Tuesday 31 December 2013

End of Year Book Survey

Guys! It's the end of the year! Even though I sort of disapprove of the furore over there being a new year, and the pressure to make it the best one ever ever ever, I have absolutely no problem with looking back over the books I've read this year and remembering how awesome they were. That's just me.

I'm in what I think is a unique position for me for the first time in three years, in that, I'm writing this on the 27th December (not at all unique) and I MIGHT FINISH A BOOK BEFORE THE 31st AND OMG. I wouldn't even care about this SO much, but said book is The Goldfinch and I already love it so so much and I don't want to miss it out of anything but it's also 700-something pages long and, realistically I'm probably not going to finish it.

So, actually, I'll just tell you now: The Goldfinch is really good and I love it. You'll see when I write a million word review of it when it's finally done.

1. Best book you read in 2013?
This question is completely brutal. Let's see. Excluding re-reads (HARRY POTTER), I would say...
Tell The Wolves I'm Home- Carol Rifka Brunt
Ready Player One- Ernest Cline
Wild- Cheryl Strayed
Kitchen- Banana Yoshimoto
My Life in France- Julia Child
Fangirl- Rainbow Rowell
I don't even... I LOVE ALL THE BOOKS.

2. Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love more, but didn't?
I thought I'd like The Newlyweds more than I did (based on nothing but the cover) and I also thought Tolstoy and the Purple Chair would be my jam, but it kind of... wasn't. Bad books.

3. Most surprising (in a good way) book of 2013?
I'm going to say The Outsider by Camus- because I was kind of expecting it to go over my head, but I turned out actually being sort of riveted by/agreeing emphatically with it. It was awesome, anyway.

4. Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?
This is going to have to be Ready Player One (which, by the way, I can't even believe I read this year, it seems like forever ago) because I've literally shoved my copy into people's hands because it NEEDS TO BE READ. So awesome.

5. Best series you discovered in 2013?
Um... I think the only series other than Harry Potter I read in 2013 was The Girl Who Had Stuff And Did Stuff Trilogy, and I wouldn't really describe that as the best anything. So, um, Harry Potter?

6. Favourite new author you discovered in 2013?
I actually read a lot of new-to-me authors this year, but I think I'm going to have to say that my favourite is Banana Yoshimoto, purely because Kitchen was SO amazing, and I love her so much that I've been hoarding her books to read 'later' because I don't want to gobble them all up at once.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or a new genre for you?
Ehrrrrrm... I always want to say that graphic novels are out of my comfort zone, so in that case, Persepolis would be the best of that (SO good). But, I usually read a couple of graphic novels a year so it's not really true, even. So, let's say True Grit because Westerns? WUT?

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?
Dare I say Ready Player One again? I do dare, but I also had a hard time putting down Where'd You Go Bernadette and Rosemary's Baby because they were AWESOME.

9. Book you read in 2013 that you're most likely to re-read next year?
This isn't going to happen, obviously, but if anything I'd re-read Ready Player One (YAWN) and also probably parts of Tiny Beautiful Things because daaaaaamn, that's some moving advice.

10. Favourite cover of a book you read in 2013?
Can I say Fangirl even though I read it on the Kindle? I'm going to say Fangirl.
11. Most memorable character in 2013?
I seem to have forgotten all the names of all the characters in the books I've read this year, but thingy from Tell The Wolves I'm Home was pretty memorable (apart from her name, apparently. Wait! June! That's it) oh oh and Mattie Ross from True Grit OF COURSE. - Genuinely just had to come back to this question because MY GOD I love Levi in Fangirl so incredibly much. Like, I would MARRY him, much. He's the best character.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?
This one's tricky because I almost want to say The Goldfinch, but as mentioned above, totally haven't finished it. So, let's say Kitchen OR possibly Tiny Beautiful Things, because MY GOD it's beautiful. Hey, why haven't you read it yet, again?

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013?
I think On Writing might have a future-y knock on impact on me, but I'm going to say Tell The Wolves I'm Home for right now because my GOD the crying. Endless.

14. Book you can't believe you waited until 2013 to read?
Hmmm, this is a tricky one because, looking back at what I've read this year, I've leaned heavily towards fairly new books (I can't even believe this!) and re-reads, which means that books that have been on my shelves for ages haven't really had a look-in. Regardless, I'm going to say The Little Prince,  because it seems like I should have definitely read that years ago.

15. Favourite passage/quote from a book you read in 2013?

16. Shortest and Longest book you read in 2013?(finally, my book spreadsheet comes into play!)
Shortest: Cymbeline by William Shakespeare (76 pages in my complete works)
Longest: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (1201 pages. OF COURSE THIS WAS THE LONGEST)

17. Book that had a scene in it that had you reeling and dying to talk to somebody about it?
This isn't really a thing that happens with the kinds of books I read (do I sound like a book snob? Shit.) but, just to borrow Alley's answer, I was VERY upset/alarmed by certain parts of Harry Potter and had to sometimes demand hugs from twitter because OMG. The crying.

18. Favourite relationship from a book you read in 2013 (be it friendship, romantic, etc)
I'm going to have to say Levi and Cath in Fangirl, aren't I? Although actually I wanted Levi to be MY boyfriend instead so... yeah. Instead, let's say Melly and Scarlett in Gone With The Wind because THAT deserves a mention and who knows when I'm going to read GWTW again and write about it here?

19. Favourite book you read in 2013 from an author you've read previously.
Oh, do I read by author more than by book description? I do? Well, shit, how am I supposed to answer this one? Let's say Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King, because maaaaan, I really enjoyed that. (Although did I enjoy On Writing more? Difficult to say...)

20. Best book you read in 2013 that you read based SOLELY on a recommendation from someone else?
Um, um, um, tie between Tell The Wolves I'm Home and Ready Player One? Yeah, that.

21. Genre you read most from in 2013? 
My spreadsheet (yay, spreadsheet!) tells me it was... Non Fiction. Which is mental and has only happened because I lumped memoirs/food/travel non fiction all together. But non-fiction it is, apparently. Which isn't even really a genre, is it?

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013?

23. Best debut book you read.
Tell The Wolves I'm Home or Ready Player One? Where'd You Go Bernadette wasn't half bad, either.

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?
Ready Player One was wonderfully vivid, but it has to be Harry Potter, definitely. Just... there's a reason I can't watch the films, you know!

25. Book that was the most fun to read in 2013?
Who's going to smack me if I say Ready Player One again? *ducks*

26. Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2013?
I'm just going to give you them in order... Harry Potter (most of them), Desperation, Eleanor and Park, Wild, Les Miserables, Gone With The Wind, Bag of Bones, Tiny Beautiful Things, Tell The Wolves I'm Home. Damn.

27. Book you read in 2013 that you think got overlooked this year or when it came out?
*shrug* I don't really know how to answer this one. I read a couple that I think should have been overlooked but weren't! (The Millennium Trilogy, The Fault In Our Stars).

28. Did you complete any reading challenges you set for yourself at the beginning of the year?
I quite deliberately didn't set any reading challenges at the start of this year, because they stressed me out too much last year! I've been plugging away at reading Stephen King, though, so there's that. (Don't talk to me about The Classics Club. The classics and I haven't really been friends this year.)

29. Bookish events on your blog in 2013?
I'm just thinking and I didn't actually host anything this year, did I? Well, I suck! But, the most important thing that happened was the HARRY POTTER READALONG (I will never get over how amazing that was) and also there was The Corrections readalong, which involved a lot more complaining than the HP one. Because we're awesome.

30. One book you didn't get to in 2013 but will be your top priority in 2014?
I actually don't have an answer to this- I'm a bit all over the place with what I'm reading/want to read at the moment, and I think a shelf-reorganisation needs to happen early in the new year so I can actually see the books I haven't read a lot better. Oh, but I know I want to re-read I Capture The Castle soon-ish. There you go.

31. Book you are most anticipating in 2014?
Um. There are new books coming out that I have to think about? I don't know, let's just go with Landline (Rainbow Rowell) and be done with this question.

32. One thing you hope to accomplish in your reading/blogging in 2014?
Like I said above, I want to reorganise my shelves properly, and just generally have a more solid reading plan. Ever since I've moved, I've kind of just been grabbing the nearest/newest book, and I don't want to forget, you know, ALL THE BOOKS I own. I'm on it, though, it's fine.

Extra bits because this post wasn't long enough already

  • So this year, I had not one, but two outings with people from the internet and it was the BEST THING EVER. I am absolutely like a broken record when I say this, but I honestly never imagined in the slightest that when I started writing down the things I thought about books, I would end up meeting other human people in the flesh to talk with our mouths and I've just ruined this by making it sound really weird. But it's still true and it's amazing and many more meet-ups to come, I hope.
  • I did some readathons this year and they only drove home to me how much I bloody love just laying down and reading and whatnot. I'm going to try and make this happen more in the next year because ever since I moved, I haven't really set aside enough time to read at all. 
  • I'm sure there were more, extremely important things I wanted to say, but who can remember things? Not me! Finally, some stats:
Books Read: 75
Fiction/Non-Fiction Books Read: 58/17
Male/Female Authors Read: 35/40 (yaaaaaaaay, I won with the wimmins!) 
Rereads/New Reads: 15/60
Translated/Not Translated: 11/64 (I kept track of which books were translated cause there was a translation challenge of some sort happening and I was curious about how many translated books I read. Not that many, was the answer!)
Books read that I actually owned before this year: 42
Total Page Count: 27,965 (not including bits of other books)

Ah, stats. You were worth tracking my reading completely for a whole year. And I'll be doing the same again next year!


  1. Dude, 42 of the 75 books you read you already owned?? You kind of WIN at reading your own books. I have not kept stats on that for myself, but I'm pretty sure it's bad...

    YAY Ready Player One and Fangirl. And you did kind of do good for the Classics Challenge, just because you read Les Miserables. That sucker is huge. I'd be happy if I manage to read it this coming year.

    And for some reason I'm more excited about New Years than I was for Christmas, so HAPPY NEW YEAR LAURA!!!

  2. I agree with Sarah - reading 42 books that you had already owned is kind of amazing! My number was 20...

    Ready, Player One was a really fun book :-)

  3. Oh, do you love Levi?

    I'm glad you keep repeating Ready Player One (EXCELLENT CHOICE) cos it makes me feel better about my Bernadette repeats.


  4. I got Tell the Wolves I'm Home for Christmas!!! I purposefully didn't read it yesterday because it is so beautiful and I want it to be part of my 2014. Erm. But I haven't cried yet... oh my god am I going to cry??? E&P made me cry for sure. That was my Tell the Wolves of 2013.
    Happy 2014. I hope it will be fantastic for you!

  5. Hang on a second...are you saying that I should read Ready Player One and Fangirl? I have actually been meaning to read both all year (haha - that is ONE DAY! I really mean "all 2013", obviously...) but, as with so many things, haven't got round to it.

    And I definitely hear your shelf re-organisation need! I technically don't own shelves at the moment and my books live in boxes so my goal for 2014 is pretty much just buying shelves, building them and then organising. Until then, I'm basically going to keep with my current "open random box, pick book off top" system until I've read more of the books I own. There will be no book buying for some time, I am determined!

    Oh, also, hoo-bloody-ray for The Goldfinch being excellent because I am ultra excited about owning that and reading it soon and now I can pick up that tome knowing that it will live up to my expectations.

    Happy 2014 indeed :)


    Melanie/Scarletttttttttt. Best.

  7. LOL Westerns. So have you not read Cormac McCarthy? So bleak and so depressing but one of my favorite authors. Not sure what that says about me.

    I NEED TO GET MY HANDS ON TELL THE WOLVES IM HOME. Ugh. Why did I pass it up so many times this past year. I'm getting it as soon as I see it again. Happy new year dear Laura.

  8. I love this survey and I wish I'd done it, too. Maybenext year!

    I just listened to Fangirl in December after reading it and not especially loving it several months ago and it was a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT reading experience. I LURVED it and Levi, too.

  9. Okay, so first of all HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    Second, I realized I must have missed your review of Tolstoy and the Purple Chair when you posted it, so I went back and read it and all the comments and was going to leave a late-ass creeper comment on it but instead decided to come back here and say I AGREE WITH EVERYTHING YOU SAID. Also it really bothered me that she never criticized any of the books she read. Like, really, lady? You read 365 books and can't find fault with a single one of them? Blech.

    Third, I clearly need to get on the bandwagon for The Goldfinch, Fangirl, and Tell the Wolves I'm Home. SO MANY BANDWAGONS TO BOARD.

  10. Oh bummer about Newlyweds, I just got a copy if that one. Great top books for the year though!