Mid-Year Reading Check-In
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As of today, the year is half over. Can you believe it? I can't. So . . . how's everybody holding up? Are you doing okay? This year has been intense for me. I started a new, unbelievably stressful job. I don't regret it at all, but I understand why my former therapist tried so hard to convince me it was a bad idea. I guess the life lesson from 2022 is, "Why the heck did you give a therapist so much money if you won't listen to them?"
In other news, Baby Brooklyn is 3 years old and already acting like a sassy teenager. How does she have so many opinions? She's three!
My reading has been slightly disastrous this year. Usually, I've read around 50 books by the halfway point. In 2022, I've read *drumroll* 30 books. I guess I can't complain because a few of them were really good. It's just frustrating to never have enough time for reading.
The best part of 2022 (so far) is Colorado Avalanche hockey. They won the Stanley Cup for the first time in 21 years. Last time they won, I was a literal child. I actually have vivid memories of their previous win because I was on a camping trip with my parents and had to watch the game on an itty-bitty TV with a giant antenna. This time, I got to watch on a TV that was big enough for me to see the puck. Good times.
Here's a video of 20,000 Avalanche fans singing All The Small Things because . . . I don't know. Why not? Let's party like it's 2001.
Okay. I know you're here for the books, so let's talk about books. This is the Mid-Year Freak-Out Tag.
✅ Mid-Year Reading Check-In ⏰
Best Book You've Read So Far In 2022?
Out of all the books I've read this year, I've only given 3 of them five stars. The 5-star book that haunts me most is Home by Toni Morrison. Toni Morrison was such a talented writer. I read Home way back in January, but I can still remember the shock and horror I felt while devouring it. It's a powerful little book.
It's about a brother and sister who are learning to cope with major changes in their lives. The brother has just come home from the Korean War and is living in a mental hospital. The sister has left her husband and accepted a new job. One day, the brother gets a letter from a stranger that says his sister's life is in danger. She'll die if he doesn't go to Georgia and rescue her.
If you can handle depressing literary fiction, I highly recommend it.
Best Sequel You've Read So Far In 2022?
All the sequels in The Diviners series by Libba Bray. These books are the complete opposite of Home. They're fast-paced, funny, paranormal romps though 1920s New York. The setting is well-researched, and I love the 1920s slang. The characters are quirky and memorable. The books star a group of teens with supernatural powers. When a ghost/demon/thing starts committing murders, the kids have to stop partying long enough to solve the case.
If you're looking for a book series that will help you escape from real life, you should read this one. It's delightful.
New Release You Haven't Read Yet But Want To?
My most-anticipated release of 2022 is Gallant by VE Schwab. I'll read anything she writes. I always enjoy her morally gray characters and plot twists. Gallant is about an orphan and a mysterious house. I can't wait to read it.
Anticipated Release For The Second Half Of 2022?
I'm bad at paying attention to new releases! I have no idea what's coming out. I'll have to do some research. I'm pretty excited for A Tidy Ending by Joanna Cannon. I loved her other book, Three Things About Elsie. That one is about a trio of elderly people in a memory care facility. They believe that one of the facility's other residents has committed a crime, and they set out to find evidence. The book has excellent twists and a devastating reveal.
A Tidy Ending sounds just as good. An unhappy wife keeps receiving glamorous and mysterious letters. All of them are addressed to the previous owner of her house. She decides to find the previous owner and ends up getting more than she bargained for.
Red, White & Royal Blue isn't the worst book I read this year, but I think the hype gave me unrealistic expectations. This story is stressful! I thought it would be a romantic comedy with a side of politics. Instead, it's politics with a side of romantic comedy.
Have you ever read a book that you didn't love but couldn't stop thinking about? That's me with Liz Moore's The Unseen World. While I was reading, I thought the plot was slow and the main character was boring. Then the characters started uncovering secrets, and I was hooked. I could not put the book down. When I finally finished it, I couldn't stop thinking about it. I'm still thinking about it!
The Unseen World is a compelling blend of real history and unsettling futuristic artificial intelligence. It's a realistic (and somewhat heartbreaking) look at a young woman who's grappling with her father's past and the ramifications of the work he'd done. While she's investigating his past, she's also learning to live with a foster family, developing friendships and crushes, and watching her father's mind deteriorate.
Favorite New Author?
I'm tempted to say Toni Morrison again, but I've read 30 books, so maybe I should spread the love around like a highly contagious disease. Let's go with Elizabeth Acevedo. The Poet X is a novel that I want to fling through the door of every high school. I spent the entire book highlighting lines that would have resonated with teenage-me. It's a young adult contemporary novel about Xiomara, who is rebelling against pretty much everything. She has ultra-religious parents and a body that makes her stand out from the crowd. She's angry all the time. Then, she discovers her school's slam poetry club and learns how to make herself understood. She's more than just a curvy girl who attracts attention for all the wrong reasons.
Is it creepy for me to choose Joe Goldberg from the You series? I'll never forget him because his internal monologue is so different from what he presents on the outside. The You series is narrated by Joe, a stalker and murderer who becomes obsessed with a woman called Beck. He schemes up ways to insert himself into her life. I understand why Beck is attracted to Joe. On the outside, he's helpful, funny, smart, sweet, and bookish. I'd probably date him too. Since the reader gets to hear his thoughts, we know what Beck doesn't: He's violent, controlling, judgmental, and arrogant. It makes you wonder how well you can ever truly know a person.
Book That Made You Happy?
Pretty much every book makes me happy. That's why I read them! Since I can only choose one, let's go with Orange World And Other Stories. Karen Russell is one of my all-time-favorite writers. Her short stories are weird and magical. You spend most of the story wondering where it's going, and then everything snaps together like a puzzle in the end. I'm always in awe of her writing skills.
Favorite Book-To-Movie Adaptation?
Is it cheating if I pick Heartstopper on Netflix? It's a TV show, not a movie. Also, I haven't read the books yet. The show is adorable. It's a teenage love/friendship story with awkward, nerdy characters. I wish it had been around when I was a teenager.
Most Beautiful Book You Bought In 2022?
Sundial by Catriona Ward has the best cover. I love the color combination and the irritated coyote. It's very attention-grabbing. Unfortunately, I didn't love the story. It's confusing and disjointed. A mother and daughter return to the mother's abandoned childhood home in the desert. The mother grew up in a commune where "scientists" did mind-control experiments on animals. Horror ensued.
What Book Do You Need To Read By The End Of The Year?
The unread book that's been on my shelf the longest is Made You Up by Francesca Zappia. I liked the author's other novel, but I've heard terrible things about this one, so I haven't read it yet. It's about a teenage girl who has a new boyfriend. Unfortunately for her, she doesn't know if he's real or if she imagined him. Some reviewers say that schizophrenia is misrepresented in the book.
Do you want to answer these questions on your blog or social media? Go for it!