Monday, December 26, 2011

End of Year Book Survey

I saw this survey over at Jamie's blog The Perpetual Page Turner and decided it looked like fun.  So I'm doing it.  But I have skipped a few questions that I'm too lazy to answer and have a bad memory when it comes to certain things.

1.  Best book you read in 2011?
Definitely 13, rue Therese by Elena Mauli Shapiro.  I had super high expectations for it, and it surpassed all of them.

2. Most disappointing book/book you wished you loved more than you did?
The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie.  The writing was great, but I found the story pretty boring.

3. Most surprising (in a good way) book?
MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche.  Finished it last night and I was suprised from the start how much I was enjoying it.  I thought it would be entertaining but silly.  Instead, it kinda changed the way I think.  Review will be coming soon.

4. Book you recommended to people the most?
A Cottage by the Sea by Ciji Ware.  I think my whole family has now read it.  And they all adored it as much as me!

5. Best series you discovered?
Karen White's The House on Tradd Street, The Girl on Legare Street, etc.  I've only read the first one so far, but adored it.  My sister read the 2nd one and keeps nagging at me to read it.

6. Favorite new authors you discovered?
So many.  Ellen Airgood, who wrote a favorite of this year, South of Superior.  Minal Hajratwala who wrote Leaving India.  Karen White.  Elena Mauli Shapiro, Rachel Bertsche.  Samantha Sotto who wrote Before Ever After.  Amelie Nothomb, who wrote Biographie de la faim and Les combustiblesI'd read anything by them because I heart their writing styles.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
Leaving India by Minal Hajratwala.  I love nonfiction, but this was different than anything else I've read this year.  I devoured it and still think about it all the time.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book?
13, rue Therese by Elena Mauli Shapiro and Biographie de la faim by Amelie Nothomb.  Oh, and Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz. And Flight by Sherman Alexie.

9. Book you most anticipated?
Definitely 13, rue Therese.  I remember hearing about it some time in 2010, and then I had to wait and wait and wait for it.  And then I bought it in 2011 but waited months to read it because I wanted time to sit and read it in one sitting. 

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2011?
What is Left the Daughter by Howard Norman.  13, rue Therese by Elena Mauli Shapiro, Biographie de la faim by Amelie Nothomb.

11. Most memorable character?
Zits in Sherman Alexie's Flight.  Minny from The Help

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2011?
Once again, I'm going to have to go with 13, rue Therese.  It was so different but so gorgeous.  I also loved the writing in Flight, though I wouldn't call in beautiful.  It fit the teenage narrator perfectly.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you?
I think I'm going to have to say Rachel Bertsche's MWF Seeking BFF.  It has made me realize how much I miss hanging out with old friends and how I really need to make some new ones.  Also, Dinaw Mengestu's How to Read the Air left me contemplating the relationship in the book and how both people just let it slowly die.  It made me change my own behavior in my relationship.

14. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2011 to read?
Hesse's Beneath the Wheel.  I loved it and can't believe it's been out my whole life and I never picked it up.

15. Favorite passage/quote from a book read in 2011?
This one from 13, rue Therese I loved:
79: Our shell shock and our thousand-yard stare-we are stunned into quiet by the images that cannot be erased and thus erase all else-our gaze so still and so quiet that it can be ignored, if you wish, you do not have to

listen to our silence.

Digging this trench so hard, the muscle fibers in our backs bursting with the hurt of this: our last ditch effort.

Our shell shock and our thousand-yard stare-

I gaze ever farther than that.

For miles and miles I stare, through everything and straight to you. As I fight, I keep my eyes always on you: I cannot bear the stricken look on your face should you be told that I have died-

Your face-

it is the only reason I am still alive.

And then this one from Before Ever After:
Page 230: "I know there's no magical potion to preserve my life or Sheila's," Dex said, still holding on to Shelley's hand. "And I know that the time will come when her voice won't be as crystal clear in my head. But even when every detail has dulled, I know that I'll always have something that not even time can take away. Pain."

Shelley's hand stiffened against Dex's palm. "And that's a good thing?"

"Yes, because when I've forgotten everything else, I'll feel that ache...that tightness in my throat...that heaviness in my chest...and know that I loved a woman once and she loved me back. It's proof that I existed and so did she."

16. Book read in 2011 that you'd be most likely to reread in 2012?
Ha, probably all the Moliere plays I had to read for a French class.  Because I'm hopefully starting grad school in the Fall and will want to brush up on my 15th century French.

17. Book that had a scene in it that had you reeling and dying to talk to somebody about?
There were quite a few of those in A Cottage by the Sea, mainly because I pretty much fell in love with the main male character.

18. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2011?
There are quite a few!  But it would take forever to list them all, so I'll list 3 that I am constantly reading and taking book recommendations from:
Audra's blog Unabridged Chick
Brenda's blog Curling Up With a Good Book
And the blog Only Orangery

19. Best moment of book blogging in 2011?
Probably when I emailed 2 authors whose books I adored and really connected with, and they both replied right away saying that they were touched that I connected so much with their books.  See, authors need a lot of reassurance too ;)  And it's nice to know we're appreciated as readers!

20. Best bookish discovery?
Dog Ears Bookstore in South Buffalo.  Way awesome.

21. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals?
I finished one challenge and came like 1 book away from finishing 2 others.  I just got side tracked with other books I wanted to read.

22. Book you didn't get to in 2011 but will make your #1 priority in 2012?
The books I wanted to read for challenges but didn't end up reading, like another Georgette Heyer book I have sitting around my house somewhere.

23. Book you are most anticipating in 2012?
It was actually The Technologists by Matthew Pearl.  And then last week I got an ARC of it.  So ha.  I'm reading it now. 

24. One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging in 2012?
I really want to connect more with my readers and other bloggers.  I've been doing this more than I was last year, but I had a lot going on in 2011 and wasn't quite as active as I wanted to be in this department.  I hope to make some new blogging friends that I can talk books with :)  And get more involved in the whole book blogging community :)


  1. Thanks for reminding me that I really do want to read 13, rue Therese. I've just placed a reservation for it on my local library system :)

  2. Those quotes are beautiful, Kelly, and so is that bookstore! Too bad it's nowhere near me.

    Happy New Year! :)

  3. I have to come back and remember all these books:)

    Have a Happy NEw Year Kelly!

  4. Thanks for mentioning my blog! :) Looking forward to following your reading in 2012.

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