2016 End of Year Book Survey

Being partly book-blogger, I wanted to take a moment to look back at the books I read over the last year, so I’m linking up to The Annual End of Year Book Survey, hosted by Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner.
End of the Year Book Survey from Perpetual Page Turner

2016 Reading Stats

Number Of Books You Read:
27… according to Goodreads, though in truth that includes 2 books I put down, 8 audio books, and 1 book I skimmed.

Number of Re-Reads:
3 + 1 that I gave a second shot and still just couldn’t get into.

Genre You Read The Most From:
Fiction and non-fiction were pretty evenly split in 2016. The fiction tended toward fantasy and the non-fiction were mostly memoirs.

Best in Books

1. Best Book You Read In 2016?
There were 2 books I had a hard time putting down this past year.

Library of Souls image from GoodreadsFirst, Library of Souls (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #3) by Ransom Riggs, however you’ve got to read through the first two to understand the 3rd. The 3rd ended up being my favorite, however I don’t want to give away the ending but if you know me, you’ll understand why. Also, being an archivist, I appreciated the use of old photos. I thought the way the author used the old photos to create his story is very clever.

Second, A Wolf Called Romeo by Nick Jans. This one I connected to on a personal level because the true events that are recounted in this memoir happened in my back yard. Literally. I was off at college for 4 of the 6 years the story unfolded so my own memory of the events is hazy. I appreciate that Jans really did his research for his book. He not only recounted his own tale, but interviewed others that had been close with the wolf, included information from studies of wolf behavior, and also examined the unique set of circumstances that allowed the situation to play out as it did. Romeo ended up living at least twice as long as the life expectancy of a wild wolf. While the end of the story is sickeningly sad, I now have a greater understanding of the memorials to the wolf that can be found around town today. Aside from a couple plaques near his old stomping grounds, the local coffee company and the local brewing company both have products named for the wolf. He will not be forgotten soon.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I was so excited! Unfortunately, I fell asleep too early to go to the Midnight Release Party at the local Chincoteague bookstore, but I was first in line the next morning when the shop opened to get my copy. I read through it quickly, but wasn’t that thrilled. It felt more like the 3 authors had said, “What if I put this in?” Plunk. “Ohhh, how about THIS?” Plunk. “AND THIS!” …the book just didn’t feel cohesive.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  
Something New: Tales from a Makeshift Bride by Lucy Knisley. I’m not a big fan of cartoons or comics, but this year a friend shoved this graphic novel at me and… I enjoyed it!

I even checked out a graphic novel on my own from the library after that! You Can Never Find a Rickshaw When It Monsoons: The World on One Cartoon a Day by Mo Willems. While I didn’t find the art particularly pretty, I enjoyed the story.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?Life is Good image from Goodreads
Life is Good: The Book by Bert and John Jacobs. I think everyone needs to read this book! This book provides GREAT ideas for not only maintaining a happy work place, but for keeping a positive life attitude.

5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?
The best series I started and ended is, hands-down, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. The 3rd book has to be the best series ender of 2016.

The best series I started and have not yet finished is The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.

The Best sequel of 2016 is The Autumn Throne (Eleanor of Aquitaine, #3) by Elizabeth Chadwick. I had to wait so long for this to come out and now I’ve finally started it! Unfortunately, I can’t count this as finished before the end of 2016.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?
Ransom Riggs. After finishing the Miss Peregrine’s series I found his follow-up book, Tales of the Peculiar, at the bookstore and bought it on an impulse buy.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
This year I stopped by a Little Free Library while on vacation and picked out a book called The Silence of the Library by James Miranda purely because it had the word ‘Library’ in the title. I haven’t read a cozy mystery before, but enjoyed this one. My favorite character was the very chattery Main Coon cat.

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children books 1, 2, & 3. They’re NOTHING like the movie. They’re better.

 9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
My to-read list is SO long that I don’t think I’ll have time to re-read any of the books I read in 2016, but if I had to choose, I would re-read Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs, because I’ll be traveling to London in the summer. In the book the characters travel through different periods of London’s history and I’d like to write a blog post about sites to visit in London that represent different periods of London’s history.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?
My favorite cover of a book is that of A Wolf Called Romeo by Nick Jans. The cover is a photograph Jans took of Romeo and his golden lab meeting on the frozen lake. I borrowed the e-book through my library, but I would like to buy the book to support Jans and the effort he put into his book and also because I love the photos in the book.

11. Most memorable character of 2016?
Cinder from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. This sci-fi/fantasy book with Cyborgs and Lunars is wayyyy outside my usual reading choice and the books are so strange in that you already know the fairy tale stories these characters originate from, and yet, you still want to find out what happens!

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?
I don’t think beautifully is the write word, but I thought A Wolf Called Romeo by Nick Jans was well written. Nick Jans, the author did a fantastic job at dealing with a subject that is very contentious still around town. He did a great job at giving an un-biased look at every aspect he could. I also loved the way he wrote descriptions.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?
Life is Good: The Book by Bert and John Jacobs.You should read it. Just do it.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read? 
A Wolf Called Romeo by Nick Jans. I went to a book talk given by Jans one year ago and added his book to my to-read list. I only picked it up by happenstance. I wish I’d read it last year!

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016?

“In Spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

~Anne Frank

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?
Shortest: Bill Bryson’s African Diary by Bill Bryson
Longest: Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most
Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook by Anthony Bourdain. I never could have imagined his life path was so bizarre.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
I cannot tell you how much it bothers me that the film CHANGED the love interest in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. While it took me a while to get on the ship of the main character taking up his grandfather’s girlfriend, in the end it was just…right.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
This has to be between the man and his cat in The Silence of the Library by Miranda James.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain by Bill Bryson. I mean, I’m going to love anything he writes, but this was also about Britain. Also, if you listen to the audio book, it adds a tune to a little song about The Bryson Line. This made the book that much better.

21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
Something New: Tales from a Makeshift Bride by Lucy Knisley

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?
…none? It’s still a toss up between Mr. Darcy and Gilbert Blythe.

23. Best 2016 debut you read?
I didn’t read any books this year that were published in 2016.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
Storybook Travels From Eloise’s New York to Harry Potter’s London, Visits to 30 of the Best-Loved Landmarks in Children’s Literature by Colleen Dunn Bates and Susan La Tempa

I loved that each chapter of this book was formatted into three sections: The Book, The Experience, The Itinerary. The Experience sections were first-hand accounts of visiting landmarks with kids and the recounting of the kids’ reactions were often very funny! The book also gave some great suggestions for starting thought-provoking discussions with children and how to amuse them when you can tell the situation is about to go downhill due to boredom.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016?
A Wolf Called Romeo by Nick Jans. I even knew the ending and I still was nearly in tears! Jans really makes you care about Romeo through his book and it makes the ending so hard to deal with. Especially since there is no reasoning behind the murderer’s lack of caring and desire to kill in order to hurt an entire town. Strangely, this book hurt more than even Anne Frank’s Diary which was combined with a visit to the Anne Frank House!

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson. I love history, and I found this book really interesting.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
Both A Wolf Called Romeo by Nick Jans & Anne Frank’s Diary.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2016?
You Can Never Find a Rickshaw When it Monsoons – The World on One Cartoon a Day by Mo Willems

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
A Wolf Called Romeo by Nick Jans

Your Blogging/Bookish Life

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2016?
The Perpetual Page Turner (though I don’t remember if I discovered her this year or last!)

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2016?
Life is Good: The Book by Bert & John Jacobs (Blog Post Here)

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

Chincoteague Pony Penning 2016 got the most comments from unknown readers…topping at 2 comments!

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

If visiting literary inspired destinations counts…no forget it… it’s too hard to choose between visiting Green Gables, seeing the ponies of Chincoteague, or entering the Anne Frank House Hidden Annex (blog posts coming later.).

Therefore, I’ll have to go with an author signing. That self-published author being my grandfather, and the book his 1944 memoir, Leap Year.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2016?
Standing outside Green Gables on Prince Edward Island!

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
Finding reading time! There’s just not enough time in the evening to blog, read, exercise, and do chores!

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
Good Eats Prince Edward Island got the most views thanks to The Blue Mussel Cafe sharing the post on Facebook!

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
Dreams Come True at the Chincoteague Pony Auction

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
A Year of Reading the World blog. I think this will serve as a great resource when searching for reading material.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I actually ended up reading more books than my Goodreads goal for this year!

Looking Ahead

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017?
Northanger Abby & Persuasion by Jane Austen. I plan to read these before visiting Bath this summer!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)?
Once Upon a Time in Great Britain: A Travel Guide to the Sights and Settings of Your Favorite Children’s Stories by Melanie Wentz. Just received this as a holiday gift and I’m ready to dive right in!

3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
Bearly Departed (A Teddy Bear Mystery #1) by Meg Macy. I love teddy bears, so how can I resist a teddy bear cozy mystery?

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017?
None.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017?
Reading Jane Austen’s books and visiting locations around Bath related to Austen will be happening on the blog. In my reading life, I hope to read all the books I can that have been written about literary travel. Perhaps in reading what’s out there I’ll come up with an idea that hasn’t been done yet. Or at the very least get some good ideas for where to go with my blogging.

Let’s Talk!

Your Turn! What were your favorite reads of 2016? And what’s on tap for your first read of 2017? Where will your reads be taking you?

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