Friday, December 7, 2012

2012 End of Year Book Survey

I'll be posting a list of my favourite reads of 2012 closer to the end of December, but when I saw the 2012 End of Year Book Survey, hosted by The Perpetual Page Turner, on another blog I thought this would be a great one to take part in.  There are two parts to the survey, (1) Best Books of 2012 and (2) Book Blogging/Reading Life in 2012 (optional), although I've elected only to respond to part one.   Note: responses do not have to be limited only to books published in 2012. 

Best Books of 2012

(1) Best book you read in 2012

Hands down it was Hilary Mantel's Bring Up the Bodies, which tells the story of Anne Boleyn's downfall from the perspective of Thomas Cromwell.  I loved this book every bit as much as I did Wolf Hall.

(2) Book You Were Excited About and Thought You Would Love But Didn't? 

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemison.  Fantasy is one of my favourite genres, and this one has received a lot of positive reviews.  While I enjoyed it overall, I didn't like it enough to want to continue with the series. 

(3) Most Surprising (in a good way) Book of 2012?

Definitely Michael J. Sullivan's Riyria Revelations (Theft of Swords, Rise of Empire, Heir of Novron).  While I figured I would like this trilogy, I didn't expect to fall in love with it.  It has a fabulous cast of characters and a great plot. 

(4) Book you recommended most to people in 2012? 

I recommend The Sunne In Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman to just about everyone I know who enjoys historical fiction. 

(5) Best series you discovered in 2012?  

Once again I'll have to select Micheal J. Sullivan's Riyria Revelations, which was originally self-published as six separate novels before being picked up by Orion and published as a trilogy.

(6) Best new authors (to you) discovered in 2012?

Can you guess based on my previous answers who one of them will be?  Yup, it's Michael J. Sullivan. I would also include Alafair Burke (mystery), Nancy Bilyeau (historical fiction), Jenny Barden (historical fiction), Charles Todd (historical mystery), David Blixt (historical fiction) and Adriana Trigiani. 

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

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, which is a non-fiction account of the 1996 tragedy on Mt. Everest.  I don't read a lot of non-fiction and when I do it tends to be history non-fiction.   Krakauer's book had me reading into the wee hours and is one of only a handful of books I read this year that I awarded 5-stars.

(8) Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?

The Prophet by Amanda Stevens, the third book in The Graveyard Queen series.

(9)  Book you read in 2012 that you are most likely to re-read in 2013?

I'm not much of a re-reader, but I will likely re-read Mantel's Bring Up the Bodies and Michael J. Sullivan's Riyria Revelations (although maybe not in 2013).

(10) Favourite cover of a book you read in 2012?

This is a difficult one, but I'll have to go with The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani

(11) Most memorable character from 2012?

Thomas Cromwell from Hilary Mantel's Bring Up the Bodies.  I love how Mantel characterizes him.   Honourary mentions to Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melborn from the Riyria Revelations, Enza Ravanelli and Ciro Lazzari from The Shoemaker's Wife, and Alice Perrer's from Anne O'Brien's The King's Concubine.

(12) Most beautifully written book read in 2012? 

I'm going to have to select Adriana Trigiani's The Shoemaker's Wife

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

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer.  I couldn't stop thinking about this one after I finished and found myself talking about it (to anyone who would listen) for weeks after I completed it. 

(14) Book that you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to read? 

Rohinton's Mistry's A Fine Balance, which has been sitting on my shelf since it was released!  Excellent book set in India primarily during the State of Emergency of the 1970s. 

(15) Favourite passage/quote from a book read in 2012?

I don't have one since I don't mark down or highlight quotes.

(16) Shortest and Longest book read in 2012?

Shortest: The Abandoned by Amanda Stevens (66 pages), which is a novella related to Steven's Graveyard Queen series.

Longest: Heir of Novron by Michael J. Sullivan (895 pages). 

(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!

As I said in my response to question 13, I couldn't stop talking about Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer and was glad that several of my friends had already read it so I could discuss it with them.  There were many parts of the book that left me shaking my head in disbelief.  

18. Favorite relationship from a book you read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc). 

This one goes to the friendship between Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melborn in Michael J. Sullivan's Riyria Revelations trilogy.   These two are unlikely friends, but their friendship is one of the series greatest strengths.   

19.  Favourite book you read in 2012 from an author you'd read previously?

In addition to Hilary Mantel's Bring Up the Bodies, I would include Kate Morton's The Secret Keeper and Elizabeth Chadwick's A Place Beyond Courage.   

20. Best book you read that you read based SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else?

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.  I never would have picked this one up on my own, but an employee of my favourite bookstore convinced me to give it a try.  I didn't love it as much as many others seem to, but it was good.