The Mid Year Freak Out Book Tag 2020

Better late than never!  I do this tag every year so I couldn’t let it pass me by.
2017 | 2018 | 2019

Question 1 – The best book you’ve read so far in 2020

I mean… the Complete Works of William Shakespeare will be my top ‘book’ of 2020 and you all know that.

The only two novels solidly in with a chance of making my top 10 (god I need my reading to pick up in the second half of 2020 or that top 10 is going to be so bleak) are The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel and Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell.

Question 2 – Your favorite sequel of the year

N/A – I haven’t read a sequel.

Question 3 – A new release that you haven’t read but really want to

SO MANY but toward the top of my list are these three: Real Life by Brandon Taylor (getting to attend his book tour in LA was a wonderful experience!), Luster by Raven Leilani (I don’t think this is quite out yet but I have an ARC, and I have heard NOTHING by good things), and Swimming in the Dark by Tomasz Jedrowski (I don’t have a copy yet, but it sounds ridiculously up my alley).

Question 4 – Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld, The Harpy by Megan Hunter, and Snow by John Banville.

Question 5 – Your biggest disappointment

The Illness Lesson by Clare Beams, Saltwater by Jessica Andrews, Topics of Conversation by Miranda Popkey.  Bad, worse, disappointing.

Question 6 – Biggest surprise of the year

Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica – surprising in every sense of the word.

But honorable mentions to Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 which I expected to like in a lukewarm 3.5-4 star kind of way but which I was actually blown away by, and Hysteria by Jessica Gross – another legitimately shocking read.

Question 7 – Favourite new to you or debut author

T Kira Madden, Kate Elizabeth Russell, and Naoise Dolan are all authors I’d love to read more by (and Jessica Gross, from the last question).

Question 8 – Your new fictional crush

As always, pass.

Question 9 – New favourite character


Constance from King John.  Getting to play her on Zoom has been one of my absolute highlights of the year.  She’s fierce, savvy, prideful, intelligent, and is the absolute heart and soul of this play – despite the fact that she has NO political power she sets the whole thing in motion and then is the one to most acutely suffer the consequences and has some of the most heart-rending monologues in all of Shakespeare (“grief fills the room up of my absent child”).  Also, THIS!!!


Question 10 – A book that made you cry


Hm, none so far.  But if I had a heart I would have cried at Traveling in a Strange Land by David Park.

Question 11 – A book that made you happy


Rereading If We Were Villains was probably the most fun reading experience I’ve had all year, in light of my own newfound Shakespeare thing.

Question 12 – Your favourite book to movie adaptation that you’ve seen this year


Lady Macbeth, directed by William Oldroyd and starring Florence Pugh.  Contrary to popular belief this is not an adaptation of Macbeth – it’s an adaptation of a Russian novella inspired by Macbeth; Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District by Nikolai Leskov.  I haven’t read the novella in question, though I’d like to; but I was really blown away by the film (despite some questionable racial optics…).

Question 13 – Favourite book post you’ve done this year

My Project Shakespeare wrap ups, probably: one, two, three, four.

Question 14 – The most beautiful book you have bought/received this year


Daughter from the Dark by Marina & Sergey Dyachenko, translated by Julia Hersey.

Question 15 – What are some books you need to read by the end of the year

Other than the rest of Shakespeare’s plays?  Hopefully A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes and the Cromwell trilogy by Hillary Mantel to round out my (shitty) Women’s Prize reading for the year.

21 thoughts on “The Mid Year Freak Out Book Tag 2020

  1. I always love this tag! I completely agree with your placements of Topics of Conversation, and Kate Elizabeth Russell. Otherwise, there are quite a few here that I haven’t read yet but really need to! I’m so excited to see The Glass Hotel in the running for your top 10, I MUST pick that one up soon. And I highly recommend Real Life, the Sally Rooney vibes are real with that one!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really hope your reading year picks up!!!

    I’ve been meaning to watch Lady Macbeth ever since I saw a trailer of it at the Angelika while I was watching The Beguiled lmaoooooo

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am glad you loved Lady Macbeth – it is a great film, and I recommend the novella by Leskov. I am also looking forward to reading Snow by John Banville, but I am also sure that I have read the same synopsis in some other book.

    I have recently finished Tender is the Flesh and, by the end, it rubbed me the wrong way. Despite its sickening content, I really liked it from the start – the way it was so effectively written, etc., but I also agree with your review that there was too much explanations/descriptions of the state of affairs (and not enough character insight/development). In the second half, the author just piled the shocking content on top of each other and called it a day – by the end, it all came out distasteful and amateurish.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes Lady Macbeth was wonderful! Definitely want to read the novella at some point. Snow doesn’t sound terribly original but it also sounds like the kind of thing I love.

      Oh no, I’m sorry to hear that! I can definitely understand where that book could tip too far into the gratuitous for some people. I found it very effective and I loved the conclusion but I get where you’re coming from.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this tag, it’s such fun to read and I just added Lady Macbeth to my to-watch list (!!!! How come I only hear about this now). I’m also extra intrigued about Tender is the Flesh now! And I’m happy to see Exciting Times & My Dark Vanessa on your list of favorite new authors!

    Thanks to you all I’ve added 4 books to my TBR today I hope you’re HAPPY.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Omgggg you MUST watch Lady Macbeth! And Tender in the Flesh is WILD and not for everyone but at the same time, highly recommended.

      I AM HAPPY :’)


  5. I am so glad you decided to do the tag! It’s tradition!
    I really, really need to get to The Glass Hotel. I know I keep saying that… I don’t think I realized you loved it that much, I obviously knew you gave it 5 stars but still.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It absolutely is tradition! It’s the worst tag name and yet the best tag.

      YOU REALLY REALLY DO. I loved it so much! I don’t want to hype it too much but also, it’s Mandel, she’s insanely brilliant.


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