I am joining in on the party that is The 3rd annual End of Year Book Survey! (Hosted by Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner) I guess this is kind of my BEST-OF-THE-YEAR-SO-PLEASE-READ-THESE-BOOKS list, but not really.
1. Best Book You Read In 2012?
I thought this survey was supposed to be easy Oh wells, I am going to cheat and break this up into sub categories.
Unexpected Tear-jerker: The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna
I got teary-eyed twice. TWICE. It’s one of two books that made me tear up this year, and the only to do it twice.
Zombie Book: This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
Whoever said zombie books can’t have substance? But once I told my friends that it was a zombie book, they had a look of disgust (granted, they TRIED to hide it, but still.)
The Most Fun You’ll Ever Have: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Philosophical, Sci-fi Dystopian: A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan
Must Read if You’re a Graphic Design Student (plus, it’s hilarious): The Cheese Monkeys by Chip Kidd
I didn’t care for the first “semester” part, nor the last fifty pages. But the second semester? Gold.
Book That Should Have Been Boring, But Somehow Isn’t: The Visible Man by Chuck Klosterman
It’s a book about an invisible guy talking to his shrink about stalking people. The book is comprised of transcripts from his sessions.
I Don’t Even Know What This Is, But I Love It: Survivior by Chuck Palanuik
A guy hijacks a plane and records his story while waiting for his impending death.
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang
I was excited for this one to come out for at least six months before its release because I am superficial and get attracted to pretty covers way too easily. Okay, to be fair, I didn’t hate this one. The concept was creative, character development was great (at least for the main character,) AND it was thought-provoking. But I wanted better. I am too greedy for my own good.
Feedback by Robison Wells
I really, really, really enjoyed Variant. I was dying to read Feedback once it came out. I finished it in a day, but that was one very disappointing ending. What kind of ending is that? Wells just took random to a whole new level. I feel cheated.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Don’t hit me! I admit that it is beautifully written, with great characters (and VERY quotable.) But really, that’s it? On the other hand, I just realized people are obsessed with making copies of Charlie’s mixtape on 8tracks (I swear there’s at least ten of them.) Enough people, make your own mixtapes!
I would also say Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff, but I didn’t even last past the first ten pages before the language made me want to hide under a pillow. I admit, reading Jay’s interview only made it worse (Wikipedia for research? really?)–along with the negative reviews. Eventually, I decided I couldn’t continue reading with an objective eye anymore. Maybe I’ll pick it up again next year. But seriously, I WAS SO EXCITED for that one–like, counting-days-before-its-release excited. Plus, its cover is pretty damn badass.
3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012?
The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna. I had low expectations for this book, partly because the buzz seemed to die once the book was released. It was one of those I just picked up because…why not? (okay, maybe the cover had something to do with it.) And it blew me away, I loved the complex characters, the thought-provoking issues…my only gripe is that I wish it had more world-building (I always forget that the book was supposed to be in India.) And then I cried for this book. I didn’t even know it was a tear-jerker. I’m glad to have discovered this gem before the end of the year.
4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Just because I think its one of those fun books that are impossible to hate. I am still in the process of making one of my best friends read it. And he isn’t listening to me.
5. Best series you discovered in 2012?
A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan
Okay, technically it’s still a standalone and I don’t know if there’s even a series name yet. But I will not pass up any opportunity to pimp this book. Apparently there are other installments in the works (i.e. stuck in the editing phase and hasn’t been bought yet?) Now I’m stuck weeping and hoping the more people I force to read this book, the more people will be Sheehan fans…and then we can form an angry mob and make the sequel come to fruition. Seriously. I have the pitchforks ready.
6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?
No answer, just because I think to be my “favorite author,” I have to love more than one of their books. But this year, I haven’t read more than one book by more than a handful of authors and none of them have quite reached my “favorite” status. I suspect it’s also because I read too many debut books this year. One the other hand, I keep reading Dan Wells even though I wasn’t particular impressed with his books. WHAT IS THIS CURSE?
7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
I don’t read much middle-grade. Somehow most of them turn out to be too childish for my taste, with kids doing things way too easily, or villains that are too flat (“WORLD DOMINATION” just doesn’t cut it anymore.) But Wonder was different. The story depicted the feelings of being bullied so well that it touched my heart.
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
I avoid historical fiction like the plague. But I admit, this book is kinda win. I must take this opportunity to declare: I KNEW THE PLOT TWIST BEFORE IT HAPPENED! LALALALALA.
Oh yes, and the handful of Jane Porter romance novels I read over the summer, because a friend keep telling me about how delicious romances were. Now I know why she likes them so much. It’s addicting stuff!
8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Ever heard of intentionally reading slower to savor each word, and then feeling like the apocalypse is coming when you’re at the last 100 pages…that’s was me. I want to be in the OASIS, right now.
9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year:
Also Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I decided I would re-read it right after I flipped the last page. I am waiting for the paperback I love the paperback cover to bits!) to be dirt cheap, because I am Chinese and I CAN’T BUY ANYTHING AT FULL PRICE. It’s in my blood.
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?
Mystic City by Theo Lawrence
Its shiny, metallic cover lured me in like bees to honey. Then I discovered it wasn’t honey, but that’s not the point.
11. Most memorable character in 2012?
As much as I want to be a hipster, I have to agree with Jamie from Broke & Bookish / The Perpetual Page-Turner and say A from David Levithan’s Every Day. The concept of not having any physical characteristics, gender, or religion to define you is so intriguing. All my best friends that talked to me within a month of me finishing Every Day was forced into a discussion about gender being a social construct…and sex changing.
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?
All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin
While I wasn’t in love this one (the pace was too slow, and I wasn’t interested in the romance,) but the writing blew me away. I’ve loved many quotes from this book, and looking at the cover, I would’ve never guessed this book was filled with so many hidden gems. I usually won’t read the sequel if I am not invested in the story, but in Zevin’s case, I am planning to pick up the sequel, Because It’s In My Blood, just for the beautiful writing.
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
I have not suffered from a great loss, so I can’t relate to this book like many others have. But the writing stood out to me as a masterpiece, just BEGGING to be read aloud.
13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?
The Visible Man by Chuck Klosterman
Yes, that book about an invisible guy talking to his shrink about stalking people. Even though it’s been many months since I’ve finished this book, but it still hasn’t let me go. Basically, this book is about a awkward, insecure guy who wears an invisible suit to hide in strangers’ houses. He purposely picks people that live alone, believing that only then will he be able to observe man as they really are, not the multiple versions of ourselves we portray for others.
Reading that made me think about myself and how being alone changes my behavior. I think of all the things I wouldn’t do if I had a room-mate; I probably wouldn’t jump on my bed and sing along to Taylor Swift, for one. Nor would I talk to myself (I am not crazy, I promise!) Then I wonder about my family members–why haven’t I caught them talking to themselves or jumping on beds before?
This book ended up indirectly inspiring a few art projects. And I’m STILL thinking about it.
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read?
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
I was actually recommended it by a friend who LOVED it wayyyy back when I was in middle school. And it took me seven years to finally get to it. In my defense, I did borrow it from the library once, read one page, left it alone because I wasn’t interested. For whatever reason I thought the protagonist was supposed to be a girl.
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012?
…lies can sound awfully pretty when a girl is in love with the person telling them.
Gabrielle Zevin, All The Things That I’ve Done
Never fall in love with an idea. They’re whores: if the one you’re with isn’t doing the job, there’s always, always, always another.
Chip Kidd, The Cheese Monkeys
My mantra for creating right there.
And for the typography lover in me:
And that’s the challenge for all of us – to create warmth in a digital world. Not many people can do it. You see a lot of stuff that looks great but simply doesn’t turn you on. It’s like making a song on a synthesizer. To make a drum machine sound good is really difficult – you might as well play real drums
Erik Spiekermann (quote read from Just My Type by Simon Garfield)
I ended up using this quote on a poster I did for Graphic Design. To be honest, I am not sure if the quote is the most suitable. But whatever. I got my A+, I am happy. *brag brag brag*
16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012?
Longest — A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, 592 pages. Painful stuff, and the length (the font size was SO TINY and so was the line spacing) only made it worse. I conquered it though! *applause*
Shortest — This Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers, 32 pages. A children’s book I read a few hours ago because Penguin Teen sent me a copy and THE ILLUSTRATIONS WERE SO BEAUTIFUL that I couldn’t resist reading it right after tearing it from the package. I WAS going to gift it away for Christmas, but now I have to reconsider.
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 underwater door-opening scene that somehow didn’t cause water to go rushing into the room in Julie Kagawa’s The Immortal Rules. I must have re-read that part several times, hoping it would make sense. Did I miss something?
And someone please tell me what’s the point of Divergent’s Tris climbing that ferris wheel if she couldn’t even climb down.
18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).
Pretty much ALL the familial relationships in Sangu Mandanna’s The Lost Girl
All of the characters that matter have so much complexity built into them. All the main characters and the emotional conflicts they carry made The Lost Girl exceptional. The story is about a girl who is born to replace another in the event of an accident. The way her family tells her to leave for her safety despite their hearts breaking…that’s beautiful stuff. While on the other side, we see the family of the dead girl, trying to cope with her lose (albeit, in unhealthy ways.) I didn’t care about Adrian’s familial relationships though, he can disappear for all I care.
Carla and Tucker from Cynthia Hand’s Unearthly
I didn’t care about their one-week love declarations, but I did love how their relationship was built. The way Tucker’s actions echoed “Why won’t you look at me?” made my heart throb. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy the plot, so the book isn’t high on my favorites list.
19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously
Once again, The Visible Man. I read his book, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto before, and liked the first half. I faintly remember it now, it was a collection of essays, and one of them had Sims.
20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:
SOLELY? That’s a hard question. Usually books are on my TBR list, then I take the plunge when I see a great review of it on a book blog. I would say Shanna Swendson’s Enchanted Inc. recommended to me by Christina over at Reader of Fictions. I was in the middle of reading too many books with ruthless serial killers and zombie apocalypses that I needed something light, Enchanted Inc. was just the thing. Now I need to get to the rest of the series.
1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2012 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2013?
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. We’ll see. MAYBE I will get to it before the year is over.
2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2013?
The Vintage Knopf paperback edition of Paprika by Yasutaka Tsutsui
I enjoyed the movie, and I think the book will only be better–granted the translation isn’t awkward.
3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2013?
Make more friends. PWEASE BE MY FRIEND, I HAVE COOKIES AND STUFF.
Oh yes, and gather an angry mob to bring A Long, Long Sleep #2 into fruition.