When 2020 opened its door to a new decade, everyone was filled with excitement. But things took a wrong turn and, without stating the very obvious, 2020 has been a challenging year for everyone. Who’d have thought that an invisible enemy would slow down our fast paced lives, alter it in ways we never would have expected in our lifetimes. And so we arrive to the last month of the year, down but not defeated. In a way, this pandemic also made us ruminate on our lives and reevaluate the things that are most precious to us. I hope everyone is safe.

With one more month to go, I have but one more thing to tick off – a book tag for December and what fitting book tag but a tag that allows readers to talk about books that they have to complete before the year draws to a close. And for me, there’s a lot that I want and need to finish! Without any more ado, here’s my version of End of Year Book Tag.

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

The most logical answer – my current read! Haha. My current read is Hungarian novelist Peter Nadas’ Parallel Stories. It is part of my 2020 Top 20 Reading List and is actually the last book from the list. It also marks a milestone as this is my 800th novel (wow, I never thought I’d ever cross this mark). I am just less than 200 pages short of completing this colossal book. I hope I complete it soon because I have a lot of books I want to read before the year ends.

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

I live in the tropics so we really don’t get to experience autumn; in fact, I had to travel to South Korea just to experience my first autumn foliage. Unfortunately, none of the books I have lined up for reading is considered an “autumnal book” but I am putting C. Pam Zhang’s debut novel, How Much of These Hills is Gold because the color reminded me somehow of autumn. Her friend, Brad Taylor’s Real Life would have suited this question fine but I don’t have a copy of his book, sadly.

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

2020 was unexpected, in many ways. Reading-wise, it has taken quite a turn that I did not expect. As you must know by now, I am a backlist type of reader (perhaps to catchup for all those that I’ve missed). It is then very unusual for me to immerse in “new books” but I did! I have read almost 20 new books, a personal record and I am about to read more this December. With this being said, I think I have already met my quota of 2020 releases and none of the December “anticipated” releases piqued my curiosity.

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

Oh, an award-winning ensemble. C. Pam Zhang’s How Much of These Hills is Gold, longlisted for this year’s Man Booker Prize, was part of my 2020 Top 10 Books I Look Forward To list. Unfortunately, it was a challenge availing a copy of the book. Thankfully, I managed to discover an online bookseller who had an available copy of the book. I am then in a rush to read the book. Another book from the same list is Isabel Ibanez’s Woven in Moonlight also took me months to find a copy but I have one now so I am hoping to finish it before the year ends.

However, if there are books that I am also looking forward to, it would be Charles Yu’s Interior Chinatown and Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet. They were both under my reading radar, hence, their non-inclusion in my 2020 Top 10 Books I Look Forward to list. They are also names that I am unfamiliar with. What changed? The former won the National Book Award in Fiction while the latter won the Women’s Prize for Fiction. Needless to say, I have to jump into the bandwagon.

Have you already started making reading plans for 2021?

I wasn’t really keen on planning to but I am unconsciously looking ahead. 2021 is just right over the corner so all the obligatory wrap ups are in line. These past few days, I have been perusing my bookshelves to look for book to include in my 2021 Top 20 Reading List (might be 21 in line with the year). There are so many candidates but the presence of so many candidates is also making it doubly hard to choose which ones to include haha.

I am also slowly crafting my 2021 Books I Look Forward to list. So far, it is only Nobel Laureate in Literature Kazuo Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun that has caught my fancy but I am excusing him from the list because I want the list to include authors I am unfamiliar with. I am also reconsidering if I want to do another round of this list. In 2020, I managed to read most of the books in my list (so far six out of ten, with two more in line). However, most of them fell below my expectation. Maybe I just have such lofty expectations. If you have a good book in mind that is going to be published in 2021, don’t hesitate in sharing it in the comment box.

More of my 2021 plans. I am planning to have a South American Literature reading month because I’ve done nearly every other region – Asian, American, European, and lately, African – so I guess it is but imperative to immerse into the works of more Hispanic writers. I actually bought a couple of books written by Hispanic writers without realizing that the writers were Hispanic. Currently, I am torn if I am going to do an Year of Asian Literature Reading Challenge or Year of African Literature Reading Challenge. I might take both! Haha.

There are so many things to do before the year ends and so many things to look forward to in 2021. I am hoping for success on both ends.

As always, I am not going to tag anyone to do the tag. However, if you want to do your own version, feel free to do so. Just don’t forget to tag me so that I can check out your answers!

Happy reading everyone!