The Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag

I made an effort to space out tags and as a reslt, this is coming a little after the middle of the year. I was tagged by Sarah at Book Hooked Nook (I LOVE her blog title) so be sure to check her out!

1. Best book that you’ve read so far in 2017

This is hard, but because some of my other favorites are mentioned below, I’m going to go with Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. I had to read this for class and I read it all in one day–and not because I waited until the day before it was due! (It was actually several days before that.) I just love how Bechdel draws lots of literary comparisons to try to make sense of her life and family…it’s exactly how I think through things!

2. Best sequel that you’ve read so far in 2017

Honestly, I barely read sequels and series anymore, but I did start the Ms. Marvel (2014-) trade paperbacks and did enjoy the second one, though perhaps not as much as the first.

3. New release that you haven’t read yet but want to

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue…I currently have it on hold on my library’s Overdrive, though! I’m also reading it as a part of an online book club, in a way.

4. Most anticipated release for the next half of 2017

If I have to choose, I think I’ll go with Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore (out October 3rd) because I haven’t read a book by her yet and I’m eager to explore her magical realism stories, beautiful writing, and queer characters that I’ve heard so much about!

wild beauty

5. Biggest disappointment in 2017

Waiting for Godot…I love that I’ve found I enjoy reading plays, but there are some plays that are much more effective when seen. This would be one of them.

6. Biggest surprise in 2017

The Attention Merchants by Tim Wu–this is a trade-published nonfiction book (aka less academic than some) that I had to read for a class, and I didn’t really expect to like it because it was focused more on the business and advertising side of entertainment, but I actually really enjoyed it! There were so many little tidbits of things I learned, and it also drew important and thoughtful connections.

7. Favorite new author (debut or new to you)

Colson Whitehead, because a) I really liked The Underground Railroad and b) I got to see him speak and despite that novel’s serious subject matter, he’s actually got a hilarious dry sense of humor talking about his life. His other books look to be more absurdist and funny and I’m looking forward to getting to them.

He also signed my copy of The Underground Railroad!

8. Newest fictional crush

Honestly, I rarely get fictional crushes, sorry! It might be partially what I read and mostly how I interact with others, real and fictional. Sorry! **shrugs**

9. Newest favorite character

So I both read and watched the recent National Theatre Live performance of Angels in Amercia, and Harper Pitt is now one of my dream roles even though I don’t really do theatre. She gets some of the best, wacky monologues and she’s at once a tragic yet hopeful case.

10. A book that made you cry

Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin…there’s so much sadness and melancholy running through this one, as it’s about living with a heck of a lot of internalized homophobia and other issues, but the part that really got me was when he is hugging his (female) fiance but there’s no love in it…because it reminded me of a time I was on the other end of that hug.

11. A book that made you happy

Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee is just this adorable middle grade about a girl with a crush on another girl and loving theater.

star crossed

12. The most beautiful book you’ve bought or received in 2017

I picked up a used hardcover of All the Light We Cannot See and it’s such a beautiful, shimmering book.

all the light we cannot see

13. What books do you need to read by the end of 2017?

I just wrote a post about that!


Since this tag is a little untimely, I’m not going to tag anyone specifically. But if you still want to do it, go ahead!


How has your reading year been so far?


My Goodreads Challenge is Inaccurate, and That’s Okay

I set a Goodreads goal this year to read 60 books. In 2014 and 2015, I had a goal of 50 and exceeded it by a few, so last year it was truly a challenge, by not an unreachable one. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite make it because when I went to college my reading dropped off because I wasn’t spending too much time alone and I didn’t have to read many books for class (mostly short stories). This year I’m trying for 60 again and so far I’m a 40–2/3 of the way through, and 7 books ahead. And I haven’t finished a book in the past week. So what happened?

The short answer: school. My spring semester, unlike my fall one, I had to read a lot for class and many of it was books. On my Goodreads challenge, I have counted the following from my classes:

  • 7 novels, 2 nonfiction books, and 2 graphic memoirs for my literature classes
  • 2 books I read that were my choice but were wholly or partially written about for class (that’s Difficult Women and The Hate U Give)
  • 6 nonfiction books and more academic “textbooks” I had to read all or some of for other classes

Yes, you read that–“all or some of.” I counted books that I read most but not all of the chapters in it, so I didn’t read it all. BUT there’s also a lot that I read that couldn’t be counted on Goodreads–short stories, poems, articles, chapters from other books…I figure that makes up for the portions of “read” books I didn’t actually read.

And this has reminded me of something I need to remember: it isn’t all about what “counts.” I haven’t read many stories and poems in literary journals (online or print) because they don’t “count,” for instance, and that doesn’t help my writing goals. It also means I’m less likely to read longer or more difficult books and more likely to read shorter and quicker stories (though I confess that this time I picked up graphic novels and comics not for that reason).

Goodreads and its challenges are incredibly useful to me keeping track of things, but it isn’t everything, and I’m glad I’ve recognized that.

How do you use your Goodreads challenge or keep track of your reading?