Estelle: Did This Year Fly or What? (2011 Survey)

Just as Magan did earlier this week, I’m joining the Jamie’s End-of-the-Year Annual Survey party! I must admit, this thing was a toughie to fill out! Before you jump into reading, just wanted to thank everyone who has been uber supportive of M & I since we have started RBR! It’s been great fun and I love everyone I’m getting to talk to. (And I’m sure B&N and Amazon are loving me even more for being their (close-to) number one customer!) Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and that 2012 is filled with more good books, good friends, and much time for the library!

Now on with the show…

1. Best Book You Read In 2011? 

Something Borrowed (Emily Giffin)
A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life (Donald Miller)
North of Beautiful (Justina Chen Headley)
Sloppy Firsts (Megan McCafferty)
Anna and the French Kiss (Stephanie Perkins)
Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour (Morgan Matson)
One Day (David Nicholls)

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

Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld – somehow I managed to finish it. Ugh, that main character. I just wanted to throw her against a wall. I felt absolutely nothing for her.

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

The Princess Diaries by Megan Cabot – I think because I feel so protective of the movie and how much I love it… But I actually liked the book more than the movie which is REALLY saying something. I can’t wait to start the rest of the series.

The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins – I’m not much of a dystopia fan/fantasy so HG is definitely not the type of book I would pick up. But I was so addicted, and I read it just as they were casting for the movie which made it even more exciting.

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2011?

Oh gee. This one is tough. Definitely the Jessica Darling series even though I felt like the very last person in the world to read it. Also any of Stephanie Perkins’ books. For adult novels though, I recommend The Gap Year.

5. Best series you discovered in 2011?

I have to say Jessica Darling. Hands down.

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2011?

Because I’ve just sort of jumped into Contemporary YA this year, almost every author I’ve read is new to me. But I have to say I love Stephanie Perkins. Her characters are so real yet quirky and she does the best job of making feelings genuine on a page. Also Megan McCafferty who is “new to me” but a Jersey girl who hung out in Seaside Heights before MTV ruined it.

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

I’m going to go with Bumped by Megan McCafferty. I couldn’t believe this was the same woman who brought me my beloved Jessica Darling and it took me awhile to understand this “new world” but in the end I really, really liked it. Can’t wait for the second book in the series to come out!

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2011?

I don’t know if many people would call it “thrilling” but Something Borrowed was impossible for me to put down. I remember just sitting on my couch not moving during dinner because I had to know what was going on. Then I read it 2 more times, right after one another. Don’t get me started on that movie though. Sigh. Ruined.

9. Book you most anticipated in 2011?

I’m not normally one to await a book release (until recently, it seems). But I couldn’t wait for Lola and the Boy Next Door to come out and Devoted by Hilary Duff. And also The One That I Want by Jennifer Echols, which was worth the effort it took to finally get it downloaded on my Nook.

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

11. Most memorable character in 2011?

Anna from Anna and the French Kiss, and Lola from Lola and the Boy Next Door. Both by Stephanie Perkins. I love how both of these girls have their own sets of quirks. They both embrace what makes them different, and I just love the way both of their minds work. I feel like these girls are long lost friends, and I find myself thinking about them and wondering what they are up to now. I’ve already reread both this year and I plan to do it again in 2012.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2011?

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley; Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2011? 
The Gap Year by Sarah Bird. I’ve read so many books this year and they’ve all affected me in different ways but I think this one gave me some clear insight into how a mother’s brain really works when their child just refuses to follow the “normal” path. At the same time, I really related to the younger main character who was breaking away and sort of floundering. This novel does a great job of presenting two unique perspectives that are somewhat dealing with the same situations in their lives. Regrets, making decisions, growing up.
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2011 to finally read?
Jessica Darling series, again. Do I sound like a broken record? I was totally flabbergasted that I had NEVER heard of this book while I was in college. It would have been such a perfect read then.15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2011?
“Gone for a while
Hoping, always, to return
If you will let me”
― Megan McCafferty, Perfect Fifths
Maybe that’s what it all comes down to. Love, not as a surge of passion, but as a choice to commit to something, someone, no matter what obstacles or temptations stand in the way. And maybe making that choice, again and again, day in and day out, year after year, says more about love than never having a choice to make at all.”
― Emily Giffin, Love the One You’re With
“Songs and smells will bring you back to a moment in time more than anything else. It’s amazing how much can be conjured with a few notes of a song or a solitary whiff of a room. A song you didn’t even pay attention to at the time, a place that you didn’t even know had a particular smell.” — Emily Giffin, Something Borrowed
“I feel like my life is so scattered right now. Like it’s all the small pieces of paper and someone’s turned on the fan. But, talking to you makes me feel like the fan’s been turned off for a little bit. Like things could actually make sense. You completely unscatter me, and I appreciate that so much.”  — John Green, Will Grayson, Will Grayson
“I know you aren’t perfect. But it’s a person’s imperfections that make them perfect for someone else.” — Stephanie Perkins, Lola and the Boy Next Door
16. Book That You Read In 2011 That Would Be Most Likely To Reread In 2012? 
The entire Jessica Darling series, and The Summer I Turned Pretty series.
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 final few pages of Perfect Fifths by Megan McCafferty. (I was also crying like a psychopath.)
The entirety of Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin.
Oh, and The Hunger Games. I wanted to talk about it with my husband so bad, but sadly, he read it WAY after me.
Book Blogging/Reading Life in 2011 (optional)1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2011?

I only started reading book blogs this year, so again everything is very new and shiny to me. I started reading Anna Reads, Write Meg, and The Broke and the Bookish. In the course of blogging, That Artsy Reader Girl (Jana), Alexa Loves Books, and Hitting on Girls in Bookstores (a new discovery) have become my go-to stops. Plus, my longtime friend, Rachel, has started her own bookish blog and I’m always impressed how fast she can whip out a review — Hello, Chelly.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2011?

The One That I Want by Jennifer Echols — along with some personal pictures!
3. Best discussion you had on your blog?
I absolutely loved the Top 10 Tuesday from The Broke and the Bookish about Favorite Childhood Books. Seriously, one of my passions. We had so many people pass through the blog that day, and on Twitter everyone was reminiscing about their favorite Babysitter’s Club books. Too awesome!4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog? I know a lot of people did these kind of things but Jamie’s letter to her younger blogging self really hit home for me.
5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
It might be a bit too early for me to answer this questions ince Magan and I just started officially blogging in November. (It already feels like longer!) I have to say being a part of Top 10 Tuesday at The Broke and The Bookish has been the best way for me to interact with other bloggers and add more books to my (already long) to-read list. Can’t wait to continue!
6. Best moment of book blogging in 2011?
Starting. Honestly, I think I may have talked to Magan for like 20 minutes at my friend’s wedding when we met in February. I knew that we clicked but I also know how that happens and you never make a connection after that with someone. But there was Facebook and then Twitter and sharing book titles and then brainstorming about a possible project together. Best decision I have made in a long time to jump into this venture with her. She is ridiculously amazing and I love how she is just a part of my everyday life now.
7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
I’m happy to see our first joint book review, Twenty Boy Summer, got so many pages views. Magan and I really wanted to come up with an original way to write posts together every month, and this just really clicked for us.
8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

My review of Bloom by Elizabeth Scott. I absolutely LOVED this book.

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

It sounds silly but I rediscovered the library! My husband had been trying to get me to sign up for a card for 2 years already and we finally went in the summer. It’s been amazing. Long Island has a really great library system and I’m able to take out books from all over the county, as well as reserve books from the comfort of my own work chair. (Plus I have saved craploads of money.)
10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

In the beginning of the summer, I decided to try to read 100 books this year. Even my dad thought I couldn’t do it. He did the math on how many it would take me to catch up. But guess what? I read OVER my goal. I’m over 112 books (I actually upped by goal to 110 about 2 months ago) and there are still 2 weeks left in the year!

Looking Ahead… 1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2011 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2012?
The Help! I’m seriously going to get to it this time.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2012?

Thumped by Megan McCafferty
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2012?
Blogging: I hope that Magan and I are able to keep our momentum and enthusiasm up for RBR. I’d love to be able to experiment with writing reviews in a more exciting way. I think as I continue, it’ll get easier to come up with different ways to present a book. Love to connect with more book lovers and hopefully meet some neighborhood book bloggers around NYC sometime.
Reading: This one is a toughie. I’m still trying to figure out how many books I want to read next year. I would love to hit 100 again, attempt to read 6 classics, and concentrate on finding some exceptional contemporary adult fiction.