Thursday, 20 December 2012

End of Year Book Survey 2012

Over at The Perpetual Page-Turner, Jamie has put together the End of Year Book Survey. As this was my first year of book blogging, I've decided to join in and revisit some of my favourite books from this past year!

1. Best book you read in 2012?
Adult fiction: The Group, by Mary McCarthy, and The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach.
YA fiction: The Boyfriend List/The Boy Book by E. Lockhart and Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson.
Non-fiction: The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson.

(A little bit of cheating there, maybe... But it's difficult to narrow down!)

2. Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love more but didn't?
Queen Camilla, by Sue Townsend. A sequel to one of my all-time favourite books, The Queen and I, but this one just didn't grab me and seemed quite weak in comparison. Gaudy Night, by Dorothy L. Sayers, was also good but not as good as I'd hoped, and I really didn't enjoy The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith, even though I was convinced it'd be just my thing.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012?
Equal Rites, by Terry Pratchett. I'd never read any Pratchett before, and was certain it wasn't really for me, but I borrowed this from a friend and thought it was excellent.

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?
How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran. I lent my own copy to my mum, and after going on about it so much my housemate at the time, and a good friend of mine, both read it too.

5. Best series you discovered in 2012?
The Ruby Oliver series by E. Lockhart. I still have to read the third and fourth books, but the first two were absolutely brilliant.

6. Favourite new authors you discovered in 2012?
E. Lockhart, Morgan Matson, Brigid Lowry, Mary McCarthy and Chad Harbach.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
Probably Riding the Magic Carpet by Tom Anderson. Although it forms a travelogue of sorts, which is a genre I enjoy, this book was about surfing, a sport of which I have a limited knowledge!

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?
Both Amy & Roger's Epic Detour, and If I Stay by Gayle Forman, were very much 'just one more chapter' reads this year.

9. Book you read in 2012 that you are most likely to re-read next year?
I'm not really a re-reader, bar a few favourite series, although there are plenty of books I read for my thesis (which I don't track or blog about) that I will no doubt have to revisit!

10. Favourite cover of a book you read in 2012?
If anything, there were more dodgy covers that good ones, looking back - but my favourite was Fatherland by Robert Harris. Maybe "favourite" is the wrong word, but it certainly has impact, and not only the cover but the edges of all the pages are red, too, which makes it unusual.

11. Most memorable character in 2012?
Ruby Oliver, from The Boyfriend List series, and Tyrion and Arya from the A Song of Ice and Fire series.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?
Tigers In Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?
The Group, for some wonderful writing and a brilliant examination of women in the 1930s, and Fatherland, for an alternate post-WWII history that was genuinely chilling in places.

14. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read?
I started reading Pride and Prejudice, but seeing as I still haven't finished it, I'll have to say either The Group (again) or The Laughing Policeman by Martin Beck, one of the original Scandinavian crime gems.

15. Favourite passage/quote from a book you read in 2012?
I am terrible at remembering quotes from books, so I'll just offer up this passage from Equal Rites:

“At some time in the recent past someone had decided to brighten the ancient corridors of the University by painting them, having some vague notion that Learning Should Be Fun. It hadn’t worked. It’s a fact known throughout the universes that no matter how carefully the colors are chosen, institutional decor ends up as either vomit green, unmentionable brown, nicotine yellow or surgical appliance pink. By some little-understood process of sympathetic resonance, corridors painted in those colors always smell slightly of boiled cabbage—even if no cabbage is ever cooked in the vicinity.”

16. Shortest and longest book you read in 2012?
Longest: A Feast For Crows by George R. R. Martin. Not my favourite of the series, mostly because of all the new characters and plot points that it had to establish. It was worth it in the end, but it was a slog at times!
Shortest: Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan. There were a few short books I read this year, but I remember this being finished in an afternoon.

17. Book that had a scene in it that had you reeling and dying to talk to somebody about it?
Overall, this probably has to be between A Feast For Crows and the two parts of A Storm of Swords - I read all of these books after my brother had finished with them, and had to pick them apart with him every time I went home.

18. Favourite relationship from a book you read in 2012?
Probably the sibling relationship in Brigid Lowry's Follow The Blue. While most of it occurred in the background of the novel, it was warm and realistic and really enhanced the story.

19. Favourite book you read in 2012 from an author you read previously?
Looking back I read more authors for the first time than authors I'd read previously, but I think this would have to be The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides, who wrote Middlesex and The Virgin Suicides.

20. Best book that you read based SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else?
Losing It, by Julia Lawrinson, which was recommended by Mandee at VeganYANerds, who then sent me a copy to read. Other than that, Equal Rites.

I have a busy Christmas period on the horizon, including some time with my family, a trip to see some old uni friends, and Christmas with the boy by the sea. Hope everyone has an excellent holiday, and I'll be back on the blog in the New Year!


  1. I liked seeing how much love you have for Ruby and her series - it was defo a highlight of my year, too! And still so glad you enjoyed Losing It :D

    1. I definitely have to finish the series next year - I need to know how it all ends! :D

  2. YAY! Such great survey responses =) I think this is the third or fourth time that the Ruby Oliver books have shown up on this survey -- looks like I must add this to my TBR list! I should also read The Marriage Plot (LOVED Middlesex, but just couldn't get through The Virgin Suicides). The premise sounds interesting, so I must give it a shot.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to YOU! xoxo

    1. I'd definitely recommend the Ruby books - as you can probably tell from my comment to Mandee above! They're a lot of fun. I really enjoyed Middlesex too, Jeffrey Eugenides is one of those authors I always kind of wish would write faster... :) Merry Christmas!

  3. I hope you do finish reading Pride & Prejudice. However, my favorite Jane Austen was Persuasion!

    Hope you join us in my reading challenge... it should be fun!

    1. Kate - I finished P&P just this week, and I've already got Persuasion lined up on my Kindle! A friend of mine suggested I'd particularly enjoy that one. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Oooo...I read my first Terry Pratchett this year too -- Nation. It was really good and unexpected. I'll have to check out Equal Rights.

    1. Cassie - I think I'll definitely be reading more Pratchett in the future. I'll look out for Nation!

  5. Great end of the year survey! I also LOVED Amy and Roger's Epic Detour. You must read Second Chance Summer- it's just as good! Happy New Year!

  6. Look forward to your thoughts on Persuasion, that's my favourite Austen too :)


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