Tuesday, December 31, 2013

"I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and only reading it once."

(The above quote by C.S. Lewis applies to women too.  Heehee.)

As a nice little way to wrap up 2013, I decided to fill out the reading-and-writing tags from the Notebook Sisters' blog-- I actually missed the deadline for participation, haha, but I'm filling out the reading tag anyway because I am a radical.  (Check my writing blog later today for the writing tag.)

1. What was your overall favourite book this year? (Yes. Pick one.)

Aaaack.  Um.  Does this include rereads or new books?  Sheesh.  I'm going to go with new books, sooooo I'll say Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart.  Unfortunately I only started keeping track of the books I've been reading in October of this year (on my own, that is-- before that Mom and I kept a list together, back in the dear old days gone by when I was Still In School :P) so I feel terribly as if I'd forgotten something.  Oh, well, Nine Coaches Waiting was swellissimus, anyway.

2. Favourite debut(s)? (Author must have been first published in 2013.)

The Princess and the Sage by Annaliese Blakeney.  Out-of-this-world hilarious, and sources close to the author say she's working on a sequel.

3. Which books did you reread this year?

Goodness.  Okay, let's do our best with this thing.  In not-order (random order is an oxymoron):

Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery
Anne of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery
The Story Girl by L.M. Montgomery
The Golden Road by L.M. Montgomery
Emily Climbs by L.M. Montgomery :P
The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma by Trenton Lee Stewart
Calico Captive by Elizabeth George Speare
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Persuasion by Jane Austen
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Two are Better than One by Carol Ryrie Brink
Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose
Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss
Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie
Partners in Crime by Agatha Christie
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Chasing Jupiter by Rachel Coker
Sister of the Bride by Beverly Cleary
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Shepherds Abiding by Jan Karon
Christmas After All by Kathryn Lasky
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

I'm sure there were lots of others, but like I said, I've been rather bad at keeping track.  (Even my book list from the end of my senior year only featured books that were new, so rereads are hard to locate.  Ha.)

4. Favourite cover(s) this year!

This, from Better Book Titles.  (Sorry, guys, I'm really not much of a cover girl-- pun not intended.  I'm always much more interested in the way it looks inside-- or else I prefer antique copies.  Heehee.)

5. Worst cover(s)?

Ummmmmmmm.  I really don't notice covers all that much, to be honest.  Ooooh, perhaps this one-- it didn't come out this year (but I'm not sure if the To Kill a Mockingbird one did either, so whatever) but I discovered it this year via the the Worst Cover Throwdown over at the P&P95Forever Club and... yeah.

6. What self-published books did you read this year?

The Princess and the Sage by Annaliese Blakeney, Annabeth's War by Jessica Greyson and a few beta-reads.

7. Which book(s) gave you a massive hangover?

I don't particularly like the word "hangover," but I'm assuming in this sense it means a book that stuck with you for a while and kind of kept you from enjoying other books because you were still in its world, am I right? Okay, then.  I'm going to go with The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society because that one just held onto me for several days after I finished it.  I didn't want it to end (see this).  And I want a sequel really really badly, by the way.

8. Best standalone you read?

I'm shamelessly tweaking this question to make it what *I* want it to be, and so I'm going to answer it as if it's asking for the best short story I read.  That would definitely be What Would Austen Do? by Jane Rubino and Caitlen Rubino-Bradway.  It appeared in the anthology Jane Austen Made Me Do It, which I wouldn't wholeheartedly recommend (some of the stories are pretty trashy) but it had some gems, and that one was the gemmiest of them all.  It's about a teenage boy who accidentally signs up for English Country dancing and goes full-fledged Janeite.  And it's awesome.  (Why am I saying awesome?  Whatever happened to cool?  Nothing?  Cool.)

9. Biggest book(s) you've read this year?

Les Miserables, by all means (my sister Anne put it well: "Victor Hugo did not know when to shut up.") but Dickens' Dombey and Son came close.

10. Book(s) you followed the hype for and then loved!

I don't really follow book-hype... heh.  I walk by my wild lone and wave my wild tail where it pleases me (name the quotation, guys) where books are concerned.  And this will make me sound like a hipster, but outside the small realm of self-publishing, I read very very few modern books when they first come out.  *adjusts plastic-framed glasses*  "It's Mumford and SONS, not Mumford and SON."

11. Most disappointing book(s) you read this year?

I was rather let down by Like Dandelion Dust by Karen Kingsbury.  Apologies to all the Kingsbury fans out there (I know you are a great and strong army) but I just don't think much of her books.  LDD had a good premise and all, which was what made me try it (I've read several of her other novels and wasn't impressed) but it left me feeling flat and blah and that-ending-was-too-convenient-and-predictable.  I also read The Reluctant Heiress by Eva Ibbotson as a reluctant foray (heh, heh) into young adult romance, and it was... meh.  I like her books for middle-grade readers SO much better.

12. Favourite leading-female character?

Jane Eyre, probably.  Or Elizabeth Bennet.  :D

13. Favourite leading-male character?

Um.  Mr. Darcy.  Hello.  Also Atticus Finch.

14. Best romance(s)?

Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet are the obvious answer but I've already used each of them once so I'm going to go with Tommy and Tuppence from the novels about them by Agatha Christie... they're just so doggoned CUTE together!  I would so, so love to see a really well-done TV series based on the books with Anthony Andrews and Jennifer Ehle (at the right ages-- hush, it's a dream casting) playing the Beresfords.  Sigh.

15. What book(s) hit the DNF list? (Did not finish.)

I started to read The Postmistress by Sarah Blake because the synopsis on Goodreads looked so intriguing... didn't get past the second chapter.  Ugh.  Let's just say it was getting inappropriate really early on.  Plus language.  And ick.

16. What book(s) did you read out of your comfort-zone?

Great question, this.  Ummmm... maybe Martin Luther: A Guided Tour of His Life and Thought by Stephen J. Nichols.  I'll admit I've always shied away from theological books because I thought they would be over my head, but I tried this one since it was partially a biography (I like biographies) and wonder of wonders, it actually made sense and was enjoyable to read.  Who'd-a-thunk it?

17. Which author did you read the most from?

According to my rereads list, I think that would be L.M. Montgomery.  

18. Top 5 books you'd recommend from all the books you've read this year?

I chose to go with four new books and one old one, just for a change of pace, so...

~The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
~Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart 
~The Princess and the Sage by Annaliese Blakeney
~The Last Sin Eater by Francene Rivers
~Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose 

(I left out Jane Eyre and Les Mis and everything Jane Austen, because those are obvious choices.  Heehee.)

19. How many books did you read this year all up?

I'm guessing around sixty, based on the list of re-reads above plus all the new books I've read this year plus the ones I'm sure I'm not recalling at the moment.  :P

20. What's a book you're hugely excited for coming out in 2014?!

Fly Away Home by Rachel Heffington!  I had the privilege of beta-reading one of the drafts for this delightful novel and I can't WAIT to get a print copy in my hands.  I'm also tremendously looking forward to the new Penderwicks book-- good grief, the title hasn't even been released yet.  I do love the Penderwicks.  :D

All the secrets of the world are contained in books.  Read at your own risk.
~Lemony Snicket


Alexandra said...

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie! Woooot! Oh, yeah, did I recommend that? :P

But, but...you've read The Help before. That's hype. I mean, I did because it was hype and then loved it. :P

And I may not be an Austenite, but GOSHHHHHH that cover is AWFUL. Oh my gosh. Spent a full five minutes laughing at it.

My reading was a bit more sporadic this year...started more after I started working, actually, to while/wile/whatever one I'm looking for the afternoons. :P

And the Tommy/Tuppence pic made me giggly. EXACTLY how I picture it. :P

Natalie said...

Amy, I wanted to tell you that I recently ordered your book, Only a Novel, and read it in 3 days...or something like that. It was soooooo incredibly amazing-I just LOVED it!!! You're such a great author and I can't wait till you publish more books!
I was wondering-how do you publish your books? Obviously it's self-published, but I'm just curious as to how you went about doing that. Do you have to pay to have your books published?

Livia Rachelle said...

Wow, that is a lot of rereads, I am kind of trying to prohib myself from rereads (hasn't completely worked) in order to force myself to read more classics. I could spend so much time rereading and discussing the same small set of books. I cannot seem to yet balance between rereading and new books :P Have you read Aunt Jane's Hero by ELizabeth Prentiss? I enjoyed that one but could never get into (or finish) Stepping Heavenward.

I read Les Mis last Christmas. "Victor Hugo did not know when to shut up" that is funny, but I would amend it by saying he did not know when to shut up on insignificant issues and personal project, peeves. Really, Hugo, I don't care about your interpretation of the Napoleonic battles, era etc. And I really could care less about the history and uses and possible uses of the Paris Sewer System (that I think was the most bizarre part). For such a big book the characters were rather underdeveloped in my opinion because Hugo couldn't afford them the time of day. I wonder if there is somewhere to look up the actual percentages of the story in the novel as opposed to superfluous, unconnected stuff.

And your last quote. Pefect, but wondering if you have read the Series of Unfortunate Events. I read the first one and decided it was the series of unfortunate books for unfortunate readers. I often like juvenile fictions, somehow these authors just know magic, but the first of these really felt juvenile to me. I love reading peoples' book lists. I am gathering ideas for next year. I think I might see about the top three on your top 5 recommendation list.

serena said...

Oh my goodness, you are too funny! (Is it possible to be too funny? No, I guess not.) I especially enjoyed your answer to the book hype question.

I might have to read some of your book recommendations, since I was already considering The Last Sin Eater and The Princess and the Sage. And, perhaps, Only a Novel (You do recommend your own book, I hope). :)

P.S. That P&P cover looks like some sort of romantic thriller...

Emma Jane said...

What a fun tag! I re-read a lot of books this year too, but then I kind of do every year. : P There's just something delicious about revisiting old favorites again! :-)
I started reading The Postmistress too! I didn't get past the first chapter either...it was absolutely AWFUL. I was really disappointed too, because I thought it would be so good!

OH my GOODNESS, that P&P cover is absolutely ATROCIOUS. But I love the To Kill a Mockingbird cover, haha. I'm actually quite a bit of a "cover-girl" myself-- on several occasions I have been known to read a book simply because it had a pretty cover. Hasn't always worked out. :-P

The biggest book I read this year was John Steinbeck's East of Eden, which was completely remarkable and amazing and one of the best books I've ever read. I haven't read Les Mis yet, but it's on my list!

I love that Lemony Snicket quote. : )

Happy New Year!


Melody said...

I dinna click on comment box first. Mistake. *scrolls back up to find things I wanted to say*

Wait, did you read Sister of the Bride again, since when we read it together? Because I didn't think that was this year... o.O Haha.

BAHAHAHAHA THE P&P COVER AHAHAHAHA. That was such a funny thing I found. :P

Ohhh, so you did read Annabeth's War! I remember when that was coming out and I was wondering if you would and then I forgot to ask you or somping... you should tell me what you thought in an email somewheres. ;)

Mental applause for the first bit of your answer to #7. :D

I need to read WWAD? again. Tootuz I've only read it once. And your cool quote MMG. :D

Hahaha, *I* do not mind you not following book-hype. ;D And the Messy Mondays quote amused me...

Okay, I knew you read The Last Sin Eater because Petie told me so, haha, but I never actually talked to you about it and you never recommended it to me, but now I see that you do recommend it... it's one of Lily's favorite books but the weird title always threw me off. :P And I intend to read the first two books there sometime next year... well, I tend to make book lists every year and, cough, they don't all end up getting read, BUT ANYWAYS... (feel free to send me a long list of suggestions if you like, however :D)

I don't think I even read enough books this year to DO this tag. Dear, dear. I am quite pathetic. Sigh.

WAAAAIT, the new Penderwicks is coming out this year??? Yayayay! Can we read it togethhher? That might not work well though because if your library gets it first and you had to wait for me, your siblings would read it before you and spoil things and stuff and that would be annoying. Haha.

Enjoyed this post muchly!

Elisabeth Grace Foley said...

Nine Coaches Waiting was definitely my favorite book of the year too. And now that you speak so enthusiastically about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society I'm going to have to move it up on my to-read list. I've spent a while wondering whether to read it and now you've got me quite interested! Oh, and I'm super-excited about Fly Away Home too.

Maddie Rose said...

Oh! I love that alternate cover of To Kill a Mockingbird... so true.

Have the people who made the cover for P&P even READ the book or know ANYTHING about it? yeesh that's awful.

You've read the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society too?! *hugs* I LOVE that book

I thought "What Would Jane Austen Do?" was the best also. I kind of wish it was a novel..

I've read Agatha Christie, but not the Tommy and Tuppence mysteries... hmm, for my to-read list perhaps?

Ugh! I started the Postmistress too! I think I only got thru half of chapter two before I was done. The cover looked so nice and synopsis sounded interesting... :'(

Oooh I read the Sin Eater too (wow, I'm starting to sound like a broken record heheh...) It was amazing... but that kind of gave me a "book hangover."

Ah... I love the Penderwicks too. I can hardly remember a time they weren't my book friends. I am so glad she's coming out with a new book! I hope it has Jeffrey in it!

Wow, I think I could have shortened this comment considerably by just saying "I love/agree with all of it" :)

Now I think I'm off to find a copy of Nine Coaches Waiting!

Ginny@RandomActsofMomness said...

Mary Stewart is awesome with awesome sauce. Check out "Madam, Will You Talk?" -- that one is also excellent, and so is "This Rough Magic."

If you love/hate that cover of P&P you have to visit Jane Eyre Illustrated:


There are covers there that would have Charlotte Bronte roll over in her grave. There are some good ones, too ... it's a lot of fun.

Alicia Showalter said...

I need to keep track of the books that I have read too.. that way I can look back and remember which ones I liked etc... I really want to read Nine Coaches Waiting now!! I LOVE THE PRINCESS AND THE SAGE!!! :D I cannot wait for the much anticipated sequel as well. :D
Oh. My. Goodness. That cover is HORRIBLE. I mean, it makes me cringe - it's even hard to laugh because it's just that bad. but, bahaha it is still laughable. What would people think of P & P if they saw that?? Anthony Andres as Tommy would be PERFECT!! I am not really familiar with Jennifer Ehle (sorry, I prob. just showed my utter naivety to movie actors and such..) :( but I am sure she would be awesome too. I love Tommy and Tuppence, they are so sweet together.
I absolutely love that about people not understanding what reading is.. I shall post that on my bulletin board. :D
Like Dandelion Dust is such a pretty name... too bad the story is not that great along with it!
Wonderful post as usual my dear!!

Alicia Showalter said...

Wow, that's what I get for typing too fast.. I meant "Anthony Andrews" and umm I was talking about the quote at the end of my comment. haha sorry for the confusing post!! ;)
OH! I cannot wait for the new Penderwicks book!! Do you know when they will release the title?

Naomi said...

Ah! To read books!
(Nothing more to say)

Jane & Cait said...

Thanks for the nod to "What Would Austen Do?" When we were asked to contribute a story to the anthology, we wanted to do a 180 from "Lady Vernon and Her Daughter", which was a very traditional adaptation.
We would love to expand it to a novel, but one (Jane) has been busy with a Sherlock Holmes novel, Caitlen's MG "Ordinary Magic" was published and she's putting the finishing touches on another book.