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A Year in Books, 2011

Once again, I’m participating in the 2nd annual End of the Year Book Survey, hosted by Jamie of The Perpetual Page-Turner. If you’ve been around for awhile, you might remember that I did this last year as well. I did tweak this year’s survey because I didn’t really feel like answering the blogging questions. But I’m still a sucker for these end-of-the-year things and I happen to enjoy this one. Enjoy!

1. Best Book You Read In 2011?

As you may remember if you were paying attention to this past Thursday’s post, my pick of best book of the year was Gayle Forman’s Where She Went.

2. Most Disappointing Book/Book You Wish You Loved More Than You Did?

I know that I may not love every book I read, but I always try to at least finish every book. So I was disappointed when Allegra Goodman’s The Cookbook Collector became a “did not finish” book for me. I had really hoped that I would like it, especially since I attempted to read it for a Jane Austen-inspired reading challenge. Alas, it was not meant to be.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2011?

I think I ended up being surprised by how much I loved The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan. It’s essentially a book of dictionary entries and yet there was a story there, hidden in all of those entries. It was definitely unexpected.

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2011?

Hmm, I definitely raved about One Day (David Nicholls) and I absolutely think everyone should read Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s The Language of Flowers. Oh, and Jennifer Crusie’s Bet Me, especially if you think you don’t like romance (it will change your mind, I swear).

5. Best series you discovered in 2011?

I finally read and finished Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series, which I really enjoyed a lot more than I expected to and I think Kieran Kramer’s Impossible Bachelors series is absolutely charming and delightful.

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2011?

They weren’t debut authors in 2011, but they were new to me: Tessa Dare, Siobhan Vivian and Lev Grossman.

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

I don’t read a lot of literary fiction, but I adored David Nicholls’ One Day and I also tend to avoid anything remotely horror-ish, but I did hear so many great things about Maureen Johnson’s The Name of the Star that I gave it a try and liked it.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2011?

I read both Where She Went (Gayle Forman) and Beauty Queens (Libba Bray) in one sitting because I simply could not put them down (though for very different reasons).

9. Book you most anticipated in 2011?

Definitely Gayle Forman’s Where She Went (it’s number one for a reason, folks) and Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins, especially after loving Anna so much.

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

I thought the cover of Meg Cabot’s Abandon did a great job of capturing the feel and tone of the novel.

11. Most memorable character in 2011?

Three come to mind immediately: Taylor Rene Hawkins (from Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens), Quentin Coldwater (from Lev Grossman’s The Magicians) and Lola Nolan (from Stephanie Perkins’ Lola and the Boy Next Door).

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2011?

I’d call it a tie between David Levithan’s The Lover’s Dictionary and Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s The Language of Flowers.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2011?

Without a doubt, it was Gayle Forman’s Where She Went. It’s obviously an incredibly emotional book, but Forman’s exploration of “secondary grieving” hit a nerve with me and brought up some old (but not unpleasant) memories.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2011 to finally read?

As a proud and loud Jane Austen fan, I am a bit red-faced when I consider that it took me all this time to finally read Shannon Hale’s Austenland.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2011?

“After all, I lost them, too. Except even back then, it had been different, like there’d been a barrier. That’s the thing you never expect about grieving, what a competition it is. Because no matter how important they’d been to me, no matter how sorry people told me they were, Denny and Kat and Teddy weren’t my family, and suddenly that distinction had mattered.” (Where She Went)

“I know you aren’t perfect. But it’s a person’s imperfections that make them perfect for someone else.” (Lola and the Boy Next Door)

“If there’s a single lesson that life teaches us, it’s that wishing doesn’t make it so. ” (The Magicians)

“ineffable, adj.- these words will ultimately end up being the barest of reflections, devoid of the sensations words cannot convey. Trying to write about love is ultimately like trying to have a dictionary represent life. No matter how many words there are, there will never be enough.” (The Lover’s Dictionary)

16. Book That You Read In 2011 That Would Be Most Likely To Reread In 2012?

I tend to re-read a lot of my favorite historical romances, so definitely anything by Sarah MacLean or Eloisa James. I’ll probably re-read Lola and the Boy Next Door before Stephanie Perkins’ final companion book is released and I know I’ll re-read Demonglass before reading the last book in the Hex Hall trilogy.

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!

After I finished Rachel Hawkins’ Demonglass (the cliffhanger!), I had a lot of theories about what will happen in the third and final book, but so few people have read the series that I can’t mention anything without a risk.

18. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I participated in two challenges for the first time and I think I did pretty well, even if I didn’t officially complete both of them. I wrote all about it a couple of weeks ago.

Looking Ahead…

19. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2011 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2012?

I’ve had Divergent on my shelf for awhile now, so I’ll probably get to that. Also, The Magician King and These Things Hidden, both of which I keep meaning to start.

20. Book(s) You Are Most Anticipating For 2012?

Ooh, a lot of books are on this particular list: Jessica Rules the Dark Side (Beth Fantaskey), Darkness Falls (Cate Tiernan), Spell Bound (Rachel Hawkins), Isla and the Happily Ever After (Stephanie Perkins), Underworld (Meg Cabot), Out of Sight, Out of Time (Ally Carter), A Rogue By Any Other Name (Sarah MacLean), Midnight in Austenland (Shannon Hale), and probably most especially, Froi of the Exiles (Melina Marchetta).

[Photo Credit: The Perpetual Page-Turner]

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