In December, I was extremely fortunate to receive some fantastic sounding books from my partner and family for both my birthday and for Christmas. I also purchased some for myself with some birthday money and am excited to share them all with you. I’ll be attempting to get to all of these in 2020 and cannot wait to dive in – in fact I’ve read some of them already! Did you buy, borrow, receive any books in December? Also, let me know if you’ve read and reviewed any of the books I’ve mentioned, I’d love to read your reviews, spoiler free, of course!
Books I Received for My Birthday:
I received a number of graphic novels for my birthday from my partner, who is a graphic designer and wanted me to further explore the medium. The graphic novels, including manga, that I received are as follows:
1. Orange Complete Collection 1 by Ichigo Takano
Last year I read my record amount of manga and discovered a couple of series I really enjoy, so I would love to explore the medium further in 2020. A number of booktubers have been raving about this one recently, so I was interested in reading it. It’s also nice to read a larger manga sometimes, so it feels as though you’ve read something more substantial towards your reading goal, although this might just be a me thing. This book is on my January TBR, so I’m sure you will hear my thoughts about it soon.
2. Moonstruck volume 1 by Grace Ellis et al
I’ve heard this a sweet female/female romance with a fantastic plot and beautiful art, so I’m one hundred percent intrigued. The protagonist is a werewolf, the plot involves magic and illusions, and I can’t imagine there being a better match than this, so I will probably read this in February.
3. Snotgirl volume 1 by Bryan Lee O’Malley and Leslie Hung
I’m not entirely sure why I’m interested in this one given my intense fear of germs, although maybe it’s because I relate to it with my horrible hayfever in the spring time. The art looks appealing despite the snot related content, although I will probably wait for the second volume to drop in price before reading this one, because I don’t want to be waiting for ages if I love it.
4. Umbrella Academy volume 1 by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá
This is on my January TBR list, so I won’t discuss it in any detail here, but I am reliving my teenage My Chemical Romance obsession through the medium of graphic novel with this one. The plot reminds me of X-Men, so I’m interested to see how it compares and how it differs.
I attended the Erin Morgenstern book talk and signing at Liverpool central library back in November and got chatting to a lovely woman afterwards who heartily recommended The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater to me. My partner overheard this conversation and kindly got me a copy for my birthday, which was shortly after the talk. This was incredibly thoughtful, and I’m hoping to consume the entire series in 2020 if I enjoy the first. On the same trip, we went to Waterstones and I picked out We That Are Young, which chronicles the lives of a family in India, exploring the economy, social structure and religions of a country I know very little about. The concept reminds me somewhat of Zadie Smith, so I’m excited to read it later in the year.
I read Isabel Allende for the first time in 2019 and thought her writing style was succinct and compelling, so put her book The Japanese Lover on my wishlist and subsequently received it for my birthday. Allende is releasing a new novel at the end of January, but I would like to read some of her backlist titles before I tackle a new release.
My final birthday gift was a piece of non-fiction I have been highly anticipating reading. The Age of Surveillance Capitalism has intrigued me since the release, but I didn’t want to be carrying around a massive hardback copy of the book, so I waited for the paperback. I’m deeply interested in surveillance, privacy and censorship as sociological topics, so I will most likely tackle this one in the first half of the year.
Books I Received for Christmas:
Aside from A History of the World in 21 Women, which was gifted to me by my partner after a resident at work recommended it to me, I bought all of these books with birthday/Christmas vouchers and money.
Human Acts and Neverwhere were purchased because I have read previous examples of each author’s work and wanted to continue working my way through their respective bibliographies. Similarly, I chose The Wicked King because I read The Cruel Prince at the beginning of December and was compelled to continue. However, the other books were chosen based on reviews and the authors. After reading both of Samanta Schweblin‘s books that have been translated into English, I have been craving more Argentinian literature written by women and Things We Lost in the Fire perfectly fits the bill. Coincidentally, Megan McDowell is the translator for both authors, so hopefully this book has the same vibe. Sarah Hall and Sarah Waters are both highly esteemed authors I have never tried before, so I thought I’d buy one book from each and just give them a go. They sound like my cup of tea, and each Sarah has a fairly extensive bibliography, so if I like these choices, I will have plenty to choose from later.
Books I Bought Myself:
The final category in this book haul is comprised of books I bought for myself because they were on sale. This haul is thriller heavy, because there have been a number of 2019 thriller releases that have piqued my interest, and although I don’t normally read from this genre, I thought I would give them a go whilst they were on mega sale. The Family Upstairs was my first read of 2020 and I’m keen to get to The Silent Patient and The Lost Man in the subsequent months, particularly the latter as I don’t tend to consume a great deal of Australian literature and I like to broaden my horizons.
Two of my reading goals for 2020 are to read more short story collections and to read more non-fiction, so I attempted to meet these criteria with this haul. Her Body and Other Parties and Things We Say in the Dark are both feminist short story collections concerning the female body and mind amongst other topics, and they’re both firmly on my January TBR list. Guest House for Young Widows will be a difficult read, but one which I believe will be important, so I predict it will be on my February TBR list, as I’m already reading two non-fiction books this month and I don’t want to overwhelm myself.
Finally, Beartown and My Year of Rest and Relaxation are backlist titles I have been interested in trying for a while, and I decided to get them whilst they were on sale. Funnily enough, Fredrik Backman and Ottessa Moshfegh are two people I believe could become favourite authors in 2020, so it seems fitting they exist in the same haul together.
As you can see, there are quite a few books in this haul, but aside from new releases I wish to purchase, these should keep me going for a while and I’m brimming with excitement for each of them.
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