Thursday, December 20, 2012

End of the Year Book Survey 2012

Image from The Perpetual Page Turner
Hosted by Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner
1. Best Book You Read In 2012? (You can break it down by genre if you want)
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
It could be the fact that I finished this book days ago, so it's fresh in my mind, but it is seriously the most original novel I've read this year.  It's fantastical, but not overtly so; it's romantic, but not overtly so; it's suspenseful, but not overtly so.  Basically, it's got all the things and all the feelings in just the right amounts.  No one plot or person or emotion overshadows the other.  Also, it's a standalone, which I was definitely needing.  I need a break from series (although I did just start The Raven Boys...).
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling
It will take more than mediocre political fiction to shake my faith in J. K. Rowling.  I really hope this book was a fluke. 
3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012? 
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater  
If someone had told me at the beginning of the year that I would read a book about killer water horses and not only love it but bequeath it the title of best book I read in 2012, I would have laughed at them.
4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?
Cut by Patricia McCormick (I talk about Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Of Mice and Men, The Catcher in the Rye, Speak, The Things They Carried, and anything by Ellen Hopkins in class a lot, but I actually recommended Cut to several students this year, and they really enjoyed it.)
5. Best series you discovered in 2012?
Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness (I really need to finish that!!), and I finished Rick Riordan's The Kane Chronicles and read the newest book in The Lost Heroes trilogy. I'm really trying to get away from series because I'm tired of being locked into one for so long (The Raven Boys is my current exception).
6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?
Stephen Block The Story of Forgetting
Block's heart wrenching and thoroughly researched novel about the toll diseases of the memory take on patient and family alike was one of the best pieces of adult fiction I've read in a long time.

Syrie James The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen and The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte
A little fluffier than I normally go, but James did an excellent job of evoking the spirit and writing style of two of my favorite British authors, Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, while also providing readers with a romanticized, happy ending for these classicly unromanticized heroines.
7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
I read a lot of dystopia this year - my favorites were probably The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, which I described to one of my students as The Hunger Games on crack.  I read several adult books this year too, and one of the most difficult and unforgettable was The Story of Forgetting by Stephen Block. 

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn - definitely a page turner - I read this in one sitting!
9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year:
I really want to re-read Great House by Nicole Krauss.  It is such a complex book, but I think I'm ready to tackle it again.  I'll probably re-read The Hunger Games, The Scorpio Races, The Fault in Our Stars, and maybe Bumped and Thumped, but I also thought it would be fun to see what I re-read this year:
The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan like I said I would last year
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobosky
Persuasion by Jane Austen
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?
When She Woke by Hillary Jordan
Bumped and Thumped by Megan McCafferty
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

11. Most memorable character in 2012? 

Puck Connelly The Scorpio Races (YA)
Amy Dunne Gone Girl (Adult)
Manchee The Knife of Never Letting Go (Animal)
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Steifvater evokes the landscape of Thisby so beautifully, and in addition to including poets like T. S. Eliot and Wallace Stevens, Green reveals some pretty profound concepts through his characters. 

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012? 

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
It's a book about cancer, but as Hazel says in the beginning of this moving novel, "it's not a cancer book, because cancer books suck" (48).  Instead it's a book about life and love and living in the moment. 
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read? 
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenger
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle 

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012? 

from Thumped by Megan McCafferty
from Persuasion by Jane Austen 
Anything Sean Kendrick said to Puck Connelly in The Scorpio Races (swoon)

"The Noise is a man unfiltered, and without a filter, a man is just chaos walking" (Patrick Ness, The Knife of Never Letting Go 42).  *In addition to being a pretty profound statement, this is the best titular reference since Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

"I was thinking about the word handle, and all the unholdable things that get handled" (John Green, The Fault in Our Stars 60).

"Neel takes a sharp breath and I know exactly what it means.  It means: I have waited my whole life to walk through a secret passage built into a bookshelf" (Robin Sloan, Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore 143).
16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012? 
Gone by Kathleen Johnson (170)
Tilt by Ellen Hopkins (604)
17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
when I hit page 200 - I was like WTF!!!???

The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling
It may not have been my favorite read of 2012 but that ending!
18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).
Sean Kendrick and Puck Connelly in The Scorpio Races
Gus and Hazel in The Fault in Our Stars
19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Collateral by Ellen Hopkins - I am quite a fan of Hopkins, but her most recent books didn't sit well with me.  Collateral was a fantastic read though.
20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:
My intrepid librarian recommended Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan.  As a bibliophile, I was intrigued.  The book is about a strange bookstore, coded books, a secret society of readers, but it's also about technology today - specifically Google - and what happens when print and web meet.  In short, it is an absolutely brilliant book about the quest for immortality.

Book Blogging/Reading Life in 2012 (optional)

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2012? 
Hitting on Girls in Bookstores - guy who reads YA and he is hilarious
2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2012? 
When She Woke by Hillary Jordan
I think this is one of my most thorough and honest reviews.  I don't like when I get gushy although there are some books I can't help but gush about.  (See The Fault in Our Stars by John Green)
3. Best discussion you had on your blog?
Not Waving But Drowning by Stevie Smith provided some thought-provoking reflections on poetry.

My Top Ten posts usually get a lot of comments (although I haven't had time to participate recently) - but my To Film or Not to Film post generated some good discussion.
4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?
I can always count on the ladies at The Broke and Bookish to provide an interesting, thoughtful discussion on all things literary, so it's not surprising that two of my favorite posts of the year are from their site.

The Casual Vacancy
Daisy Discusses DNFs

I loved both of these posts because they were able to so candidly express some of the very same struggles and opinions I have on these topics.

Also, although not *technically* a book blogger, she is an author, and Maggie Stiefvater posted a fantastic video about how being young and in love does not mean you lose your identity or your ability to pursue a career.  Warning: It is spoilery for those who haven't read The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy.
5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
The Poetry Project hosted by Regular Rumination and The Written World
It's still going on if you want to join in!
6. Best moment of book blogging in 2012?
Presenting at the National Council of Teachers of English conference about my banned books themed ENG 111 course.  I got to meet Ellen Hopkins, Sonya Sones, David Levithan, and Maggie Stiefvater.  All of my passions intersected at this conference: education, reading, and blogging.
7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti
8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
Why YA?
9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
Etsy bookish themed jewelry and clothing
Captain Wentworth cuff
Captain Wentworth scarf
Harry Potter Marauder's Map iPhone case
Harry Potter "Always" necklace
The Hunger Games bracelet

Also, as a kid, I went to the library by my grandmother's house A LOT.  When I went off to school, I used the library for research papers but not much else.  Recently, I've been frequenting my school library more and more.  For one, my awesome librarian has been ordering some of the books I recommend!
10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I've been posting more regularly due to The Poetry Project, and I've allowed myself to abandon books that don't I don't click with.  I even started a Did Not Finish shelf on Goodreads.

Looking Ahead…

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2012 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2013?
The rest of the Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness
2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2013?
Just One Day by Gayle Forman
The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen
3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2013?
Joining in Top Ten Tuesdays hosted by The Broke and the Bookish again and, of course, reading more!!


  1. I just heard about Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore recently, and immediately added it to my TBR. That's one I'll be getting to in 2013 for sure.

    Glad to have found your blog!

    1. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore is an awesome and a total surprise. I will be posting a full review of it soon, so be on the lookout! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. We have so many books in common! :) Maggie Stiefvater is one of my absolute favorite authors (I just discovered her via The Scorpio Races this year) and John Green is awesome... we had the same answer for the book that impacted you the most. :) And I left Sean/Puck off my relationship list?! Sheesh... I must have been spacey. lol

    Great post!

    Brandy @ A Little of the Book Life
    New follower!

    1. Thanks Brandy! I am a diehard YA reader, but I don't like the fluffy stuff. I like intelligent writers with depth, and Steifvater and Green definitely fit that bill.

  3. Agree on Gone Girl being unputdownable (did you know that word is in Websters? and the origin is like 1940s?)

    Also the cover of When She Woke is awesome, but I didn't put it in my survey.

    1. I wish I knew more about etymology...I didn't really like When She Woke, but the cover was striking! Happy New Year!