The End of the Year Book Tag, 2019

I borrowed this from Diana at Thoughts on Papyrus#SciFiMonth reads are excluded!

I. Is there a book that you started that you still need to finish by the end of the year?


I’ve done a good job winnowing down my TBR pile to 2020 releases, but I ambitiously started a re-read of Donna Tartt’s The Little Friend and am only a few pages in at the moment (this is solely due to the size of the paperback and not a reflection on the book itself) so I’d like to finish that by the end of the year.

II. Do you have an autumnal book to transition to the end of the year?


I’m currently reading Tom Cox’s collection of short stories, Help The Witch, which is left over from my Halloween reading but is beautifully atmospheric and surprisingly funny. A number of the stories have ghostly themes, but Cox is very light touch: as he puts it in his acknowledgements, ‘thank you to ghosts, for maybe being real.’ What he’s especially good on is how places shape our personalities, even places where we only spend a short time. As one of his characters puts it: ‘Human character was more subject to geography than was generally acknowledged. Yet there was a pressure to be the same person people had come to expect everywhere you went.’ Striking woodcuts by Cox’s mother, Jo, add to the overall feel of this collection.

III. Is there a release you are still waiting for? 

I think I nabbed them all on NetGalley!

IV. Name three books you want to read by the end of the year.

Going back to my mid-year check in tag, I’d like to prioritise Amy Waldman’s A Door in the Earth and Tash Aw’s We, The Survivors. I’d also like to read Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments by the end of the year, before I totally miss the zeitgeist.

V. Is there a book that can still shock you and become your favourite of the year?


If it’s The Testaments I should probably give up reviewing books! But more likely, I think, looking at my TBR list, is Richard Powers’s The Echo Maker, which is the one book remaining from my 4.5 star challenge (none of the rest achieved 4.5 stars, so he is my only hope).

VI. Have you already started making reading plans for 2020?

Yep – I have three main goals:

  • Start 2020 as I mean to go on by reading through all the 2020 releases I have stacked up on NetGalley and don’t think I’ll get a chance to read before then. These are: Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara; The Illness Lesson by Clare Beams; A Thousand Moons by Sebastian Barry; The Temple House Vanishing by Rachel Donohue; and If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha. I also have two proofs from the John Murray Proof Party at the Durham Book Festival to read: Sally Magnusson’s The Ninth Child and Guinevere Glasfurd’s The Year Without Summer.
  • Reframe 20 Books of Summer as a rereading challenge, so I can read any 20 books I like as long as they’re rereads.
  • In a similar vein, continue my Reread Project.

15 thoughts on “The End of the Year Book Tag, 2019

  1. Ooh, I like the idea of doing 20 Books of Summer as a re-reading project! I will see how my TBR is looking by then and consider that, as I love re-reading (I used to have a month of re-reading every year but have lost track of that recently).

    I’m going to be doing a Paul Magrs-athon in 2020 – he does sci fi, fantasy and magic realism, all firmly rooted in real worlds and sometimes pretty camp characters, and I’ll be reading anew and re-reading. I don’t know what might surprise me and get in the list as top book in the rest of the year but I do have a habit of reading something amazing after Christmas that hits the top spot, which is why I never do my best of post until 1 January!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ll be interested in seeing your reactions to the Atwood and Waldman — if you really like them you may convince me to give them a(nother) go! Glad you’re enjoying the Cox book. I didn’t like these short stories all that much, but I think his recent work is miles better than his early cat books. 21st-Century Yokel was a terrific, uncategorizable NF book; Ring the Hill, which I’m reading now, is more of a focused travel book.

    For next year, I’d also like to do a lot more rereading, and focus more on the books I already own (though I’m sure I say that every year). I may as a corollary decide to drastically cut back on the number of books I request or accept from publishers, except what I’m doing for paid reviews. There’s always the lure of the new, though…

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    • I’ve now finished the Cox, and I actually thought it was a better-than-average collection, though not outstanding. I particularly liked ‘Help The Witch’.

      Interesting that lots of people are keen on doing more rereading next year! I probably make this resolution every year so we’ll see if it comes to pass.


  3. Great post! You say you started a re-read of The Little Friend – what was your initial reaction to The Little Friend? It is one of my favourite books and I don’t think it got the reaction it deserved. People always put it behind The Secret History and The Goldfinch, but I think it deserved the highest of praises without any comparisons to Tartt’s other novels. The characterisation, the portrayal of late childhood (without the realisation of certain dangers), the atmosphere – it is perfection. It made me think of the adventures of Tom Sawyer, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. When you say none of the other books on your 4.5 star challenge made it, are you counting the new Evie Wyld or have you not read that yet? (I’m not sure if ARCs are even out?) The summary sounds SO good, I really hope it lives up.

    Inspired by your love of it I think next year is the year I finally read The Little Friend (and The Goldfinch, hopefully).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: The End of the Year Book Tag, 2020 | Laura Tisdall

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