Sunday, 30 December 2012

2012 in Books: The Survey

best books read in 2012
I joined in with this survey last year and it was a great way to round off the year.  I think I've had a mixed year when it comes to reading.  I've been the busiest I've ever been at work and had a blip in the middle of the year when I wasn't feeling too fantastic and didn't read a great deal.  After that, though?  I'm committed to reading a lot more literary fiction and classics and the like.  So that's what you can expected from  Lit Addicted Brit in 2013.  But what about 2012?  Well, seeing as you've asked, here's my responses to The Perpetual Page-Turner's 2012 End of Year Book Survey:

1.  Best Book You Read In 2012? (You can break it down by genre if you want)

Usually, this is a tough one.  For 2012, there was only one real option: The Secret History by Donna Tartt.  I have read some really brilliant books this year but this one is exceptional.  I bought it as a Christmas present for my Dad and have generally recommended it all around.  It's captivating, dark and beautifully written and I loved it.  It was my "THIS IS WHY I READ" moment of 2012.  Wonderful.

Other honourable mentions include: The Princess Bride by William Goldman, Dark Matter by Michelle Paver and 11.22.63 by Stephen King. Great books all.


2.  Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Ready your rotten fruits for an answer that will probably be quite unpopular.  This dubious honour goes to City of Bones by Cassandra Clare.  You won't have to look too far at all to find glowing reviews of Clare's series but I was massively disappointed.  I was expecting great YA urban fantasy but just couldn't love it.  There are too many books vying for my attention for me to pretend that I'll even try the second book.  Just not good.

3.  Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012? 

11.22.63 by Stephen King.  As a wimp, I have always assumed that Stephen King was beyond my grasp.  I read the start of the Dark Tower series and was quite disappointed.  I started this at Hanna's subtle (*ahem*) insistence, however, and was surprised by the impeccable plot with such superb attention to detail and characters that I actually missed for a few days after I'd finished it.  My review will be coming soon but it will almost certainly consist of further insistences that you read it.  Because it is AMAZING. Fact.

4.  Book you recommended to people most in 2012? 

Erm...this is either The Secret History again (mostly because I actually bought a copy for someone else) or 0.4 by Mike Lancaster for being the book that had me gasping into the most recommendations.

5.  Best series you discovered in 2012?

Technically,  I started a lot of series this year but a pretty high proportion of those were ones that I can't see me continuing on with.  Those that I am the most excited about carrying on with (and therefore assume are the best that I discovered...:-/) are The Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series by Laurie R. King (see my review of the first in the series "The Beekeeper's Apprentice here) and The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan (my review of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief here).

6.  Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?

Michelle Paver, Michael J. Sullivan, Barry Hughart and Lauren Willig.  They're a pretty diverse bunch but are all authors that I think will feature at least once here in 2013.

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

Purely for being written by an author who is famous for writing books that are everything that makes me nervous about the horror genre, this accolade goes to 11.22.63 by Stephen King (which, for a book that I haven't even reviewed yet, is getting a heck of a lot of mentions!!).  A close second is Dark Matter by Michelle Paver, since that is also a horror novel but is just perfectly pitched that I couldn't help admire but it.

8.  Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?

Oh dear.  This is going to get a little repetitive. Either Dark Matter by Michelle Paver or 0.4 by Mike Lancaster.  Again.  I read them both pretty much in one day and barely broke away from them to eat, never mind do anything else.  I had kind of forgotten about Dark Matter towards the end of the year but it's superb and you really should read it!

9.  Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year.

This is a difficult question for me, since the answer is probably none.  I don't tend to re-read, I'm afraid...*dodges insults and flying vegetables*

10.  Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?


11.  Most memorable character in 2012? 

It's a tie between Fezzik and Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride.  This was one of my favourite books of the year, despite my not mentioning it until now.  I *will* review it at some point and when I do, it will mostly be effusive praise.  I actually do have the DVD of the film hanging around somewhere for me to see how all of my favourite characters play out on the screen...

12.  Most beautifully written book read in 2012?

I'm sorry, friends - it's The Secret History by Donna Tartt again!  The writing really draws you in and manages to be to the point and elegant at the same time.  I really, really recommend it.

13.  Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?

I didn't review it at the time and haven't really mentioned it since but this has to be Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.  After we were in a car accident in May, I wanted reminding of a time where a cold was worth a week or two's confinement to bed and where emotional trauma was caused only be a temporarily thwarted love interest.  Pride and Prejudice was everything I needed it to be and more.  It was just lovely and perfect and I will remember it fondly forever for distracting me from various injuries and many tears with its charm and wit.  Feeling blue?  Read Pride and Prejudice.

14.  Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read?

I'm going to go with Pride and Prejudice again, actually.  I remain utterly unconvinced by Emma but am almost converted to Austen in general.  Other than that, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury; a modern classic.

15.  Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012?

"Some things are too terrible to grasp at once.  Other things - naked, spluttering, indelible in their horror - are too terrible to really ever grasp at all.  It is only later, in solitude, in memory, that the realization dawns: when the ashes are cold; when the mourners have departed; when one looks around and finds oneself - quite to one's surprise - in an entirely different world"  [The Secret History by Donna Tartt, page 312]

16.  Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012?

Shortest:  The Man in the Picture: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill at 145 pages.  Closely followed by Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury at 184 pages.  Both have great stories packed into their few pages.

Longest:  11.22.63 by Stephen King at 740 pages.  This took me way less time to read than some others, so I'm kind of surprised at this! Also, I usually pick up at least one epic fantasy during the year that tend to top out 1,000 pages.  So there's another thing that I need to fix in 2013!

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!

In a bad way:  The City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

In a bad-because-I-loved-the-book-so-much:  11.22.63 by Stephen King

18.  Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc)

I think this is the hardest question so far!  I did read about some great romantic relationships this year but I think that there's a lot to be said about true friendships or strong family bonds.  Just to throw in a curve ball, I'm giving the win to Durzo Blint and Kylar Stern from Brent Weeks' Night Angel trilogy (which I finished this year and reviewed here).  It's sort of both familial and platonic but it's complex and never predictable.  If you haven't read the series and are at all a fantasy fan, you really should.

19.  Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously.

Is it cheating to go with the continuation of a series?  No?  Good.  In that case, Shadow's Edge by Brent Weeks.

20.  Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else     

I think it's the SOLELY part that makes this one hard.  There are plenty of books that I've been aware of already but have read this year because of someone's recommendation but solely?  Difficult.  Actually, I think The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig, which I actually wouldn't even have heard of if it hadn't been for Hanna's review of the third in the series at Booking In Heels.  Also, the covers aren't the coolest so if I'd seen it in a shop, I can't imagine that I would have even picked it up, never mind bought it.


Feel like answering a ton of questions about your reading in 2012?  Of course you do.  Head on over here or pop down to the Comments section :)

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  2. I've enjoyed Donna Tartt books in the past, so I'm putting The Secret History (and your blog) on my "Pay It Forward Challenge 2013" list! I'll be reminding people about the challenge in tomorrow's post. (No pressure at all; just thought you'd like to know that you're on my list!)

    And I second your pick of The Princess Bride: one of my favorite books (and films) ever. My students love the Percy Jackson series - it's irresistible!
    Our book group will be reading 11.22.63 this summer, so I'm glad to know that you liked it, esp. because it's a real investment of time.

    Thanks for taking the time to answer so many interesting questions about your 2012 reading too. I put together a post of my favorites from 2012 (in multiple categories), and I'll post that on Jan. 1, but now that I know these questions, I may try to hop on board this meme next year. Seems as though it would be worth holding in the back of one's mind as one reads...

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  3. I love these posts - it's my favourite thing about the end of the year!

    It's weird though - I had NO interest in The Secret History until you started talking about it and now I want to read it MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE EVER. I should be getting a copy from a swap soon though, so fingers crossed.

    Ohhh Cassandra Clare. I got one of her books from a Secret Santa Swap on LibraryThing. Not really sure why. I know I have SOME YA in my library, but surely if I'd wanted those, they're mainstream enough that I would own them by now? *is ungrateful* Sorry, I'm a bad person. I just don't think I'd like them either and I don't blame you for not doing *pats reassuringly*

    Oh Percy Jackson! I need to reread those... The new film is coming out this year :)

    I didn't like The Princess Bride film much, to be honest. It's some huge cult thing though, and I'm pretty much the only person in the world who DOESN'T like it, so you'll be fine...

    Isn't it great how you connect certain books with a time or event that was going on in your life, and it stays connected in your head forever? I do that with Emma, oddly enough. I read it while me and Lewis were going through a difficult patch and it really helped me escape. Even now I hold it out in my head as That Book What Helped Me :)

    11.22.63 is 740 pages!? I had no idea! I read it on my kindle because it was too heavy to carry around (although that should have tipped me off...). God.

    Sorry for the long comment, but I get so wrapped up in these posts! Happy 2013!

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  6. The Princess Bride is SO good. I still like the movie better, overall, but I like the book for different reasons.

    Dark Matter sounds interesting, I may have to add that one to my TBR.

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