I haven’t previously posted this tag, and I thought it would be fun – I have seen it on both the Literary Elephant and There’s Something About KM blogs. I have also skipped the questions on “best sequel” and “newest fiction crush” because, so far this year, I haven’t read a good sequel nor had a fiction crush.
Best Book You’ve Read So Far in 2020
That’s a tough question – it will probably be Orhan Pamuk’s My Name is Red – I enjoyed the murder mystery there, the intellectual and historic atmosphere, and the ending. The Silent Cry by Kenzaburo Oe was my other memorable read.
New Release You Haven’t Read But Really Want To
Death in Her Hands by Ottessa Moshfegh (the author of Eileen  and My Year of Rest and Relaxation ).
The synopsis to Death in Her Hands reads that this is a novel “of haunting metaphysical suspense about an elderly widow whose life is upturned when she finds a cryptic note on a walk in the woods that ultimately makes her question everything about her new home” (Goodreads). I also need to pick up The Truants by Kate Weinberg.
Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year
Unquestionably – Piranesi by Susanna Clarke (the author behind ingenious Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell). Words cannot describe how much I am excited to finally read Piranesi.
Favourite New Author
Barbara Kingsolver is relatively new to me and, since I liked The Poisonwood Bible (more or less), I want to try to read her other books, especially Prodigal Summer recommended by Cafe Society and YaYaRead.
Recently, I picked up Little Eyes  by Samanta Schweblin, but I soon found out that it did not work for me at all. This is a story of strangers who are capable of “infiltrating” homes through certain cute devices. Perhaps I went into this book expecting one thing, but met something different. I found the whole premise of this book too far-fetched and predictable without nuance – nor did I enjoy the style of writing.
Mildred Pierce  by James M. Cain, which I finished reading this week.
I have not expected to be presented with such a grand character study (of courageous, but sometimes-oblivious-to-the-faults-of-others Mildred Pierce) and nuanced drama (involving Mildred’s “monstrous” daughter). The book isn’t perfect (perhaps the famous film with Joan Crawford is better), but it was still a page-turner for me, so I recommend.
Newest Favorite Character
Perhaps this is a strange choice, but I loved the truth-speaking heroine in Near to the Wild Heart  by Clarice Lispector. I felt sympathy for her, and this is really a unique voice. I highly recommend this book by one of the most distinctive Brazilian literary voices.
Book That Made You Cry
I thought The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison was an incredibly sad, even depressing, book. It did not necessarily made me cry, but it made me very sad and think of the plight of people who live at the fringes of society.
Book That Made You Happy
This is maybe a lazy answer, but I am just finishing a book of Japanese fairy tales (by Yei Theodora Ozaki) and it is making me happy (the review will come in July). The book reminds me of my own childhood when I used to read a lot of Russian fairy tales. I find that many fairy tales around the world share common tropes and themes.
Favourite Book-to-Film Adaptation
Diary of a Country Priest (Journal d’un curé de campagne)  is a classic French film directed by Robert Bresson (Pickpocket ). It is based on an acclaimed novel by Georges Bernanos, which I liked. This film has been so influential that Martin Scorsese used it to make Taxi Driver and it inspired one of my favourite films First Reformed  by Paul Schrader. Also, the debut performance by Claude Laydu is considered to be one of the greatest in the history of film.
Favourite Post This Year
I like my article where I compared A. J. Finn’s debut The Woman in the Window with Sarah A. Denzil’s thriller Saving April.
Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year
Taschen books must be some of the most beautiful books in the world. I recently bought Sébastien Mamerot’s illustrated A Chronicle of the Crusades. I love history and I cannot wait to read it.
A Book You Want to Read By the End of the Year
Sisters by British author Daisy Johnson (Everything Under ).
It promises to be a good book and I love that it deals with a siblings’ relationship. I have a hunch that it must be both poetic and psychological. It will be released in the UK on 13 August 2020.