Book Lists

Mid-Year Book Check-in

My mid-year book check-in for 2024! I can’t believe we’re already into the second half of the year! On the upside, my Height in Books challenge is right on track. I can’t slow down, but for the first time in a long time, I have a really good shot at making it. If you want to keep track of how it’s going I post progress photos in my Facebook Reader’s Group, and on my author Instagram account.

But, without any further ado… here’s a recap of my year in books (so far!)

My Top Reads

These have been stand-out reads, ones that I would recommend in bookish conversation, though it would depend on who I am talking to. I don’t like to rank books (because it’s so subjective), so these are in no particular order, but I will try to include the target market as much as possible to avoid emotional scarring.

  1. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. This book is life-changing. I don’t want to say too much, because it is included in a very special list coming out later this month, but suffice it to say I cannot praise it enough. It is one of my all-time favorite books. It is beautiful, and haunting, and will cut you to ribbons then piece you back together again. There are, however, massive triggers. Do your research first, please. Due to the sensitive content, I also suggest this one for 18+.
  2. Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas. This is not a book I would typically pick up, because I am not a reader of spicy tales. But I was sent this by Penguin Random House, and I trust Penguin Random House, so I dived right in. Birthday Girl was very out of my comfort zone, but I was hooked from the first page! The story does include an age gap trope (older man/younger woman) but don’t be alarmed. It’s far from gerontophilia, I promise. It was quite sexy, if I’m being honest… I’d highly recommend this one for romance readers who like spicy books and taboo relationships. Not for high-brow readers!
  3. Clytemnestra by Costanza Casati. I have always been fascinated by Greek Mythology. I think most fantasy authors are, but I get a special little thrill when a book like this lands on my desk. Firstly, it is notable to mention that Costanza Casati is incredibly bright. She studied Ancient Greek under one of Italy’s most rigorous academic programs and went on to earn an MA in the U.K. Her education shines through in her writing. This book is not only brilliantly written, but it is also clever, and extensively well-researched. If you are a fan of mythology-inspired fiction, this book is for you. I listened to it on Audible and the narration was brilliant!
  4. Quit Like a Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed with Alcohol by Holly Whitaker. Don’t let the world’s longest title put you off, this book was brilliant. it is brutal but honest. Holly Whitaker leaves everything on the table, including her dignity at times, as she recalls how she got to the top on her back, and the humiliation of the blackouts she experienced after a bout of heavy drinking. I recommend every woman read this book to get a better understanding of the nature of their relationship with alcohol, whatever that relationship might be. My only critique is that there are parts that venture into toxic feminism territory, so be aware.
  5. The Fury by Alex Michaelides. My whodunnit of the year, this kept me guessing until the very end. I’ve been a fan of Michaelides since The Silent Patient and this book cemented that fact.
  6. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. An epic re-read of a book that needs no introduction. If you haven’t read it, you have done yourself a disservice!
  7. Binding 13 by Chloe Walsh. A case of TikTok made me read it, this series was surprising. I felt guilty that I was so addicted… being a forty-something-year-old woman, the teen-character-mature-content theme always makes me a bit uncomfortable, but I absolutely adored this. The only way it could have been better is if the characters were a bit older, but then I guess the plot wouldn’t have worked… read it if you dare. But beware of the triggers!
  8. Girl Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis. I re-listen to this on Audible at least once every eighteen months. It always gets me fired up and ready to be the best version of myself, without leaning into toxic feminism (huzzah!). If people are starting their self-help journey, this is my go-to recommendation.

I’ve only featured 8 of the 32 books I’ve read this year because I’d be here all day if I recapped everything. However, honorable mention must be made of the following books: The Holy Bible, for obvious reasons (I’ll share how I did it in an upcoming post) and The Other Side of Evil because it was written by my cousin! If you are a member of The Secret Book Club on Facebook, you should check it out for bonus points in the TSBC reading challenge.

Until next time, read hard!

MD x

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