I’m snatching this tag from my pal Eva-Joy @Coffee, Classics and Craziness, because who doesn’t love a good excuse to freak out about books? Nobody, that’s who! Let’s get down to it!
- Best book you’ve read so far in 2021
This honor goes to Silence by Shusaku Endo. Silence, the story of Catholic missionaries facing torture and execution in feudal Japan, shook up my worldview like few other books have. It completely changed the way I think about my relationship with Jesus and the Church. You can read some (just some) of my many thoughts about this groundbreaking novel in “The Other Kind of Christian Fiction”.
2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2021
Mister Impossible by Maggie Stiefvater, the second book in The Dreamer Trilogy (a spinoff series to The Raven Cycle). This book certainly lived up to its title, ratcheting up impossible levels of tension in the second half before EXPLODING in probably the greatest cliffhanger I’ve ever read. It was brash and bold and abrasive, like Ronan Lynch himself. Beautifully done.
3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to
They Went Left by Monica Hesse. YA historical fiction about a concentration camp survivor searching for her missing brother. I haven’t found myself in the right “mood” for it yet, but I’m still looking forward to reading it.
4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year
Aurora’s End by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, which should be coming out in November! This is the third book in the Aurora Cycle, a YA sci-fi/fantasy series. It’s cheesy and tropey and dumb and populated by Grade A himbos. I enjoy it thoroughly.
5. Biggest disappointment in 2021
Well … I don’t know about the “biggest” reading disappointment this year (there have been several), but The Sherwood Ring by Elizabeth Marie Pope really let me down. It’s supposed to be this really awesome ghost story about the Revolutionary War, but the romance was TERRIBLE. Like, sexism and misogyny through the ROOF. I was NOT happy, Bob.
(I should probably stop reading books written in the 1950s :-P)
6. Biggest surprise in 2021
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. This was technically a reread. I had read/skimmed the book in college and liked it well enough, but not found it anything particularly extraordinary. This year, I read The Secret Garden again with one of my young students … and was absolutely blown away by its poignant, hopeful beauty. It’s a book about the stubborn will to survive & thrive which lurks in even the most neglected, forgotten souls.
“I shall live forever and ever and ever!”
(I’m fine, everything is f i n e)
7. Favorite new author in 2021
Leigh Bardugo! I was a Grishaverse skeptic for a long time, but I finally read Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom; and boy, am I glad I did. It’s a wonderfully immersive fantasy universe full of snarky, traumatized criminal children to love and cry over.
8. Newest fictional crush/ship
I’ve been shipping Kaz and Inej from Six of Crows like there’s no tomorrow. I’m a simple woman with simple tastes, and “ruthless mob boss will go to the absolute ends of the earth to protect his favorite female assassin when she needs his help, but never once exploits their business relationship to pressure her for sex or romance because, besides being a secretly decent person, he’s touch-repulsed due to childhood trauma” checks All The Boxes.
9. Newest favorite character
This honor goes to Davina from The Last Fire Eater by Charity Bishop. She’s a fire-eater, y’all. She EATS LITERAL FIRE. Did you really think I would be able to resist such charms? You were Wrong. 😛
10. Book that made you cry in 2021
I don’t often cry when I read, and 2021 hasn’t yielded many exceptions to that rule. But Silence by Shusaku Endo certainly made me tear up.
11. Book that made you happy in 2021
Pumpkin by Julie Murphy was very pink and soft and joyful and queer-affirming, which I found to be exactly what the doctor ordered. It’s a contemporary YA novel about a gay teenager and his lesbian friend who get nominated for prom “queen” and “king” respectively as a homophobic joke, and instead take it as a challenge. “Go big or go home.” ❤
12. Favorite book-to-film adaptation you saw in 2021
The Going Postal miniseries! This show brought everyone’s favorite reformed con artist, Moist von Lipwig, to vivid life, while honoring Terry Pratchett’s message about the value of public institutions and community service. A++.
13. Favorite bookish post you’ve done in 2021
In addition to my aforementioned “Silence” post, I’m rather proud of “The Great Gatsby Is Kind Of Gay (And Why That Matters)”.
14. Most beautiful book you bought in 2021
Isn’t These War-Torn Hands by Emily Hayse absolutely gorgeous? I just love those soft shades of auburn and gold. *heart eyes*
15. Books you need to read by the end of the year
I really need to finish The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab. I got about halfway through before my Kindle library loan expired. I’m not thrilled about shelling out the money for my own copy … it’s quite expensive, being a new release from a popular author … but I MUST KNOW WHAT HAPPENS TO ADDIE AND HENRY!!!
That’s a wrap on the questions, folks! If you’d like to fill them out on your own blog (or in the comments!), here’s a clean copy for your convenience:
- Best book you’ve read so far in 2021
- Best sequel you’ve read 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 adaptation you saw in 2021
- Favorite bookish post you’ve done in 2021
- Most beautiful book you bought in 2021
- Book you need to read by the end of the year
Have fun, everybody!