The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag
It’s the middle of 2020 and that means it’s time for the Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag. This is very popular on BookTube but I fancied doing it on my blog.
The mid-year book freak out tag is slightly different from re-capping my goals, as it’s more about what I have and have not enjoyed reading so far this year. So without further ado, let’s jump in!
Best book(s) you’ve read so far in 2020
I have two favourite books of the year so far, and they are Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell and Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I read the former during lockdown and I thought it was great. I’ve not read anything by Maggie O’Farrell before, but apparently I’ve started with her best book. I’ve been meaning to read Daisy Jones for ages, but only download the audiobook at the beginning of the year. I ripped through it and thought it was spectacular.
Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2020
I’ve actually only read two sequels this year – I’m a standalone kind of girl! But my favourite of the two was Anne of Avonlea by L. Maud Montgomery. I’ve only read the first two in the Anne of Green Gables series but I would like to get to the rest over time.
New release(s) you haven’t read but want to
There are quite a few new releases I want to get to, some of which I’ve recently received and others I still need to purchase. My top three are Writers & Lovers by Lily King, Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan and My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell.
I don’t know much about Writers & Lovers, beyond the fact it is a book about a writer and I love those kinds of books. Exciting Times has had a lot of praise over the last few months and it’s pricked up my ears. Apparently the writer is another Sally Rooney type, and since I love Sally Rooney I’m hoping I’ll love Naoise Dolan as well. And finally, My Dark Vanessa. I’ve been hearing about this book non-stop for over a year, because it’s a HarperCollins book. I have high hopes.
Most anticipated release for the second half of the year
I have my eye on a few books out later this year. A lot of the books have sadly been moved to 2021 due to the lockdown, but a few anticipated reads remain.
A friend of mine recommended Boy Parts by Eliza Clark so that’s on my must-read list. I’m also looking forward to reading The Hungover Games by Sophie Heawood, which was on my original top reads of 2020 list.
I have had two big disappointments this year – and no Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes wasn’t one of them (always knew it wasn’t going to be superb!). My first disappointment was about The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I had such high hopes for this supposed modern classic and I thought it was rubbish. It was so dull, over-written and repetitive. Not one for me.
My second disappointment was the latest Caroline O’Donogue book. I really enjoy Caroline’s writing – both journalistically and fiction – but Scenes of a Graphic Nature wasn’t for me. It didn’t gel quite right and I don’t think it was edited right somehow. Not one for me.
My biggest surprise may not actually seem like a surprise to some, but to me it was: I enjoyed Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. I have a fear of hyped books because they never live up to my expectations but Pride & Prejudice actually did! I know, how could I not know?!
Favourite new author (debut or new to you)
My favourite new author is Taylor Jenkins Reid. I have read Daisy Jones and the Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo this year and I’ve already got my eye on her previous titles. Apparently, the two books I’ve read are far stronger than her first set of books, but I still really enjoy her writing style and I’m looking forward to see what she writes next.
Newest fictional crush
I’m not a fictional crush kind of girl… I don’t tend to fall for characters in books – film adaptations yes, but books not so much. And this year I’ve not read many fictional-crush worthy characters. Victor Frankenstein and a wine sommelier are not for me. There is Mr Darcy – but I’m a Mr Knightley kind of girl.
Newest favourite character
I have three favourite characters from books I’ve read so far this year: Agnes Shakespeare, from Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell, Daisy Jonesfrom Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid and Evelyn Hugo from The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid.
Agnes is such an interesting woman in Hamnet, she’s ethereal, clever and maternal. Very intelligent and completely different to the interpretation of history books. I appreciate that.
I love Taylor Jenkins Reid’s depiction of women under the spotlight, particularly how she shows their flaws.
Books that made you cry
Just like ‘fictional crushes’ I also don’t cry at books. I can tell you off the top of my head that I’ve only ever cried at two books: The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks (son says goodbye to dad dying of cancer) and Spectacles by Sue Perkins (she wrote a letter to her dog that had just been put down). That’s it. Clearly I’m heartless
A book that made you happy
On a lighter note though, three books have made me particularly happy lately and they have all been classics! The first was Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne Du Maurier. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, everyone deserves this epic, pirate romantic romp in their lives during lockdown. It’s like Poldark during the restoration, but with more French pirates!
I also really enjoyed Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell. The mini-series is one of my favourite BBC series of all time, and I can see how well they interpreted the material as the characters are hilarious! The witticisms and shade in this book, would make RuPaul blush!
And finally, Pride & Prejudice. I just looked forward to reading it every evening.
The most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)
I haven’t had much time to shop – duh! – but I have received some lovely books for my birthday. However, none of them are the standard of ‘pretty’ I imagine bookstagrammers would comment on. I particularly like the cover of Exciting Time say Naoise Dolan – I love the understated look with punch colours.
What books do you need to read by the end of the year
I don’t have any books I need to read this year, but I would love to properly get into The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai and Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owen as I’ve had them since Christmas.
Favourite book community member
My new favourite is a book tuber called Noelle Gallagher. I really enjoy her down-to-earth, intellectual and slightly self-deprecating videos on YouTube. Very funny and great for honest book reviews.
That’s the 2020 Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag done for another year. Feel free to have a go yourself, on your blog, Instagram stories or Instagram. Share you links in the comments if you do!