Estelle and I are both participating in the End of Year Book Survey, hosted by Jamie at the Perpetual Page Turner. We’ll independently be posting our surveys because we did a heck of a lot of reading before starting Rather Be Reading and we have plenty of books that haven’t gotten face time on here yet. We also read a huge variety of books – and often very different ones – so it’ll be fun to a) get to know us each a little better and b) get twice the book recommendations from our lists.
I would like to say THANK YOU before I begin to the people who’ve so graciously welcomed us into the book blogging community. It’s been so much fun for us to meet so many people, to have fun twitter conversations, to be exposed to more opinions than just our own, and to share our love for the books that we’re reading.Â It’s never easy beginning a new venture, but Estelle and I have said countless times to one another that this just feels right. We’re having so much fun and really enjoying every second. A few of you have blogged about us and really just taken my breath away. I feel so grateful and soooo… thankful that you see something in us and that you connect with us. I cannot say it enough. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU.
1. Best Book You Read In 2011?
YA Contemporary: Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next DoorÂ – those are two books, but they’re both by the amazing Stephanie Perkins. My life was better because of her this year.
Dystopian: While The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins rocked my world this year, I will say Divergent by Veronica Roth because it was a 2011 release.
Adult Fiction: These are about a teenage girl, but when they were originally released, YA wasn’t so huge, so I’m kinda cheating by saying the entire Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty.
2. Most Disappointing Book/Book You Wish You Loved More Than You Did?
NOTE: DO NOT FLOG ME FOR MY RESPONSE! Delirium by Lauren Oliver. I actually think I should maybe re-read this book. I was on a BIG dystopian kick after Divergent and The Hunger Games and it was very different from them. When I read Delirium, I expected it to fill the void those books left. Delirium‘s ratings are awesome on Goodreads, so I’m definitely in the minority of not liking it.
3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2011?
Forgotten by Cat Patrick – this book was one highly recommended on a book blog I followed (can’t remember which one to properly link it) and it was different from everything else I’d been reading. I went into it not fully understanding the concept, but really wanted to love it. Oh. My. Gosh. Did I love it! It was so, so good. Patrick’s writing is just gorgeous.
4. Book you recommended to people most in 2011?
The Hunger Games trilogy – I think I was so surprised by how much I enjoyed them. I didn’t think I’d be able to get past the killing and the whole 23-people-must-die thing, but wow. Amazing.
5. Best series you discovered in 2011?
Since I’ve already mentioned the Hunger Games about 100 times, I’m going to throw out something different. I loved the Summer series by Jenny Han. It was funny, fast paced, the characters were awesome, and I was always trying to figure out who Belly would end up with in the long run.
7.Â Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
Hmm, I read Room by Emma Donoghue and this book was so hard for me to swallow. It’s told from a 5 year old’s perspective; he and his mother lived inside a 12 foot x 12 foot room for his entire life by a man. The boy doesn’t believe the outside world is real; he’s only seen some things on the old TV they have in their room and doesn’t believe his mother when she tells him they exist beyond the door holding them captive.
8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2011?
Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers was incredibly disturbing and those chicks were deranged. It resonated with me and despite all the cruelty and drama, I could. not. put. it down. I spoke to my husband minimally during an entire car ride because this book absorbed me.
9. Book you most anticipated in 2011?
I think there’s a tie between Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins and Crossed by Ally Condie; they are two completely different books so I think it’s fair to discuss them both. Stephanie Perkins’ writing is as addictive as crack (I assume). I could re-read Lola and the Boy Next Door now because she’s so flipping phenomenal. Crossed was the sequel to Matched (which ended on a cliff hanger). I thought about that book for almost an entire year because I read Matched when it was just released.
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2011
Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma – this book was waaaay different from I anticipated, but that doesn’t mean this cover isn’t just gorgeous. I love the colors (teal and red together are gorgeous together, in my opinion) and the hint that water is somehow involved. Because I’m a photographer, I also thought about how this picture was taken for the cover. The water is vertical, so they rotated the picture and the girl was really floating on her back when photographed.
11. Most memorable character in 2011?
St. Clair and Cricket Bell are the two boys who were just…um, wow.Â They made my heart so, so happy and I couldn’t quit thinking about them. (These are the two male lead characters from Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door, respectively.)
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2011?
North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley was just incredible.Â The imagery is beautiful. The parallels she draws to mapping and life are ingenious. The emotions I felt while I read this book were just so strong. I laughed and cried my way through every bit of it while we were on a long plane ride.
What better time for me to be emotional, right?
13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2011?
A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young was captivating. This was a book that made me think about being selfless and helping others through circumstances in their lives. When she has to help someone, Charlotte feels a pull. It’s something she refers to as The Need and she cannot say ignore it.Â She is physically pained when she refuses to respond to it.Â Charlotte’s character was refreshing – very genuine and unselfish.
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2011 to finally read?
I think a large part of why I wanted to become involved in the book blogging community was so that I wouldn’t miss awesome books. I have said this countless times to people throughout the year that I can’t believe I didn’t know about The Hunger Games sooner. I felt like a huge secret had been kept from me because these books were just that incredible to me. Books I find that amazing, I want to share with other people in hopes that they’ll share them, too.
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2011?
I scrolled through all the notes I have kept throughout the year about books I’ve read and this was one that stuck out to me:
“Loving you has never been the problem. What’s troubling me is how loving you may never be enough.”
That was taken from Fourth Comings by Megan McCafferty when one of my favorite characters, Jessica Darling, was writing directly to Marcus Flutie. She’s questioning their relationship and she knows that they’ve had a lot of unhealthy moments. I think the reason I like this quote is that love can be easy. I love my husband so much, but in a world where we love fairy tale romances, I think it’s important for us to remember that finding that perfect guy isn’t the answer. They won’t be enough. They’ll leave their clothes in a heap on the bedroom floor and they’ll forget to comment on your new hair style. Sometimes they’ll be insensitive jerks.Â Megan McCafferty realistically wrote about something I think a lot of people should take to heart – it’s awesome to fall in love and to be in love, but it’s not the answer to everything.Â Love takes a lot of work.
Okay, where did that come from?!
16. Book That You Read In 2011 That Would Be Most Likely To Reread In 2012?
I just told Estelle today that I want to re-read Lola and the Boy Next Door and Anna and the French Kiss again over Christmas. I’m not a huge book re-reader, so this is kind of a big deal for me.
17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It?
Looking for Alaska by John Green made me feel that way. There is a huge twist and turn in the book that completely changed everything for me. I had no idea that was where the book was going to go, but DANG – all I wanted to do was talk to someone about it.
BOOK BLOGGING/READING LIFE IN 2011
1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2011?
Please know that it isn’t easy to narrow this down to any one blog. I really adore Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl and have connected with her on so many levels. I love Jamie at the Perpetual Page Turner – she’s so kind and open-hearted and FUNNY.Â I love seeing all the new things Alexa posts at Alexa Love Books and I’m just so thankful for our new friendship. If there’s one person whose reviews consistently make me laugh and I know without a doubt I will trust what he has to say, it would be James at Book Chic.Â Before I became a blogger, James’ recommendations led me to some of the greatest books I’ve posted about above. I still regularly and consistently check out his blog because he will never lead me astray.Â I don’t even think he knows who I am, but maybe in 2012 we can be friends. 🙂
2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2011?
My review for Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers generated some great comment and Twitter discussions. It wasn’t the longest review or maybe even the most well-written, but I think the book and subject matter really brought out a lot of emotion and memories for me.
3. Best discussion you had on your blog?
Aside from the one I just talked about above, I think my favorite discussion was on the post I did about books that took me out of my comfort zone. It was the first time I participated in the Broke and the Bookish‘s Top Ten Tuesday and it was so much fun to see what other people said in response to the books I chose.
4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?
This post by Jana really made me think about how much of a book snob I can be and how I need to find a bookaholics anonymous meeting. She posted about some of the bad book habits she has, and I realized that many of hers were also some of mine. Plus some. In 2012, I think I’ll have a resolution about how to change some of the things I do wrong when pertaining to being a reader and reviewer.
5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
Hmm, I missed going to any of the big events, but I absolutely loved going to a book signing at Book People here in Austin. Veronica Roth was on the book tour and though I felt like a huge geek who was surrounded by lots of tweens and teens, I loved every minute of it.Â I read Divergent, originally, on my kindle, but I asked my husband to purchase a second copy of the book for me so I could have a signed copy, too. I KNOW I’M A GEEK!
6. Best moment of book blogging in 2011?
There have been so many in such a short amount of time. The day of our release, November 1st, Jamie tweeted about us and helped generate traffic to our blog. I thought that we would have two hits – one from Estelle and one from me – on that day because, who were we? that people would want to check out our little blog?Â More people than I could have imagined swung by that day and I’ve never been so humbled in my life.
7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
I’m going to answer based solely on the posts that I’ve written. The most popular for me was the review of Some Girls Are.Â GREAT discussion that day!
8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
Gosh, I guess I’d have to say my review of Saving June by Hannah Harrington.Â The book is just too good to be overlooked!
9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
This year one of my favorite book stores closed, Borders. I loved working from there and losing myself in a book in their comfy chairs. It’s not as close to me so I don’t get to go as often, but I really love Book People. It’s a local book store and I love how the walls are filled with personal recommendations from the workers. It feels very homey and it has so many more fun things than just being walls of books.
10.Â Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
YES, I DID!Â I set a goal of 52 books for myself in May. I hit that goal sometime in the early fall and I set a new goal of 80 books. I’m currently reading my 87th book for the year!
1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2011 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2012?
My awesome Secret Santa, Brittani, gifted me with Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. I cannot wait to read it! It’s a huge priority on my list right now!
2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2012?
I would feel like I were cheating on Stephanie Perkins if I said any book other than Isla and the Happily Every After.
3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2012?
I hope to make even more blogger friends next year. I want to stay organized and ahead with my posts so that even when I’m busy and crazy in my personal life, this never feels like a job. I want to continue loving books and devouring them.Â I want to find a new series that makes me so excited I’ll have withdrawals for weeks after.Â I want to show other blogs and people the same kindness that we’ve been shown this year.
Again, thank you so incredibly much for checking out our little piece of the huge book blogging world. I hope you have had an amazing 2011.