Hello everyone!!!! today I’m doing the in or out book tag, which was created by Rick over at his BookTube channel, Rick MacDonnell.

1. Reading the Last Page First

OUT. I’m not chaotic enough to do this lol.

2. Enemies to Lovers

IN. I LOVE enemies to lovers and I will never get sick of it. It’s all about the GROWTH.

3. Dream Sequences

OUT. I feel like I mentally check out every time there’s a dream sequence in a book. Like every literary dream sequence might as well come with a huge sign that says PAY ATTENTION: THIS SCENE IS HIGHLY SYMBOLIC !!!!

4. Love Triangles

OUT. I don’t know I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with a good love triangle, so I’m not very sold on it at the moment.

5. Cracked Spines

OUT. I like to keep my books in as good a condition as possible, which includes not cracking the spines. 🤷‍♀️

6. Back to My Small Town

IN. It’s not so much the small town aspect that I’m into, but rather the idea that a character would return to a place that holds a lot of memories for them, and also potentially reunite with people that they’d left behind. I love seeing how characters who’ve left a place behind for a long time come back to it older and with a new perspective.

7. Monsters Are Regular People

IN (?). Theoretically I’m into this, but I also haven’t encountered it a lot in the little fantasy that I’ve read so far.

8. No Paragraph Breaks

OUT. Paragraph breaks just make it so much easier to get through a book. For me, very few books can get away with not having paragraph breaks (like Milkman by Anna Burns); it takes an extraordinarily skilled writer to sustain my attention in that way.

9. Multi-Generational Sagas

IN. I love reading about families and how the choices of one generation can impact the next. Definitely into this one.

10. Re-Reading

IN. I am a creature of comfort and will often reread favourite books when I feel in need of a pick-me-up.

11. Artificial Intelligence

OUT. I’m just not interested in AI. It veers into sci-fi territory, and I’ve never really been interested in sci-fi. Not into the science-y stuff.

12. Drop Caps

IN. Sure?

13. Happy Endings

IN. Life is stressful enough without the added stress of sad endings. I get way too attached to books sometimes and sad endings just wreck me (my best friend–hi Thea!! 👋–who’s received many a distraught message from me in the midst of a book-related emotional breakdown knows this more than anyone).

14. Plot Points That Only Converge At the End

IN. If it’s done well–i.e. given that every plot thread stands on its own–then yes, I love this.

15. Detailed Magic Systems

IN. I don’t see why this would be bad, so long as the author balances character and story as well.

16. Classic Fantasy Races

OUT. But I don’t really care either way about this one.

17. Unreliable Narrators

IN. Yes. Give me the drama of an unreliable narrator !!!!

18. Evil Protagonists

IN (?). I don’t really know about “evil,” but I’m down for a morally complicated or morally grey protagonist.

19. The Chosen One

OUT. I don’t know they’re just a little boring at this point.

20. When the Protagonist Dies

OUT. Protagonists don’t usually die in the books I tend to read, but I feel like I’d be pretty annoyed if this happened.

21. Really Long Chapters

IN (?). But it depends. I think I like long chapters when they’re in more plot-heavy genres like fantasy rather than character-focused ones like literary fiction.

22. French Flaps

IN. Why not! They’re fancy!

23. Deckled Edges

IN. No strong opinions about this but I wouldn’t object to having deckled edges.

24. Signed Copies by the Author

IN. Again, I wouldn’t object to a signed copy of a book, but I’d much rather go to a signing and have the author sign my book for me (rather than just buying a signed copy).

25. Dog-Earing Pages

OUT. I don’t personally do this, but I don’t care if people dog-ear their pages. 🤷‍♀️

26. Chapter Titles Instead of Numbers

IN. I feel like I never see titled chapters these days !!! where did they go !!! I miss them !!! they’re such a simple way of adding layers to a narrative, and give you a lil sneak peek of what’s to come in a chapter.

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The End of the Year book tag was created by Ariel over at Ariel Bissett!

Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish?

No? I don’t really tend to start books and then stop midway, so there aren’t any books that I’m in the middle of at the moment. (There are a lot of books that I’d like to start, though.)

Do you have an autumnal book to transition into the end of the year?

Not really? I’m a mood reader, and my mood is a very fickle thing. I don’t typically tend to read books of a certain genre during specific seasons, so we’ll just have to see what I’m in the mood for, and also what I have the time/mental bandwidth for (since I have classes now 😔).

Is there a new release you’re still waiting for?

There are a bunch I’m vaguely interested in, depending on how positive the reviews for them are once they’re released, but there is one title that I am SO INCREDIBLY DESPERATE TO READ: A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am for this book, and the fact that I haven’t been able to get an ARC has been killing me. This novel sounds like it was written for me: Edwardian England, magic, romance!!!!! I can feel the 5-star potential in my bones.

What are three books you want to read before the end of the year?

SO MANY, but since uni has started back up again, I don’t know if I’ll actually be able to get to any of them before the end of the year. In an ideal world, though, some of the ones I’ve been wanting to read for a while are:

  • The Good People by Hannah Kent (atmospheric historical fiction, set in Ireland)
  • The Rules of Revelation by Lisa McInerney (Irish, music!)
  • Thin Places by Kerri Ní Dochartaigh (memoir, The Troubles, nature)
  • The Bridge of Beyond by Simone Schwarz-Bart (tr. by Barbara Bray) (multigenerational, historical fiction)
  • The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (gothic, historical fiction [are we noticing a trend here?])
  • An I-Novel by Minae Mizumura (tr. by Juliet Winters Carpenter) (Japanese, formally experimental)
  • The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye (historical fiction, mystery)
  • What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Fat by Aubrey Gordon (nonfiction, social justice)
  • Things I Have Withheld by Kei Miller (essays about silences)
  • White Magic by Elissa Washuta (essays about cultural inheritance and love, among other things) (Hannah just read and love this!!)

Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favourite book of the year?

I don’t think so? My favourite book of the year so far, The King of Infinite Space by Lyndsay Faye, has set the bar pretty high. But I definitely might stumble upon a 5-star read at some point before the year ends (at least I hope I do).

Have you already started making reading plans for 2022?

If by “reading plans” you mean making a list of a bunch of 2022 releases that I’m super excited about, then yes. I am constantly snooping on Edelweiss to find out about new publisher catalogues, so I’ve been amassing quite the list of 2022 book releases. Some current frontrunners include: Either/Or by Elif Batuman (NEW ELIF BATUMAN NOVEL!!! SEQUEL TO THE IDIOT!!!!), Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield (author of the gorgeous Salt Slow), and If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English by Noor Naga (set in Egypt, examining “the ethics of fetishizing the homeland and punishing the beloved”?!?!?!?!).

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THE DNF book tag was created by Gunpowder, Fiction & Plot over on YouTube!

1) Do you DNF?

ALL THE TIME. If I’m not enjoying a book, or if I start feeling like reading it is becoming a drag, then I DNF it. Simple as that.

2) If you do DNF, does it count for your finished books for the month?

Nope. I have a tab in my reading spreadsheet that I use for tracking which books I’ve DNFd, and how much of them I read before DNFing them. I don’t count books I’ve DNFd in my reading challenge though.

3) Is there a difference between DNFing & just putting the book down for a little bit?

Yes! Sometimes I start a book and I’m not enjoying it because I know I’m not in the right mood for it; in that case, I just put it back on my TBR so I can come back to it later when the time is right.

4) What popular books have you DNFed?

SO MANY. White Teeth by Zadie Smith, A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler, Trust Exercise by Susan Choi, The Man Who Saw Everything by Deborah Levy, Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss, the list goes on.

5) What are some books you wished you DNFed?

Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse, Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell, A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum, The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo, The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, Topics of Conversation by Miranda Popkey — basically any book that I’ve rated 2 stars is fair game here. I skim read the last 25% of all these books, which is almost always a sure sign that I should’ve just given up and DNFd them.

6) Have you ever re-attempted to read a DNF? And was this successful for you?

Yes! I recognize that my reading tastes change over time, so I’m always open to revisiting books that I’ve DNFd. Two books that I DNFd in 2019 that I revisited last year were Milkman by Anna Burns and The Idiot by Elif Batuman. Coincidentally enough, both those books ended up at the top of my favourite books of 2020 list, so I can definitely see the value of going back to a book you’d DNFd after some time away.

More recently, I went back to Fingersmith, which I’d DNFd a long time ago, because I had a feeling I would like it, and surprise surprise, Sarah Waters is now one of my favourite authors.

7) What do you do with DNFed books?

Nothing? Almost all the books I read come from the library so if I DNF a book I just return my loan and never look back ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

8) Do you choose more or less risky titles based on your DNF policy?

I think reading from the library and also being pretty liberal with DNFing makes me read a lot of books on a whim/very randomly. I just add stuff to my TBR based on ~the vibes~ and if I don’t end up liking the books then it’s back to the library they go. I feel like DNFing books that I’ve borrowed from the library makes everything very low stakes, as compared to buying a book and feeling the pressure to at least read the whole thing because you spent money on it.

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