End of Year Book Survey 2012: The Myra Edition


We are excited to once again join the End of Year Book Survey as hosted by Jamie from The Perpetual Page Turner. We initially thought of just doing our own round-up but since we joined this survey last year, we thought that we might as well continue this lovely tradition. This time though, Fats, Iphigene and myself would be doing our posts separately.

Best In Books 2012

1. Best Book You Read In 2012? (You can break it down by genre if you want).

I would most definitely break this one into genre. It’s great that we have documented all the books that we have read via our Reading Calendar 2012, and I can easily check the books that I have read throughout the year. I am posting my top five greatest book-reads in 2012 and they are presented in no particular order. These books were not necessarily published in 2012, it just so happened that I discovered them last year. Click on the images to be taken to my reviews of the books.

Picture Books






YA Fiction


















Adult Novel






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

Now this one is tough. I suppose I’d go with The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. Click on the image below to be taken to my review of the book.


3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012? 

I can’t really say I was surprised much by the books I read in 2012. I would say, though, that I was pleasantly surprised by how much I fell in love with Candy Gourlay’s Tall Story. That one is a true winner.

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?

It would have to be Patrick Ness’ A Monster CallsI remember marveling at the amazing subtlety of a book that tackles the most difficult of subjects – still sends shivers down my spine.

5. Best series you discovered in 2012?

I’ve discovered so many book series this year. Let me share my top two though:


I confess I have not finished the series yet. I am still in Book Three. I am hoping though that I would get to finish these lovelies in 2013.


The Chaos Walking Trilogy would also be on my top series list.

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?

That would be Patrick Ness, Armin Greder, Oliver Jeffers and my top favorites now: Ray Bradbury (where has he been all my life?) and the insanely brilliant Walter Moers.

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

I do not normally read extremely thick books and hardcore fantasy, but when I discovered Walter Moers, everything changed for me. I would have to choose The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear as my answer for this one. That book is massive. Yet I enjoyed reading


8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?

I know I tend to repeat myself but Patrick Ness’ The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer and Monsters of Men would be in this list.

9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year

I rarely do re-reads, but if ever I would do this, I would probably go for my top 5 picture books read this 2012 (see answer above).

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?

Because I am a Maira Kalman fan, I choose Why We Broke Up as my absolute favorite cover. Also one of the hands-down brilliant reads I had in 2012.


11. Most memorable character in 2012? 

Optimus Yarnspinner in The City of Dreaming BooksI never thought I’d fall in love with a literary dinosaur but I did. Another memorable character is Milo in The Annotated Phantom Tollbooth, and Min Green from Why We Broke Up.

Princesses Rhyme and Reason
Princesses Rhyme and Reason

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?

It has to be The Annotated Phantom Tollbooth for me. I think all children should read this book at one point in their lives.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?

Ok, I think 12 and 13 are roughly the same questions, but I’d probably go for Margarita Engle’s Hurricane Dancers for the simple fact that some of the words spoke to my soul – it was not the entire narrative but bits and pieces that resonated with me.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read? 


So many of my friends have mentioned Ray Bradbury to me and this particular book, Something Wicked this Way Comes. I can not believe I only read this masterpiece in 2012.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012? 

These quotes are from Margarita Engle’s Hurricane Dancers:



This quote is from Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia – the passage that made me cry my heart out:


This is from Walter Moers’ The Alchemaster’s Apprentice:

Echo sighed. ‘I know little enough about the world down here, but even less about the ones up there.’

‘First the holes,’ said Theodore. ‘They aren’t holes at all, they’re stars – suns like ours, but much further away. Got that?’

‘Suns,’ said Echo. ‘Got it.’

‘Good. Those are what exists in the uniserve: suns, platens, gaxalies – everything one can see and measure. Everything that exists.’

‘Everything that exists,’ Echo repeated.

‘And do you see what’s in between the stars?’ Theodore raised one wing and indicated the night sky with a sweeping gesture.

‘The black stuff? Yes, I see it.’

‘But it’s nothing at all, so how can you see it?’

‘I don’t know…’ Echo replied uncertainly. ‘I just can.’

‘Exactly. It’s nothing, but you can see it just the same. That’s what might exist in the uniserve – what can’t be measured. There are lots of words for it. Fate. Love. Death…’ (p. 92)

And finally, from Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes:

Why love the woman who is your wife? Her nose breathes in the air of a world that I know; therefore I love that nose. Her ears hear music I might sing half the night through; therefore I love her ears. Her eyes delight in seasons of the land; and so I love those eyes. Her tongue knows quince, peach, chokeberry, mint and lime; I love to hear it speaking. Because her flesh knows heat, cold, affliction, I know fire, snow, and pain. Shared and once again shared experience. Billions of prickling textures. Cut one sense away, cut part of life away. Cut two senses; life halves itself on the instant. We love what we know, we love what we are. – pp. 176-177.

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012? 

Shortest book is The Story of a Little Mouse Trapped in a Book.


Longest book is Walter Moers’ The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear.

17/18. 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! Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

I love the unlikely romance (and the inevitable tragic ending) between Min Green and Ed Slaterton, the star basketball player in Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman’s Why We Broke Up. It’s bittersweet, its pain a radiant glow that is almost tangible I can touch it, the striking naivete and the entire romance of it all took my breath away.

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously?


While I love both Florence Parry Heide and Lane Smith, this is the first collaborative book project that I knew they did and it’s a lovely book that I shall come to again and again. So many layers to tease out in terms of empowerment, feminism, notion of princesses and flight.

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

This would still be Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked this Way Comes.

Book Blogging/Reading Life in 2012

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2012?

Being part of the kidlitosphere is one of the best things that happened to us in GatheringBooks. I am glad to have gotten to know other wonderful book bloggers such as the awesome Erik from This Kid Reviews Books, the amazing Frizztext of FlickrComments who hosts the A-Z Photo Challenge, Pam Coughlan of Mother Reader, Sheila at Book Journey whose Monday meme we love to join, and the indefatigable Jen and Kellee from TeachMentorTexts.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2012? 

I have been productive when it comes to doing book reviews this year, but my favorite would have to be my review of The Boy Who Loved Words by Roni Schotter and Giselle Potter. Click on the image below to be taken to the link:


3. Best discussion you had on your blog?

The best discussion I think would be a post that Iphigene wrote on Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games.

The Hunger Games: Tribute Guide

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

My involvement in the Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC) is, hands-down, the best event I could think of. This is made even more special with the fact that the regional focus in 2012 was the Philippines. Click on the image below to be taken to one of my posts about the AFCC.

Taken from Russell's Facebook Account - with permission from Russell Molina.
Taken from Russell’s Facebook Account – with permission from Russell Molina.

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

Yes, yes, and yes! This is one of the things that I am most proud of. We had to scramble to finish the Newbery Medal Reading Challenge as well as the Novel-in-Verse Reading Challenge, but as a whole, I think we went over and beyond our expectations across all the challenges. Iphigene would provide you with a detailed update on this one.

Looking Ahead…

1. One book you didn’t get to in 2012 but will be your number one priority in 2013.

226125_4084457342675_1041341590_nSince I was taken hostage by both Bradbury and Moers, I have allowed George RR Martin to languish on the side. I hope to finish the entire series this 2013.


That being said, I still need to finish Walter Moers’ Rumo. I am also nearly done with Ray Bradbury’s The October Country. Evidently, I read several books all at the same time.

3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2013?

Be more active in answering comments here in the blog (I rarely have the time to do that to my chagrin, I would really love to find more time to do this), do more advance posts, and know more people in the kidlitosphere and the YA blogosphere – such an affirming community this book blogging universe. I also hope I get to update our Goodreads Challenge before Iphigene posts her responses to this meme. 🙂

A Glorious 2013 to One and All!

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

9 comments on “End of Year Book Survey 2012: The Myra Edition

  1. Hi, Mara! Happy New Year! Reading this post and seeing all the book covers was like taking a walk down memory lane. I don’t know why I get so excited when I see someone read a book I’ve read before but I do. I put a request on The City of Dreaming Books and saw that there was a sequel- The Labyrinth of Dreaming Books. I look forward to reading more of your posts in the upcoming year!.


  2. What a year you’ve had! Serendipity! I just recommended the Ness Trilogy & A Monster Calls to someone on another blog, + the Handler book, although I still need to get it too! Congratulations on all the successes Myra.


  3. Yay for Chaos Walking! I hope I can wrap up the series with Monsters of Men this year and maybe start A Game of Thrones. Have a great 2013 Myra! 😀


  4. Great job! I love The Phantom Tollbooth!


  5. Fats Suela

    Hello StarMom,

    So many wonderful books you’ve read this year. I don’t know which ones to read first. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for The Game of Thrones and The Chaos Walking trilogy. I don’t think I’ll buy them any time soon but I leave that to my impulses. Haha.

    For the fun and delight of it, and yes that luscious cover, I might just get Why We Broke Up. For now, I’ll keep myself busy browsing through the CYBILS contenders for our bimonthly theme. Gotta try to draft more this year.

    Here’s to 2013 for Gathering Books! Lezzzdothis!! =)


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