2012 Year End Survey

1. Ten favorite books read in 2012?

  • The Woman In The Dunes by Kobo Abe
  • Me Before You by JoJo Moyes
  • Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
  • Room by Emma Donaghue
  • I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith
  • Shadows on The Rock by Willa Cather
  • The Thief by Fuminor Nakamura
  • Eugenie Grandet by Honore de Balzac
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

2. Most disappointing book?

  • The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky (because I don’t believe he succeeded in portraying a truly good soul as he intended)

3. Most surprising book of 2012?

  • Room by Emma Donoghue

4. Book(s) you recommended to people most in 2012?

  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

5. Series which took you by surprise in 2012?

  • still can’t believe the success of Fifty Shades of Grey and the like

6. Favorite authors you discovered in 2012?

7. Most thrilling book in 2012?

  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

8. Book you most anticipated in 2012?

  • In One Person by John Irving

9. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?

10. Most memorable character in 2012?

  • the collective voice of the immigrant women from Buddha in The Attic

11. Most beautifully written books read in 2012?

  • Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver
  • State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

12. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?

  • Christmas Stories from Everyman’s Library

13. Book you can’t believe you waited until 2012 to finally read?

  • Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

14. Favorite passage/quote from a book you read in 2012?

  • “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” ~Haruki Murkami (Norwegian Wood)

15. Authors which you would like to read more of in 2013?

  • Raymond Carver
  • Ali Smith

16. Books that had a shocking ending?

  • Defending Jacob by William Landay
  • Shutter Island by Dennis LeHane

17. Best new online source to discover books or list those you love?

18. Best classic read in 2012?

  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

19. Best children’s book read in 2012?

  • Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi

20. Best translated work you read in 2012?

  • The Woman In The Dunes by Kobo Abe

21. Favorite book review of the year which you wrote?

  • Surprised by Joy by C. S. Lewis (coming December 20, 2012)

22. Any titles you abandoned in 2012 but might read in 2013?

  • Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

23. Any challenges you completed in 2012?

24. Any read-alongs you completed in 2012?

  • The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
25. Blogging plans for 2013?
  • To keep from turning my joy into a job by feeling compelled to do more than I love.
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36 comments

  1. I still laugh about a male relative coming to see my new apartment, seeing a Persephone on the coffee table, and expressing great surprise that a “person like me” was reading Fifty Shades of Grey.
    I'm inspired by your list. In an odd way, I think it says something nice about we two that our lists would have almost no books in common!
    Merry Christmas, B, and happy new year most of all.

  2. I look forward to reading your 'favorite book review of the year'! Glad you gave me the chance to read together with you. Shutter Island I saw the film, quite surprising ending yes. Best Classic too, Anna K., I agree. My view may differ from you regarding Room though. I've enjoyed reading through your list. Thanks for sharing, Bellezza.

  3. Arti, it's fun that we read so much together this year! As I looked over my list for the year, I don't consider it one of my best years of reading. I mean, there weren't a whole lot of books I was absolutely crazy about. I think I read more for others than myself in 2012. I'm going to make a concerted effort to read more slowly, and chose more carefully, in 2013.

    Part of why I was so moved by Room, a novel I never wanted to read but my friends chose, is because I listened to it on audio. I'll never forget the impact those voices made in telling their story.

  4. This is a thoughtful post, Bellezza, a good way to remember how your reading affected you over the past 12 months. I'm planning on doing something similar soon, an annual “first lines” meme which will create a collage of my year in reading.

  5. I can't believe it took you so long to read Norwegian wood either :p But I'm so glad you did!! Love that book!! And I so agree with you on Room and The Night Circus! They're the only two I've read on your top ten but I thought they both were fantastic. Oh, and I'm listening to Flight Behavior on audio right now and it's READ by Kingsolver herself!!! I'm LOVING it Bellezza!!! Totally agree with you…what a gorgeously written book. I see awards coming her way for that one!

  6. This is a wonderful list and if I hadn't decided to buy less books as of NOW (until tomorrow) – it would not only make me note a lot on my list but place a few orders as well. I will have to read Norwegian Wood finally as well.
    I think I will organize a few events less next year and visit some more. I can really relate to your last point. I think joy started to turn into a job.
    I hope you're not too much on an emotional rollercoaster regarding your son (I saw your comment on Litlove's site). I wish him and you all the best.

  7. Several of my favourites in your top ten list, including Willa Cather (just anything she wrote, ever) and Eugenie Grandet. I also really enjoyed Room when I didn't expect to at all. I love the list of questions here – such a great way to cover the experience of the year's reading. And it has been so very nice to get to know you this year, Bellezza. I'm already looking forward to hearing all about your reading in 2013!

  8. How can one go wrong with the classics? I so love Tolstoy. His Christmas story “Where Love is, God is” has impaced me deeply this year.

    When I was in high school, required to read My Antonia I had little appreciation for Willa Cather's writing. Shadows of the Rock was exquisite, and now I'll probably pick up My Antonia in 2013.

    Looking forward to discussing Little Women with you in early January. xo

  9. I want to be your friend on Riffle; let me figure out how to do that (if you'll accept? ;). I was surprised at first, then not so much, to see the Japanese lit on my list. Now I'll have to go back and search out the poet…

  10. I think Norwegian Wood would have made my top ten if there weren't other Murakami's I've enjoyed more. I actually think I prefer his magical realism tales, although Norwegian Wood had absolutely wonderful quotes.

    I can't imagine how wonderful it would be to listen to Barbara herself read Flight Behavior. That book is lyrical, and we'll have to talk about the end when you get there. I want to know if you agree with Dellarobia's choice.

  11. Caroline, I know the whole “I'm not buying any more books ever again” idea as one looks around one's house and realizes there are more than will ever be able to be read in 2013. Perhaps your library has Norwegian Wood? :)

    I've been interested in your reading events, particularly the German lit one. I can't participate in any War challenges, though, with my son joining the Marines. It's just too scary for this mother. Thanks for your well wishes, though.

  12. Wasn't Room a surprise? When there was all the hubbub about it earlier I though to myself, “I will never read a book on such a subject.” And yet, Donaghue made it more than bearable. I love the relationship she drew between mother and son despite their trauma.

    I loved your way of categorizing your best of 2012 into genre. You mentioned so many I hadn't read.

  13. The thing I liked best about The Thief was the way the author brought up the issue of fate. Throughout the novel, the reader wonders, “Is being a thief almost inevitable for this character?” It's very interesting, as the Japanese so faithfully write, like The Woman in the Dunes bringing up the idea that perhaps we're trapped by our own faults.

  14. That was fun reading! I can never talk myself into doing an end-of-year report till the year is completely over — and last year, I actually never got around to it. I guess I should go ahead and start working on mine, so there's less to do after the new year.

  15. Your review suggests a colourful and interesting reading year 2012. This list is impressive! “Norwegian Wood” is firmly placed on my reading list now. I'm still making up my mind about Morgenstern's “The Night Circus” which I already finished three months ago.

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