1. Best Book You Read In 2011?
We the Animals by Justin Torres. Far and away the best read of 2011. I did also enjoy The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and Under the Poppy by Kathe Koja. Some great classics found their way in, too: The Garden of Eden by Ernest Hemingway and 1984 by George Orwell. All of these books got perfect ratings from me.
2. Most Disappointing Book/Book You Wish You Loved More Than You Did?
The Golden Mean by Annabel Lyon. I so, so wanted to love this book. When I first found out about it, I was stoked! A story about Alexander the Great’s boyhood, and his mentor Aristotle? AMAZING. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t very good.
3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2011?
Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow. I’ve had the book on my shelf for years – sort of afraid to pick it up. I loved my one other experience with Doctorow (Homer & Langley) but, for some reason, I had a fear of hating this one, or being bored by it. Fortunately, it was brilliant and I loved it. Great way to end 2011! I’ll be reading Billy Bathgate sometime in 2012, since I’ve owned that one for quite some time too.
4. Book you recommended to people most in 2011?
We the Animals by Justin Torres.
5. Best series you discovered in 2011?
Well, I’m not sure I would say I “discovered” this series in 2011, since I’ve known about it since I was a boy – I used to watch the movies and t.v. show, I dressed up as the main character for Halloween, etc. But, the best series I dove-into reading-wise for the first time in 2011 was definitely the Sherlock Holmes series by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I read the first two novels (A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of Four) and cannot wait to read more in 2012!
6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2011?
Andrew Smith (author of one of my favorite books of 2011, Stick).
7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
Hmm.. there’s not much that I would consider out of my comfort zone. I did, however, read some “Classic Erotica” this year. I discovered a book called Teleny, or The Reverse of the Medal which was technically written anonymously, but scholars have deduced that the likely author was Oscar Wilde. Now, being a vehement originalist (one who searches for unexpurgated and unabridged original texts) and a lover of Wilde, I had to get my hands on a copy. I did. I had to read it. I did. And, I loved it! I don’t read erotica, but I’ll never refuse to read Oscar Wilde.
9. Book you most anticipated in 2011?
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2011?
11. Most memorable character in 2011?
Oh, boy. Let’s see. There are Tristan and Istvan from Under the Poppy. The narrator from The Marbled Swarm. Humbert Humbert from Lolita. So many good ‘uns!
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2011?
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov were probably the best written books I read in 2011. The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone as well.
13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2011?
We the Animals by Justin Torres (Am I sounding like a broken record yet??)
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2011 to finally read?
1984 by George Orwell – so freaking good!!
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2011?
There is a drowsy state, between sleeping and waking, when you dream more in five minutes with your eyes half open, and yourself half conscious of everything that is passing around you, than you would in five nights with your eyes fast closed, and your senses wrapt in perfect unconsciousness. At such time, a mortal knows just enough of what his mind is doing, to form some glimmering conception of its mighty powers, its bounding from earth and spurning time and space, when freed from the restraint of its corporeal associate.” – Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens
16. Book That You Read In 2011 That Would Be Most Likely To Reread In 2012?
I will definitely be re-reading Stick by Andrew Smith.
17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!
The opening scene from Under the Poppy by Kathe Koja is INSANE. I loved it and it definitely set the tone for the rest of the novel, but it was a “SAY WHAT?!” moment, for sure.
Book Blogging/Reading Life in 2011
1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2011?
Hmmm… that’s tough. I really think all my 2011 favorites are old favorites from 2010. The blogs I visit most often are:
2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2010?
3. Best discussion you had on your blog?
4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?
I think the number of posts that came up about the “darker” elements of YA were interesting to read, as were the many posts on censorship and banned books. Nothing I can (or want to) point to specifically right now, though.
5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
Book Blogger Appreciation Week, ArmchairBEA, Indie Lit Awards, Literary Blog Hops, Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thons, Random Acts of Kindness (R.A.K.) and Blog Bash.
6. Best moment of book blogging in 2011?
When Roof Beam Reader was nominated for -and made it to the final round of voting in- a BBAW award (Best Literary Fiction Blog). That was an incredible honor and a great moment for me and the blog.
7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
My most viewed post is my review of Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (interesting, because it has hardly any comments). My most commented-on post is the 2012 TBR Pile Challenge Sign-Ups! A good sign for reading in 2012, I hope!
8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
Hm.. maybe my review for Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk.
9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
Out of Print Tees. Oh, yeah!
10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I completed my own 2011 TBR Pile Challenge (barely) but I failed miserably at all the other challenges I signed-up for. In 2012, I’ve limited myself to three challenges, and I really think I can manage them!
1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2011 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2012?
Gone With the Wind – I’m reading it right now!
2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2012?
Passenger by Andrew Smith (the sequel to The Marbury Lens)
3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2012?
I hope to stay active in the community in general – participating in various events and such. I would like to meet some more book bloggers (new ones, or ones I just haven’t developed a relationship with yet) and keep in contact with some of my favorite book-blogging pals. I’d love to attend some in-person events, too, such as BEA. We’ll see.