Saturday, 3 January 2015

2014 End of Year Book Survey (Almost in 2014 and Everything... Wow.)

It is ridiculous to me that it's even 2015 already, but the calendar I got today (which is amazing in itself! I normally get a calendar in, like, February) and all the shitty go-on-a-diet-and-exercise-or-you-should-just-crawl-into-a-hole-and-die adverts on TV suggest that it may, in fact, be a brand new year. Which is cool and all, but I just have these essays to write (obviously, why else would I be writing a blog post?) and THEN I can accept that a new year has begun. I'm in limbo until the 12th January basically, guys.

I want to say something here about how ridiculous 2014 was as a year, but I've probably made that pretty clear over the last 12 months anyway. It started terribly and ended somewhat disappointingly, but all the stuff in between was very... stuff-like, and overwhelming, and exciting, and horrible and there was just a lot, a LOT of stuff. I am not the best with change, so, had I anticipated most of the things that happened I would have been like 'NOOOOOO', but mostly it all happened around me and I just kind of worked with it and around it and I'm pretty ok, I guess.

Apart from those essays. Should probably do something about those.

Anyway. This survey is, as always, hosted by The Perpetual Page Turner, and I am grateful she does this and I don't have to think up my own categories and stuff for a yearly wrap up. Having said that, if I don't like any of the questions, I'm totally not answering them. And I'm adding in my own stuff. So there.

2014 Reading Stats

Number of books I read: 60
Number of re-reads: 8 (huh, I assumed I'd have re-read more because Shakespeare)
Male/Female: 33/27 (I was doing so welllll reading women!)
Fiction/Non-Fiction: 45/15 (This is probably invalid considering all the academic essays I read)
Books In Translation Read: 10 (mainly because of that Japanese phase I had in the summer)
White/Non-White Authors Read: 49/11 (ooooof)
Total Pages Read: 18,117 (again, a total lie because of all the essays and shit)

So, my stats suck, and I mostly blame Shakespeare apart from the lack of diversity thing, because that was pretty much all me. But look at all my non-fiction and translated books! I try to do stuff, man.

Best in Books

1. Best book you read in 2014?
Hmmm... This is a very very difficult task when you've been reading Shakespeare for three months and can't really remember other books. Ok, ignoring Shakespeare (I know, right?) I'm going to give a shout-out to NOS4R2 by Joe Hill (really good work baby King) but probably choose World War Z, because that book is properly excellent.

2.  Book you were excited about and wanted to love more?
I'm going to say We Have Always Lived In The Castle by Shirley Jackson. LOVED The Haunting of Hill House, this... less so. Also kind of lame? The Keep by Jennifer Egan. PLEASE WRITE MORE GOON SQUAD CALIBRE STUFF, J!

3. Most Surprising (in a good OR bad way) book you read in 2014?
Oooh, yes, I've got this- I really really enjoyed Franny and Zooey which is ridiculous because I hate Salinger. Or, ok, I hate The Catcher in the Rye. But this was all good.

4. Book you pushed the most people to read in 2014?
I don't know, but I think it's important you know that I'm the worst pusher of books to my housemate and I don't think he's finished any of them yet. Also he returned Twin Peaks without watching it, so I worry about him, really.

5. Best series you started in 2014? Best sequel of 2014? Best series ender of 2014?
Um... are we onto films now? I don't know, leave me alone. Harry Potter is the answer.

6. Favourite new author you discovered in 2014?
Ooooh... I should probably say Yoko Ogawa cause I read TWO of her books! In the same year! But actually I'm going to say Joan Didion because she broke my heart and I need to read all her books ever.

7. Best book from a genre out of your comfort zone?
Well the two best books about running (totally a genre, right?) I read were Running Like A Girl and What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. Also, the only books I've ever read about running. Like, ever.

8. Most action packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
Um... ok, yes, The Silkworm was really pretty good. The fact that I HAD to read it to take it back to the library didn't mean that it was any less difficult to put down.

9. Book you read in 2014 you're most likely to re-read in 2015?
Possibly either of the running books, but more likely probably many of the Shakespeares, depending on what I write my dissertation on (NO IDEA). To be fair, I've already re-read King Lear this year, and I'm going to have to re-read at least parts of As You Like It... Ah, life.

10. Favourite cover of a book you read in 2014?
Oh my god, I have no fucking idea. Hang on...
The Landline cover is pretty great. RAINBOW ROWELL SHOUT OUT.

11. Most memorable character of 2014?
It disgusts me that I'm going to say King Lear. But, you study a guy for 10 weeks, stuff starts to happen... Especially when you're in the middle of writing an essay about him and all...

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?
Come on, this isn't fair- I can't answer Shakespeare for everything but the bastard can write. OK, putting HIM aside for a minute, Let's say Stoner. Damn, that was a good book.

13. The most thought-provoking/life changing book of 2014?
Because of how I felt at the start of the year, everything felt life changing and thought provoking. I was a mess, but I was totally evolving or something. It was weird. But, in a more practical sense, I say the two running books (see above) as well as The First Twenty Minutes. Exercise is cool, yo.

14. Book you can't believe you waited till 2014 to FINALLY read?
Hmm. I didn't really read any books this year that I've been holding onto for years and years, but I can't believe I finally read my first (full) Dickens last year in the Bleak House Readalong. Also that the Bleak House redialing was only last year, didn't we do that about 4 years ago?

15. Favourite Passage/Quote from a book you read in 2014?
Seriously? I don't have a fucking clue. I'm sure I read some great stuff. Let's go with "though she be but little, she is fierce" from A Midsummer Night's Dream, because how is that not great?

16. Shortest and Longest book you read in 2014?
Shortest was I Murdered My Library by Linda Grant (Hmm... Should probably write something about that...) and longest was Bleak House by Dickens. Because that was clearly 10,000 pages long.

17. Book that shocked you the most?
Ok, I thought this was going to be difficult, but actually the book that has most made me feel like I'm going to throw up (like, I don't think any book has ever made me feel like that before) is In The Miso Soup by Ryu Murakami. I feel like I only didn't throw up because I was on the Tube and would have been totally embarrassed. DAMMIT MURAKAMI, YOU'RE GROSS!

18. Redacted because it's annoying.

19. Favourite non-romantic relationship of the year?
Um, the one with my mum? I don't fucking know, all the women in The Women's Room? Yes, that.

20. Favourite book you read in 2014 from an author you've read previously?
The Goldfinch? The Goldfinch. Also there are quite a lot, so.

21. Best book read in 2014 solely because of a recommendation?
Probably World War Z, which I basically read because Alley doesn't shut up about it. Thanks, Alley!

22. Redacted for annoyance.

23. Best 2014 debut you read?
LOL I think the only debut I read this year was (wait for it) The Comedy of Errors which is widely believed to be Shakespeare's first play, I think (but don't quote me on that).

24. Best world building/most vivid setting you read this year?
I'm going to go with Coraline, that shit was well set up and also terrifying.

25. Redacted because I don't read fun books.

26. Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2014?
Um. I was very emotional at the start of the year. But The Year of Magical Thinking made me cry in Public. As did Running Like a Girl. It's been a weird year.

27. (seriously, is this still going on?) Hidden gem of the year?
Um um um I kind of want to say The Women's Room because I don't think enough people know about it, but at the same time I don't really know how I felt about it. So let's just say The Housekeeper and the Professor.

28. Book that crushed your soul.
King Lear has killed me. In a bad way. And Endgame killed me in a the world is dead kind of way. I am supposed to be writing an essay about both of these things at this very second.

29. Most unique book you read in 2014?
I'm going to say Life After Life because daaaamn that was an interesting concept and I've never really read anything quite like it before. I didn't necessarily LOVE it (after I'd finished it, anyway) but it really was very unique.

30. (is this the promised end?) Book that made you the most mad?
See above re: all the mentions of King Lear. I will hate it until the essay is done, then I will remember it fondly. Basically.

God, that was longer than I remember it being. Don't ask me anything about books again for, like a whole year. Please. Also links to basically all these reviews are going to be in the book tab at the top. I am definitely too lazy to do them myself. PEACE OUT KIDS.


  1. 1) N0S4R2 made my list last year :) Although it doesn't make painstakingly typing out that title any less irritating. Why do him and his father come up with such annoying numeric titles!?

    2) Ha, I ALWAYS get We Have Always Lived In The Castle confused with I Capture The Castle.

    15) I have a framed image of that quote on my wall. Small women unite!

    18) Was that the fictional crush one? Because I'm halfway through my survey and I'm fairly sure it will get a bitchy answer.

    20) *pushes The (unfinished) Goldfinch guiltily aside*

    1. 1) I know right. Those guys are assholes, but I love them. Basically.
      2) I read both of those things this year! Didn't get them confused at all because one is excellent and one less so.
      15) It's so goooood. Not that I am at all a small woman, but I appreciate the sentiment that you don't have to be a big strong man to be FIERCE!
      18) I definitely didn't answer the fictional crush one, but this might have been OTP one? TOO MUCH ANNOYANCE.
      20) Aw, poor Goldfinch! I mean... It was kind of the right book at the right time for me in the end. But I just fucking love Donna Tartt.

  2. Nothing wrong with a Shakespeare filled year! Also, amen to The Keep being disappointing. I lived Goon Squad. I also hate Catcher but have loved the rest of Salinger's work. Try Nine Stories!

    1. Hahaha, but there is such a thing as a Shakespeare limit and I am juuuust reaching mine, which is unfortunate because I have a whole another term to go (plus a dissertation. Probably shouldn't forget that...) I defffff want to read Nine Stories but it always seems to be out of print/really expensive! (Now that I've said this I feel like I did buy it! But I might have swapped it for another book. But I want to find this possibly fictional book I bought now!)

  3. I also did not answer some of the questions - sometimes because the answer kept on being the same book over and over again, and some because of the fictional crush, etc. which doesn't really speak to my reading experiences. I did answer the OTP one, sort of.

    I also like Haunting of Hill House more than We Have Always Lived in the Castle.

    I think King Lear was my favorite Shakespeare that I read in college.

    I sympathize with the crying in public over books. Didn't happen in 2014, but there have been books read on planes that have made me teary.

    1. Also though, because of annoyance right? Annoyance is a big thing with me right now haha.

      I appreciate King Lear but at the same time I kind of hate it... But 10 weeks of studying it will do that to a person! And having to write an essay about it! That isn't going well! I am freaking out a tiny bit haha.

      I usually cry at home tons with books, but in public I can (and prefer to) keep it together. But, it's been an emotional year so yeahhhh. But it's all good.

  4. Yay and three cheers for bookish surveys! I've bookmarked it and will post my answers next week, so thanks for introducing me to this particular one.

    I never knew that "though she be but little, she is fierce" came from Midsummer Night's Dream. I've always liked that quotation!

    1. You are so welcome Ms. Emily! It's really annoying to do so DON'T DO IT. Except, obviously, do.

      It's such a good quote, and MND is so so so good. Honestly one of my favourites. Ah, Shakespeare.

  5. Happy New Year! And kudos for doing this, because I looked at it and decided I was too lazy and you're WAY busier than I am. And I usually can't get enough of the surveys.

    1. I literally only did this cause I wanted to avoid Shakespeare a tiny bit, but in the end I wrote a lot about Shakespeare so... Never mind! But I support your decision not to have done this because a lot of the questions were super annoying. I mean, really.

  6. Wow, Shakespeare really impacted your stats, huh? That's ok :-) If you enjoy Shakespeare, then you should read him! And besides, he gave you your favorite quote, so there's that. I am sure there are many Shakespeare quotes all over my life that I don't give him credit for - such as all the titles in the Flavia de Luce series, I think.

    I am sorry this year was so up and down for you. I hope that 2015 will be more your cup of tea.

    1. I meaaaan... I AM doing a Masters in Shakespeare right now, so this is essentially why I'm reading a lot of him! I wouldn't even say I enjoy him at the moment haha *mutters obscenities* A loooooot of quotes in the world are his though. I mean, TONS.

      I hope 2015 will be more my cup of tea too! 2014 wasn't even terrible, it was just a tiny tiny bit too much. But it had some wonderful moments and I think this is just what life is supposed to be like? It's pretty much ok, I guess.

  7. If 2014 was the crazy year, I hope that 2015 is a peaceful and sweet one for you! This is quite an intimidating survey, but I'll probably try my hand at filling it out as well :)

    1. I picked up NOS4R2 at the airport and forgot to finish it - I think it's still in the front pocket of my duffel bag for the next trip I take, lol. I reaaaaaally should finish it!
    5. Harry Potter always wins. FACT.
    17. In The Miso Soup is one of those books where I almost could not stomach it. guh-ross.
    25. hahaha!

    1. Ahahaha, oh man I don't think it's going to be peaceful or sweet since I still have to finish this pesky MA I started for some godforsaken reason! But I guess if other areas of my life could stay the same or better, that would be really cool.

      1. You should, but only because it's so gooood! I actually read it over quite a long period (as in, I started it in 2013 and finished it in about March) and it still holds up!
      5. Harry Potter is everything. It is life.
      17. SO WRONG. Genuinely nearly threw up. Genuinely.
      25. It's true though! :)

  8. Replies
    1. HELLS YEAH. 2014 belonged to World War Z.

  9. Hmmmm I've already done a few 2014 wrap up things BUT NOT A SURVEY!!

    Your dude/lady stats aren't too bad. Why you so down on those?

    WHAT WERE QUESTIONS 18 & 24 & 25?? (Yeah, I guess I could go to the original survey post just tell me.)

    I looooooooove that line from Midsummer and I maaaaaay have bought a bracelet that has that quote, what no, I'm not a nerd.


    ...OK so that was actually kind of long and I probably won't actually do this survey. BUT I ENJOYED READING YOURS.

    1. I'm only down on the dude/lady stats because up until like, October, I was racing ahead with women vs men, then Shakespeare ruined everything. As he tends to do. Bastard (I love him)

      Oh my god, I don't know. One was about the best OTP, one was bookish crush and one was about the funnest book or something? THEY WERE ALL ANNOYING I HATE EVERYTHING.

      Awwww, that is very cute and also that bracelet sounds awesome! Like I"m going to call you a nerd... I mean, come on. I'm studying the motherfucker.

      Hahaha, well I'm not quite going to take ALL your advice on World War Z... TOO MANY OTHER BOOKS, ALLEY!

      Yeah, don't do this survey. It was more annoying than I remember it being in previous years. But maybe I"m just grouchier (seems about right haha)

  10. I wanted to get that Shakespeare quote as a tattoo but it's like the most overdone tattoo eeeeeeever so I've been trying to come up with a way to represent it with a picture instead. But I think I'm just going to give up and get it on a shirt instead.

    1. I mean... Just because you've seen it a lot on the internet does not mean that you will ever meet anyone in your daily life with it as a tattoo! This is the problem with the internet lol. However, I would totally get it as a tattoo, but I am not at all little hahaha!