End of Year Book Survey

Monday, January 7, 2013

So, I stumbled across this awesomely amazing (but really, really long) end of the year survey that is all. about. books. Which is SO perfect for me. And the blogger and her blog, Perpetual Page Turner, are incredibly great - lots of similar book interests (re: all books ever written, ever), great reviews, all that.

So, without further ado, here we go:


1. Best book read in 2012?

Way to start this survey out with the MOST! DIFFICULT! QUESTION! EVER!
But, this is going to have to go to A Discovery of Witches. This book kept me completely entranced through long van rides, a sleep over in a middle school gymnasium, and a whole lot of other nonsense. I loved the characters, the writing, the setting, the everything. Really. I loved this book. And when I realized it was a series, the world became a brighter, sunnier, and happier place. 

2. Book you were excited about & thought you were going to love more but didn't?

Biggest let down of the year would have to go to City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare. I was originally really ticked off that she wrote a fourth book, as the preceding trilogy was awesome. But then I came around to the idea of more Shadowhunters, and grew excited to read the newest installment. And that fell flat. Really, really flat. It's totally a book setting up the rest of the series, but I felt like it undermined the first three books a lot, for no good reason. Thank God the fifth book was excellent.

A close second, because I really wasn't excited about it, is either of Mitch Albom's books that I read. The Five People you Meet in Heaven or Tuesdays With Morrie. They're second on the list only because I wasn't excited about them. I had heard good things, I feel like people always mention these as some sort of heartbreaking rite of passage. And I was so underwhelmed. 

3. Most surprising book of 2012?

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I had heard good things about this book. I walked past it in hardback time and time again in Barnes and Nobel. I wanted to buy it, but for some reason I waited. And then I bought it and it sat on my shelf for a while. I think somehow I was waiting for the right time to read it. And then I started reading it and I almost put it down. The first 50 pages are a little rough to wade through, slow moving, so much detail. But then, oh my word! All the wait was worth it. I'm still surprised about just how much I love adore this book

4. Book you recommended most in 2012?

You're not going to be surprised by these. It's split between three:
- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
- A Discovery of Witches - Deborah Harkness
- The Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss

The last one wasn't read in 2012, but I love it so much that I always recommend it to people looking for new books. 

5. Best series you discovered in 2012?

The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. Surprise, surprise. I know.

Book One and Book Two are out. I can't wait for Book Three. 

Runner up: The Heros of Olympus series by Rick Riordan. The first three books are out. It's going to be five books. I'm about to finish #3. Commence sobbing.

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?

Deborah Harkness (Discovery of Witches), Erin Morgenstern (The Night Circus), and Maggie Steifvater (The Scorpio Races). 

Each of these authors touched me in their own ways and I am so glad that I've brought their books into my life. I cannot wait to read more by any of these three ladies. 

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or in a new genre for you?

Probably Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. It's a pretty contemporary book written in first person. That first person happens to be an OCD young boy. So, it was interesting to get into.

But it had such good press - a great movie (that I need to see) - and awesome reviews all over the place. I had to read it (I also would only buy it with it's original cover, not the movie poster cover. OCD much? I guess Oskar and I have a lot in common). 

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book of 2012?

This would have to be Kings of Colorado by David E. Hilton. I could NOT put down this book.

You know, I almost forgot I read this book this year. But man, it was amazing. I might have to go back and rewrite a few of these answers because this book? Oh my God. It's been a while since a book almost had me in tears/had me in tears when I turned the last page. There is something so powerful and moving and heart-wrenching about this book. I finished it 28 April 2012 and I did not pick up another book until June. Partly because of this, partly because I got so busy. But this book sat with me for a while. 

9. Book you read in 2012 that you are most likely to re-read next year?

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (I have a feeling this book is going to be on here a lot, sorry about that. I just liked it THAT MUCH). It has a whole lot going on in it, and I'm sure that I could always get something new out of another reading. It also helps that her main character has my ideal life (kinda?). Historian up to her elbows in medieval manuscripts. Handsome gentleman. Adventure. Yoga. She has it all. 

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?

It wasn't a great year, cover-wise, for books I read. But the one for Kings of Colorado has to take the prize for best cover. It tells so much about the story - but only after you've read it and understand. It's heartbreaking, now, to look at it.

11. Most memorable character in 2012?

Three-Way Tie:

Jay Gatsby from The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
    - Gatsby is just so classic and mysterious. I cannot wait to see Leo bring Gatsby to life.

Diana Bishop from A Discovery of Witches (Deborah Harkness)
     - If I were to be written into fiction, I would be Diana. Really.

Percy Jackson from Son of Neptune (Rick Riordan)
     - It was so nice to see Percy evolve. I liked him before, but he just becomes so much more here.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Her prose is impeccable. This book comes so much to life with every turn of the page. I couldn't put it down because I did not want to step out of the world of the Night Circus. You'll understand if/when you read it, promise.

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

Probably the Kings of Colorado. That book, man, that book. Read it, you'll understand. 

14. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to read?

The Great Gatsby. Why I waited so long, I will never know.

But, I'm kinda glad I did. If I had read it in High School, I would have hated it (mostly because all my HS teachers killed the novels they chose). But today? I love everything about that book.

Also, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. How on earth did I wait so long for this? It was so fun!

15.  Favorite passage/quote from a book read in 2012?

This is impossible. 

Entirely impossible.

So, here is one favorite:

"There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." - The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien 

16. Shortest and longest book you read in 2012?

Shortest: Light Boxes - Shane Jones (149 pages)
Longest: American Gods - Neil Gaiman (588 pages)

17. Book that had a scene in it you were dying to talk to someone about?

The City of Lost Souls (Mortal Instruments #5) by Cassandra Clare. A scene towards the end. Involving two of my favorite "minor" characters. !!!!!!!!

18. Favorite relationship from a book that you read in 2012?

Celia and Marco in The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It was just a really sweet, beautiful, and unusual relationship to watch unfold. I adored them and their interactions so much. I also loved that the book was not centered solely around them and their relationship. That kept it shrouded in mystery and made me want to read on to learn more.

I also really loved the interactions between Bilbo and the Dwarves in the Hobbit. Having only read it for the first time this year, I loved it. Their interactions were so, so fun. 

19. Favorite book you read in 2012 by an author you previously have read?

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Steifvater. It was so powerful and so well written. It makes me want to go devour everything else she's written. 

20. Best book you read SOLEY on the recommendation of someone else? 

The Capture (Guardians of Ga'Hoole #1) by Kathryn Lasky. Yes, it's a young reader book, but it was so much fun. A friend of mine recommended it because she uses it when teaching her (college level!) class on something to do with literacy in youth reading. And all her students love this book and have a great time during that section of her class. It was so fun. Really, it's a quick read, do it. 


1. New favorite book blog found in 2012?

All of them? Yeah, it's a cop-out answer, but it's true. And I get to decide my answers, so, there you have it. All of them. 

2. Favorite review you wrote in 2012?

Probably the one for The Great Gatsby because it was the first real review I wrote on my blog. Sure, there were others before it, but this one was where I kinda decided "you know, I want this to be a big thing on my blog." And, boom, book blogging began for me. 

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?

I can't really answer this one well, since I really only just got into the book-blogging thing. Ask me again next year. 

4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion on someone else's blog?

I can't really answer this one well, since I really only just got into the book-blogging thing. Ask me again next year. 

5. Best event participated in?

The Goodreads challenge was really neat again. To just be able, along with so many others, to pledge to read. How many kids these days groan when having to read something? How many adults haven't picked up a book for fun since college (if even then?)? Just to make reading a priority was lovely. 

6. Best moment of book blogging on 2012?

Starting it for reals. I mean, my blog is still all over the place, much like my brain, but it has come around a lot to books. Which I love. Because that's a huge part of who I am - the girl who always has a book in her hands (or at least in her bag).

7. Most popular post this year? 

Probably my post on my anticipation for the Hunger Games movie and my hope that they did the book justice. My apprehension was most with that first moment of watching the movie when Katniss becomes Jennifer Lawrence, not the Katniss of my mind. But, you know? Looking back on it (like with Harry Potter), I still have my own Katniss when I read/think of the story. So, that's good.

Things that dealt with Peeta, Katniss, Gale, Panem, and the Hunger Games in general had quite the year. Why not on the ol' blog too? 

8. Post you wish got a little more love?

All of them? Ha! Isn't that what we always wish with all of our posts? That people will jump on them and comment and talk about what you've written? :)

I guess, if I had to pick one, it would probably have been my post on working with Vietnam Veterans this past December. It was a really moving week for me, and I think that we all ought to reach out to them a little more. 

9. Best bookish discovery?

The used bookshop in the town I work in. This is an excellent discovery for my desire to have a complete library before I own a house, but a really bad one for my wallet. 

10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals you had set for yourself at the beginning of the year?

I set out a Goodreads goal of 30 books in 2012. And I did it. It was a little dicey there at the end. I had a chunk of non-reading time early in the year (I still don't know how that happened!), so the last three weeks of December I read, read, read. Because, I hate losing.


1. One book you didn't get to in 2012 that is top priority for 2013?

Umm...everything on my To-Read shelf shelves?

Probably The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. I've been putting off reading it for a year now. On purpose. Because I know once I finish it it's going to be an agonizing wait for the third book. And it's just so good that I just don't want it to end. At least right now I know I have part of that story ahead of me, if I read it, I don't. There will only be waiting.

That doesn't really make sense does it? Well, it works for me...

2. Book you are most anticipating for 2013?

Right at this moment I just cannot wait for The House of Hades by Rick Riordan. I recognize this is because I am about to finish The Mark of Athena and I WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS! I can already tell this is going to end with a monstrous cliff hanger, and I am not going to be able to wait until the fall to know. Seriously. (Also, while looking up the actual name of the next book, I just learned there's going to be a fifth book. In 2014. Which means more waiting. NO!)...(but, yay, because it means the series isn't over)...(right?!)

3. On think you hope to accomplish in blogging or reading in 2013?

50 books minimum in 2013. And the challenges I signed up for. Those are important goals.

Also, I'd like to just be a little more consistent - both in blogging and reading. 

With reading, I tend to have phases where I cannot ever have a book out of my hands and that cycles with times where life just gets in the way. And really? Reading is a big part of my life, I want to make sure I read at least once a day. Even if it's just a chapter before bed. I used to all the time, but it kinda slipped. And I miss it.

With blogging, I just want to be more true to myself. More book reviews, more bookish things - because they're important to me, because they're a huge part of who I am. I also want my voice to come through more - not to write how other bloggers seem to write or to write what I think other people want to read. I want to write for me, and I want to write like me. I'd also like to grow the blog a little more. But, these are all works in progress. 


  1. A Discovery of Witches, and then the second book? My favorite books ever. When I realized that the third one wasn't written yet, I may have cried a little. I stalk her blog looking for info on the release date.

    GOD I love those books. SO GOOD.

  2. Thank you so much for your comments regarding my novel, KINGS OF COLORADO - I was thrilled to come across your site and read how it has impacted you.

    All the best -

    David E. Hilton


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