Book reviews, musings and waffle from a British lit addict

2016 End of Year Book Survey

2016 End of Year Book Survey
This last month or so has flown and I can’t believe that it’s already 2017 and time to fill out Jamie’s (from The Perpetual Page Turner) End of Year Book Survey!  I actually wasn’t sure whether my brain was going to recover sufficiently today after a super late night to enable me to do this but I’ve vaguely rallied and answering questions about the books I read in 2016 seems like as good a way as any to stave off sleep until a more socially acceptable sleeping time.  Overall, I feel as though I’ve had a bloody good year personally (the less said about 2016’s wider failings the better…).  I got engaged, travelled to some wonderful places (Japan being the major highlight!), got a new job that I’m loving and celebrated turning 30.  It’s been fairly action-packed so blogging has fallen by the wayside a little but there are only so many hours in the day so that’s just one of those things.
Number Of Books You Read:  53 books
Number of Re-Reads:  4 (which for me is a lot)
Genre You Read The Most From:  I couldn’t say for certain but my guess would be fantasy.
Bonus facts!
Pages Read:  19,166 pages
Average rating:  3.8 out of 5 stars
1. Best Book You Read In 2016?

YA – Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (review coming soon)
Adult – it’s tough because I have a few really solid contenders!  Either White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi, Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye or A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki.
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Preludes and Nocturnes, the first volume in the Sandman comic series by Neil Gaiman.  I’d been expecting to love this because I’ve heard such great things about it but I really didn’t like it.  I may still pick up the next volume but I’m not sure.
3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  
Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik.  I picked it up after reading Katie’s review and was so pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.  It’s clever and funny and so charming.  It’s such a warm book and I adored it.  The world would be a better place if more people read and loved this book.
 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
Haven’t a clue, actually!
 5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?

Same answer for all three questions – the Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo.  I read and reviewed Six of Crows a few months ago and I recently finished up the series with Crooked Kingdom.  I have a review going up over the next few days but in short, I loved both books but it’s Crooked Kingdom that is the real stand out.  
6. Favourite new author you discovered in 2016?
In graphic novels, Noelle Stevenson (both Nimona and Lumberjanes were so much fun).  More generally, I think Ransom Riggs.  I’ve read the first two novels in the Peculiar Children series this year and I love their quirky style.
7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

I read quite broadly and I can’t think of anything much from this year that I really felt was outside my comfort zone.
 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman.  Which reminds me that I really need to get to Gemina!
9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
I’ve recently started re-reading a bit (so far, only Harry Potter and the Wheel of Time series) but I won’t be picking up anything from 2016 next year.
10. Favourite cover of a book you read in 2016?


11. Most memorable character of 2016?
Kaz Brekker from the Six of Crows duology.  Most of the characters from that book for that matter!
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?
White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi is absolutely stunning.  The writing is incredible and I’m not sure how I can review it without doing more than just writing out quotes from it.
13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?

Gosh, erm…A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson.  It’s a wonderful book (although I personally preferred Life After Life) that really spotlights the futility and wastefulness of war and it has a heck of an ending!  Not ‘life-changing’ but definitely thought-provoking.
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read? 
The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham.  I’ve been meaning to read this for absolutely years and I wish I’d read it earlier.  There is definitely more Wyndham in my future.

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

One evening she pattered around inside me, sipping something strong that wedged colour into her cheeks, and she dragged all my windows open, putting her glass down to struggle with the stiffer latches. I cried and cried for an hour or so, unable to hear the sound of my voice, so shrill and pleading, but unable to stop the will of the wind wheeling through me, cold on my insides. That was the first and last time I’ve heard my own voice” [Page 23 of White is for Witching, told from the houses perspective]

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?

The shortest was Lumberjanes: Volume 1 at 112 pages.  The longest book was The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss at 994 pages but technically I “read” that on audiobook.  Next up that I did read in physical form was The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber at a still not insignificant 845 pages.  I ran a readalong for this one earlier in the year and I adored it until the ending.  That ending still bugs me to high heaven.

17. Book That Shocked You The Most
Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough lived up to its ‘WTF that ending’ hashtag easily.  I have a review written that’ll be up nearer to its release later in January.
18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
Oof – a question that I always struggle with because romance is round about the least thing I’m bothered about in a book. Landline by Rainbow Rowell and the complex but so real feeling relationship between Georgie and Neil was achingly perfect though.
19. Favourite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

The friendship between Nimona and Ballister Blackheart in Nimona was super fun.  I was going to go for the captor-prisoner relationship of another of my five star reads of 2016, The Collector by John Fowles but that seemed a bit morbid so fun friendship it is!

20. Favourite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

That’s got to be my re-read of Harry Potter.  I barely ever re-read but I decided to finally cave and read the script of Cursed Child but wanted to re-read the series first and I have loved going back to it.  I’ve read the first three in the series and am excited to get to Goblet of Fire soon.  It’s my absolute favourite so it’ll be a TREAT!  It also now turns out that I’ll be lucky enough to see the show next year so the purpose of my re-read is now to read them all so that I can re-watch the films with the friend I’ll be seeing the play with!

21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure

I would never have heard of White is for Witching if it hadn’t been for Jean’s BookTube channel, Jean’s Bookish Thoughts, and it turned out to be one of my favourites of the year so that’s as good an example as anything else.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?

I can’t thing of a single answer to this question so clearly none worth mentioning.

23. Best 2016 debut you read?

The Joyce Girl by Annabel Abbs was the only 2016 debut I read, I think (I don’t really keep track of debuts and the like very well…), but it was a corker so that’s fine by me.
24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Ready to be bored by the same answer?  The world of the Six of Crows duology is sordid and dark and it feels incredibly real.  So, so much better than anything portrayed in the Grisha trilogy.
25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss (and its predecessor) are action-packed and glorious.  Like reading myths and legends being spun out and so readable despite being incredibly long.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016?

I literally always cry at books that are even the remotest bit sad.  I’m a crier.  I definitely properly cried at the end of A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (bloody hell that book made me cry) and Crooked Kingdom but also a couple of moments from various Harry Potter instalments.  Oh, oh! And Illuminae.  Many tears at that one!

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

According to GoodReads, the most obscure book that I read was The Jekyll Island Chronicles, Vol. 1: A Machine Age War.  It wasn’t super stand-out but it was reasonable enough.  Nothing else that I read could really be classed as “hidden”.
28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

A Tale for the Time Being gutted me in various places. It’s an absolutely wonderful book and I just haven’t a clue how to review it.  
29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2016?

I’ll resist the urge to write White is for Witching and instead go with The Collector, which even nearly a whole year later really stands out in my mind.  
30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber.  That book made me so bloody cross.  800 odd pages of impeccable writing and character building.  800 odd flipping pages of getting tangled up in the life of Sugar and becoming deeply involved in the story only to encounter a truly terrible ending.  Awful.  The book just stops.

As will this post!  Thanks to everybody who stopped by in 2016 – you’re all fabulous!  Fingers crossed for a winning 2017!