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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 End of Year Book Survey

2014 Reading Stats:

Number Of Books You Read: 125!

Number of Re-Reads: 10

Genre You Read The Most From: Fantasy, definitely.

Best in Books:

1. Best Book You Read In 2014?
Without a doubt, it has got to be Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. 2014 was the year I fell head over heels for all things Anne, and I've been obsessed ever since. So yes, as you will likely notice from the rest of this survey, 2014 was definitely "The Year of Anne" for me!

2. Book You Were Excited About And Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne. When I first read the synopsis for it, I thought it screamed ME. But no, this one didn't quite work for me.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014?
I was pretty blown away that Jo managed another stunning mystery with The Silkworm, and I was surprised by how intensely gory this book was!

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2014?
Probably Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. Especially the audiobook narrated by Colleen Winton. I know I was regretful that I had waited until 2014 to read this Canadian classic, and I wish someone had pushed this one on me sooner!

5. Best series you started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014?
Best series started: The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Best sequel: The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike #2) by Robert Galbraith (Jo)
Best series ender: Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #3) by Laini Taylor

6. Favourite new author you discovered in 2014?
L.M. Montgomery and John Green.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
I tried out some non-fiction reads for the first time in 2014 and was surprised by how much I enjoyed them! Especially, Steve Jobs, the biography by Walter Isaacson - surprising how fascinating I found this book!

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas.

9. Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
Oh, let's just say Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery because even though I've already read it twice in 2014, it's the perfect pick-me-up book and I could definitely see myself reading it yet again in 2015!

10. Favourite cover of a book you read in 2014?
Loooove these new covers for the Anne of Green Gables series from Tundra Books!
11. Most memorable character of 2014?
Well, Anne Shirley of course! I want to be bosom friends with her.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. My first ever Melina Marchetta read and I am definitely going back for more.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2014?
Just One Day by Gayle Forman. This one resonated very deeply with me. AND gave me a major case of wander-lust!

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read?
The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan! People had been telling me for ages that I needed to read it!

15. Favourite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014?
Again, Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables says some real gems in that melodramatic way of
hers that is just so endearing:
"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers."
"My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes."
"It is ever so much easier to be good when your clothes are fashionable."
"Red hair is my life long sorrow."
... and I could go on and on. Oh that Anne!!

16. Shortest And Longest Book You Read In 2013?
Shortest has got to be some novella - I read quite a few of them this year. Longest was City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments #6) by Cassandra Clare coming in at 733 pages.

17. Book That Shocked You The Most
The end of Shadow Kissed, the third book in the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead - did NOT see that coming!! Total game-changer.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe FOREVAR!!

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacot from The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (Jo) - love the dynamic here.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
Scarlet and Cress by Marissa Meyer were fantastic follow-ups to Cinder, which I read in 2013.

21. Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta - okay so, Sara of Just Another Story has been trying to get me to read this one for YEARS! And I'm so glad I finally did!!

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?
Augustus Waters of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

23. Best 2014 debut you read?
The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
The Glade in The Maze Runner by James Dashner was pretty intriguing!

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery - Anne's melodramatics never fail to coax a smile out of me!

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?
Somehow, my answer to this one is also the book that made me smile the most this year: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery - I stayed up quite late to finish this one, and near the end a certain scene nearly KILLED me (you know the one I'm talking about if you've read this book!).

Looking Ahead

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2014 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2015?
Guys, I am WAY overdue for a reread of Harry Potter. I'm thinking I'll finally try out the audiobooks!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2015 (non-debut)?
Very curious about A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas!

3. 2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
I have my eye on The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey and Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard.

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2015?
Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa Meyer!

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2015?
Well now, I read 50 books in 2011, 75 books in 2012, 100 books in 2013, and 125 books in 2014. Dare I challenge myself to read 150 books in 2015??! Errrmm, probably not a good idea considering 2015 is the year I will have to write my thesis. So I guess my #1 Goal for 2015 is just to read WHAT I want and WHEN I want and have FUN doing it! Ditto with blogging.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

November and December Recap: Berlin and the Holidays

It's been two months since my last post and that is officially the longest I have gone without posting on this blog... It's too bad, but it couldn't be helped either. School always seems to be busiest nearing the end of the semester and this year was no exception. I miss blogging a lot though so I'm hoping to get back into it and start posting more regularly in the new year! First though, a brief recap of what I was up to these past two months:

As I mentioned in my last recap, in November I travelled to Berlin for a palaeontology conference where I gave a 15 minute presentation to 200 people in my field on the research I have been doing for my master's thesis. Yikes. All I can say is I did a fairly good job and I'm glad it's over! My presentation was scheduled for near the end of the conference so I found it a bit hard to relax and enjoy myself for much of the time I was in Berlin, sadly. Plus there was very limited time for sightseeing. Still, I did manage to find some time to slip away and here's some bits of Berlin that I got to see:

The Reichstag (The Parliament Building)
Brandenburg Gate
The incredibly moving and powerful Holocaust Memorial. I very much appreciated that such a horrific part of Germany's history wasn't hidden away or downplayed, but kept in the forefront as a tribute to the millions of Jews that were brutally murdered and as a reminder - never again.
A completely unremarkable parking lot. Also the site of Hitler's Bunker, which has since been filled in.
Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, before and after the war. I liked the completely bizarre mix of super modern architecture in Berlin with the still-standing ruins of the war spread throughout the city. You could even make out bullet-holes in a lot of the ruins. Completely surreal.

Remnants of the Wall and Checkpoint Charlie. It just so happens that I was in Berlin at the same time as the 25th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. I felt quite privileged that I got to be there to experience that! Also, the man in the lower right picture with me is my dear dad, who was in Berlin at the same time as me - it was very nice to be able to spend some time with him!

I regret that these pictures really don't do Berlin justice, and also that I only got to see a fraction of the city in the very limited time that I had there. One thing is for certain though: this trip - in combination with my reading of Just One Day by Gayle Forman last month - has given me major wander-lust. I'm already planning my next trip back to Europe - hopefully with more time and freedom - and I can't wait! Much of my trip was stressful and overwhelming on account of my major presentation, but overall it was pretty incredible, and definitely the most momentous experience of the year for me!

December is always a mixed-bag for me: the first three quarters of the month tend to be busy and stressful before the holidays set in, and then the last quarter is restful and festive. I returned home to Edmonton for the holidays and was greeted by family, snow, and generous Christmas gifts from bookish friends:
Clockwise: Meaningful contemporaries that I can't WAIT to read from Sara of Just Another Story; exciting fantasies that I'm DYING to read from Micheline of Lunar Rainbows; gorgeous new Anne of Green Gables box set from the bf; beautiful Emily of New Moon series from Tundra Books; soooo many fantastic, squee-worthy goodies from Ambur of Burning Impossibly Bright; and possibly the most gorgeous book I have ever seen (picture doesn't do it justice) from Alex of A Girl, Books, and Other Things
Soooo yeah, I AM ONE LUCKY GIRL!! And soooo spoiled. THANK YOU!

I hope everyone has had a restful holiday season and has a Happy New Year!!