I think it’s safe to say that everyone likes to sit back at the end of the year and have a look back at what they have achieved over the previous 12 months, reading and blogging are no different. So, when I was perusing Perpetual Page Turner, Jamie’s wonderful blog, I stumbled across this fantastic bookish survey of her own invention that is in its 8th year! It’s a great post, with lots of reflective questions, and the bonus is that she has put a link on her original post so that you can have a looksie and a nosey through everybody else’s posts, and increase your 2018 TBR pile.
So, before I dive on in, please look at her original post, and maybe think about joining in too (don’t forget to credit her)! I would also like to point out that I repeatedly mention Emma. She is one of my good friends, who also happens to put up with me by living in the same house, and is someone I credit for telling me about a lot of the books that I have read and enjoyed. Her blog can also be found @ The Terror of Knowing!
Now, without further ado:
2017 Reading Stats
Number Of Books You Read: 120
Number of Re-Reads: 21
Genre You Read The Most From: New-Adult
Best in Books
1. Best Book You Read In 2017?
This is a seriously difficult question, because I have read quite a few books this year that I have really loved. Some honourable mentions are Fahrenheit 451, Crooked Kingdom, Sin City, A Gathering of Shadows, and Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood. I absolutely loved all of these books, but for me, the book of the year has been Col. Chris Hadfield’s memoir An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth: Life Lessons from Space. I don’t know how to describe how interesting, informative, emotive, and borderline life changing this book was for me, can’t recommend it enough!
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
For me, this was all about the classics. I absolutely love reading dystopian and cite 1984 as one of my favourite books, so I was surprised when I found Brave New World to nothing more than average. It just didn’t entertain or grip me in the way I thought it would. I also expected a lot more from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Peter Pan, both of which were disappointing.
3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
Good: I picked up a book in Waterstones, completely on a hunch, and then wasn’t sure what to expect or what to think. Imran Mahmood’s You Don’t Know Me really blew me away and surprised me in the best possible way. The perspective and tone wasn’t what I was expecting at all, but I flew through it so quickly!
Bad: Going in, I probably should have realised that The Great Gatsby wasn’t going to be for me, but even so, I was so disappointed by how boring and unentertaining I found it!
4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
Erm, the book I have pushed the most is absolutely definitely Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by comedian Trevor Noah. I have no idea whether anyone else has actually read it, but i have recommended it to everyone and anyone.
5. Best series you started in 2017? Best Sequel of 2017? Best Series Ender of 2017?
The best sequel of 2017 is absolutely simple: Crooked Kingdom. I read Six of Crows last year and loved it, and actually opened this year reading this alongside Girl on a Train. I just love Leigh Bardugo’s story, so I have to put that as the best sequel. As for the best series, it would have to be V E Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic. I have been told by Emma how good they are, and finally actually read them, and loved them, in 2017. A Conjuring of Light might be the best series ender of 2017 too!
6. Favourite new author you discovered in 2017?
I read Six of Crows last year, so even though I have read and loved a few of Leigh Bardugo’s books, my discovery of the year has to be V E Schwab! I loved the Shades of Magic series and read them pretty quickly, and have already started to think of other books of hers that I would like to read.
7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
Before this year, I didn’t read much if any non-fiction, so I have to say that Scrappy Little Nobody, The Princess Diarist, Born a Crime, and An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth all fit into this category, as they all received high ratings. I classify none of them as out of my comfort zone now, but going into the year I wouldn’t have put any of them high on my TBR list.
8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
Probably one of Robert Galbraith’s books. I read all 3 in a very short amount of time earlier in the year for some readathons, and struggled to put them down, even through they were so long. I loved the characters and the stories, loved the TV adaptation, and I am eagerly awaiting the completion of the next book in the series.
9. Book You Read In 2017 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
I don’t re-read that many books really, so it’s likely to be something like Harry Potter, as I re-read those regularly, and now have the illustrated versions to immerse myself in too. That, or the Six of Crows duology.
10. Favourite cover of a book you read in 2017?
This was a hard one as I have read lots of pretty books this year, but I think my favourite is His Bloody Project. The cover is made to look like an old, blood stained book, and is just such a good cover for the book within as well. I pretty much bought the book originally because of the cover too! It helps that I enjoyed it as well of course!
11. Most memorable character of 2017?
I was thinking of putting Kell or Alucard for this, but when I asked Emma about who I have mentioned most this year, she straight away said Chris Hadfield. Technically he isn’t a character, but he is the main focus of his memoir, so I am going to put it!
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2017?
Oh jeez, beautifully written? Hmmm. Probably We Should All Be Feminists. It’s so simple, and articulate, and beautifully done!
13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2017?
Easy peasy- An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Col. Chris Hadfield. This book is completely unique in the way it spoke to me. The book itself is full of interesting information and funny musings, but more so, it is injected with passion and wisdom, which are just invaluable. I think, because he isn’t a preachy or annoying person, the life lessons that he instils in himself and his children, and that he discusses throughout the book just have a way of seeping into your brain and making you think.
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2017 to finally read?
I can’t believe I waited so long to read the Robert Galbraith thrillers. I love a good crime book, a great thriller, and I really like J K Rowling, so it is quite surprising that I waited so long to finally pick these up! Everyone said I would love them (and I did) so I can’t quite believe it took me so long.
15. Favourite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2017?
My favourite quote of the year actually came from one of my favourite books A Gathering of Shadows:
“She bent most of the rules. She broke the rest.”
16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2017?
Longest: A Feast for Crows George R R Martin – 849 pages!
Shortest: We Should All Be Feminists Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche – Just 52 pages!
17. Book That Shocked You The Most
You Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood was by far the most shocking book I read this year. The way it was written put you right in the middle of the action from the perspective of an unreliable narrator, then ended so brilliantly that I was literally like *looks all around the room with mouth agape* WHHHAATTTTTT *inhales deeply*.
18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)
I mean, I don’t have too many ships, but when I do I ship them hard. This year, my OTP has undoubtedly been Alucard and Rhy throughout Shades of Magic. I knew the ending because Emma had told me before I made any suggestion that I might want to read them, but even so, I shipped this pair pretty hard.
19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
I’m going to delve into the Shades of Magic trilogy here and Say Kell and Rhy Maresh. Their brotherly bond is so strong and fun, and is such an entertaining and important part of the books, that it’s probably my favourite non-romantic pairing of the year. That, or Kaz and Inej from Crooked Kingdom!
20. Favorite Book You Read in 2017 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
I loved Six of Crows so I am definitely going to say that the best book from an author I’ve previously read is Leigh Bardugo’s follow up to this: Crooked Kingdom. I loved it only a fraction less, and it was brilliant.
21. Best Book You Read In 2017 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
Not gonna lie, this is most of my books: Shades of Magic, When Dimple Met Rishi, Crooked Kingdom, Grisha Trilogy, The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet, Chew, Good Omens, Stardust, The Graveyard Book, The Hating Game, Wishing for Birds, We Should All Be Feminists, and Rebecca. All of these were recommended by Emma. ALL OF THEM.
22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2017?
This is a close call. I am quite fond of the rule breaking privateers Sturmhond (Nikolai Lantsov) and Alucard Emery, and of course there is Kell Maresh. I think though I am going to go with an MI6 field and tech agent Marc Dane from Nomad (Rubicon #1). He is my kinda hero.
23. Best 2017 debut you read?
When I was in America, I began reading a YA contemporary novel called When Dimple Met Rishi. It’s not a genre I usually read, and it was something I only read because Emma described Rishi as ‘a little squish’. It surprised me in many ways and I really enjoyed it.
24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
I’ve read quite a lot of fantasy this year, and all of the fantasy I have read have been written by people who are particularly good at World Building. J K Rowling’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter is always worth a mention, as is George R R Martin’s worlds of Westeros. I particularly loved Ketterdam from Crooked Kingdom and the vivid and stark differences between the London’s in Shades of Magic too. Urgh, it’s too hard to pick!
25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
Both of the following books were funny (most of the time) and actually made me laugh out loud more than once while I was listening to them: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah, and This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay. Notably, they are both memoirs, written AND narrated by comedians, so really the laughing and smiling is to be expected, no?
26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2017?
I hate to tell you this guys, but I don’t think I have an answer for this because I’m really not a crier, especially when it comes to books!
27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
I have never really read or enjoyed poetry throughout my life, so when I read Elisabeth Hewer’s collection Wishing for Birds I was pleasantly surprised. Produced by a micro-press, and a collection by an online writer, it is a such a hidden gem that should be brought out to shine.
28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
I’m not sure I have really ever read anything that I would say has crushed my soul, but, A Series of Unfortunate Events is, in many ways, a very soul destroying series. The misery is pretty unrelenting.
29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2017?
Every one of the multiple Chew graphic novels just have to be classified as unique. They’re weird and wonderful! The stories are so ridiculous and the art so fantastical, they’re definitely unique.
30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
The Good Liar made me really, really made earlier in the year, and took me forever to finish, because I just felt like it wasn’t what it was billed to be. I got ratty and annoyed while I read it, and just didn’t like it.
Your Blogging/Bookish Life
1. New favourite book blog you discovered in 2017?
Ooo, erm, probably Ever the Crafter. I like following Jess’s crafting efforts and all about her bookish pursuits. And Perpetual Page Turner, who amongst other things reviews books brilliantly, and created Top Ten Tuesday and TBTB Secret Santa.
2. Favourite review that you wrote in 2017?
I have wrote a lot of reviews this year, in fact, I’ve written a review for every book that I have read, so I have a lot to choose from. My favourite review is probably of my book of the year, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth: Life Lessons from Space by Col. Chris Hadfield:
D’you know what? I don’t think there are words that express the abundance of knowledge and emotion that I feel like I am now in touch with that I have gained solely from reading this book. The Colonel has a wealth of life lessons and information that he passes along in such a way that every single word, phrase, page is a piece of teaching that is worth utilising over a lifetime.
I love space. I love science. I love planes; so the mix of these was always going to make this a great read, but hearing just how much he loves these, and how hard he fought to pursue his goals (however impossible at the time) is simply, and incredibly, inspiring.
The magic and magnificence of this book lay outside the parameters of space, and was in the small things. ‘Sweat the small stuff’ and ‘Aim to be a zero’ are word’s I will now live by. I can count on a fingerless hand how many books have changed my way of thinking, and this book shifted it quite significantly.
And then there is the narration itself. Listening to the passion and the knowledge oozing from Chris Hadfield’s voice as he tells his life story is like listening to wisdom itself, and throughout, his calm demeanour and his constant optimism (no matter if the tone of the story being told shifted in the direction of something else) makes him the quintessential teacher, and one of the world’s greatest +1’s.
3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
I’m not really sure if this is a discussion post, but, I am going to go with my Fat Friday series (which you can see here). This is here partly because it has gone down well, but also partly because it has helped keep me accountable for my weightloss and fitness progress.
4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
This is a toss up between Bout of Books and TBTB Secret Santa. I have been involved in Bout of Books for a couple of years, and over the past couple of readathons I have had the honour of hosting challenges and being a Bout of Books expert and port of call for any questions, so that’s been pretty awesome.
I have also taken part in TBTB Secret Santa for the first time, which is a gift exchange ran by The Broke and Bookish. It was the first time taking part in anything like this, and I fell in love with the community and the people pretty quickly!
5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2017?
Undoutedly Fat Friday has been the best moment(s). I have been really determined to lose weight and get fit, especially post car crash, so it’s been hugely beneficial for me to have a place to keep me focused and to receive support from others. I am actually quite proud of it, and I am hoping to keep it going over the year.
6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
Posting with regularity has been my biggest downfall this year. I have tried really hard to have regular, varied content, but that has been hard. I have gone through ups and downs in my life and on my blog, and I’ve found it hard sometimes to keep going with it. But I have!
7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
Views: The most viewed post on my blog this year was: Pittsburgh: The Steel City of Bridges
Likes: The most liked post on my blog this year was: Friday Favourites: Favourite European Cities
Comments: The most commented on post on my blog this year was: Top Ten Tuesday: Books of 2017
8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
D’you know what, if I am being honest, all of them. But really and mainly, it’s my wrap up posts. I put an individual review for each book I’ve read on my wrap posts, so they probably take the most thought for a regular posting effort. I’d like them to get a bit more love!
9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
Definitely, undoutedly, the second hand/used book section of Amazon. I like to buy and own books, but it can be an expensive habit, so buying books and graphic novels used (largely through Music Magpie) has let me read a larger range of stories and genres.
10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
Way back at the beginning of the year, I made the following bookish resolutions for 2017:
- Readathons: I love a good readathon, and will probably complete a few in the next year, but as a minimum, I want to complete all 24hr readathons and Bout of Books in 2017. I have actually done really well with this one. I have taken part in lots of readathons and challenges, and although they haven’t all been finished, they have introduced me to some awesome people and made me feel more involved in the blogging community.
- 52 books: I want to read at least 52 books during 2017, and make a note of each one of these books for an end of year round up. Not to brag, but I’ve smashed this. I upped my target to 75, then 100, and now it sits at 120. I have read 117 books at the time of writing, so with a relatively big effort, I should be able to get over the line.
- Old and New Books: To limit the amount of books I buy without reading, I set a challenge to read at least 3 books already on my shelf for every new book I buy/obtain. Hahahahaha, I failed this in month 1 I think. I have bought and received so many books over the past 12 months that it’s comical. I have read a lot more, but I just failed at this resolution.
1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2017 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2018?
I didn’t get to so many books in 2017 that I meant to, so this is not going to be a short list. I really want to read The Chemist by Stephanie Meyer, and to finish The Chronicles of Narnia. I have also meant to read the illustrated versions of Harry Potter this year, so, now as I have the first three I might finally get around to reading these stunning books! I also received my first ARC this year. The book has been out for a good 6 months now, but I really want to read Exile (Rubicon #2) by James Swallow at some point too.
2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2018 (non-debut)?
I haven’t technically read the second in this series yet, but that is only because I am an idiot, so Ghost (Rubicon #3) is due to come out in May and I can’t bloody wait already. I don’t know when Lethal White is going to be released as there is no date yet, but when Robert Galbraith’s next book is announced I will be all over that. The same with The Winds of Winter if that is ever released, I have heard this has now been pushed back until July 2019.
3. 2018 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
I don’t read a lot of new releases, and if I read a new release by a debut author, it is usually because Emma has heard about it and read it, so I pick it up by osmosis.
4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2018?
I mean see above, the books that are due to be released are all series sequels. I have just found out that the series by James Swallow is in fact the Marc Dane series and not Rubicon. Huh. I’ve been misnaming that for months.
5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2018?
I want to try and widen the reach that my blog has. I have increased my follower base a lot this year, but I still don’t engage with a lot of the blogs that I read and follow, so I’d like to continue blogging and reviewing regularly, gain more followers, and interact with more people in the blogging community.
6. A 2018 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone (if applicable):
I haven’t read anything that is supposed to come out in 2018. I have only ever had one or two ARC’s and if I’m honest, I didn’t read them, so I don’t have anything for this. Sorry!
Wow, that was a comprehensive survey! That really made me think about the different books I have actually read this year; I really enjoyed looking back over all of the books that I have read. I know that the reading stats could change a little, so I’ll update them if they do, but that is my year in books!
What have you read and loved? Have you read any of the books I have listed, and what did you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please comment below, or tag me in your survey somehow so I can have a nosey through your answers!