In true ‘Bronwen’ style, I’m doing this tag a little late. I have seen it floating around the internet and have been loving reading everyone else’s posts so knew it was time to actually sit down and actually write mine. I can’t believe this year is racing past us, that we’re actually already thinking about the second half of it, but at least there have been some amazing books amongst it all.
Question 1: Best book you’ve read so far in 2020.
This is a really tricky one because I feel like there are a fair few books that have really stuck out for me so far. I think I will have to say The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennet simply because there is something so powerful about that book. I felt it made me question everything I thought I knew about race and identity and truly is a stunning piece of fiction. I have heard that the rights have already been sold for it to be adapted and I can’t wait to see what they do with this. If you aren’t sure about what this book is about, it follows two twins who grew up in the town of Mallard, which isn’t on any maps. This is a secluded commmunity filled with those who do not fit into the categories of ‘white’ or ‘black’ due to long standing mixed heritage. Outcasts from both soceties, Mallard has become one of its own right, and the citizens within are safe so long as the outside world remains outside. The two twins decide to escape Mallard and try to create their own versions of the world outside of this closed community, with one embracing her ‘blackness’ and the other ‘turning white’. It is a beautiful discussion about how we fetishize race and identity and the problematic importance we have placed upon these arguably social constructs.
Question 2: Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2020.
Without a doubt, the best sequel I’ve read this year in The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty. I started The City of Brass series during Lockdown and am quickly speeding my way throurh the series. I think without a doubt The Kingdom of Copper has been my favourite so far, simply because we got to know the characters so much more. It did emotionally destroy me too.
Question 3: New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.
I have a few I could put for this one, but the book that stands out for me has to be ‘My Dark Vanessa’ by Kate Elizabeth Russell. I bought this when it came out and have kept meaning to turn to it, but I feel like, given the hard hitting topics within it, I need to be in the right mind set to enjoy it. I am determined to read this book by the end of the year however.
Question 4: Most anticipated release for the second half of the year
I don’t actually have on for this one, per se. The thing I am most looking forward to, though don’t have a date for is getting The Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty in paperback. I’ve resisted the urge to get it in hardback just because have the others in paperback and know I wouldn’t be able to cope with that on my shelves haha. Until I have it in my hands, I will just have to settle with the audiobook.
Question 5: Biggest Disappointment.
For me this would have to be The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. I had heard so many wonderful things about this but I just found it confusing and overwhelming. I may have another go at it because, now I know what happens, I wonder if I will get more out of reading it because it seems very reliant on you being able to make connections with obscure bits of information which seems irrelevant at the time. I have to say that the writing style was beautiful, but I think maybe the intricateness of this was a bit too much and the plot got lost in it.
Question 6: Biggest suprise.
For this I will have to bit The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. This book ruined me! I knew I would enjoy it but didn’t aniticpate just how much it was going to blow me away. It is so beautifully constructed and the characters are so well developed. I’m not sure that there will be a single point in this year when I’m not harping on about this book!
Question 7: Favourite new Author (debut or new to you).
For this, I wanted to pick Madeline MIller but feel like she is an author I might have singled out last year just for how much I loved Circe. So, instead, I think I am gong to go with either S. A. Chakraborty or Taylor Jenkins Reid. Having read books by these authors this year, I feel like they are authors I would pick up time and time again simply because of the impact their writing had on me.
Question 8: Newest Fictional Crush.
I don’t think I necessarily have anything for this. I feel like I have definitely found characters this year that are precious to me but none that have made me fall hopelessly in love with.
Question 9: Newest Favourite Character
For this, I am going to go with Beatrice from Theodra Goss’ ‘The Strange case of the Alchemist’s Daughter’. I found her a really interesting and tragic character, especially when set next to the penny dreadul background of the novel.
Question 10: Boks that made you cry.
Song of Achilles. Need I say more?
Question 11: Books that made you happy.
For this I will go with The House at the End of Hope Street by Menna Van Praag. This is such a heartwarming and emotional tale about acceptance and finding purpose in your life and blew me away.
Question 12: Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or recieved)
Recently I purchased three bookishly editions of the classics ‘Emma’, ‘Jane Eyre’, and ‘Tess of the D’Ubervilles’. These are three of the most stunning books I have ever seen and I know now I will be slowly collecting the whole lot – much to the unhappiness of my purse!
Question 13: What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
At the moment, the only books I need to read by the end of the year are the texts I am teaching which is good as that’s fairly manable. I need to reread Frankenstien and read Never Let me Go – but that’s it!
Question 14; Favourite Boook community memebr.
I couldn’t possibly pick one, so I have picked a few who I really appreciate.
Amy @ Read.Dream.Live
Eva @ Eva’s Book Corner
Jessica @ Stuck In A Book
I always look forward to the content these lovely people put put into the world.
And there we go! It’s barmy to think that we are halfway from 2020 and it is such an unconcievable year. Here’s hoping the next months are a little bit more recognisable.