Saturday, January 4, 2014

End of Year 2013 Book Survey

Happy 2014!  I had a great year in books and in life.  I started teaching, which is why my posting has gotten spotty, and overall it's going well.  I love my kids (most of the time).  It's definitely a challenge, but there are moments that make it all worth while.  Despite being busy with teaching, I've been able to fit in a lot of good books.  Here are some of the highlights.  Thanks to Jamie over at The Perpetual Page Turner for the survey questions. 

1. Best Book You Read In 2013?
This is a tie between Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt and Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys.  They're both beautifully and powerfully written with characters that you love and root for as they endure all this crap.  Okay for Now is also sweet and funny, so I think it wins, but only by a little bit.

2. Book You Were Excited About and Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.  I know that by saying that, I'm signing up to be chased by a pitchfork-carrying mob full of feels.  I heard so much hype about it from so many people, that by the time I read it there was no way it could live up to its reputation.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013? 
Either Bomb by Steve Sheinkin or How They Croaked by Georgia Bragg.  These are both non-fiction, which is a genre I don't usually enjoy.  I read Bomb because it received so many awards, but I was surprised at how compelling of a narrative it presented.  How They Croaked is quirky and a delightfully gruesome book for reluctant readers.

4. Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?
Definitely, Okay for Now.  I finished it and went to school the next day and recommended it to all my kids, and most everyone else too.

5. Best series you discovered in 2013?
The League of Princes by Christopher Healey (aka The Hero's Guide to...).  I'm a sucker for fairy tale retellings, and these are just hilarious.  They delve into the oft ignored stories of the Prince Charmings with fabulous, funny characters.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2013?
Christopher Paul Curtis.  I know he's not a new author, but I rediscovered his writing this year while reading The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963 and realized that I really like his style.  
Honorable mention goes to Ruta Sepetys, Merrie Haskel, Jane Nickerson, and Terry Pratchet.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
Monster by Walter Dean Meyers.  I don't read a lot of realistic fiction, particularly about inner city kids, but this book had me on the edge of my seat as it approached the end of the trial.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?
Airborn by Kenneth Oppel.  Sky pirates.  End of story.

9. Book You Read In 2013 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
The Fault in Our Stars. I want to give it a second chance now that I can approach it with more reasonable expectations.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?

This cover is gorgeous in person.  I love scroll work.

11. Most memorable character in 2013?
Monsieur Bernard from
Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson.  Bernard's true, abusive self is revealed so gradually, it's chilling.  Honorable mention goes to Death from The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?
Okay for Now.  Schmidt weaves Audubon's paintings in with the narrative excellently.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013?
Between Shades of Gray.  It is both depressing and inspiring.  And I didn't know anything at all about the Russian concentration camps.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited until 2013 to finally read?
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013?
"I've seen so many young men over the years who think they're running at other young men. They are not. They are running at me." -- Death, The Book Thief

"The element of surprise can offer a hero great advantage in battle. The element of oxygen - also important." -- The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle by Christopher Healey.

"The purpose of a storyteller is is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think on." -- Wit, The Way of Kings

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?
Shortest--Rapunzel's Revenge and Calamity Jack by Shannon Hale tie at 144 pages

Longest--The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson 1007 pages

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It?
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer.  The grandmother scene.  Just.  Aaaaaahhhh!

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2013.
Family--Catherine and David in Rules by Cynthia Lord

Friends--Prince Gustav and Prince Frederic from The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healey
Romantic--Miri and Peder in Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2013 From An Author You’ve Read Previously.
I've already talked about Okay for Now a lot, so I'll say Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson.

20. Best Book You Read In 2013 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:
The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963 and 
The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens.

21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2013?
Without question, fantasy.  Fairy tale retellings ranks up there pretty high too.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013?
I don't crush on fictional boys anymore, but if I had to choose, I'd go with Peder from Palace of Stone.  He's like the Gilbert Blythe of fantasy.

23. Best 2013 debut you read?
Strands of Bronze and Gold.  So creepy.

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?
The Way of Kings.  Brandon Sanderson is a master of world building.

25. Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2013?
Airborn and 
How they Croaked.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2013?

Okay for Now.  Actual tears running down my face.  Also Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick, which was a bit of a problem since at the time I was trying to teach it to my 7th graders.

27. Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out?

Have you guessed yet?  Okay for Now.

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2013 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2014?
Code Name Veirty by Elizabeth Wein.  I got this for my classroom library, but before I could read it one of my students checked it out and two others put their names on a waiting list.  As soon as they finish with it, I will read it.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2014 (non-debut)?
Cress by Marissa Meyer.  Prince Kai and Queen Levana and Cinder and dfaljkkdsfaa!!!!  I have to know what happens!

3. 2014 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
Sekret by Lindsay Smith.  Spies and psychics and the KGB.

4. Series Ending You Are Most Anticipating in 2014?
I don't think any of the series I'm following end this year, so I'll list The Princess Curse by Merrie Haskell because it needs a sequel.  I need to know more about Reveka's awesome underworld powers.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2014?
I want to read with greater variety.  I was doing a better job of this before school started.  Now I read whatever I'm in the mood for, can finish quickly, or have in my classroom library.  This leads to me reverting to my favorite genres.

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