A solemn look back at 2020

Don’t worry…not the whole dumpster fire, just at my reading choices.

What’s the best book you read this year?

I loved The Last Uncharted Sky and both of KJ Charles’ Will Darling books (the second even more than the first) and I can’t pick either of them as absolute favourite.

What’s the worst book you read this year?

JB Lawless – Der Tote in der Bibliothek. There was exactly one good thing about it and that was that I got it from the library and so did not waste any money on it.

Your favourite “classic” you read this year:

*mumbles* I read The Tennant of Wildfell Hall and two Georgette Heyer books (Masquerades and Faro’s Daughter) and considering those classics is probably already a stretch and I wouldn’t say any of those was a favourite. But I guess I enjoyed Masquerades most.

The book that disappointed you:

Well. *awkwardly shuffles around*. You need expectations to be disappointed. And there were two books that were hyped A Lot and that I ended up not enjoying much. There were books I hated much more but I had no expectations for those.

And now I guess I have to name those books…so…I liked neither Red White and Royal Blue nor Boyfriend Material. And now excuse me I have to go into Witness protection now….oh and when I’m at it I can add The Unspoken Name to the list.

The hardest book you read this year (topic or writing style):

Saša Stanišić – When the Soldier repaired the Gramophone. The topic (The war in Yugoslavia) was heavy but it also had a style that made it hard to read more than a few pages at a time.

The funniest book you read this year:

*stares at her 2020 booklist* I laughed a lot at Jeremy Hardy Speaks Volumes. It was a collection of stand-up pieces from a Comedian I really liked so I expected it to be very funny.

The saddest book you read this year:

Well and then I was sad about the same book because it was a posthumously published collection with many essays by his friends. Otherwise I stayed away from really sad books this year because *gestures broadly at everything*

A book that surprised you:

Aliette de Bodard – Of Dragons Feasts and Murder. I had some mixed experience with my previous attempts with her stuff (one dnf, one fun plot but a bit…wordy for me and one meh) but ended up really enjoying that one.

A(nother) book you read this year you want to recommend (maybe one that you haven’t mentioned yet?):

Maggie Robinson’s Lady Adelaide series. Which…is more than one book. And I read the first one last year but 2 and 3 this year and now I have to wait UNTIL SEPTEMBER for the next one. Anyway I love it and it’s great fun.

An author you discovered this year that you will definitely read again:

I picked up The White Ship by Charles Spencer because it was about The Anarchy and what led up to it, a topic I am interested in since reading my mom’s Brother Cadfael novels, and ended up liking it so much that I picked up his To Catch a King afterwards even though Charles II had never been a topic I cared much about but he just has a way to talk about subjects that just maker me interested in them.

A book that you never want to read again:

I mean…lots. Some of which have already been mentioned but to add a new one: I never want to come anywhere near Bruce Robinson’s 800 page rant that supposedly solves the Jack the Ripper case but really is just him yelling constantly.

Were you part of a reading challenge? Did you meet it?

My Goodreads challenge were 53 books and I read over 70. I also had a list of I think 10 specific books I meant to read this year and only read 6 or 7 of those because ‘gestures broadly at everything’

Are you signed up for any in 2021?

I will do the Goodreads one again and probably set my number a bit higher. Otherwise I’m planning to look for some short-term challenges/bingos because I have by now realised that year-long ones don’t work for me.

The book series you read the most volumes of this year:

Well…there are three series of which I read two books each: KJ Charles’ Will Darling, Maggie Robinson’s Lady Adelaide and Sharon Shinn’s Elemental Magic

Which authors featured most prominently for you in 2020?

And then I also read KJ Charles’ final Magpie Lord book, which brings the number of books by her up to a staggering three and she’s the winner.

The last book you finished this year:

Yesterday Maggie Robinson’s Just Make Believe. I am more than Halfway through Sam Hawke’s Hollow Empire but I probably won’t finish it this year…

The first book you will finish in the new year:

…which means it’s probably going to be the first next. That or Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Guns at Dawn.

The genre you read the most this year:

I think this year there was more fantasy than mystery but I am too lazy to count.

Which books are you most looking forward to reading in 2021?

I am repeating myself but Lady Adelaide #4, Will Darling #3 for books to be published next year. Apart from that I have read three of Marshall Ryan Maresca’s Maradaine novels and now want to read the rest of the series

And finally, make a New Year’s Resolution: How many books do you think you will read in the new year?:

As said…more than 53? I think I might go for 60 or so

Bad Lion

So I asked Hiram and the Hanukkah-Task to pick out a book for me and the choice fell on My Fair Lily, a book that promised to be a fun, genderswapped My Fair Lady story.

Reader, it did not go well. I made it through less than 10%. In that time I already had to suffer through several scenes that were meant to be cutesy and *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*hilarious*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*  but just made me cringe and began questioning if the author had ever opened a book about the period she’s writing (lady’s maids: the people who stand next to the lady while she dresses herself and does her own hair). A look at the reviews informed me that the historical accuracy gets thrown out even more and the drama-lama takes residence in the book and brings its whole herd along. So I’ll give this a pass.

And now? I have nothing to read!

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Well, apart from the three other books I picked for the Hanukkah task and the rest of my tbr-pile (let’s not go into silly things like numbers…) but I don’t feel like reading any of them. It’s not just the fault of My Fair Lily, I already had some trouble picking four books I sort of felt like reading (and had even hoped for MfL because it sounded like short fun fluff). It’s not even that I had a couple of bad reads in a row, I enjoyed most of the last books I read. But I didn’t love any, either. I’m not even talking about this has no flaws and I enjoyed every single page-love, I’d happily go with there were flaws but the good parts were so good that I didn’t care much. (Like An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors which had a mediocre start and some very tired fantasy tropes but became brilliant very quickly). Hashtag First World Problems. *Heavy Sigh* Well, I guess I’ll just do some knitting now.

 

Mid Year Freak Out Book Tag

Found this one over at Maxxesbooktopia.

1. Best book series you’ve read so far in 2017?

I loved the Collegia Magica books by Carol Berg. It’s been a while since I was so enthralled in a world and loved the characters so much. Besides, I also really enjoyed KJ Charles Spectred Isle and will check out more of her.

2. Best sequel of 2017 so far?

If you ask for ‘Sequel that has been published in 2017’ I can’t answer because I haven’t read any. Though K.M. McKinley’s The City of Ice was published on December 27th, 2016 so I guess it almost counts and I enjoyed it and intend to read the next book so that qualifies. If you just ask for sequel I have read in 2017 then I have to point to the above question and say The Demon Prism, third Collegia Magica book.

3. New releases you haven’t read but want to?

That are already out? None to be honest. Unless you count approximately 1325 series I started reading and want to continue eventually.

4. Most anticipated release of the remainder of 2017?

That’s easy:

Ben Aaronovich – The Furthest Station because it’s another Peter Grant novel AND WHY DO I STILL HAVE TO WAIT SO LONG?

As well as Curtis Craddock – An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors because it sounds like The Three Musketeers In Space and I can never pass anything Musketeer-related.

5. Biggest disappointment?

Leigh Bardugo’s Crooked Kingdom. I liked Six of Crows despite some of its faults and had hoped the sequel would improve but it didn’t.

6. Biggest surprise?

Stefan Lehnberg’s Durch Nacht und Wind. Goethe and Schiller solve a crime in a well written Holmes-style story. The dialogue is hilarious and it’s full of allusions to their works.

7. Favourite New Author (Debut or new to you)?

You might have noticed that I started binging on Carol Berg and have no intention of stopping anytime soon.

8. Newest fictional Crush?

I don’t really crush on fictional characters. I wouldn’t mind having a cup of tea and nice chat with any of the Collegia Magica characters (especially Anne or Portier) or Katriona from City of Ice.

9. Newest Favourite Character?

Over the course of Spectred Isle I grew very fond of Saul. And I’m not only saying this because I don’t want to mention Collegia Magica again. Though I loved Portier. And Illario.

10. Book that made you cry?

I didn’t cry but I sniffed a bit at the end of The Demon Prism.

11. Book that made you happy?

Shira Glassman’s Knit One Girl Two and Spectred Isle. Both were cute, funny and had lovely characters.

12. Favourite book to movie adaption?

I guess strictly speaking Lawrence of Arabia is an adaption? Because apart from that I only watched a really shitty French adaption of The King’s General and The Sign of the Musketeers which only had Musketeers in its title and very little to do with the book.

13. Favourite review you’ve written this year?

Spectred Isle was fun to write.

14. Most beautiful book you bought or received this year?

I assume we’re talking about the cover here since I already talked about best book? I found this very adorable:

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15. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

None 😉 But I should reduce my tbr-pile (especially the physical books one),

 

The Reading Habits Tag

Shamelessly stolen from Lioness at Large 😉

1. Do you have a certain place in your home for reading?

Home as in my student’s flat-home: my bed because it’s the most comfortable space (and I’m abusing it as couch anyway). Home as in back at my mom’s-home: the living room (but also my bed for when I read before sleeping)

2. Bookmark or random piece of paper?

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Well, I have enough bookmarks thanks to bookmarks being a nice souvenir that doesn’t take up too much space so I often buy some on holidays and people who know I love reading but don’t know which books often give me bookmarks (or bookmark-calendars) but occasionally I find myself without one and then I take whatever I can find. Though it will be replaced by a proper bookmark as soon as possible.

3. Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop read after a chapter / certain number of pages?

I usually finish the chapter but if the chapters are very long I might just stop at the end of a paragraph (and if I’m very tired just somewhere though that is rare)

4. Do you eat or drink while you read?

I sometimes read during dinner but not every food can be eaten one-handed (unless you enjoy cleaning a lot…)

5. Multitasking: music or TV while reading?

TV never (though I sometimes read during ad-breaks and manage to absorb what’s in the book and notice when the ads are over). Music sometimes (preferably instrumentals or stuff in a language I don’t understand)

6. One book at a time or several at once?

Several but not an infinite number. Generally, I have one audiobook and one or two with pages and letters. When it’s two then it’s usually one heavier and/or non-fiction and one lighter one. (Now if you look at my Goodreads profile you will see that I have more than three books marked as currently reading but not all of them are ‘active’. Sometimes I start a book, put it aside and continue weeks (or months) later).

7. Reading at home or everywhere?

At home mostly. I do take books on longer journeys or when I know I have to wait a while somewhere but when it’s just the ten-minute train journey to the city and back with some shopping inbetween I usually don’t bother.

8. Reading out loud or silently in your head?

Silently

9. Do you read ahead or even skip pages?

There have been a few times when I was very bored by a book but also just interested enough in the plot that I wanted to know how it ends so I skipped to the last chapters but that is very rare. Sometimes I skim over paragraphs but I never check ahead to e.g. see if a character survives.

10. Barking the spine or keeping it like new?

I try to keep them like new but paperbacks sometimes give me a hard time with that. Especially UK ones. I have no idea why but I have UK paperbacks that look like I played football with them after just reading them once. Meanwhile, even my well-loved my German paperbacks still look pretty decent. (Of course it’s not always like this, and newer UK paperbacks are also better)

11. Do you write in your books?

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Who writes in books? Monsters? (Though I do love finding scribblings from previous owners in books I bought second hand so…I’m a bit odd probably)