End of the Year Book Survey

This blogging hiatus is interrupted to bring you this survey!  Goodness knows there is nothing I love more on the Internet than a survey.  That’s not true – I love Pinterest and cat gifs more.  But surveys are up there, especially when they’re about books.

1. Best Book You Read In 2012? (You can break it down by genre if you want)

I think I have to give this to “East of Eden” by John Steinbeck.  I read a lot of good books this year, but none of them packed the same emotional wallop of “East of Eden” when I think back on them.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Matched” was a letdown.  I didn’t care about any of the characters – the heroine drove me nuts, actually – and the world-building was a less-thorough riff on the world of “The Giver.”

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012? 

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms” by NK Jemisin surprised me several times over, partly because its description gave away very little plot and partly because the story has so much fun with mythology and courtly intrigue tropes.  Yeine, the heroine, is way more likely to just stab someone she disagrees with than go through the fuss of scheming, which makes her a little unlikeable at times but also a helluva lot of fun.

 4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?

I’ve been telling all of my “Hunger Games”-loving friends to read “Delirium” and “Pandemonium” by Lauren Oliver.  It’s the book “Matched” wanted to be, and Lena is the resistance fighter Katniss should have been.  Even though the inevitable love triangles and resistances have popped up as the trilogy progresses, it is genuinely well-written and a lot of fun to read.

I’ve also been telling people to read “East of Eden” because everyone in the entire world needs to read “East of Eden.”

 5. Best series you discovered in 2012?

The “Delirium” trilogy has been a lot of fun.  I try to avoid series because I don’t like commitment, and I hate waiting for books to come out, but “Delirium” makes me break all my rules.

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?

My former professor Anna Keesey published her first book, “Little Century,” and it was beautiful!

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

Habibi” by Craig Thompson is a graphic novel and it’s, uh, graphic.  It has lots of nudity and several depictions of people being treated horribly.  Its depiction of Muslim culture is problematic, but it draws some interesting parallels between Islam and Christianity, and tells a nice love story.

 8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?

Daughter of Smoke & Bone” by Laini Taylor kept me up, even though the flashback sequence was a little slow.

 9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year:

None, honestly.  I like to wait a year or two before re-reading a book, and my to-read list is long enough as it is!  If I take a trip anywhere, though, I’d bring “Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society” because it’s just amazing, in a warm-and-fuzzy Jane-Austen beach-read way.

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

These two:


11. Most memorable character in 2012?

It’s a tie between Karou of “Smoke and Bone” and Yeine of “Hundred Thousand Kingdoms” – both deadly, clever girls but in situations beyond their comprehension and doing their best to stick to their values in the meantime.  Lee of “East of Eden” also stands out in my memory for his intellectual grappling with racial and religious identity…and Ender from “Ender’s Game”…and Esther from “Little Century” for her determination, willingness to help people in need, and sense of humor.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?

“East of Eden,” of course, but “Little Century” was just as beautiful in its own way.  The story is set in the bleak, chilly frontier of the Deschutes area of Oregon, and the prose is just as unapologetically spare – and elegant.

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

Again, “East of Eden.”  I’ve never been interested in getting a tattoo, but if I was, I’d get something related to “timshel.”

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited until 2012 to finally read?

Ender’s Game!”  Good grief!  This book is awesome and as a sci-fi fan I should have read it ages ago!

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

Can I just put all of “East of Eden” here?  How about this, from a larger passage which is one of my all-time favorites:

The American Standard translation [of the Bible] orders men to triumph over sin, and you call sin ignorance. The King James translation makes a promise in ‘Thou shalt,’ meaning that men will surely triumph over sin.  But the Hebrew word, the word timshel—‘Thou mayest’— that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on a man. For if ‘Thou mayest’—it is also true that ‘Thou mayest not.’

I suppose out of context it’s not as exciting, but in context – with Lee’s determination to see his friends choose good over evil and his line about man’s ladder to the stars, whence came the Mumford & Sons lyric – it’s glorious to read.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012?

The shortest was “Tales from Outer Suburbia;” longest was “East of Eden.”

 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!

The ending of “Daughter of Smoke & Bone” gave me lots of feels, not all of them good.  I’m a little wary of how the rest of the trilogy is going to go…


…because Karou was already a pretty cool and well-developed girl, with her own life and quirks and desires, but now she’s a reincarnated gal.  Is she going to be a different person now?  Is she schizophrenic?  Will she be the same person, just with a different name?  In that case, is she still Karou?  And I’m going to go ahead and say I’m not looking forward to Akiva’s pity party, because I’m sure that’s going to keep on going full-strength until Karou, in true YA romantic fashion, fixes/heals/inspires him to heal.

You know what, I don’t like Akiva at all.  Huh.

Karou totally rocks, though.  Maybe Taylor will break some rules and have them split up.  (Yeah right.)


18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

The love triangle between Pick, Esther, and Ben in “Little Century.”  It was one of the most realistic I’ve ever read, which meant it was actually bearable to read about.

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously

The Spies of Warsaw” by Alan Furst.  This was my fifth Furst book and it’s one of my favorites – and that has nothing to do with the knowledge that it’s being made into a BBC miniseries starring David Tennant.  Nope, visualizing David Tennant as Mercier while reading had absolutely no bearing on my love for this book.

20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:

“Hundred Thousand Kingdoms” would probably never have come up on my scope if not for Mia, so thanks!

Looking Ahead…

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2012 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2013?

Ha, um, there were a lot of those.  I am seriously going to finally do the full “Dragon Tattoo” trilogy this year, along with “The Second Duchess” and “Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil” and “Beautiful Creatures” which I finally got from the library and “Mistborn” and “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand” and “North and South” and…look, I have a lot of reading to do, okay?

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2013?

I’m planning to re-read “Lord of the Rings” for the first time since…2006, maybe?  It’s been way too long and it feels like I’m going to hang out with an old friend again.  I’m also really looking forward to “Days of Blood & Starlight,” the sequel to “Daughter of Smoke & Bone.”  Oh, and “Requiem,” final book in the “Delirium” trilogy.

3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2013?

I hope to not get too distracted from my reading goals, because that happened a lot this year.  I’m going to plan my library holds better – a couple times this year, more than one book became available at once, which meant I had to return one of them unread or (even worse) only partly-read.

As for blogging, I plan to, uh, blog again.  I want to finally get my ducks in a row in terms of time management so I can work on this blog, my church blog, and my books.  So much writing to do!


2 thoughts on “End of the Year Book Survey

  1. Ahh, I’ll have to do one of these over at NBP! (I have seriously neglected that blog lately, sob.) I haven’t been so great at tracking my reading for the latter half of this year, but at least I’ve got half a year’s worth of books read to look through again!

    I’m glad you read A Hundred Thousand Kingdoms–Yeine was kind of a butthead but I enjoyed her presence as a heroine anyway! I’m going to have to track down Little Century, it sounds neat.

    • I use Goodreads pretty much solely to keep track of what I read, otherwise it would just be a blur. Definitely try Little Century, it’s gorgeous.

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