Mid-Year Book Check-In! | 2021

We’re already half-way through the year: can you believe it?! The world is already different to just six months ago, and my reading has also changed from 2020…

You can see my 2020 version here, which was quite different to now! I was posting weekly reading wrap-ups of 2-4 books a week – I wish I was still reading that many books! The first few months of 2020 were spent working hard, and then being plunged into quarantine, and in April I read 30 books! This April? 7!

But nevertheless, I have still managed to read 43 books so far this year, so of course I’m going to do a little book check in. I’m going to use a mix of the book freak-out tag and my own questions. Let’s begin with the freak out tag!

Best book I’ve read so far in 2021? I think it depends on the criteria for how I answer this book. If there was a book I was going to shove in everyone’s faces it would be Bone Talk by Candy Gourlay, but for enjoyability it’d have to be Deal with the Elf King by Elise Kova!

Best sequel you’ve read so far? Like last year, I haven’t read many sequels. I am looking forward to my “Summer of Series” (where I’m going to try and finish a bunch of series!) because it’s apparent I am very bad at actually finishing things. I really enjoyed Silent Night by Nell Pattinson, though, which is a crime novel. Our main character is Paige, who is a BSL interpreter, and helps solve crimes in the d/Deaf community. It’s very informative as well as exciting!

New release you haven’t read yet but want to? Definitely Ancestors by Dr Alice Roberts, which is actually a non-fiction book that essentially tells the story of the British Isles in seven burials. Alice Roberts is one of my favourite archaeologists, and I’m very excited for her book!

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year? I think The Box in the Woods by Maureen Johnson is high up there. This is #4 in the Ellingham Academy series, though I think it’s going to launch a new mini-trilogy within the series – if that makes sense!

Biggest disappointment? It’s gotta be Galatea by Madeleine Miller of Song of Achilles and Circe fame. This is technically a short story, but it was pretty disappointing compared to her other brilliant novels.

Biggest surprise? I would say Elf King but I’ve already used that as an answer, so we’ll go for Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire. I did not expect to be as blown away by this as I was! I absolutely loved it and immediately bought the sequel, read it, bought the next book… You see where it’s going.

Favourite new author? I think this one has to be Elizabeth Macneal who wrote Circus of Wonders, which is her second novel. She’s not technically new to me, as I already own her debut The Doll Factory, but I haven’t read it, yet now it’s been bumped up my TBR, so I’m counting it!

Newest fictional crush? Uuuuh… no one. Oops.

Newest favourite character? I think this one has got to be Nell from Circus of Wonders, which I’ve already mentioned. She’s so badass, yet kind and protective, and I’d love to have a conversation with her!

Book that made you cry? Hold Back the Tide by Melinda Salisbury, but I won’t give away the ending! It broke my heart. I read this book on the way back from Cornwall, which was a 3 hour train journey, and tried desperately not to show my emotions to the people around me!

Book that made you happy? I’ve managed to read quite a lot of depressing books this year… Oops! I think I’d have to go for The Sad Ghost Club by Lize Meddings, which is an adorable graphic novel about depression. I know that doesn’t sound cheerful, but it’s really uplifting! I was going through a rough patch in January, when I read this, and it was very much needed at the time.

Most beautiful book you’ve acquired this year? Can Circus of Wonders really be chosen for a third time?! I managed to find a limited independent bookshop edition and it is stunning.

What book(s) do you need to read by the end of the year? So many! Three that I’ve hauled this year and haven’t yet read are: Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco; The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex; and My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell.

Favourite bookish community member? I’m loving the entire community on Instagram right now! Seeing everyone’s pictures gets me so inspired.

Okay, so now let’s move on to my own mid-year check in! I’m going to have a look at my goals and go through each one.

Goal #1: Read for 20 minutes a day. I’ve gotten better at reading more frequently, but I definitely haven’t hit 20 minutes a day! I think this is one I want to work on from September, when I’ll have finished my Masters, as reading is so important to my mental health.

Goal #2: Read 1 book a week. If we’re talking technicalities, I’ve read 1 book a week on average. However, I definitely haven’t done that this year! I want to try and keep this a bit more equal the rest of the year.

Goal #3: Read 5 non-fiction books. I am on track with this goal! So far I’ve read 3 non-fiction/true story books, and I’ve already got a few more on my TBR.

Goal #4: Buy max. 3 books a month. Yup… this has not gone to plan. Let’s say no more. Thanks.

Goal #5: Try 1 24-hour readathon. Not done this one yet, but there’s still plenty of time to go! I’m hoping to try a 24 hour Harry Potter readathon (yes, I’m that reader) at the end of July when the school year is over!

Goal #6: Join a book group. At the start of the year, I joined a couple of online book groups. They’ve been… okay. But I find it really hard to stay on top of messages, and I just want a book group that I can meet with face-to-face. I buddy read books with my best friend, too. So I think I’m just going to see how it goes with this goal, but it’s not big on my list!

Goal #7: Read a book from every continent. So far, I’ve hit Europe, Asia, North America, so I still have to hit Africa, Australasia, and South America. I think these 3 continents are going to be harder for me, but I want to read more widely, so it’s one to focus on!

Goal #8: Reread 5 books. I’ve actually reread 3 books so far this year: Heartstoppers 1-3! I don’t know if it counts to reread 3 of the same series, so I’ve either read 3 or 1, depending on your viewpoint. Either way, this is one I want to focus on in the rest of 2021.

What a mammoth post! I’m pretty happy with the books I’ve read so far this year, but I definitely want to read more in the latter half of 2021. I think I was making reading a priority, and it’s dropped off the past few weeks, so I want to make it more of a focus once again. Looking forward to seeing what the rest of my bookish year brings!

How’s your reading going so far?

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