Although I read a substantially lower amount of books this year, opposed to any other year, the quality overrides the quantity. Only this year did I finally indulge –and grow to adore– classic literature, pick up lengthier and popular books, and forced myself to drop any book incapable of holding my interest (a habit I found empowering, as I usually trudge through loathed books, simply due to unnecessary perfectionism).
Only 65% of my reading challenge was completed, as merely 65 books were read from my yearly goal of 100, but it was definitely an accomplishment in the titles. Next year, I’ll definitely reach 100 books. (Fingers crossed) Thank you to Perpetual Page-Turner for this fantastic survey. 🙂
Number Of Books You Read: 65
Number of Re-Reads: 0 (I don’t reread books)
Genre You Read The Most From: Classics
1. Best Book You Read In 2014?
(If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2013 release vs. backlist)
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. Hands down my favourite novel of all-time; the intrigue, mystery and satire all wrapped in a bundle of paper… it’s perfection. Even the commentary of monsters and inhumanity, similar to that of Frankenstein (of which I have yet to read, although I’ve read a graphic novel adaptation) are skilfully executed.
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Walking on Trampolines by Frances Whiting. Despite the flawless beginning weaved with nostalgia and promise, the latter half of the book depicted many faults in characterisation, plot development and depth. Disappointing.
3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014?
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Previously, I had multiple failed attempts to read this book, but upon finally trudging through the beginning, the book quickly became one of my favourites. Furthermore, any bad impressions derived from reading the graphic novel quickly dissipated after reading the actual book. No adaptation will do The Great Gatsby justice.
4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2014?
Risking Exposure by Jeanne Moran. One of the most memorable books I’ve ever read; poignant, insightful and unique. Although I’ve pushed a lot of friends to read it, none of them (yet) have. The author kindly gifted me a paperback as a thank-you –an unexpected gesture that I will soon blog about– and I intend to lend it to all my bookish friends.
5. Best series you started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014?
The Poor Relations by M.C. Beaton (ones I read: Lady Fortescue Steps Out and Miss Tonks Turns to Crime). Upon discovering the beautiful book covers on Amazon and the $0 price-tag, I immediately grew fond of these lovable misfits, their misadventures and their light-hearted, warm journeys. Definitely looking forward to more books in this series.
6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?
Miralee Ferrell, discovered via NetGalley, writes exquisite historical fiction that focus primarily on family and relationships while simultaneously combining religion and romance. Perhaps my favourite aspect of her books are how non-judgemental, accepting and peaceful the books are; always providing reasons behind every villain’s actions, and highlighting unsightly characteristics belonging to every hero. In my opinion, it provides astonishing character development.
7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
1984 by George Orwell is a critically-acclaimed science-fiction classic that haunts me. Thought-provoking, horrifying and confronting, I intend to read more speculative fiction with similar depth and strong philosophical/psychological themes.
8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. Utmost brilliance, kept me in suspense throughout the entire course of the novel, and a fantastic introduction to this famous mystery/crime-fiction writer. I need to read more of her novels.
9. Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
I don’t usually reread books, but possibly The Picture of Dorian Gray, which, as previously mentioned, became my favourite novel of the year.
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014?
The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted by Bridget Asher. The cover looked gorgeous on the bookshelf at St Vinnie’s; in fact, I immediately snatched this one due to its cover alone. #JudgingBooksByTheirCovers.
11. Most memorable character of 2014?
Erik from the Phantom of the Opera. Although the story in itself, in my opinion, was dull, lacking character development and presents characters with a substantial lack of maturity, the one character resonated with me throughout: the opera ghost himself, Erik. His unconditional love, obsession with Christie and broken self was the sole reason behind my completion of this novel –otherwise, I could’ve easily discarded it without a second thought.
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?
The Awkward Love Song of Abigail Archer by Monica Sanz. I originally discovered this writer on Wattpad, but fell in love with her writing style. It is simply gorgeous, rich, flowing, soothing and written precisely to express majestic vocabulary while simultaneously being down-to-Earth and easy to read. Beautiful.
13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2014?
Risking Exposure by Jeanne Moran was unique, life-changing (quite literally –upon reading this book, I found the courage to switch out of the dreaded maths C class and into modern history, where we studied Nazi Germany), unique, thought-provoking, multi-layered, complex… Risking Exposure is them all. They aren’t words one typically uses for middle-grade/young-adult fiction, but the exploration of themes is impeccable, constant contrasts between different classes of people and the protagonist’s thoughts and feelings –those words are incredibly fitting.
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read?
Lighthouse Nights by Jake Vander Ark. I’d also finally read his “The Accidental Siren” –another book I adored. Both extremely confronting young-adult novels, dealing with controversial and confronting topics such as suicide, obsession/infatuation, and written eloquently. Extremely in-depth character development, too.
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014?
Honestly, everything written by Oscar Wilde is quotable, providing the perfect blend of humour with philosophy.
One of my favourites:
“Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.”
(from The Picture of Dorian Gray)
16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?
Longest book: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Shortest book: I’m not sure.
17. Book That Shocked You The Most
(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)
Solomon and the Peacemaker by Hunter Welles. Unreliable narrator, controlling of minds and dystopia; similar to 1984, and the book that inspired me to pick that up. Fantastic science fiction book, extremely subtle in its messages, too.
18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)
Owen and Annabel from Just Listen by Sarah Dessen. Just Listen dealt with darker issues, and I adored Owen and Annabel’s relationship because they helped each other heal. However, neither is quite aware of the other’s suffering; they found meaning in each other’s words and reflected upon them. In essence, they didn’t heal each other –they healed themselves. A lovely demonstration of romance, especially in YA fiction.
19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
Mahalia and Matt from Mahalia by Joanne Horniman. Matt is a single father raising his daughter, Mahalia, alone. Their sweet relationship, Matt’s unconditional and growing love for Mahalia… it’s simply heartwarming.
20. Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
Dare You by Sue Lawson. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy this book as much as her previous one, Pan’s Whisper, which focuses on a young girl using defence mechanisms to forget her past, but uncovering these memories slowly –one of my favourite books of all-time, while also presenting an unreliable narrator.
21. Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart is possibly one of the most widely-read YA novels, due to its mysterious and intriguing nature. None of the reviewers, prior to me reading it, would reveal the events within the book; it’s something you needed to read yourself. Nevertheless, I found it quite predictable, but haunting –so the book’s effect was maximised, I suppose.
22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?
Mr Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. An extremely popular choice. At the beginning of the book, I disliked Mr Darcy along with every other character; however, as Elizabeth falls in love with his true persona –which were revealed only after she dissolved prejudices– so does the reader. That said, I adored Mr Bingley as well, despite the contrast.
23. Best 2014 debut you read?
Penalty Kick by Terrance O’Leary. Fantastic YA novel with strong psychological themes, while avoiding easy melodrama to create complex, thought-provoking scenarios instead.
24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
3 a.m. by Nick Pirog revolves around a man awake for merely 1 hour everyday; a simple lifestyle. It never occurred to me how terrible this situation would be –while the rest of the world breezes through time mindlessly, every minute of his one hour is fully scheduled.
25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
Minnie Chase Makes A Mistake by Helen MacArthur. Extremely cute book with great quirkiness and lovable characters. Although the plot is far-fetched at times, it’s still fantastic.
26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?
Sadly, I don’t recall the last time I cried in a book. However, I came close in Alice and the Fly.
27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
The Mastership Game by Scott McBain. A Google search alone shows how hidden this book is. The author uses a pen-name and his identity is, well, top secret. Furthermore, a very small amount of reviews are written… but you’ll notice that, nonetheless, they’re mostly positive. The book itself offers profound insight into power, leadership and morality –a fantastic read for anyone who loves philosophy.
28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
War Brothers is a graphic novel that surround the viral issue of KONY and child slavery in Africa. Full of intense emotion, innocence and gruesome images –this is where the format of a graphic novel excels, leaving permanent images to represent the cruelty enforced on children, in a world different from our own but not geographically distant.
29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2014?
The Jackie Chan Fan Club by Sharon Shant. With a wacky plot (that the title immediately indicates), adorable characters and subtle underlying messages, it’s a fantastic comedy with a philosophical backdrop.
30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
Ramadan Sky by Nichola Hunter. Even now, I’m startled by the turnout of events in the book –no foreshadowing, little indication and a plot-twist (the ultimate one) is too unbelievable. Extremely mixed feelings. For some reason, I can’t forget about this book, despite the fact I didn’t exactly like it.
1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2014?
Paper Fury, previously known as The Notebook Sisters. Cait is adorable; from her GIF usages, her undying love for books, and passion for reading. 🙂
2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2014?
Didn’t write many reviews in 2014, but I suppose The Awkward Love Song of Abigail Archer received a fairly lengthy
love letter review.
3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
Non-review posts compose the majority of this blog. As for discussions, the discussion on …These Qualities You Possess was lovely to read, especially since my mother’s words resonated with many other people.
4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
NetGalley in general would be my ultimate bookish favourite. Does that count? 😉
5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2014?
Hmm. Perhaps the exhillaring feeling after completing The Picture of Dorian Gray, where I immediatley thought, “wow, that was incredible.” Actually, most of my books were 4-5 stars this year –something of rare occurrence, since I usually read books popular among my friends while disregarding my own taste. Although they are fantastic people, I find my Goodreads friends and differ in our book tastes –I suppose this is expected, as I read for a very specific reasons (something I’ll blog about later on).
7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
I honestly have no idea. I’d imagine any from my Weekly Photo Challenges.
8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
St. Vinnie’s from down the road (second-hand OP shop). For the first time, I began purchasing second-hand books. Most of them are in fantastically good condition, and books worth approximately $20-30 at retail stores are sold at $1-4, despite only being read once (!). Plus, since St Vinnie’s runs solely on donations, there are always copies of popular books/current bestsellers, since those are primarily purchased by the donators.
10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
Honestly, I’m proud of the amount of classic literature I read; I intend this number to increase next year, especially since I’m picking up English Extension as a subject.
1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2014 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2015?
Emma by Jane Austen. A lot of classics on my list, too. Othello by Shakespeare, an unsettlingly large amount of titles now placed on my bookshelf, and some NetGalley pickings.
2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2015 (non-debut)?
Definitely can’t wait for Jeanne Moran’s next instalment after Risking Exposure, although I’m uncertain if it’ll happen next year. Also, Finvarra’s Circus by Monica Sanz, whenever that’s released.
3. 2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
I have “The Two of Us” on my NetGallley to-read list, by a debut author. Perhaps that?
4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2015?
I rarely read sequel books, unfortunately. But I suppose anything by James Rice.
5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2015?
Definitely complete a lot more classics. Likewise, I intend to review those classics, and generally increase the quantity of written thoughts regarding books. So many books. So little time. Getting 100% feedback ratio on NetGalley is another (currently at 85%), but I simply cannot help myself sometimes.
6. A 2015 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:
Alice and the Fly by James Rice was incredible. I raved about how fantastically the book was explored; unconventional, thought-provoking and hauntingly beautiful, I have difficulty believing it’s a debut.