2022 is slowly drawing to a close. Within a couple of days, we will be greeting a new year. I am both anxious and excited about what the new year will usher in. But I am hopeful that the new year will be brimming with nothing but blessings and great news. The past three years have been filled with anxiety and uncertainty because of COVID-19. Who’d have thought that an invisible enemy would slow down our fast-paced lives, and alter it in ways we never would have expected in our lifetimes. But for the first time in a while, we will be welcoming the new year with more hope. Well, hope was the one that fueled us in the past three years. Hope, after all, springs eternal.

With less than two weeks to go, I have but one more thing to tick off – a book tag for December. At the start of the year, I resolved to do at least one book tag per month. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to hold on to the promise as it has been a while since I did one. Nevertheless, I will try to make up for the lost time. 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 2022 version of End of Year Book Tag; the last time I did the tag was back in 2020.

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

The most logical answer: my current read! Haha. Earlier today, I finished Vikram Seth’s hefty book, A Suitable Boy, effectively completing two of my active reading lists. This has also helped fulfill one of my lifelong goals: reading 100 books in a year. But once the dust settled, I have to get back on course. I had a lot of books in mind as a succeeding read but I have already planned on reading Douglas Stuart’s sophomore novel, Young Mungo. I know many will recognize Stuart as his debut novel Shuggie Bain won the 2020 Booker Prize in Fiction. It was also his debut novel that compelled me to add his latest work to my reading list. I have started reading the book and I can sense that it shares several elements with Shuggie Bain. I can’t wait to see what it has to offer. After Young Mungo, I have lined up David Diop’s At Night All Blood is Black, the winner of the 2021 International Booker Prize before I try ticking out more 2022 books.

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

As I live in the tropics, we really don’t 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 naming Barbara Kingsolver’s latest novel Demon Copperhead. According to Google, autumn will end on December 23 and I expect that by that time, I will be reading Demon Copperfield. Either that or the aforementioned At Night All Blood is Black. Regardless, I am looking forward to both books and I can’t wait to see what both boos will offer me.

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

There are a lot of 2022 releases that I am still waiting for – and by this, I mean waiting to have a copy of – but there is something about Oscar Hokeah’s Calling for A Blanket Dance that makes it stand out. Woah. I just learned that it was Hokeah’s debut novel. Moreover, there seems to be a lot of hype surrounding the book that I can’t wait to dip my toes into it. I am just hoping it becomes available here in the Philippines because I have been going back and forth to my favorite book store but the book is still nowhere to be seen.

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

On top of the two books I have mentioned above, I am hoping to end the year with a bang. One book that has recently caught my attention was Gabrielle Zevin’s Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow. I did actually encounter the book earlier this year. Following its release, I kept on encountering glowing accounts of the book. However, I found both the title and the cover not par with my expectations, hence, I pushed it to the back of my mind. Things changed toward the end of the year after the book was listed on many Best 2022 Books lists. At the end of the day, I can’t help but jump on the bandwagon.

Another book that I received positive recommendations for was Tara M. Stringfellow’s Memphis. I actually acquired a copy of the book earlier this year. This was despite the fact that I had no iota about who Stringfellow was or what the book was about. There was something about the book and its cover that immediately reeled me in. I got the affirmation I needed when a fellow book reader said that it was one of their favorite books of the year. I can’t wait to see what both books hold.

Have you already started making reading plans for 2023?

As early as now, I am already planning what my reading journey in 2023 will look like. I have been on the lookout for books to be published in 2023 that I can add to my 2023 Top 10 Books I Look Forward To, a reading challenge I have not succeeded in even just once. Anyway, I can’t wait to explore writers whose prose I have not read previously. My priority this coming year, however, is to complete all my pending book reviews. And I have quite a lot although I have been trying to tick off as many as I can. I think I have about forty-five. This is the same case I had toward the end of 2021 when I had nearly 50 books pending review.

Apart from the two goals above, I have also been going over my reading list. My goal is to churn out a list of 23 books that I will include in my 2023 Top 23 Reading List. This is an annual tradition already and one that I am always looking forward to creating. Oh. I already have one book in mind: James Joyce’s Ulysses. Actually, Ulysses was part of my 2017 Top 20 Reading List. However, I gave up on the book midway through reading it. I cannot make sense of the story and, until now, it is the only book that I did not finish. I did make one promise, however. I will make it my 1,000th novel, placing it in a more meaningful place in my reading journey. As of now, I am just eleven books short of breaching the four-digit mark. I am actually anxious but also excited about this re-encounter.

As to how the rest of the year will figure out, I am still in the dark. I do feel like dedicating a reading month to reading the works of Nobel Prize in Literature awardees; I did plan to have one this year but it never materialized as I had to focus on my reading challenges toward the end of the year. Some of the names that I have in mind are Halldór Laxness, Knut Hamsun, José Saramago, Thomas Mann, and Doris Lessing. I am also thinking about doing rounds of Latin American and African literature. Hmmm. Maybe I ought to do a Year of Asian Literature Reading Challenge or a Year of African Literature Reading Challenge. I can do both really but I might be miserable if I fail in either! Haha.

There are so many things to do before the year ends and so many things to look forward to in 2023. 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!