2020 End of Year Review

Title: 2020

Summary: A bit of a mess.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆ 1/5

Review: January 1st is the anniversary of when I started this blog. January 1st 2021 marks Marvel at Words’ eighth birthday. It has been tradition on the blog to mark the occasion and start the year with an end of year survey, going over the books I’ve read and bookish accomplishments over the last 12 months. Thing is, 2020 was a bit of a mess, all told—I’m sure everyone reading this can relate—and I just… didn’t read books.

I can’t really articulate why I didn’t read books. I was just not in the mindset for it. I didn’t even manage to finish a book before things really started kicking off with the virus and lockdown, let alone in the midst of it all. I just found it impossible to fully let the real world go and immerse myself into the fictional world on the page. I started several books, but didn’t get very far with them at all before abandoning them.

My one saving grace was Northern Lights and its audiobook. The one, single book I read in 2020. But even that took me an immense amount of time to get through, compared with how long it has taken me to read books in the past. I listened to one or two chapters a week, mostly while also occupied with pages in a sweary colouring book. Although I did finish it, in many ways it still felt like a chore.

I didn’t buy very many books at all in 2020 either, which means there will be no 2020 book buying analysis coming. I bought a staggeringly grand total of five books in 2020. Even with that low number, as I only read one book, my to-read pile has continued—albeit slowly—to grow.

While there is not much bookish-related activity to look back on in 2020, I thought it would be good to set some bookish intentions for 2021. I refuse to continue to not read books. Books are things that have brought me so much joy in the past, and I am determined to reclaim that. While I cannot force the reading mojo upon myself, I will do what I can to encourage it, rather than giving up on it altogether. And so my intentions are simple and few:

Read six books – I set myself what I thought was the low-low goal of 12 books in 2020. One a month, I though. Easy peasy, I thought. Six books in 2021 feels like a mountain compared to the one book I did manage in 2020. But it’s a mountain I am motivated to climb. I am putting no pressure on myself as to what kind of books or the speed at which I should be reading them. I want the focus to be on enjoying the act of reading, rather than the number or variety of books.

Write six stories – This is a complementary goal to the reading. If I’m not feeling in the right mood to read, perhaps I can feel motivated to write. So, six stories. As short and silly and pointless as they want to be. Because as much as I want to read words, I want to be making them as well. And I want to share them here. As with the reading, I’m putting no pressure on myself. These stories can be about anything, as as short or as long as the muse makes them.

That’s it. Those are my intentions. Minimal, low-pressure, and hopefully high-fun. Because that’s my intention for 2021… to find the joy in things again.

2019 End of Year Book Survey

The first day of the year is the anniversary of this little old blog, and today it turns seven years old. I’ve always posted this survey as a way of marking the occasion and feeling proud of another book blogging year in the bag.

In 2019 I had big ambitions, but didn’t stretch far enough for them. That’s fine. I didn’t give up on things completely, and instead I put my focus in other places. I read 22 books, six of which were short comic books. I wasn’t hugely active in the bookish community this year. So removed a few more questions from this survey than usual, because it seemed easier than fumbling for answers I just don’t have.

Thanks, as always, to The Perpetual Page-Turner for hosting this annual shindig. Drop me a comment below and let me know if you’ve done this survey too!

2019 Reading Stats

Number of books read: 22
Number of re-reads: 1
Genre read most: Science fiction just pipped it with 10, but fantasy was a close second with 8. Or we could just say SF&F with 18?

Best in Books

Best book you read in 2019?
A lot of strong contenders this year. Lots of fours stars. But there were only a could of books I gave five stars to, so the title of “best” has to go to The Motherless Oven.

Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love more but didn’t?
Sadly, Record of a Spaceborn Few. Still a lovely book in many ways, but I didn’t have the all consuming love for it that I had for the first two in the series.

Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
Maybe House of Many Ways, because I’d been a little disappointed with Castle in the Air and so had put off reading it, but it was wonderful!

Book you “pushed” the most people to read (and they did)?
I didn’t really push any books on people this year, though my partner finally started the Wayfairs series and has devoured them, so I’m quite chuffed about that.

Best series you started in 2019? Best sequel of 2019? Best series ender of 2019?
Started: The Motherless Oven, obviously.
Sequel: The Ask and the Answer. I can’t believe how quickly I read that.
Ender: The Wheel of Osheim. Gosh, I still miss Jalan and Snorri so much.

Favourite new author you discovered in 2019?
Probably B. Mure. I was captivated by Ismyre and can’t wait to read the next two books in the series later this year.

Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
I think I stayed pretty firmly within my comfort zone this year, with only two outliers. Of those two, I preferred Little Fires Everywhere.

Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
The Shining. Because even though I’ve read it before, I couldn’t get enough of it. I put it down, but only for a short reprieve from the tension!

Book you read in 2019 that you would be most likely to re-read next year?
As a rule, i’m not one for re-reading books. But if I had to revisit one of them, I’d have to choose Ismyre for its quiet, beautiful, calmness.

Favourite cover of a book you read in 2019?
If this book gets no much other love from me, it will certainly get the best cover… it’s the reason I bought it, after all! No Matter the Wreckage.

Most memorable character of 2019?
A tough one. There were some wonderful characters, but no one stands out and says, “Pick me!” But i’m going to pick Charmain from House of Many Ways, because she was fun, and lovely, and stubborn.

Most beautifully written book read in 2019?
Definitely Ismyre. It’s beautiful visually, but the story is also beautifully soft and quiet and wonderful.

Most thought-provoking/life-changing book of 2019?
Hmm. The Motherless Oven was definitely a thought-provoking series, trying (if you want) to figure out the deeper, hidden meanings behind the seemingly random parts of the world.

Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2019 to finally read?
Has to be Doctor Sleep. I bought it as soon as it came out in paperback, but it wasn’t until I saw the trailer for the film in October that I thought, “Shit, I should read that!”

Favourite passage/quote from a book you read in 2019?
I can’t decide—it’s a tie:

Everyone’s lost. Any direction will take you where you’re going. You just have to hope that’s where you want to be.

Mark Lawrence – The Wheel of Osheim

What was better – a constant safeness that never grew and never changed, or a life of reaching, building, striving, even though you knew you’d never be completely satisfied?

Becky Chambers – Record of a Spaceborn Few

Shortest and longest book you read in 2019?
Shortest: The Goddess Mode comics, which were about 20-30 pages each.
Longest: The Wheel of Osheim at 672 pages.

Book that shocked you the most?
Even That Wildest Hope, because it was very weird, and I love that shit; I never knew what to expect!

OTP of the year (you will go down with this ship!)?
I have to choose Todd and Viola from The Ask and the Answer. It’s not necessarily a romantic relationship, but their connection, trust, and belief in each other is unshakable and I love them for it.

Favourite non-romantic relationship of the year?
Jalan and Snorri in The Liar’s Key and The Wheel of Osheim, obviously. BFFs for liiiiiife!

Favourite book you read in 2019 from an author you’ve read previously?
Rocannon’s World, because Ursula le Guin is flawless.

Best book you read in 2019 that you read based SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else?
The Goddess Mode series. My partner bought them for himself as they were released and he thought i’d enjoy them… which… yeah, I did.

Best 2019 debut you read?
Not sure how many debuts I did read, but the best has to be Even That Wildest Hope, because I love to read something different!

Best world building/most vivid setting you read this year?
The will always be Becky Chambers, and this year that’s Record of a Spaceborn Few. While I didn’t love it as much as previous books, that wasn’t for lack of incredible world building.

Book that put a smile on your face/was the most FUN to read?
I’ll say Women of Wonder, because it was great to read female-written science fiction short stories, and because in there were some aspects that haven’t dated well, but it was almost more interesting for that.

Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2019?
Oh, The Ask and the Answer, no question. Sobbed my heart out a couple of times.

Hidden gem of the year?
Ismyre. It’s just. So. Freaking. Lovely.

Book that crushed your soul?
No Matter the Wreckage crushed the part of my soul that wants to fall in love with poetry…

Most unique book you read in 2019?
Most certainly Even that Wildest Hope. It was like nothing I’d ever read before, and while I didn’t love every story in the collection, every story stayed with me in some way.

Book that made you the most mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
Okay, I’ll say Goddess Mode, because we got them individually as they were released and they are full of adverts and urgh.

Blogging Life

Favourite post you wrote in 2019?
My Book vs Film post about The Shining, because I had a lot of fun with that, putting my film degree to some use, finally!

Favourite bookish related photo you took in 2019?
Another tie, because I really love both of these photos so much… Little Fires Everywhere and House of Many Ways:

Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
Mid-year I got a new job which freed up some time for me, and I really wanted to use that to do more with my blog. But I felt the pressure a little too much, as well as taking on other commitments, and if anything I’ve actually done less with my blog. Which is disappointing, but on wards and upwards.

Most popular post this year on your blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
By views: The Wheel of Osheim
By comments: Record of a Spaceborm Few

Post you wished got a little more love?
Book vs Film: The Shining, because I enjoyed writing it and I want to make it into a series.

Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
My Goodreads reading challenge, but that’s it.

Looking Ahead

One book you didn’t get to in 2019 but will be your number one priority in 2020?
The Chrysalids by John Wyndham and Sea of Dust by Robert C Cargill have been near the top of my to-read pile for ages, but kept getting pushed down in favour of other books, so I’m going to try to actually read them this year!

Book you are most anticipating for 2020?
Can’t wait to get a paperback copy of To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers when it’s released in April.

One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging life in 2020?
Just write more. I wrote very few non-review posts in 2019, which is fine, but I want to pick them back up again 2020.

2018 End of Year Book Survey

Today, January 1st, is six years since I created this blog of mine. It never ceases to amaze me that I’ve kept it going consistently over all that time. Every book I’ve read, reviewed here for my own posterity and, hopefully, others’ enjoyment. I always mark the occasion with this end of year survey, and my previous years have been 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017… that list will become unmanageable in a few more years.

As I’m sure most people are aware, this survey was created and is hosted by The Perpetual Page-Turner, and as usual, I’ve stuck to only the relevant questions for me, my reading life, and my blogging style.

Please do leave me a comment if you’ve read any of these books, to recommend any blogs or bookish folks to follow, and to link me up to your own survey! Hello 2019—let’s do this!

2018 Reading Stats

Number of books read: 21
Number of re-reads: 0
Genre read most: Science fiction (surprising exactly no-one), closely followed by horror and (surprising at least myself) contemporary.

Best in Books

Best book you read in 2018?
I have to choose Places in the Darkness, because it’s one of my favourite authors writing my very favourite genre. How was I not going to absolutely freaking love this book?

Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love more but didn’t?
Oh, without a shadow of a doubt The City of Mirrors. After five-star loving the first two books in the series, and even after having heard not-great things about the third, I still went in with high hopes. Safe to say those hopes were obliterated.

Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
Has to be Milk and Honey. As someone who wants to love poetry, but often finds it difficult, I was so, so happy to find I absolutely adored this book with a fiery passion.

Book you “pushed” the most people to read (and they did)?
I definitely prodded a couple of people into reading The Boy on the Bridge, which is good, because that book is brilliant.

Best series you started in 2018? Best sequel of 2018? Best series ender of 2018?
Started… probably The Prince of Fools, the first in The Red Queen’s War series, because I always forget just how much I unabashedly love Mark Lawrence’s effortlessly hilarious and casually genius writing.
Sequel… I’ll have to say The Word for World is Forrest, even if it did take me several bloody years to get around to it—it was worth the wait!
And I think the only series I finished was with The City of Mirrors, so it unfortunately wins by default.

Favourite new author you discovered in 2018?
I think i’ll have to say Celeste Ng, because I was just blown away by Everything I Never Told You and I can’t wait to get cracking on Little Fires Everywhere.

Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
The Princess Diarist was way out of my comfort zone, because I don’t think I’ve ever read a straight up memoir before… only more diary/anecdotal/story type memoirs. But it was great, especially buddy-reading it with a friend.

Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
A few strong contenders for this one, but I’m going to choose The Knife of Never Letting Go. Almost every chapter ended with an enticing hook into the next and the chapters were short enough that it was so easy to just… keep going.

Book you read in 2018 that you would be most likely to re-read next year?
Definitely The Outward Urge, and simply because I’m contemplating my second Wyndham-themed tattoo!

Favourite cover of a book you read in 2018?
Oh, so many great covers this year! However, the one that stands out, with my love of simplicity, artwork, and negative space, is Milk and Honey.

Most memorable character of 2018?
I’m going to cheat a little and say the trio of characters—Antonia, Katherine, and Kitty—from Three, because technically they all began as the same person…

Most beautifully written book read in 2018?
Face. Not only is the storytelling and concept beautiful, but so is the art work.

Most thought-provoking/life-changing book of 2018?
Hmm, I always struggle with this question. Let’s go with Banthology, because not only are the stories well-told and fantastically written, they reflect and represent genuine struggles and political issues.

Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2018 to finally read?
Don’t know, really, but I guess The Knife of Never Letting Go has been on my shelf for a while.

Favourite passage/quote from a book you read in 2018?
Having read through my favourite quotes on my tumblr, there were several wonderful and meaningful ones I could choose… but instead I’m going with the one that makes me laugh the most.

Malcolm was bored by the conversation and excused himself to search for something to steal. Finding nothing, he moved to the kitchen to replenish his vodka. He located the bottle in the freezer; just beside this was a hefty, flesh-coloured, frost-coated dildo. He stared at it a moment, then poured himself a vodka and returned to the dining room. Soon Mme Reynard excused herself to use the bathroom; in a controlled voice, Malcolm told Frances, “Go look in the freezer.”

Patrick deWitt – French Exit

Shortest and longest book you read in 2018?
Shortest: Banthology at 70 pages
Longest: The City of Mirrors at 761 pages

Book that shocked you the most?
Maybe Horrorstor, because I didn’t expect it to be so funny, but also so genuinely creepy—and still really good!

OTP of the year (you will go down with this ship!)?
Romantic relationships were really not at all the focus of any of the books I read this year and I am super chuffed with that!

Favourite non-romantic relationship of the year?
Okay, this one will have to be a tie between unlikely travel and adventure companions Jalan and Snorri in Prince of Fools, and the magnificent mother/son duo Frances and Malcolm in French Exit.

Favourite book you read in 2018 from an author you’ve read previously?
Quite a flipping few! As I chose it as my favourite book of the year, I suppose I should go with Places in the Darkness by Christopher Brookmyre.

Best book you read in 2018 that you read based SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else?
I’d seen The Vegetarian all over instragram, and after being vegetarian for over 15 years (before becoming vegan) the peer pressure broke me and I picked it up. Worth it, though!

Best 2018 debut you read?
Undoubtedly Everything I Never Told You. I didn’t know what to expect from the book, and it was freaking fantastic.

Best world building/most vivid setting you read this year?
Despite other issues I had with the book, the world and setting in Station Eleven was fascinating and unique and I would read more stories in this world in an instance.

Book that put a smile on your face/was the most FUN to read?
Oh, has it be Instruction Manual for Swallowing. A collection of wonderful and bizarre short stories that were just a joy to spend some time in.

Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2018?
I just counted and at least seven books made me cry. So, there’s that. Most memorable was probably The Twelve, as it managed to get me invested in a group of people in a historic timeline that I knew would all die.

Hidden gem of the year?
Three—no where near enough people will have read it. It’s really a wonderful book, in concept and writing.

Book that crushed your soul?
Ha. The City of Mirrors, because I had bloody loooooved the first two books in the series, and then that was a flaming pile of shite in comparison.

Most unique book you read in 2018?
For sure it’s Horrorstor. I’ve never read anything like that before, and it is surprisingly very well executed. The details of the actual book and how IKEA-catalogue like it is are incredible.

Book that made you the most mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
The Princess Diarist, because it turns out Harrison Ford is a massive wanker.

Blogging Life

New favourite book blog/bookstagram/youtube channel you discovered in 2018?
I’ll be honest, I’ve been pretty bad at the social aspect of blogging this year (not that I was great at it in years previous)… so I really don’t have one. Link me some I should check out in the comments, please?

Favourite post you wrote in 2018?
Stories: Short & Sweet, because I love short stories, but I know a lot of people don’t. I wanted to share why I love them, how they’re different to novels, and what makes them so unique and fantastic.

Favourite bookish related photo you took in 2018?
First place goes to this one of The Word for World is Forest:

But an honourable mention has to go to this one of Face (with thanks to my partner for taking the photo and lining it up so flipping perfectly!):

Best bookish event that you participated in?
Sort of my own event/blog series, but I’ve loved visiting and documenting the bookshops of cities I visit. So far I’ve done Brighton and Edinburgh, and I have a Cardiff one to write and post. It brings an extra level of enjoyment from and reason to visit bookshops (other than buying more books!).

Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2018?
Oh dear, as simple and flustering as it is… when Christopher Brookmyre liked and retweeted my review of Places in the Darkness.

Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
The social aspect. I find it very difficult to find the time to read and comment on as many other blogs and photos as I would like, especially when I’m already scraping together the time to read, review, and write posts myself. I don’t know how other bloggers manage it.

Most popular post this year on your blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
By views: Edinburgh Bookshops, by comments: On Giving Up.

Post you wished got a little more love?
Fifty Shades of Blackout Poetry, because it was so much fun, and I would love to know what other people made of it, and to see other people’s blackout poetry creations!

Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
Is it a discovery if it’s something I’ve discovered I enjoy doing? Let’s say yes. Because this year was the first time I really bothered posting about my blog on instragram. I’ve been a bookstagrammer for a few years now (amongst my other photos—mine’s an eclectic account!), but hadn’t really bothered to promote my blog there. For whatever reason, that changed this year. And I really love taking photos of the books I’ve read to post there and share my thoughts on them.

Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
Only my goodreads reading goal. Which seems to go down each year, but for me, so long as I read 20 books or more, I’ll be satisfied.

Looking Ahead

One book you didn’t get go in 2018 but will be your number ome priority in 2019?
The second book in the Red Queen’s War trilogy—The Liar’s Key. I meant to get to it this year, but it’s going to be my first book of 2019 and I can’t wait!

Book you are most anticipating for 2019?
Anything written and released by Patrick deWitt, Becky Chambers, Christopher Brookmyre, Rupi Kaur…

One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging life in 2019?
Setting up some sort of posting schedule. I’m ruminating on it currently, but I’d like to have one to help keep me organised and motivated. I also want to include posting my own short stories in that schedule… eep.

2017 End of Year Book Survey

2017 End of Year Book SurveyJanuary 1st marks the anniversary of my starting this silly little blog, and every year since, on the first day of the new year, i complete and post this survey. I’ve done 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 – this is year five. Other than the 12 year relationship i’m in, this is the most committed i’ve ever been to something, i think. A scary, but warm-feeling inducing thing to realise. Here’s to year six, i guess!

As always, this survey is put together and hosted by The Perpetual Page-Turner, and as with previous years, i’ve simply omitted any questions that don’t work for me and my own style of reading, writing, and blogging. 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 2018!

2017 Reading Stats

Number of books read: 22.5
Number of re-reads: 1
Genre most read: Graphic novels – more than twice any other!

Best In Books

Best Book You Read In 2017?
It’s seriously hard to choose this year! There are three very strong five-star books fighting for this position. I think, being fair, it has to go to IT, as that’s one of my favourite books ever

Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Sad to say, The Power. It was a good book, but from things i’d heard m expectations had been pretty astronomical. It was a real shame.

Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
As a random little impulse buy at the till, The Practical Implications of Immortality was surprisingly wonderful.

Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
I pushed Nimona so hard I actually bought a copy for someone for their birthday. Everyone, read it!!

Best series you started in 2017? Best Sequel of 2017? Best Series Ender of 2017?
I try not to be reading too many series at once, but I did start the Dr Power series with The Darkening Sky which was great. Best sequel by far was A Closed and Common Orbit (which was one of my favourite books this year generally). And I didn’t finish a series!

Favourite new author you discovered in 2017?
I read my first book by Patrick Ness this year, despite having several on my shelves. I look forward to reading them!

Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
Poetry is really not my thing for some reason, but I keep trying, and this year I really loved Graffiti (and other poems).

Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
Bird Box was pretty unputdownable; it was an easy read, but certainly tense in a what’s-going-to-happen way.

Book You Read In 2017 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
With so many books to read, I don’t often re-read, but I might be tempted to pick up and flick through Internal Wilderness.

Favourite cover of a book you read in 2017?
Minimal, art, negative space, and crying out for a frame, it has to be Seasons:

Most memorable character of 2017?
For all it’s imperfections, The Power had a lot of great characters, and Roxy is far and away my favourite.

Most beautifully written book read in 2017?
No doubt – The Wendy Project. The art and narrative, and the use of colour was just breath taking and meaningful in so many ways.

Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2017?
For thought-provoking definitely A Closed and Common Orbit – it took already stimulating and often controversial concepts and put new and interesting spins on them. I loved it!

Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2017 to finally read?
The Road Through the Wall, but then i’m pacing myself with authors I adore who I know won’t be writing any more books.

Favourite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2017?
This quote, oh gosh. I start crying just thinking about this quote.

“And if, one day,” she said, really crying now, “you look back and you feel bad for being so angry, if you feel bad for being so angry at me that you couldn’t even speak to me, then you have to know, Conor, you have to know that it was okay. It was okay. That I knew. I know, okay? I know everything you need to tell me without you having to say it out loud. All right?”

– Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2017?
Shortest: Seasons is 24 pages
Longest: IT is 1376 pages

Book That Shocked You The Most?
I’ll say In the Flesh, because I disliked the last Clive Barker I read so much I wasn’t ever planning on reading him again. This one was great though; he’s a much better short story teller!

OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)?
Philippa Rice and her partner, as illustrated in all her wonderful comics in Soppy

Favourite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year?
The one between all the kids in IT. I hadn’t realised until re-reading it this year how much all those kids have influenced me since I read the book a dozen times when I was their age. I love them.

Favourite Book You Read in 2017 From An Author You’ve Read Previously?
Definitely A Closed and Common Orbit. I’m sighing with happiness just thinking about that book/series.

Best Book You Read In 2017 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure?
I don’t think I read any books that were recommended to me this year… oops?

Best 2017 debut you read?
For debuts I have to say Mystery Circus because I need the next instalment already!!

Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
Oh, so many! I’ll say The Road Through the Wall, for how well it captured the world and lives of the people living on Pepper Street.

Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
Nimona, without a shadow of a doubt. So much joy!

Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2017?
I sobbed my heart out reading A Monster Calls.

Hidden Gem Of The Year?
Dockwood was a delightful hidden gem of a book. So peaceful and quite and unassuming, but stand out for that.

Book That Crushed Your Soul?
I’m not sure I get what “crushed my soul” is supposed to mean, but Ariel was so bad my soul was crushed with confusion and disappointment, so…

Most Unique Book You Read In 2017?
The Popshot magazines are awesomely unique in the way they combine short stories, poetry, and art. The Hope Issue, which I read this year, was no exception.

Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
As much as I enjoyed it overall, I was pretty mad with Black Widow, as it was far, far too reminiscent of Gone Girl for my liking. I know Brookmyre is better and more original than that.

Your Blogging/Bookish Life

New favourite book blog you discovered in 2017?
I won’t lie, I have not improved on the whole reading other blogs and interacting with folk thing. But S. J. Higbee over at Brainfluff is a lovely person with a wonderful blog!

Favourite review that you wrote in 2017?
Reivews of books I didn’t really like are often my favourite, and Ariel is no exception. My interpretation and evaluation of the poems still makes me laugh.

Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
It was nice to know I wasn’t alone in regards to Why I Skip Straight to the Negative Reviews.

Best event that you participated in?
In May I took part in a read along for IT, which was pretty fun. Some photos I posted on my instagram can be found here: [X] [X] [X] [X] [X] [X] [X] [X]

Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2017?
Finally loosening up a bit with this blog and posting some other things, like meta and discussion posts, and memes, and highlights. I haven’t done as many as I’d wanted, but I’ve definitely made a start!

Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
Getting stuff done—writing the posts and reading the books. I branched out a little this year, but I want to do more!

Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
By views: Graffiti (and other poems), by comments: IT.

Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
Any of my meta and discussion posts, but especially Horror vs Sci-Fi, as they are my two favourite genres and it would have been great to talk about them more with people.

Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
I’m going to say Passion Planner, because i’ve been using one for all of 2017 for the first time and I love it. It’s not specifically reading related, but it is technically a book, and it’s helped me be more organised and motivated in terms of reading, blogging, and life-ing this year.

Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I met my goodreads reading goal—matching last year’s total. Not very high, but does include a couple of rather long ones!

Looking Ahead

One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2017 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2018?
As soon as I finish my current book, i’ll be reading The Princess Diarist as a read along with a friend!

Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2018?
Patrick deWitt’s next book, French Exit, comes out in 2018!

One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2018?
Same as it was last year: Post more things, more often.

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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!

2016 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:

S5

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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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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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.

wl

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?

2013 End of Year Book Survey

2013booksurveyI started Marvel at Words one year ago today. To celebrate my blog’s birthday, i’ve decided to complete The Perpetual Page-Turner’s end of year survey. I’m very happy with what i’ve done with this place so far, and look forward to reading more books and writing their reviews in 2014!

Best in Books 2013

1. Best Book You Read In 2013?
Being realistic here, The Book Thief by Mark Zusak is the only book i gave 5 out of 5 stars to in 2013. It was also the first book i read in 2013, and as much i remember loving it, i can’t remember exactly why it was better than all the books i’ve given 4 stars to…

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Most definitely The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories. I love horror, and was so excited for this book. Turns out H.P. Lovecraft is such a dull and uninspired writer. So disappointed.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013?
I’ll have to go with American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but i was worried there would be too much religion for my taste. There was nothing of the sort and i enjoyed this book immensely!

4. Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?
Hmm, i’m not sure there really has been any. When i recommend books, i don’t just recommend ones i have really loved, i like to personalise it by choosing books i think the person i am recommending to will like. This year i think i’ve warned people not to read books than i have recommending books…

5. Best series you discovered in 2013?
The only series i really read from this year has been Sherlock Holmes. So far i’ve only read A Study in Scarlet, but i look forward to reading more!

6. Favorited new author you discovered in 2013?
I definitely want to read more books by Neil Gaiman and Richard Matheson (after reading American Gods and I Am Legend, respectively).

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
This has to go to Notes on an Exhibition by Patrick Gale. It’s too close to the “normal” fiction genre to be in my comfort zone, but it was very well written and i did enjoy it.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?
I can’t not say The Book Thief by Mark Zusak, really. I thought it would take me so much longer to read, but i loved it so much and it was a much easier read than i expected that i just whizzed through it.

9. Book You Read In 2013 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
I have so many unread books, that i don’t actually want to re-read any, and certainly not any that i read only last year. But one i might randomly pick up and skim through is Apathy and Other Small Victories by Paul Neilan, because just glancing a page or two will have me giggling at any number of quotes.

10. Favourite cover of a book you read in 2013?
I have to go with The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin. It’s simple. I like it in relation to the book and in isolation.

dispossessed

11. Most memorable character in 2013?
Hmm, so many good characters. I’ll have to say Billy from Billy Christ by Michael Cameron. He was the character i most loved to hate. I was invested in him, but i didn’t like him. I love it when an author can make me care about a character i don’t like.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, hands down. This is a book to get lost in. Such a beautiful world with amazing descriptions.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013?
I think i have to go with Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold. I can’t even describe how or why, but i was still living inside that book five or six books later. I fell into it head first and had a hard time getting out again.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read?
Ha. Peter Pan and Wendy by J.M. Barrie. Having been called Wendy all my life, the fact that i hadn’t read this book was always an amusing thing to me. Even after a friend gifted me this beautiful centenary edition, it still took me several years to pick it up and read it.

15. Favourite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013?
Too many. Late in the year i actually started a Marvel at Words tumblr to post quotes from books while i was still reading them (when i remember). The one i will have to say right now, today is from The Spire by William Golding. This one quote stuck with me through the entire book and made me laugh several times over. Still does, in fact.

“Father Adam!”
But the little man said nothing, did nothing. He stood still holding the letter, and there was not even a change of expression in his face; and this might be, thought Jocelin, because he has no face at all. He is the same all round like the top of a clothespeg. He spoke, laughing down at the baldness with its fringe of nondescript hair.
“I ask your pardon, Father Adam. One forgets you are there so easily!” And then, laughing aloud in joy and love— “I shall call you Father Anonymous!”

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?
Shortest: The Thirty Nine Steps by John Buchan at 118 pages.
Longest: Weaveworld by Clive Barker at 722 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!
“Guts” in Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk. So gross it made me physically squirm. I LOVED IT.

18. Favourite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2013 (be it romantic, friendship, etc)?
Mike and Phyllis Watson from The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham. A solid couple, lovely people, respectful of each other and just a brilliant duo. I adore them.

19. Favourite Book You Read in 2013 From An Author You’ve Read Previously?
The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham. John Wyndham has yet to fail me.

20. Best Book You Read In 2013 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else?
Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold. I had no clue what it was about when i picked it up, and i think that was part of the reason i enjoyed it so much. I was having trouble choosing what book to read next, so my partner just told me to read Carter Beats the Devil. (Does an order count as a recommendation?)

21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2013?
According to my tags, this would be “contemporary”, but as i use that for any recent/present-day book simply when it has a lack of other (“real”) genres, i’m not sure it counts. Second place is “classic” and third is “horror”. I feel they represent my tastes more accurately.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013?
Oh FFS, what’s the obsession with having to have a crush? I don’t fancy fictional people, sorry.

23. Best 2013 debut you read?
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. If she wrote another fantasy book, i would want to read it.

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?
Because i don’t want to say The Night Circus again, i’m going to say I Am Legend by Richard Matheson. It describes such a desolate post-apocalyptic world–the kind of world i will always immediately imagine from the words “post-apocalyptic”.

25. Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2013?
Tie between Apathy and Other Small Victories by Paul Neilan for the LOLs and Off the Map by Heb & Kika for the stories and personal nostalgia it evoked in me.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2013?
The Book Thief by Mark Zusak made me sob. It was terribly sad, but very beautiful.

27. Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked When It Came Out?
Expo 58 by Jonathan Coe. Seriously, people, i have not heard enough about this book. It’s very good and hugely enjoyable.

Book Blogging/Reading Life

1. New favourite book blog you discovered in 2013?
I only started this year, so can i say all of them? I’m saying all of them.

2. Favourite review that you wrote in 2013?
To be honest, i enjoy writing the reviews for books i didn’t like much more than the books i loved. I never think i’ll do an awesome book justice, but i’m happy to ramble on about why i didn’t like a book! I think my favourite rant review is The Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft.

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?
I, er, didn’t really have any. I appreciate and reply to comments, but a discussion has never really come of them.

4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?
I’m not sure ‘thought-provoking’ is the right term, but Lynn’s Book Blog’s review of The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson has been my favourite. It made me remember why i loved it so much and (despite too many books to read) i was inspired to re-read it myself–as my last book of 2013, incidentally.

5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
I… don’t do this, really. I just live in my own world, reading my books and writing their reviews. The most adventurous i get is memes like this. So wild.

6. Best moment of book blogging/your book life in 2013?
I don’t know. I’ve enjoyed it all. Nothing really sticks out. Maybe when i was nominated for a liebster award by What Hannah Read… I’ll get around to making that post one of these days!

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
Looking for Alaska, The Art of Fielding and The Kraken Wakes all got the most comments.
Billy Christ got the most views.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
Carter Beats the Devil, because i bloody loved it, but had no one to talk to about it!

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
I discovered i can put up shelves. Which has been useful for easing the strain of my bookcases.

10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I challenged myself to read 25 books, with the specific aim to read longer books. I did well with this at first and read several long books. By the time i’d read 25 books, goodreads was bullying me into increasing my goal, so i did, and then completely gave up on the long books.

Looking Ahead

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2013 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2014?
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. It’s been on my shelf for a long time, but recently i actually watched the film… having not yet read the book. Shame on me! So yes, that is my first book of 2014.

2. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2014?
My goal is still to read longer books. I want to read Swan Song by Robert McCammon because my nan bought it for for christmas 2012. I also want to read The Stand and Under the Dome by Stephen King… lots of long book goals for 2014.