2016 End of Year Book Survey

2016-end-of-year This is my fourth time completing this end of year book survey (2013, 2014, 2015). As always, posting on the 1 January marks the anniversary of me starting this silly little blog. FOUR YEARS! It some how seems like no time at all and all the time in the world simultaneously. I love this bookish blog of mine, and i have hopes (and plans!) to do more with it in the coming months and years.

This survey is put together and hosted by The Perpetual Page-Turner, and as with last year, i’ve just omitted any questions that don’t work for me and my own style of reading, writing and being. Feel free to leave any comments, if you’ve read or want to read any of these books, and point me towards your own completed survey, if you’ve done one! Happy 2017!

2015 Reading Stats

Number of books read: 22.5
Number of re-reads: 0
Genre most read: Science fiction

Best In Books

Best Book You Read In 2016?
Without a shadow of a doubt: A Long Way to A Small Angry Planet.

Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
I’m sad to say it was Castle in the Air. I loveloveloved Howl’s Moving Castle, but the sequel wasn’t what I expected, and I just didn’t love it as much.

Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
Definitely Why I Write, because while I thought it would be a simple little read about writing, I got a hell of a lot more, and I LOVED it.

Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
I bought a friend a copy of A Long Way to A Small Angry Planet for Christmas, because I think she’ll enjoy it, and i’m still trying to bully convince my SO to read it.

Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?
I don’t read a lot of series, so by default the answers are A Long Way to A Small Angry Planet, Castle in the Air and Emperor of Thorns, respectively.

Favourite new author you discovered in 2016?
Has to be Becky Chambers—I can’t wait to read more from her.

Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
I don’t read so much non-fiction, so i’ll say We Should All Be Feminists

Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
Through the Woods was very moreish in several ways. It was interesting stories well-told, the art was gorgeous, and the horror/mystery kept me reading to find out what was happening.

Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
Why I Write. It’s short, brilliant, relevant and informative. I’m pretty sure i’ll at least be re-reading sections for quotes and inspiration.

Favourite cover of a book you read in 2016?
I love covers that are simple, striking, with negative space, so it has to be Slaughterhouse Five:

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Most memorable character of 2016?
Oh, Mr Olderglough from Undermajormono Minor. What a straightforward, quirky fellow. I loved him.

Most beautifully written book read in 2016?
With beautifully written short stories an accompanying beautiful artwork, this one has to be Popshot Magazine: The Adventure Issue.

Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?
Why I Write. This book inspired me significantly this year. In terms of writing generally, but also in my motivations with my writing. It also engaged me in politics in a way nothing else ever has (that’s not to say i’ve been disengaged with politics, only that this book engaged me in an entirely new way and re-engergised me).

Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read?
It always surprises me when I sit on a Christopher Brookmyre book for so long: Dead Girl Walking.

Favourite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016?

Nothing in the media provides pleasure as reliably as books do—if you like reading.
And a good many people do. Not a majority, but a steady minority.
And readers recognize their pleasure as different from that of simply being entertained. Viewing is often totally passive, reading is always an act. Once you’ve pressed the On button, TV goes on and on and on… you don’t have to do anything but sit and stare. But you have to give a book your attention. You bring it alive. Unlike the other media, a book is silent. It won’t lull you with surging music or deafen you with screeching laugh tracks or fire gunshots in your living room. You can hear it only in your head. A book won’t move your eyes for you like TV or a movie does. It won’t move your mind unless you give it your mind, or your heart unless you put your heart in it. It won’t do the work for you. To read a good novel well is to follow it, to act it, to feel it, to become it—everything short of writing it, in fact. Reading is a collaboration, an act of participation. No wonder not everybody is up to it.

– Ursula Le Guin ‘Staying Awake While We Read’ (from The Wild Girls, Plus…)

Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?
Show Me the Map to Your Heart & Other Stories is 36 pages
The Passage is 963 pages

Book That Shocked You The Most
The Scorch Trials surprised me by how BAD it was. I slogged through half of it before having to give up.

Favourite couple of 2016
Rosemary/Sissix from A Long Way To A Small Angry Planet for the representation alone: Same sex, interracial and polyamorous ♥

Favourite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
Lucy/Mr Olderglough from Undermajordomo Minor. Their conversations were highlights for me. I could have read a whole book of them alone.

Favourite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
Undermajormono Minor. And now I sit and wait patiently for deWitt to write another book. *twiddles thumbs*

Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure
Popshot Magazine: The Adventure Issue, which wasn’t technically a recommendation, but was bought for me on a whim by my SO.

Best 2016 debut you read?
A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet

Best World building/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
Emperor of Thorns, and more generally the Broken Empire Series as a whole. So many little throw away details amongst the larger image of the world—i only want to know MORE.

Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
For all it wasn’t the utter delight it’s predecessor was, Castle in the Air was still silly, light-hearted fun that made me laugh out loud on a number of occasions.

Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016?
I’m currently still reading it, but when I started it (in 2016!) The Passage’s very first freaking chapter had me sobbing.

Hidden Gem Of The Year?
An impulse by at the till in my local comic shop, Show Me the Map to Your Heart and Other Stories is absolutely lovely.

Book That Crushed Your Soul?
The Scorch Trials–in a BAD way; I wasn’t sure my soul was going to survive.

Most Unique Book You Read In 2016?
The Girl in the Road was, in small, subtle ways, not quite like other books.

Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
Fragile Things, because I love short stories, but I don’t think they’re Gaimen’s strong suit. And it made me mad because it should have been BETTER.

Your Blogging/Bookish Life

New favourite book blog you discovered in 2016?
None, because I have been a terrible blogger this year; not posting much myself and barely reading or commenting.

Favourite review that you wrote in 2016?
The Girl on the Road. Reading it back, I think I really encapsulated the issues I had with the book and ways I think it could have been better, while still highlighting the aspects I enjoyed about the book.

Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
This or That revealed some interesting similarities and differences between people’s reading preferences.

Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
I’m currently, and have been for a few months now, having fun taking part in monthly photo-a-day challenges on instagram. Fine me at Wendleness!

Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2016?
Getting to know a bunch of lovely people over on instagram, and finding it far easier to interact and make connections over there.

Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
I had a pretty deep slump this year, in reading and therefore also in blogging. I just didn’t read at my usual speed, I felt unmotivated. I’m actually surprised I made it to may reading goal (even after I lowered it!).

Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
By views: No Monsters Allowed, by comments: Bookish Resolutions.

Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
Why I Write, because I loved that book and wanted to write another post, quoting lots and linking it back to the state of politics today. I never got around to it…

Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
Prudence and the Crow!! ♥

Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
Yes, by the skin of my teeth, and after lowering my goal, I met my 2016 goodreads reading challenge.

Looking Ahead

One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2016 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017?
All the books that I currently have lent to me, so I can make sure I give them back!

Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)?
A Closed and Common Orbit. There’s not book or author I love enough to buy in hardback, but I am so excited for this to come out in paperback this year!

Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017?
The Boy on the Bridge (prequels counts, right?).

One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017?
It’s my plan to post more, more regularly, and possibly start posting some original short story fiction. HOPEFULLY.

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Book Spine Poetry

Book Spine Poetry I loved this idea when i saw Rosemawrites do it over at A Reading Writer, and i just had to give it a go myself.

The idea is to browse your bookshelves, pull down any inspiring titles and pile them up until their spines write little poems. It was both harder and easier than i thought! For random silliness that makes no sense, it’s great fun. Except for all my weirdness, i do still like things to work. How do you think i managed?

This really was an interesting and enjoyable thing to do with my books, and i heartily encourage everyone to try it. Feel free to leave me your best book spine poems in the comments, or make your own post and tell me about it.

Books + creativity = ♥

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We
Explorers of the New Century
Return
Deeper

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Florence & Giles
Free Fall
off the map
The Two of Them
Alone Against Tomorrow

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The Doors of Perception
A Sense of Wonder
Wild Abandon
Bedlam

This or That

This or ThatI actually have plans for some deep and meaningful (or, at least more focused and involved) posts about a few different topics, but I haven’t actually written them yet. You can have this for now.

I pinched this from the lovely Zezee, who i apparently disagree with on a lot of these questions! Regardless, it seemed like a light, fun meme-thing to do of an evening. So did it.

Reading on the couch or on the bed?
Bed, because I read right up until my eyes are heavy and then I fall asleep. I sit up in bed to read, because holding a book above your face is hard. But a quick shuffle and i’m horizontal and ready to snore.

Male main character or female main character?
Female, because I want more of them. I want more female characters, female authors and more females, everywhere, in everything, generally.

Sweet snacks or salty snacks when reading?
Salty, but only because i’m a savoury person. Also, it has to be finger food, because I will not be putting my book down. Also a warm drink, like tea or hot chocolate. Thank you.

Trilogies or quartets?
I have no strong feelings. I’m generally a little hesitant about starting any series, because it’s a commitment, and if I don’t read them quick enough i’ll forget details… So, generally I stick to stand alones, unless the synopsis is so amazing I can’t not read it, or unless I start reading before I realise it’s a series.

First person point of view or third person point of view?
Generally third person. I love first person when I really connect with the narrator, but it can be hit or miss. Third person is generally safer.

Reading at night or in the morning?
I sometimes read in the morning, if I have time. I always read at night before bed. And often i’ll read on the bus to and from work. In terms of this or that, though, it’d be at night.

Libraries or bookstore?
I like second hand or charity bookshops. I love not knowing what books i’ll stumble across. I love pre-read (and pre-loved) books; the idea that they’ve had a life before I got my hands on them. I love books that have been written in. BUT, I am also trying to use my local library more by pro-actively searching their catalogue for books I don’t own but want to read.

Books that make you laugh or make you cry?
Laugh. 100%, laugh. Either way, I love books that reach me on an emotional level, but I much much prefer to be laughing than crying.

Black book covers or white book covers?
Neither, either, both. Whatever suits the book, really. Though, saying that, when faced with with the two Doctor Sleep covers below, I did buy the black, so.

ds-black+white

Character-driven or plot-driven stories?
Plot. I can enjoy character-driven books, but they are the exception rather than the rule. There a certain authors I will seek out if I want a character-drive story. Most of the time, I need some serious plot. I like twists and foreshadowing and challenging situations. Plot.

I’m not going to be tagging anyone, but if you fancy answering some silly questions, feel free to nab these ones or answer them in the comments. What do we agree on, and what are we going to fight about?

Book Hauling

I’ve decided i’m being too careful, too precious and too controlled with this blog. I don’t post much save reviews and memes and TTTs for fear of posts not being “good enough” or something. And it’s a load of crock. I have a “random” category for a reason, and i’m going to start using it.

And so, this post.

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One of my recent bookish resolutions was to buy fewer books. So of course i’m going to talk to you about the newest books that have come into my possession! I decided it would be nice to have accompanying photos, so broke out the 50mm lens, a bunch of fairy lights and some props. AM I DOING IT RIGHT?

Now, not all of these are books i bought. Some were Christmas presents, some are borrowed, and yes, some i did buy… but not that many, i swear!

IMG_8623Undermajordomo Minor is a book that’s been on my wishlist since before it was released. That so very rarely happens; i’m not one to chase new releases or request advanced reading copies or anything like that. But Patrick deWitt is apparently an exception. This is his third book, and i adored his first two. Adored them enough to click “to read” on his third without even reading the synopsis. He is a witty, entertaining and readable author. The fact he sticks to short chapters really, really helps too (must keep reading!). This was a high priority on my wishlist, and happily my parents got it for me for Christmas. Bless them, they had no idea what they were buying, but they knew it would make me happy. I’m very much looking forward to getting stuck into this one!

IMG_8627I’ve only read one or two Charles Dickens, many years ago at school. I don’t really remember them at all, but what i do remember is one of my teachers recommending i read The Pickwick Papers. I never did read it, but for some reason it stuck with me all these years. Stuck enough for me to add the book to my Classics Club challenge. This book has been lent to me by my mother-out-law, who owns an entire Charles Dickens collection. I’m fearful of cracking its beautifully untouched spine, but not enough to stop me from reading it. I’m making this book a priority in the first half of the year, both to get it ticked off my classics list, and to get it back to its owner.

IMG_8630The Scorch Trials has been on my radar since i finished The Maze Runner. I wanted to give it a go, because i very much enjoyed the story of the first book and am interested to see how it continues. However, i wasn’t so keen on the books that i was going to rush out to buy the sequel. Serendipity did its thing, and i found this copy, in excellent condition, in a secondhand shop on new year’s day for one single measly pound! I couldn’t not buy it! I’m saving this for when i need a light, easy and quick read, where i know what to expect and am prepared for the poor quality writing.

IMG_8647The third and final book in the Howl’s Moving Castle trilogy, i had The House of Many Ways on my wishlist and received it for Christmas. I haven’t yet read, though do own, the second book, Castle in the Air. I loved the first book so so much, and it was such a joyful lighthearted read, that i’m sure it won’t take me to long to get through the two sequels. I’m sure i’ll be able to finish the series this year, if i choose to prioritise them; i’ll certainly be finishing this series before starting on any new ones!

I’d never really given much thought or notice to Wodehouse until recently, when i read some of Annie’s favourite Wodehouse quotes over at Curious Wren. They were an utter delight and i knew i had to get my hands on some Wodehouse fairly swiftly. I hadn’t known where the hell to start though; the man wrote a lot of bloody books!

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The decision was taken out of my hands when in that same secondhand shop on new year’s day i spotted a mint condition copy of Full Moon, again for the bargainous price of £1.00. I snapped it up, only later looking up which number of which series it’s from–seventh book in the Blandings Castle series. Me being me, i can’t jump into a series at book seven, so i promptly order the first book in the series, Something Fresh, to begin the series proper.

IMG_8696I watched the I, Robot film years ago not long after it came out. I liked it well enough; it had an interesting sci-fi theme, posing some interesting questions and with a bit of action to boot. But still, it was a shiny hollywood film, playing it too close to bland and safe. From what i’ve heard, the film took one aspect of the book and ran with it in a different direction. So, i’m hopeful that a) the book will still hold surprises for me and b) will be far and away more interesting, dark and thought-provoking in comparison to the film. Also, check out that amazing cover! Really, that’s the sole reason i bought it; i didn’t want to miss out on the book cover perfection.

IMG_86761Best for last? I do have the biggest, comfiest soft spot for John Wyndham. He is without a doubt, and with a couple of regretful second-placers, my absolute favourite. I’m still buying and working my way though his books, because i just… never want them to end. Consider Her Ways is a collection of short stories, and if it’s anywhere near as good as The Seeds of Time (of course it will be, pfft), then i will be deliriously happy. I’m a big fan of short stories and the biggest fan of John Wyndham, so when the two cross over, i get bookish perfection. This has been on my wishlist for a little while (pacing, pacing), and i was lucky enough to get if for Christmas this year. The warm comfort i feel inside at the unread Wyndham books on my shelves is a special one. The best kind of anticipation.

And with that, i hope to not buy another book for a good long while! I shall stop looking for books to add to my to read list, i shall not browse Wordery.com or my own wishlist, i shall not step foot inside a bookshop without good reason (like buying for someone else!). I shall not buy books!

Sigh. Even Dave isn’t buying it.

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2015 End of Year Book Survey

2015 End of YearThe first of January 2016 marks three years to the day since i started this little blog of mine. As with the previous two years, i’m marking the occasion with The Perpetual Page-Turner‘s annual End of Year Book Survey!

Now, there have always been a few questions i dislike, but instead of ranting about them in my answers, i’ve been proactive. I have deleted some entirely from my version of the survey, while others i have edited slightly to fit more with my own tastes.
2015 Reading Stats

Number of books read: 31.5
Number of re-reads: One
Genre most read: As usual, classic.

Best In Books

Best book read in 2015:
I gave three books five stars in 2015, and, though it’s very hard to choose, i’m going to say Animal Farm was the best.

Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love but didn’t:
Wytches. I was so looking forward it, but it was such a let down.

Most surprising book you read:
I was delightedly surprised by just how much I bloody loved Howl’s Moving Castle. I didn’t want that book to end.

Book you pushed most people to read:
I haven’t done a lot of book-pushing this year, actually. But this has reminded me that I said i’d lend Animal Farm to a friend, after she finished and loved Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Best series started in 2015:
I have to say Howl’s Moving Castle, because it’s the only series starter i gave five stars to.

Best sequel of 2015:
Got to be King of Thorns. According the my ratings, I enjoyed it more than the first book.

Best series ender of 2015:
Didn’t read one, but hope to this year. Watch this space in 2016?

Favourite new author discovered in 2015:
Edward Gorey. His whimsical horror, in words and art, are wonderful. I bought the second Amphigorey book soon after reading the first, and got his 2016 calendar for Christmas.

Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone:
I don’t think I read too far out of my comfort zone, this year. I’ll have to say The Little Book of Vegan Poems, because I don’t read loads of poetry.

Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year:
Bedlam was pretty darn action packed all the way through. Also unputdownable in a way that I needed to keep reading and figure out what the hell was going on!

Book you read in 2015 that you’re most likely to re-read in 2016:
Honestly? None. I have far too many books i’ve not read to be going back to do re-reads.

Favourite cover of a book you read in 2015:
Ablutions: Notes for a Novel. Simple, striking colour, negative space. I’m all over this cover.

ablutions

Most memorable character of 2015:
Definitely Kilgore Trout from Breakfast of Champions. He’s quite the unforgettable character.

Most beautifully written book of 2015:
I’ll choose Wanders of Time, because John Wyndham writes so perfectly, it’s always beautiful.

Most thought-provoking/life-changing book of 2015:
I read a few books that’d i’d put in the thought-provoking category, but i’m going to say The Female Man, because it addresses several topics that I think not enough people give enough (or any) consideration to.

Book you can’t believe you waited until 2015 to finally read:
It’s got to be King of Thorns. As soon as I was reading it, I was wondering why i’d waited a year and a half since finishing Price of Thorns to read it.

Favourite passage/quote from a book you read in 2015:

“He would say that God had given him a tail to keep the flies off, but that he would sooner have no tail and no flies.”

– George Orwell, Animal Farm

Shortest and longest book you read in 2015:
Wytches is 30 pages
Swan Song is 856 pages

Book that shocked you the most:
Probably the Americosis series, because there are several threads to the story, and none of them are predictable; it’s been able to keep surprising me.

Favourite couple of 2015:
I’m going to say Howl and Sophie in Howl’s Moving Castle. Although we don’t see them as a couple for long, the way they interact, pushing and pulling at each other, and caring for each other. It’s all sorts of wonderful.

Favourite non-romantic relationship of the year:
The sibling relationship between Florence and Giles. The bond they share, and the lengths gone to to protect that. Despite its faults, I did love that story.

Favourite book from an author not read previously:
The Female Man by Joanna Russ. The concepts explored are reason enough alone to admire this book and its author.

Best book read in 2015 read solely on a recommendation from someone else:
Why are all these books “best”? The only book I read based solely on a recommendation was The Colour of Magic, but I really didn’t like it…

Best 2015 debut you read:
Ablutions: Notes for a Novel, which was Patrick deWitt’s first, and brilliant, novel.

Best worldbuilding/most vivid setting:
Lots of good world building in my books this year, but i’m going to go with We Have Always Lived in the Castle. For the world it builds inside and outside of the ‘castle’, as well as within the family, and within Merricat’s own mind.

Most fun book:
Has to be The BFG. The fun holds up, even for adults.

Book that made you cry:
I don’t know if one did, to be honest. But perhaps To Kill a Mockingbird, because despite the characters’ best efforts, they can’t save the day.

Hidden gem of the year:
I’m going to say The Paper Men, because I went in with little to no expectations (in fact, i’d only read pretty damning reviews), and I bloody loved it. I think the book’s merit and meaning are hidden gems, even from a lot of people who’ve read it.

Book that crushed your soul:
Really now, no book has ever crushed my soul. What does this even mean? Let’s say Metamorphosis and Other Stories, because I had such high hopes, but I was crushed with disappointment.

Most unique book read in 2015:
I’ll go with Lovers’ Lies, because there is something wonderfully unique about the Liars’ League short story collections. I think it’s a combination of the themed compilation, and that a lot of the authors are not well known names; they are amateurs who submitted their work, never expecting to be published.

Book that made you the most mad:
Hmm, this has to go to Rosemary’s Baby. I hated pretty much every aspect of that book, and wanted to throw it across the room on more than one occasion. It’s a testament to my patience that it remained in my hands and that I managed to finish it.

Your Blogging/Bookish Life

New favourite book blog you discovered in 2015:
Definitely Bitches with Books. Those ladies are intelligent, well read and have the best memes to steal.

Favourite review you wrote in 2015:
Probably The Maze Runner, because I had a lot to say. For a book I gave an average three stars to, it left me lots of thoughts I needed to express!

Best discussion/non-review on your blog:
There were some interesting exchanges and view points on my Books I’ll Never Read TTT.

Best event you participated in:
Erm, I don’t think there was any…

Best bookish/blogging moment in 2015:
There hasn’t really been a single moment. I generally just enjoying the entire reading and writing process, and am chuffed that i’ve kept it going for another year.

Most challenging thing about your blogging or reading life this year:
Time. It’s always time. I work full time, I have a partner, friends, family. I have a dozen other hobbies. And still I get myself reading goals, I write reviews within 24 hours of finishing a book, and I have ambitions to do more with this blog.

Most popular post on your blog this year:
By both comments and view it’s my Quitter TTT.

Post which you wished got a little more love:
ALL OF THEM! Is that a cheat?

Best bookish discovery:
Wordery. After the shit i’ve dealt with from amazon’s delivery service, I refuse to use them at all. I now buy all my books from Wordery. They have free delivery on everything (no minimum spend), they send bookmarks out with every order, they use the royal mail so i’ve had no delivery issues… and they have even been quite a bit cheaper than amazon on several occasions!

Any completed reading challenges or goals:
My 2015 goodreads reading challenge AND my 2015 bookish bingo! Woo hoo!

Looking Ahead

Book you didn’t get to in 2015 but will be priority in 2016:
I have been leant a couple of Charles Dickens books, including The Pickwick Papers, which is on my Classics Club list, so i’m planning to read and return that in the first half of the year.

Book you are most anticipating in 2016:
Despite the fact I haven’t read the previous release (i’m pacing myself!), it has to be Black Widow by Christopher Brookmyre, being released in January. I can never get enough Jack Parlabane in my life.

Series ending/sequel you are most anticipating in 2016:
I anticipate reading Emperor of Thorns. It’s already on the ‘to read’ shelf in my bedroom. I’m not going to drag my heels like I did with King of Thorns.

One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging life in 2016:
Same old, same old. Read books and review them. Have fun with it all.

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Winter Book Tag

winter book tag

Despite the fact that this year winter is decidedly wet and warm, and feeling not at all wintery, i’ve decided to go ahead and nab this winter book tag from the lovely ladies at Bitches with Books. It made me feel mildly more wintery for a little while.

I tried to answer most to these questions with books i haven’t read, but are on my ‘to read’ list, because the questions don’t really relate the having read the books. I thought it would be more fun this way. I don’t know if it was successful?

Grab a blanket and get reading!

127455 A book with a wintery cover:
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. I’m not sure if this cover is supposed to be wintery, because I think they are birds? But still, it looks like snow and gives me winter vibes, so i’m having it.

 

 

A book you’ll likely buy as a present:
Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix. I have been wanting to buy my sister this book since I first heard about it. She’s a big ikea fan, so I thought this would be a fun gift for her. I finally bought it for her this year. And now I may also borrow it…

A festive-themed book:
Rudolph!: He is the Reason for the Season by Mark Teppo. I have opinions about Rudolph’s sex, but despite that, this is the most obviously festive-themed book of my ‘to read’ list.

A book you can curl up with by the fireplace:
The Burn Journals by Brent Runyon. I didn’t know what to put for this; any book is good to curl up in front of the fire with, so long as it’s a good one. So, I went for wordplay.

A book you want to read over the festive period:
Under the Dome by Stephen King. It has become my tradition to read really long dystopian novels in December to last over the Christmas and new year period. I’ve lined this one up for next year.

A book so good it gives you chills:
A Snowball in Hell by Christopher Brookmyre. I think the idea of this question is chills = cold, but the chills a good book gives me aren’t cold, so. Again, I went with the wordplay.

A book going to your Christmas wishlist:
I, Robot by Isaac Asimov. This is the most recent book added to my ‘to acquire’ list.

A book you’d tear the last few pages out of to keep your fire burning:
Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold. I looooved this book, but the ending dragged on and on. It would be perfect if I could rip out the last 25 pages.

Unpopular Opinion Book Tag

Unpopular OpinionNabbed from Bitches with Books, I am acutely aware my taste in literature does not run in the most popular tastes, so I thought this would be a great little questionnaire to complete. I do love a good rant!

A popular book you didn’t like:
The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I found it pretentious and trying too hard to be meaningful. It was just poorly written hipster shit, as far as i’m concerned.

A book series that everyone hates but you love:
The Lucifer Box series. While I wouldn’t say this series is unpopular, it’s not popular, either. I think many people who have read at least the first one found it just ‘okay’, while I found the entire series hilariously light-hearted and fun.

A love triangle where the main character ends up with the person you didn’t want them to end up with:
Urgh, any love triangle? Any love triangle where any pair ends up a couple. It’s awful. I’d rather the person in the middle remained single or ended up with someone entirely different. The obvious example is Katniss in The Hunger Games. Just because two guys like her, doesn’t mean she has to choose between them—they aren’t the only two guys in the world and she doesn’t owe them anything just because they fancy her.

A popular book genre you rarely reach for:
I hate that it’s even considered a genre, but YA. Also romance and contemporary fiction. I just find them repetitive and dull. Too much like real life, and i’d much rather live my own than read about other people’s. I read books to escape reality, or for an interesting commentary on it. YA, romance and contemporary very, very rarely offer that.

A popular beloved character you didn’t like:
Miss Marple, the nosey old sod. I love detective characters with egos, but hers rubs me the wrong way. It doesn’t suit her. I hate the way she plays the doddering old fool and people fall for it.

A popular author you can’t seem to get into:
Oh, I can name several. John Green, Terry Pratchett, Nick Hornby, Tony Parsons, Clive Barker… They’re all just… a bit dull, play it safe and are far too two-dimensional in their writing.

Popular trope you’re tired of seeing:
I’m not sure i’m tired of seeing any, just because I avoid all the ones I hate. All the ones I hate are most often found in the genres I don’t read (see above). Instant love, love triangle, perfect girl, etc, etc, ad nauseam, yawn.

Popular series you have no interest in reading:
Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey and etc. Just… no.

The saying goes, ‘The book is always better than the film’, but what film do you prefer to the book?:
I’m really not sure there is a film I prefer to the book. Even if the book itself is not great, it has more detail, context and explanation than the film. I think the closest I can get is where I think the book and the film are both as good (or bad) as each other. The Haunting of Hill House and its 1963 film adaptation are both amazing. Neither What Dreams May Come nor its 1998 film are quite good enough; what one does well the other doesn’t. Fight Club is another example of both the book and its film being done really well.

Halloween Book Tag

halloween book tag I nabbed this from Scifi and Scary, because it seemed like a fun, simple Halloween themed thing to post today. I’m not going to tag anyone, because after today it won’t be Halloween any more, but if you do fancy doing it, please feel free!

1. Carving pumpkins: What book would you carve up and light on fire?
Keeping it Halloween/monsters/scary themed, i’m going to say The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories by H.P. Lovecraft, because it was pretty damn terrible.

2. Trick or treat: What character is a treat, what character is a trick?
Merricat from We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a bit of a trick, in that throughout the book we sympathies with her and her situation… only to have been tricked by her all along.

Phyllis from The Kraken Wakes will forever be a treat. Independent, strong willed and level headed, it’s her forward planning that helps them in the long run.

3. Candy corn: What book is always sweet?
I’m trying to go with sweet but still Halloween-y, and the best I can do is What Dreams May Come, which surrounds death and the afterlife, but also love and hope.

4. Ghosts: What character would you love to visit you as a ghost?
Zellaby from The Midwich Cuckoos. I’d be fine with him scaring me with all his philosophy-ing as I lay in bed at night.

5. Dressing up in costume: What character would you want to be for a day?
Celia from The Night Circus. Mostly because black and white and being able to wander around and be a part of Le Cirque des Reves.

6. Wizards and witches: What is your favourite Harry Potter moment?

ALSO:

7. Blood and gore: What book was so creepy that you had to take a break from it for a while?
I’m not sure I had a break from it, but the book that always comes to mind when I think about genuinely scary books is The Shining by Stephen King. He made topiary and hose pipes petrifying!

Reader Problems

Reader ProblemsIt’s been a while since I did a bookish questionnaire. I saw this one recently at Yvo’s It’s All About Books, so I pilfered it. I always class bookish problems as more “problems” (for example, having too many books–it’s not really a problem at all). It’s all about making your choices and being okay with them. I’m pretty okay with most of my choices here.

Q: You have 20,000 books on your TBR. How in the world do you decide what to read next?
I used to be a mood reader; I would decide what to read based on how I felt after finishing the last book. This has changed somewhat in the last year or so. I now have a selection of 10-20 books that are my “to read next” selection. It is highly subject to change, but I only change it now again. It’s actually a lot less stressful to have my next few books planned and ready to read—it means I don’t have to worry about it. I do try to not read too many similar books in a row; i will switch up genres, mood, style and length often.

Q: You’re halfway through a book and you’re just not loving it. Do you quit or commit?
I’m terrible at quitting books—i find it so hard to give up. Previously I had given up on The Catcher in the Rye and Life of Pi… but I went back to them some time later and finished them both, with much enjoyment. I’d rather take a break from a book and come back to it when i’m in a different place than give up altogether. I have had to completely give up on two books in the last year or two, though. I disliked them immensely, but it still bothers me.

Q: The end of the year is coming and you’re so close yet so far away on your Goodreads challenge. Do you quit or commit?
The first year I did the Goodreads challenge I had a bit of a mad dash at the end, but I was determined to reach my goal. The last couple of years i’ve set my goal lower, with the aim of reading longer books. Last year I finished early, though, and chose to up my goal. I’m definitely not a quitter.

Q: The covers of a series you love DO. NOT. MATCH. How do you cope?
I try not to think about it. I don’t actually own many book series, and of the ones I do, I think they all match. It bothers me a little that I have mismatching editions for some authors. However, considering I buy most of my books from charity shops, i’d rather take what I can find, than not have the books at all.

Q: Everyone and their mother loves a book you really don’t like. Who do you bond with over shared feelings?
I don’t really need to bond with anyone? I’d be more likely to talk to someone who hasn’t read the book. Or partake in an intelligent and civil conversation with someone who loved it—i find those rather interesting. I’ve chatted with my sister about 50 Shades—she loves it, I don’t want to touch it—but we smiled and laughed and it was lovely.

Q: You’re reading a book and you’re about start crying in public. How do you deal?
I wouldn’t let myself feel it. I can get very emotionally involved, and though I don’t cry often at books, I can do. But it’s quite a conscious thing; to let myself feel those emotions. In public it is generally a lot more muted—i’m just not in a place (physically or mentally) comfortable enough to cry.

Q: A sequel of a book you loved just came out, but you’ve forgotten a lot from the prior novel. Will you re-read the book? Skip the sequel? Try to find a summary on Goodreads? Cry in frustration?
This happened to me recently, when I read King of Thorns, however I didn’t realise how much i’d forgotten from the previous book until i’d already started reading. It didn’t stop me from enjoying the book, but it left with a craving to re-read the first.

Q: You don’t want ANYONE borrowing your books. How do you politely tell people, “Nope,” when they ask?
I hate lending my books out, and only do so to a few trusted people… and only books I have in duplicate. For books I really want to recommend and get other people to read… I will buy extra copies from charity shops and lend those out to people. I’m not even joking.

Q: You’ve picked up and put down five different books in the past month. How do you get over the reading slump?
I don’t think i’ve experienced this exact thing. My book slumps usually involve not enjoying a book, but not moving on. I read it sparingly or not at all, but I don’t pick up another book, which is the problem. As soon as I give up or finally reach the end and get to start a new book, I end up devouring the next one. This links back to my problem of finding it hard to give up on books.

Q: There are so many new books coming out that you are dying to read! How many do you actually buy?
This… just isn’t a problem for me. I don’t read ALL the new releases. I try to have a balance between newer books and older books, so i’m never going to always be about the new releases. I have never experienced a time where there has been a flurry of new releases that i’ve wanted to read.

Q: After you’ve bought a new book you want to get to, how long do they sit on your shelf until you actually read them?
It varies, to be honest. There are some i’m too excited about and I will read almost immediately. Others I buy when I find them, but don’t necessarily want/need to read immediately. There are also some authors I am intentionally reading over time, so I don’t run out of their books too soon!

Are any of these big problems for you? How do you deal with them? Can you teach me how to give up on books i’m just not enjoying? Do you have any other tips?

2014 End of Year Book Survey

2014booksurveyIt’s now been two years to the day that I started Marvel at Words! This end of year survey is what I did to celebrate my blog’s birthday last year, so let’s make a thing of it, yeah? It’s hosted over at The Perpetual Page-Turner, as i’m sure most people are aware. On with the bookish love and celebrations!

2014 Reading Statistics

Number Of Books You Read: 32
Number of Re-Reads: None (unless a graphic novel version of a book i’ve read counts? In which case, one).
Genre You Read The Most From: Classic, closely followed by dystopia and fantasy.

Best in Books 2014

1. Best Book You Read In 2014?
I gave three books five stars in 2014, and out of those, I will have to choose The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop. A wonderfully immersive read for anyone who loves books, in any capacity.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
There were a few of these in 2014, but the one I was most disappointed by (because it was also the one I was most excited about) was The Knitting Circle Rapist Annihilation Squad. It dealt with some important and interesting subjects, but was just so slapstick as to make them irreverent and reduce them to jokes.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014?
Rough Music. I thought I would enjoy this, as I had enjoyed Gale’s Notes From An Exhibition in 2013. But I really, really enjoyed Rough Music.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2014?
I don’t know. I don’t really push books on people. But I guess The Hunger Games series, which I kept insisting a friend would like, and ended up being read and enjoyed by both the friend and my partner.

5. Best series you started in 2014?
I started The Broken Empire Series with Prince of Thorns and enjoyed it a lot. I have the second book, King of Thorns, on my bookshelf, and will hopefully read it in 2015.

6. Favourite new author you discovered in 2014?
Hmm, there are a couple, but deciding based on who i’m most looking forward to reading again, i’d have to say Kurt Vonnegut. I read Cat’s Cradle and already have Slaughterhouse 5 waiting on my bookshelf to be read.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
I wouldn’t say it was out of my comfort zone, but I hadn’t really read or considered graphic novels before buying The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil on a whim (because beard). I loved it. The art and the story. And i’ve been looking at and reading more graphic novels since.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
I couldn’t wait to read, and could then scarcely put down The Girl with All the Gifts. It contained all my favourite things, and I ploughed my way through it.

9. Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
With so many unread books waiting to be read, it’s not likely i’ll re-read many, if any. Mostly likey candidate is Write, as i’m keen to buy my own copy in order to highlight passages and scribble notes in the margins ♥

10. Favourite cover of a book you read in 2014?
Weird Lies hits all my loves. Minimal, art, colours, negative space.

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11. Most memorable character of 2014?
Cassandra from I Capture the Castle. Her narrative voice was so wonderful, so kind, and so smart and observant. I loved the world she was showing me through her eyes and her writing.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?
I like simplicity and a lack of heavy description, so the most beautiful for me was The Sun Also Rises. Hemingway definitely has a writing style that I adore.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/Life-Changing Book of 2014?
It’s so rare that a book is actually life changing, the chances of reading one each year is minuscule. One that made me ponder my reading life, though, was The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop. Specifically this quote:

If you read one book a week, starting at the age of five, and live to be 80, you will have read a grand total of 3,900 books, a little over one-tenth of one percent of the books currently in print.

And basically i’ve been freaking out about how many books I won’t get to read in my life time ever since.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read?
The Stand. I’ve been a King fan pretty much all my life (thanks, Mum), and have had this book on my shelf for many, many years. I was always intimidated by the shear bloody size of the thing (it’s also the uncut edition that I own and read), and though every year I’ve said I want to read fewer, but longer books, I still avoided this one. This year, though, I decided to go for it (after already having reached my goodreads challenge goal for the year).

15. Favourite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014?
Although last year I started a tumblr for quotes, i’ve ended up more frequently using twitter, which is easier for typing up a small line with speed (so I can then get back to reading). There are several I really love, but work best with some context. The one I love most that works independently, though, is from one of the stories in Weird Lies:

“They are short you know – our lives. Haiku short.”

16. Shortest & Longest Books You Read In 2013?
Shortest: Hallowe’en Party at 46 pages.
Longest: The Stand at 1415 pages.

17. Book That Shocked You The Most?
I guess this has to go to Gone Girl, because although the twist wasn’t “shocking,” I hadn’t been able to guess it.

18. OTP of the year?
Nick and Amy from Gone Girl. I hated them both, which is why I really liked the ending.

19. Favourite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year?
Melanie and Miss Justineau from The Girl with All the Gifts. (Even if, for Melanie, it sometimes bordered on a reverence that was slightly uncomfortable.)

20. Favourite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You’ve Read Previously?
Flesh Wounds, because Christopher Brookmyer, duh.

21. Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based Solely On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure?
The Godfather. I like the film, but a friend of mine loves the film, and the book. She gave me a copy of the book, and yeah, I like that well enough too, now.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?
Just like last year, I don’t have crushes on fictional people.

23. Best 2014 debut you read?
Debut published in any year but read in 2014, or debut published and read in 2014? Either way, I read very few debuts in 2014. (Something I don’t regret—i don’t understand the obsession with new releases and debuts, tbh.) In fact, the only book I read that was published in 2014 was The Girl with All the Gifts. And other than one short story in a compilation book, counts as M.R. Carey’s debut, so.

24. Best World Building/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
This is easy. Definitely The Handmaid’s Tale. The whole book was just world building. The plot was lacking, but gosh this world was vivid and well-build, and slowly revealed and so twisted.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most Fun To Read?
Has to be The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil. Just, a beard that grows and grows and grows and gets so out of control. In a place where no one ever has facial hair. Where the solution is tie a load of helium balloons to the thing so it, and the man attached to it, float away? It was sad and meaningful in places, but it was also silly and fun.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?
I actually think the only book that’s made me cry (though I may have welled up at others) has been The Hunger Games: Mockingjay. I sobbed at (but loved) the desolate, hopeless ending. Then raged at and hated the epilogue.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
I’ll say Weird Lies, because I don’t think the Liars’ League books, or short stories, generally, get enough love and attention.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
I don’t know, that’s a little dramatic. Care of Wooden Floors slowly crushed my spirit, if that counts? As well-written, funny and quotable as it was, it was also dull with no plot. As much as I dragged myself on with trying to finish it… I had to give up.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2014?
Hmm. Communion Town was interestingly unique. Or at least, the idea was. A book of short stories, all independent, but set in the same town. I had just hoped they would all link up in some way, have more overlap, even though they all stood alone.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
Definitely The Godfather. The sexism was rife through out, and accurate representation of the time and genre or not, it made me fucking furious.

Blogging/Bookish Life

1. New favourite book blog you discovered in 2014?
I’m such a bad blogger in terms of reading/commenting/networking. I don’t know. I follow a bunch, and if I see something that interests me, I read it. I don’t “discover” blogs.

2. Favourite review that you wrote in 2014?
There aren’t any stand out reviews, really. Having a quick look back, the review that so swiftly takes me back to the book, and makes me excited for the book all over again, is The Girl with All the Gifts.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
Had a nice chat with Rachel from Confessions of a Book Geek about book covers one top ten Tuesday. I still love that foreign-language cover of Looking for Alaska…

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
I took part in Live Text Adventures at Game City. While not strictly “bookish,” it involved authors creating text-based games live, as audience members played them. There were six games going on at once, with the text from all six projected for the rest of us to read along. It was so much fun!

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2014?
Finally getting around to posting more non-review posts, and generally getting to grips more with what I want to do with this blog. And most importantly, realising it’s my blog and I can do whatever the hell I want with it.

6. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
Most popular by views: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay.
Most popular by comments is a three-way tie between Top Ten Tuesday: Classics, Top Ten Tuesday: Book Covers and Blitzing the Bookshelves.

7. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
The post where I gushed about how much I love Christopher Brookmyre, because that man is a bloody fantastic writer. He deserves more love.

8. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
Most recently, Out of Print, who sell a shite load of bookish things, of which I want to buy everything.

9. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
Via some convoluted D20 throwing method overseen by my partner, my goodreads challenge was to read 27 books. I managed 32. So. Kudos, self. I also finally read The Stand, after wanting to have read it every year for ages.

Looking Ahead

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2014 But Will Be Your Number one Priority in 2015?
Any, and simply more, John Wyndham. I’ve gone a whole year without him, and I miss him.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2015 (non-debut)?
Being released? I have no idea—i do not keep track of new releases.

3. 2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
See above. Also: I don’t get this obsession.

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2015?
See above. Bored now.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2015?
Just to carry on reading books and reviewing them all. Mine is a simple mission.

6. A 2015 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone?
Can this new release bullshit end any time soon, please?