1. Best book of 2014:
Oh gosh. Well, The Mongrel of Merryway Farm by Julie Campbell Tathum sent me to the internet to buy the first $4 copy I could find, so it might be that! But I would say Terhune's The Book of Sunnybank, original edition with the photos, is a national treasure and a very close second.
And then Happily After All by Laura Stevenson and the Glee authoresses' books, Choosing Glee and Brunette Ambition.
2. Book you were excited about & thought you were going to love more, but didn't:
A Single Man. I was all fired up to love it, and it just left me cold.
3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2014:
Shelter Me. I READ A ROMANCE NOVEL, YOU GUYS, AND IT HAD ANIMALS AND WAS GOOD.
4. Book you read in 2014 that you recommended the most:
Probably everyone who appreciated Mindy Kaling's book would also enjoy Never Have I Ever, particularly if your dating life experience is similar.
5 Favorite new author discovered in 2014:
I think that Fairfax Downey and I are going to have a good time in the Old Animal Books realm, while Jessi Kirby looks like one to watch in the YA sphere.
6. Best book that was out of your comfort zone:
7. Most thrilling, unputdownable book of 2014:
Either Golden by Jess Kirby, or the Also Known As books by Robin Benway.
8. Book read in 2014 that you are most likely to reread:
Brunette Ambition, Choosing Glee, or The Dogs of Christmas.
9 Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014:
I kind of want to say Once Upon A Road Trip, just because I so love her hair and figure and outfit and the promise of the open road.
But then again, The Mongrel is such a cute dog that I want her to exist in real life...and also, BLUE EYED PUPPY + SANTA HAT. I would adopt that puppy right now. So:
10. Most memorable character of 2014:
Juliet Moreau in Her Dark Curiosity, M.T. in The Secret Side of Empty, Rebecca in Happily After All
11. Most beautifully written book of 2014:
Maybe The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison. Reading it made me feel like I was in a very artsy episode of CSI; I often felt like I was wandering through a dreamscape.
P.S. IRONY ALERT: The parts of A Single Man that were on were really on.
12. Book that had the greatest impact on you:
Buffalo For the Broken Heart made me a big fan of raising grass-fed bison that are killed via sharpshooter. To date, that is the only mammal I do not feel bad about eating.
And Hunter's Moon by Gary Kilworth punched me good in the soul muscle. Plus from that, I learned a new word in the form of a new genre -- xenofiction -- for books about/narrated by animals that are fairly realistic, but where the animals have full dialogue with each other. It's something I'm planning to look into more now that I know it's out there.
13. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to read
None, really. There weren't many I'd even heard of before 2014, and even if I had, I feel like I read them all at about the right time.
14. Favorite passage/quote:
I'm going to link you to a clipart image that someone made from A Single Man, a.k.a. the reason I read the book:
15. Book that had a scene in it that had you reeling and dying to talk to someone about it:
I know it's not really a scene, but when I read an entry in This Day in the Life about a woman whose boyfriend had thrown away her journals (she asked where they were and his response was "probably rotting in a landfill"), I practically had to be sedated for my hysteria.
16. Favorite relationship in a book read in 2014:
Probably the main pair from Shelter Me or Also Known As. Don't ask me what people's names are. I'm super extra bad at that.
17. Favorite book you read in 2014 from an author you read previously:
Endangered by Eliot Schrefer. It was pretty amazing and totally unlike the last book of his I read.
18. Best book you read in 2014 based solely on a recommendation
Also Known As: Going Rogue (off a rec for the first book). Good call on that, janusfiles.
19.. Book that was the most fun to read:
Never Have I Ever. I was laughing CONSTANTLY.
20. Book that made you cry
I cried so hard reading The Dogs of Christmas that I was Method Reader-ly envisioning committing suicide as the character so he wouldn't have to live with the crushing sadness of rehoming his beloved family of dogs.
21. Best series you discovered in 2014:
Also Known As, the YA spy series of ADORABLENESS and a cute boyfriend. I want to read at least 7 more.
Runner-up: the Mountain Pony series.
22. Best book you read that was published in 2014
First of all, holy crap, I have 17 options this year and almost all of them are good. Second of all...maybe The Secret Side of M.T.?
23. Book you most anticipated in 2014
Lea Michele's Brunette Ambition, no contest.
24. The most unique book you read in 2014
This Star Won't Go Out, the Esther Earl journals + essays from loved ones/supporters. Man that was neat. That's literally the exact legacy I would want to leave -- much more than publishing a proper book I wrote.
25. The book that shocked you the most
One Hundred and Four Horses by Mandy Retzlaff, mostly because it was nonfiction and holy hell, Africa, GET IT TOGETHER.
26. Book that made you the most mad in 2014
First Love by Emily Raymond
27. Best world-building/most vivid setting you read this year
Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis. In order to make your dystopia/post-apocalyptic novel awesome and believable, it's best to change very little and have a rational catalyst. A worldwide drought lasting many years? That works for me, a lot.
28. Worst book of 2014
Another Insane Devotion by Peter Trachtenberg. Does not belong in the pet memoir section at ALL.
29. Books you are most looking forward to reading in 2015
Wilderness Champion, more Rainbow Rowell books, Bonny's Boy, maybe Once Upon an Ever After, and mostly I'm looking for a whole bunch of surprises!
30. How does 2014 represent you in books?
I read a WAY higher percentage of both nonfiction (19%) and vintage animal stories (14%) in comparison to YA than I normally do. In fact, no more than 35% of what I read came explicitly from the YA novel section (if you exclude children's/middle grade books). I actually thought I was finally growing out of a bit, but now I find that I miss it so I'm going to try and get more into it next year. I've been reading a lot more general/adult fiction instead. That said, I also read more middle grade/children's books than usual, in part due to several books I plucked off the nearest library shelves when I was waiting impatiently for a librarian to finish with slow idiots so I could pick up my interlibrary loan requests from behind the desk.
Base Reading Stats
Number of books read: 100
Number of rereads: 2 (one of which I didn't realize was a reread until aftewards -- The Wild Dog of Edmonton. Like, I had zero memory of it from 12 years earlier.)
Shortest book: Three White Stockings by Moyra Charlton at 118 pages.
Longest book: According to Goodreads, It's Kind of a Funny Story at 444 pages. It didn't feel that long, though.
Average page count: 263
Male : female author ratio*: 1 : 2.3, which I think is the biggest gain men have made ever.
(*this one's just a personal stat for me)
Month w/ most books: October (15) (panic at my slow pace thus far was setting in)
Month w/ fewest books: January & February (3) [side note: I wasn't reading OR watching TV, I didn't have a car and I certainly wasn't enjoying the weather...what the heck was I doing during this time??]
Let's see if I remember to fill everything in later...
BONUS PIE CHART. This is certainly one benefit to reading exatly 100 books! (note: 2014 is separate from the other 2010s because I like to know current-year data alone. Also I failed to realize I had two slices that were red; whoops!)