I feel like my year has been me always trying to catch up, with something. I’m still trying to catch up with 2012 and actually getting myself together to write up my favorite reads of 2012. After reading through my Google Reader, I remembered Jamie’s wonderful, amazing, perfect “End of Year Book Survey.” It’s a godsend for people like me who define procrastination. THANK YOU Jamie.
1. Best book you read in 2012? (You can break it down by genre if you want.)
Nonfiction: Columbine by David Cullen, hands down.
Poetry: Best American Poetry 2011 edited by Kevin Young
Contemporary fiction: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Fantasy: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
2. Book you were excited about & thought you were going to love more but didn’t?
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon. I built this book up so much in my mind over the years, I was certain it was going to be a favorite. I liked it fine, but I didn’t love it.
3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012?
I had heard a lot of mixed reactions from readers I trusted about The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown and I was expecting to like it fine, but not love it. I loved it though and it made me excited for whatever Eleanor Brown writes next.
4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?
Probably Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. I made three people at work buy it and I bought it for a friend for her birthday. (Everyone loved it.) Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan is another one that I recommended to a lot of non-blogging friends.
5. Best series you discovered in 2012?
Definitely The Kingkiller series by Patrick Rothfuss. I absolutely cannot wait to read the second book in the series after finishing The Name of the Wind right before the new year. Honorable mention to the Dreamblood series by NK Jemisin.
6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?
Patrick Rothfuss, NK Jemisin, Rainbow Rowell, and Tracy K. Smith.
7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
I’m not much of a biography reader and it was a big surprise to me how much I enjoyed The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family by Mary S. Lovell. It has me itching to read more biographies.
8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?
One of my biggest disappointments of 2012 is the lack of really thrilling books, but there were a few. I couldn’t have put Gone Girl or Code Name Verity down if I had tried. They were both so good, with twists and turns throughout.
9. Book you read in 2012 that you are most likely to re-read next year:
I don’t know if I’ll reread them all again next year, but I definitely want to reread the Graceling/Fire/Bitterblue trilogy again soon. I had every intention of reading The Night Circus again at Halloween, but I didn’t get the book in time. I’d like to try that again next year. I could also see myself rereading Attachments if I need something wonderful and happy-making.
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?
These covers were most clearly and artfully showed what was on the inside. The starkness of Columbine is so perfect. I read this one as an ebook, but I have seen the book in person and the cover has always given me chills. I think the cover of Wild is really just the only cover it could possibly be. The boots are so significant to the story. I wonder if they’ll change it for the paperback? I hope not. This cover for Ask the Passengers not only shows something that happens in the book, but I just think it’s pretty. The same is true for The Odds. It’s a beautiful cover and one that evokes so much about the story.
11. Most memorable character in 2012?
Kvothe from The Name of the Wind. And it’s a good thing to, because that’s a lot of pages (672) to read and not remember the character!
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?
Oh, definitely Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. So beautiful. I wish the plot had been more even. I loved the first half so much more than the second half. If it had been more consistent, this easily would have been one of my favorite reads of the year.
13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?
I’m not sure any book inspired me quite as much as The Best American Poetry 2011. It made me want to get off my butt and start writing poetry again. Even if I didn’t really start doing it again until late in the year.
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read?
The Night Circus, The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell, and The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012?
“Presumably, one factor is that each city has its own romantic season. Once a year, a city’s architectural, cultural, and horticultural variables come into alignment with the solar course in such a way that men and women passing each other on the thoroughfares feel an unusual sense sense of romantic promise. Like Christmastime in Vienna, or April in Paris.
That’s the way we New Yorkers feel about fall. Come September, despite the waning hours, despite the leaves succumbing to the weight of gray autumnal rains, there is a certain relief to having the long days of summer behind us; and there’s a paradoxical sense of rejuvenation in the air. […] Somehow, despite the coming winter, autumn in New York promises an effervescent romance which makes one look to the Manhattan skyline with fresh eyes and feel: It’s good to live it again.” From The Rules of Civility by Amor Towles.
16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012?
Shortest: Native Guard by Natasha Trethewey (64 pages)
Longest: The Stand by Stephen King (1153 pages)
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 narrative shifts in both Gone Girl and Code Name Verity! Ahhhh. Also every moment of The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle but I just can’t convince anyone to read that book. Someone read it please!
18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).
Beth and Jennifer from Attachments by Rainbow Rowell!
19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously
The Odds by Stewart O’Nan.
20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:
The Killing Moon by NK Jemisin (recommended by Thea from The Booksmugglers), The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell (former roommate and book blogger She!), and The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice (Meg).
Phew. That took a long time! But I’m glad it’s up for all to see and for me to remember the year in reading, since I woefully neglected my book spreadsheet this year. Never again.