2011 Book Survey

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.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you? 

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!

9. Book you most anticipated in 2011?

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.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2011?

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!

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!  

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.  


  1. Ellie Warren says:

    I read The Magicians this year because I had the sequel to review so I don't think I paid to much attention to the ending except that I knew it would follow on.

    I agree with you the the Hunger Games trilogy went a bit downhill but loved the first book (and I think the film does look good).

  2. So I guess this means that I should probably read The Hunger Games

    And why have I never even heard of Mercedes Lackey?! I do like the sound of the Elemental Masters series because I really want to read some fairytale retellings. I was going to read one by Robin McKinley but then I fell out with her after reading Sunshine (which I'm sure we've talked about before!).

    It's only a matter of time before I succumb to this survey too, even if it does remind me of those that I did as a teen via email :s

  3. Bex says:

    You've never read Neil Gaiman till this year? He's one of my all time favourites. What did you read?

    How to Be a Woman – YES! I love this so much, it's just hilarious, thanks again for sending it to me 🙂

    I totally get what you mean about just writing the same five titles over and over. I felt like mine was all The Night Circus and How to Be a Woman. I know there was more this year that I had strong feelings about, but those two were just so good they dominated. I really hope you like The Night Circus!

  4. Hanna says:

    @LIB – *thwacks over the head with The Hunger Games*

    We have talked about Robin McKinley, after I read Pegasus, I think. I really can't recommend Mercedes Lackey enough – there's a review of one of her Elemental Masters books in my review archive, it's called Wizard of London.

  5. Hanna says:

    @Bex – Well I'd read Good Omens before (although I think we've discussed this already), but that was co-written with Terry Pratchett so I'm not sure it counts.

    I can't wait to reread How to Be a Woman already!

  6. Alexa says:

    I love Divergent. Like, hands down, Divergent is the best book I read in 2011 (although there were a lot of close seconds, including THG!). So, so, so good.

  7. Magan says:

    So you said you weren't sold on Matched, and for me Crossed was a big let down this year. I expected there to be more. Matched was one of the first dystopias I read last year, and I thought Crossed would blow me away.. but it didn't. I also didn't love Delirium by Lauren Oliver. I expected so much more. :-/ Your blog is adorable, btw! I, too, think girls should not have to choose between shoes and books. Why not look cute while reading? 😉

    Here's my end of year survey

  8. Hannah says:

    Oh Hanna, a survey? How could you? You do know these are my weakness? *sobs* I want my pc back! Seriously though, think most of my answers will consist of Morganville, Deception, Dearly Departed, Name of the Wind, Sookie. For varying reasons!

  9. Hanna says:

    @Magan – Glad to hear somebody else felt the same! I have Delirium on my TBR, but I've avoided reading it for that very reason. It's raised my expectations to the point where I don't dare in case I don't like it!

  10. Jana says:

    Hi Hanna! Thanks for visiting my blog earlier. 🙂 I am so happy you did, because I love your blog! I'm definitely your newest follower. 🙂 Books AND heels? You're like my soul mate. I have an over abundance of both!

    I agree with you that Mockingjay ruined the series. Blah. I was so mad! And I think I need to read Divergent, because everyone is loving it this year! I did not know The Prestige was a book first! I need to find that! I've also really been wanting to read The Scarlet Pimpernel. I'm going to real soon because of this post! I can tell I already adore you. 🙂

    – Jana @ http://thatartsyreadergirl.blogspot.com/

  11. Estelle says:

    Hi! I have to say I am IN LOVE with your blog name and your design. It's adorable. 🙂 Great survey. I love how you were affected by a lot of different books I don't always see discussed in the book blog community.

    I'm hoping to read Emma in 2012! I read it for the first time in 6th grade, and I have a feeling it will be different this time. haha.

    As for Wishful Drinking, I saw Carrie Fisher when she did her show in NYC for a run. It was excellent and she is very entertainment. (Even if I'm not a Star Wars fan. I know her more from When Harry Met Sally haha)

    Hope you have a great holiday!

    – Estelle @ Ratherbereadingblog.com

  12. Hanna says:

    @Estelle – Hmm, your comment made me realise I should have used Emma (and Persuasion!) for the books I can't believe it took me this long to read category! I read and adored Pride and Prejudice, but then immediately followed it with Mansfield Park and Sense and Sensibility which I didn't like, so it took me a while to pick up the other two. I wish I had sooner, they're amazing. Sixth grade? Wow! I'm almost positive it'll be different this time round 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by!

  13. Hanna says:

    @Jana – I havenn't found ANYBODY that was happy with Mockingjay yet! I heard they want to split it into two films as well – and that WILL make me mad.

    I can't recommend the Scarlet Pimpernel enough! It's really accessible and so much fun.

  14. Ellie says:

    Ooooh, a survey! *hops up and down excitedly* I did my own sorta version of this today already, but I feel entirely qualified to chime in and be a pest over here too…

    The Scarlet Pimpernel – Read the second book once upon a time, because I was in love with Richard E. Grant's Percy. Now got the first book on Mount TBR, yay!

    The Hunger Games – My favourite YA of this year, haven't read the others though so no spoilers!

    Divergent – Sitting beautiful and shiny on Mount TBR.

    The Prestige – Now on my poor long-suffering wishlist, ta for that…

    Matched – Also on Mount TBR, hoping I enjoy it more than you did!

    Cold Comfort Farm – LOVED IT! You were warned off it, really? It was so whimsical and funny; in fact, I'm well overdue a reread I think.

    How to Be a Woman – On Mount TBR, read the first few pages and it's lookin' good. I love Caitlin Moran's columns in The Times too, she always makes me laugh! Love the Grazia quote, hehe.

    I haven't read any Neil Gaiman yet either, but did read a couple of Morganville Vampire novels already. And yay for Sara Gruen!

    Wishful Drinking – A helter-skelter and very funny little book. Looking forward to buying Shockaholic sometime soon.

    Pegasus – Gorgeous cover, sad to hear it's not up to scratch. I enjoyed Sunshine and have Beauty and Spindle's End still on Mount TBR, so I think I'll read those first before I buy another McKinley!

    The Night Circus – SITTING HERE WAITING TO BE READ, WHISPERING TO ME SEDUCTIVELY! It must wait until I've finished Virals.

    Persuasion – Best Austen Ever. Fact. Also, The Only Austen to Make Me Cry. *swoons*

    Emma – Ummmm, got partway through it during a reading slump and gave up. More to do with my mood than the book though, there's hope yet!

    Cinderella Ate My Daughter – I still haven't read it yet, even though I bought it before you! Ooops. 🙁

    The Magicians – Still on Mount TBR. I'll try to enjoy it without thinking about the ending…

    Right, does that cover everything? Happy New Year sweetie – hope there's lots more awesomeness to come in 2012! 🙂

  15. I really want to read Cold Comfort Farm in 2012!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *