Archive for the ‘Year End Wrap Up’ Category

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My year in review, 2017

December 31, 2017

I am almost afraid to review my reading year because I really didn’t feel as though I had an especially good one. Usually I have no trouble getting upwards of 50 books in a year – an average of about one book per week. I know there are scads of people who read a lot more than that – like a hundred books and more. I am not sure how they accomplish that unless they read for a living. In any case, I didn’t get nearly as much reading done during the summer as I would have liked and I think I spent wayyyy too much time on my phone. My kids gave me an iPad for Christmas this year and I am going to have to be super careful not to fall into a technology hole. Truthfully, I’d rather be reading, but sometimes at the end of a long day at school it’s just easier to turn on the TV or troll through Facebook. But 2018 is a new year. (And  good riddance, 2017. You sucked.)

Every year for the past few years, I have participated in The Perpetual Reader’s year-end survey. It’s a fun way to take a look back at the reading year that was. Here’s my 2017 edition.

 

Number Of Books You Read: 46
Number of Re-Reads: 2
Genre You Read The Most From: YA

 

best-YA-books-2014

1. Best Book You Read In 2017?

hate

The Hate You Give – Angie Thomas

Everyone was talking about this book, and for good reason. I fell in love with the characters in this book and appreciated a glimpse into a world of which I know nothing.

Runner- Up (for book that was the most fun to read)

kindworth

The Kind Worth Killing – Peter Swanson

A total page-turner by a new-to-me author.

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

Behind Her Eyes – Sarah Pinborough

I know I am in the minority here, but I HATED the ending of this book with a fiery passion.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?

I started my 2017 reading year off with Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight, which I was sure was going to be a great beginning because I thoroughly enjoyed her book Reconstructing Amelia. Not so much for this one.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

I didn’t really push any of the books I read this year other than The Hate U Give. I intend to encourage a lot of people to read that one in my YA Lit class next semester.

 5. Best series you started in 2017? Best Sequel of 2017? Best Series Ender of 2017?

Series. Blech.

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2017?

Peter Swanson. I will definitely be adding more of his books to my tbr shelf.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

I don’t tend to read outside of my comfort zone. Is that bad? Occasionally I read some YA dystopian  or fantasy stuff…just so I can talk about those books with students…but I’m not really a fan. (Unless it’s Patrick Ness. I will always read him.)

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Ohhh. The Kind Worth Killing was pretty thrilling. I also recently finished The American Girl by Kate Horsley and it was pretty un-put-down-able.

 9. Book You Read In 2017 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Nada.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2017?

thornhillIn its simplicity, Thornhill. It is a beautiful book all around.

11. Most memorable character of 2017?

No question: Starr Carter from The Hate U Give.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2017?

Probably Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2017?

The Hate U Give. Do you see a theme emerging? I also really got a lot from Jen Waite’s memoir A Beautiful, Terrible Thing. It wasn’t life-changing because in some ways it merely reflected back to me a life I had already sort of lived; however, I did find it thought-provoking.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2017 to finally read? 

20th century

20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill. I read Heart-Shaped Box pretty much when it first came out and loved it. I bought 20th Century Ghosts not long after, but it has languished on my tbr shelf for ages…like years. Finally got around to it.

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2017?

Nothing stands out…and half of the books on my list are at school. So, I got nothing.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2017?

Me Being Me is Exactly as Insane as You Being You – Todd Hasak-Lowy (656 pages)

Nutshell – Ian MacEwan & This Gorgeous Game – Donna Freitas (tied with 208 pages)

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)

Sandra Brown’s Seeing Red shocked me with how BAD it was.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

Can’t say I have one this year.

(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

100% the Carter family in The Hate U Give.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2017 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Of the books I read in 2017, several were from previously read authors:

 

Of those titles, I probably enjoyed I Found You the most enjoyable.

21. Best Book You Read In 2017 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

I never feel pressure to read any recommendations – except for book club picks, I read what I want.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2017?

I got  nothing.

23. Best 2017 debut you read?

The Hate U Give.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Probably Salt to the Sea.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Geesh, looking over the books I read this year – most of them were pretty grim. Maybe that’s why I had such a hard time reading this year. Chopsticks was fun to read because it was a story mostly told with pictures.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2017?

Not even a lump in the throat this year.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

truth

The Truth Commission – Susan Juby

Quirky, funny and Canadian.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Nope.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2017?

askthedark

Ask the Dark – Henry Turner

The narrator’s voice was super unique and memorable. Creepy story, too.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Behind Her Eyes pissed me off. A lot. Even as I kept turning the pages.

book-blogging

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2017?

Didn’t spend too much time reading blogs this year. I keep saying that that’s something I am going to change. Yeah. I’m going to get on that.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2017?

billy_idol_dancing_with_myself_final_cover-1

I like the review I wrote for Billy Idol’s memoir Dancing With Myself.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

I don’t think I posted anything that wasn’t a review this year.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

Still really enjoy my occasional chats on CBC’s Information Morning. Here’s one I did in May 2017.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2017?

Meeting Fantasy Chick from Litsy. I participated in a #secretsantagoespostal event and I got matched up with someone who lives about 15 minutes away from where my son attends university. Instead of mailing her gift, I was able to arrange to meet her and hand it over in person. That was cool.

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

I felt sort of lethargic this year – in all aspects of my life. I wonder if it was the political climate…or too much work…or I dunno. I am hoping 2018 will be better.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

Other than a visit to my home page, my page “What is a ludic reader?” got the most love.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

I don’t really keep this blog for the ‘love’ although it’s always nice when people interact with the posts.

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

I enjoy Litsy. I love Book Outlet just a teensy bit too much.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I always say I am going to read x amount of books…but I think I will give myself a pass this year. I’m just going to read.

looking-ahead-books-2015

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2017 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2018?

Too many to name but top of the list: John Green’s Turtles All the Way Down. It’s been on my bedside table for six weeks.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2018 (non-debut)?

Don’t follow this stuff, really.

3. 2018 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

See above.

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2018?

Nothing. I have an aversion to series.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2018?

I would like to try vlogging.

 

 

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All the books – 2016 edition

January 1, 2017

I am not one for making New Year’s resolutions, but I do enjoy a little bit of reflection. I like to think back on the year and contemplate what changes I might make to make my life, and the lives of those around me, better. The world seems to be moving faster and I think we could all benefit from taking a breath. Reading is one of the ways that I do that. I also think we need a lot more kindness in the world. I have a wonderful opportunity to model kindness every day in my classroom and I think showing tolerance, compassion and empathy is the only way forward. It’s the direction I am taking at any rate.

Once again, thanks to Jamie over at The Perpetual Page-Turner for starting this survey seven years ago and for sharing her questions and graphics. If you’d like to take a peek at her survey and see what loads of other readers read this year, you can do that here.

2016-end-of-year-book-survey-1024x984-1024x984

 

reading-stats-2016-1024x278-1024x278

Number Of Books You Read: 60
Number of Re-Reads: 1
Genre You Read The Most From: Fiction

 

best-ya-books-2014-1024x278

1. Best Book You Read In 2016?

Hands down: Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng

I can’t even begin to describe how moving I found this book.

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

A Head Full of Ghosts – Paul Tremblay 23019294

I was really looking forward to this book. Stephen King loved it and I trust his taste. It just didn’t do it for me. Maybe I missed the point because although the writing was good (and I would certainly read Tremblay again), I just felt like the book was trying to be too many things and I never really settled in to the narrative.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

GOOD

17235026

The Girl With All The Gifts The Girl With All The Gifts – M.R. Carey

I was actually quite surprised with how much I enjoyed this book. I didn’t know it was a zombie book when I purchased it and had I known I might have left it on the shelf. That would have been  too bad because I really like it.

 

BAD

winterThe Winter People – Jennifer McMahon

This is the second post Promise Not To Tell book I’ve read by McMahon. I loved  Promise Not To Tell, but haven’t liked anything else I’ve read by her. The Winter People was a hot mess.

 

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

I urged a lot of people to read Tim Johnston’s fine novel Descent. I really liked this book a lot and the people I suggested it to also enjoyed it. Of course I encouraged everyone to read Everything I Never Told You and I also suggested I Let You Go by Clare McIntosh to a lot of readers who like a page-turner.

 5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?

This is always a hard question for me to answer. I kinda hate series, to be honest. That said, I did promise my daughter that I would start Harry Potter this year and I did, but I only made it through Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and half way through Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban before I got sidetracked by other books. I did read the first of C. J. Daugherty’s Night School series and I really liked it. I would have read more, but they are almost impossible to find. I also read Tammara Webber’s novel Breakable, which is a companion to her novel Easy.

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?

I think I would read anything by Celeste Ng. I’ll definitely read more of Jennifer Niven.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

The Girl With All the Gifts – M. C. Carey

Vampires – yes. Zombies – no. But this was terrific in every way.

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

I actually read several thrillers this year of the can’t-put-it-down variety. Top of the heap goes to I Let You Go by Clare McIntosh. That book had an early twist that had me scrambling back to the beginning and then racing like a demon to the end. Tim Johnston’s Descent was also a pulse-racing, page-tuner. I also had a hard time putting down The Book of You by Claire Kendall

 9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Hahahahahaha. I often re-read books that I teach, but other than that I have too many books on my tbr pile to make a plan to re-read anything.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?

th9H5NVHJNI was attracted to the cover of In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware.  I’m sure there are prettier or more dramatic covers than that, but I liked the black and white. That said, I also loved the cover of Martin Short’s memoir, I Must Say, probably because Short is on the cover and just seeing his face makes20604377 me smile. As soon as I see him I start thinking about all the characters he’s played over the years: Ed Grimley, Jiminy Glick, Franck from Father of the Bride and then I have to go watch some clips on YouTube. Be right back.

 

11. Most memorable character of 2016?

Gosh – this is tough because I have encountered some truly memorable characters during this reading year.

Honourable mention goes to Ryan Dean West from Andrew Smith’s terrific YA book Winger.

Another character that deserves a mention is Melanie from The Girl With All the Gifts. She was a beautifully complex character.

Tied for the win: Finch and Violet from All the Bright Places. I just fell madly in love with these two damaged, smart and beautiful characters.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?

Egads – another tough category. Or maybe it’s just that I read a lot of terrific books this year. Gotta be Everything I Never Told You, though. The writing wasn’t overwrought or ornate, but so much of that book felt like a punch to the gut. Simple and beautiful.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?

Im+Thinking+of+Ending+ThingsPerhaps I would slot Iain Reid’s mind-bending novel I’m Thinking of Ending Things in this spot. It wasn’t a life-changing read, but it sure was thought-provoking and one of those novels that you really had to puzzle your way through. It was also the kind of book that you wanted to pass on, so you could have a conversation with another reader about the book’s wtf qualities.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read? 

If I have to choose a book for this category, it’d have to be Harry Potter just because I probably should have read them (or started to read them) way before now.

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016?

“You loved so hard and hoped so much and then you ended up with nothing. Children who no longer needed you. A husband who no longer wanted you. Nothing left but you, alone, and empty space.” – Celeste Ng, Everything I Never Told You

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?

The Grown-Up by Gillian Flynn, 64 pages

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter, 688 pages

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)

I Let You Go had a jaw-dropping twist. I’m Thinking of Ending Things and Descent both had some shocking moments, too.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

Finch and Violet from All the Bright Places. Hands down.

Runner up: Ryan Dean West and Annie from Winger.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Melanie and Helen Justineau from The Girl With All the Gifts

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

That would have to be All the Rage by Courtney Summers courtney-summers-all-the-rageThis was my third book by this Canadian author and once again Summers proved herself to be a fearless writer. Not an easy book to read, but certainly an important book.

21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

I don’t really have a book for this category. I don’t generally run out and buy books other people recommend because my tbr pile is too big. I do, however, add them to my tbr list and I might get to them sooner than other books. That said, I was pressured into getting on the Harry Potter series. I told my daughter I’d read the whole thing in the summer, and only got one and a half books finished before I got distracted by other books.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?

Well, it’s not a new crush but I continue to be enamored with Lucas from Tammara Webber’s books Easy & Breakable.

23. Best 2016 debut you read?

Everything I Never Told You. C’mon, whose debut is as good as that!?

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

7507908The Girl With All the Gifts did an excellent job of putting the reader right into a post-apocalyptic future. I also thought Breanna Yovanoff created a super creepy world in her novel The Replacement.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

I Must Say by Martin Short. I could hear all his characters in my head when I read the book. Love him.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016?

I love a book that makes me cry. Everything I Never Told You and All the Bright Places both made me cry. Tom McNeal’s underwaterTo Be Sung Underwater definitely put a lump in my throat on more than one occasion.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

I wonder if many people read Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore. rielI really liked that book a lot. New Brunswick writer Riel Nason’s second novel All the Things We Leave Behind also fits into this category because she certainly deserves to be read.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Everything I Never Told You. Absolutely wrecked me. So did All the Bright Places.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2016?

The Dead House by  Dawn Kurtagich was pretty unique as it incorporated journal entries, police and psychiatric reports, transcribed found video footage, etc.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Maybe I would stick really hyped books that just fell short in this category: The Husband’s Secret & Pretty Girls spring to mind.

book-blogging

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2016?

Fictionophile She’s a prolific reader and she’s from my neck of the woods. What’s not to love?

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2016?

Looking back over the reviews I wrote last year…I’m pretty happy with the majority of paristhem, but I’ll mention The Paris Wife by Paula McLain, just because I haven’t included the book anywhere else and it’s worth a look.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

I celebrated eight years of blogging back in September and I invited readers to tell me about their eight favourite things about my blog or list their eight favourite books. I got some awesome comments.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

litsy_logo_horizI joined Litsy this year. The downside is that it’s an app so I have to do everything on my phone, but the upside is that it’s all books all the time. One of the Littens, BookishMarginalia, organized a #secretsantagoespostal event. We were all sent the name of someone else and we had to send a bookish gift. Then, on December 21, we all opened our presents and found out who our Secret Santa was. Fun!

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2016?

My book club read Nina de Gramont’s novel The Last September. At our gathering tolastsept discuss the novel, one of our group suggested something about the murder of the narrator’s husband (not a spoiler – we know he’s been killed on page one) that launched a huge debate. The next day, I tracked the author down on the Internet and put the question to her. She sent a lovely reply. That was cool. In fact, any interaction I have with an author is cool. Also – read The Last September. It’s terrific.

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

I actually think I did a pretty good job keeping up with my blog this year. I also didn’t set a reading goal for myself, but still managed to read 60 books in 2016.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

I always get a lot of hits the morning that I do my book column on CBC’s Information Morning. That’s generally the day with the heaviest traffic. You can listen to all the columns I’ve done over the past couple years  by visiting the links provided on the right side of my blog under the heading Off the Shelf.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Well, I always wish I had a little more interaction with people, but that isn’t what drives my blog. Mostly, it’s a record of what I read.

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

Litsy. You should all join. I am @TheLudicReader

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I always do the 50 Book Pledge. Anything after 50 always feels like a bonus.

looking-ahead-books-2015

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2016 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017?

Nope. Not gonna say. Because I don’t know. It’s not the way I read, to be honest. That said, I will try to read some more Harry Potter to appease my daughter.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)?

I am looking forward to reading Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien. It won the 2016 Giller and the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction and it was shortlisted for the Man Booker and longlisted for the 2017 Andrew Carnegie Medal.  I am not usually dazzled by prizes, but this book appeals to me and I got a hardcover for $15 on Boxing Day!

3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

No clue. Haven’t even looked to see what’s coming out.

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017?

Nada

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017?

I am pretty happy with my reading life.

6. A 2017 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

Can’t help you. But I am looking forward to seeing what everyone else suggests.

Check out my reading year as an infographic here.

I wish you all a wonderful 2017 filled with good company and good books.