End of Year Book Survey 2013: A Collaborative Blog Post from the GatheringBooks Ladies

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Myra, Fats, and Iphigene here today greeting you a HAPPY NEW YEAR with the End of Year Book Survey hosted by Jamie from The Perpetual Page Turner.

This is going to be a bit tough since there are three of us answering the survey. So we thought it best to color code our responses, as per usual.

Orange for Myra

Blue for Fats

Green for Iphigene

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1. Best Book You Read In 2013?

Myra: This is one of those moments that I am grateful for the fact that we keep a reading calendar to keep track of books we read every month. I would only choose my top two:

Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

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The Merchant of Marvels and the Peddler of Dreams by Frederic Clement.

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2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t? 

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Myra: I just discovered as I am typing this post that Iphigene has actually written a review of Rebecca Stead’s When You Reach Me here. This is our January book for my adult book club here in Singapore (SNOB-Geeks or Saturday Night Out for Book Geeks). I suppose I had high expectations of the book because it won the Newbery Medal. While I did not dislike the book, I wasn’t crazy about it either. I felt that there was a great deal of “foreshadowing” but I could already discern the twists somewhere in the middle of the narrative. And so when everything was revealed in the end, it was anticlimactic for me.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013? 

Fats: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith. There’s more to the story than just the statistical probability of love at first sight.

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Iphigene: Two Boys Kissing. While I’ve read Levithan’s books, I didn’t expect this book to be the way it was. It stirred in me emotions that I didn’t expect it to.

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4. Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013? 

Myra: I was crazy about Fox by Margaret Wild and Ron Brooks early this year. I couldn’t recommend this book enough to most everyone. Such a powerful picture book. Reminds me of a song by Jewel “in the end, only kindness matters.”

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5. Best series you discovered in 2013?

Myra: I promised myself that I would finish the Game of Thrones series this year, and I did! Woohoo! I finished reading the fifth book, A Dance with Dragons by George RR Martin last October and it left me reeling. 

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I was also very happy to discover the local graphic novel series Trese by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo

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6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2013?

Myra: This would be David Levithan, hands down.

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

Fats: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I refused to read the book while there was so much hype going on about it. I didn’t want people’s comments and reactions to the book affect my own thoughts about it. I certainly enjoyed it more than Looking for Alaska.

Courtesy of The Fault in our Stars by John Green (Poster from Powerbooks FB Page)

Courtesy of The Fault in our Stars by John Green (Poster from Powerbooks FB Page)

Iphigene: I think  a lot of the YA’s I’ve read this year have been surprisingly good to me, but if I should pick one its probably Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell.

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8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?

Myra: I would still say it’s A Dance with Dragons by George RR Martin.

As I have written down a few months back: Raced through the last few chapters as if The Others were behind me. Or Drogon and his black wings. Tore my hair out, screamed and swore at george rr martin’s red god and that bloody wall with stealthy daggers, and even threw the book at the couch earlier only to scramble after it to read the next few pages avidly after mourning and crying out in exasperation like a woman possessed.

9. Book You Read In 2013 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year? 

Fats: The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan. So good.

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10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?

Myra: As I am a huge Anthony Browne fan, I would say that it’s his book cover of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland that takes the cake for me in 2013:

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11. Most memorable character in 2013?

Myra: Infinite Darlene from Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?

Fats: The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan. The writer is just pure genius.

Myra: I couldn’t agree more. I love this book too. I just realized that we failed to write a book review for The Lover’s Dictionary. Perhaps in 2014, Fats? Iphigene? :) These are my favorite words from this ingeniously-written book. I took a picture of the page and edited it using an iPhone app:

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Isn’t that gorgeous? This one, however, made me gasp in all its truth. Hit quite close to home.

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Iphigene: Two Boys Kissing. I’ve read so little this year, I have very few to choose from.

Myra: Looks like David Levithan captured the GatheringBooks Ladies’ hearts this year.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013?

Fats: Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield. Powerful stuff. I cried.

Iphigene: Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila. I know, such a strange book…but it just hit me and it hit me hard.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read? 

Myra: Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

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Fats: Each Little Bird that Sings by Deborah Wiles. I’ve had the book for two years. Every time I took it from the shelf, I’d end up putting it back without even bothering to look at it. When I read it, I fell in love with ten-year-old Comfort Snowberger, the adorable narrator of the book.

Iphigene: Breakfast at Tiffany by Truman Capote. It’s a classic. It’s not the same as the movies. But man, Capote’s writing is an experience.

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15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013? 

Myra: This one is not really a passage but a poem from Carol Ann Duffy’s book of poetry which I bought during the Singapore Writers Festival in 2013.

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16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

Fats: Shortest – The Missing Tarts by B.G. Hennessy. It had 32 pages, with one line per page. (The first page had about five lines.) Longest – Unnatural Creatures: Stories Selected by Neil Gaiman (480 pages)

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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! 

Fats: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. The book has many parts that are just downright creepy but hauntingly beautiful. One of these is the part in which the narrator recalled what happened to a stranger when the former was only seven years old.

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18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2013 (be it romantic, friendship, etc). 

Myra: Now this is tough. Given my love for fiction picture books though, I choose Pete and Pickles by Berkeley Breathed.

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19. Favorite Book You Read in 2013 From An Author You’ve Read Previously 

Fats: Unnatural Creatures by Neil Gaiman. It has a good selection of stories of bizarre creatures.

Iphigene: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

20. Best Book You Read In 2013 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else 

Fats: The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan. I didn’t know about this book until Myra posted a picture of it and another friend mentioned it to me.

21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2013?

Myra: Oh, this is easy. Fiction picture books! :)

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013? 

Fats: Augustus Waters from The Fault in Our Stars. It didn’t help that they had to release a picture of Joshua Anthony Brand posing as Augustus. (Sadly, he won’t be playing the part in the film adaptation of the book.)

Click on the link to be taken to the tumblr websource.

Click on the link to be taken to the tumblr websource.

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013? 

Fats: The Lost Thing by Shaun Tan,

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followed closely by The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M. Valente.

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Iphigene: The Ocean at the End of the Lane…the other world.

25. Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2013?

Fats: The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict by Trenton Lee Stewart. It has the same charm and wit as The Mysterious Benedict Society series.

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26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2013?

Myra: This would still be Pete and Pickles by Berkeley Breathed. Let me add Old Pig by Margaret Wild and Ron Brooks too.

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27. Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out?

Fats: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews. The book was cited as the winner of the 2012 CYBILS for Young Adult Fiction, and it has an average rating of 3.64 stars on Goodreads.

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I don’t think many people have read the book, or were even aware of it when it came out. While it could not be helped to compare this book with John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, the former doesn’t dwell much on teen drama. More honest, less cheesy.

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1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2013?

Myra: The Monday Reading meme has led us to quite a few wonderful book bloggers I am looking forward to knowing more this year. Here are three of our new friends here in GatheringBooks: Carrie Gelson of There’s a Book for That, Adrienne Gear from Reading Power Gearand Elisabeth Ellington from The Dirigible Plum.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2013?

Fats: Flying Without Wings in Lauren Mills and Dennis Nolan’s Fairy Wings. I adore the book!

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3. Best discussion you had on your blog?

Myra: My post on Accelerated Reader has generated quite a vibrant discussion among teachers, librarians, authors, poets, book bloggers. It was even included on “This Week’s “Round-Up” Of Useful Posts & Articles On Education Policy” by Larry Ferlazzo who writes for Education Week Teacher and writes a weekly post for The New York Times. 

His articles on education policy also regularly appear in the Washington Post and the Huffington Post. He also included my post on his “List Of The Best Posts & Articles On Accelerated Reader.”

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

Myra: It’s still the Asian Festival of Children’s Content here in Singapore. Admittedly, I am biased since I am the Programme Director for the Festival, but I still believe it’s one of the most vibrant kidlit conferences this part of the globe. We even invited Erik Weibel from This Kid Reviews Books to make a virtual guest appearance!

6. Best moment of book blogging/your book life in 2013? 

Fats: When authors and/or artists themselves leave a comment on my post. A simple thank you is a source of so much inspiration. (It was nice of James Christopher Carroll, author of The Boy and the Moon, to drop by and leave a comment on our blog.)

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

Myra: It’s still my post entitled “Does the Accelerated Reader Program Help Develop Lifelong Readers?” It has 52 comments to date (including pingbacks), 785 facebook shares, and 60 Twitter shares.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Fats: My review on The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict. (This is secretly my way of inviting people to read The Mysterious Benedict Society series because they are so much fun to read!)

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

Fats: Literature Is My Utopia and Brain Pickings (especially their book-related posts) that I discovered on Facebook. It’s nice to read something worthwhile on Facebook once in a while. Heh.

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

Myra: We have our very own Reading Challenge where we ‘challenge’ ourselves to read 365 books in a year across all three of us. As it is now the end of the year, here’s our round up of the total number of books read for 2013:

Myra

  • January-February: 77 
  • March-April: 56
  • May-June: 43
  • July-August: 43
  • September-October: 49
  • November-December: 63
  • TOTAL for Myra: 331

I checked how my 331 books are distributed across genres for 2013, and this is how it looks like:

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Fats

  • January-February: 13 books
  • March-April: 8
  • May-June: 41
  • July-August: 22
  • September-October: 6
  • November-December: 22
  • TOTAL for Fats: 112

Iphigene

  • January-February: 8 books
  • March-April: 9
  • May-June: 11
  • July-August: 4
  • September-October: 6
  • November-December: 8
  • TOTAL for Iphigene: 46

Total Books Read for 2013 across all three of us here at GatheringBooks: 489!!! Not bad!

We also joined three reading challenges this year.

The Book Bingo we abandoned simply because it was just too complicated and we were able to reach a bingo at one point which is good enough for our purposes. 

We have also finished the A-Z Book Challenge and read books that begin with each letter from the alphabet.

We have also exceeded expectations for the Read-a-Latte Challenge. We were only supposed to read and review 150 books but we reviewed more than 250 in all.

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1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2013 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2014? 

Fats: Fairest of All by Serena Valentino

Iphigene: This has to be 1Q84. It’s a shame, I’ve had this book sitting on my shelf and hadn’t had the opportunity to read it.

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2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2014 (non-debut)? 

Fats: The World of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. The book is rumored to be released in fall 2014. (Hopefully, I’ll be done reading A Song of Ice and Fire series before the release date.)

3. 2014 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Fats: Hook’s Revenge by Heidi Schulz. (Hard question to answer because I barely know any debut authors/novelists.)

4. Series Ending You Are Most Anticipating in 2014?

Myra: I think my answer is quite self-evident at this point – Game of Thrones! I am avidly waiting for Books 6 and 7.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2014? 

Myra: There are a few things that we are planning for GatheringBooks but I suppose we’d do a separate post for that. We would definitely continue with our 365 Annual Reading Calendar. I hope to read more adult literature and YA fiction as well this 2014.  

We are also hosting our very own Check Off your Reading List Challenge 2014 (CORL 2014)Click here to know more and sign up!

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Fats: Hopefully, I’ll be able to draft more advanced posts than the previous year. Either way, the key to preserving sanity is to just keep reading.

Iphigene: I think in general is to read more. 2013 was sort of a sabbatical for me both as a reader and a blogger. I do hope to get back on the work and definitely write more meaningful reviews. I’d like to take my time to read books and write my thoughts on them. I want my reviews on books to be more insightful and more personal in a way that I’m most comfortable. If I look at the reviews I wrote in the past, those I’m proud of was given an extra amount of attention and I’d like to replicate that for everything I post in 2014.

I also like to get work done on the site. Being away from GB this year (2013) left a lot of web-admin stuff up on the air. There are improvements underway. I haven’t had the time to get to work on them, but I do hope we get it all done slowly but surely.  I need to work on our logo, our header, the layout of our site. These things would be my top priority. For reading, I’d like to read more of my ‘heavier’ reading done early this year. I hope to read at least 4 long books a month and get a lot of my TBR out of the way.

*** Video ads other readers may find at the bottom of this post are NOT endorsed by GatheringBooks but are randomly included by WordPress to maintain their site. ***

3 Comments on End of Year Book Survey 2013: A Collaborative Blog Post from the GatheringBooks Ladies

  1. Loved this post! There are at least twenty titles that I want to add to my TBR list. At the top of the list is David Levithan. Embarrassed to admit that I haven’t read anything by him ever. Sounds like he might be my new favorite author in 2014, or at least the author that I didn’t know, but everyone else does. Thanks much!

    Like

  2. Myra: I became obsessed and plowed through A Song of Ice and Fire Series 1-4 this year! I hope to finally read A Dance with Dragons this 2014. And then begin the wait for books 6 and 7. And also excited for season 4 of the TV Series. :)

    Fats: Love the creepy atmosphere of The Ocean at The End of the Lane. I remember that scene about the stranger. Powerful stuff. Also, I couldn’t seem to forget the part where the varmits start ripping things from the surroundings. And will now bump Unnatural Creatures on my list. And there’s going to be another GRRM book this year? The World of Ice and Fire? Yay! Is it like a supplementary novel to ASoIaF series?:)

    Iphigene: I love the bond between the narrator and Lettie too. I did not expect it to run as deep as it did. Also, will put Two Boys Kissing on my list and try a Rainbow Rowell as well. :)

    489! Woo hoo! Happy New Year, Girls!:D

    Like

  3. 489! Whoa! :D Great job! :D I liked this post! :D

    Like

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