How many books did you read this year?
66! I’m not a bookworm. I’m a bookpython.
(Why yes, I did make an almost identical joke last year, and I’m going to keep making it with slight variations until I’m tired of it, so there!)
What was your number one TOP FAVORITE of them?
Oh jeez, this is so hard, erm, agh, uhh… Gone Girl. No, wait. Wild. No! My Sister’s Keeper! WAIT, NO! The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake! A Man Called Ove! We Need To Talk About Kevin! WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT WHAT A CRUEL QUESTION THIS IS.
Final answer: “I Have Too Many Favorite Books: A Memoir,” by Shannon Noel Brady.
Favorite new-to-you author that you discovered this year?
Definitely Gillian Flynn, without a doubt. I read all three of her books this year. Normally I like a diversity of authors, but in this case, I was Team Gillian all the way.
Best new-to-you book by an author you already liked?
High Fidelity by Nick Hornby. It’s his most famous one but I do everything out of order. Dessert for breakfast and breakfast for dessert, that’s how I roll. (Seriously, I do that sometimes.)
What book were you surprised to like?
None were really surprises, because I specifically pick books that I, um… want to read? I know, crazy. If I had to pick, I guess I would say Every Day (Levithan) and Perks of Being a Wallflower (Chbosky), only because I normally don’t read YA. Both were excellent.
What was the funniest book you read this year?
Shrill by Lindy West. This was a book where the jokes were so gut-bustingly good that I immediately read them a second time so I could laugh all over again.
What book made you cry?
These two both tie for BUCKETS OF TEARS. I’m talking big, loud, sloppy sobbing. Now that I think of it, MSK probably beats out Wild because the latter’s tearbuckets mainly came at the beginning, while in MSK there was NO MERCY AT ANY TIME. Any page, any paragraph, could suddenly send you flailing for tissues.
What was the most beautifully written?
The Wisdom of John Muir, collected by Anne Rowthorn. Muir was an conservationist in the 1800s, the man who fought to preserve the exquisiteness of Yosemite as a National Park. This was a collection of his best writings on nature, and ohhh they were lovely… Fluttery-heart and wistful-sigh kind of lovely.
Most thought-provoking or life-changing?
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert had an immense effect on me. It was all about coping with fear in the creative process.
Behind Closed Doors by BA Paris had a ruthless tension and a feeling of “OH NO” on every page, making it a book I read in about two sittings. (And the only reason I put it down between those sittings was because I had to leave for dinner with the in-laws.)
Most shocking or disturbing?
We Need to Talk About Kevin, by Lionel Shriver. Hoooooo boy, this was an unsettling read. It’s the kind of book where it’s impossible to say you’re “enjoying” it, as it’s such a punch to the stomach, yet you’re thoroughly compelled to turn each page. Tough as it was, it also was amazing.
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender. It wasn’t packed with imagination the way the fantasy novels on my list were, but its concept was surreal in a completely unique way.
Who was the most memorable character of the year?
Get ready to have your heartstrings pulled.
Most memorable friendship or romance?
Bill and Stephen had a hilarious dynamic in A Walk in the Woods (Bryson).
What genre or subject matter did you try that you normally don’t read?
I read my first “whodunit” mystery – Where Monsters Dwell by Jorgen Brekke. Enjoyed it, would like to read more.
What book can you not believe you waited this long to get to?
Matilda by Roald Dahl. I know I know, probably everyone else read it as a kid! I also finally read Perks of Being a Wallflower after having it on my to-read list for years. It was amazing.
Favorite quote from this year’s reads?
“…it was enough to trust that what I’d done was true. To understand its meaning without yet being able to say precisely what it was… To believe that I didn’t need to reach with my bare hands anymore. To know that seeing the fish beneath the surface of the water was enough. That it was everything. It was my life – like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was, to let it be.” – Wild
What books did you read based mostly on recommendation or peer pressure?
Lord Foul’s Bane (Thomas Covenant #1) by Stephen Donaldson. I thought it had an awesome concept, but a few chapters in, the main character did something so horrible that my fury never went away. But I pushed through because the premise is similar to my own novel, so I felt like I had a duty to finish it.
Which of your reads did you recommend most to others?
Did you start or finish a series?
I started a re-read of The Chronicles of Narnia. I was a kid the last time I read them so I wanted to refresh my memory. This year I completed the first two and will read the rest sporadically over the next couple years.
Phoebe and Her Unicorn, by Dana Simpson – a kids’ comic book, so it took like 10 seconds to read. But it was hilarious and awesome.
Lord Foul’s Bane, 480 pages. Felt like 480,000 though.
Favorite cover of the year?
What was your favorite reading spot?
I discovered a cliffside trail overlooking the ocean this year. I loved finding remote spots where my legs could dangle over the edge, and read as the waves crashed below.
Did you read anything published within the year?
Yup – Behind Closed Doors, Shrill, I’m Just a Person, and Borderline.
Did you watch a movie based on a book you’d read?
Yup – My Sister’s Keeper, Gone Girl, Dark Places, Before I Go To Sleep, We Need to Talk About Kevin, and Wild.
Which books were re-reads?
The Chronicles of Narnia #1 and 2
What are you most excited to read next year?
The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer. I love her comedy.
And lastly… THE LIST! All of your reads from this year, ready, go!
- Matilda – Roald Dahl
- When You Reach Me – Rebecca Stead
- Shutter Island – Dennis Lehane
- The Lot – by my good friend, Clayton Snyder!
- The End of the Alphabet – CS Richardson
- Letters to a Young Poet – Rainer Maria Rilke
- The Sense of an Ending – Julian Barnes
- My Sister’s Keeper – Jodi Picoult
- The Snow Globe – Jenna Nelson
- Where Monsters Dwell – Jorgen Brekke
- Fade to Black – Tim McBain
- Every Day – David Levithan
- The Book of Flying – Keith Miller
- Above – Isla Morley
- The Book of Lost Things – John Connolly
- Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs
- Find Me – Laura van den Berg
- Borderline – Mishell Baker
- Dark Places – Gillian Flynn
- Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
- Phoebe and Her Unicorn – Dana Simpson
- The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins
- High Fidelity – Nick Hornby
- Before I Go to Sleep – SJ Watson
- The Quality of Silence – Rosamund Lupton
- Six Words You Never Knew had Something to Do With Pigs – Katherine Barber
- Hyperbole and a Half – Allie Brosh
- The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake – Aimee Bender
- Twisted – Andrew Kaufman
- The Light Between Oceans – ML Stedman
- The BFG – Roald Dahl
- We Need to Talk About Kevin – Lionel Shriver
- Agorafabulous – Sara Benincasa
- Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things – Randy Frost
- The Leftovers – Tom Perrotta
- Stitches – David Small
- Invisible Monsters – Chuck Palahniuk
- Lock In – John Scalzi
- Goddesses: A World of Myth and Magic – Burleigh Muten
- The Madness Vase – Andrea Gibson
- A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman
- Landline – Rainbow Rowell
- Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert
- The Three – Sarah Lotz
- Sharp Objects – Gillian Flynn
- The Magician’s Nephew (Narnia #1) – CS Lewis
- Barrel Fever – David Sedaris
- Thunder Dog – Michael Hingson
- The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion
- The Wisdom of John Muir – Anne Rowthorn
- The Man Who Couldn’t Stop – David Adam
- A Walk in the Woods – Bill Bryson
- Annihilation – Jeff Vandermeer
- The Dogs of Babel – Carolyn Parkhurst
- The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Narnia #2) – CS Lewis
- Lord Foul’s Bane – Stephen Donaldson
- I’m Just a Person – Tig Notaro
- Shrill – Lindy West
- Wild – Cheryl Strayed
- Behind Closed Doors – BA Paris
- Paddle Your Own Canoe – Nick Offerman
- Dad is Fat – Jim Gaffigan
- The Dinner – Herman Koch
- When Things Fall Apart – Pema Chodron
- Lullaby – Chuck Palahniuk
- Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
Voila! If you got a kick out of this survey, feel free to answer it yourself and let me know so I can read your answers. 🙂