the end of the year book tag (or the only thing anoushka ever does that’s on time) (SHUT UP my sense of time is perfect)

(i do realize that the title might just be a smol massive lie because based on public consensus everyone will tell you that this tag is actually supposed to be a november occurrence BUT I WRITE MID-YEAR WRAP UPS IN SEPTEMBERS OKAY LET ME HAVE THIS)

it’s that time of the year again. when the world is teetering on yearly boundaries and our little blue planet in the hidden confines of the milky way is about to have it’s ridiculously huge-numbered birthday again (the earth is an old place)

for most people, that’s a scary time. BECAUSE OHMYGOSH TIME!!!! I’M RUNNING OUT!!!!! WHAT DO I DOOOOO (cue sob. and more sobs. and a rainstorm)

but if you’re a bookworm, it’s a scarier time. because you’re like the normal mortals too, in that the world comes one year closer to its demise and you do too, but also because your life is deadly in a way that the sane humans will never understand (they’re dumb okay).

you have bigger and more immediate threats to worry about. like the million-and-one-and-another-two-hundred books you told everyone you were going to read but never did?? REMEMBER THOSE, GRETCHEN?? and how it’s only going to be a matter of time before someone catches up with all your lies and the dragons under your bed come out to devour you whole.

or how this was the year you were definitely a hundred frickin percent going to stay on top of the blogging game and very stealthily conquer the world one day (this is me. i make dumb promises sometimes) (but you shut up about that i have already booked all of friday night to repentantly cry about my many failures SO WE’LL TALK THEN)

on that (controversially) happy (?) note, let me welcome you to some of the last plans people make for the-year-that’s-about-to-end and scream down your house (like the wolf in the three little pigs, but better. because this is for the stories) about all the books the questions tell me to talk about.

quick author’s note before we start:

there’s photos accompanying all the books mentioned (because books have covers and covers look pretty and all the google results tell me to put in photos everywhere so here we are) and those photos point to…. nowhere (do you know how much effort linking everything takes?? it makes my wrists hurt)

i’m kidding. you should actually be seriously obligated to me for the rest of your lives for doing this but i linked all of the 30-something books mentioned here.


so many actually.

(good to know that my answer to this question hasn’t changed a single letter since that last time i answered it a year ago)

(not really, though. it’s actually very sad. i already have unearthly levels of anxiety plaguing my life without the unasked-for addition of having to keep track of all the books i’m currently reading and juggling their massively many storylines. someday i will be a powerful force and only read one book at a time. but not today. or tomorrow. or the day after that either)

(but someday ok)

theo tan and the fox spirit by jesse q. sutanto: i have now come to realize that none of sutanto’s other books are as entertaining as her adult ones, but i didn’t know that yet when i started this one. it’s about a smol boy who lost his brother in a car crash. it’s also about said brother’s cute little animal companion who gets inherited by the smol boy’s brother (he’s called theo, by the way. because distinguishing between everyone is just getting plain awkward now) and they both hate each other and endlessly whine and banter respectively (by which i mean theo and the fox aka cute little animal companion. obviously. elder brother’s dead and no one can banter and/or whine from the dead). the fox spirit’s called kai AND SHE’S SASSY AND SO CUTE. i want to adopt a fox when i grow up and name her kai.

astrophysics for young people in a hurry by neil degrasse tyson: this book is my newest favorite thing on the planet. it’s so fun and cool and interesting and fun. this is also my third time reading it, BUT WHAT’S IT TO YOU HUH? it talks about anti-matter and the possibility of multiple-universes and i can now semi-confidently tell the universe that i understand one of it’s secrets and what dark-matter’s supposed to mean (no. that came out wrong. no one really understands dark matter. but i get to understand as much as any sane ordinary individual which is pretty feckin huge to where we were last year. so that)

the subtle art of not giving a f*ck by mark manson: this book is the absolute opposite of the previous one in every way imaginable. i mean, obviously. this one’s a self-help book with incredible amounts of swearing and the other’s about physics and talks about space and clears people’s life-long anti-matter confusions so. obviously. but also because i loved the last one and this one i hate. in the burn-the-world-down-because-that-means-i’d-also-get-to-burn-down-all-it’s-copies-ever-printed kind of way. it’s very boring and unoriginal and in-your-face and has a you’re-all-worthless-little-pricks philosophy.

look it’s probably true (the universe is so huge and we’re so small and what difference would it make in the grand scheme of things or to anyone except the people in your life whether you die happy or not) but no one would bother getting up from their beds every morning if that was preached at them every second of their existence and they never believed they had the potential to do so much more with their life.

so no thank you.

lovelight farms by b. k. borison: there’s this one scene where the main character discovers a family of cats living in her barn (or something like that. i’m chronically incapable of keeping track of place names and i like to think i’ve given up trying) and they all snuggle in people’s pockets and fall asleep wrapped around their neck or sitting on their shoulder and i. i want my cats to do that too. and i swear they love me but they don’t even voluntarily sit on my lap or let me carry them without violent struggling for more than .25 seconds so i’m skeptical. DO MY CATS NOT LIKE ME?? OR DO AMERICAN CATS BEHAVE DIFFERENT?? (look no one suggest it’s cat personality showing differently because it isn’t that. i’ve had atleast 40 different cat friends in my compound at some point AND NONE OF THEM EVER SNUGGLED IN THE CROOK OF MY NECK OK. i want this)

my conclusion is that the world is mean. and i need more cat friends.

you look like a thing and i love you by janelle shane: this is boring and outdated and i regret ever starting it. like i already know everything that’s said in this and so does anyone else who’s lived through the chatGPT era and the last two years of existence. maybe i’ll just quit.

to be a machine by mark o’connell: this turned out to be more philosophical than technical. which is fine, i guess (??) but not really what i was aiming for. so i’m miserable and declaring that this book sucks too (but i’m biased and went in with the absolute wrong expectations and also this put to me sleep 46 times and i’m only 50% percent through. so it’s all very what-the-hell-why-would-you-do-that-to-me toned conversations between the book and me lately)

the last tale of the flower bride by roshani chokshi: ha ok in an absolutely unexpected turn of events, i……… find this very boring. (look all these 637 different disappointing things are just books i’ve been in the middle of for the past two months but haven’t actually been reading because i’ve made it my grand mission in life to forget about their existence for as long as i’m able. which is until i absolutely HAVE to suck it up and finish them eventually. we’re still looking at how far we can possibly go that way. and it’s looking good)

(or like kind of bad actually, because if i don’t finish them until new year’s, i’m metaphorically throwing them down the trash. by which i mean i’m abandoning them and getting on with my life. comprising of cats and only smol weekly sessions reserved for all the books i shall never get around to reading ever again because i’m terrible and heartless and i abandoned them for the pigeons. I SHALL SOB)

i’d rather burn than bloom by shannon c. f. rogers: i’m very sorry to report that the only thing good about this book is it’s cover. (no but it’s cover is actually so pretty like aw pink skies look) it reminds me of akemi dawn bowman’s starfish sometimes even though they don’t technically share a lot of similarities (no look seriously. they aren’t that similar. but there’s these scenes in them both where the main characters are sitting at the kitchen counters with their moms and something sad happens. AND THEY REMIND ME OF EACH OTHER. but look just. don’t come suing me if you loved starfish and read the other because i told you they were similar when you found out they were not) but they’re also both stories of girls finding themselves again after lots of heartbreak so maybe they ARE similar. huh.

no wait hear me out. the raven boys book is technically already a favorite but maybe the only thing i’ll read before 2023 ends is the rest of the series (or maybe nothing. nothing sounds more probably, actually. now that i think about it). for the first time, obviously. (i’m not a nice person who reads books in order and completes an entire series right after completing the first book. I’M THE OPPOSITE AND I TAKE GREAT PRIDE IN IT DARN YOU) and i’m convinced (a little desperately) that i’ll atleast mildly like book 2 because the first one was masterpiece-ery.

  • this one time two years ago, i got ridiculously lucky and the library in my city had all the raven cycle books stacked together. which was something that had never happened before because apparently people read books around here and they’d decided on borrowing maggie stiefvater.
  • but anyway. i cackled hidden between the shelves and no one heard me. i also grabbed copies of all four books and for the first time in my life ran like people do. by which i mean: reasonably fast instead of my usual snail-paced.
  • so it’s unfortunate, after all the gushing i did on instagram, that i never really ended up reading any of them. i blame it, pretty overwhelmingly, on exams. the running happened in february and i had finals in march and i couldn’t like,,, fail.
  • after successfully not-failing, i travelled for a month and a bit and no one let me take library books along because i’m not trustworthy and prone to losing them (or so the humans say). so i gave them back.
  • and i have never found them all stacked together again. (well no i did this one time but i forgot my account password and couldn’t borrow anything. MY LIFE’S AWKWARD LIKE THAT)
  • i still haven’t found them all actually (which, considering the fact that i haven’t visited the library in over two months isn’t that surprising) but i’m flexible and i’m reading the ebooks.
  • (so there. now you have the full story)

we’re already into the very depths of winter (i think? i have no idea how winter’s measured. like is it only “the cold season” if it snows?? BUT THEN WHAT ABOUT PEOPLE LIKE ME WHO LIVE IN DESERTS? or what if global warming decides to kick the world and makes my coffee burn??) so this question’s kind of severely outdated right now, but ok. i’m agreeable today and shall bow to the demands of the tag-questions. SAY THANKS.

(but also i genuinely have no idea what comprises an autumn book so most of these are random and things i love)

little women by louisa may alcott: this starts at christmas so i think it’s pretty obvious. IT ALSO HAS JO WHO IS ONE OF THE MANY LOVES OF MY SMOL BOOKISH EXISTENCE. (i love her so much ok) it’s also kind of huge, i love the first part, am mildly distrustful of the second and i do not approve of friedrich bhaer. although i do ship amy and laurie even if i initially didn’t. AMY’S PERFECT (except for the part where she like burns people’s stories. but she’s perfect otherwise)

when you least expect it by haley cass: this has to be the most perfect matching i’ve ever done because autumn-transitioning-into-winter?? IT HAPPENS IN THIS BOOK. it has halloween and christmas and pumpkins and a main character who hates christmas and a smol kid who loves it. IT’S PERFECT. kind of.

(i realized later that nowhere in the question was the transition into winter mentioned so please ignore everything i just said and move on with your life. great thanks bye)

the very secret society of irregular witches by sangu mandanna: this has witches and magic and found family and adopted sisters who threaten to murder anyone who dares mess with them or anyone they love and it’s all very perfect for marketing (because people go wild over these things) (not me though. i’m phenomenal and can never be tricked I’M ONLY HERE FOR THE BASASS SISTERS). i have read it and can therefore confirm that it wasn’t, in fact, a perfect book. but it was fun and it talked about stardust and potion-making and there’s WITCHES. and smol kids and dogs. dogs are so cute i love them.

perfect on paper by sophie gonzales: i have no idea if this is autumnal or not, but the cover looks pretty?? and the same color as autumn. probably. ALSO IT’S A NICE BOOK SO I DON’T THINK ANYONE’S REALLY LOSING HERE. (it’s about a high school student who runs an anonymous love-advice business from locker number 89 and about a guy who catches her at it and hires her for advice on getting back his ex, in return for keeping her secret hidden. did i mention it’s very fun)

there are none.

look for one, i haven’t exactly been keeping track of them this year (yeah no whatever i have never consciously kept track of new releases because i’m a lazy cucumber and can’t be bothered. so).

also the year’s pretty much over and i’m drafting this too late so i’ve got nothing, really.

i shall, however, provide books that have already been released in 2023, but that i haven’t read yet (and kind of really want to)

the luis ortega survival club by sonora reyes: yes, i’ve been excitedly screeching about this to any and every human and/or cat who’ll listen since first having fallen in love with sonora reyes’ debut earlier last year. yes, i’ve been known to post about spending all of it’s release day reading it on the couch and crying over words (because sonora reyes writes beautiful ones). yes, i have also still not started it or planned on reading it or like,,, anything. MY LIFE IS CHAOS AND I HAVE NO ANSWERS.

ok that’s it i’m not answering any more questions at this time GOODBYE EVERYBODY.

heartstopper volume 5 by alice oseman: it’s ridiculous, considering how excited i’ve been for this, that the volume came out 14 days ago and i haven’t even acquired myself a copy yet. LIKE WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED OVER THERE. but omg i’ve been stalking the goodreads reviews and everyone keeps talking about this one fairy’s wheel scene and fairy’s wheels are amazing and terrible and i can’t wait to meet tori and nick and darcy AND EVERYBODY OKAY THIS IS SO EXCITING SOMEONE GIVE ME A HOLIDAY.

gwen and art are not in love by lex croucher: i’m proven trash for queer historical books and i like arthurian retellings and i love pretty covers and the color pink. this looks perfect and i’m reading it.

percy jackson and the chalice of the gods by rick riordan: YEAH NO BUT PERCY JACKSON GETTING A SIXTH INSTALLMENT WAS PURE WILDNESS LIKE WHAT EVEN. but i’m not complaining (unless it turns out to be another cursed child or something. because yes then i’m complaining) (but based on all the reviews i’ve been shamelessly stalking, i think it won’t come to that. SO THAT’S NICE) anyway. i was all confused about the order of reading all the riordan books though (no seriously. there’s like,,, SO MANY. how do people keep track of this) and elli very kindly helped me out (THANK YOU!!) and turns out reading heroes of olympus before installment #6 is probably the best idea so i’m going to go do that first (which loosely translates to “it’ll probably take me somewhere between a year and an entire century before i finally get to this, so anyone holding their hopes up, PLEASE drop them down. thank you.”)

ha this is hilarious because at the pace we’re currently at, i’m not even sure i’ll manage to read three. but also because there’s so many i was supposed to read when 2023 started that i haven’t even thought about. so choosing’s hard like that.

(also i’m going to be a rebel and blatantly contradict all the complaining i just did and give four)

legends and lattes by travis baldree: dude you have no idea how many times a week i try to talk myself into reading this in it’s whole 290-page entirety. but here’s the problem: i read 70% of it way back in february. and i remember ALL of it. so if i restart the book from the very beginning, i’ll bore myself. but if i start it from the 70% mark, I SHALL NOT GET ALL THE SMALL DETAILS. so i’m torn like that. DO I REREAD OR START AT 70%?? the most logical option in this scenario, obviously, is to not read it at all.

how to excavate a heart by jake maia arlow: THIS HAS A DOG ON THE COVER. i want a dog. i also want to read stories featuring dogs because even if all else fails, i’ll still have fun. because the dog. so i’m reading this. FOR THE DOGS, OKAY. I’LL DO ANYTHING.

emily wilde’s encyclopaedia of faeries by geather fawcett: this sounds kind of perfect, which is why i want to read it. but ok details: it features a main character who loves books and dogs and stories and folklore and is bad at people. it’s also about faeries and magic and a smol town and secrets.


here’s a brief glimpse into my 2024 tbr (gosh that feels so weird to write and think about) most of which i will abandon at some point and the rest of which i’ll forget. but i am made of empty promises so here’s one more.

never ever getting back together by sophie gonzales: maybe i’ll spend new years’ reading this with cocoa and blankets, but from where i’m standing, the chances look pretty slim. i was supposed to read this right now LAST year. and look at the places we’ve come since then. but cross your fingers, someone.

not good for maidens by tori bovalino: this is sapphic and i waited for it twenty million years but then never read it when it came out so maybe i’ll do it now.

the pluto files by neil degrasse tyson: i genuinely do not give a shit whether our solar system has eight planets or nine. and i’m pretty sure neither do the planets. (i mean HA how self-obsessed of us to think the planets are going to prepare for war based on whether we decree pluto one of them) but pluto sounds fun in every single way otherwise so i’m reading about it.

violet made of throns by gina chen: this looks like the nice kind of fantasy. the foaming-at-the-mouth, omg-i-love-magic kind of fantasy. AND I WANT TO READ IT BECAUSE I THINK IT’S GOING TO MAKE ME GIVE UP SLEEP TO FINISH.

the rest of these are all 2024 releases i’m genuinely determined to give up my soul for if i could get early copies of them in return. IF SOMEONE’S LISTENING, HI I’M HERE AND I’M OFFERING UP A SOUL. or maybe half.

don’t let the forest in by c. g. drews: i’m prepping to go wild the last week of october when don’t let the forest in is set to release. (no i swear i’ll spam twitter with countdown messages and i’ll scream on instagram and write 20 different posts during release week and scream some more in real life. THIS IS GOING TO BE FRICKIN EPIC)


the rest of ’em (by various authors): i’m also really excited about holly jackson’s new book though and off with their heads sounds amazing and i still need to read the stolen heir (and also like all the rest of holly black’s books except the first cruel prince release but shh. not now, people, NOT NOW) and tempest of tea has such a PRETTY cover. dangit i want them all.

goodbye to everyone who actually managed to read all of the 4000 words of this dumpster fire. you’re amazing and possibly insane but hey! welcome to the club. i love the whole lot of you.

ok that’s it i’m tired of talking.

best book you’ve read in 2023?? the WORSTS?? tell me about your favorite quotes and your end-of-year crises and everything you’ve been obsessing over lately. the books you promised the world you’d read this year but then eventually forgot about. all the stories you want to devour in the last 13 days of getting to add a three at the end of every date you write? DETAILS, PEOPLE. I WANT DETAILS.

13 thoughts on “the end of the year book tag (or the only thing anoushka ever does that’s on time) (SHUT UP my sense of time is perfect)”

  1. Best book I’ve read in 2023… tossup between two.

    (1) Camino Island by John Grisham (from 2017). I read all of his early stuff, but at some point in the early 2000s I stopped following him. I grabbed this for $1 a thrift store because I was out of things to read. I could tell from reading the cover that it wasn’t going to be his usual thriller involving lawyers. This one was definitely a thriller, but no lawyers… it was about a writer who gets hired by a PI to spy on a well-known bookstore owner who is a suspect in the trafficking of a valuable stolen manuscript. And I learned recently that he wrote another book with the same characters a few years later.

    (2) Chesapeake by James A. Michener (from 1978). Michener was always a favorite author of my mom’s, and I just started reading his stuff recently. It follows the same formula as most of his well-known books, a long, multigenerational historical saga about a few families that all settle in some area, with connections and intermarriages between them throughout several centuries of history, in the context of actual historical events affecting that place. The place in this case is a fictitious town in eastern Maryland, beginning in 1583 when a man falls out of favor with his tribe and goes to live with another tribe, then various Europeans settle the area, the area becomes part of the new United States and these families get caught up in major events of US history, going all the way to the present time when the book was written in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal.

    I have a distinct worst book I’ve read in 2023 also, but I’d rather not put it in a public comment, because reasons. Message me if you’re curious.

  2. Another The Last Tale of the Flower Bride hater!! We are kindred spirits because I couldn’t imagine why people were talking so highly of it! A bunch of purple prose put together ugh

    All the 2024 releases genuinely seem really awesome, bring all of it on!

  3. Great post, I completely understand how you feel about The Last Tale of the Flower Bride, I just could not get into this book and ended up DNFing, which was disappointing as it was one of my most anticipated releases of this year.
    The Raven Cycle is one of my favourite series and I really need to reread them first.
    And Little Women is the perfect read for this time of year

  4. AAAAHH ANOUSHKA YOURE BACK!!! Your posts are literally ALWAYS a boost of serotonin!! I totally get the bookish fear of finishing because although I’ve finished my goodreads challenge I had a different idea in my mind that I haven’t got to yet but still.. I’ve read more than last year!

    Okay I’ve got to be honest the only book from your dnf pile I recognise (okay maybe I recognise a few but What I’ve wanted to read) I’d the flower bride by Roshani Chokshi. O haven’t read it but I’ve read her other books and I’ve heard this ones good.

    I’ve heard so much about the Raven Boys so definitely need to get to it at one point!! ALSO, I NEED TO READ LITTLE WOMEN. Greta Gerwigs film is one of my ABSOLUTE FAVOURITES



  5. the cat comment… so true! none of my cats do that either despite supposedly loving me and being happy to see me (even when it’s not dinner time, so you KNOW the love is real)

  6. GRATEFUL FOR YOU LINKING THOSE BOOKS CAUSE DAMN MY WRISTS WOULD NOT DO THAT. Like the thought would enter my brain but then I’m like eh…no thanks haha. OMG Anoushka please finish the Raven Cycle series, teen me fell in love with it and whilst I did admittedly skip chapters because I only cared for the main squad. More specifically Blue and Gansey have my whole heart. I still have fond memories of that series and am probably due a reread. Also I’d just start from the 70% mark literally the way I will leave books part way through for various reasons then return and just pick up where I left off. I don’t reread if I remember most of it and can just figure it back out as I continue xD

    The way I borrowed Violet Made Of Thorns from my library and it sat judging me for WEEKS! I swear I was gonna read it then wasn’t in the mood for it. But I did sneakily read some back pages because I do sometimes revert back to my old habits of spoiling the end of books. It sounds good but I am probably going to get to it in the next 1-5 years hahaha.

    Best books I’ve read this year would have to be How Moon Fuentez Fell In Love With The Universe and The Hurricane Wars. (ahem yes both books are purple and feature moons that was a very happy coincidence haha). Moon Fuentez is the first contemporary in years to make me go through so many emotions and feel them so strongly. Like damn I could see parts of myself in Moon and just yeah, do check the trigger warnings though beforehand or like you can DM me? Cause it gets heavy. The Hurricane Wars I did originally put on the tbr cause the UK cover grabbed my heart and did not let go. Then I read the synopsis and was like gimmeeeee. The enemies to lovers is done well in it imo and I’m excited for the next books in the trilogy hehe.

  7. Your posts are insane! But in a good way! 🤣
    Also, I have always wanted to start reading Percy Jackson, is it good? Like ‘you can’t put it down, read in one go’ good?

    1. THANK YOU!!

      i mean,, considering that making myself starve because if i wanted to have food i’d have to go all the way downstairs and put the book down for a whole 5 minutes is one of my fondest memories of 2021, i’m obligated to say yes. also the fact that i accidentally ate a whole piece of chili and refused to tear my eyes away from the book to go get water says something. but YES, basically. IT’S AMAZING AND THE BEST AND PERCY’S THIS SMOL SASSY KID AND YOU’LL GROW TO LOVE HIM AND DEVOUR THE ENTIRE SERIES AS FAST AS IS HUMANLY POSSIBLE.

  8. Its always a roller-coaster ride with your posts😂 I wish I could ‘GIVE YOU DETAILS’ but I read ridiculously less books this year (trying every second of every day not to panic about that)

  9. Your sense of time is perfect, okay! Don’t let anybody convince you otherwise, Anoushka! (Because, like, if you’re on time with this tag, that means I am, too? 😇)

    Also: I may have LOOOOVED this post and have cackled my entire way through it! Your honest opinions on those books you didn’t finish were golden – I highly recommend never picking up some of them again, actually 😂 – and I am quitely suffering with you for the unfairness of not being allowed to take library books on vacation! I mean, that hasn’t exactly happened to me, but I have been forced to give back library books half-read because of exams and it’s the worst 😭 I’m crossing my fingers for you and The Raven Boys!

    Oh, and you’re not alone on desperately wanting to read Heartstopper 5! Not knowing what that Ferris Wheel scene is is killing me, so I’m hoping I might have some Christmas luck and maybe get access to a copy soon? 🙃 Or I’ll just have to go read the web comic, even if old-fashioned me loves her print books more…

    Also, I’m very much afraid your non-American cats may hate you 😜 Just kidding! I think it’s actually more of a personality thing. Like, out of our current four cats, one of them absolutely hates being carried anywhere and will literally maul your legs open with her claws if you put her on your lap, but the other three are super cuddly. Still, our mauler cat loves being petted, waits in front of the door for us to get home, and loves accompanying us on walks. So I guess she’s just smart, loves us in her own way, and has boundaries? After all, I wouldn’t want people randomly picking me up, either! 😇

    Finally: Don’t get impatient, Anoushka. My best and worst books lists are coming! (However, can I just say that you should read Beartown? 🥰🥰🥰)

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