I don’t know about you but I love making a good TBR list that I can then completely ignore, which is why I always love the seasonal TBRs from Top Ten Tuesday. So in an attempt to actually read those TBRs, I started doing this little series when I look back at those seasonal TBRs and see what I actually read and what I didn’t.
Today it’s time to look back at this summer 2020/21 TBR, so let’s jump into it.
What I Read
Ottilie Colter and the Withering World by Rhiannon Williams
I managed to squeeze this one into the very end of 2020 after I’d finished the TBR pile I put together for December. I’m so glad that I did manage to do that because it was just exactly what I needed, especially since I didn’t manage to pick up any other middle-grade reads in December. This is the third and final book in this series, so I’m kind of sad it’s over but at the same time, it was a great end to the series. It’s sad to see the characters go, but I also feel like there’s a possibility of more books? It just ended in a kind of way that could very nicely lead to a follow-on series that takes place maybe a few years later, but I don’t know if that’ll happen. Either way, amazing book, amazing series, very happy to have finished.
Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie
I got to this one just in time for Christmas Eve as I had hoped I would. I have to say, it’s not one of my favourite Christie’s that I’ve read so far. It’s an interesting enough story with some interesting characters, and it definitely felt Christmassy—it just wasn’t one of those truly shocking, twist-filled, ‘I want to throw this book at wall because Christie is too smart for me’ ones. If you’ve read Christie before, you probably know what I mean. So yes, it was good, it was a fun read for Christmas especially since I don’t usually read Christmas books. Would I recommend it as a good one for people new to Christie? No, I can’t say it would make the list. Is it bad? Also, no.
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
This was the second book I got to in 2021, and it’s also probably the earliest in the year that I’ve ever DNF’ed a book. I made it 160 pages into this and was just not enjoying it at all. For those of you who don’t know, Margaret Atwood is one of my all-time favourite authors. I love her, she’s great etc. etc. but this just wasn’t it. There are two stories going on in this, or at least there were as far as I reached, one of them is the story of this woman, Iris, and she’s sort of going back through her life and her relationship with her sister, Laura, who as the first sentence tells us ‘Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge’ and the other half follows an unnamed man and woman who are maybe having an affair, all the while he’s telling her this story he’s made up. Those bits I actually enjoyed—that story was interesting, but the whole part with Iris and Laura wasn’t. It’s off the TBR now though!
Wild Swans by Jung Chang
So memoirs are just not my thing, I think that’s what I learnt in 2020. I tried several, including Wild Swans here but I ultimately decided to give this up. I read over 300 pages of this, but I just couldn’t push myself to read anymore. I’m kind of trying to remind myself in 2021 that it’s okay to not like books and it’s okay to not finish them without disliking them. There’s really nothing wrong with this book, it’s just that I don’t want to read it anymore. I have so many books sitting for me unread on my shelves that I really don’t have the time to dedicate to the ones I don’t really want to read, or to feel bad about it. Okay, so that was my little rant about that topic. Truly though, this isn’t a bad book, I’m just not a memoir fan.
The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo
I read this one sort of mid-January and then ended up reading the second one, When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain later on that same day. I have to say that I did prefer the second to this one—I just found the story more interesting. In this first one, the story felt a little more like your usual kind of fantasy, while the second was extremely different from anything I’ve ever read before. That second one definitely felt more like a fairytale or a folk tale. But I’m really glad I read both of these. I’m not sure whether there’s meant to be more novellas in the series, but I would definitely read them. This has just made me extra excited for Nghi Vo’s next book that comes out June this year, The Chosen and the Beautiful, which is like a fantasy, queer, Asian retelling of The Great Gatsby with Jordan Baker as the protagonist. So yes, I’m dying to get my hands on that one.
Never Seduce a Scoundrel by Sabrina Jeffries
And finally, of course, I managed to get to Never Seduce A Scoundrel which was Angel and I’s buddy read/discussion book for February. I’m a big fan of Sabrina Jeffries—she’s probably my favourite romance author and this was my fourth book of hers. I think it’s even my favourite so far, there was just something about this that I really, really loved. The characters and plot are both great, the romance is sweet and fun and the whole thing was just a really enjoyable read. I talked about this in more depth in the discussion post on Angel’s blog, but I loved that this had a more serious element to it and that it was actually included a particular moment in history rather than the story just focusing on the sort of societal differences between now and then. Does that even make any sense to anyone? I finished this mid-February and since then I’ve read the rest of the series and I’ll be talking about my thoughts on them all in a couple of day’s time, so check back on the 20th if you’re interested in hearing about that.
What I Didn’t
Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
I had a feeling when I picked this one that I wouldn’t finish it in the allotted time. This was my audiobook pick and I’m just really bad at remembering to listen to them. I did get 15% of the way through, which is honestly pretty good for me.
The Goal by Elle Kennedy
I did actually manage to start this one too but I just had so many others thing I was reading that it kind of fell by the wayside. If I get the time to read these in the next few weeks, I definitely will.
Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
I actually decided to unhaul this one completely. I had this idea in my mind that I was supposed to read all these classics one day and in the last few months I’ve realised that’s a lie. I don’t have to read anything I don’t want to. I’m not swearing off classics as a whole—I’m just learning to be better at picking the ones I’m actually interested.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Which brings me to Little Women. I’ve tried to read this about three times now and I’ve never made it further in than 50 pages, so I think I’m going to ‘soft unhaul’ it for now. Basically, I’m going to take it off my TBR but keep the actual physical book for if I decide I do want to read it later on. Maybe I’ll change my mind and read it in a few months, maybe I won’t.
I think I did pretty well with this one. If I remember right, I’m pretty sure I made it through six of the books last time as well so that looks like it might be a bit of a pattern. But for now that’s today’s post and I will see you Tuesday with my Autumn TBR.