Tuesday, December 30, 2014

End of the Year Book Survey!

I never do end of the year surveys >.> Like I said in this post, I never get enough done in the year to warrant one. Butttt despite the fact that I fell short in my reading goal (grumble, grumble, why can't fanfiction and stupid textbooks count they take up so much of my time grumble) I didddd read a fair amount to complete a book survey.

Original is here, but I found it on Julie's blog page (as always. She's literally the only blogger I follow who ever does surveys or challenges >_>)

Number Of Books You Read: 37
Number of Re-Reads: Uhhhh probably like four or five. This I do at random and never pay attention to.
Genre You Read The Most From: Science fiction.

1. Best Book You Read In 2014? 

A classic~ Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t? 

Minders by Michele Jaffe. It has an awesomeee concept and the first 30 pages or so are super interesting and cool. Then there's like some dumbass murder plot underneath the Awesome Concept and an out of nowhere one sided romance with a Boring Blankface Girl and a Jerkass. I got all sadfaced.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014? 

Where She Went by Gayle Forman. I heard a lot of good things about If I Stay, and even though the prose was pretty beautiful and the emotion sometimes felt real it was...err...kind of boring? Like at times, I found myself skimming and hoping for something more to happen. I only picked up the sequel because I saw it was written from the POV of the male lead and even though it doesn't deal with death and trauma, it somehow packs a more emotional punch.

Plus I love books that take place in a single night and somehow encompass so much in so little.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2014? 

I don't push people to read anything. I'm more a follower than a leader--I just end up reading what everyone else is reading.

5. Best series you started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014? 

The hardest question of all! It always makes me feel all awkward that I rarely follow through with sequels or prequels or whatevers. But I did read The Gunslinger by Stephen King, and even though my trek through the rest of the series is a slowww one (much to other people's annoyance >.>) I did like that first book.

Best sequel goes to Where She Went, of course :P

Best series ender is probz Champion by Marie Lu, though it's not fantastic by any means. Still, while I think it certainly could have been better, it was pretty good, all things considered. Plus I like Lu's writing--I'll probably always read everything she writes.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014? 

James Tiptree, Jr. AKA Alice Bradley Sheldon. (AKA the forerunner of cyberpunk, AKA another important figure of science fiction who's a) a woman and b) often forgotten >_> COINCIDENCE? I think not T_T)

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone? 

Probably Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. I don't think I'll be going back for too much YA contemporaries in the coming years as I seem to be moving farther and farther away from them, especially super romance centered ones. But this book is just so cute and so soul crushing all at the same time. I adored it.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year? 

Ugh. Not so much unputdownable or thrilling, but yes on the action packed. No contest, but not in a good way, Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson. It has so many goddamn action scenes the line between Oh I Guess That's Mindless And Cool and CHRIST WILL THIS END ALREADY IT'S SO BORING start to blur.

9. Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year? 

Frankenstein--but mostly because I need to quote or reference it like a madwoman for my own novel.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014? 

It's somewhere between the Minders cover,


and the now kind-of-famous These Broken Stars cover.


That last one is somehow even more gorgeous in the printed version.

Also. Huh. I guess I have a thing for redheads in book covers? (Though I must admit, the amount of redheads I read about in books is...like...too much >_> For such a rare hair color, it sure is mega common in fiction)

11. Most memorable character of 2014? 

Oh my god. It's gotta be Dred from, well, Dred: A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp by Harriet Beecher Stowe. He shows up at like the 100 page mark, but holy shit is this guy memorable. He even talks like a prophet, and pops in and out of nowhere with a loaded gun all the time. He's a total badass.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014? 

I fully admit that this is a total cheat and probably doesn't even count because it's a translation, but I DON'T CARE. I'm doing it. I loved Beowulf, and this was my first time reading it. It's weird how engaging it is, so I'm picking it.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2014? 

I kind of want to pick a short story here since I ended up reading so many of them this year--plus, I can't keep picking Frankenstein for everything. So I'm going with a combined short story pick, a tie between I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison and The Girl Who Was Plugged In by Alice Bradley Sheldon. Especially the latter...

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read? 

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. Not that I completely agree with his view of androids, but I've had a collection of his work for agesss. The dude's a great writer, even if he does make me feel at times like I'm on an acid trip. Plus, I read this book right after watching Blade Runner for the first time, and it was great to see the differences.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014? 

Gushing time! This moment was so important for me. Everything I currently love and ever loved about science fiction and writing and artificial intelligence and Mary Shelley probably started with:

"A strange multiplicity of sensations seized me, and I saw, felt, heard, and smelt, at the same time; and it was, indeed, a long time before I learned to distinguish between the operations of my various senses. By degrees, I remember, a stronger light pressed upon my nerves, so that I was obliged to shut my eyes. Darkness then came over me, and troubled me; but hardly had I felt this, when, by opening my eyes, as I now suppose, the light poured in upon me again. I walked, and, I believe, descended; but I presently found a great alteration in my sensations. Before, dark and opaque bodies had surrounded me, impervious to my touch or sight; but I now found that I could wander on at liberty, with no obstacles which I could not either surmount or avoid."

from Frankenstein. 

Maybe I'll go further into why it's so life changing later...maybe when I finish and edit Vanguard's Exodus.

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2014?

Longest was It by Stephen King. Shortest was probably one of the short story collections, like the appropriately named Flash Fiction Forward: 80 Very Short Stories, edited by James Thomas.

17. Book That Shocked You The Most (Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.) 

I wasn't feeling The Young Elites for a good chunk of the story, then at the eleventh hour, a certain character died in the best way ever. I threw my fists in the air and CHEERED LIKE AHHHHH.

I applaud Marie Lu for taking that risk-but she better not try to retcon it. The epilogue makes me think she'll bring this character back in a sequel, and that will make me rage.

But even if it does happen, the death still made the The Young Elites sooooo much better. Same with the kind-of-but-not-really-twist-but-still-awesome-moment involving Adelina's sister, Violetta.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)?

KORRASAMI

oh wait, wrong medium.

Uhhhh. Y'know, going through Dune a thorough second time and actually getting far into the book was a good idea, because I finally get to appreciate the cute scenes with Paul and Chani. So that's my OTP in books this year.

Though I'm probably just picking it because Sihaya is the cutest nickname ever for an SO. And it reminds me of Thane from ME, of course~

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year?

I can count manga right? Cuz if so, pretty much everyone in Attack on Titan and how they interact with each other. If I have to narrow it down, then the main trio, Mikasa, Eren, and Armin.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You’ve Read Previously?

I guess The Gunslinger takes this spot too. It's not my favorite Stephen King book, but I did enjoy it a lot.

21. Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure?

The entire Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi. I...did not believe people when they said it was terrible. And once I started, I couldn't stop. You know how it is with me and the special, special train wreck trilogies...

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?

Pfffft. Nobody captured my heart this year :P

23. Best 2014 debut you read?

Uhhhh. Wow. I didn't read a single debut in 2014. I mean, some were 2013 debuts, like, from December, and a couple more from 2012. The 2014 releases I read came from already published authors.

So...whoops! No answer here.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Gotta go with the classics again--Dune vs. Hyperion. Pick a side, though both are hardcore awesomeness.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Jeez, I only read super depressing stuff this year. I guess I can focus on that first half of the question.

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai is tense to read at times just because of the situations, but seeing how much Malala accomplished and how hard she's pushing for her education and the education of other girls is inspiring. So once I was done, I was grinning out of  sheer admiration and hope.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?

TOO MANY TO COUNT. Frankenstein, The Girl Who Was Plugged In, Eleanor & Park, Before I Fall, Where She Went. All were emotional roller coasters and I was a mess afterwards, even though I didn't actually cry.

But I think I got the closest to it with Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing Up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride, and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs by Elissa Wall. And that's mostly because having to read about the crap this poor lady went through at fourteen is infuriating on top of being heartbreaking.

27. Hidden Gem Of the Year?

Silence: A Thirteen-Century French Romance.

...what? How much more hidden can you get than an anonymously written medieval story about gender identity, total jerkass Merlin, Nurture vs. Nature, and awesome knights? >.>

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. It was almost too much for me, but I loved how unexpectedly good it got.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2014?

HAH, I'm gonna twist this question too and pick Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi--in that it most definitely tried to be unique and succeeded in not so great ways.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

OH I HATED THIS BOOK.

Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson is so infuriatingggg. There's just so much crap wrong with it! The story telling style isn't my cup of tea--it's very much in the format of World War Z--but I could have gotten past it if it'd at least had interesting characters or concepts. But this did not. And I heard this unoriginal piece of shit is getting a movie adaption, produced by Steven Spielberg--and here I  thought I couldn't dislike Spielberg even more than I do now. If he gets this thing to the big screen, my dislike may just turn to hate.

The antagonist, Archos, is such a total cliche of a cliche. Dudebot sprouts the most pretentious dialogue in the world. There's just so much wrong with the idea that an A.I would go trigger happy once it becomes sentient and try to wipe out humanity, but if you're going to do that, you need to have an actual reason, you need to explore those implications, you need to make them complex.

But here, Archos has no reason to wipe out humanity! He's just all "welp, you created sentient life. That's honestly as good as you're gonna get. That's it, you've peaked...so...why even keep living, y'know? Time to kill you!" Hell, there's some philosophizing bullshit about the nature of man and God. Vs Creator talks in the first chapter. Every time there was a chapter with the villain, it was like a pretentious-off.

Allll the human characters are either dumbasses, boring, or boring dumbasses, which makes all the action scenes stitching the narrative together super annoying. I don't care that these people are in danger, I don't know them. And when I do finally get to know them, I still don't care.

It also does this annoying thing where sometimes there'll be quotes of a piece of dialogue or prose at the top of a chapter, and then that same line will appear in said chapter. WHY ARE YOU SELF-QUOTING? WHAT PURPOSE DOES THIS SERVE? I WAS ALREADY GOING TO READ THIS LINE TWO PAGES LATER?

AND DON'T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON THAT DUMBASS ENDING.

Ahem >.>

I have a lot of feelings...

But yes. That book...inspires a rage in me :P

I'm gonna skip the book blogger questions, and go straight to

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2015:

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2014 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2015? 

I started Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen and didn't get to finish it. I accidentally left it at my dorm when I left for winter break  D: So that's definitely what I'm reading the second I get back.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2015 (non-debut)? 

I haven't even caught up with The Lunar Chronicles and yet I'm still super mega hyped for Winter by Marissa Meyer. Once it comes out, I'll probably speed read all books in one month.

3. 2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating? 

Not super hyped, but Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard seems interesting.

And let's just put The Winds of Winter on here even though, at best, we're getting a winter 2016 release...assuming he's more than past the halfway point.

*sobs*

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2015? 

Actually read 50 books in a year Dx. I have so many books lying around that there is no excuse for me to fall short. Then if I manage, I can up it to 60 books for 2016.

6. A 2015 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

Pshh. The one time I got an advance reading copy (On The Fence by Kasie West) I accidentally let it wait it out for three months at my university's PO box. So let's just say, I don't ever get ARCs anymore... Dx.

Weeee~ This was fun. Hopefully this time next year I can fill out this survey again with some interesting reads.

But at least 2014 was a pretty good bookish year :D
~Becky

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"Science and science fiction have done a kind of dance over the last century... The scientists make a finding. It inspires science fiction writers to write about it, and a host of young people read the science fiction and are excited, and inspired to become scientists...which they do, which then feeds again into another generation of science fiction and science..."
- Carl Sagan, in his message to future explorers of Mars.