The End of the Year Book Tag

I spotted this tag first on youtube since I follow one book reviewer there – Eric, and decided to post my answers to this tag, too. The creator of this tag is Ariel Bessett, and I have also seen this tag at Whimsy Pages (Alex’s blog) and at The Book Prescription. I am not tagging anyone for this tag, and everyone is welcome to participate. 

The Maias Book CoverI. Is there a book that you started that you still need to finish by the end of the year?

The Maias (Os Maias) [1888] by José Maria de Eça de Queiroz. After I enjoyed The Crime of Father Amaro, I thought I would read another book by this author – Os Maias, a realist family saga, which was also recommended to me by Susana at A Bag Full of Stories. I am still to finish this Portuguese classic even though I started it about three weeks ago, but I do have an excuse – it is 715 pages long! I am enjoying it so far and I think it will be a five-star read for me. 

The Essex Serpent Book CoverII. Do you have an autumnal book to transition to the end of the year?

Every time I think of autumn or winter, I think of some nice crime mystery to read. I think it is so nice to read something like that in a warm home when there is snow or rain falling outside. I will be reading some detective stories by Andrea Camilleri (The Shape of Water and The Snack Thief will probably be my next reads). I also want to re-read The Essex Serpent [2016], which I enjoyed very much when I first read it. Given its slightly gothic, dark atmosphere and setting, it will also be the perfect autumnal transition. 

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

No, not really. 

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

(i) English Passengers [2000] by Matthew Kneale; I have wanted to read this book for a long time now. This adventure-historical fiction novel was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and is by the same author that wrote a fascinating non-fiction book Rome: A History in Seven Sackings [2017]. English Passengers tells of Captain Illiam Quillian Kewley, a smuggler, who, in the year 1957, sails with his crew to Tasmania and on board of his ship is one Reverend Geoffrey Wilson who thinks he will find in Tasmania the biblical Garden of Eden, and, thus, disprove the rising evolutionary theories of creation. Another point of view here is Peevay, an aboriginal, who recounts his own tale of horror as the British descent on his land.

(ii) The Black Sheep (La Rabouilleuse) [1842] by Honore de Balzac; This will be my third Balzac, after absolutely amazing Lost Illusions, and slightly “less great” Cousin Bette (I always want to say My Cousin Bette, you probably know why). The Black Sheep is said to be a “wrongly overlooked” novel that was also included as number 12 in The Guardian’s list of 100 Greatest Books of All Time.

(iii) Freshwater [2018] by Akwaeke Emezi; I will try to locate and read Freshwater, especially since Emily at Literary Elephant also recommended me this book. This book is about Ada who initially lives in Nigeria, but then moves to the US to attend college. Something is wrong with Ada and there is one “traumatic assault [that] leads to a crystallization of her alternate selves: Asughara and Saint Vincent” (Amazon).

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

Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections [2001]. I have high expectations regarding this book. It is often on various lists of best books of the 21st century and has stellar reviews, too. Perhaps, it will impress me so much that it will end up to be my favourite read of the year.

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

Yes, I have (or sort of). They are, of course, a secret so as not to spoil any surprises.

21 thoughts on “The End of the Year Book Tag

  1. Fun! I have never read Balzac and I really should. I do not quite understand the point of the question “Is there a book that can still shock you and become your favorite of the year?” – well of course, any unknown book could do that. But I hope you are right about The Corrections.

    By the end of the year I hope to read Born a Crime – it’s been on my list for a long time. Also Daring to Drive, which I see just came off hold from the library. Yay!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I highly recommend Balzac. Lost Illusions was a great read and, apart from The Black Sheep, I also very much want to read Le Père Goriot. Born a Crime and Daring to Drive sound like powerful non-fiction books. I need to read more autobiographies.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Uuuh, I love secret 2020 plans!!!! Can’t wait to see what you’ve been planning for next year. This time of the year is honestly the best, I love that need I get to have everything done an organized in preparation for 2020.

    I’ve been looking at Essex Serpent for quite a while now.. Some reviews are really positive, others aren’t. But that cover is so gorgeous that I want to purchase it anyway! Lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope your reading plans preparations are going great! I do understand all the criticisms levelled at The Essex Serpent and I think the book’s subplots are what people complain most of the time as well as the presentation of the so-called “mystery”. But, I find Sarah Perry’s writing so beautiful and her characterisations so vivid, I can forgive certain other book elements.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve seen The Essex Serpent around, mostly noticing it because of its beautiful cover (which even looks like a good autumn read), but I didn’t know it had gothic, dark atmosphere. I should find out more about it. Also, I need to do this tag before the year is out. It’ s such a good tag to figure out some of your goals for the end of the year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I will be looking forward to your answers! And I recommend The Essex Serpent (may do a review end of November). It definitely has a feel of a modern classic- the prose is absolutely beautiful.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I like this tag! I’ve enjoyed a couple of Matthew Kneale’s other books a lot, but English Passengers didn’t work for me – the themes were too obvious and I questioned the need for the religious narrator. Freshwater is a really interesting novel and The Essex Serpent is SO autumnal.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Perhaps I will have the same opinion as you on English Passengers. I actually started reading it yesterday (twenty pages or so) and my first impression is not too good and I am not drawn into the story – there is something about the book that wants me to skip paragraphs and pages, and I am not too sure about so many narrators. I have to reach the end before I pass the final verdict, of course. I am glad to know you found Freshwater interesting – I am really looking forward to it, I think it is going to be something unusual and original.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi! Let me start by saying that Eric’s channel is really good and I am also subscribed. Besides, while reading your answers I’ve realized that I need to read more French authors, it’s really sad that I only read one book by Modiano in my entire life, and that’s all the French literature that I read. I did take note of all the European writers that you have mentioned in this post. Kind regards!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post! I love this tag, but I think it’s getting too late for me to try it for this year. (On a related note, sorry I’m getting to this so late! I’m still catching up from my hiatus.)
    I have The Essex Serpent on my TBR but remember very little about it, it’s good to know that’s a good choice to pick up at this time of year! And I’m very much looking forward to your thoughts on Freshwater if you get around to it, I absolutely loved that book. It really made me look at mental health differently.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I recommend The Essex Serpent. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it, even though it is not without its weaknesses in plot and, of course, with the presentation of the main mystery. Hopefully, I will dive into Freshwater soon, thanks very much again for your recommendation!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s