The Mid Year Freakout Tag
So a thing that happened is that I realised that it’s almost August and I hadn’t done any kind of halfway-through-the-year-recap because I am apparently the most tardy ever. So I thought ‘hmm yes best get on that because better late than never, right’ and figured I’d do it now, and then I've seen this post doing the rounds and decided it was a tag I was just going to steal because it’s a fun twist on my usual Top 5 Books Jan-June. So pull up a chair and grab a cup of tea (or a gin if you’re that way inclined which I absolutely am) and let’s chat about the first half of the year in regards to all things bookish. What fun.
THE MID YEAR FREAKOUT TAG (and how I wish I could make the pretty graphics that all the other blogs have but whatever I can’t so let’s just move on).
THE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR SO FAR
Sometimes (99% of the times) I struggle with this and want to just run for the hills because isn’t it just the question you dread?
Jo, what is your favourite book?
Nope no not a chance. I am not answering that question ever because how can I? How? Surely it’s like asking a parent to choose their favourite child (although My Best Guy reckons that your favourite child would be your first one because you know that one the best which would my favourite book….I dunno. The Magic Porridge Pot maybe. I do love that book….)
Anyhow. I digress. Again.
Right now, when it’s simply a question of what have I liked best of all this year so far, it’s actually pretty easy because holy amazing book, batman is there an answer that isn’t Matt Haig’s How To Stop Time? I think not. I declare my love for it loudly in this post if you want to know my feelings in all their fangirling detail, but just quickly in a nutshell now IT IS SO BEAUTIFUL and the concept is so clever and original and Matt just writes so damn well (and he was in Manchester last week and I AM SO GUTTED I MISSED HIM) and How To Stop Time is that it’s actual proper storytelling you know, in the way that storytelling should be and so often isn’t, and I try not to throw around words like amazing and incredible and favourite because they get overused and lose their meaning but this book, it’s one of my favourites EVER and it actually really is amazing. I’m so so pleased I read it.this book, it got under my skin and I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s still there. Fuck but I need to do something about those run on sentences. The thing I think I love most about
BEST SEQUEL OF THE YEAR SO FAR
I’m cheating here because it’s my blog and I make my own rules and I’m going with MR Carey’s The Boy on the Bridge which is a prequel to The Girl With All the Gifts and not a sequel and you can judge me if you like from behind your teacup. I see you with your judgey eyes. I see you and I ignore you.
I loved The Girl With All the Gifts so hard did you know? I think I talk about it quite a lot so if you stop by here on the regular then maybe you do know that. If you didn’t then you do now. I’m not going to talk in too much detail about The Boy on the Bridge because I think Carey’s books kind of need to not be spoiled but I will say its’s set in the same world as The Girl With All the Gifts and it has a lot of the things that I loved in that and it’s a really really excellent read. Read it and then come back to me and we can talk about it together.
NEW RELEASE YOU HAVEN’T READ YET BUT WANT TO
Actually if you want me to narrow this down to just the one book, I’m super excited to read The Music Shop which is the new release from Rachel Joyce. Brand new actually because I think it only came out in the last week or so, so not only is it everywhere right now and calling to me to pick it up, I also know I’m going to love it because this is the person that brought us Harold Fry and Queenie and probably I would love reading her shopping list…
The Music Shop is set in 1988 (the year my brother was born, FYI) and it’s about a record shop in the dawn of the CD and the man that owns it and the woman who visits it and it will be a book, I think that will make you feel and make you think and fill you with nostalgia. I’m excited about it.
MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASE FOR AUTUMN / WINTER
I’m not even going to try to just talk about one book here. Sorry not sorry and all that jazz.
SO. WELL. Let me first tell you that my pal Jen has two books out in the latter half of this year – her picture book Franklin’s Flying Bookshop - which you need to get a hold of even if you don’t have children because PICTURE BOOKS ARE FOR GROWN UPS TOO and this one is going to be so lus - and The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night and I am excited about nothing as much as those two.
The Beginning of the World especially because Jen is the master of the short story and actually I am 100% qualified to say these thing because I have been reading Jen’s work since approx. 2003 and she has yet to write something that hasn’t left me breathless and no, that is not some kind of bias: this book is going to blow away every person that reads it and I CANNOT WAIT TO HAVE ACTUAL COPIES OF BOTH IN MY HANDS.
You can pre-order copies of them from Jen’s website here, signed copies also I believe and you totally should. Right now. Go, do that, and then come back here and we’ll carry on.er short story collection
Apart from those tow gems of books, I would be lying if I said there was anything I was waiting for more impatiently than The Book of Dust. I still can’t quite believe it’s happening, honestly. Probably I won’t until I actually have a copy in my hands, and then I’ll probably be terrified to actually read it because a: all the unrealistically high expectations live here and b: I am still not over The Amber Spyglass. Is anybody actually over that. If you’ve read it and can think about it without wanting to spend the rest of forever trying to piece your heart back together then please come talk to me – I need to know your secrets. Although I suspect you will be lying. Anyhow, yes, The Book of Dust. Ridic excited.
Then there’s the new John Green, due in October, which I am unashamedly excited about. Sure, I’m not head over heels for all his work and sometimes I do think ‘oh not again John please’ but still, I make no secret of my love for John Green, or how important I think his voice is.
Catherynne M. Valente has a new book out this year also, The Glass Town Game in which ‘Charlotte and Emily Bronte must enter a fantasy world they invented in order to rescue their siblings’ and as a lover of both the Bronte siblings and also Valente’s Fairyland books, I am unequivocally here for that.
I’m also looking forward to The Sixteen Trees of the Somme by Lars Mytting, and Forest Dark from Nicole Krauss sounds interesting too. They’re both out in August, as is Leigh Bardugo’s (Six of Crows) Wonderwoman novel; the whole DC Icons series – each superhero written by a popular voice in YA – sounds pretty cool, actually.
Mostly though: The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night. SO MANY FEELS.
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT OF THE YEAR SO FAR
Probably The Manifesto On How To Be Interesting because I had heard All The Good Things and then in reality it just made me angry and I found it to be really problematic and that made me sad because I had really wanted to like it and I hate when that happens. Also When We Collided by Emory Lord for the same reasons. The danger of high hopes I guess. And it’s such a shame because I feel like both of these books had so much potential and both of them fell somewhat short. Le sigh.
BIGGEST SURPRISE OF THE YEAR SO FAR
The Raven Boys which I started at the beginning of the year and honestly thought was going to endup being a massively over-hyped DNF but which actually when I came back and gave it a second chance I ended up really really liking. I talk about it properly here and this is in no way a shameless way to plug my previous posts, more that I am too lazy to say it all again. #terribleblogger
NEW FAVOURITE AUTHOR
MATT HAIG THANK YOU PLEASE. Why, for the love of all that is good, have I not read any of his books before. That, by the way, is a thing I plan to rectify. Especially as I already have a couple of them on my bookshelf.
YOUR NEWEST FAVOURITE CHARACTER
I have to admit to having fallen a little too hard for Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows. What a little bastard he is. & why are those always the kind of characters that I fall for. Also Spider in Flight of a Starling. I would like him to have his own book (and if you’d like to get right on that Lisa Heathfield that would be super. Thanks.)
BOOK THAT MADE YOU CRY
DID YOU READ MY POST ABOUT FLIGHT OF A STARLING. Or my other post, about Paper Butterflies. I swear if it didn’t make me sound like a crazy person then I would wonder if Lisa Heathfield was writing books for the sole purpose of making me ugly cry. As it is, I think it’s just One Of Those Things. She writes a book, I read it, I cry, I harp on for a while about how lovely it is and the cycle continues. Both of these books are lush and I adore them but they also hurt. & I cried. Actual tears fell from my actual eyes. Still not over either of them, honestly.
A BOOK THAT MADE YOU HAPPY
Oh let’s talk about The Trouble With Goats and Sheep shall we? That book. It’s just….it’s just nice is what it is. It’s nice in that it feels familiar, people you know and a place you know and a world you inhabit. It’s just…it really did make me happy. It made me laugh out loud. Sometimes you just need a book that is nice and easy and comfortable and this book is it. I think I might buy my Mum a copy for Christmas…
MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK SO FAR
Jen sent me a copy of The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil for my birthday and oh but it’s lush. It’s all hardbacked and beautiful and the illustrations are just amazing and I love it. If you want a book to add to your collection of books that you should own just because they’re beautiful, then this is it. The kind of book you keep out on display you know, so that when people come to visit they can pick it up and ‘umm’ and ‘aaah’ and you can feel v smug that you own such beautiful books. It helps that the story is marvellous also.
And there we have it, my bookish 2017, so far. Come and freakout with me: what does your bookish 2017 look like?