Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag

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I am incredibly late in making this post, so I hope you guys are still interested enough to give this a look. I was debating whether or not to do this tag because I’ve only really been tracking my reading for the past few months, but ultimately, I decided it would be fun to try and answer these questions with the books I have read either for fun or for school before July.

Best book you’ve read so far this year

This might just be because it’s a recent read and because I JUST talked about Fun Home last time, but I’m going to say that my favorite book this year is Home Before Dark by Riley Sager. I’ve never had so much fun reading a thriller, and I’ve also never been so scared! Talk about the definition of a page-turner; I sat on the floor for hours completely entranced by this story. I never needed to know the end of a book so badly in my life. As someone who primarily comes to books to be sad or scared, these haunted house vibes really did it for me.

Best sequel you’ve read so far this year

I haven’t really read many sequels this year, but I did re-read The Hunger Games trilogy, so I’m going to go with Catching Fire. Remember how I said I like to be sad when I’m reading? Well, this one gets me every time. I also just enjoyed meeting all of the contestants in this set of games. Each character really had something to offer, and they didn’t feel like they were just thrown in without any thought. Plus, I think most people agree that Catching Fire is the highlight of the series.

New release you haven’t read yet but want to

For this question, I’m going with Mexican Gothic. I just got this in the mail last week, and I am so excited to be creeped out again this year. I also just have a feeling this book will be really atmospheric, and that’s something I genuinely enjoy. The historical element is also incredibly appealing to me. Fingers crossed, I can read this before the end of July!

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

I recently added Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell to my list, and since we have a thriller/horror/general creepy theme going on, I’ll say that one. I don’t know a ton about it apart from a woman goes missing, and everyone thinks it’s a guy who lives near the place where she went missing. I also know GabbyReads included it in a reading vlog recently, and we tend to have similar taste in thrillers, so I definitely want to check it out.

Biggest disappointment so far this year

Since I’m not going with books I read in July, it’s a little more difficult to choose my biggest disappointment this year. I guess I’ll go with The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer. This book had the potential to really give some new ideas about feminism, and instead, it was just a bunch of rich white people not doing much. I don’t really have anything else to say apart from the fact that it was so long and didn’t offer anything new.

Biggest surprise so far this year

Easy. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. I was a little older than the target audience when this book came out, but my younger brother LOVED it. We usually don’t agree on books, so it was a LONG time before I picked it up. I’m so mad I didn’t read this book sooner. It’s such a good story that pulls from mythology and history while still being a ton of fun. And talk about magical! I haven’t finished the series yet, but I’m just going to say who needs Harry Potter when we have Percy Jackson?

Favorite new to you or debut author

I haven’t read a ton from the same author this year, but my experience reading Daisy Jones & the Six made me want to read everything Taylor Jenkins Reid writes. I flew through Daisy Jones in two days, and not long after, I ordered The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I am so excited to jump into more of Reid’s work.

Newest fictional crush

I don’t really crush on book characters at all, so I’m going to pass on this one!

Newest favorite character

I really admired Starr Carter’s ambition, and vulnerability in The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I also re-read The Fellowship of the Ring this year, and I have such a soft spot for Samwise Gamgee. What a great example of a friend!

A book that made you cry

I don’t ever actually cry at books this often, but the saddest book I read this year is probably Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (I had to talk about it, okay!). I read this for a class, and we were asked to listen to some songs from the musical as well, and that combination really hit hard. This graphic novel is funny and sad and insightful and made me feel so many things. 

A book that made you happy

I read volume one of One Piece this year, and Luffy just makes me so happy. There’s something about high seas adventure mixed with a bit of comedy that makes me smile the whole time I’m reading. Also, unpopular opinion, but Usopp makes me laugh a lot.

The most beautiful book you’ve bought or received this year

I treated myself to Gyo, Uzumaki, and Tomie by Junji Ito this year because I was really sad about finished grad school during COVID. Not only are the covers beautiful in such a creepy way, but the artwork inside is also fantastic! 

What books do you need to read before the end of the year

I definitely want to finish the Percy Jackson series this year, but apart from that, my main goal is to just work through my tremendous backlog of physical books so that I can start parting with some of them. I usually randomly pick books from a spreadsheet and work through them that way, so we will see what happens for the rest of the year!

Book Blog Newbie Tag

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Hey guys,

I just wanted to make a post to really introduce myself and, you guessed it, I’m going to adapt the Booktube Newbie Tag for a blogging format! I am certainly not the first to do this. Recently, I read Kayppuccino’s newbie tag post on her blog. Also, through some not so in-depth investigation, I found Brenda C’s Booktube Newbie tag, and it seems like she’s the one who started it (If I’m wrong, you can kindly let me know. I want to make sure I’m giving credit where I can). 

Before I start answering the questions, I want to just say a bit about who I am. My name is Sam. I’m 28, and at the time of writing this, I am two tasks away from finishing my MA in English and will be teaching college English in the fall semester. Of course, I love reading, but I also love playing Nintendo, journaling, and walking outside. My partner and I have been together for over ten years and enjoy living relatively close to the beach.

So now for the tag questions. 

  1. Why did you start this blog?

I’ve been consuming more bookish content online as I approach the end of my graduate program. I really just needed a way to get back into reading for fun since so much of my time was spent reading for classes and having slight anxiety attached. I NEEDED to mark my text and be prepared to either write or talk about it in a week. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the reading for my program; there was just a lot of pressure involved. 

Now that I’m done with school for the foreseeable future, I feel like I have the time to start getting more involved in this bookish community in a few different ways. I want to talk about books and create content, so I’ve started a bookstagram and started being more active on Twitter. Of course, starting this blog is part of this new desire to talk about books and be more involved with reading in a low-pressure way. 

  1. What are some fun and unique things you can bring to book blogging?

I own a ton of unread books. Most of them are here in my apartment, and I’m slowly bringing more from my mom’s house each time I get to visit. I’m talking an embarrassing number – like 200+. I acquired many of them either during my last two years of undergrad or during grad school when I didn’t really have time to read them. It might be fun to watch me try to REALLY chip away at that number in some creative ways (fun for me at least). 

I also missed the fantasy phase of my reading career, and I feel like I’m missing out. I’d like to try out some YA fantasy favorites and record that process. I basically know nothing about that world, but my interest is growing.

  1. What are you most excited for about this blog?

Making connections with other people! I’m honestly pretty shy when it comes to talking about things I like with people I don’t know really well, and so this might be a good step. I want to hear other people’s thoughts and opinions about books, get and give book recommendations, and even if no one wants to read what I have to say, I’ll enjoy having a place to record my reading journey. 

  1. Why do you love reading?

I love reading because it gives me a glimpse of an endless variety of experiences. Will I ever live in a house with ghosts? Nope. Will I ever be on a journey to be king of the pirates? Nah. Will I ever have a fancy wedding where someone gets murdered? I surely hope not. 

But I can read about it. It’s not that I feel like I’m being transported to another world, but I do get to see how that situation might play out, and that’s really fun!

  1. What series got you into reading?

I enjoyed learning to read a variety of Golden Books when I was growing up. Still, if we’re talking about an actual series, I’m going to have to be cliche and say Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, and A Series of Unfortunate Events. It’s funny because two of those are fantasy and I don’t really read fantasy now *shrug.* At my elementary school, many teachers would read a chapter of something after lunch each day. I was introduced to Narnia, ASOUE, and The Hobbit in this way.

  1. What questions would you ask your favorite authors?

Mostly, I just want to ask Ian McEwan why he went *that* route in his Hamlet retelling, Nutshell.  

  1. What challenges do you think starting a blog will be the hardest to overcome?

Hello, my name is Sam and I’m insecure about everything! 

But really, I just think like with any creative pursuit, not finding an audience is a big fear. A lot of this is for me, but I don’t think I’ll be motivated to keep this up as much if people aren’t reading/interacting with my work.

Consistency is another big thing for me. I’m better now at holding myself accountable for getting things done, but when I start teaching again or just get busy with other things, it will be more difficult for me to find time for things I enjoy, such as reading and blogging.

  1. When did you start reading?

I literally don’t remember when I didn’t have books in my life. My family read A LOT to me, and then once I learned, I was always reading. There were times when I was reading less because of college or depression or whatever, but I’ve always come back to reading eventually.

  1. Where do you read?

I mostly read on my couch these days, but sometimes, if I don’t feel well, I’ll read in bed. Ideally, I’d be outside somewhere in the sun reading, but my apartment’s deck is infested with wasps, so that’s not an option.

  1. What kind of books do you like to read?

I read a reasonably wide variety of genres, but I have been reading a ton of thrillers and historical fiction recently. I’ve also had more interest in manga and graphic novels lately. 

Anyway, that’s the last question. Thanks if you’ve read this far! You can check out links to my other socials on my “Contact” page and follow me here if you’re interested!