The mid-year book freak out tag is one of the most beloved traditions in the online reading community… that I’ve never taken part in. I’d love to make it a habit so I can look back on my reading year to year! This idea was co-created by Ely and Chami.
BEST BOOK YOU’VE READ SO FAR IN 2021
Right in with the hard questions. I did a challenge where I read the top 5 rated books on my TBR and most of them are strong contenders. However, one of the first books I read this “year” (my reading year for the sake of yearly wrap-ups end mid-December) is my favorite this year and absolutely in my top 5 of all-time: How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence by Michael Pollan. As someone who has anxiety/depression and is open to alternative medicine for treatment, this was eye-opening. Everybody needs to read this book.
BEST SEQUEL YOU’VE READ SO FAR IN 2021
I tend to avoid series like the plague so I’m going to cheat on this one… I read two books that are technically part of a series (The Da Vinci Code and Take a Hint, Dani Brown) but you don’t absolutely need to read the first book to understand the other books (or I assume more subsequent ones either). I found The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown to be very entertaining and interesting. I loved National Treasure as a kid and this is very much in the same vein.
NEW RELEASE YOU HAVEN’T READ YET BUT WANT TO
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I’m literally about to pick it up next, though!
MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASE FOR THE SECOND HALF OF THE YEAR
Malibu Rising and the new Elizabeth Kolbert books were really the only ones on my radar, really. But upon reading this awesome article by Fortune of the most anticipated released of the second half of this year, The Pain Gap: How Sexism and Racism in Healthcare Kill Women by Anushay Hossain sounds like something right up my alley.
I would have to say Beartown by Fredrik Backman. The hockey/murder mystery premise sounded so interesting but struggled through the first 100 pages. In my review, I also said “I felt the small-town clichés were really shoved down your throat and the stakes for the games weren’t fleshed out enough. For example, I would have loved it if there was some conflict (romantic, personal, athletic, anything) with the rivals as well. There were too many characters for me to keep up with it took me until the halfway mark to totally remember who everyone was.” I had very high expectations for this book/author and this one let me down.
Probably Doing It! Let’s Talk About Sex by Hannah Witton. One of the PopSugar prompts was to read a book by an influencer and usually, they’re a money-grab and not well-written by anyone’s standards. However, I loved this book! In my review, I said “I’ve never watched or heard of Hannah Witton before seeing this book in the GoodReads suggestion list. The book happened to be available on OverDrive so I watched a few of her videos (I really enjoyed 6 Myths About Monogamy and Sexy Faves of 2020) and read this and found it fantastic. I also appreciate how she let others write some sections on topics she’s less qualified for (LGBTQ+ issues). If she made a follow-up book, I’d read it.”
FAVORITE NEW AUTHOR (DEBUT OR NEW TO YOU)
A lot of books I read this year, I’ve read other books from (Blake Crouch, Madeline Miller, Taylor Jenkins Reid…). But I really loved Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson and will definitely be reading her other book ASAP. The organization and story-telling was amazing which make certain non-fiction books stand out.
NEWEST FICTIONAL CRUSH
I don’t get fictional crushes.
NEWEST FAVORITE CHARACTER
Again, I usually have no strong feelings for fictional characters.
A BOOK THAT MADE YOU CRY
I’ve cried at a few books this year, but the most will probably have to go to Know My Name by Chanel Miller.
A BOOK THAT MADE YOU HAPPY
Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert was so freaking cute (and also steamy). I’ll definitely be picking up more of her books for a feel-good read.
THE MOST BEAUTIFUL YOU’VE BOUGHT (OR RECEIVED) THIS YEAR
Probably a certain edition of Endurance by Alfred Lancing that details Shackleton’s Antarctic voyage with pictures! It was cheap but in pristine condition, definitely a good coffee table book and one I’m eager to re-read now.
WHAT BOOKS DO YOU NEED TO READ BY THE END OF THE YEAR?
I don’t need to read any, thank you very much. At the beginning of the year I made a 21 books I want to read in 2021 post and I’m doing pretty well. I would like to read Brighton Rock, Pride and Prejudice, a book over 1,000 pages (It by Stephen King is still the leading contender). Those are my highest priority but I feel like they’re such mood-reads that I never feel like picking up.
What has been your favorite book of the year so far?
Photo by freddie marriage.