Wow, six months have passed already, and the year is half done. The perfect time for the mid-year book recap that’s my version of the Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag on BookTube. I did it last year, too (and renamed “freakout” to “recap” as I don’t feel like freaking out about books). Here’s the link. I wasn’t tagged (no wonder, I’m only on BookTube as a viewer) but I’ve seen it popping up there again and also on blogs I’m following, so I felt like doing it again, too. Here goes:
Best book you’ve read so far in 2021?
Klara and the Sun, by Kazuo Ishiguro. I loved how Klara’s character. In some ways really human, but in other ways quite alien. I also appreciated the world building and how you had to piece everything together bit by bit as the novel progressed and the ethical questions were thought-provoking. Here’s the review I wrote.
Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2021?
The Moor, by Laurie R. King. It’s book 4 of the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series and it’s inspired by “The Hound of the Baskervilles” by Arthur Conan Doyle. I love King’s series that I’m rereading this year. I’m looking forward to getting to the books that I haven’t read yet, as I’ve only read about half the series but wanted to start again from the beginning before getting to the new-to-me parts.
I also enjoyed Fugitive Telemetry, by Martha Wells, the Murderbot Diaries 6. I love this series and mentioned book 5 of the series in last year’s post.
New release you haven’t read yet, but want to?
Ariadne, by Jenifer Saint. I’ve had my eye on it for a while, but somehow decided I had to reread The Illiad and The Odyssey first. I’ve just finished The Illiad today but won’t get around to The Odyssey until after Jane Austen July.
Most anticipated release for the second half of the year?
I’m waiting for J.R.R. Tolkien, The Nature of Middle-earth (edited by Carl F. Hofstetter) to be published. I hope it’ll be sometime in the second half of the year. I don’t want the super expensive deluxe version, just a normal book (not ebook).
No disappointments yet. I’m pretty good at selecting books that I like and am only ever disappointed by books that my book club makes me read. And then I’m not really disappointed because I can usually tell straight off that I won’t like the book and then it’s not really a disappointment, rather a fulfilled expectation. Sad but true. Occasionally, the book club selections are super and the meetings (currently still Zoom) are always fun and sometimes illuminating, so I can live with reading a few sub-optimal books.
The Illiad, as translated by Caroline Alexander. I started this expecting it to be boring because I didn’t like this epic much when I first read it, about 25 years ago. I don’t know whether it was because the German translation I read wasn’t great or if I just didn’t appreciate it or if I changed as a reader (could be). I think I’ll write a review explaining why I liked it, soon.
I was also really surprised at how much I liked the short stories of Rudyard Kipling.
Favourite new author, either debut or new to you?
Caroline Alexander. She’s not a debut author, but I love her translation of The Illiad and would like to read the non-fiction book The War that Killed Achilles.
Newest fictional crush?
I’m too old for crushes on characters. I said something about this in last year’s post, but I think next year I’ll just remove this question.
Newest favourite character?
Klara, from Klara and the Sun. She just so sweet and courageous and sometimes wise and sometimes naïve.
Book that made you cry?
Any book that has tragic stuff in it will make me cry, unless it’s written in an overdone way that makes ridiculous. I cry all the time when I’m reading. It’s embarrassing.
Book that made you happy?
All the books I read made me happy. Crying about tragic stuff doesn’t make me unhappy. It’s catharsis, I guess. Not reading makes me unhappy. I get grouchy if I don’t have time to read.
Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year?
Mary Oliver, Dog Songs. A slim paperback with poems about dogs and lovely black-and-white drawings. It’s very cute.
What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
Don’t exactly need to read any but would like to complete my goals to read all of Louise Erdrich novels in the Love Medicine series. So far, I’ve read two of eight, so I’m not exactly on track. And I want to finish The Tale of Genji.
I’m quite happy with my reading progress on the whole. I’ve finished 54 books by now and have almost met my Goodreads challenge (which I set to 60 because I didn’t want to stress myself). Regarding my own goals, which I published on the blog, I’m probably not quite on track, but I currently don’t care. Work is really stressful and stressing about my private bookish goals is stupid, so I’m more or less ignoring those book goals for now. I want to keep my reading enjoyable and not another source of stress.
I had my first Corona vaccination on Tuesday (second one is planned for early August). My arm hurts a bit at the injection site, but it seems to be getting better. I worked at the office until noon on Tuesday, as I got my vaccination through my company, and it was still empty and boring as hardly anyone was in (nobody from my team). I’m glad to be working at home again today.
Keep safe, world