I participated in The Perpetual Page-Turner‘s end-of-year survey last year, so I thought I’d try it again this year. Even trying to pick favorites for this list was difficult!
1. Best Book You Read In 2012? (You can break it down by genre if you want)
Fiction: The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach. (I loved the story and I thought the writing was terrific. I gather there was some hype about the author, but I never followed any of it.)
Mystery: Stone’s Fall by Iain Banks and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. (Apples and oranges. That’s why I picked two!)
Memoir: Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Non-fiction: The People Who Eat Darkness: The True Story of a Woman Who Vanished from the Streets of Tokyo– and the Evil That Swallowed Her Up, Richard Lloyd Parry (also gets prize for Longest Title Ever)
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
The End of Everything, by Megan Abbott. I’ve loved everything else I’ve read by her (Queenpin (review), Bury Me Deep (review), and Dare Me.)
3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012?
I read Fair and Tender Ladies by Lee Smith because my mother loves it. She sent it to me and kept asking if I had a chance to read it. I kept resisting because, to be honest, I hated the title. I expected cliched, sentimental Southern drivel. Instead I got a life story told by an interesting character with a strong voice.
4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn– I also push her other books, Dark Places and Sharp Objects, whenever I can.
5. Best series you discovered in 2012?
I didn’t start any series this year, but I did buy The Passage by Justin Cronin and intend to read it soon(ish). I have intentionally avoided series because I tend to read the first book and then fail to read the following books. For example, I’ve had Catching Fire on my Kindle for two years, and I still haven’t read it. But I will! Before the movie! I will!
6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?
Some new, some just new to me: Cheryl Strayed (Wild), Iain Banks (Stone’s Fall), Alexis Smith (Glaciers), Chad Harbach (The Art of Fielding), Ben Fountain (Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk)
7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
I didn’t really read any new genres, but I read more nonfiction this year than usual.
8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?
Stone’s Fall, Gone Girl, People Who Eat Darkness, and Wild. I read them all very quickly and they all gripped me for different reasons.
9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year:
Next year? Probably none of them that soon! Too many new books to read, too many older ones to re-read already in line ahead of them. But I am sure I’ll read The Art of Fielding again.
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?
People Who Eat Darkness. It looks sinister.
11. Most memorable character in 2012?
Ivy Rowe in Fair and Tender Ladies, and Billy Lynn in Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. I cannot see a guy in uniform now without thinking of that book.
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?
The Art of Fielding and Fair and Tender Ladies
13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?
I hate to answer this way, but it depends on what is meant by “impact.” In terms of writing, Alice Munro (Dear Life: Stories; The View from Castle Rock), Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl), and Tana French (Broken Harbor) always have an impact on me. In terms of subject matter, Methland by Nick Reding and Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain.
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read?
The View from Castle Rock was on my bookshelf for about four years. Alice Munro is one of my favorite writers, but it took me forever to get to that book. Also Stone’s Fall, which I got for Christmas in 2009.
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012?
From The Art of Fielding: “Literature could turn you into an asshole; he’d learned that teaching grad-school seminars. It could teach you to treat real people the way you did characters, as instruments of your own intellectual pleasure, cadavers on which to practice your critical faculties.”
16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012?
Glaciers by Alexis Smith and The Getaway Car by Ann Patchett. The longest was probably Stone’s Fall.
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 Devotion of Suspect X, Keigo Higashino. It’s so cleverly plotted and interesting. I also read parts of Wild, Methland, and People Who Eat Darkness out loud to my husband.
18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).
Haruki Murakami and his relationship with running, in What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously
The View from Castle Rock and Dear Life: Stories by Alice Munro; Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:
Fair and Tender Ladies by Lee Smith (recommended by my mom) and Stone’s Fall by Iain Banks (recommended by countless book bloggers)
Book Blogging/Reading Life in 2012 (optional)
1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2012?
Running off the Reeses. Not a book blog per se, but she does occasionally review books (a lot of history/biography) and I’ve added a fair number of titles to my wishlist based on some of her reviews. Also, she’s smart and funny and a fellow introvert, so I look forward to her posts.
2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2012?
I sadly didn’t review many of the books I read in 2012, but my favorite review is probably the one I wrote for Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.
3. Best discussion you had on your blog?
It was short, but the discussion around Running, Reading, and Blogging was a good one about setting one’s own goals and not competing against others.
4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?
Probably anything on Ana’s blog Things Mean a Lot. She puts so much into every post, and the comments and discussions are always interesting as a result.
5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
I had some fun chatting with Megan Abbott and Gillian Flynn on Goodreads. I tried very hard not to be a major dork. I am not sure I succeeded.
6. Best moment of book blogging in 2012?
Anytime I actually post. It’s been difficult getting back into it and staying with it, but when I do post something and I get even one comment, it makes me feel like part of something bigger.
7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
I don’t know! The ones overall that tend to get the most hits are my reviews of The Cement Garden by Ian McEwan and The Siege of Krishnapur by J.G. Farrell. Pretty sure all the visitors are students trolling for information, but I’ll take what I can get.
8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
My review of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.
9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
The Days of Yore, interviews with creative types about the time before they were famous.
10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
Yes! For the TBR Double Dare, I set out to read eight books from my TBR stack, and I did it!
1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2012 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2013?
I am too flighty in my reading choices to pick one book as a priority, but I will commit to reading Wolf Hall, finally, in 2013.
2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2013?
Benediction by Kent Haruf. (I already ordered it, and it doesn’t come out until March 2013.)
3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2013?
To post on the blog on a more regular basis. I miss being part of the book blogging community.
If you participated in the survey, please feel free to leave your link in the comments!