When Audrey filled out this survey, which she got from Jamie, I knew I had to take a stab at it myself. I always see bloggers filling out these kind of year-end book surveys but I never found one I wanted to fill out. I liked these questions and enjoyed reading Audrey’s post. I also wanted to recap my year of reading, so here it goes, a brief summary of 2016 in books!
Note: I tried to only use a book once in the answers. So, if a book could have been the winner for two categories, I only used it for one and just moved onto my next favorite for the other category. There were a few exceptions but I tried to stick to this rule.
Number Of Books You Read: 60
Number of Re-Reads: 2
Genre You Read The Most From: I didn’t feel like going through an tallying them all up but I read a lot of literary fiction and science fiction.
1. Best Book You Read In 2016?
(If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2013 release vs. backlist)
I can’t pick one favorite since they are all so different. I loved a lot of books in different ways for different reasons, and I think that the rest of the questions kind of show what I mean.
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Matched by Ally Conde.
3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware. This was the most surprising book because I felt like it was not as huge of a hit as You or Gone Girl, but it was just as well written, just as suspenseful, just as shocking. But I didn’t hear a lot of people talking about it. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book.
4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
Homegoing by Yaa Gysai. I made my entire book club read it. We try not to read books that someone has already read, but I pushed this book because I think it was the most important book I read in 2016. I gave out a couple of copies as Christmas presents, too.
5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?
I didn’t read a lot of series in 2016. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood was a beautiful book. For Christmas, my parents gave me the next two books in the trilogy, so I’m excited to read those.
6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?
Neil Gaiman. I read 5 of his books this year. I had never read anything by him before this year.
7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
I never used to read thrillers, but I got really into them this year. I loved Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I know I’m late to the party but like I said, I never used to read thrillers! I loved Gone Girl because the perspectives from each partner was so interesting to me. I also thought that the book was smart and well written. Rarely do I stay up late reading but I stayed up all night to finish this book when I was home over the holidays.
8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
Lexicon by Max Barry. OMG READ IT.
9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
I don’t see myself re-reading anything I read in 2016 so soon.
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?
This was also one of my favorite books I read this year. I love the quote on the cover: “A novel about the truths – some wonderful, some terrible – that children know and adults do not.” – Time Magazine.
11. Most memorable character of 2016?
Precious Jones from Push by Sapphire
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
(This is probably the hardest question for me to answer. The Girls by Emma Cline, An Untamed State by Roxane Gay, and Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi are all up there as far as most beautifully written but they all won other categories.)
13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?
On Writing by Stephen King changed the way I think about writing and the way I write, so in that way it was the most life-changing book I read in 2016.
Most thought-provoking was An Untamed State by Roxane Gay
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read?
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. What a brilliant novel.
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016?
This is pretty much an impossible question, but I will go for it. Sometimes when I really like a quote from a book, I Instagram it. I try not to do that too much because I’m not sure how interesting that is to other people. So I just looked through the quotes that I thought were worthy of Instagram this year. One that I love is:
“Somehow she knew that you didn’t get many moments like this in your life: moments when you knew, without any doubt, that you were alive, when you felt the air in your lungs and the wet grass beneath your feet and the cotton on your skin; moments when you were completely in the present, when neither the past nor the future mattered. She tried to slow her breathing, hoping somehow to make this moment last.” – Neil Gaiman, Stardust
16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?
Shortest book: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling (59 pages)
Longest book: The Children’s Book by AS Byatt (675 pages)
How I did this: I went to https://www.goodreads.com/user/year_in_books/2016/. It tells you a few stats about the books you read in 2016, including the shortest and longest book you read. You can click here to get your own Goodreads stats.
17. Book That Shocked You The Most
(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)
We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver. I’ve never read anything like it.
18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)
I have no idea what this means.
19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
Sisters Vianne and Isabelle in The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.
20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
A Fighting Chance by Elizabeth Warren
21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. Adored this book.
22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?
Can I have a crush on an author instead? Neil Gaiman (blushes)
23. Best 2016 debut you read?
The Girls by Emma Cline
24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
Feed by MT Andersen. He drops you right into the world he has created, but also explains it perfectly. Fun, crazy world to discover coupled with a beautiful, heart-wrenching, thought-provoking story makes Feed one of the best books I ever read.
25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
Stardust by Neil Gaiman. If you are a fan of fairy tales and fantasy it’s a great, fun read.
26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016?
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.
27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
I’m basing this question on books that came out in 2016. But my answer would have been the same even if I considered all of the books I read this year:
We Are The Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson. I can’t explain how much I loved this book, how beautifully written it is, how real it is. I highly recommend it and I’m surprised it hasn’t gotten more popular.
28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
The Circle by Dave Eggers. And I mean that in the best way possible. I recommend this book to everyone.
29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2016?
Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer. Still mad.
1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2016?
Since Christy and I started the Beyond Words Bloggers Book Club, I connected with a lot of book bloggers or bloggers who write about books a lot. Mandy from Addicted to Media is probably my favorite. We have similar tastes in books. She writes reviews that make me go out and immediately get the book she is talking about. We Are The Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson and Salt to the Seaby Ruta Sepetys are two that come to mind that I read pretty much immediately after reading her recommendation.
Audrey also writes a lot about books and I love reading her entire blog and all of her book reviews. It’s hard for me to pick a favorite but these two are the first to come to mind.
2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2016?
I tend to lump all my book reviews into one monthly post, but this post about my favorite dystopian books was the most fun to write. I need to update it now though to add my new favorites!
3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
I’m not sure exactly what this question means, but I am proud of What Does It Mean to Be Fearless?
4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
Going to Harry Potter World and seeing my favorite books that I grew up with come to life, basically seeing my entire childhood come to life and re-living that magic.
5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2016?
This has nothing to do with me being a blogger, but after I lost all of my books in our move to Connecticut, my friends and family rallied together to get my an Amazon gift card to buy new books. I can’t even tell you how much that meant to me.
6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
This year I tried to shift from a more diary-type of blog to writing about important stories and topics that matter to me. That meant less posts about travel and more personal posts about my life as a military spouse. It is hard to open yourself up in such a public way but these posts have been more fulfilling for me to write. They have been cathartic for me and have helped me learn so much about myself.
I’ve been connecting with so many more bloggers since I started writing this way. I’m really glad I made the switch and made myself a bit more vulnerable on my blog.
7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
I am currently wearing a Harry Potter headband I bought from this Etsy shop. Such a fun store.
When we were in California visiting Nick’s family, Nick and I stumbled across a bookstore called Green Apple Books in San Francisco. We must have spent two hours in there and bought so many used books. I wasn’t even sure we would have room for all of them in our suitcases. It was a great bookstore.
10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
In the beginning of the year, I challenged myself to read 55 books. Later, I raised to 60. I’m glad that I set this challenge for myself because it made me choose to read books instead of watching TV. I kind of have mixed feelings about reading challenges, because you can read a book that is 800 pages and a book that is 100 pages and they count the same. But overall, I like having a personal reading challenge.
Back when I first started this blog I had the goal of reading all of the books on Amazon’s list of 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime. Since then, I’ve read 30 out of 100. I still have this goal but I’m not solely reading books from this list anymore, just when I feel like it.
1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017?
Dangerous Women, edited by George RR Martin. It is a book of short stories all centered on the theme of dangerous women. Perfect. George RR Martin wrote the very last short story, which place in the Game of Thrones universe.
Nick gave this book to me for my birthday in May but I never got around to read it. It’s 800 pages long and I never really felt like I was in the mood to commit. I just started it so I will make sure to finish it this year!
2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)?
Difficult Women by Roxane Gay
3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
I can’t think of any. I don’t pay attention to the books that are coming out as much as I should.
4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017?
How about we get the next Game of Thrones book?!? A girl can dream.
5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017?
Read as many different kinds of books that I can. I especially want to challenge myself to read things that I normally wouldn’t read.
6. A 2017 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:
I’m not that on the ball!
What are some of your favorite books you read in 2016?! What do you think of my picks?
Thanks Jamie for such a fun survey!