wrap up: Quarter 1, 2021

In an effort to get my blogging rhythm back, I opted to forgo monthly wrap ups this year; once a month frankly comes around far too frequently for my liking and they feel a bit redundant when I review most books I read anyway.

But I don’t actually review every single book I read and I didn’t want the few I don’t review to slip through the cracks entirely, so I’ve decided to try quarterly wrap ups and see how this works for me. I also thought I’d group this thematically to try to make sense of some patterns in my reading habits rather than just giving you a chronological list.

So, let’s talk through everything I’ve read so far this year.

I’m reading through the complete works of Jane Austen with a book club and so far I’ve read these three: Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, and Northanger Abbey (a reread for me). While I’m not as enthused with Austen as I had hoped I would be, at least not yet, I’m glad I’m doing this and I’m particularly looking forward to diving into her later works. Mansfield Park is up next for April, and I’m hoping to review Northanger Abbey soon and talk about how I had quite a different reaction to it the second time around.

Shakespeare has been occupying considerably less of my time in 2021 than it did in 2020, which is to say… still quite a bit of my time.

The only two plays I’ve reread in their entireties this year outside Project Shakespeare have been Hamlet and Julius Caesar, to prepare for playing Claudius and Cassius respectively. Still two of my top 5 Shakespeare plays, I adore them both.

I’m also making it a project to read every retelling of King Lear that I can get my hands on. I’ve already read The Queens of Innis Lear (meh), A Thousand Acres (brilliant), and the anthology That Way Madness Lies (the Lear story was horrendous but the collection on the whole was inoffensive). I’m currently reading Preti Taneja’s We That Are Young, though I’m not very far into that one yet. Hoping to finish it by the end of April though.

I’ve read three books for BookBrowse so far this year: Dark Horses, The Project, and Edie Richter is Not Alone. I haven’t reviewed this third one yet, but it’s my favorite thing I’ve read so far this year, so stay tuned for that.

After adamantly stating that I will NOT be reading the Women’s Prize longlist this year, I have proceeded to… spend the last few weeks reading the Women’s Prize longlist. Though in my defense, this list is kind of a banger, and I’ve given 5 stars to all three books I’ve read since it was announced: Transcendent Kingdom, Piranesi, and Consent. I’ll review Piranesi soon.

My ARC situation is, as always, utterly out of control, but these are the ones I’ve managed to read so far this year: Open Water (adored!), Filthy Animals (liked, with reservations), The Art of Falling (mixed feelings), Milk Fed (LOVED and also wanted to throttle it), and Kink (not worth your time aside from Brandon Taylor and Carmen Maria Machado’s stories).

And here’s everything else: The Fire Next Time (obviously brilliant), Pages & Co: The Lost Fairy Tales (so sweet, so wholesome; I’ll review the whole series when I’ve read the third one), Real Life (perfection), Big Girl Small Town (underwhelming), Edward II (literally the gayest shit I’ve ever read–adored it), and Are You Somebody? (very by-the-book Irish memoir, lovely audiobook).


I have two reading regrets so far this year: that I haven’t read a single translated book and that I didn’t do more for Reading Ireland Month. So Irish lit and translated lit are both going to get a bit more attention from me in quarter 2, I’m hoping. Otherwise, I’m feeling pretty good about how I’ve managed to balance all my disparate reading interests.

wrap up: October 2020

  1. Henry VI Part 2 by William Shakespeare ★★★★☆
  2. This is Shakespeare by Emma Smith ★★★★★ | review to come
  3. Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare ★★★★☆ | review to come
  4. The Call by Tanya Barfield ★★★★☆ | mini review
  5. Henry VI Part 3 by William Shakespeare ★★★★★
  6. The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton ★★★★☆ | review
  7. Henry VIII by William Shakespeare ★★☆☆☆ | mini review
  8. Between The World and Me by Ta-Nahisi Coates ★★★★★ | mini review
  9. Death in Her Hands by Ottessa Moshfegh ★★☆☆☆ | review to come
  10. Abigail by Magda Szabo ★★★★★ | review to come
  11. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh ★★★★☆ | review to come

OCTOBER TOTAL: 11
YEARLY TOTAL: 97

Favorite: Abigail
Least favorite: Death in Her Hands

Other posts from October:

Life updates:

VOTE IN THE U.S. ELECTION

Currently reading:

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wrap up: September 2020

  1. Coriolanus by William Shakespeare ★★★★☆
  2. Slave Play by Jeremy O. Harris ★★★★★
  3. They Never Learn by Layne Fargo ★★★★★ | review
  4. The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare ★★★★☆
  5. Antony & Cleopatra by William Shakespeare ★★★★★
  6. The Year of Lear by James Shapiro ★★★★☆
  7. Henry VI Part 1 by William Shakespeare ★★★★☆
  8. Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas ★★★☆☆ | review
  9. The Lost Village by Camilla Sten ★★★☆☆ | review
  10. The Two Noble Kinsmen by William Shakespeare and John Fletcher ★★★★☆
  11. The Two Gentlemen of Verona by William Shakespeare ★★★☆☆
  12. Tokyo Ueno Station by Miri Yu ★★★☆☆ | review
  13. Luster by Raven Leilani ★★★★☆ | review
  14. So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo ★★★☆☆

SEPTEMBER TOTAL: 14
YEARLY TOTAL: 86

Favorite: Antony & Cleopatra
Least favorite: Catherine House

Other posts from September:

I managed to read 4 books for my and Hannah’s readathon: Catherine House, Tokyo Ueno Station, Luster, and The Lost Village. Of course, since then I’ve also acquired (checks notes) 5 more ARCs from Netgalley, so it does feel a bit like I’m running on a hamster wheel here.

Life updates:

Pass.

Currently reading:

I am so sick of myself. If I don’t finish Death in Her Hands and Brideshead Revisited in October I am throwing them into the ocean.

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wrap up: August 2020

  1. The Bookwanderers by Anna James ★★★★★ | review to come
  2. Stop Kiss by Diana Son ★★★★☆
  3. Henry IV Part 1 by William Shakespeare ★★★☆☆
  4. Cymbeline by William Shakespeare ★★★★☆
  5. The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave ★★★★☆ | review
  6. The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani ★★★★☆
  7. Henry IV Part 2 by William Shakespeare ★★☆☆☆
  8. Out by Natsuo Kirino ★★★☆☆ | review

AUGUST TOTAL: 8
YEARLY TOTAL: 72

Favorite: The Bookwanderers
Least favorite: Henry IV Part 2

Other posts from August:

Life updates:

I got an iPhone 11 Pro and the quality of my cat photos has VASTLY IMPROVED. Follow on Twitter for daily cat spam.

Currently reading:

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wrap up: July 2020

  1. Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey (read for work) ★★☆☆☆
  2. Othello by William Shakespeare ★★★★☆ | review
  3. Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell ★★★★★ | review to come for BookBrowse
  4. Love’s Labor’s Lost by William Shakespeare ★★★☆☆
  5. The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare ★★★☆☆
  6. Home Before Dark by Riley Sager ★★★★☆ | review to come

JULY TOTAL: 6
YEARLY TOTAL: 64

Favorite: Hamnet
Least favorite: Dragonsong

This is the least prolific reading month I’ve had since I started blogging in January 2017, but… oh well, shit happens.  I have however begun to get back into the swing of blogging, so I feel good about that.

Other posts from June:

Life update:

I should just cut this section until we’re out of quarantine.  See you all in 2022.

Currently reading:

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wrap up: June 2020

Am I posting my June wrap up on July 22?  Absolutely.  Who cares, time isn’t real.

 

  1. The Invited by Jennifer McMahon ★★★☆☆ | review
  2. Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare ★★★★★
  3. By The Way, Meet Vera Stark by Lynn Nottage ★★★★☆
  4. All’s Well That Ends Well by William Shakespeare ★★☆☆☆
  5. Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid ★★☆☆☆ | review
  6. Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare ★★★★☆
  7. If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio (reread) ★★★★☆ | review
  8. King John by William Shakespeare ★★★★☆
  9. Richard II by William Shakespeare ★★★★☆
  10. Three Plays by Lisa B. Thompson ★★★★☆ | review

JUNE TOTAL: 10
YEARLY TOTAL: 58

Favorite: Julius Caesar
Runner up: Revisiting If We Were Villains
Least favorite: Such a Fun Age

Other posts from June:

Life update:

Still got nothing.  I AM however FINALLY inspired to get back into the swing of blogging.  So, watch this space.  And by this space I mostly mean, your own blogs.  I will finally be reading them.  Sorry.  I don’t even know what happened to me these past few months.

Currently reading:

 

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wrap up: May 2020

  1. My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell ★★★★★ | review
  2. Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare ★★★☆☆
  3. The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo ★★☆☆☆ | review
  4. King Lear by William Shakespeare (reread) ★★★★★
  5. The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare ★★★☆☆
  6. Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare ★★★★★
  7. Bunny by Mona Awad ★★★☆☆ | review
  8. Timon of Athens by William Shakespeare ★★★☆☆
  9. Pericles by William Shakespeare ★★★★★
  10. Don’t Touch My Hair by Emma Dabiri ★★★☆☆ | review to come
  11. Hysteria by Jessica Gross ★★★★☆ | review
  12. If All The World And Love Were Young by Stephen Sexton ★★★☆☆ | review to come
  13. Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan ★★★★★ | review
  14. Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica ★★★★★ | review
  15. Henry V by William Shakespeare ★★★☆☆

MAY TOTAL: 15
YEARLY TOTAL: 48

Favorite: King Lear (still)
Runner up: Tender is the Flesh, Exciting Times
Least favorite: The Most Fun We Ever Had

Other posts from May:

Life update:

Still got nothing.

Currently reading:

What was the best book you read in May?  Comment and let me know!

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monthly wrap up: April 2020

  1. Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson ★★★★☆ | review
  2. Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare (reread) ★★★★☆
  3. Mad, Bad, Dangerous To Know by Colm Toibin ★★★★☆ | review
  4. As You Like It by William Shakespeare ★★☆☆☆
  5. Macbeth by William Shakespeare (reread) 
  6. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo ★★★★☆ | review
  7. Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-Joo | review to come for BookBrowse
  8. The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare ★★★★☆
  9. Hamlet by William Shakespeare (reread)

APRIL TOTAL: 9
YEARLY TOTAL: 33

Favorite: Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-Joo
Runner up: Macbeth
Least favorite: As You Like It

Other posts from April:

Life update:

I got nothing.

Currently reading:

What was the best book you read in April?  Comment and let me know!

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wrap up: March 2020

  1. Dominicana by Angie Cruz ★☆☆☆☆ | review
  2. Weather by Jenny Offill ★★☆☆☆ | review
  3. The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan ★★★★★ | review
  4. Girl by Edna O’Brien ★☆☆☆☆ | review
  5. How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee ★★★★☆ | review
  6. Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls by T Kira Madden ★★★★★ | review
  7. A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare (reread) ★★★★★ | review
  8. The Tempest by William Shakespeare ★★★★☆
  9. The Everlasting by Katy Simpson Smith ★★★★☆ | review to come for BookBrowse
  10. Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner ★★★☆☆ | review

MARCH TOTAL: 10
YEARLY TOTAL: 24

Favorite: The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan
Runner up: Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls by T Kira Madden
Least favorite: Dominicana by Angie Cruz

Other posts from March:

Life update:

So… that was a month.

I don’t really feel compelled to dwell on the situation in this post and give a full run-down of how I’ve been handling everything (badly!!), but I’m lucky to be employed and to be working from home so let’s leave it there.  I hope everyone else is healthy and doing well, relatively speaking.

Highlights of my month were my birthday (I turned 28 on the 31st) being a nice, low-key day, and Project Shakespeare which I talked about here if you’re interested.  Since my triumphant debut as Hippolyta I have since played Miranda in The Tempest which was a delight, and I intend to give my all to my very esteemed role as ‘First Officer’ in Twelfth Night this coming Saturday.  But seriously, this is all good fun and very much keeping me sane and I would absolutely recommend arranging something like thing in your own friend groups.

Two things I’ve been doing on Twitter to hopefully help boost morale a bit are posting a photo of one of my two very photogenic cats every day, and posting a lot of nature shots from walks I’ve been taking.  I’ll share some here:

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Currently reading:

What was the best book you read in March?  Comment and let me know!

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wrap up: February 2020

  1. Long Bright River by Liz Moore ★★★★☆ | review
  2. Topics of Conversation by Miranda Popkey ★★☆☆☆ | review
  3. The Snow Collectors by Tina May Hall ★★★★☆ | review
  4. Saint X by Alexis Schatkin ★★★★☆ | review to come for BookBrowse
  5. The Illness Lesson by Clare Beams ★★☆☆☆ | review to come
  6. We Are Okay by Nina LaCour ★★★★☆ | review to come
  7. Optic Nerve by Maria Gainza | review and rating to come

Omitting my favorite of the month section because honestly, there wasn’t a stand-out, though I thoroughly enjoyed everything I 4-starred (and I’m enjoying Optic Nerve as well – I’ll finish it by the end of the day).

FEBRUARY TOTAL: 7
YEARLY TOTAL: 14

Other posts from February:

February was an excellent month!  I just got back yesterday from spending a week in LA – one of my favorite cities – with some of my favorite people.

Highlights included:

Spending the day at Universal with Will and Jess, the dream team behind one of my favorite blogs, Books and Bao.  If you don’t follow them, you need to rectify that immediately, because they are genuinely wonderful, delightful people who shine a light on translated fiction from around the world in their excellent blog.

Attending Brandon Taylor‘s book event at Skylight Books for his debut novel Real Life.  Brandon is one of my favorite personalities on Twitter, and he was such an engaging and intelligent speaker.  If his book tour is coming to your city, I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Spending four straight days with my friend Abby going down a BTS rabbit hole.  Honestly it’s the most fun I’ve had in ages so I’m not even going to apologize for how silly this is.  If you’re into BTS, comment and tell me who your bias is!

Anyway, due to the fact that I was gone for a week and didn’t take my laptop, I am VERY BEHIND on blogging and replying to comments.  Bear with me!  Also comment and tell me what you’ve been up to lately!

And the next post you can expect to see from me is my Women’s Prize 2020 longlist prediction.  I’m finishing that up as we speak.

Currently reading:

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What was the best book you read in February?  Comment and let me know!

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