1. Best book you read in 2012? (You can break it down by genre if you want)
Fantasy: all the books in the Obernewtyn Chronicles, which I re-read last year (except the last book which isn’t out yet)
Historical Fiction: Above All Things by Tanis Rideout
Fiction: Eleanor & Park and Attachments by Rainbow Rowell, The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling
Graphic Novel: The Arrival by Shaun Tan (okay so I think I only read one graphic novel last year but it was definitely the best!)
Non-Fiction/Memoir: Bringing up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman
YA Fiction: Jane of Lantern Hill by LM Montgomery; The Space Between Us by Jessica Martinez
YA Fantasy: Above by Leah Bobet, Daughter of Smoke & Bone and Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor
YA Science Fiction: Genesis by Bernard Beckett
Dystopian: When She Woke by Hillary Jordan
Classics: The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
Romance: Uncovered by Love by Madeline Ash
Historical Romance: My Scandalous Viscount by Gaelen Foley
Picture Book: I Wish There Were Dinosaurs by Amanda Niland
2. Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love more but didn’t?
There were a few, perhaps, but if I had to pick one I’d pick The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker. Great premise, loved the idea of a people determined to live normally in the face of apocalypse, but I found the execution a bit weak and anti-climatic (considering the tone it was narrated in and all the fore-shadowing that built up tension that went nowhere). A real shame.
3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012?
This is an odd choice, but I’m going to go with The Color Purple by Alice Walker. I’d never read it before and knew only that it was considered controversial by some, enough that it’s frequently challenged and even banned. I think I was expecting something heavy and depressing, but instead it was fresh and lively and hugely thought-provoking. A fantastic coming-of-age story.
4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?
Well I’m always recommending the Obernewtyn Chronicles to anyone who’ll listen, but I think the lone book I recommended most last year was When She Woke by Hillary Jordan.
5. Best series you discovered in 2012?
Hm, tricky. I started a lot of series in 2012, but no matter how much I enjoyed them, I didn’t rush to read the next book in most cases. (I did buy them, though!) Oh, wait, there is one: Daughter of Smoke & Bone. I read books 1 and 2 in 2012 and absolutely loved them. There were other series that I started – Divergent, Shatter Me, Lucky Harbor, Arcana Chronicles, Original Sinners, Confessions, Jessica Darling etc. – that I enjoyed but haven’t yet read more of.
6. Favourite new authors you discovered in 2012? (books I read in brackets)
Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke & Bone and Days of Blood & Starlight)
Rainbow Rowell (Attachments; Eleanor & Park)
Wilson G Willow (Alif the Unseen; Cairo)
Tanis Rideout (Above All Things)
Leah Bobet (Above)
Hillary Jordan (When She Woke)
Margo Lanagan (Tender Morsels)
7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
My comfort zone is pretty broad, but since I don’t read much crime fiction I’m going to say The Boy in the Suitcase by Agnette Friis and Lene Kaaberbol, which was excellent.
8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?
By far the best book in this category was The Stone Key, book 5 in the Obernewtyn Chronicles, which was phenomenal and the most action-packed book in the series. It was full-on and completely absorbing. But I’ll add a couple, even though I’m going to start to sound extremely repetitive: Daughter of Smoke & Bone and When She Woke.
9. Book you read in 2012 that you are most likely to re-read next year
Maybe The Sending by Isobelle Carmody (book 6 in the Obernewtyn Chronicles) because the final book is supposed to be out late 2013 and I might want to re-read the previous one first. But I don’t actually expect to re-read anything this year.
10. Favourite cover of a book you read in 2012?
I have a few. Naturally.
11. Most memorable character in 2012?
I like them dark and twisted, so I’m going to name Soren from The Original Sinners trilogy (so far I’ve only read the first book, The Siren, though I have the other two ready to read) by Tiffany Reisz. Along those same lines, I’ll include Warner from Shatter Me and Destroy Me, both of which I read in 2012.
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?
I’m not sure I read anything last year that I would call beautifully written, sadly, though Above would come close. There were books I read that had excellent writing for various reasons, but nothing that really swept me away because of its lyrical prose. Oh I would probably add The Color Purple here though. Sadly I think I’ve forgotten the books I may have described that way.
13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?
Two books that affected me were All That I Am by Anna Funder and The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling, but also Bringing up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman.
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read?
I actually read a surprising number of new releases last year, or books that had come out the year before. But scouring the list, an older title that took me a loooong time to read was The Color Purple by Alice Walker.
15. Favourite passage/quote from a book you read in 2012?
I’m no good at keeping track of quotes or anything, so I’ll have to pass on this one.
16. Shortest & longest book you read in 2012?
Picture books and novellas excluded, the shortest was probably Genesis by Bernard Beckett, which was just long enough to be a novel. The longest was The Stone Key by Isobelle Carmody, which was over 1000 pages long (it was split into two books outside Australia).
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 definitely Genesis by Bernard Beckett, and also The Rest is Silence by Scott Fotheringham. You just have to read them.
18. Favorite relationship from a book you read in 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).
Romantically, there’s always Elspeth and Rushton from the Obernewtyn Chronicles. Plus all the relationships in LM Montgomery’s A Tangled Web, which I re-read last year; the wonderful merge between Yukiko and Buruu and in Jay Kristoff’s Stormdancer; and the relationship between the mother and two daughters in Margo Lanagan’s Tender Morsels (and between the mother and the bear, too).
19. Favourite book you read in 2012 from an author you had read previously
Both of the Obernewtyn books that I hadn’t read before (The Stone Key and The Sending), and The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling.
20. Best book you read that you read based SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else
That would be Genesis by Bernard Beckett, which I wouldn’t have heard of probably if it weren’t for Bree (All the Books I Can Read), though it’s definitely my kind of book.
A lot of my books are books I got based on other people’s recommendations or reviews, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have read them anyway. But this does make me think of the books I got based on people’s recs, that I probably wouldn’t have got otherwise, and how excited they’ve got me for them – and yet I still haven’t read them!
1. New favourite book blog you discovered in 2012?
The Indiscriminate Critic – a wonderful Canadian blog run by Daniel that he started in September 2012; I love reading his musings and reviews and interviews. Even when we had different reactions to the same book, his articulate insights are thought- and discussion-provoking. And he often says things that make me go, “Yes, that’s what I tried to say but failed miserably!” He has a knack for summing things up that I admire.
2. Favourite review that you wrote in 2012?
I dunno about this one, I’m rarely ever pleased with my reviews anymore, though if I do re-read them later on long after they’re published, I’m often surprised at how well they read, considering how rushed I write them. I also have a habit of letting reviews pile up so that the books aren’t fresh in my head anymore, which makes me feel like I’m doing the books a disservice. I can’t really think of one right now that I was particularly pleased with.
3. Best discussion you had on your blog?
On Writing “Reviews”, or Whatever You Want to Call Them – this topic, which was huge again in the blogosphere at the beginning of 2012, is always interesting to discuss, even if it does involve some navel-gazing as we ponder our existence as book bloggers.
4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?
I can’t think of a review right now, but I absolutely loved Scott’s post, “Why Do We Attempt to Steal Other People’s Joy?” on Iceberg Ink, about online behaviour in discussions etc. I’ve had plenty of personal experience with this, as I’m sure everyone has, sadly, and it’s a really well-written post. We really need some etiquette guidelines or something.
5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
I loved going to the Ontario Blog Squad’s Second Annual Book Blogger Meet-up here in Toronto late last year, that was a lot of fun and it was great to talk to some of the authors there.
6. Best moment of book blogging in 2012?
It was wonderful meeting bloggers like Meghan (Coffee & Wizards) at the book blogger meet-up, and I loved making Skinny Scoop’s list of 25 top book blogs of 2012, and I was nominated for Ninjamatic’s Canadian Weblog Awards 2012, that was great.
7. Most popular post this year on your blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
By views, this is always Fancy Words for the Sophisticated Reader, every year, every day. Always surprises me. Most popular review was Three Men in a Boat, which also surprises me. Apparently a lot of people search for this book on a daily basis! By comments I think it was one of the giveaways I hosted.
8. Post you wished got a little more love?
I’m not sure, but perhaps my Shelves are Groaning posts – I put so much work into them, they take me ages, and there’re so many great books to chat about, but hm, maybe everyone just gets too overwhelmed and so avoids them now. I know I should really do them more frequently so that they’re smaller, but I just can’t seem to get there.
9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
The best are two new Australian romance e-book imprints, Destiny Romance from Penguin, and Escape Publishing from Harlequin. Both are publishing full-length novels and novellas from Australian writers, and they’re available outside Australia and cheap too! Also, they’re accepting submissions, if you’ve penned a story.
10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I did well on my challenges – I’ve already reached 13 for the Canadian Book Challenge, and I still have 6 months on that one! I read and reviewed books for all 12 countries for the Around the World in 12 Books Challenge, although for Tanzania it was a DNF. And I read an extra 7 books more than I had committed to for the Mount TBR challenge. Not too shabby eh? I don’t remember setting any goals at the beginning of the year.
1. One book you didn’t get to in 2012 but will be your number 1 priority in 2013?
Um, all of them? No seriously, I think that about almost all my books.
2. Book you are most anticipating for 2013?
We’ve been told that the final book in the Obernewtyn Chronicles, The Red Queen will be out in September this year, and considering the first book in this series came out in 1988, you could say we’ve been anticipating this all our lives! This is a BIG DEAL! Fingers crossed it doesn’t get pushed back yet again, because it’s so hard to wait, no matter how long it’s been. I wouldn’t even mind if the book gets split in two again – I’m half-afraid of it all ending, to be honest.
3. One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging in 2013?
I want to write more discussion posts, and post things other than reviews – book-related, of course. I enjoy writing those posts and I love discussing things with people, it’s just a matter of finding the time (and sometimes the motivation) to do them.