help: the point of view switches between three different characters, each with their own distinct voice. Of Literature and Lattes wasn’t quite as good as The Printed Letter Bookshop, but I did love going back to the town of Winsome and meeting up with my old friends there.
New release you haven’t read yet, but want to?
The Icarus Aftermath* by Arielle M. Bailey! A friend recommended it to me by saying it’s basically a mash-up of Greek mythology and Star Wars–and honestly, I need no further convincing.
Most anticipated release for the second half of the year?
Biggest disappointment in 2021?
Sorry, guys, but…it’s gotta be Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone Trilogy. Everyone was talking about these books after Netflix released its adaptation of the first novel earlier in the year, so I thought I’d read them for myself. The first book was pretty intriguing, but the second book was mediocre at best, and I very nearly threw the third one at the wall when I stumbled upon a sex scene. (The only reason I didn’t throw the book was because it belonged to the library, not to me.) Thanks, but no thanks. I have better things to do than read about teenagers doing that.
Biggest surprise in 2021?
The Journeyman* by Elizabeth Yates. My mom recommended it to me, and I was utterly captivated by this short, simple, but beautiful story of an artistic young boy in New England during the early 19th century. I really didn’t expect it to engage me so deeply, but it was so vivid and tugged on all the right heartstrings. It certainly kept me occupied during one very long morning spent in a doctor’s office waiting room, I can tell you that!
Favorite new author in 2021?
I don’t know that I’d classify her as “new,” but I have a new and profound respect for Claudia Gray after reading two of her Star Wars novels, Leia, Princess of Alderaan* and Bloodline*. Guyyyyyys, Bloodline is a GOOD BOOK.
Newest fictional crush/ship?
Oh, DEFINITELY Anastasia and Zash in Nadine Brandes’ historical fantasy Romanov*.
Newest favorite character?
HARRY POTTER!!!! MY SON! MY CHILD! THE DELIGHT OF MY EYES!
Heehee. Seriously, though. My family and I just marathoned all the movies this summer, and then my siblings and I all chipped in and bought the books. I’m reading The Chamber of Secrets* at the mo and I’m having so much fun. But as for Harry himself, he may very well the kindest, sweetest hero I’ve ever read in modern literature. Authors of YA fiction, TAKE NOTE: your heroes and heroines do not have to be cold-shouldered and emo in order to be interesting and admirable.
Book that made you cry in 2021?
I may have gotten a bit of dust in my eye at the end of Silence.
Book that made you happy in 2021?
Resistance Reborn* by Rebecca Roanhorse! It’s a Star Wars novel set directly after The Last Jedi–and when I say “directly,” I mean that it opens with Leia, Rey, Poe, and Finn still on the Falcon mere hours after the Battle of Crait. This novel kept me very entertained (and often chuckling at Finn and Poe’s antics and escapades) during the first couple of weeks after my accident.
Favorite book-to-film adaption you saw in 2021:
I mean, I’ve gotta give Silence another shout-out here…but also Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix* because that was my favorite of the movies…and also Howards End*, because although I haven’t read that book (yet), I really liked the miniseries starring Hayley Atwell.
Favorite bookish post you’ve done so far in 2021:
My review of Nadine Brandes’ Romanov. I inhaled that book in three days (in my defense, I was on a road trip–but I’d packed other books, too, and barely touched them).
Most beautiful book you bought so far in 2021:
I did have a part to play in the purchase, so I’m gonna say our new, hardback copy of Harry Potter Sand the Goblet of Fire*. True story, Friends: I remember going to Books-a-Million with my grandmother back in 2000 (which means I was all of eight years old) and seeing all these kids buying this particular book–this particular hardback with this particular front cover. Imagine my nostalgic delight when, last week, my siblings and I received our own copies in the mail, and The Goblet of Fire triggered that 21-year-old memory of mine!
Books you need to read by the end of the year:
- This Beautiful Truth* by Sarah Clarkson (currently reading!)
- The rest of the Harry Potter books (*Snape voice* Obbbbbviousssssslyyyyyy)
- Charitable Writing* by Richard Hughes Gibson and James Edward Beitler III (I started this during my convalescence but still need to finish it)
- Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (everyone tells me it’s way better than Shadow and Bone and y’all better be right)
And here are the questions for anyone who wants to take this tag and run with it!
Best book you’ve read so far in 2021
Best sequel you’ve read so far 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 adaption you saw in 2021
Favorite bookish post you’ve done so far in 2021
Most beautiful book you bought so far in 2021
Books you need to read by the end of the year