Have I read my most anticipated releases of 2019?

Twice a year I post lists of books I am super excited about reading – and I wanted to see whether I have actually read those books and whether I liked them or not. My reading was fairly odd last year, so I am assuming I won’t have done as well as I did in 2018.

For the first half of the year I featured ten books I could not wait to get to.

  1. The Collected Schizophrenias by Esmé Weijun Wang. I LOVED this.
  2. The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders. Sadly I could not get into this book. I am fairly sure that had more to do with my wonky reading mood during 2019 and I will try to read this again at some other point because I do love Anders’ writing.
  3. Mother Winter by Sophia Shalmiyev. This seemed custom-made for me but somehow did not quite work for me.
  4. Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James. I hyped this up so much in my head and ended up bouncing off it, hard. I hated the casual violence too much to keep reading it.
  5. Long Live The Tribe Of Fatherless Girls by T Kira Madden. This is SUCH a good memoir that I cannot recommend highly enough.
  6. Storm of Locusts (The Sixth World #2) by Rebecca Roanhorse. I loved this even more than I loved the first book in the series and will from now on read every adult book Roanhorse publishes. She is just brilliant.
  7. What My Mother And I Don’t Talk About ed. by Michele Filgate. I realized after adding this book to my list that the contributors include men – so I did not get to it yet but I am planning on buying it soon.
  8. The Witches Are Coming by Lindy West. The publication date kept being pushed back but I now own this and will hopefully get to it soon.
  9. No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us by Rachel Louise Snyder. I would like to listen to the audiobook of this but haven’t yet found it.
  10. The Dragon Republic by R. F. Kuang. I tried reading this for months but I was just not in the mental headspace to deal with its relentless bleakness and the brutality of the storyline. I am unsure whether I will ever be back in the reading mood for this.

I only read four of these books and DNFed an additional two. This is depressing.

For the second half of the year I named ten books I was super excited about.

  1. Three Women by Lisa Taddeo. I have not gotten around to this book yet but I am still super excited about it.
  2. The Need by Helen Phillips. Again, I did not get to this. I am currently trying not to buy too many books and also maybe a horror novel about pregnancy/ children is not the best idea at the moment. I still want to get to it at some point!
  3. I’m Telling the Truth But I’m Lying by Bassey Ikpi. I sadly did not love this. I found te reading experience difficult even if I can appreciate what Ikpi does on an intellectual level.
  4. Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino. I thought this was absolutely brilliant. I listened to the audiobook which is my favourite way of consuming non-fiction.
  5. Shelf Life by Livia Franchini. I read but didn’t love this.
  6. Pet by Akwaeke Emezi. I haven’t even bought this one yet. Middle Grade is just never the age range I get excited about.
  7. In the Dream House my Carmen Maria Machado. I am still waiting for the audiobook to make it to Audible Germany. I prefer listening to memoirs on audio.
  8. How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones. I can now read this! Once I buy it, that is.
  9. Ordinary Girls by Jaquira Diaz. Another one that I am beyond excited about that I did not even purchase yet.
  10. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. I cannot believe I haven’t gotten around to buying this yet.

I only read three of these books and loved only one. This is even more depressing than the first part of this post. I really did not do too brilliantly on this – which was kind of to be expected, given how weird my reading year went. I hope this year will go better, most anticipated releases wise. (you can find my first post for 2019 here)

Mini-Reviews: Memoirs by Emilie Pine, Bassey Ikpi & Sarah Manguso

This last month I read three non-fiction titles about women’s embodied experience. The three books were very different and still fairly comparable to each other.

Notes to Self by Emilie Pine

42373438._sy475_I was so very hyped for this book – on paper it sounds like everything I love in non-fiction (themes of feminism and bodily autonomy amongst other thing) and it came so very highly recommended that I was very sure I would love it. I did not love it. It’s a perfectly fine book, interesting and important, but it also does not feel like it offers anything new. I found Pine’s language straight-forward and bordering on boring, and her ideas not particularly groundbreaking. This feels like a mean way of talking about a book that deals with so many important and heartbreaking things, but as it is, I found one of the later essays (“Something About Me” which wasn’t as polished but still felt the most real) by far the stand-out from this collection.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Content warning: infertility, miscarrriage, late still birth, alcoholism, drug abuse, rape, sexual assault

I am Telling the Truth but I’m Lying by Bassey Ikpi

40222541One of my most anticipated reads of the year, this sadly did not completely work for me. I found it very difficult to spend time in Ikpi’s head – especially during the parts when her mental illness was not yet diagnosed. She unflinchingly shines a light on her behaviour without ever giving herself the benefit of filtering it through the lense of her later diagnosis. As part of her symptoms are irritability and self-hate, this made for a very difficult reading experience. I can intellectually absolutely appreciate what she achieves here, it also means that this is a book I am unlikely to ever read again.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Content warning: depictions of depression and manic episodes, eating disorders, childhood abuse, spousal abuse

The Two Kinds of Decay by Sarah Manguso

11455027I love Manguso’s writing and have been rationing her non-fiction for figurative rainy days. Her memoir about her “lost” nine years of dealing with a rare auto-immune disease and subsequent mental illness, does everything her other books does as well. She writes the most exquisite sentences and her use of paragraph breaks is wonderful, but here she also manages to give such an honest and unflinching insight into her suffering that this might be my favourite of her books so far. The book gets fairly graphic in its descriptions of different medical procedures but the matter of factness and the glimpses of Manguso’s inner life made this a really satisfying reading experience nonetheless. Manguso is as navelgazing as ever – but I happen to really like that in her memoirs.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Content warning: detailed descriptions on medical procedures, involuntary section, suicidal ideation.

Most anticipated releases of the second half of 2019

I love compiling these lists because I love getting excited for books. So far this year I haven’t done so great at actually reading my anticipated releases (here are the ones for the first half of the year) but who knows, maybe that’ll change. Spoiler alert: for somebody who has only read like 3 non-fiction titles this year, I sure am looking forward to many memoirs. I really need to get my reading back to normality.

44795725._sy475_Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

Bloomsbury, July 9th
Genre: Non-Fiction

Every review of this I have seen has been glowing – and it sounds like it could be just the perfect book for me. I love non-fiction about women.

46374237._sy475_The Need by Helen Phillips

Penguin / Viking, July 16th
Genre: Horror, Fiction

I read Helen Philips’ short story collection Some Possible Solutions a while ago and while I didn’t enjoy every story, those I liked I absolutely loved. I also think her vague and metaphorical style might really work for me in novel form. I also am always interesting in books about motherhood – and one with a horror slant sounds like just the book for me.

40222541I’m Telling the Truth But I’m Lying by Bassey Ikpi

Harper Perennial, August 6th
Genre: Essay Collection

I am mostly excited for this because Akwaeke Emezi loved it – and I figure everything they love, I’ll love. I also really love personal essay collections, I adore the title, and I usually enjoy the non fiction titles I read published by Harper, so this should be right up my alley.

43126457Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino

Random House, August 6th
Genre: Essay Collection

I love Tolentino’s writing and am super excited about a full length essay collection by her. I cannot see myself not loving this. I also adore the old school hipster style cover more than I am comfortable admitting.

43862291Shelf Life by Livia Franchini

Doubleday, August 23rd
Genre: Fiction

This sounds absolutely excellent and I do adore the cover (always a plus). I love stories about women whose life have exploded around them – and this one seems to be interestingly structured as well.

44032417._sy475_Pet by Akwaeke Emezi

Faber&Faber, September 10th
Genre: YA, Fantasy

I know nearly nothing about this book except that for Emezi I am willing to read a YA novel. Their writing is exciting without end and while I am even more excited for their upcoming adult novel, I will be reading this nonetheless. But the cover is killing me (and not in the good way).

42188604In the Dream House my Carmen Maria Machado

Graywolf Press, October 1st
Genre: Memoir

This is the book I am most excited about. I adore Machado’s writing and this memoir sounds incredible (it has been getting a steady number of intriguingly high praise).

43682552How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones

Simon and Schuster, October 8th
Genre: Memoir

This is the first book published this year that made me cross with myself for choosing to not read any books written by men. I will be reading this the moment 2020 roles around. I love Jones’ writing and this memoir sounds incredible.

42152409Ordinary Girls by Jaquira Diaz

Algonquin Books, October 29th
Genre: Memoir

This is comped to Myriam Gurba’s Mean and Marie Terese Mailhot’s Heartberries. Both of which I adored.

42730332._sx318_The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Harvill Secker, November 5th
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Like many others, I adore The Night Circus. So when Morgenstern’s new book finally got announced, I like many others, squealed. I cannot wait to read this. But the covers are all truly awful.

What are some of the books you are looking forward to?