1. What’s the best book you read in 2013?
I’ll have to choose three, sorry! I’d say my favourite young adult book is Out of the Easy, favourite children’s book is
Matilda and favourite adult book is Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. I’ve also written about my top ten (well, thirteen) books read in 2013.
2. What was the most surprising book of 2013?
I had quite a few surprises in 2013, most of all the fact that I adored Angelfall, what with me not being much of a reader of paranormal. I was delighted to find that I enjoyed Roald Dahl’s The Twits & Esio Trot after wondering if I was too old to appreciate children’s books. And I was surprised to discover just how readable and funny The Picture of Dorian Gray was (and also that it was not an Agatha Christie-type novel…).
3. What book did you read in 2013 and recommend to people most in 2013?
I rarely re-read books even though I have a long list of books I want to read again, but the ones I did manage to re-read (The Fault in Our Stars, Anna and the French Kiss, The Knife of Never Letting Go (for #readchaos) and Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares) are among the books I recommend the most. And of course Out of the Easy.
4. What was the best series discovered in 2013?
I’ve found that I’m more drawn to standalone novels lately than series, but my favourites are The Savages (and it was only recently announced that there’d be a sequel), The 5th Wave and Geek Girl.
6. What was the best book that was out of your comfort zone?
I would say Fearsome Dreamer because I rarely read ‘proper’ fantasy, Angelfall and World After because I rarely read paranormal, Summer Sisters because it was actually quite steamy (!) and The Isobel Journal because I rarely read books that aren’t novels. But I really enjoyed them all.
8. What book that you read in 2013 will you most likely re-read?
Non Pratt’s Trouble was one of my favourite books read in 2013 and I’m likely to read it again when I purchase a final copy when it’s published in March. I’d also love to buy the hardback editions of Eleanor & Park and Fangirl and read them again.
9. What book were you excited about and thought you’d love but didn’t?
I’ve really enjoyed nearly all of the books I read this year, but I was quite let down by Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile, especially after enjoying And Then There Were None so much, as well as Life of Pi, although I did enjoy the time on the boat (and I still need to watch the adaptation). I really enjoy young adult contemporary; I love the ‘really cute’ and the ‘really sad’, but I found Paper Aeroplanes to be a bit too gritty for me – it just made me sad! I also discovered that Genus was not really for me, as unique as it was, nor Under My Hat, because I’m still not sure about fantasy or short stories. I’m also wondering whether I should stick to standalone novels rather than series because even though I enjoyed them in their own right, I didn’t think Requiem, Vortex and Fuse surpassed the first books in the series.
10. What was your favourite cover of a book you read in 2013?
I loved a lot of them. I think Heart-Shaped Bruise is a fantastic, beautiful cover, which is funny, considering… I also really love summery covers, like Rules of Summer and Meant to Be. And Round the Christmas Fire. And Vintage Children’s Classics.
11. Who was the most memorable character in 2013?
Harriet Manners (from Geek Girl and Model Misfit) is one of my favourite characters – she’s so wonderful and distinctive and I wish I could memorise as many geeky facts as she can. I also though Mary-Mary was utterly adorable! I’m sure there’s many more characters that I loved, but I have a terrible memory. I used to say I preferred plot-driven to character-driven novels, but this year has made me realise that now I’m not so sure.
12. What was the most beautifully written book read in 2013?
The Snow Child and The Sea Change are definitely two that stand out to me.
13. What book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013?
I think The Picture of Dorian Gray because it surprised me so much and opened me up to so many more classics. I also couldn’t help but be affect by two history non-fiction books: The Complete Maus and Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall. It’s a difficult question though because every book I read in 2013 has likely had an impact on me in some way, whether it’s changed my perception of a genre or whether it’s because I attended a book signing and made a new friend through it.
14. What book you can’t believe you waited until 2013 to finally read?
I have to include many of the classics I read this year, such as The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Day of the Triffids, In Cold Blood, Roald Dahl, Of Mice and Men and I Capture the Castle. I waited a long time to read Will Grayson, Will Grayson and I shouldn’t have waited so long to read Heart-Shaped Bruise, one of my favourite books.
“I liked being with the books: they reminded me of how many ways of thinking existed outside my own – how small and fleeting my pulse was when set alongside those ageing spines.” The Sea Change, Joanna Rossiter
“I leapt eagerly into books. The characters’ lives were so much more interesting than the lonely heartbeat of my own.” Out of the Easy, Ruta Sepetys
“I’m wondering what to read next.” Matilda said. “I’ve finished all the children’s books.” Matilda, Roald Dahl
“Some of them are working very hard indeed. “What are they doing?” “My boy!” he said, eyebrows raised. As if nothing could be more obvious. “They are reading!” Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, Robin Sloan
17. What book had a scene in it that had been dying to talk to somebody about?
I don’t think I have one! I’m more likely to want to talk to somebody about an entire book rather than a specific scene.
18. What was your favourite relationship from a book you read in 2013?
Of course, I have to say Eleanor and Park. And most likely Sydney and Adrian (The Fiery Heart). I also enjoyed reading about June and Day’s (in Prodigy) confusing relationship. I think Jen and Beth from Attachments had the best friendship. And the beginning of Ellie and Graham’s relationship in This is What Happy Looks Like was fun to read about as it started through email.
19. What was your favourite book you read in 2013 from an author you’ve previously read?
A lot of the books I read this year were by authors that were new to me, but I read More Than This by Patrick Ness (Chaos Walking, A Monster Calls), Speechless by Hannah Harrington (Saving June), Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray), The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult (Sing You Home, House Rules, Lone Wolf and many more), Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff (How I Live Now). I also enjoyed the sequels The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead and Prodigy by Marie Lu.
20. What was the best book you read based on a recommendation from someone else in 2013?
Fangirl was recommended to me by the interwebz, Fearsome Dreamer was recommended to me by Cait, When You Reach Me was sort of recommended to me by the bookseller who wrote about in the Foyles Charing Cross children’s section, and Picture Me Gone was just one of the books I’d seen everybody talk about.
22. Who’s your fictional crush from a book you read in 2013?
Because of my terrible memory, I’m having a hard time answering this question, but of course I still love Etienne St. Clair from Anna and the French Kiss, which I re-read this year.
24. What book had the most vivid world or imagery that you read in 2013?
I’d definitely say Fearsome Dreamer and Angelfall. You cannot fail to feel like you’ve been transported to another world. The Sea Sisters also made me feel like I’d been on holiday.
26. What book made you cry in 2013?
I read a lot of sad books this year, including Eleanor & Park, The Fault in Our Stars (re-read), Anthem for Jackson Dawes, The Light Between Oceans, Stay Where You Are And Then Leave, Maus…
1. Who is your new favourite book blog you discovered in 2013?
I’ve followed so many people this year on WordPress (I finally do not feel so alone on here!), Tumblr and Bloglovin’ so I’m not too sure and sorting through who I follow is something I want to do this year, but Go Book Yourself and The Girl and Her Books (who became a good friends of mine this year!) spring to mind.
2. What was your favourite review that you wrote in 2013?
I think perhaps my review for Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl. It was a lot of fun to talk about a book that everyone had been talking about as well as what it means to be a fangirl.
3. What was your best discussion you had on your blog?
I actually don’t feel like I do post discussions really, but I enjoyed reading responses to New Adult: Reinventing Teen Fiction and of course Why You’re Never Too Old to Read Children’s Books. I loved talking about my favourite mystery books, favourite ‘conflict in books’ and my little collection of old books. It was also a lot of fun creating the TBR Book Mug!
4. What was the most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?
Argh, I wish I didn’t have such a terrible memory! I’ve been pretty awful at reading other people’s blogs over the past year, so it’s a New Year’s Resolution to spend 20 minutes per day reading and commenting, but I know I’ve read quite a few that I didn’t bookmark. I always find Jamie’s blogposts thought-provoking.
5. What was the best event that you participated in 2013?
I really enjoyed co-hosting #readchaos on both WordPress and Tumblr, which encouraged people to read Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking trilogy before the publication of his latest novel, More Than This. It made me want to run another event this year – I just have to think of one! I’d also plan more in advance next time. I’ve also loved reading books for my Classics Challenge, which I’m continuing with this year.
6. What was the best moment of book blogging life in 2013?
I have been attending bookish events for three years now and I’ve always enjoyed meeting up with fellow bloggers but this year has been the first year that we’ve met up outside of those events, so I’ve acquired a little circle of friends this year that I can go out to meals with, go to the cinema with or visit bookshops with and it’s definitely been one of my favourite things about 2013. We’re not just friends that say hello to each other at book events and then do not see each other until the next one.
7. What was the most popular post this year on your blog?
I find that a lot of my old reviews are still quite popular (like Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, And Then There Were None because a lot of people are searching for these books and end up stumbling across Pretty Books) but the most popular 2013 post was Top Ten / Mystery Novels (4400 views) followed by Why You’re Never Too Old to Read Children’s Books (3000 views).
8. What post do you wish got more love this year?
I really enjoyed posting non-bookish posts like Kew Gardens, Columbia Flower Market & Portobello Road and Holland Park’s Kyoto Gardens. I hope people enjoyed those as I’d like to document my life in London a bit more this year.
9. What were the best bookish discoveries you made this year?
I have to say that all of the London bookshops I visited are the best discoveries!
10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I participated in the 50 Book Challenge and Classics Challenge (read one classic each month) again and I completed them both. I also think I didn’t do too badly with my seven Bookish New Year’s Resolutions.
1. What’s one book you didn’t get to in 2013, but want to make it your priority in 2014?
Oh, there’s so, so many, but one on my mind is Code Name Verity (and Rose Under Fire). I’ve been enjoying historical YA and so it’s one I need to read sometime in 2014, if not in January!
2. What is your most anticipated book for 2014?
I haven’t properly looked up 2014 releases yet, but I’m probably most looking forward to Isla and the Happily Ever After, although I know there’s going to be a tonne of books I want to read. And in terms of books that are already published, but I’ve not read yet, I’d say Code Name Verity, Vivian Versus the Apocalypse, The Dark is Rising, Miseducation of Cameron Post, This Song Will Save Your Life, oh gosh… so many.
3. What is your most anticipated debut for 2014?
Again, I only have a few on my ‘wishlist’ and ‘to read’ lists at the moment, but The Year of the Rat, Dandelion Clocks and The Dark Inside are all up there.
4.What is your most anticipated series ending release in 2014?
Isla and the Happily Ever After.
5. What’s one thing you hope to accomplish or do in your blogging in 2014?
I hope to post more tours of London bookshops, more photographs, more non-bookish posts, more top ten posts and more non-review posts. I’m normally such an organised person, but I don’t tend to plan in advance what I talk about on Pretty Books, so I’d like to do that. I want to create more content that people genuinely enjoy reading, and want to share with other people.