Clap When You Land

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Favourite Books of 2020

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. It’s that time of year again, 2020 – which often seemed to last forever – is coming to an end. I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump over the past month or so but I have read almost 60 books this year and some of them were pretty great.

Spain: The Inside Story of La Roja’s Historic Treble by Graham Hunter
This may be my favourite books of the year. It was such a fun trip down memory lane, reliving all the highs of Spain’s Euros and World Cup, there were anecdotes and facts and while some things I knew or remembered from watching the matches, there was a lot I didn’t.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
I didn’t write a review for Clap When You Land but I did do an Instagram post on it because it really knocked me for six. This is the first book I’d ever read in verse and it was fantastic.

They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott and Harmony Becker
This was a sad and frustrating graphic memoir but one that I think was really interesting and important.

Hawkeye: Kate Bishop Vol. 1: Anchor Points by Kelly Thompson, Leonardo Romero, Michael Walsh and Jordie Bellaire
I read all three volumes of Hawkeye: Kate Bishop this year so this really counts as the whole series. It’s fun seeing Kate try and become a private investigator and all her new friends were nice additions.

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
I’m a wuss so I very rarely read or watch horror stories, but I ended up liking Dread Nation far more than I thought I would. It’s action-packed and how it twists history.

Love in No Man’s Land by Duo Ji Zhuo Ga
This is one of my Read the World Project reads of the year. I thought it was a very descriptive and beautiful story about people who are so different to myself.

The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard
This was a very quick read about a prank got wrong and murder and girls standing up for one another. I’m still reading the sequel, The Good Girls, and I’m looking forward to how it all turns out.

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
This is a book I had for ages and I’m equal parts pleased I finally got around to reading it and annoyed it took me so long because I really did love it. I listened to the audiobook and it was fantastic, and I plan to read the rest of the series that way.

The Places I’ve Cried in Public by Holly Bourne
I think this was the saddest book I read this year and it really hit me in the emotions like a gut punch.

West Coast Avengers Vol. 1: Best Coast by Kelly Thompson, Stefano Caselli and Triona Farrell
I read both volumes of this in 2020 and it’s such a fun series with larger-than-life characters and great relationships between them all.

What are some of your favourite books you’ve read this year?

N.E.W.T.’s Magical Readathon 2020

The N.E.W.T.’s Magical Readathon is the brainchild of Gi at BookRoast on YouTube. The N.E.W.T.’s are the next exams/readathon after the O.W.L.’s which took place a few months ago.

This readathon is inspired by the exams in the Harry Potter books. While J.K. Rowling has been problematic in the past, over the past few months her blatant transphobia has reached a new level of awful and harmful. Gi posted a video showing how she was torn about separating the art from the artist, how she felt about the future of the Magical Readathon and this edition of the NEWTs. She decided to give out the prompts for this readathon so people can complete their exams for their chosen careers but the readathon won’t be hosted on Twitter and the Magical Readathon will change next year – becoming something that doesn’t have close links to the world of Harry Potter.

I agree with and understand Gi’s decision. This is only the second year I’ve taken part in the Magical Readathon, but I like how inventive it is and how many books it encourages me to read in a month. I’ve decided that I will take part in the NEWTs in August. This is in part because I’m a bit of a completist but also because I’ve struggled a bit to read any books this past month and I hope this readathon will get me reading again.

After taking part in the O.W.L.’s readathon in April and successfully reading all the books/completing all the exams I need to be a Mage of Visual Arts and to learn to operate locomotive trains aka the Hogwarts Express, I now need to achieve Acceptable in two subjects – Astronomy and History of Magic – and achieve Acceptable and Exceeded Expectations in Divination and Muggle Studies. That means if I want to be qualified for my magical career, I need to read six books during the readathon which is doable for me.

I’ve looked through my bookshelves and while the below books are for the exams I need, I’ve also found books that will fit most of the other prompts if I read more or feel inspired. Because in real life my career has taken varied paths, I like to keep my options open even when it comes to fictional careers, so if I do get back into reading I’ll be trying to complete as many exams as possible in order to give me more career options and skills.

Astronomy: Acceptable – Star on the cover/in the title
A Phoenix First Must Burn edited by Patrice Caldweel
Think this is one of the only books I own that has stars on the cover and they are there! They are just very very small.

Divination: Acceptable – Read a book with red on the cover
Black Widow: Forever Red by Margaret Stohl OR Spain: The Inside Story of La Roja’s Historic Treble by Graham Hunter OR How to be a Heroine by Samantha Ellis
All these books have various amounts of red on the cover and I’m not sure which one I’m going to go with yet. I’m leaning towards Spain: The Inside Story of La Roja’s Historic Treble as it’s ten years since Spain won the World Cup and I’ve been big into my nostalgia feels about that recently, but it is one of the larger books at over 400 pages. We shall see how I feel.

Divination: Exceed Expectations – First unread book you look at
Hawkeye: Kate Bishop Vol. 3: Family Reunion by Kelly Thompson, Leonardo Romero and Jordie Bellaire
Bit odd to mention the third volume before the second but that’s what happens when you list your TBR in alphabetical order by subjects. I was looking at my unread comics and it was either this or West Coast Avengers, and as I’d like to finish this series before starting another one, I went with this.

History of Magic: Acceptable – Read a historical fiction
She Would be King by Wayétu Moore
I’ll be listening to this on audiobook and it’s nine and a half hours long which will take me about two weeks to read. She Would be King is a mixture of historical fiction and magical realism and follows three characters who share a bond.

Muggle Studies: Acceptable – Read a comic
Hawkeye: Kate Bishop Vol. 2: Masks by Kelly Thompson, Daniele Di Nicuolo, Gang Hyuk Lim and Moy R.
I read the first volume of this series during the Reading Rush this past week so thought this would be a good time to continue with it.

Muggle Studies: Exceeded Expectations – Read a book written by an author of a different race than yourself
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
Because of my Read the World Project I have a few books that’d fit this prompt, but I decided to go with a contemporary story as I can usually read them very quickly and it’s one I only got at the beginning of this month.

That’s my TBR for what will be the last N.E.W.T.’s. Usually I keep track of my reading on Twitter, partly to share my progress in the readathon and partly to hold myself accountable, but not sure if I will this time due to the kind of dark cloud over the readathon but we shall see what happens. Will you be taking part in the N.E.W.T.’s this year?