Saturday, December 24, 2011

2011 End of Year Book Survey

The 2011 End of Year Book Survey is hosted by The Perpetual Page-Turner. I actually participated last year, and I can’t believe I’m writing down my answers for all these bookish questions for the second time.

For starters, I never thought I would be able to maintain this blog for more than a month. I have had an eclectic book blog, a YA book blog, a writing blog, and around three or so personal blogs. None of them survived for more than six months. Who knew I just needed to talk about classics to fully commit to blogging?

1. Best Book You Read In 2011?

This is so difficult, because I read a ton of great books this year. I’m cheating here but:
For YA, it’s a tie between Saving Francesca by Melinna Marchetta and I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak. I saw myself in Francesca from Saving Francesca and Ed from I Am the Messenger. Both characters aren’t really sure of themselves yet, and are still trying to find their way.

For classics, it’s a tie between The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. For more in depth reasons why I loved both books, you can check out my reviews here and here.

2. Most Disappointing Book/Book You Wish You Loved More Than You Did?

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark wasn’t really disappointing. I just wished I loved it more. It has all the elements I love in a book—intelligent female characters, wit, and mystery. For some reason, the book had no effect on me whatsoever, and I promptly forgot about it after I finished it. I hope things will change after I reread it.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2011?

Definitely Rebecca, hands down. I’ve had the book for over two years, and I tried to read it five times or so. I always fell asleep without finishing the second chapter. This year, I really decided to give the book a shot, because of the R.I.P VI Challenge, and—surprise!—I absolutely loved it.

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2011?

I think I pushed a lot of books on people this year, namely Rebecca, The Bell Jar, and The Monk. I was never really interested in the aforementioned books, but, after I finished them, I would gladly shove them into other people’s faces.

5. Best series you discovered in 2011?

Best series? Does the Miss Marple series by Agatha Christie count? I read my first Miss Marple this year, and I’m definitely looking forward to the other books.

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2011?

A lot. Namely: Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, Edith Wharton, and Melina Marchetta. These authors have been around for years, but I just delved into their work this year. I hope to read more by all four this 2012.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

There is only one proper book for this question, and that would be All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque. I stay away from books that have anything to do with war like the plague. They’re mostly depressing and practically everyone dies. All Quiet on the Western Front completely changed my mind about ‘war’ books. I never thought a book about war would teach me to appreciate human life.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2011?

That would probably be The Monk by Matthew Lewis. It’s very thick, but I finished this book in two days simply because I couldn’t put it down. The plot is crazy with implausible twists and turns, but YOU JUST HAVE TO FIND OUT what’s going to happen next.

9. Book you most anticipated in 2011?

I know all about the “hyped” books like The Night Circus and The Marriage Plot, but I don’t think I anticipated one book in particular.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2011?

11. Most memorable character in 2011?

The nameless priest from The Power and the Glory. In my review, I said that I held my breath, willing him to survive. No other fictional character has ever felt as real to me as The Priest. I didn’t care that he didn’t exist, and that, if he did exist, we probably wouldn’t know or like each other. I just wanted him to live.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2011?

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. His prose just feels like poetry, and I don’t think anyone can ever write as beautifully as he does.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2011?

I read a ton of great books this year, but there can only be one real, sincere answer for this question. That would be Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. There’s just something about Esther Greenwood, the protagonist, that really touched me. Maybe because we’re almost the same age? Maybe because we’re both wondering what to do with our lives? There were just so many instances while reading the book that I thought, “Yes, Esther. Yes to everything.”

14. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2011 to finally read?

This is going to sound tiresome, but my answer, once again, is The Bell Jar. I only found a copy this year, and I only have one thing to say. You suck, National Bookstore. Y u no stock The Bell Jar?!?!

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2011?

From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet. – The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

That quote defines me. Right now. At this point in my life.

16. Book That You Read In 2011 That Would Be Most Likely To Reread In 2012?

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. I sound like a cliché, don’t I?

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

The ending of Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome. When I finished it, the look on my face said: What WTFery is this?!?! I didn’t know what to think, and, cliché as it may sound, I felt like the rug had been pulled from under my feet.

Book Blogging/Reading Life in 201

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2011?

Just one? Seriously? Once again, I’m cheating here, but I discovered a lot of great blogs this year. My new favorite books blogs are:

Reading Rambo – This blog is funny and witty with a ton of GIFs, and reviews of CLASSICS. Reading Rambo is also hosting a Norwegian Wood read-a-long this January which you should probably sign up for.
Every Book and Cranny – This blog is also about classics. It’s full of warmth and personality, and the passionate post on Thomas Hardy inspired me to shake the dust off my copy of Jude the Obscure.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2011?

Probably the one about Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. I sound mostly coherent in that review, which is cool.

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?

The best discussion on my blog this year would probably be On Getting Personal. In that post, we discussed why getting personal is necessary and almost unavoidable—even if/especially if you’re blogging about books. How you interpret and see things reveals so much about you as a person, without sharing information like where you live or your Social Security Number.

4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else's blog?

But MMMOOOMMM, it's a GIIRRRLL book is a post by Amanda over at Dead White Guys. In the post, she discusses the bookish equivalent of dressing your child in blue if it’s a boy and pink if it’s a girl. Smart discussion with lots of great comments.

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

Practically every Literary Blog Hop hosted by The Blue Bookcase is a great event to participate in. I also really enjoyed joining the Gothic Lit Tour hosted by the Classics Circuit, where I reviewed Frankenstein.

6. Best moment of book blogging in 2011?

Winning one of the books from Allie’s bloggiversary giveaway is probably the best blogging moment of 2011.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

Judging by the comments, the most popular post on my blog this year would probably be One Year Bloggiversary // In Which I Act Like a Total Sap. The comments really touched me, and showed me how generous the book blogging community can be.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

None, really.

9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

I want to say Goodreads, but I’ve had an account on Goodreads since 2010. I just didn’t use it that much.

10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I only joined one challenge this year, the R.I.P VI challenge. I read all four books required for the challenge in October, but didn’t review that last one until November. I’m not sure if it counts as completing the challenge or not.

Looking Ahead...

1. One Book You Didn't Get To In 2011 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2012?

Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy. This book feels so beautiful and tragic at the same time. I stepped away from it, because I have a feeling it’s going to break my heart.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2012?

This isn’t a classic, but I cannot wait for The Fault in Our Stars by John Green to come out. He is one of my favorite writers ever, and I have a feeling TFOS will be EPIC. Epic, I tell you!

3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2012?

The one thing I hope to accomplish in 2012 in terms of reading is to make a huge dent in my TBR pile. It doesn’t look like a pile anymore. It looks more like a hill. In terms of blogging, I hope to keep blogging about more classics, and to, hopefully, post more. That’s basically it.


As the Crowe Flies and Reads said...

So...what you're really saying is that you kinda liked The Bell Jar this year?

I've so enjoyed reading your musings on literature this year and I look forward to your 2012 reviews.

everybookandcranny said...

Aw, thanks for the mention, Darlyn! I really enjoy your blog too. ;)

We've enjoyed several of the same books this year. And I also loved Rebecca when I first read it several years ago. Ms. Danvers is definitely one of the creepies characters I've encountered in literature. I reread it last year and it definitely withstands rereading. It served as my segway to classic literature, in fact, as it led me to Collins' The Woman in White, which of course led to others.


Teacher/Learner said...

Congrats on a great year of reading. I also read Rebecca and loved it. Happy holidays & New Year :)

theeclecticreader said...

I have to read the Monk, you make it sound fantastic.
I hope to read a lot from my TBR in 2012 too. Good luck and Happy New Year )

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Darlyn, I loved reading your thoughts on all of these.

Wanted to stop by to wish you a wonderful Holiday; hope it means special time with family and friends.

Vicky B said...

I'm glad you read The Age of Innocence and liked it. I think that book is so overlooked. It is so fantastic.

Trisha said...

Yay for Rebecca and The Monk! And a big reminder that I need to read Lolita; I've been putting that book off for ages and ages.

simplerpastimes said...

Yay for a good reading year! (And you've reminded me to put The Monk on my list of possibilities for next October.)

Good luck with the TBR pile!

Reading Rambo said...


I LOVE the beginning of The Bell Jar. I don't handle depressing books very well, but the opening is just so awesomely good. I felt similarly about The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, only rather than that just being depressing, I loved it for the first half and then the second half...bleah.

Also, have not finished The Monk, but BEST BOOK EVER. Demon nuns! Moonlit assignations! Etc!

Aarti said...

Well, if this post has done anything for me, it's REALLY made me want to read The Bell Jar! Luckily, I own it :-)

Biblibio said...

I guess it's only a good thing that your post made me really want to reread The Bell Jar, because it reminded me that I don't actually own a copy. Blasphemy. Well, I'm going to go take care of that!

Regarding your most anticipated book, I suspect that The Fault in Our Stars is one of the most anticipated book of a lot of people for 2012, at least at this point. For readers who follow John Green online, it's hard not to get excited for the release of a new (and self-hyped) book. Then again, there's also the fact that two enticing chapters have been released to the public already...

Marce said...

I recently put Rebecca on my Wishlist to read next year, sounds good.

My survey if interested

bookrhapsody said...

The Bell Jar looks like a big winner here (and I imagine Plath's ghost thanking the Academy for this). I am looking forward to read this next year. I bought my copy at And oh, NBS Robinson's Manila has copies. :)

Jillian said...

You make me want to read so many of these!! Ethan Frome, Jude the Obscure, The Age of Innocence, The Monk!! I can't wait! I should be able to read them all in 2012.

Happy New Year, Darlyn! :)

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

So many great books! I love Rebecca and yes, Jude will break your heart. Good luck with the computer too. Hope you're back up and running soon!

Lu @ Regular Rumination said...

My big goal for 2012 is to make my TBR mountain more of a hill. We'll see! Good luck with your goals and happy 2012!


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