I’m a sucker for book statistics so this definitely won’t be the last of the year, but I saw this at An Armchair by the Sea and couldn’t resist! Although I only started blogging in May, I’ve included books right from the beginning of the year up to today (the 18th). I get the feeling my real end-of-year list may change though, as I have The Night Circus (sent by Bex herself!) and A Christmas Carol to read before January!
1) Best Book of 2011
Pfft. I don’t even know where to start with this one. I can’t narrow it down to one, I just can’t, so I’ll choose a couple. All links lead to my reviews.
The first amazing book I read this year was The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy. I don’t have a review because it was pre-Booking In Heels but it was amazing. It really surprised me how accessible it was, and Percy Blakeney is a dream. Did anybody else know that it’s a series of about twelve books? I’d spent all of my 22 years thinking it was stand-alone, but apparently I have a lot of reading left to go!
As for YA, I’m torn between The Hunger Games and Divergent, but I doubt I’ll be the only one stuck on that decision! It’s difficult, but I’m leaning towards Divergent. That’s pretty only because Mockingjay ruined the series for me and I don’t like the look of the upcoming film, but I don’t think I could choose if I based it on the first book of both series.
Lastly, I read The Prestige very recently and adored it, so a huge thank you to Colleen at Les Livres for sending it to me as a R.A.K. I plan to watch the film over Christmas, but I’m waiting for The Boy to leave first so we can avoid the completely foreseeable resulting argument!
2. Most Disappointing Book/Book You Wish You Loved More Than You Did?
I’m probably going to be chased by a mob of YA-ers with flaming pitchforks for saying this, but I really didn’t get on with Matched by Ally Condie. I really expected and wanted to love it, but I just… didn’t. I keep seeing wonderful reviews of Crossed everywhere though, and I’m trying to convince myself not to buy it, but it’s so hard!
3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2011?
I’m definitely going to have to go with Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons for this one. I was warned off it by several people but found it to be funny, clever and accessible when I read it only last week. It’s definitely going to be a frequent reread for me.
4. Book you recommended to people most in 2011?
I’ve been thwacking everybody I know (and those I don’t!) over the head with my copy of The Prestige to get them to read it, but then I’ve also recommended How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran to an awful lot of people too. I distinctly remember being told by a friend that if I didn’t shut up about this book, she was going to stab out my eyes with a fork and I’d Never Read Again. It’s hilarious though, and every woman (and man, for a thorough education about womanhood!) over the age of 19 should definitely read it.
5. Best series you discovered in 2011?
Looking back, this is the first year ever that I’ve read more stand-alone books than series. Regardless, there are a few and the best must be The Hunger Games, despite the disappointing conclusion.
This series was the one that got me in to YA – I’d barely touched it before I picked this up, not even when I was a teenager. Now I’m more than happy to pick up a Young Adult novel, but there are few that are anywhere near as good as this one!
6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2011?
This might be a bit premature, as I haven’t finished the first of her books that I’ve read yet, but I can foresee that Sara Gruen will be on this list – thank you to Ellie for sending me Ape House!
Who else? Uhh… Rachel Vincent and Rachel Caine (I went on a big paranormal kick last month!), Paulo Coelho, Neil Gaiman and Cat Patrick.
I don’t really have any reading comfort zones – I’ll happily pick up most things. However, I don’t read a whole lot of autobiographies and I adored Carrie Fisher’s Wishful Drinking. It’s so, so funny that I cracked up and temporarily became That Crazy Person On The Train.
Her reminisces about Star Wars, her illness and her glamorous parents are moving, yet hilarious.
8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2011?
I read both Divergent and The Hunger Games pretty much in one sitting. I know, I’m boring, but I’ll choose some new books to love soon, I swear!
Unnatural Issue by Mercedes Lackey. I haven’t picked it up yet because I’m getting it for Christmas, but this author’s Elemental Masters series is one of my favourite ever. They’re adult fantasy about good magicians in the Victorian era wielding different types of magic and they’re wonderful. To make them even better, each one is loosely based on a different fairytale. I think my absolute favourite is The Fire Rose which is take on The Beauty and the Beast.
Oh this is easy. Pegasus by Robin McKinley. Shame the story wasn’t nearly as good as the cover…
11. Most memorable character in 2011?
Marguerite Blakeney from The Scarlet Pimpernel. She’s very empowered for a female character written in 1905 and chases her husband all over revolutionary France to keep him safe.
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2011?
I’m half-tempted to reserve this spot for The Night Circus (eee! I get excited whenever I think about it!) but it’s probably not a good idea to raise by expectations any more than the dizzying heights they already reside at.
So, hmm… Emma and Persuasion by Jane Austen! I know that all her books are written beautifully but these in particular blew me away.
13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2011?
How to Be a Woman completely changed my view of feminism and women in general. I now understand what that word actually means and I’d now willingly stand on a chair and shout that I’m a feminist.
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2011 to finally read?
Zee Scarlet Pimpernel, naturellement! I can’t remember what made me finally reach for it in the first place, but I’m, glad I did.
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2011?
This is from How to Be a Woman (God, I might as well have just picked five books and wrote out those titles over and over again, hadn’t I?) and I know it’s not the most intellectual passage I could have found, but I go into fits of laughter each and every time I read it.
‘It also turns out that husbands do not read Grazia, and no matter how magnificent or loving they may be, they can’t help themselves from sporadically saying ‘£225! For a purse! JESUS CHRIST,’ as if you’ve just stabbed them quite violently in the balls with a fork, left the fork there, and then hung your coat on it while you go and have a bath.’
16. Book That You Read In 2011 That Would Be Most Likely To Reread In 2012?
Oh there are loads. I’ve never had a year like for 2011 for immediately wanting to reread so many books. The Hunger Games in particular, although I might just read the first two.
There’s also Wishful Drinking, How to Be a Woman and Cinderella Ate My Daughter. Seems like I had more of a feminist kick this year than I thought!
Oh God damn it. There was a book just like this a fortnight or so ago and I can’t remember what it was to save my life.
Right, I’ve just been through my entire review archive and I still can’t remember, so I’m going to go with The Magicians by Lev Grossman. I vaguely liked this book until the ending which was appalling. Seriously one of the worst book endings I’ve ever read and I was dying to rant to somebody about it but couldn’t.