2012 Reading Wrap-Up

Happy New Year, friends.  I hope you were able to spend the last few days of 2012 relaxing and spending time with family and friends, and that the first few days of 2013 have been good ones.

I know many of you are back to the daily grind, but I don’t go back to school for a few days yet, so I thought that I would do a little recap of the #LR2012 readathon and my reading in general in 2012.  As it turns out, Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner does an end of year reading survey each year, and I thought that since I’ve shared a lot about what I want to read, but not so much what I’ve actually read, I might as well participate.  So here’s a little about what I read in 2012:

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

I’m sorry, I just can’t pick just one; I read far too many great books this year, so I’m going to give you a top 5 (in no particular order):

Take a Bow, by Elizabeth Eulberg

The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, by E. Lockhart

Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline

The Crown of Embers, by Rae Carson

(Believe it or not, I could probably include 5 more on this list.  I read a LOT of great books this year.)

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

Burn for Burn, by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

I kind of hate to say this, because I truly LOVE both of these authors.  I didn’t think there was anything wrong with the book, and I don’t actively dislike it, but I was SUPER excited to read it, and I just didn’t think it was AS great as some of their individual books.

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

The Name of the Star, by Maureen Johnson, and The Mediator series, by Meg Cabot

I’m not generally a huge fan of ghosts, but I really liked ALL of these books.

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?

The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green.

I recommend this book to pretty much everyone, regardless of age or reading preferences.  It’s just one of those books everyone should read.

5. Best series you discovered in 2012?

The Matched trilogy, by Ally Condie

runner-up: The Books of Bayern series, by Shannon Hale

I was lucky to discover both of these in 2012, so I could move on to the next books right away, without waiting for them to be published (except for Reached, but I only had to wait a few months for it).  Ally Condie’s writing is just beautiful, and Shannon Hale is an amazing storyteller.  If you haven’t read these series, I highly recommend them.

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?

John Green-I seriously jumped on the John Green bandwagon this year.  After randomly picking up Looking for Alaska on trip to a used bookstore, I read it and all of his other books in quick succession.  I just think of his writing as very intelligent, which is something I appreciate.

Elizabeth Eulberg-When I pick up one of her books, I can’t put it down until it’s finished.  I find her characters compelling and relatable, and the stories are great.

Stephanie Perkins-I’m a little annoyed at myself for avoiding Stephanie Perkins for so long.  I LOVED Lola and the Boy Next Door, and can’t wait to read more Stephanie Perkins!

Shannon Hale-I’m just really glad I finally picked up The Goose Girl.  I loved visiting the world she created, and I fell in love with her characters.

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

Between Shades of Gray, by Ruta Sepetys

I don’t love historical fiction; given the choice, I’d rather read something set in the present or the future (or a completely different world).  But I do love Russia/Eastern Europe/the former Soviet Union, and Stalin’s reign of terror is something in which I am very interested.  So I gave this book a chance, and it was amazing-heartbreaking and uplifting and horrible and very well-researched.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?

Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline

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

The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green

(do I sound like a broken record yet?)

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

So I don’t seem to have the same passion for covers that many others who write about books possess, but I do like the covers of the books in the Beautiful Creatures series.

beautifulcreatures

11. Most memorable character in 2012? 

Ok, I’m cheating on this one too.  I CAN’T choose just one!

-Frankie, from The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

-Elisa, from The Crown of Embers

-Elliot, from For Darkness Shows the Stars

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?

The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green

(You’re shocked, I know. but the Matched series gets a very close 2nd place.)

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

Looking for Alaska, by John Green.

While The Fault in Our Stars is my favorite book by John Green, Looking for Alaska introduced me to his amazing writing and was the catalyst for my reading all the rest of his books, finding the vlogbrothers, etc.  Not to mention, it’s a pretty amazing book in its own right.

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

ALL of John Green’s books.  The Goose GirlGraceling.  Several others, but since I keep repeating myself, I’m just going to stop.

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

“There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There’s .1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. A writer we used to like taught us that. There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I’m likely to get, and God, I want more numbers for Augustus Waters than he got. But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.”

The Fault in Our Stars

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012? 

I didn’t really keep track of page numbers.  I’m just going to say that Something Like Normal was pretty short, and I read The Mortal Instruments series; those books are pretty long.

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!

Uh, Pandemonium, by Lauren Oliver.  And Crewel, by Gennifer Albin. Crazy endings!

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

Well, obviously, my favorite romance was Hazel and Augustus, from The Fault in Our Stars.

But I also loved the friendship between Emme, Ethan, Jack, and Ben in Take a Bow.

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

The List, by Siobhan Vivian

I’ve read other books by Siobhan Vivian, but this is by far my favorite.

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

Well, I get most of my recommendations from book blogs rather than people I know in real life (as they tend to read actual grown-up books and stuff).  That being said, I wouldn’t have picked up The False Princess at all if I hadn’t seen it reviewed on several blogs, and it was a great book.

Ok, I know this is getting pretty long, but I also wanted to just do a quick (and belated) recap of the Last Reads of 2012 readathon.

Last Reads of 2012 Readathon

You might remember that I set a goal of reading 10 books during the readathon, to get to a total of 156 books for 2012.  I also hoped to participate in a number of the challenges that other bloggers were hosting.  Well, I kind of slacked off in the challenge department (though I did complete a few), but I actually read 11 books, for a total of 157 for the year.  The books I ended up reading during the readathon were:

1. Lola and the Boy Next Door, by Stephanie Perkins

2. Long May She Reign, by Ellen Emerson White

3. A World Away, by Nancy Grossman

4. Beautiful Chaos, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

5. Bittersweet, by Sarah Ockler

6. The Lonely Hearts Club, by Elizabeth Eulberg

7. Let It Snow, by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle

8. The Name of the Star, by Maureen Johnson

9. Getting Lost With Boys, by Hailey Abbott

10. Nothing Special, by Geoff Herbach

11. Love and Other Perishable Items, by Laura Buzo

So there you have it: a somewhat arbitrary summary of my 2012 reading.  In an effort to be more organized in 2013, I’ve already set up a nice little spreadsheet for recording the books I read this year, so that I’m not scrambling in December to remember all those great books I read at the beginning of the year.  I also set a reading goal on Goodreads, so if you’re interested in what I’m reading, feel free to check that out.

Once classes start up, I will probably start blogging about library school stuff again in addition to reading stuff.  Until then, I hope you’re enjoying these first days of the new year, and staying warm!

#LR2012 Challenge: No! Wait! What? Killer Cliffhangers

Happy Sunday, friends.  I hope you’re all enjoying this last weekend before Christmas (or, you know, fourth weekend in December, for those of you who don’t celebrate Christmas).

I mentioned in my post a few days ago that I would be hosting a challenge as part of the Last Reads of 2012 Readathon, and that day has arrived!

Last Reads of 2012 ReadathonWant to know more about the readathon, or sign up?  Check out this post.

Today’s challenge is called No! Wait! What? Killer Cliffhangers.

You all know what I’m talking about.  These are the books that make us want to tear out our hair,

Pulling-Out-Hair

bite off all our fingernails,

nail-biting-disease

and personally berate the authors for messing with our mental well-being.

These books have endings that are BRUTAL.  They can leave you speechless, or breathless, or in tears.  I don’t know about you, but the anticipation of finding out what happens next nearly kills me.  I spend MONTHS thinking about all the possibilities, and run out to get the next book as soon as it comes out.

So here are some of the books I’ve read this year that have had killer cliffhangers.

pandemonium1. Pandemonium, by Lauren Oliver

So there are a couple of big things that happen near the end of this book.  I sort of figured that what happened on the last page was going to happen (sorry to be all vague, but I don’t want to spoil it for those who have yet to read the series!), but it was still pretty jarring, and such an abrupt ending!  I must know what is going to happen! And Requiem doesn’t come out until MARCH.  Darn you, Lauren Oliver!

spark2. Spark, by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Um, WHAT. In a lot of cases, the 2nd book in a trilogy can kind of drag.  SO NOT THE CASE HERE.  This book had action throughout, and just when it seemed like there would be a resolution, THAT ENDING.  What is going to happen?!?!  It’s going to bother me until next summer, when I can finally read the next book.

once3. Once, by Anna Carey

So I’m sort of hoping against hope that Caleb will pull an Alex in Delirum when Rise comes out, even though I realize that this is pretty much impossible, as well as completely irrational on my part.  Either way, TERRIBLE ENDING.  By which I mean, why do you write these things and then make us wait so long to see what happens next, silly authors?!?!?!  But also, despite my outrage at some of the final events, the very end has important implications for the future of the revolution against the government, so I WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS.

variant4. Variant, by Robison Wells

Wow.  Just wow.  This whole book was one crazy revelation after another for me, and the ending?  How is that even possible?!?!?!  I haven’t yet read Feedback, since I really have to be in the right mood to read books like this (I’m hoping to get to it over my school break!), but I am really interested to see where the author takes things from here.

5. Crewel, by Gennifer Albin

So immediately after I finished this book, this happened:Screen Shot 2012-12-20 at 10.59.51 PM

goodreadsUnfortunately, since Crewel just came out a few months ago, it’ll be a while before I can find out what happens.  I really want to know more about the state of the world they arrived in at the end of the book, how the whole love triangle thing is going to work out, if there’s a way back…I just have SO MANY QUESTIONS.

In the meantime, though, I guess I can keep thinking about which brother I’d choose…

Well, there you have it: five books with endings that drove me crazy, and the continuations of which I am eagerly anticipating.

What were your ‘killer cliffhanger’ books this year?  Let me know in the comments, or write your own challenge post (you can do this even if you’re not participating in the readathon).  And ff you do write a post, feel free to link to it in the comments, so everyone can read it!

Reading Update

Finished: Lola and the Boy Next Door, by Stephanie Perkins; Long May She Reign, by Ellen Emerson White; A World Away, by Nancy Grossman; Beautiful Chaos, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl; Bittersweet, by Sarah Ockler

Currently Reading: Let It Snow, by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle

#LR2012 Challenge: Sleep? What’s That For?

Hello all!  Welcome to day 4 of the Last Reads of 2012 Readathon.

Not sure what I’m talking about?  Want to sign up? Find out more here.

Today’s challenge, hosted by Lily Lost in a Book, is called Sleep?  What’s that for?

In other words, we’re talking about those books so good we just couldn’t put them down-they kept us up all night!

I’m definitely guilty of picking up a book and not putting it down until I’ve finished it (even if it takes until the wee hours of the morning, and I have work/school the next day).  Here are some 2012 reads I just HAD to stay up all night to finish.

sisterhood1. Sisterhood Everlasting, by Ann Brashares

I was a HUGE fan of this series when it first came out, so when I found out there was a 5th book, and that it looked at what the girls were doing 10 years down the line, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.  Since I’ve always found these characters compelling, plus this book has a little bit of a mystery to it, I just couldn’t put it down.  I had to know how the girls would end up and if they would get a happy ending.  Needless to say, those of you who have read it will understand why I cried my eyes out while reading this one.

selection2. The Selection, by Kiera Cass

First of all, when I got this book, I didn’t realize that it was the first in a series.  So I stayed up until like 3 am to finish this book, and as I got to the end and realized there wasn’t going to be any resolution, I was SUPER irritated.  I don’t LOVE either of the romantic interests in this one, but I do love reading about royalty, and the society (the caste system, in particular), intrigues me.  So I don’t regret staying up to finish it, and I’m eagerly awaiting the second installment (with the hope that the prince finally opens his eyes and gets rid of that horribly snobby girl).

tfios3. The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green

I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH.  I know I’m nowhere near the first person to proclaim my undying love for the works of John Green, but this is one of those books that I recommend to EVERYONE because it is THAT GOOD.  Yes, it is (really, horribly) sad.  Yes, the ending is perhaps a bit unsatisfying.  But there are few characters I have loved more than Hazel Grace and Augustus.  The writing is amazing, and I love that Green doesn’t dumb down the characters just because they are teenagers-I love the big words, and the snappy retorts, and just the intelligence of it all.  I stayed up late, and sobbed uncontrollably, and immediately began telling everyone to read it.

ready4. Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline

This book is really long, and took a bit for me to get into, and despite my love of 1980s pop culture, contained a lot of references I didn’t get.  But I loved it anyway.  A world in which everyone spends almost all their time in a virtual reality?  Super intriguing.  I also love scavenger hunts, virtual or otherwise.  This was just a really fun read-I had to know how things would end up!

goosegirl5. The Goose Girl, by Shannon Hale

I am so sad that it took me so long to discover Shannon Hale.  Her books are AMAZING.  I thought that Isi handled her situation so well, and was so resourceful.  Plus, I loved all of the supporting characters as well.  After staying up super late to finish this book, I immediately requested the three other books in the Books of Bayern series from the library-they are such a good choice for fantasy lovers!

So there you have it-these are the books that kept me up all night this year.  What are some of the books you couldn’t put down?  Let me know!

#LR2012 Challenge: Standalone Sorrow

So as I mentioned previously, over the next few weeks I’m participating in the Last Reads of 2012 Challenge.  I shared my reading goals with you in my last post (and you will be happy to know that my list of books has already changed a lot-just chalk it up to perpetual indecision).

ANYWAY. In addition to reading like crazy (or at a leisurely pace), there are also daily blog challenges to partake in, if one is so inclined.  Today’s challenge, hosted by Eileen at Singing and Reading in the Rain, is as follows:

“Standalone Sorrow is about me expressing how much I wish the standalones I loved were really a series, just so I could see more of a few characters, more of a plot, or I just wanted to have my heart ache a little longer!”

Since there are definitely characters I’d love to see more of, as well, I thought I’d share with you a few books that, in my perfect world, would have a sequel (or many).

jkt_9780545334747.indd1. Take a Bow, by Elizabeth Eulberg

This was absolutely one of my favorite books this year.  I loved the characters so much, plus it was set at a performing arts high school in New York City.  I would love to see what happens next for Emme, Ethan, Carter, and the gang.

statistical2. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, by Jennifer E. Smith

Because 24 hours is not nearly enough time to spend with Oliver.  End of story.

secondchancesummer3. Second Chance Summer, by Morgan Matson

Definitely one of the saddest books I read this year, but I couldn’t help but love it anyway.  I also think that seeing how the characters cope with grief, long distance relationships, trying to go back to their normal lives, etc. would make an interesting story-it’s not JUST because I want more Henry (not gonna lie, though-that is a large part of it).

So there you have it.  Even though the world of YA is filled with sequels and trilogies, sometimes to the point of exasperation, there are some characters who you’d love to have around for more than one book, and these are my picks.  What are yours?  Let me know!

A few notes:

-Readathon progress: 2 books read so far; Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins and Long May She Reign by Ellen Emerson White (actually a re-read)

-It’s not too late to join the readathon yourself! Visit Jen’s, Patrick’s, or Eileen’s blogs to sign up, and follow along on Twitter-#LR2012.

-On Sunday, I’ll be hosting a readathon challenge on books with the most brutal cliffhangers-make sure you stop by to check it out and add your two cents!

-The holidays are upon us!  If you’re in the mood for something more festive to read, head over to InfoSpace and check out my posts on taking advantage of libraries during the holidays and holiday greetings in the digital age.

because what else do I have to do in the latter half of December?

So I’ve never really been one to keep track of every book I read, or set a goal of reading a certain number of books each year. My goal has pretty much always been to read as much as I can, whenever I can.  However, in my recent internet wanderings, I stumbled across the Last Reads of 2012 Readathon, hosted by Jen, Eileen, and Patrick.  I thought to myself, “hmm, that sounds like fun.  And I always have a ton of books I want to read anyway.  And it will be a way to motivate me to keep blogging now that the semester is over. And perhaps I’ll make some new internet friends.”  So then I said, “self, LET’S DO THIS.”

As readathons go, this one falls into the ‘laid back’ category.  You can read as many (or as few) books as you want, work toward completing a yearly goal or challenge, or not set a readathon goal AT ALL.  However, I am competitive, and I thought I should probably set some kind of goal for myself, even if it’s just ‘finish the library books you have checked out before they’re actually due.’  So I decided to spend some time this weekend figuring out exactly what and how many books I’ve read so far in 2012, in order to aid in creating said goal.  (Full disclosure: by ‘some time,’ I actually mean all of Saturday afternoon.  When you are not one of those people who sets numerical book goals and keeps a detailed list of every book you’ve read, remembering all the books you’ve read in 11.5 months is HARD.  Note to self: in 2013, YOU ARE KEEPING A LIST.)

Anyway, as it turns out, I’ve read somewhere around 146 books so far in 2012. (I say somewhere around 146 because I’m pretty sure I reread at least one of the Harry Potter books and possibly a few other books, but I can’t remember exactly, so I’m hedging my bets.)  So it would be logical to try to end the year at a nice, even number like 150, right?  But here’s the thing: 4 books in 15 days doesn’t seem like much of a challenge, especially when the majority of books I read are YA (i.e. quick reads).  So I’ve settled on a goal of reading 156 books for the year, meaning I’ll have to read 10 books during the readathon.  Why 156, you ask?  Well, there are 52 weeks in a year; 156 books averages out to 3 books a week, which sounds good to me.  Plus, 10 books averages out to less than a book a day, which will give me time during the readathon to do other things, like blog, write Christmas cards, and finally finish unpacking (yes, I moved in August.  SHUT UP.).

So, want to know what books are on the list for the readathon?  Well, let me tell you:

Beautiful Chaos, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Beautiful Redemption, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Speechless, by Hannah Harrington

The Forsaken, by Lisa M. Stasse

The Girls of No Return, by Erin Saldin

A World Away, by Nancy Grossman

Wither, by Lauren DeStefano

Lola and the Boy Next Door, by Stephanie Perkins

Vessel, by Sarah Beth Durst

A Partial History of Lost Causes, by Jennifer DuBois

This list is subject to change, of course, depending on what my mood is, what other books arrive for me at the library, if I get books for Christmas, etc.  Also, if you think there are any MUST READ, amazing, fantastic books that should be on my list, feel free to let me know in the comments-I never turn down book recommendations!

If you’re interested in joining the readathon, clicking on the picture at the top of the page will take you to Eileen’s blog, where you can sign up.  If you want to keep track of readathon participants’ progress, follow along on Twitter: #LR2012.  And check back here over the next few weeks; there might be some fun book-related posts!

Happy reading!