June rolled around and hit me in the face like a truck hitting a mosquito on the motorway. Anyone else? Good. To feel less useless, I thought I’d do the Mid-Year Book Tag to try and have an overview of what I’ve read so far this year and make sure I stay on track. For my Goodreads reading challenge this year I set a goal of 40 books, and I’ve read 24 so far. I’ve had months where I barely read at all (ahem January) and months where I’ve read quite a lot (I read 8 books in March alone!), but I can say I’m quite happy with my reading pace.
For this Book Tag I’ve used some of the usual questions (I’ve left out a few because they were not applicable, or because I simply didn’t have a good eniugh answer for them). Plus, I’ve tried to answer a couple of more personal questions about my own reading goals. So, without further ado, here is my Mid-Year Book Tag!
1 Best book you’ve read so far in 2019. It will have to be Motherhood, by Sheila Heti. I’ve written a longer and (hopefully) better-worded review a couple of weeks ago and I’m still in complete awe of this book. This (fictionalised?) essay is a poignant analysis of the concept of motherhood in modern society, and the expectations and implications concerning this choice. I think it’s an incredible piece of writing, very relevant and it resonated quite a lot with me.
2 New release you haven’t read yet, but want to. Now there’s quite a few! The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh has been sitting on my TBR list for quite some time and so has Lanny by Max Porter. I’d also like to go back to reading more fantasy and I’ve heard wonderful things about Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James and The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon, which I’ve reserved at the library. For now, next on my list is Milkman by Anna Burns, which isn’t exactly a new release (it was published over a year ago) but it’ll have to do.
3 Biggest disappointment. I have to say I’m pretty happy with the books I’ve read this year, but if I had to pick one that disappointed me a bit, it would be Exit West by Mohsin Hamid. I thought the core idea was absolutely brilliant but the whole novel was very lazily executed. Hamid could’ve build a whole universe around this idea, turning the book into a complex and intricate story about power, race and migration. Instead he just rattled off event after event without really exploring anything that happens. The most frustrating thing is how the whole book was told instead of shown, which I found pretty irritating.
4 Biggest surprise. So far the biggest surprise for me has been The Miseducation of Cameron Post, by Emily Danforth. I’m sure by now you’re sick and tired of hearing me talk about this book, so here is my full review of it if you’re interested. It’s funny, authentic, incredibly moving and I think very underrated as an LBGT+ YA novel. Also, it’s still theoretically Pride Month, just saying!
5 Book that made you cry & book that made you happy. They’re both graphic novels so I thought I’d group them in a single answer. The book that made my cry the most was Blue is The Warmest Colour by Julie Maroh, which I’ve read and reviewed in April – absolutely heartbreaking but so worth it! And the book that made me happy was Nimona by Noelle Stevenson, which I’ve read and reviewed back in March. This graphic novel is just genuinely fun and I’d especially recommend it if you like fantasy à la Terry Pratchett! Another book I found extremely funny was Short Short Stories by Dave Eggers – I loved it so much last month I translated It is Finally Time to Tell the Story into Italian (and more translations are coming soon!).
And now, onto two more personal questions. As you know, this blog is called Marina’s Library Card for a reason: most of the books I read come from a public library. This was a challenge I actually set for myself back in October 2018 when I created my Bookstagram profile and opened this blog: I wanted to see how far I could go talking about books online without spending any actual money on books. At the time, I was particularly frustrated with how a lot of the bookstagram profiles I followed seemed to have endless funds to buy the newest releases as soon as they came out (while I was a perpetually skint student), so I decided that for the next year I would only get books from the library or borrow them off friends and family.
6 How many of the books I read came from a public library? How much have I spent overall on books? I’m happy to say the majority of the books I’ve read so far this year came from a public library (15 out of 24, so >60%). I have to say I’m pretty lucky to be living in Oxford, as the local library is fantastic and has any book you could ever wish for, so thank you Oxfordshire County Library for that! The second source of books for me so far this year has been family/friends: 3 out of 24 books (12.5%) were borrowed. Another 3 books (the last 3 books of the Neapolitan Novels, to be precise) I’ve obtained as eBooks in ways I would not consider strictly legal, but still free. Finally, I received 2 books as gifts – 1 of them I won in a giveaway – and found 1 book in my office Book Crossing space.
In the past 6 months I’ve spent exactly £9.50 on books: £8 to pay for the library copy of The Miseducation of Cameron Post that I’ve accidentally damaged when my water bottle opened in my bag; and £1.5 to reserve the library copy of This is Going to Hurt (I needed to read it in time for my office Book Club).
All in all, I am extremely proud of myself for sticking to my initial resolution, and I’m also now extremely paranoid about my water bottle opening in my bag so I keep books in a separate section.
7 Did I stick to my resolution to #ReadMoreWomen? Finally, back in January, I set myself a goal along with my reading challenge: that at least half of the books I read this year had to be written my female authors. Unfortunately, only 11 out of the 24 books I’ve read so far (so 45%) have been penned by a woman. So I’m very close to my goal, but not quite and this means I have to make sure to make up for it in the second half of 2019. Luckily, many of the books in my wishlist are by female authors so I’m pretty confident I can go back on track!
This was really fun and very useful! 2019 is shaping up to be a great year with lots of great reads, and I couldn’t be more happy with what I’ve been reading! Are there any books you liked in particular so far and that you think I should definitely read this year? Leave a comment below or let me know on Instagram!
This is M signing out for now! ✨