Book reviews, musings and waffle from a British lit addict

2017 End of Year Survey

2017 End of Year Survey

I was going to do a straight ‘Top Books of the Year’ post and then I was struggling to think of books to put onto it.  It turns out that I’ve had a bit of a mixed reading year.  On GoodReads, I have just two 5 star reads for the year and one of those is a Harry Potter re-read.  Perhaps I’ve been being harsh because looking over my 4 star reads, there were some real treats in there so it isn’t all doom and gloom! ALSO, I’ve done this survey for years now so it seems a shame not to do it this year before I start in on some 2018 challenges.

I’m a little early but I’m busy over the next couple of days and I can’t see myself finishing anything else.   Thanks as ever to Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner for posting the questions 🙂reading-stats-2017-1024x278-768x209

Number Of Books You Read:  54

Number of Re-Reads:  3

Genre You Read The Most From:  Total guess but I’d say…fantasy?

best-YA-books-2014-900x244

1. Best Book You Read In 2017?  Yep, I’m cheating and breaking things down…

Best Graphic Novel:  The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman

Best YA Novel:  A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Best Adult Novel:  It has to be a tie between The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell and The End We Start From by Megan Hunter

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?  I had really high expectations for Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter.  I’d read loads of positive reviews and seen a lot of praise for it on BookTube and it just turned out not to be for me at all.  There were odd phrases that I thought were beautiful and I found the extracts where two boys were talking about losing their mother very poignant but other than that it was just too experimental for me and I didn’t like it. One that I’m glad I borrowed from the library!  Also, The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers wasn’t really for me either.  I know that’s super widely loved and I’m sorry but I didn’t find it interesting and I won’t be reading the next one.

The Call

3.  Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  In a bad way, definitely The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel.  Bleugh.  In a good way, The Call by Peadar O’Guilin.  I picked it up from the library and I wasn’t expecting too much and I read it over the space of about 24 hours and I can still remember some of it so vividly months after finishing it.  Definitely recommended.

 

4.  Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?  I’m counting my biggest win on this front as finally getting Hanna to read the first few books in the Wheel of Time series so that I have someone to talk to about them.  There’s proof online and everything, look!

5.  Best series you started in 2017? Best Sequel of 2017? Best Series Ender of 2017?  In that order: Cinder by Marissa Meyer; A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas; Winter by Marissa Meyer.  In unusual form for me, I actually both started and finished three series this year – the Cinder series (loved it), the Discovery of Witches trilogy (ok but not my favourite) and what I’m counting as a full trilogy in the Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy (wrote about this yesterday…mostly great, some iffy bits at the beginning and end).

6.  Favorite new author you discovered in 2017?  Laura Purcell.  The Silent Companions is just a perfect gothic ghost story and the more I think about the ending, the more I love it.  She has a new book coming out next year and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

7.  Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?  I find this tricky every year because mostly I’ll read anything.  Looking over my list of books I read this year, I actually can’t find any that I’d say were out of my comfort zone so let’s move on.

8.  Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?  The Call by Peadar O’Guilin.  Honestly, that book had me HOOKED.  All teenagers in O’Guilin’s dystopian world get kidnapped at some point and taken away by the (very dark and in no way kissable) fae to the Grey World for three minutes.  Most don’t return alive.  As the characters all get whisked away to the Grey World, I just couldn’t stop reading to see if they’d survive and then who would get taken next.  It’s a real cracker and one that I don’t think gets talked about enough.

9.  Book You Read In 2017 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?  None.  I’d never re-read that soon.

10.  Favourite cover of a book you read in 2017?

Sufficient Grace

11.  Most memorable character of 2017?  It seems odd to write this but Maus was truly wonderful and the artist’s father, Vladek Spiegelman, and his experiences still haunt me.  The graphic novel tells of Vladek’s experiences during World War II, with the jews all portayed as mice and the Nazis as cats.  It sounds as though it will trivialise Spiegelman’s story but it’s actually very cleverly done and I’ll absolutely re-read one day.

The End We Start From12.  Most beautifully written book read in 2017?  Easily The End We Start From.

13.  Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2017?  Quite a lofty description but for me there’s only really one answer.  Still The End We Start From.  Not because of what it says about the world as it might look if there was an apocalyptic flood but for what it says about how being a mother changes you.  It’s beautiful and I envy anybody who is still yet to read it for the first time.

14.  Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2017 to finally read?  Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut.  I’ve owned it for absolutely years and it’s short so I should have just read it already.  To be honest, I’m really not convinced that I ‘got’ all of it but the parts where the narrator was recounting his experience in the war, I really enjoyed.

15.  Favourite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2017?

“It is bad, the news. Bad news as it always was forever, but worse. More relevant. This is what you don’t want, we realise. What no one ever wanted: for the news to be relevant.” From The End We Start From.

16.  Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2017?  The shortest was a St. Mary’s novella, When A Child Is Born by Jodi Taylor, at a mere 21 pages.  To be honest, I’m not even sure if it ‘counts’ as a book but it’s on GoodReads so I guess it does.  The longest was The Shadow Reborn by Robert Jordan, the fourth book in the Wheel of Time series and a HUGE 1,007 pages.

17.  Book That Shocked You The Most?  Bird Box by Josh Malerman.  This was horrific towards the end in ways that I really wasn’t prepared for.  It’s a terrifying book. 

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)  The only relationship that I can think of for this question is a fairly big spoiler so…pass.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year? Curve ball but I’d say the relationship between Emily Morris and her son, as told in her memoir My Shitty Twenties.  Morris found out that she was pregnant while at university and the father scarpered.  Morris’ writing is warm and funny and she writes honestly about the emotions she went through on finding out that she was pregnant.  I think it also helped that the author is from Manchester, which is a city in the north of England not too far from where I grew up, so her writing was full of phrases that remind me of home and places I know.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2017 From An Author You’ve Read Previously?  I feel like it’s a bit of a waste to bang on about Sarah J. Maas or J. K. Rowling or Robert Jordan so instead, I’ll harp back to a book of short stories that were creeping me out way back in January: The Visitors Book and other Ghost Stories by Sophie Hannah.  Hannah’s crime fiction is what she’s more known for but this teeny tiny book of ghost stories was well worth the few hours I spent with it.

21. Best Book You Read In 2017 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure?  I read the A Discovery of Witches because someone at work insisted that I must pick it up right away.  It was underwhelming.  I didn’t hate it but I equally didn’t love it and it was responsible for a big lull in my reading over summer.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2017?  Can’t think of any…

23. Best 2017 debut you read?  I’m sorry but it has to be The End We Start From.  Honourable mention to One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus, though, for keeping me hooked during a sunny day on our honeymoon.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?  The world in Sarah J. Maas’ Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy is marvellous.  The fae world is divided into different seasonal courts and different time courts, each with their own affinity for certain powers.  It’s mostly developed in the second book and I loved it.

Pawn of Prophecy

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?  OOH – The Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings.  Hanna recommended this to me and even though I’ve never read it, I got such a fuzzy feeling of nostalgia from it.  It’s the start of a fantasy series and the dialogue is so sharp and witty in a way that had me smiling along with the characters as opposed to cringing at forced jokes.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2017?  SO MANY!  I cry all the time at books.  And films and TV.  Anything, really.  I think I cried the most often through Maus.  As you might expect, I suppose.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?  I read my first Peirene Press book, Sea of Ink by Richard Weihe.  It was a quirky story of a Chinese artist and his life and work.  Their books are beautifully published and are all translated works that are less than 200 pages long.  “Two hour books to be devoured in a single sitting: literary cinema for those fatigued by film”.  I have a few stashed away for 2018 and a subscription for their 2018 titles.  They’re my current favourite publisher.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?  Maus, ok?!  Maus made my heart hurt and my soul feel tired.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2017?  I can only really think of Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter, because both the writing and the layout of the book are not what I’m used to.  That wasn’t necessarily a positive for me in the end but hey ho.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?  The Roanoke Girls made me super cross because I felt as though the ‘twist’ made the novel feel cheap somehow.  As though it was resorting to a shock tactic to get readers in as opposed to just focussing on building tension.  Thinking about it still makes me feel icky.

And that was 2017!  I have a few slightly different goals for 2018 and I’m planning on doing a few reading challenges too so hopefully I’ll have a bit more variety by this time next year!  I hope you had a wonderful reading year and the best start to 2018!



  • 1) I’m definitely going to read Maus in January. Maybe even tomorrow if I
    finish my current book today – which, I might, as it’s the last book in
    The Belgariad so I’m flying through it.

    3) Yes, The Call
    surprised me as well. I think I’m actually going to buy a copy
    eventually. I’m still impressed about how what’s-her-name got her
    message across…

    4) Haha, you did! I’d never have read it if it
    wasn’t for you. I’m going to carry on with the fifth book next year. I
    was a bit burned out after reading 1007 pages for the fourth!

    25)
    Yay! I read the fourth book yesterday and I’m reading the fifth today,
    as I wanted to have finished it by the end of the year. It annoys me
    when books from the same series are on different ‘Year’ pages of my
    LibraryThing catalogue…

    You still need to read The Radium
    Girls… And a lot of other things. I feel like I’ve been throwing book
    recommendations at you more than usual this year.

    • litaddictedbrit

      1) I wholeheartedly endorse that. Maybe not one for the train unless you’re now just a fan of train crying.

      3) I think I’m going to buy it when the next one comes out so that I have them both. It feels like something I should own given how much it’s stuck with me. That bit in particular!

      4) Yeah, there’s very rarely any need for 1,007 pages. The fifth one is still pretty long. I think my edition was about 900 and something? More happens in it though so they feel more justified. I’m going to keep on with my re-read this year too. Hopefully at least get through books six and seven.

      25) Haha – that’s definitely the kind of thing I would do! I’ve got the second one handy and I’m going to read it soon. Writing about it in this post reminded me how much I enjoyed it and I want to keep on with the series while that’s still fresh in my mind!

      It doesn’t feel like more than normal! And at least you haven’t loaned them to me and then repeatedly asked me whether I’ve read them or not. I definitely do need to read Radium Girls, though.

      • Also… The Shadow Reborn!?

        1) Eh. I’m sure my fellow commuters are more than accustomed to me sniffling over my book by now.

        2) Same. Hopefully they’ll have matching covers and I’ll buy them both.

        Oh god, I like to think I’d have more sense than that. And yes, yes you do.

  • Amy B

    Love this idea for a post. I also found Grief is a Thing with Feathers to be a challenge – I so wanted to love it because everyone was just raving about it but it just didn’t do it for me. I’m going to start The Silent Companions very soon – I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to read it. And given your high praise, I think The End We Start from might be on my 2018 TBR too!

    • litaddictedbrit

      I’m so glad it wasn’t just me with Grief is a Thing with Feathers! At least I know that I should ignore the slight inclination I’ve had over the year to pick up some poetry. I hope you like The Silent Companions – it’s getting a lot of praise but it’s deserved in my view. It’s perfect for while it’s still dark and gloomy out. Obviously I definitely recommend The End We Start From too. I’ve not read anything else like it this year! In a good way.