summer 2020 roundup

Although there’s still a few weeks left of summer here in the Northern Hemisphere, today officially marks the end of the season for me, as I start my college orientation today! I thought now would be a good point to do a little reflection of the reading I’ve done this season.

The end of August marked two milestones for me. First, I reached 300 followers on my Bookstagram! This was super exciting for me, as I’ve been running my account since 2015 and, although numbers don’t equate to worth, it’s still incredibly validating to know that there are over 300 people who want to engage with my posts. It’s a mark of the community I’ve found on Bookstagram. But secondly, and even more fulfilling, I met my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal for the first time!

I’ve been participating in the annual challenge since 2017. I discuss this more in my 2019 Roundup, but I’ve been setting my goal to 50 books each year, despite never reaching that goal. So this January, I decided to extend more grace and honesty toward myself and I set my goal to 25 books. I can’t explain how accomplished I felt when I was able to mark my 25th book of the year as finished!

Although I’ve consistently read more than 25 books in past years, there is a huge difference in mindset when I see that I’ve exceeded my goal in comparison to seeing that I’ve only partially met it. Rather than feeling ashamed and beating myself up for it, I am filled with pride when I see the same number. And upon reflection, this difference in reaction is so much more important and stark than I’d thought beforehand.

Perhaps I haven’t read any more this year than I have in previous years. Or perhaps I have, but it’s only because I’ve been privileged enough to be stuck at home during this pandemic, while in past years I’ve been busy with other responsibilities during the summer. Regardless of the reason, I still feel proud of myself for intentionally and repeatedly choosing to read.

I really pushed myself a lot to read more, especially this summer. I participated in The Reading Rush and Nostalgiathon. I joined the Subtle Asian Book Club and Eleni Arizona’s Trick Mirror Book Club. I’ve made frequent trips to the library, and have set mini-goals for myself. I think I’ve grown a lot as a reader and as a person by taking these actions, and I’m immensely proud of that growth.

Although there’s still a few weeks left of summer here in the Northern Hemisphere, today officially marks the end of the season for me, as I start my college orientation today! I thought now would be a good point to do a little reflection of the reading I’ve done this season. Here’s all the books I read for the first time between the start of summer until now:

  1. Love, Creekwood by Becky Albertalli 5/5 – A really cute and well-written novella that I loved. Read my full review here!
  2. Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad 5/5 – I learned so much from this book, and it really led me through some deep reflection about myself and how I am a part of the system of white supremacy.
  3. The Color Purple by Alice Walker 5/5 – An incredibly-written and powerful story that left an impact.
  4. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy 5/5 – A super enjoyable read; I love Tolstoy’s style.
  5. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong 4.5/5 – This left a huge mark on me; the writing is absolutely gorgeous and incredibly poignant. Read my full review here!
  6. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott 5/5 – A cozy classic; I couldn’t help but love all the characters and the relationships between them.
  7. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison 5/5 – Morrison is such a great writer, and this book is an unforgettable masterpiece.
  8. Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid 4/5 – The voice in this book is amazing, the storylines impressive. It peels back the layers of white saviorism, which led to a lot of self-reflection.
  9. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon 4/5 – An extremely cute and fun book, that also explores a lot of the nuances of growing up as an Asian-American (specifically Indian-American).
  10. The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang 5/5 – I can’t say enough about this book; R.F. Kuang is a genius, and I could not put down this book. Every aspect of it is superb.
  11. In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan 5/5 – I loved everything about this book, especially its characters. Read my full review here!
  12. Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston 4.5/5 – This story was so fun to read; it was hilarious and cute and triumphant.
  13. Normal People by Sally Rooney 3.5/5 – I have so many mixed feelings about this book? I’m not sure whether I love or hate the style and the “plot” (or what existed of it, anyway). I will say that Rooney is a talented storyteller, and I did come to care for the protagonists and their story by the end.
  14. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas 5/5 – Infinite stars to this one; powerful and important, full of tragedy but also wit and triumph and love. I love the voice and the characters and pretty much everything about this book.
  15. Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson 5/5 – A really thought-provoking and eye-opening read. I learned so much from this memoir, and it was incredibly powerful to read, to see the stories of so many up close.

If you’ve read any of these books, please let me know and share your thoughts so we can discuss! There are so many things I have to say about all of these stories and I’d love to talk about them.

Like I mentioned, I’m officially starting college today. I’m not sure what that means for Lost in the Bookstacks; I really love this space, and I want to try as hard as I can to maintain it. However, academics come first, and since this is my first time experiencing college ever—remotely, no less—I have no idea what my days will look like. I do know that the time I’ll have for reading will be less, which also means less time to blog and engage on my socials at the level I have been throughout this summer, during which I’ve had a lot of free time on my hands. So we’ll have to see how it goes, and play it by ear.

Nevertheless, I’m excited to continue growing as a reader and as a member of this online book community! I will definitely still be sharing about the books I’m reading and my thoughts on them, which will now be informed in part by what I’m learning in college, which I’m super excited about. I’ll talk to you guys more in my next post, but until then, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me through my socials!

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Author: april | lostinthebookstacks

hello! i'm april (she/her), an asian american reader who’s passionate about words and scallion pancakes.

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