Hello, reader!

As part of my 2023 resolution, I will be doing a book tag monthly. I had the same resolution last year but my streak was finally broken. To make up for it, I resolved to do at least one per month this year. For April, I have decided on the Quarter Year Crisis Book Tag. This reminds me, April is about to end which means that we are already done with a third of the year. Nevertheless, I will be doing this book tag which was originally created by Roisin @Roisin’s Reading over on BookTube.

How many books have you read so far?

As of the end of the first quarter, I have completed 27 books, a figure which was above my target. That is also above my normal numbers. My target for the year is a modest 70 books but I am still hoping to finish at least 100 books. I set a more conservative figure although 100 seems to be a plausible target as currently I am reading my 42nd book for the year. I’m excited to see if I can beat my number for 2022!

Have you already found a book you think might be a 2023 favorite? If not, what was your favorite book you read that wasn’t quite five stars?

This one is a rather difficult question to answer. Several books have stood out and these four books are just among them. James Joyce’s Ulysses is certainly an unexpected choice. Even I would admit that. I did struggle with this labyrinthine and complex literary classic. In the end, it was worth it. I also liked Shehan Karunatilaka’s The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, the winner of the 2022 Booker Prize in Fiction. It was an insightful albeit gory look at a tumultuous phase in Sri Lanka’s modern history. Interestingly, it was Barkar Kingsolver’s latest novel, Demon Copperhead that officially opened my 2023 reading journey. I wasn’t originally planning on reading it but after I encountered several positive reviews of the book, I was finally convinced. I am glad I read the book.

Any 1-star books / least favorite book of the year?

It is rare for me to rate a book with one star. If my memory serves me right, two was the lowest rating I gave to any book. Anyway, my least favorite book for the year, so far, is J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy. I proceeded with the book even though I was apprehensive about it because of the controversies regarding the Harry Potter author. While it was no Harry Potter in magnitude or even imagination, the writing in The Casual Vacancy was still beautiful. The story, however, was mediocre at best.

Most read genre so far?

I haven’t been keeping track of the genres I read but I think it would be a toss between historical and literary fiction. If it is going to be limited to as of March 31, historical fiction would be my only answer. Historically, has been my most-read genre and it is also one of my go-to genres. But this year, I think literary fiction will be upstaging it. Just maybe.

A book that surprised you?

This is, I think, a different kind of surprise, at least from what I understand of the question. The Women of Troy is my second novel by Pat Barker, after The Silence of the Girls. The former is the sequel of the latter. The Silence of the Girls, while I liked it because it was inspired by Greek mythology, was underwhelming. I read The Women of Troy with the mindset that I might get disappointed. Surprise, surprise. I was wrong. The Women of Troy‘s writing and execution were a tad better than its predecessor. The story flowed more smoothly.

A book that’s come out in 2023 already that you want to read but haven’t yet?

Actually, I have quite a lot, considering that I have read only one new book so far this year. I am going to be a little belligerent here and I won’t be naming just one or even two books. All of these four books are part of my 2023 Top 10 Books I Look Forward to. I already have a copy of Ann Napolitano’s Hello Beautiful and Deepti Kapoor’s Age of Vice while I am just waiting for my copy of Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah’s Chain-Gang All-Stars to be delivered. Abraham Verghese’s The Covenant of Water, so far, is not available in my local bookstore.

One goal you made that you’re succeeding at

Reading more works of non-American writers. When I decided to focus on my reading challenges during the second semester of 2022, I realized that the majority of books I listed for challenges were works of American writers. Going through the list of books I have read, I also noted that more than half of the books I read were written by American writers. They also dominate my most-read writers list. As such, I have decided to reduce the ratio of American writers to global writers this year. The ratio I have in mind is a quarter to three quarters. So far, this target is on track because of the 27 books I read so far this year, only five were written by American writers; do note that two of these five writers had other heritages.

One goal you made that you need to focus on

Reading more and buying less. This is an annual goal and not once did I achieve it. Glad to say that I am again on track to not fulfilling this goal. LOL. Maybe next year? Why are there too many good books out there?

New to you Bloggers/Booktubers/ Bookstagrammers/Booktokers for 2023 you recommend?

Honestly, I rarely blog hop now. My focus has been on completing all my pending write-ups and, of course, my job. I also am not into booktube, bookstagram, or booktok. I also haven’t discovered any new-to-me book bloggers because, again, I haven’t had time to comb through their portfolios. Hopefully, I get the time to check up on fellow book bloggers.