End of Year Book Survey

Found via Lianne @ Caffeinated Life, hosted by Jamie @ Perpetual Page Turner. I will post my general annual review tomorrow, but I like the idea of having more than one way to look back on the year. This survey looks at specific books read.

  • 2014 Reading Stats
    • Number of books read -76 (I will finish Fluent Forever tomorrow). My goal was 75. Hurrah! 
    • Number of re-reads – Four: The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Fault in Our Stars and Throwaway Daughter. I didn’t read White is for Witching, which I have read every year since it’s release. D: Moving in August messed up so many of my reading habits. Dang ;_; Book blogging has made me conscious of how many books I want to read, which has led to a decrease in my rereading. There are so many books I have read and loved, though, I want to revisit them. I think in 2015 I shall try to reread 12 favourites.
    • Genre you read the most from – Unknown. I don’t shelve my read books by genre (maybe I should…). I tried to judge from scanning the covers but it looks my reading was pretty varied this year!
  • Best in Books
    • Best book read – I don’t read many books from a single genre (which is to say, these genres didn’t have a lot of contenders) but it lets me list more than one favourite so I’m doing it that way 😉
    • Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love more but didn’tAll the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld. The cover and description had me excited, but the story didn’t grab me.
    • Most surprising book read –  I’ll Give You the Sun. I can’t remember a book that made me gasp in shock so many times.
    • Book you ‘pushed’ the most people to read (and they did) – Ehm, whether they read it is uknown but I strongly recommended I’ll Give You the Sun and The Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender to my friends who read YA and trust my recommendations.
    • Best series started – I don’t read series.
      • Best sequelThe Crown of Embers by Rae Carson (Book wwo of The Girl of Fire and Thorns)
      • Best conclusionUndivided by Neal Shusterman (I wouldn’t normally give this book a ‘best’ distinction but it was the only conclusion I read this year)
    • Favourite author discovered – Ooh, split between Hannah Kent (Burial Rites) and Leslye Walton (Ava Lavender). I look forward to whatever these authors publish next.
    • Best book from a genre you don’t typically readI’ll Give You the Sun. I’m extraordinarily picky about YA; I only read a couple a year. I’m not usually too impressed but this book connected with me.
    • Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable bookThe Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson. I won this book in a giveaway during the summer and felt in the right mood for it last week. I blazed through it, though it’s also not something I usually read, being YA and fantasy. Something about it had me hooked!
    • Most likely to reread next yearAva Lavender and The Haunting of Hill House. Ava I really enjoyed and would like to revisit. Haunting is a good seasonal read, I think, and could benefit from a few rereads.
    • Favourite coverAva Lavender and Burial Rites are contenders but how about I go with All the Birds, Singing to mix it up a bit. 
    • Most memorable character – Elinor from The Haunting of Hill House. It’s not often I identify with a character. Elinor surprised me in that way.
    • Most beautifully writtenAva Lavender or Burial Rites. I can’t choose between favourites! 
    • Most thought-provoking/life-changing – I didn’t read any book like that this year. Possibly The Haunting of Hill House because it made me think a lot and want to read more in the genre. Anything that drives a change in my reading habits can be ‘life-changing’ for me!
    • Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. I’m a Canadian…I majored in children’s literature...how did I miss this one?? (Disclaimer: the first chapter was assigned in one of my uni courses.)
    • Favourite passage/quote -“I am knifed to the hilt with fate” (Burial Rites). I considered a number of passages from Burial Rites and The Haunting of Hill House, but this one I think stood out the most to me.
    • Shortest book – Not counting novellas, The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida (135 pages)
    • Longest book – It’s always my one volume edition of The Lord of the Rings… second longest was The Secret History by Donna Tartt (658 pages).
    • Most shocking book – For me this is the same answer as most surprising book – I Will Give You the Sun. So many gasps, so many times I had to pause and let what happened sink in. 
    • OTP of the year (you will go down with this ship!) – Elisa and Hector from The Girl of Fire and Thorns. Their relationship is so reasonable and realistic and believable, how can you not appreciate it, haha.
    • Favourite non-romantic relationship – The sibling relationship between Jude and Noah in I’ll Give You the Sun. Often heartbreaking but wonderfully played out.
    • Favourite book read by an author you read previously The Haunting of Hill House.
    • Best book read based solely on a recommendation from somebody else/peer pressure –  Burial Rites. The plot summary didn’t intrigue me but so many bloggers cried ‘the prose!’ I felt I had to investigate. I’m very happy I did!!
    • Newest fictional crush – Oscar from I’ll Give You the Sun. I can’t name any other book character I ever crushed on (well, maybe I have a crush on Faramir but who doesn’t?) but while reading this book I messaged my friend to tell her it featured a very hot British boy 😛
    • Best 2014 debut  The Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
    • Best world-building Well, it’s another no-contest if I include LotR, so that aside… difficult question! I think I’ll go again with Ava Lavender (surprise, surprise). The world isn’t especially sprawling or spectacular, but I like how the story is told over generations and you get to experience different locations and manifestations of magical abilities.
    • Most fun to readThe Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy. A great fantasy adventure story, with a good dose of romance. I blazed through these books and had a fun time doing so.
    • Book that made you cry – This Star Won’t Go Out. Hooooooly, you thought TFIOS was sad? I did too, but good lord, nothing can be sadder than this book (although I mentioned earlier I have mixed feelings about its existence, the part where Wayne writes about the moment of Esther’s death is powerful.)
    • Hidden gemThe Swallow by Charris Cotter. This book didn’t get much attention but I thought it was sweet and a good ghost story.
    • Book that crushed your soul I’ll Give You the Sun (since I just used TSWGO for ‘book that made you cry’).
    • Most unique book – Ahh, I don’t read many ‘unique’ books! I guess TSWGO because of its format.
    • Book that made you most madThe War on Science by Chris Turner. GARGHHHH HARPERRRRRRR. The subtitle of this book is “Muzzled Scientists and Wilful Blindness in Stephen Harper’s Canada”. It’s a pretty depressing exploration of the Harper government’s attitude towards scientific research and evidence.
  • Your Bookish Life
    • New favourite book blog discovered – Oooh, this is tough, almost all the blogs I follow I discovered this year!  I can’t call out just one. Take a peak at my blog roll in the sidebar 😉
    • Favourite review on your blog – I’m proud of The Haunting of Hill House and A Tale for the Time Being, both of which made me consider what I really love about the books I love.
    • Best non-review post on your blog – I don’t have many of these (I want to do more in the future)… I like some of the posts I did for Armchair BEA, such as this one on middle grade fiction. I loved doing this survey about my local library. So maybe these are ‘best’ in that I enjoyed writing them the most 😛
    • Best event that you participated in – Ahh so difficult to choose ;_; I love the readathons…I loved armchair BEA (maybe Ill go with this because the fun lasted the longest :P) I loved doing the posts for summer library challenge…
    • Best moment of bookish/blogging life – I love chatting with other bloggers in real time. One moment that I remember particularly was during the October Dewey’s 24 Read-a-thon. My breakfast plan (rice cooker oatmeal) was retweeted by the official account and I had some fun discussions with other readers about favourite breakfasts.
    • Most popular post – Armchair BEA Giveaway, 55 comments and 327 views.
    • Post you wished got a little more love – My review of “J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lost English Mythology“. I know it’s a niche essay, but it’s the first piece I was ever asked to review, so I want it to get some attention!
    • Best bookish discovery – When I visited Osaka, my friend took me to a giant bookstore with six floors. Half of one floor was all English books – kid’s books, fiction, and non-fiction (including a large selection of academic non-fiction). I was delighted to be surrounded by so many English books for the first time in months.
    • Completion of challenges/goals – My reading goal for this year was pretty general – “Read 75 books (including more non-fiction, books I own but haven’t read, books released in 2013 and 2014, books that have been on the TBR for a long time)”. I did read 75 books, and more books released recently. I’m not sure about the others, but I’m happy with what I read so I’d call that successful completion! (Always I will say “I need to read more non-fiction”)
  • Looking Ahead
    • One book you didn’t get to in 2014 but will make a priority in 2015 – Hah, there are dozens I could pick… The Road to Middle-Earth by Tom Shippey is one I meant to read all year but didn’t get around to it. I purchased the ebook so I’ll be tackling it early in the new year.
    • Book you are most anticipating (non-debut) – I’m not big on watching ahead for new books but a few have made it onto my list. Now that the Unwind dystology is completed, I’m interested in Neal Shusterman’s Challenger Deep.
      • Book you are most anticipating (sequel) The Boy Who Lost Fairyland by Catherynne M Valente. I look forward to this new Fairyland book featuring a different main character.
    • One goal for your reading/blogging life – read The Silmarillion. 
    • 2015 release you’ve read and recommend – Alas, none ;_; A few of the books I’m excited about are on NetGalley, but not for Canadians.

Now that I’ve finished this survey, I realize my answers were fairly repetitive…a favourite book is a favourite because it does so many things well! I only read 4 five-star books this year (not counting re-reads), and 11 one or two star books. Next year I want to read more exceptional books and less mediocre ones. I’ve also just realized 2015 will be the first year in my reading life that I don’t have to do any required reading for school…hopefully this means I will have more time to find those exceptional reads!

To Be Read Tag

A companion post to yesterday’s Tidying the TBR List“. As I mentioned yesterday, I like reviewing my TBR shelf at the end of the year. Here are some questions that made me think about how I use my ‘TBR pile’. Found via Jamie @ Perpetual Page Turner.

  • How do you keep track of your TBR?
    • I use Goodreads’ to-be-read shelf. I also have to-be-read-SUBJECT shelves so when I’m the mood for a certain type of read I can easily find one. This includes books friends have recommended to me, books I’ve read about online, books I spotted in the library, books to be published, books I’ve purchased. If I’ve come across a book somewhere, anywhere and I might want to read it, I add it to the Goodreads shelf.
  • Is your TBR mostly print or ebook?
    • I don’t really understand this question ^^; If it’s referring to books I own that are on the TBR, then definitely physical. In general – I have a list of books to read. I’ll read a book however I can get a hold of it. Usually that means physical books borrowed from the library or purchased for myself. However, since I’m living in Japan, now it means ebooks (borrowed or purchased). 
  • How do you determine what to read next?
    • Usually I go by whatever I’m in the mood for. I’m currently blazing through a YA fantasy trilogy that wasn’t even on the list, because that’s what I felt like reading. Occasionally I’ll decide to read a book just because it’s a new release. But mostly, I browse the TBR list to find something that suits my mood.
  • A book that has been on your TBR the longest
    •  On my Goodreads TBR shelf – Collapse by Jared Diamond, on the list since 7 February 2012.  (when I decided to really start using GoodReads in June 2012, I added a number of books I had listed in a Word document). But I’ve wanted to read The Silmarillion since grade seven…I’m so nervous about finishing it, though, I want to save it for as long as possible! (Silly reasoning, but that’s that. Next year probably I will give it a serious go.) 

  • A book you recently added to your TBR
    •  A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar – I hadn’t heard of this book until a friend recently reviewed it. It sounds like something I would enjoy, so I added it.
  • A book on your TBR solely for the beautiful cover
    •  Ooh, I try not to be swayed by covers…but if I was, I would have added Evergreen by Rebecca Rasmussen.
  • A book on your TBR you never plan on reading
    • In yesterday’s post, I wrote about nixing such books. There are still a few I like to think I’ll read some day…but probably won’t. One Hundred Years of Solitude is one such book.
  • An unpublished book on your TBR you’re excited about
    •  Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman – now that the Unwind books have wrapped up, I’m excited to see what he tackles next!
  • A book on your TBR that basically everyone has read but you
    • The Giver has the most GoodReads ratings on my TBR shelf (+950,000! The book with the second most ratings [speak of the devil – One Hundred Years of Solitude] has ~430,000).
  • A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you
    • I don’t get many personal book recommendations, so I think I’ll just go with The Giver again here. 
  • How many books are on your GoodReads TBR shelf?
    • 462 – for my first two years on GoodReads I kept it under 100, but there’s no containing it now!

Leave a link (or an answer to any of these questions) in the comments if you fill in this tag!

The Chocolate Book Tag

I found this tag via Shelf of Melanie.

  • Dark Chocolate – a book that covers a dark topic
  • White Chocolate – your favourite light-hearted/humorous read
    •  

    • Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer – Does this book count? When I think ‘funny’ it’s the first that comes to mind! I wouldn’t say it’s light-hearted, exactly, but I still find the humorous moments in these books humorous.  
  • Milk Chocolate – a book that has a lot of hype that you’re dying to read
    • I’m not currently dying to read anything, but I would like to read The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin, which I saw a lot of in the blogosphere and I noticed it’s up for a GoodReads Choice Award.
  • Chocolate with a Caramel Centre – a book that makes you feel all gooey in the middle while reading
    • I honestly can’t think of a book that makes me feel gooey (this is why memes are so difficult for me, haha, but I liked the chocolate theme of this one)…I don’t read that sort of thing! The closest, perhaps, would be The Lord of the Rings making me feel a sort of nostalgia perhaps?
    • Wafer Free Kit Kat – a book that surprised you recently
      • Burial Rites by Hannah Kent – I saw this one a lot in the blogosphere and never thought I would read it. Something finally changed my mind, though, and I gave it go. I loved it! (Review coming next week)
    • Snickers – a book that you’re going nuts about
      • The Secret History by Donna Tart – I started this last night and I’ve read over 400 pages. It’s totally pulled me in; I can’t wait to read what happens next.
    • Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows – a book you turn to for a comfort read
      • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien – one of my all time favourite books. I could read it over and over.
    • Box of Chocolate – a series you’ve read that you feel has a little bit of something for everyone
      • Gosh, I haven’t read many series either (see caramel centre above) so it’s difficult to recommend one that has something for everyone. They’re all so genre specific. Possibly the Ashbury-Brookfield books could satisfy the general YA lovers but also those looking for a good mystery or something with a little more depth. I don’t usually love YA but I love these books.

    Please leave a comment if you participate in this tag.

    A to Z Bookish Survey

    I’ve decided to kick off posting again with this survey created by Jamie @ Perpetual Page Turner, which I found via Adam @ Roof Beam Reader.

    • Author You’ve Read the Most Books From
      • Lemony Snicket – he’s an easy winner, having penned a 13 book series. I’ve read 17 books by Snicket.
    • Best Sequel Ever
      •  Inkspell by Cornelia Funke (book two in the Inkworld trilogy) – I adored the first book but love this one even more. My favourite novel by Funke.
    • Currently Reading
    • Drink of Choice While Reading
      • Hot chocolate or Coke
    • E-reader or Physical Book
      • Physical book! Though, now I’ve moved overseas and will have to start relying on e-books… I don’t mind reading non-fiction, YA, or comics on an e-reader because they feel like they fit the medium, but heaven forbid I have to read Tolkien digitally.
    • Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Eventually Dated in High School
      •  Tough question – I don’t think there’s any! There’s never been a character I thought I would have dated, let alone one I even had a crush on.
    • Glad You Gave This Book a Chance
      • The Great Gatsby – I did not have to read it in school, but I knew many people did and that it was the ‘great American novel’. I didn’t think such a book could be truly interesting to me, but vlogbrothers convinced me to finally give it a shot once I realized it was a small book. I read Gatsby for the first time in August 2012 and loved it!
    • Hidden Gem Book
      •  White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi – one of my all-time favourite books. I’m sometimes reluctant to share it, but if the description appeals to you definitely check it out. 
    • Important Moment in Your Reading Life
      • Finishing LotR for the first time. I fell in love with the story when I was 12 after seeing the films. I devoured The Hobbit and parts of LotR but it was a long time before I felt I ready to tackle the entire thing. Now I plan to read it once every year (finished the third read-through this year!)
    • Just Finished
    • Kinds of Books You Won’t Read
      • Books that have romance (esp. unhealthy romance or love triangles) front and center
      • Detective mysteries (nothing against them, just no interest)
      • There are probably more books you might suggest I read but that I would refuse, but it’s difficult to think of them off the top of my head.
    • Longest Book You’ve Read
      • 50th anniversary one-volume edition of The Lord of the Rings  – 1,178 pages
      • Since LotR is more commonly counted as three books, the next longest I’ve read is The History of the Hobbit by John D. Rateliff – 938 pages
      • The longest novel is 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami – 925 pages (I’m continually amazed I ever made it through this one =.=)
    • Major Book Hangover Because Of
      • The Lord of the Rings – you can read about the first time I finished the book here.
    • Number of Bookcases You Own
    • Shelfie taken during Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-thon (April 2014)
      • As I live at home with two parents and a sibling, I only technically own the one bookshelf in my room. But, I’ve taken over the bookshelf in the upstairs hallway and the bookshelf in the den. 
    • One Book You Have Read Multiple Times
      • The Hobbit – I’ve read it at least once every year since my first reading 11 years ago.
    • Preferred Place to Read
      • My reading corner by the window in my room. This space will be sorely missed while in Japan!
    • Quote that Inspires You/Gives You All the Feels from a Book You’ve Read
      • Gosh, I’m not really a quote collector, as odd as that sounds…I always write down passages in books but I’ve never had one that really really stuck to me, or that inspires me. One extremely moving quote that comes to mind, though, is Frodo speaking to Sam near the end of Lord of the Rings: “‘Poor Sam! It will feel like that, I am afraid,’ said Frodo. ‘But you will be healed. You were meant to be solid and whole, and you will be.'”
    • Reading Regret
      • Hm, I don’t really have too much reading regret. Sometimes I regret not reading a great-sounding book right when it’s released (has Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstoree really been out for two years already?!) but I’m always reading something so I don’t mind too much. Not finishing LotR at speed this year is also a bit of a regret, but I hate having the story end!
    • Series You Started and Need to Finish
      • None (I rarely read series. Two I am reading currently are ongoing – Unwind dystology by Neal Shusterman and Fairyland by Cahterynne M. Valente)
    • Three of Your All-Time Favourite Books
    • Unapologetic Fangirl For
      • Tolkien (surprise, surprise ;))
    • Very Excited for This Release More Than All the Others
      • Undivided by Neal Shusterman (October 2014), the final book in the Unwind dystology. I never expected more than one book set in the Unwind universe (I think Unwind was originally meant to stand alone) but each book has totally blown me away, no disappointments here.
    • Worst Bookish Habit
      • Probably signing out lots of library books, only reading a few, then renewing the other (sometimes for months!) only to return them without reading. Also, for someone who likes to keep her books as pristine as possible (I want them to have long lives), I sometimes take big risks with them while bathing or eating.
    • X Marks the Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book
    • Your Latest Book Purchase
      •  

    • ZZZ-Snatcher Book (last book that kept you up WAY late)

    Please let me know in the comments if you do this survey!