Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 End of the Year Survey.

I have some other things that I need to talk about to wrap up the year 2012, but I am putting them off until tomorrow. For today, I thought it might be time to plow through the traditional End of the Year Survey that Jamie hosts each year. This is the third year for the survey, and the third time I am participating.

Off I go...

Best In Books 2012

1. Best Book You Read In 2012? 
I read a lot of great books in 2012, and looking back at all of them leaves me a bit unsettled. There was a definite transition from classics into all the YA and Fantasy I've been reading recently. Anyway, I decided to pick two books from those very distinct portions of my reading. 
Classics: Hand's down, my favorite from the year was David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. I'm actually contemplating a reread for in February (to go alongside my reading of the last Dickens title on my original 250 list-A Tale of Two Cities). I was blown away by this one, so I can't wait to revisit. There are many other classics I loved this year, but Dickens' book blew them all away.
YA/Other reads: This is a split between The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, Maus by Art Speigelman, and Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. All three were excellent reads and rank up there with a lot of the great classics I read. 

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
I was really excited to read Catch-22, and while I liked it, it just didn't do it for me. Perhaps it was the time I read it, but I just wasn't into it. I will most definitely be giving it another try in the future.
 3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012? 
Roots was something completely in and of itself. It was a very overwhelming read and left me with a lot to think about.

Son by Lois Lowry was a book that took me by surprise. I really didn't think that the story behind The Giver needed anything else...but this was a lovely addition to the set and added even more. 

 4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?
Since I have been talking to my students more than bloggers in recent months, a lot of my pushy suggestions have been to get them reading things outside their comfort zone. I successfully convinced a student to read The Last of the Mohicans, which made me smile. But, I've also had a few kids reading some great YA-John Green, Lauren Oliver, etc.
 5. Best series you discovered in 2012?
I was sucked into one of the new Riordan series (Heroes of Olympus) in recent weeks, and I have very much enjoyed them! But, imagine my disappointment when I neared the end of The Mark of Athena to discover there was one more book left in the series...and now I must wait until next fall to dive in!
 6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?
I read Let it Snow just a few days ago and one of the stories was by Maureen Johnson. I follow Maureen on twitter, but hadn't read any of her work until then...I was IMPRESSED. She had me in stitches, and I think our senses of humor align perfectly. She is definitely a writer I need to read!
7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
I've still been reading things that have been all over the map, so I wouldn't say I have "branched out," merely just returned to how I used to read (before blogging). I will say that one book that took me by surprise (for how much I loved it) was The Cone-Gatherers by Robin Jenkins. It was a book I never would have discovered on my own, and I LOVED it. Definitely going on the reread list. 
 8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?
I flew through a great number of books this year, but the most thrilling has to go to the Riordan series I read. I love the myths woven into the stories, and they were a lot of fun to read as school got hectic.
 9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year:
Most likely David Copperfield by Dickens, but I might also revisit Mistborn by Sanderson (Since I never got to the other 2 titles in the trilogy), as well as finishing the Harry Potter series (that I started rereading back in August...never finished the last two!).
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?
I just flipped through my Goodreads list for the year, and none of the covers really stand out to me! I might say the cover of Son by Lois Lowry (I like all the cover redesigns for her books), or any of the beautiful Penguins I read this year (The clothbounds, the new English Library Editions, or the Puffin classics).

11. Most memorable character in 2012? 
David from David Copperfield. I also quite loved Nicholas from Nicholas Nickleby. There was also Naomi from An Uncommon Education, as well as Calum and Neil from The Cone-Gatherers. I would also venture to say that Andi from my current read, Revolution, is memorable (I am going to finish this one by midnight-I swear!)
 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?
David Copperfield! I know that I keep repeating myself, but I just loved this, so much. I can also give a nod to Thomas Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd, Shakespeare's Hamlet, and Zusak's The Book Thief.
13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012? 
David Copperfield. Hand's down, this had the biggest impact on me this year. I have the opening lines of the novel written in the cover of my journal, and I have plans to put them up in my classroom. LOVED THIS BOOK.
 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read? 
I would venture to say that A Little Princess was a title I should have read a long time ago. I loved the novel and I cannot wait to read it to my kids!
 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012? 
“Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.” David Copperfield

“My meaning simply is, that whatever I have tried to do in life, I have tried with all my heart to do well; that whatever I have devoted myself to, I have devoted myself to completely; that in great aims and in small, I have always been thoroughly in earnest.” David Copperfield

“And at home by the fire, whenever you look up there I shall be— and whenever I look up, there will be you." Far From the Madding Crowd
 16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012? 
The longest was...Roots by Alex Haley at 899 pages (whew), and the shortest was Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them at 43 pages (I feel I should mention that my shortest classic was Steinbeck's The Pearl at 90 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!
The Cone-Gatherers. Someone else needs to read this book.

Roots also had some super powerful scenes.
18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).
I love the relationships in the characters in Riordan's books (far better than what they were in the Percy Jackson series). I also quite loved the relationship I just read about in Juliet Marillier's Heart's Blood. There was also the friendship and love between Calum and Neil in The Cone-Gatherers, and I can't forget Katniss and Peeta from my reread of The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay.
19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously
I still have to give a nod to David Copperfield by Dickens. It made me want to read more of his work, so I have started to collect all his books. :) Future project!
20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:
Ummm...I honestly can't think of one! I did read some titles based on suggestions from students and teachers, but none that blew me away...Well, with the exception of Between Shades of Gray. It was a book I never would have picked up without it being forced on me, and I am SO GLAD I read it.

 Book Blogging/Reading Life in 2012

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2012?

I really struggled with blogging this year, especially in the last couple of months, so I can't really say. My interactions with other bloggers has been limited. I will say that I love my followers and those I talk to. You guys keep me hanging in here, and I hope that I can improve my relationships with you this coming year!
And, I also hope that I can get back in the swing of things soon!
2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2012? 
Oh many of my reviews seem like they took place so long ago! Perhaps this one, where I gush about my love for David Copperfield!
3. Best discussion you had on your blog?
I had a few discussions this year on my blog about various topics. Some of the big ones were this one on Teenager Friendly Classics, a fun meme on Reading Habits, and this post where I was Looking for Quotes for School. I am still working on my quotes wall, and when I finish, I will definitely share! 
4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?
I'll just be honest and say that I can't think of very many (my lack of interaction recently). Yes, I stink at being a blogger.
5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
I didn't have the chance to go to any book events this year, mainly because Michigan is just too darn cold for authors to come visit (really, I think that's why no one comes here). However, I loved all the events in the blogging world this year-from my own events (Shakespeare Reading Month and my Victorian Celebration) to things like the 24-Hour Readathons.

The biggest and best event to launch this year was The Classics Club, which I have been a member of since the beginning! 

6. Best moment of book blogging in 2012?
Launching The Classics Club Blog. It took a lot of time to transfer everything over, but it was worth it. I love that people are coming together to read the classics, and I hope that it continues to grow!
7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
A lot of the informational posts I made this year have huge numbers of hits, especially the Shakespeare posts I wrote last January-Movie Adaptations and Books about the Bard. I've also gotten a lot of hits on one of my Top Ten Tuesday posts-Required Reading for Teens.
8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
Many of them. :) Well, I would say some of my recent posts are a little lonely, but I chalk that up to my disappearance from blogging.
9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
I'm still obsessed with Goodreads. I'm still obsessed with Penguins (I got the next two clothbounds for Christmas). So...nothing new?
10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
Quite honestly, I stink at Reading Challenges, but I sign up for them again and again anyway. :) I did do well in most of them

My biggest moment of sadness was that I didn't read nearly as much as I wanted to when I had the extra time. I really thought I would read more over the summer leading into working full-time this fall, but I just wasn't in a reading mood. I wanted to hit 100 books for the year, and if I finish my book today, I'll get to 91. That's SO CLOSE. I can hit it next year though, I'm sure. :)

Looking Ahead…

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2012 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2013?
There are many. I kind of tossed my classics to the side the past 4 or 5 months, so there are a few I am going to dive into, including Les Miserables and The Grapes of Wrath. I think I am going to have a great reading year in 2013 since 2012 was all over the place.
2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2013?
 I'm really excited for a lot of the classics I set aside for my challenges. I'm excited for classics, period. I know the first book I am reading is an Austen, since I didn't get to Northanger Abbey before Christmas. After that....who knows!
3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2013?
I want to be more active now that things are under control (or getting there)-more on this tomorrow. I also want to return to my classics as a focus, with only slight forays into my fluffier reading. I have totally tossed aside classics in recent months and I MISS THEM. I also want to devote more time to The Classics Club since I have been neglecting my duties, as well as my own projects here. I want to make some progress with my 250 list, since it has been stagnant for far too long. We'll see how it goes! :)


  1. Great answers! I'm SO happy to hear that you loved David Copperfield so much. Dickens is one of my all-time favorite authors and I couldn't be happier to know he's growing on you. Perhaps 2013 would be an appropriate time to re-read Great Expectations? ;)

  2. Maureen Johnson is such a great writer!! And so very funny in person too. :D

    I'm terrified of David Copperfield. I hated A Christmas Carol - my first Dickens - then liked Great Expectations well enough, but then after that Bleak House read, I decided never to read Dickens again. Bleak House remains one of the worst for me. :( But I feel like I *should* read David Copperfield in particular, for personal reasons which actually have nothing to do with the book or author, but with a song by an obscure band, haha. But I'm scared it'll be like reading Bleak House again...

  3. Happy New year, Allie! :)
    Wow...looks like you like David Copperfield a lot, it makes me want to read it soon. Btw, if you're going to read Dickens on February, you can join my Celebrating Dickens event, it's on Feb too! :)

  4. I think I'd better read David Copperfield. Happy New Year!

  5. I think you'll have to change the most recommended book to David Copperfield ;)
    It has just moved up in my priority list!
    Oh, and I don't know if you've ever read anything by Holly Black, but if not and you love Maureen Johnson you should definitely give her a try! Her books are mostly really cool urban fantasy and her humour is very similar to M.J.'s, perhaps because they're very good friends.

  6. I'm so happy to see David Copperfield so many times here. When I started my blog, it was one of the first books I wrote about as an all-time favorite. I think I am going to re-read it this year too. I miss all of the wonderful characters!
    And I definitely need to read Maureen Johnson this year too. I don't know why I haven't yet!

  7. neat! here is my wrap-up, with pies and charts:

  8. I'm so glad you loved David Copperfield. That was one of my favorite books I read last year and it remains my favorite Dickens! I'm looking forward to reading the new Riordan series. I enjoyed the Percy Jackson books.

    I know 2012 was rough for you in a lot of ways, but you did find some amazing reads despite that! Here's to an incredible 2013!