MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2020

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the other day i realized that i hadn’t made a crucial end-of-year post, which is of course my most anticipated books of 2020, of which there are a lot, ill tell you now. i’m so excited to get to all these books and will hopefully report back at the end of the year to let you know if they lived up to my expectations. without further ado, here are the books i’m most excited for that come out in 2020!!

(i’m gonna put all their release dates in parentheses so you know when they come out!)

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–2020 RELEASES I’VE ALREADY READ–

since this post is a little late (calling myself out because i’m posting this in the middle of february as opposed to the beginning of the year), i’ve managed to read some of the books that i was anticipating from this year. so i thought i might as well let you know what those books were, and whether i liked them or not. c:

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  • topics of conversation by miranda popkey (january 7) —> this book looked like it was going to be amazing and thought-provoking, but unfortunately it read more as pretentious than anything else. sadly it was a 2-star read for me.
  • follow me to ground by sue rainsford (january 21) –> enjoyed this one, but it didn’t wow me. the writing was great, but i think the story was lacking a little bit. it didn’t feel very substantial and it needed to be more concrete when it came to what was actually happening in its plot. overall, though, it was pretty good.
  • verge by lidia yuknavitch, february 4 –>  i LOVED this short story collection. it was beautifully written and really prioritized highlighting the stories of the marginalized. a new favourite of mine from this year for sure.

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  • exciting times by naoise dolan (june 2) –> this was a so-so read for me. i enjoyed the intellectual themes in this, but the characters didnt quite hit the mark. i just didnt feel like i was attached to them in any way.
  • the sleepless unease by samantha harvey (may 22) –> a new favourite of the year!!! samantha harvey is an AMAZING writer. she writes of her anxiety and insomnia in such a personal, heart-rending way. it’s impossible not to sympathize with her and her experiences. highly recommend checking this one out when it’s released in may.

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–2020 BOOK RELEASES I WILL BE REVIEWING SOON–

the second category here is books that i own–that i’ve been graciously sent by publishers either as a physical copy or as an e-arc through netgalley or edelweiss (A BIG THANK YOU TO ANY PUBLISHER WHO EVER SENDS ME ANYTHING!!! i honestly still can’t believe this is a thing that happens)–or that i’ll be borrowing from the library.  these are all books that i’m going to be reading in the next month or two, as i want to get them read as soon as possible.

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  • show them a good time by nicole flattery (january 28) –> this is a short story collection by an irish author, which basically means there’s like an 80% chance i’m gonna love it. i don’t know anything about what these stories are about, as i like to go into a book not knowing much (i.e. nothing) about it, but i am obsessed with this cover. i want like a print of it or something.
  • funny weather by olivia laing (may 12) –> i absolutely loved olivia laing’s the lonely city, which i read last year, so i was so happy to hear that she had a new book coming out this year. the cover is so compelling (the pink + that picture!!!!!) and i’m looking forward to seeing what she chooses to write about this time, as her thoughts are always well-developed and interesting.

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  • weather by jenny offill (february 11) –> i’ll 100% be reading this this month as it’s a super short book and i’ve honestly heard nothing but RAVE reviews about it. like everyone has been talking about this in the literary fiction world, so i’m really hoping that this is gonna be a new favourite for me.
  • how to pronounce knife by souvankham thammavongsa (april 21) –> surprise surprise another collection of short stories. again, no idea what this is about, but that title already intrigues me. reading this one very, very soon.

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–TOP 11 MOST ANTICIPATED 2020 BOOK RELEASES–

so i have 78 books on my “2020 releases” shelf on goodreads, which means that if i were to list them all here, it would take a while. so i’ve instead opted to give you my top 11 most anticipated books of this year (i couldn’t quite squeeze it into a nice top 10 list so we’ll have to make do with the 11). these are the books that, if all goes well, my instinct tells me are going to land on my 2020 favourites shelves. also you’ll see that there’s a lot of irish fiction and non-fiction here because i’ve been going through a bit of an irish books phase (IRISH FICTION IS AMAZING and also it’s not really a phase because it’s been going on since like the second half of last year lol), which has been GREAT.

okay, here we go. i’ve put all the books in chronological order from earliest release date to latest release date.

(also some of these books publish only in the UK and some of them have already been published in the UK but are being released later on in the year in north america. where i could i included north american release dates, and if the books haven’t been published in north america then i’ve included the UK release date.)

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  • the mercies by kiran millwood hargrave (february 11)  –> this was just released and people have been giving it such high ratings that i’ve basically had my eye on it since it was announced last year. i don’t know much about it (as has been e a common theme in this post), but it kinda reminds of burial rites by hannah kent, which i loved when i read it a while ago.
  • everything i know about love by dolly alderton (february 25) –> i’ve been listening to a lot of dolly alderton’s podcasts lately and honestly she seems like a wonderful person, so i wanted to read the book that i know she released last year in the UK. it’s finally coming to north america at the end of this month, so i’m definitely planning to get to it once it’s out in audiobook (which dolly narrates herself!!).

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  • the weight of love by hilary fannin (march 5) –> i honestly have zero idea what this is about nor do i want to know lol. i’ve read snippets of this author’s writing and i get the impression that she has a really beautiful, poetic kind of writing style, which i’m hoping i get to see in this novel. as of now this book has zero ratings on goodreads, so the jury is still out as to whether it’s going to be well received or not. (also it’s irish fiction so i don’t really need to know much to add it to 2020 tbr list lol)
  • my dark vanessa by kate elizabeth russell (march 10) –> this is probably one of the most hyped releases of the year so i definitely want to get to it as soon as it’s out. i think it deals with a really important topic and will provide some much-needed commentary on lolita and how everyone has just accepted it as part of the literary canon despite its disturbing and highly problematic subject matter.

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  • strange hotel by eimear mcbride (may 5) –> irish fiction! literary fiction! a book about a woman in a hotel thinking about Deep Stuff! this seems like it’s going to be a home-run. i’ve tried reading eimear mcbride’s other books before, but the experimental writing style was a huge hurdle for me. seeing as this one isn’t written with that experimental style, i’m excited to see if i could like mcbride’s work.
  • untold night and day by bae suah (may 5) –> love to see some translated fiction here!! again, no idea what this is about, but i heard it’s like a trippy, literary-esque story with a lot of interesting motifs and themes. also another beautiful cover that i’m obsessed with.

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  • luster by raven leilani (august 4) –> this just seems like a book i’m going to love. it’s about intimacy and relationships and sex and considering the work that the publisher is putting into promoting it, i think it’s going to be a really promising read.
  • republic of shame by caelainn hogan (june 30) –> irish non fiction!! looking forward to reading this as a companion to say nothing, which i read earlier this year. they deal with totally different historical topics, but they’re both about irish history, which i’m super interested to learn more about.

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  • inventory by darran anderson (august 4) –> more irish non fiction!! (i told yall there were gonna be a lot of irish books on here) this is a memoir about living in northern ireland during the troubles and about the troubles’ impact on the author’s community and family. again, a perfect companion to say nothing, which was also about the troubles. (also CAN WE LOOK AT THAT COVER)
  • earthlings by sayaka murata (october 1)–> SO excited for a new book from the wonderful sayaka murata! i read and loved convenience store woman last year, so including this one in the list was a no-brainer. also the cover is so cute what’s that lil hedgehog doing there who is he and what is he thinking !!!

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  • any way the wind blows by rainbow rowell –> and last but not least, the last book in the simon snow trilogy, which i still can’t believe is a thing that’s happening. the fact that we got wayward son made me so happy, and then to find out that we were getting a THIRD book ??? what a time to be alive. this is probably my most anticipated book of the whole year because this series is so close to my heart. as of now the book has no release date, but i’m assuming it’ll be released sometime at the end of this year. i genuinely cannot wait.

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and there you have it! my most anticipated books of 2020. there are so many more that i’m excited about, but these are the ones i think i’ll definitely read once they’re out and once i can get a hold of them somehow. if you want to see the other books on my anticipated 2020 releases list you can check out my goodreads 2020 releases shelf here.

let me know what your most anticipated book(s) of the year is, and if there are any books from this list which you’re also excited to read. and thanks so much for taking the time to read my post, i’m still astonished at the fact that people see my posts, much less read them. i appreciate it a lot. 💖


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2019 READING YEAR IN REVIEW

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hi everyone!! i know this is very overdue, but i still wanted to do a post about my 2019 reading stats because i LOVE stats. i obsessively track all my reading stats so i thought it would be cool to look at them more closely in this post. hope u enjoy and here’s to more reading stats in 2020!! c:

***(all these stats come from the amazing spreadsheets that Brock from Let’s Read makes every year)** 

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so i made this lil graphic so you could see my reading year in a snapshot. i tried to include some of the most important stats in there. as you can see, i read 120 books, which is the highest number books ive read in a while, and it’s been so great reading more this year and seeing my reading tastes change. once i figured out that a certain genre of book wasn’t working for me this year, my ratings vastly changed and i started finding favourite books much more easily. c:

i read 45 audiobooks — audiobooks have helped me SO much last year, especially since i have to commute to work, so i get about 90 minutes of reading done every day, no matter what. ive read some amazing audiobooks last year, so im definitely going to try to keep that going this year.

2019 is also the year i just started DNFing books with wild abandon. i can tell pretty quickly now if im not going to like a book, so ive learned to just trust my instincts instead of wasting my time reading something that i know im not going to enjoy. its made reading so much more stress-free for me and im definitely planning to DNF plenty of stuff this year too.

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Here are some more specific and interesting reading stats!!

2019 Reading Spreadsheet - Google Sheets.clipular (5)

as you can see, most of my ratings fall within the 3-3.5 star range, which doesnt surprise me. generally speaking if i rate a book 4 stars or more, i add it to my favourites shelf. so for a book to get a 4 star rating or higher, it needs to be really good. which means that sometimes even though ive enjoyed a book, it doesnt get more than 3.5 stars because it felt like it didnt quite get there in terms of how good i wanted it to be or how much i enjoyed it.



2019 Reading Spreadsheet - Google Sheets.clipular (1)

i cant say that i actively tried to read books from diverse countries last year, which is definitely something i should work on this year. not surprisingly, most of the books (55%) i read were set in the US, followed by England (21%) and then a variety of other countries, including Ireland at 9%. ive been going through a bit of a phase with irish fiction, which ive discovered that i aboslutely love, so i expect that ireland percentage to be even higher this year.



2019 Reading Spreadsheet - Google Sheets.clipular (9)

as i mentioned earlier, my reading tastes did a complete 180 this year. i used to read mostly YA, and now i read like a couple of YA books a year at most. which means that a lot of the genres im reading have now been a lot broader. the bulk of what i read now is literary fiction (24%) and non fiction (25%), which im loving and im finding a range of really exciting and interesting books. i also barely read non fiction before last year so im happy that im finding so many that are favourites now.



2019 Reading Spreadsheet - Google Sheets.clipular (6)

its interesting looking at these stats because when im reading stuff throughout the year, im never conscious that so many of the books i read are such recent releases. i definitely didnt know that my reading was so skewed towards releases from 2018 and 2019. i guess now that im thinking about it i do prioritize a lot of new releases, especially now that im keeping track of them more closely, so im expecting that 2020 bar to be much higher this year.



2019 Reading Spreadsheet - Google Sheets.clipular (4)

looking at a graph like this makes me realize just how much my reading depends on where i am in my life in a specific month. january to april i was in school so less reading, and then december i was off work so i did the most of my reading then. also as you can tell i was goin through a bit of a reading slump in may lol. i always have at least one month a year where i just feel zero motivation to read anything, but at least i bounced back pretty strongly in june. 🙂

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et voila! those are all the interesting 2019 reading stats that i thought id share with you guys today!! thanks so much for reading and im hopefully gonna be posting more regularly on here soon. i already have a lot of ideas!!

let me know if youve done similar stats-related posts (link them in the comments!!) and/or if you have any similar experiences with reading yourself.

2020 has already been a great reading year, and i can assure that stats are well under way for this year already lol.


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JANUARY WRAP UP

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january is over which means time for a wrap up!! and let me say, january was good to me. i read 14 books, THREE of which made it to my 2020 favourites shelf, which was such a pleasant surprise. AND 2 of those 3 books were nonfiction, which is so unheard of for me. there’s some amazing nonfiction out there apparently, who knew?? (everyone knew)

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what i read

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🌵 January 1-2: Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan | ★★★

this one doesn’t come out till june so i won’t say much, but i have a review of it that’s going to be posted to the blog around that time. if you’re curious though, i wrote a review for it on goodreads.

🌵 January 3-4: Wilful Disregard by Lena Andersson | ★★

woman likes shitty man, woman sleeps with shitty man, woman is sad because shitty man ghosts her. the end. (what was i supposed to get out of this, exactly ???) needless to say, i didn’t particularly enjoy this.

🌵 January 4-5: Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin | ★★★

► this was enjoyable, but i had a lot of little gripes about it that just accumulated over the course of my reading it.
► by far my biggest problem with this book was that the romantic dynamic between its 2 main leads was SO SIMILAR to matthias and nina’s dynamic from six of crows. like pretty much identical. the nina character, lou, speaks her mind, is free-spirited, embarrasses her love interest, is part of a group of people that the love interest has vowed to exterminate, loves desserts, and has magical powers. the matthias character, reid, is uptight, has been indoctrinated into a group of people with an oppressive ideology, is good at fighting, but ultimately falls for the nina character. it was just way too similar for me to able to disentangle it from six of crows. also let’s be honest the nina/matthias dynamic is SO much more well-executed than the lou/reid dynamic.
► did not like how possessive/territorial reid was. im so bored by male characters who feel the need to protect their female love interests at every second. chill
► i am also so bored by male love interests who are angry all the time. chill
► the inclusion of french in this book is so forced and randomly done that it added absolutely nothing to the story. telling me a character is drinking a “chocolat chaud” at a cafe is not worldbuilding lol. nor is adding the occasional french swear word.

🌵 January 6: “Color and Light” by Sally Rooney | ★★★★★ (reread)

(listened to sally rooney’s narration of the story on the new yorker podcast)

“He’s seen the display ten or twelve times now, or however many years the festival has been going. The first time he was a teenager, still in school. He thought that his life was just about to start happening then. He thought that he was poised tantalizingly on the brink, and that any day—or even any minute—the waiting would end and the real thing would begin.”

so tantalizingly short. there’s a feeling, here, that something is on the brink of happening, that something important has maybe already happened–and then the story ends.

it’s just so damn good.

🌵 January 6-8: Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid | ★★.5

What compelling story this book had was completely overshadowed by its weak dialogue. There is so much extraneous dialogue in this book. So. much. unnecessary. dialogue. I like “unnecessary” dialogue when it helps build character dynamics or establishes a social atmosphere of some kind, but that was not the case here. Like Emira and Alix would be talking and literally every other sentence would be Briar interrupting them with some weird observation (do kids really talk like that ?) that completely detracted from the oftentimes serious conversations being had.

Also I didn’t like the ending of this at all. I’m just so tired of endings that deflate all the conflict that had been building up in the story by tying everything up in a pretty little bow with zero nuance or time to actually flesh out the implications of what the characters did.

One more thing that irritated me: the constant references to Alix’s weight. Always the fact that Alix hasn’t lost her baby weight or has gained weight or her friends telling her she needs to lose weight or her eating too much and thinking about how she needs to drop the baby weight. This was never questioned or challenged; we were just supposed to accept that being fat is bad and that shaming your friends for their weight is okay. (Hint: it’s not.)

🌵 January 6-13: The Idiot by Elif Batuman | ★★★★.5 

haven’t reviewed this yet, but it’s one of my favourite books of this year. psychologically astute, thematically complex, and compellingly written.

🌵 January 14: Fox 8 by George Saunders | ★★★.5 stars

such a cute lil book complete with fun doodles and some interesting, relevant themes about environmental conservation. a quick, enjoyable read.

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🌵 January 8-16: Know My Name by Chanel Miller | ★★★★★

wow wow wow. this is one of the most powerful books i have ever read, and i don’t hesitate to say that for a second. it is searing, arresting, masterful. it seems false, somehow, to give this a numerical rating, given how monumental of a read it really was, but this book deserves nothing less than 5 stars.

🌵 January 15: Lucky Caller by Emma Mills | ★★★

definitely my least favourite emma mills. the dialogue was weak and a little repetitive, the jokes never quite landed for me (i barely laughed at all while i read this, which is a travesty considering this is an emma mills book), and the characters just didn’t end up feeling all that fleshed out. the story needed more pages and more time to breathe; sadly, it didn’t get either.

🌵 January 14-19: Solace by Belinda McKeon | ★★

sadly a very forgettable book. the characters didn’t feel fleshed out, and the plot meandered. i didn’t feel like it was going anywhere, or that it even had anywhere to go. definitely recommend reading Belinda McKeon’s Tender though. it’s leaps and bounds better than Solace.

🌵 January 16-22: Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett | ★★.5 | full review

🌵 January 21-24: The Book of X by Sarah Rose Etter | ★★.5 

the prose here is what didn’t work for me. it was trying to be poetic but couldn’t quite get there, so what you got as a result was writing that felt clunky and forced more than anything else. the book is also very episodic in terms of the way its told—typically in half-page mini chapters—and so that, too, ended up making the story feel more fragmented and less cohesive as a narrative.

i do appreciate the focus on loneliness and isolation in this story, though. etter definitely didn’t sugarcoat her protagonist’s experiences of sometimes unbearable solitude and longing.

🌵 January 26: Multitudes by Lucy Caldwell | ★★★.5 

will review this soon, but it was a really lovely collection of short stories, all centering on the experiences of adolescent girls in northern ireland.

🌵 January 22 – February 3: Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe | ★★★★★

it’s kind of cheating to include this in my january wrap up since i technically didn’t finish it till february, but i really wanted to include it anyway because it was AMAZING. i read the audiobook and WOW. i’m gonna try and write a full review for this soon because it was honestly one of the best non-fiction books i’ve ever read. it doesn’t get better than this.


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