Literature, Reviews

2023 Reading Wrap-Up & Bookish Questions

I’m so excited to have found these lovely bookish questions. This year I’ve been reading more than I’ve ever read before and I’m enjoying how wide the world is seeming to open up with every book I crack open!

Some of these questions are evergreen and some of them are geared more towards the books you’ve read so far this year! Feel free to answer them HOWEVER you see fit! (I left the questions in a comment on this Tumblr post!) Hopefully, they help you to learn a little bit about me as a reader and inspire you to pick up a new book this year!

1. Hardback or Paperback 📖

Paperback! 100%. Paperback books are the most comfortable to hold and read, the easiest to borrow or lend to a friend, the lightest to carry around/travel with, and the cheapest! Plus, you can bend and crack your own paperback spines to hell and back; who is going to stop you? However, I will say that the handful of paperbacks I’ve borrowed from the library this year have made me SO NERVOUS. I feel like they’re incredibly delicate and that I cannot open them as wide as I would my own copies since I’m afraid they’ll look worn when I return them. In that circumstance, sometimes borrowing a hardcover is best!

2. Favorite Book You’ve Read This Year? 📚

Wow, it’s got to be a tie between The Thorns Remain by JJA Harwood, Cackle by Rachel Harrison, Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno Garcia, AND of course, The Bone Orchard by Sara A. Mueller. Unfortunately, I just listed 4 books, but I’m holding fast to that decision.

3. Least Favorite Book You Read This Year? 😔

I reread the Twilight Saga this year – they help me cope, I guess? So I have got to say Eclipse and Breaking Dawn are so insanely whack. Why have I done this to myself so many times?

4. Love Triangles: Yes or No? 👎

No. I mean, why? I understand having some resentment or jealousy or self-consciousness between a character and their partner’s ex but… as a plot device? No thanks!

5. The most recent book you just couldn’t finish? 😢

🙁 I couldn’t finish Unnatural Magic by CM Waggoner. I’m a bit put off by the troll/human romance brewing right now and the character POV switching is not my cup of tea but I might still decide to pick it up at another time.

6. A book you’re currently reading? 📖

I’m currently reading The Weaver and The Witch Queen by Genevieve Gornichec! I just picked up this new release at a local bookstore in Edwards, CO and it’s already so exciting, magical, and alluring! Set in 10th-century Norway, against the backdrop of Viking communities while focusing on the story of three women trying to make lives for themselves and protect one another… I’m intrigued.

7. The last book you recommended to someone? 👩‍🍼

As a mother, I like to recommend parenting books to my other mom friends! I’ve given away a copy of The Danish Way of Parenting and suggested Balanced and Barefoot to another friend! Someone recommended I read Bringing Up Bébé and I LOVED IT & it will now forever be among my recommendations for new mothers and toddler parents.

8. Oldest book you’ve read by publication date? ☠️

Surely, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Pride and Prejudice, then Persuasion by Jane Austen are some of the next oldest and then The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde would be among the most RECENT of the oldest published books I’ve read – that I can remember!

9. What is the newest book you’ve read by publication date? 🌟

The Thorns Remain by JJA Harwood (published Jan 2023, read in May 2023) A Novel Proposal by Denise Hunter (published Feb 2023, read in July 2023), and currently The Weaver & the Witch Queen by Genevieve Gornichec (published July 2023, reading now in August 2023)!

10. Favorite author? 🩷

The writing of Silvia Moreno-Garcia has captivated me this year… I think I may end up picking up a 3rd book by her soon!

11. Buying books or borrowing books? 📚

I CANNOT afford to buy books regularly! I have loved visiting my local libraries, listening to free audiobooks on the Libby app, and borrowing books from my family members! It rocks owning book copies sometimes (especially of children’s books for my daughter), but truly, I don’t love the clutter, the price tag, or feeling guilty about spending money on a book I didn’t end up loving!

12. A book that you dislike that everyone else seems to love? 🫣

Everyone bought I’m Glad My Mom Died (even my husband) and no shade to anyone for their fascination with wanting to read it and learn more about the dark topics explored in that book, but I knew it wasn’t for me. I’ve read tons of celebrity/comedian memoirs in the past and I am very turned off by them now! I may be hypersensitive to intense subject matter that’s so realistic… However, I tend to find very niche books in this category interesting. I loved On Her Knees by Brenda Marie Davies, for instance! Not nearly as popular, but much more relatable and resonates more with me on a personal level. I was prepared mentally and emotionally for this book and I felt connected to the author instead of just voyeuristically consuming her deeply personal stories… if that makes sense!

13. Bookmarks or dog ears? 👀

Tell me why I never have enough bookmarks! I need to make more on my Cricut! But usually bookmarks. Although I will dog-ear my paperback copies about 25% of the time!

14. A book you can always re-read? ❤️‍🔥

Pride & Prejudice!

15. Can you read while hearing music? 🎶

NO! I love silence … a little white noise maybe! Quiet is hard to come by as a WFH toddler parent but when there is silence, you just RELISH in it! I think that’s one of the reasons I took up reading this year since it’s such a quiet, soothing activity!

16. One or multiple POVs? 🤼‍♂️

I prefer a single POV! But I’m okay with 2 MAXIMUM, as long as the characters know each other from the first several chapters and aren’t completely separate with dual storylines!

17. Do you read a book in one sitting or over multiple days? 🪑

Multiple days! Absolutely! Maybe even a week or two. At most a month! (although it can take me a year to complete some nonfiction books bc I tend to read them in little doses!)

18. A book you’ve read because of the cover? 🫧

I’d bought The Thorns Remain by JJA Harwood because of the cover! It honestly rocked! Same with Cackle by Rachel Harrison. ANOTHER ONE THAT ROCKED! I was in a very witchy mood this spring! It paid off!

19. Biggest disappointment? 🤮

😞 Small Town, Big Magic. Listened to this on audiobook. It was sold as this Gilmore Girls-esque witchy fantasy but the conflict was so weird to me! I would have loved the story if it revolved more around the bookstore run by the main character but I discovered that books where the entire town is MAGICAL/a community of witches is not as my speed as maybe 2-3 characters encountering magic on the DL. I also felt this way about From Bad to Cursed by Lana Harper, though that was one I found to be written exceptionally well.

20. Biggest surprise? ✨️

I just finished the Midnight Library after shying away from it for the last couple of years. After reading some mixed/less-than-stellar reviews, I had no idea if it would be for me… after the first couple of pages I’d thought the book was going to be too sad or traumatic for me, BUT I ENDED UP LOVING IT! I adored the concept, the philosophy intertwined in it, and the ending!

I also loved the audiobook for The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn! I had no idea how wonderful it would be! Historical fiction about Lyudmila Pavlichenko, the female Soviet sniper who killed 309 nazis in WW2. It was so riveting and just… amazing. Plus, the voice acting was absolutely stunning.👏

21. Favorite new author. (Debut or new to you)? ✍️

Sara A Mueller – her debut with The Bone Orchard was mind-bending and incredible.

Also just read my first Taylor Jenkins-Reid novel – After I Do, & I ended up loving it! I wound up rooting for the main characters and their reconciliation, which I wasn’t expecting!

22. What is your newest fictional crush? 🌶

I was a little bit in love with the Fae Lord in The Thorns Remain…. especially as he is gaining these flickers of humanity throughout the story… I almost believed that the main character was going to take him up on his offer to join his fae world in exchange for the safe return of her friends. However, the ending was so much better than that! I just appreciated how alluring and powerful this character was portrayed as. If this had been a fae-mortal romance, it would have been incredibly toxic, and much less feminist and empowering as the plot ended up being. But as my little fantasy crush? WHY NOT?! I’d love to read about more characters with this vibe.

23. What is your newest favorite character? ❤️‍🔥

Charm from The Bone Orchard. She was so strong, so powerful, and the way she was able to DIVIDE her personalities and memories among these scientifically lab-grown ladies to cope with her reality was insane. She was like a queen. A steampunk queen. Always rocking the sexiest Victorian gowns and brightly candy-colored hair. I’m obsessed with her!

24. A book that made you cry? 😭

I was sobbing uncontrollably near the end of Beach Read by Emily Henry. (SPOILER: It was when she found the letters from her dad.) I didn’t imagine a fun little summer romance would move me so much with that part of the plot. It hit me in the feels as a parent & a daughter myself, I think!

25. A book that made you happy? 🥰

After I Do by Taylor Jenkins-Reid surprised me with its happy ending. It made me feel hopeful about marriage and long-term relationships and it’s so hard to find stories that are honest about that! It is so easy to find books about failed marriages, and NEW love, right?! But what about those 10+ year-long relationships? I haven’t been in one myself, but I aspire to it, and it was sweet to find a story that explored that!

26. What is the most beautiful book you’ve bought this year (or received)? 🌄

The most beautiful book this year, I borrowed from the library! It was Midnight at the Tuscany Hotel by James Markert! The cover was gorgeous, but it was also so vivid and beautiful with scenes depicting a past timeline in 1880s Italy and 1940s California coast. It was DREAMY.

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

By the end of this year, I would love to finish my current read The Weaver & The Witch Queen. (That will put me at 30 books for the year – meeting my Goodreads goal!) But ideally, I think I would also like to read Jane Eyre for the first time, reread Pride & Prejudice, purchase a few books about motherhood/second babies (my new kid is due in November!), and I am finally emotionally ready to finished SELLOUT – the nonfiction about early 2000s rock bands my husband bought me in 2021.

THAT’S IT!

Thanks so much for bearing with my rambling, bookish blog. It has been such a wild and good year so far. Follow along with me on Goodreads and Storygraph!

These particular questions were inspired by DiniPandaReads and the classic #midyearbooktag!

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