2017 End of Year Book Survey

Yeahie!! The End of Year Book Survey is back! 😀 I enjoy doing this survey though it’s very long (which makes me like it even more) and I enjoy reading others’ responses to them too (because I get book recommendations). So shout out to Jamie, the Perpetual Page-Turner, for creating it.

Number of books read: 74

Books: 30

Audio books: 13

E-books: 15

Comics/graphic novels: 15

Mangas: 1

Number of books reread: 17

Number of books I didn’t finish: 9

Genre I read the most: Fantasy

Best book I read in 2017:

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold

Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards of Artmaking) by David Bayles and Ted Orland

It was hard to choose, but I’ve managed to minimize my favorites to these three. Homegoing is great for the amount of history it covers in its 300 pages and for its writing and storytelling; The Curse of Chalion was simply the best fantasy story I read this year and I loved the protagonist, Cazaril, and how magic and religion is included in the story; and Art & Fear is the best nonfiction book I read this year for the advice it offers and the fact that all artists, no matter what stage they are at (master or novice), can gain insight from it.

Book I was excited about and thought I was going to love but didn’t:

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

I Hate Fairyland, Vol. 1: Madly Ever After by Skottie Young (illus.)

I’m the only person I know of who didn’t love The Bear and the Nightingale as much as everyone else. I was excited for it, but the story was underwhelming to me, unfortunately. Tess of the Road fell flat for me. It’s Hartman’s new novel that’s set in the world of her Seraphina books, and it will be published in February. From all the ravings I’ve seen and heard of I Hate Fairyland, I expected to love the comic book, but I guess the hype got to me and I expected too much of it. It fell flat too.

Most surprising (in a good way or bad way):

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Eldest by Christopher Paolini

From all the negative reviews I’d seen of it, I expected Harry Potter and the Cursed Child to be a horrible read. Instead, I liked it and am glad I waited until the hype blew over before reading it. Little Fires Everywhere was also surprising in a good way because I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did; and Eldest was unfortunately a bad rereading experience. It was such a bore that it took me months to complete rereading it.

Book I “pushed” the most people to read (and they did):

The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks

I couldn’t stop talking about these three when I completed them. However, I don’t know if anyone has read them because I recommended them.

Best series I started. Best sequel. Best series ender:

The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks

Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett

Fool’s Errand by Robin Hobb

Ship of Destiny by Robin Hobb

The Way of Shadows was the best series I started, though I haven’t yet continued with it. I just love all the fighting and badassery in it. Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett was also a great series starter because I was finally able to satiate my curiosity about the Discworld series. Fool’s Errand is actually the first book in a trilogy but can be considered a sequel in the larger Realm of the Elderlings series, and Ship of Destiny did a great job of wrapping up the Liveship Traders trilogy while leaving me hungry for more stories set in that world.

Favorite new author I discovered:

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold

I enjoyed both the writing and storytelling in these stories, as well as how the authors constructed certain characters. These three stories stuck with me long after completing them, and if I’d read Stephen King for the first time this year, I’d include him on this list too. The Shining is the first of his books that’s made me regard him as a possible favorite author.

Best book from a genre I don’t typically read/was outside my comfort zone:

The Shining by Stephen King

Normal by Warren Ellis

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Horror and mystery/thriller are outside my comfort zone: the former because I get scared easily and the later because I’m too impatient to wait for the mystery to be resolved. But these books made me eager to try more books by the authors and other books in the genre.

Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book:

The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks

The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

These three were hard to part from once I was hooked on the story, which didn’t take long. The action and assassins in The Way of Shadows is a major reason why I enjoyed the book, and the horror element in The Ballad of Black Tom was exciting. I love the voice of the antagonist in Gone Girl and was too curious to see how things would be resolved to part from the story for long.

Book I read in 2017 that I’m most likely to reread next year:

The River by Alessandro Sanna

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

The Wicked + the Divine, Vol. 4: Rising Action by Kieron Gillen, illus. by Jamie McKelvie

It’s highly possible that I’ll revisit these, especially The River and volume 4 of WicDiv because the illustrations in them are gorgeous. And I’d love to listen to the audio version of Noah’s Born a Crime, which I’ve heard is the best way to experience his memoir.

Favorite cover of the books I read:

Above the Timberline by Gregory Manchess (illus.)

Absolutely breathtaking and does a great job of capturing the setting of the story while teasing the viewer on what the story is about.

Most memorable character:

Durzo Blint — The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks

Granny Weatherwax — Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett

Black Tom — The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle

Durzo Blint is a total badass and a major reason why I loved the book; Granny Weatherwax is awesome and I’d love to know more about her; and Black Tom is so sinister toward the end. I’d love to know where he’ll pops up next.

Most beautifully written book:

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters by Ursula Le Guin

Oh my gosh! These were the best written books I read this year and there are a few more I could add to this list. The writing is one of many reasons why I loved Gyasi and Ng’s books as much as I did, and I simply admire Le Guin’s writing and wish I could write as well as she.

Most thought-provoking/life-changing book:

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

Madness: A Bipolar Life by Marya Hornbacher

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan

These nonfiction books, all memoirs/autobiographies, were deeply thought-provoking and all great reads. Born a Crime gave me informed me about living under apartheid in South Africa, and the last two are illuminating reads on mental illness.

Book I can’t believe I waited UNTIL 2017 to finally read:

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (illus.)

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed

These three are books I’d heard of often before finally reading them in 2017, smh. They were all good. I watched the movie adaptation of the first two books years before reading them, and am glad to find the book just as good and even better in some parts.

Favorite passage/quote from a book I read in 2017:

Umm…so I couldn’t choose just one because I love highlighting quotes and passages from the books I read. Actually, I’ve collected a bunch and posted them to this page full of quotes. I need to update it soon. Here are my favorite quotes and passages from books I read this year:

“Evil begets evil. It grows. It transmutes, so that sometimes you cannot see that the evil in the world began as the evil in your own home.” — Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

“The air itself was a wild brawl of smells and sounds: the punch of unwashed flesh, the scream of a scratching mandolin, the jab of tobacco smoke, the glee of a whistling pipe, the occasional head butt of sour urine, the aching sorrow of a moaning lute. All that, and voices singing, laughing, yelling, swearing, and groaning in myriad different ways.” — The Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames

“Some things were too big to be really trapped in words, and even the words were too powerful to be completely tamed by writing.” — Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett

“When you fear to fail, you fear something that has not happened yet. You predict your own failure, and by inaction, lock yourself into it.” — Ship of Destiny by Robin Hobb

“The language of the street eventually becomes the language of the schoolhouse.” / “Art is a way of coping with the world by bringing it under the microscope of detail.” — Letters to a Young Writer by Colum McCann

“Relationships are built in the silences. You spend time with people, you observe them and interact with them, and you come to know them — and that is what apartheid stole from us: time.” — Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

“The useless days will add up to something.” — Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

Shortest and longest books I read:

The Journey by Francesca Sanna (illus.)

Where Are You Going, Manyoni? by Catherine Stock (illus.)

The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan

Mad Ship by Robin Hobb

The shortest books I read were the children’s picture books The Journey and Where Are You Going, Manyoni, which both were 48 pages long. As for the longest books, that’s a debate. One could say The Shadow Rising, which is a reread by audio book, is the longest because the physical copy is over 1,000 pages long, but I’m not sure I should consider it here since I listened to the audio book. The second longest book is Mad Ship at about 850 pages.

Book that shocked me the most:

Saga, Vol. 4 by Brian K. Vaughan, illus. by Fiona Staples

Just Saga, Vol. 4 because I didn’t expect the turn the story takes here, though I enjoyed it. It’s my favorite of the series so far.

Favorite book I read in 2017 from an author I’ve read previously:

The Shining by Stephen King

Another single answer because the majority of books I read this year were either rereads or new-to-me authors.

Best book I read in 2017 that I read based SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else/peer pressure.

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book about Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson

I read these based on the hype surrounding them. I got curious about Born a Crime and was pleased that it was both an entertaining and informative read. I heard that Wintersong has great writing, which drew me to the book. I liked the writing but not the story, and everyone raves about Furiously Happy and now I know why.

Best 2017 debut I read:

Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames

Above the Timberline by Gregory Manchess (illus.)

Of the few debut novels I read, these two were the best. I enjoyed Kings of the Wyld, which was a fun read, and Above the Timberline was both interesting and a bit unique because it’s basically a short sci-fi novel in graphic novel form because the entire thing is illustrated.

Best worldbuilding/most vivid setting:

The Shining by Stephen King

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Above the Timberline by Gregory Manchess (illus.)

The hotel from The Shining, the Overlook Hotel, stayed in my mind for weeks after reading and even made me a little fearful when walking down the hallway of a hotel I stayed at shortly after completing the story. The Bear and the Nightingale and Above the Timberline are both set in cold climes I wouldn’t be able to survive. They both actually made me feel a little chilly while reading them.

Book that put a smile on my face/was the most fun to read:

The Fog Diver by Joel Ross

Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide by J.K. Rowling

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book about Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson

Definitely The Fog Diver, which is a fun middle-grade adventure novel set in the future. Hogwarts e-book from Pottermore was also fun because it provided me with interesting tidbits on Hogwarts that entertained and helped to curb my craving to reread the series again, and Furiously Happy was a hilarious read at times. It certainly put a smile on my face.

Book that made me cry or nearly cry:

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed

Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki by Mamoru Hosoda, illus. by Yu

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

These three made me nearly cry and I probably shed a single tear while reading Tiny Beautiful Things because of how heartrending some of the letters are. I got a little sad toward the end of Wolf Children and when I learned of Mia’s backstory in Little Fires Everywhere.

Hidden gem of the year:

Letters to a Young Writer: Some Practical and Philosophical Advice by Colum McCann

I’ve only seen this book mentioned on one other blog and haven’t seen it mentioned a lot online either, which I think is odd because it’s a short, quick read that’s packed with lots of great advice on writing.

Most unique book.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (illus.)

Above the Timberline by Gregory Manchess (illus.)

Normal by Warren Ellis

These were quite unique reads for me because Selznick’s book is accompanied by illustrations and relies on the illustrations, as much as words, to tell the story. Manchess’s book is basically a graphic novel, but it’s the first I’ve read that illustrates an entire novel. Each page is filled with breathtaking paintings that are important to the telling of the story. And Normal is just a quirky story that I find odd and think is unique.

Book that made me the most mad (doesn’t necessarily mean I didn’t like it):

Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

Gilded Cage by Vic James

I’m more frustrated with these two than angry at them. I wanted to like Tess of the Road (which will be published in February 2018), but thought it was problematic in some areas, and Gilded Cage needs stronger world building.

Best book title:

(This is a category I added to the survey.)

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

It perfectly encapsulates what we later understand when we read the book.


New favorite book blog I discovered:

I can’t tell from my Reader thing who I started to follow this year, but here are 3 blogs I enjoy that I know (off the top of my head) that I just subscribed to this year:

Nut Free Nerd

Bethan May Books

Perspective of a Writer

Favorite review I wrote:

★★★★☆

The River by Alessandro Sanna (illus.) because my love for the book grew as I wrote about it. It’s a children’s picture book about a town by a river. The story doesn’t have much words and instead relies almost entirely on the illustrations.

Best discussion/non-review post:

Here are a few I’m proud of because I think I did a decent job on writing them and liked the feedback I got:

On Writing, which is basically my thoughts on writing — or rather, the struggle to write.

Journaling is about my attempts to maintain a journal, my journaling process, and my plans for journaling in 2018.

Hooked on Comics was inspired by a NPR article that lists 100 favorite comics and graphic novels. In this post, I discuss why I love comics and share the comics I’ve read, as well as the ones from the article that I’d like to read.

Cinderella is a discussion on why the Cinderella fairy tale is my favorite.

Best event I participated in:

On my blog:

Reading Quest Readathon

This is one of Aentee’s (Read at Midnight) amazing readathons. I loved this one and enjoyed it so much that I was successful at completing it, thus making me a BATTLE MAGE! 😀

In my bookish life:

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Eudora Welty Lecture

This is one of the most amazing things I did last year. The Eudora Welty Lecture is hosted by the PEN/Faulkner Foundation and the Eudora Welty Foundation. It honors “the most prominent writers working in the English language today,” who then give a speech on their creative origins. If you’d like to listen to Adichie’s speech, follow the link above.

In my personal life:

Visiting Mexico 😀

Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2017:

Umm… I think I just mentioned it — seeing Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speak, — though noticing that my writing skills have improved is pretty dope too.

Most challenging thing about blogging or my reading life this year:

Posting reviews in a timely manner; reading ARCs in time for the book’s publication; keeping up with blogs I follow; trying to figure out ways to create nice graphics without having to pay for PicMonkey 😥 (I miss Pic Monkey, but I’m trying to save.)

Most popular post this year on my blog:

My review of salt. by Nayyirah Waheed, which I posted in 2016, got the most views. Of the posts published in 2017, my wrap-up of the first quarter received the most views.

Post I wish got a little more love:

Umm… maybe the discussion posts I mentioned above.

Best bookish discovery:

This reading stats spreadsheet that I used to track my reading and book buying in 2017. Brock, the booktuber who created the spreadsheet, recently released an updated version for 2018.

Did I complete any reading challenges or goals that I had set for myself at the beginning of 2017?

I sure did! I surprised myself by completing a few and surpassing my Goodreads goal of 40 books. I plan to do a reflection post on my reading in 2017, which probably isn’t needed after this long-ass post, but I don’t care. I enjoy typing up such things.


One book I didn’t get to in 2017 but will be my number 1 priority in 2018:

The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg (illus.)

I borrowed this from the library in early 2017, but the librarian overlooked it when checking out my books, so it has no due date, which made me procrastinate on reading it. There was no urgency to return it to the library. (I guess the lack of urgency is also why I have a hard time reading my own books.) However, I’d like to finally complete it in the first quarter of 2018 so I can return it to the library for someone else to borrow. I feel guilty for borrowing it for the whole year. The poor librarians must think it’s lost or stolen.

Book I’m most anticipating for 2018 (non-debut):

Ehh… I’m not really anticipating anything. I’m just taking it easy. I don’t want to pressure myself too much because I’d like to read more of my own books. However, I’d like to read the second books in Brent Week’s Night Angel trilogy and Lois McMaster Bujold’s World of Five Gods series in 2018.

2018 debut I’m most anticipating:

The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale

It’s a historical fantasy novel, I think, set after WWI. I’m not anticipating it, but I would like to read it. It will be published in February.

Series ending/a sequel I’m most anticipating in 2018:

Golden Fool by Robin Hobb

I’m definitely looking forward to reading the second novel in the Tawney Man trilogy with Emily for Embuhlee liest.

One thing I hope to accomplish or do in my reading/blogging life in 2018:

Exercise some self-discipline and spend less money on books.


All done. 😀

15 thoughts on “2017 End of Year Book Survey

  1. I very nearly read Curse of the Chalion last year because of your recommendation! It only got delayed because I was trying to read more books I already own first. But it’s one of the first on my list to buy and read this year 🙂 Way of Shadows is on my list too because of your rec!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awesome! I actually reread Curse of Chalion by audiobook back in October/November and it was good too, so you can try that format if you’re comfortable with it. I do hope you’ll like it too.
      And also Way of Shadows, which I think is grimdark (I’m slowly learning these terms) so it has a lot of violence, but I really like some of the characters. So entertaining. I look out for your thoughts on both when you get to them!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post! I’ve been tempted with The River a few times, i’m going to read your review next.
    And your writing and journaling posts sound like me cup of tea, i’ll check those out too!

    Like

  3. hehe well I went out and bought a second hand copy of curse of the chalion the second I read your awesome review… I’m just embarrassed at this point that I still haven’t read it- but I’m a massive mood reader, sooo *excuse me while I hang my head in shame* 😉 Yay to Equal Rites being the best series starter and Granny Weatherwax is such a memorable character. I love the Reading quest challenge- it looked so cool! And wow that’s awesome that you went to Mexico! 😀 Toymakers looks so good as well 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. First of all, LOVE all the difference categories you have! 🙂

    I actually loved I Hate Fairyland, because of how it threw the fairyland trope on its head, but I can totally understand how someone may not love it too because I felt it’s major weakness was how shallow the plot feels.

    HIGHLY recommend continueeing Brent Week’s series, and The Shinning is one of the few novels out there that actually managed to scare me.

    Love the painting for that cover, and I just watched HUGO for the first time two nights ago 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea, I Hate Fairyland didn’t work for me and now that you said it, I think it is because it was shallow why I didn’t like it. I wasn’t crazy about the art either, but I can see that it could be entertaining to some folks.
      Woohoo!! Thanks for the Brent Weeks rec. I’m glad I discovered his books and Durzo Blint, who I’m crazy for.
      I saw the Hugo movie before reading the book. Both are great and pretty much the same.
      And def give Above the Timberline a try. I do hope publishers will consider doing more painted novels, as it’s described (pretty much like a long graphic novel to me).

      Like

  5. You read many great books in 2017! I’ve read about half of the books that you mentioned on this list and had similar feelings with most. I enjoyed The Bear and the Nightingale more than you did though. Brain on Fire was so good! I felt like I was reading a psychological thriller… and Furiously Happy… my husband kicked me out of our bedroom when I was reading that because I was laughing so hard and he was trying to sleep lol I also read Homegoing and really enjoyed it. I had never read a book where each chapter was a new perspective. Not an easy feat to pull off! Plus I really learned a lot from that book.

    Like

    1. Yea, I’m the oddball who didn’t like Bear and the Nightingale. I guess I read it at the wrong time. And yea, Brain on Fire was a bit like a thriller, which was surprising because it all happened to the author. For a while, I thought they wouldn’t find out what was wrong (totally forgetting that they must have since Cahalan wrote the book).
      And lol at your hubby kicking you out.
      Homegoing is amazing.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.