2017 End of Year Book Survey

Books read: 92
Rereads: 17 (18.5%)
Pre-2017 books: 39 (43.1%)
Non-fiction: 10 (11%)
Average date of publication: 1996

I’m really happy with the amount of books read as it’s a sizeable increase from recent years. My reading of books that I owned before 2017 is shocking, however. I blame the discovery of the brilliant library next to my new workplace. This year I’m going to aim that 70% of my reading will come from books that I own, not library books.

I’ve read some truly wonderful non-fiction though this year, so I’m happy with that.

Less happy with the average date of publication. Fewer new releases for Hanna, I think.

And now we’re on to Perpetual Page Turner’s now traditional survey!

1. Best Book You Read In 2017?

UK book cover of the radium girls by kate mooreThis isn’t as hard this year as it usually is. Whilst I honestly had a great reading year and really struggled to choose only ten books for my Best Books of 2017 list, I’m really going to have to go with The Radium Girls.

Kate Moore writes elegantly and accessibly about a horrific subject – the women who were taught to put radioactive paint in their mouths in the 1920s. I cried a lot but then, nobody cared at the time so perhaps those poor women deserve to be in our thoughts now.

It’s a bleak subject, but a wonderful book. I haven’t been able to get it out of my head for months.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?  

I haven’t reviewed it yet but I’m going to do with Illuminae for this one. *ducks from inevitable storm of thrown objects*

Yeah, I know, I know. I just really struggled with the format – I didn’t know what was going on half the time and, whilst I liked the twist, it super annoyed me that it was then retracted.

I essentially dislike any book I have to turn on its side to read.

3.  Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

Okay, so just to add to my impression of a grouchy, snitty arse (in my defence, I literally have pneumonia and I’m typing from under a pile of blankets), I didn’t like Nevernight when I first started it either. It tried way too hard to be arty and, again, I didn’t have a clue what was going on. Also, don’t type whole sections of text in italics. God.

What do people have against typing normally, like normal people!?

Sorry. Yes, BUT THEN. THEN! Nevernight GOT SO GOOD and I was very much surprised, thereby fulfilling the requirements of the question.

Go read my review for a full account of the about-turn, but I ran off and read Godsgrave immediately afterwards and now I’m desperately awaiting the third book.

4.  Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

You know, I’ve just realised that nobody has read anything I’ve recommended this year, and it’s not through lack of trying.

Charlotte, seriously. Humour me once in a while, yes?

5.  Best series you started in 2017? Best Sequel of 2017? Best Series Ender of 2017?  

I started a few series this year, but the best by far is definitely The Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan. It’s so lovely and charming, and it honestly makes me smile just thinking about them. I have the third book sitting on my shelf and I think I’ll be going for it very soon.

The best sequel… oh god, I can’t believe I even had to think about this one. The best sequel is obviously Crooked Kingdom, which is the sequel to Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I liked the first one and couldn’t believe that the second book could possibly be any better, but it really was. I read it way back in January 2017 and I can still remember it almost perfectly.

Did I even read any series enders? Oh, just one. Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson, which is the final book in the Mistborn series. I liked the series but wasn’t thrilled with the last book, so it’s really only here because it had to be.

6.  Favorite new author you discovered in 2017?

I feel like I should probably add Jay Kristoff here, considering I’ve read three of his books. However, considering I disliked 1.5 of those books, I shall not.

Instead, let’s go with Neal Stephenson. I’ve only read one of his books – The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. which was co-authored with Nicole Galland, but it was so good and so right up my street, that I’ve added a raft of his books to my wishlist. Annoyingly, my library has hardly any of them but I’m sure I’ll obtain them soon enough.

7.  Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

I don’t really have a comfort zone. I’ll read most things aside from the few genres that I actively dislike.

I don’t read many graphic novels though (due to availability, not preference), so we’ll go with that. My favourite graphic novel was My Friend Dahmer.

8.  Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?  

Definitely The Call by Peadar O’Guilin. I picked it up on a whim from the library, but it ended up being intense. Every teenagers are transported to the fae world for three minutes once in their adolesence, and usually returned mauled and disfigured.

Following several teenagers as they run for their lives is brutal, dark, twisted and just pretty great. I read the whole thing in one sitting.

9.  Book You Read In 2017 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year? 

I’d never reread within a year, so I altered the question a bit.

The book that I am most likely to reread at some point is The Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield. I haven’t reviewed it yet, but I loved it. It reminded me a bit of 84 Charing Cross Road.

It’s just the diary of a well-to-do lady, but it’s so funny. She’s so dry and hilarious about the duties and responsbilities expected of her, whilst being not all that good at them. It’s just the right level of charming and hysterical. Gentle but dry. I’ll definitely be rereading this when I feel down.

10.  Favourite cover of a book you read in 2017?

11.  Most memorable character of 2017?  

Inej from Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom. Hey look, it’s my first repeated book on this list. That’s not too bad, we’ve usually referenced the same book six times by now…

In truth, I could use the whole gang from those books for this question. It says a lot that I read the first book a full year ago, and I can still remember their names and personality traits. Inej was my favourite though, which is why she gets the gold star name drop.

12.  Most beautifully written book read in 2017?

Hmm. I always struggle with this question. I just don’t think I tend to go for books that lend themselves to a ‘beautifully written’ tag.

Let’s go with The Diary of a Provincial Lady again then, as the writing in that is just masterful. Charming yet dryly resigned at the same time.

13.  Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2017?

Oh god, life-changing!? How very ambitious.

I wouldn’t give it quite such a dramatic adjective, but Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: And Other Lessons From the Crematorium really made me think about how our culture views death, and how perhaps it isn’t quite right to shove it as far under the rug as we can. Caitlin Doughty talks in a very educated manner about the rise in vanity products to stave of death, and the prolonged periods people suffer in hospital.

It’s much more light-hearted and funny in parts, but the underlying message was definitely thought-provoking.

14.  Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2017 to finally read?  

The Natural History of Dragons!!! What was I saying about repetetiveness again?

I couldn’t not use this book though – I even said as much in the opening paragraph of my review. I’d been picking it up and then putting it down again in bookshops for literally years, when I could be onto rereading the entire series by now! It drives me mad.

15.  Favourite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2017?

I could pretty much have used any of The Diary of a Provincial Lady, but this one tickled me:

Find myself indulging in rather melodramatic fantasy of Bentley crashing into enormous motor-bus and being splintered to atoms. Permit chauffeur to escape unharmed, but fate of Lady B. left uncertain, owing to ineradicable impression of earliest childhood to the effect that It is Wicked to wish for the Death of Another. Do not consider, however, that severe injuries, with possible disfigurement, come under this law – but entire topic unprofitable, and had better be dismissed.

Oh bugger, I really am going to have to review the damn thing now, aren’t I?

16.  Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2017?  

Longest: I know what this is without even checking – it’s The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan. It’s the fourth book in the Wheel of Time series, it’s 1007 pages long and does not need to be.

Oh my god, wait. That’s what I get for being cocky. I checked and it was ACTUALLY Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon, which is the fourth book in the Outlander series. That also does not need to be that long. What is it about fourth books!?

I’ve actually read a lot of long books this year – most of them are in the 500+ range.

My shortest was The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers at 160 pages.

17.  Book That Shocked You The Most?

Alright, well, it doesn’t say it has to be a plot twist or whatever that shocks you, so I’m going to say The Radium Girls.

That book shocked me more than any other book ever has. It’s just infinitely more harrowing because it was real. The gall and the audacity of the companies that encouraged women to lick radioactive brushes and then denied all knowledge ten years down the line, as their JAWS FELL OUT. They buried medical reports, absconded with bodies…

No book has ever made me feel so angry and so hurt and so… ARGH. It hurts just thinking about it.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)  Favourite Romantic Relationship Of The Year?

I’m too old for the original phrasing…

Inej and Kaz from Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom. It’s so subtle and intricate and not at all a major part of the plot and I love it.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year? 

Everybody from Six of Crows, with everybody else from Six of Crows.

I’m a sucker of small groups of close-knit yet completely different friends, and Leigh Bardugo has done it perfectly in these books. The plot is good, but the characters are better.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2017 From An Author You’ve Read Previously?

Hmm. Thanks to the library and an ever-expanding TBR, I’ve actually found a lot of new authors lately.

Oh, I suppose it will have to be The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles. I read The Collector in 2016 and absolutely loved it, so I picked up this book off the back of it. The ending is a bit strange but I did enjoy it.

21. Best Book You Read In 2017 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure?

The huge majority of my reading recommendations come from bloggers, but I can’t usually pinpoint a specific blogger who recommended a particular book.

I only actually read one book or series based on the word of one person, and that was The Wheel of Time series that Charlotte recommended. Roughly 3,800 pages later, I’m four books into this epic series! Read my reviews of The Eye of the World and The Great Hunt.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2017?

Nope.

23. Best 2017 debut you read? 

Apparently I haven’t read many debuts this year, but I did read Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel. It’s a gripping and fast-paced sci-fi novel told mostly through interviews conducted by a myserious and anonymous figure.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year? 

Definitely The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.

It’s technically sort-of set in our world, but the detail with which the time travelling organisation is built is just astounding. The authors thought of everything. I can only imagine how long it took to plan. Even the atmosphere in the places they time travel to is wonderful.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Also The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. Sorry. It’s really funny and snarky in parts!

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2017?

Quite a few actually – Persepolis, Where Am I Now: The True Story of Girlhood and Accidental Fame, Crooked Kingdom, The Power

However, although I cried at all these books, I didn’t cry nearly as much nor as often as I did with The Radium Girls. The Boy walked into me bawling like a small child and I had to wail at  him through my tears that ‘Nobody cared! Don’t you see!? Nobody CARED, SO WE HAVE TO CARE!”

It was a dignified moment, I tell you.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

I always interpret this question as meaning ‘quant and lovely,’ even though it probably doesn’t.

With that in mind, it can really only be The Diary of a Provincial Lady.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

You know damn well that it’s The Radium Girls. I have a green-hardback-shaped hole in my heart.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2017?

Probably The Power, you know. The overall perspective from which it was written – the emails at the end that describe the ‘purpose’ of the book was really clever and very unique. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything carried out in quite that way before.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Illuminae.

It felt like the authors put together a surprising and brave plot point… and then just yanked it back. Like, either do it or don’t. It just cheapens the whole thing.

AAAAAAaaaaaand we’re done! See my Top Ten Books of 2017 and stick around in 2018 for more review-y goodness!