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A Year in the Literary Life

I have so many different things going on for the bookish roundup this year that the survey is almost an afterthought, but it's still fun, so without further ado:

I. Original List on LJ / Goodreads / or full "Your Year in Books" infographic (LJ list includes the list of movies watched this year. someday I should make a survey for those too, since I rarely even post movie reviews)

II. The "why I read each book" list of annotations on Tumblr, which I continue to wish everyone on my entire list of Goodreads friends would do.

III. The Quilt of Many Covers (x)
[or click to open here]





IV. The Annual Book Survey
1. Best book of 2017
Here is my usual non-answer: the shortlist of nominees, in chronological order. Perhaps in 10 years I can come back and crown one.

Girls in the Moon - Janet McNally
The Paradise Guest House - Ellen Sussman
Halfway to the Sky - Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Hoofbeats on the Trail - Vivian Breck
What the Dead Leave Behind - Rosemary Simpson
Never Broken - Jewel
When You Were Here - Daisy Whitney

I am leaning toward number 2 or 4, but every time I almost delete the others, they riot in protest, so.

2. Book you were excited about & thought you were going to love more, but didn't
IN HONOR, omg. I loved the last book I read from the author. The summary promised me orphan girl grieving her adoring late older brother (who was killed in active duty) + road trip + her brother's best friend coming along for built-in developing romance... except the guy turned out to be a total a-hole from start to finish.

3. Most surprising (in a good way) book:
It's always a little daunting to see a Christian label on a book, because it's about a 50/50 shot of whether that just means "clean, with acknowledgment God exists and people go to church," or "people quote Bible verses in every other sentence." But Sisters, Ink proved to be the former.

4. Book you read in 2017 that you recommended the most
I don't rec books often, but I recced The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay to my boyfriend so much I ended up buying it for his birthday. And I appear to be right, or at least he says he's enjoying it so far.

5. Favorite new author discovered in 2017
Vivian Breck has been pretty great in the Old School realm, Janet McNally is someone I'll keep my eye on, and Daisy Whitney already appears to have a small but solid body of work I may explore in the future.

6. Best book that was out of your comfort zone
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. Written by a dude, about dudes, winner of a Pulitzer, and about comic books? Literally nothing about this book fits my interests. But somehow it was a very enjoyable read anyway. Fannish obsession is a powerful motivator. (er, not that there was a fandom around this book rallying me, so much as my obsession with The O.C. made me want to participate in this tangible component of it)

7. Most thrilling, unputdownable book of 2017
If We Survive by Andrew Klavan (six teens on a church volunter group lost in South America amidst a civil war uprising!).

Rnner up: Laurel Bradley's surprisingly addictive "Scream." (doctor locked into working for bad guys in Africa on a mysterious, super-fatal virus)

8. Book read in 2017 that you are most likely to reread
The Paradise Guest House. Because I already read it twice this year and it is my new romantic go-to. That, or Tuck Everlasting, which I have read 3 times already.

9 Favorite cover of a book you read in 2017
There are soooo many good ones this year, but I do really like the cover of Never Broken, between the bald-faced black horse and the way her dress splays over his back.

10. Most memorable character of 2017
Cameron Post, as in The Miseducation Of. That was a true chronicle of her teenage years, and it's stayed with me for a long time. I wish she could meet my other favorite midwesterner of the year: Cherry Kerrigan (as ~, Money, Baby). Both of them a little wild, both of them not really like people I want to hang out with, and yet so mesmerizing.

11. Most beautifully written book of 2017
Girls in the Moon or Nothing But Ghosts

12. Book that had the greatest impact on you
1. Hoofbeats on the Trail made me super-inspired to take nature walks (if not proper hiking, at least on paved paths)
2. The Paradise Guest House was really just an indescribable shippy joy with multiple layers of hurt/comfort
3. Cherry, Money, Baby is just so impossible to forget. I really fell in love with the ups and downs of her world; great storytelling.

13. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2017 to read
Maybe Faith, Hope and Ivy June? I've suspected since at least 2012 that I would like it, and I did.

14. Favorite passage/quote
“I didn't know how to lose what I'd just found. Nothing in the world felt familiar except you. And you were gone.”
--The Paradise Guest House

15. Book that had a scene in it that had you reeling and dying to talk to someone about it
The Paradise Guest House. There is just so much Protective Male caretaking in the wake of trauma and injury, from wound-tending to comforting in the night to working her through a panic attack in a crowded airport. But then she's providing emotional caretaking in the wake of his own past trauma. It's just an endless cycle of comfort!

Similarly: “All in Pieces,” where I kept wildly slapping the arm of my chair because boy Would Not Stop being comforting and protective without even officially being her boyfriend, and I officially went around the bend when he got in bed and held her to help her sleep while she was recovering from the general shock / trauma of her asshole ex breaking her wrist, and I was all. “WHO LET YOU WRITE THIS INDULGENT STUFF OF ROMANCE NOVEL DREAMS AND PUBLISH IT, BECAUSE THEY ARE GETTING A FRUIT BASKET.”

16. Favorite relationship in a book read in 2017
GABE/JAMIE, The Paradise Guest House, a/k/a “no one has ever turned this into a Mitch/Jamie AU like me.”
Garrett/Audrey of The Sweetheart Deal is a close second. They've been overshadowed by the above in this survey, but my ability to cast them as Billy Burke and Elizabeth Mitchell was extremely satisfying.
Nell and her old sister from We Are the Goldens was p. good too.
Danny/Holland from When You Were Here really struck a chord with me...OKAY I AM STOPPING.

17. Favorite book you read in 2017 from an author you read previously
You Are Here by Jennifer E. Smith. I didn't even realize I'd already read and loved her The Comeback Season until afterwards, because: Road trip! Plus dog! Equals JOY.

18. Best book you read in 2017 based on a recommendation
What The Dead Leave Behind by Rosemary Simpson. Thanks, Mom!!

19. Book that was the most fun to read
The OC: The Outsider. INFINITY FUN, I TELL YOU.

20. Book that made you cry
Positively Beautiful - Wendy Mills. But I mean, it was a mom-has-cancer YA novel, so.

21. Best series you discovered in 2017
The Sisters, Ink quartet.

22. Best book you read that was published in 2017
What The Dead Leave Behind. Which I guess is technically the start of a trilogy that could have been my "best series" answer.

23. Book you most anticipated in 2017
Tess Gerritsen's I Know A Secret. I spent over 10 months being Ready To Read It.

24. The most unique book you read in 2017
Women in Clothes, a nonfiction tome which I described as being “like 3 classes' worth of fashion course homework responses,” or essentially a 500-page magazine.

25. The book that shocked you the most
The Female of the Species. That was...super dark and super violent. ITS COVER IS BRIGHT YELLOW AND HAS CUTE ANIMALS ON IT. (no animals are harmed, just gross men, but still)

26. Book that made you the maddest in 2017
Okay For Now. When a book makes you want to bully its 8th grade narrator, someone has taken a wrong turn in their character creation.

Runner Up: 99 Days. This one was frustrating because I loved the setting and the format and most of the characters, I just...really wished the main character could have stopped at one instance of cheating. It had so. much. potential. and just squandered it. And worse, the author has other books that look appealing, but apparently she's decided serial cheaters are her wheelhouse, and I just really don't want to go through this feeling again.

27. Best world-building/most vivid setting you read this year
A Matter of Days -- 98% of the population is killed by a fast-acting worldwide plague-like epidemic. I FELT that desolate landscape.

28. Worst book of 2017
Okay For Now. It is somehow slightly worse than 10 Things I Can See From Here.

29. Books you are most looking forward to reading in 2018
So many!! Even just counting the ones I am at PEAK excitement about, there are:

Even When You Lie to Me / Jessica Alcott
The Masked Truth / Kelley Armstrong
Has to Be Love / Jolene Perry
Where Have All the Tigers Gone? / Lynn Hall (I got so excited about this in November I finally bought it online, but it arrived right after I had left to go dog-sitting, and by the time I got back a pile of newer book cravings had covered it up. Hoping to push through the library stuff soon!)
Plus whatever the sequel to What The Dead Leave Behind is called

NEW CONTENDER: 9 Days and 9 Nights, the sequel to 99 Days, because APPARENTLY I AM A GLUTTON FOR PUNISHMENT.

30. How does 2017 represent you in books?
It represents how increasingly dire my need to cast books with TV characters (or more accurately, find books specifically to cast TV characters in) has become.

V. MOAR STATS/DATA
I got a little carried away with a new graph-making site, so...please enjoy my five graphs (original post here if the images break).
-Books read per month
-Books by publication year
-Where I first heard of each book
-Where I obtained the physical book to read
-Genre/age group











The Paradise Guest House

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