My Best of 2016

I heard someone say (I don’t remember who) that 2016 was so bad a year overall that instead of best-of lists at the end, we should just be celebrating things that didn’t suck. So, in that spirit, I give you my reading year, which mostly didn’t suck.

By the numbers:

Middle Grade Fiction: 40
YA Fiction: 46
Graphic Novels: 16
Non-Fiction: 10
Adult Fiction: 22
Number of those that were sci-fi/fantasy books, not counting graphic novels:  40
Number of those that were by authors of color: 17
Number of those that had prominent characters of color: 23
Number of those that were audio books: 12
Number of those that were rereads: 7

Grand Total: 133 – that’s the lowest total I’ve had since I started keeping record!

Abandoned: Searching for John Hughes, Maestra, The Haters, The Magicians, Lone Survivor

And now this year’s awards:

Best Adult Fiction: Leave Me 
Best YA book: The Sun is Also a Star
Best Middle Grade book: Ms. Bixby’s Last Day
Best Fantasy: A Darker Shade of Magic
Best Sci-Fi/Distopian: Redshirts
Best Graphic Novel: Mighty Jack
Best Non-Fiction: Voracious
Best MG/YA Non-Fiction: Quiet Power
Best Romance: Love & Gelato
Best Mystery: I am Princess X
Best Audiobook: Today Will Be Different

And in other categories…

Cover love: 

threedarkcrownscrookedkingdom sixofcrowsheartlessandidarken

I had a thing for black covers this year, I guess.

Don’t judge a book by its cover:
winnerskiss

You can judge this book by its cover:
meg

Best in-person book group book: The Buried Giant

Best on-line book group book: The Piper’s Son

Favorite reread: Jacob Have I Loved

The Best Reading Experience: Textbook

*Blush*: Maestra, The Bollywood Affair

I Love Food: Voracious, My Kitchen Year

Italy!: Love & Gelato, With Malice

Clones are the new Aliens: The Diabolic, Replica

Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic/Aliens isn’t quite overdone (yet): The Diabolic, Undertow, The Knife of Never Letting Go

Awesome Fantasy Heroines: Rebel of the Sands, Heartless, Caraval, Nimona, A Gathering of Shadows, The Blue Sword, Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom

Books I should have read AGES ago: Redshirts, The Piper’s Son

Awesome LGBT: Proxy, We Are Okay, If I Was Your Girl, Lumberjanes: A Terrible Plan, You Know Me Well

9/11: Towers Falling,  Nine, Ten, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

It’s a damn fine ending: The Raven King, The Shepherd’s Crown

Can’t Wait for You to Read it Too: Fish Girl, Short, Caraval

Loved it, but can’t seem to sell it: Heartless

Wanted to love it, but didn’t: Smoke

Best Middle Grade Book Group Discussions Ever: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The BFG (overwhelmingly the favorite), The Witches, The Twits, Fantastic Mr. Fox

I’m Kind of Over It (though the Midnight Release Party was a blast): The Cursed Child

Author everyone else loves that I discovered I liked: Alex London

Sometimes the Hype is Right: Me Before You

“Best” Part of My Job (aka Author Events I Managed):

2016-authorsJessica Day George, Maggie Stiefvater, Mac Barnett, Sarah Maas, Loren Long, Jennfier Mathieu, Leigh Bardugo, Ben Hatke, Brian Farrey & Kelly Barnhill,  Chris Grabenstein, Jake Parker, Daniel Miayres, and Kate DiCamillo.

Plus bonus James Kennedy, Alex London, and Amy King at KidlitCon

Best event I didn’t run but was super impressed by:

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What are some of your bests this year?

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My Best-of 2015

2015 was a much better year for me than last year. I got new responsibilities at work that have been challenging and have made my life busier, but have also been a TON of fun. I didn’t read as much but what I read, overall, was better. Either that, or I was just in a mood to like more of what I read. I still need to work on upping my books by authors of color, but I did a better job of keeping track this year, so at least I have an accurate starting point. I’m quite pleased with my year and I’m looking forward to another good one in 2016.

By the Numbers:

Middle Grade Fiction: 70
YA Fiction: 46
Graphic Novels: 14
Non-Fiction: 16
Adult Fiction: 25
Number of those that were sci-fi/fantasy books, not counting graphic novels: 62
Number of those that were by authors of color: 22
Number of those that had prominent characters of color: 39
Number of those that were audio books: 15
Number of those that were rereads: 6

Grand Total: 171

Abandoned: more than I kept track of

And now this year’s awards:

Best Adult Fiction: Prayers for Sale
Best YA book: Trouble is a Friend of Mine
Best Middle Grade book: The Penderwicks in Spring
Best MG Speculative Fiction: Being a part of the Cybils EMGSF panel this year, I’m not at liberty to say. But the shortlist will be announced tomorrow!
Best Fantasy: Shadow Scale
Best Sci-Fi/Distopian: The Martian
Best Graphic Novel: Roller Girl and Ms. Marvel
Best Non-Fiction: Bad Feminist
Best MG/YA Non-Fiction: I Will Always Write Back
Best Romance: Kissing in America
Best Mystery: The House of Silk
Best Audiobook: You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)

And in other categories…

Cover love:

dungeoneers 5b2fb-cuckoosong f4d17-msmarvel1 The Hollow Boy

Don’t judge a book by its cover: 

239fd-winnerscrime

Best in-person book group book: Prayers for Sale

Best YAckers book: Uprooted

Favorite reread: A Room with a View

Aliens!: Mars Evacuees, Nomad, Armada, Magonia, Smek for President, Red Queen

The Hype is Right: All the Light We Cannot See

*Blush*: The Viscount Who Loved Me

Absolutely Gorgeous and Defies Categorization: The Marvels 

Feminist and Proud: Bad Feminist, Uprooted, Prayers for Sale, How to be a Heroine, Ms. Marvel, The Bitch in the House, Bone Gap, The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate, Scarlett Undercover, Gabi a Girl in Pieces, The Boston Girl, Honor Girl, Roller Girl, The Forgotten Sisters, Glory O’Brein’s History of the Future

Difficult, but Powerful: Between the World and Me, Just Mercy

We Got ArtHow to be Both, Big Magic, The Truth Commission

Twists FTW: The Blackthorn Key

History with a Side of Fiction: Stella by Starlight, Walk on Earth a Stranger, The Hired Girl, Beautiful Ruins, The Boston Girl, How to Be Both, Black Dove, White Raven

Okay, I Cried: Circus Mirandus

Unbelievable Debut: An Ember in the Ashes

I Adore a (Mythology and Fairy Tale) Retelling: Shadows of SherwoodBaba Yaga’s Assistant, The Sword of Summer, The Wrath and the Dawn

Give it Up for Religion: The Porcupine of Truth, The Bishop’s Wife, Siddhartha, Scarlett Undercover

Snorting Milk Through My Nose: Dory and the Real True Friend

I Love Language: Between You & Me

I Also Love Food: Life from Scratch

Basketball Poetry is Awesome, Who Knew?: The Crossover

WTH Just Happened: The Library at Mount Char, The Nest, Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future

Finding Space in My Head: Siddhartha, The Joy of Living

I’ll Happily Grow Up with Mo: The Story of Diva and Flea

My 10-Year-Old Self Would Have Loved This: The Hunters of Chaos, Goodbye Stranger

Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic isn’t overdone (yet): Station Eleven, MiNRS, The Fog Diver, The Scorpion Rules

I Like Gaiman Better in Short Form: Trigger Warning

Not Out Yet, but Worth Watching For: Summerlost, To Catch a Cheat, The Memory of Light

Begs to be Read Aloud: Appleblossom the Possum

Where’s the Next One?: The Heart of Betrayal, The Winner’s Crime

Books I should have read AGES ago: Something Fresh, Cold Comfort Farm.

Awesome LGBTQ+: George, The Porcupine of Truth,  Honor Girl, The Scorpion Rules, The Marvels

Woo-hoo, they’re back!: The Hollow Boy, The Odds of Getting Even, Switch, The Golden Specific, The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate, The Shadow Cabinet, Dragons Beware, The Forgotten Sisters, The Penderwicks in Spring

Waaaah, it’s OVER: Jinx’s Fire

Loved it, but can’t seem to sell it: The Bishop’s Wife, Confessions of an Imaginary Friend

Books I finished but didn’t feel the love for: Orbiting Jupiter (I couldn’t bring myself to write a review), My Brilliant Friend, Steve Jobs, The Thing About Jellyfish, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Fables for Our Time

Author everyone else loves that I discovered I liked: Anne Lamott (Small Victories)

“Best” Part of My Job (aka Author Events I Managed): Joelle Charbonneau, Middle Grade Mania (Steve A, Faith H, Greg T, Marcia W), Ridley Pearson, Judy Schachner, Bill Konigsburg, John Flannagan, Jacqueline Woodson, Penguin Teen on Tour (Ally Condie, Meg Wolitzer, Jandy Nelson), Geoff Rodkey, and Ally Carter.

What are some of your bests this year?

My Best of 2014

Lots went on this year. Personally, it was rough for me and I spent a lot of time in the slumps, though you can’t really tell from the totals. (A look at my Goodreads shelf and there are a lot of 3 and 4 star books.) Well, a couple of things were different: I read a lot more graphic novels, more YA than Middle Grade, and I reread a lot more than I used to. It was the year of #WeNeedDiverseBooks, and I’ve started paying more attention to the (lack of) diversity in my reading. (Seriously. I need to either keep better track of it and/or read more.) In retrospect, it wasn’t a bad year reading, though I think I read less broadly than I usually do. But, tomorrow’s a new year (and the Cybils’ shortlist announcement!) and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to find some great books out there.

By the Numbers:

Middle Grade Fiction: 52
YA Fiction: 62
Graphic Novels: 24
Non-Fiction: 18
Adult Fiction: 19
(Number of those that were sci-fi/fantasy books, not counting graphic novels: 57)
(Number of those that were by authors of color: 12)
(Number of those that had prominent characters of color — that I can remember: 24)
(Number of those that were audiobooks: 14)
(Number of those that were rereads: 17)

Grand Total: 175

Abandoned: 9

And now this year’s awards:

Best Adult Fiction: The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
Best YA book: Everything Leads to You
Best Middle-grade book: The Great Greene Heist
Best MG Fantasy: The Greenglass House
Best YA Fantasy: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
Best Sci-Fi/Distopian: The Infinite Sea
Best Graphic Novel: Sisters
Best Non-Fiction: Gulp
Best MG/YA Non-Fiction: Port Chicago 50
Best Romance: The Crane Wife
Best Mystery: The Killer’s Cousin
Best Audiobook: Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography

And in other categories…

Cover love: 

  


  
Don’t judge a book by its cover: The Winner’s Curse, Everything Leads to You

Best in-person book group book: Gulp

Best YAckers book: Reality Boy

Couldn’t finish it, but a Great Discussion: Cloud Atlas

*Blush*: The Chocolate Thief

Kids’ Books for Grown-ups: The Night GardenerEgg & Spoon


A Year of Memoirs: The World’s Strongest Librarian, Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography, The Art of Asking, Dad is Fat, Rethinking Normal, Brown Girl Dreaming, Lifesaving Lessons

We Got Art: The Art Forger, The Art of Asking, I’ll Give You the Sun, Isla and the Happily Ever After, The Summer Prince, Girl in Reverse, Under the Egg, Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Favorite reread: Graceling/Fire

Twists FTW: We Were Liars 

The Summer of John Green: Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, Let it Snow

My Favorite John Green book: An Abundance of Katherines

Best John Green discussion: Looking for Alaska

Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic isn’t overdone (yet): The Summer Prince

Not Out Yet, but Worth Looking For: Ms. Rapscott’s GirlsMosquitoland, The Terrible Two

Begs to be Read Aloud: The Night Gardener

Poetry? Who knew?: Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty, The Importance of Being Ernest, What the Heart Knows

Give it up for religion: Zealot, I Love I Hate I Miss My Sister, So Long a Letter, Killing Jesus, Hereville: How Mirka Met a Meteorite 

Superheroes!: The Princess in Black, Shadow Hero, Minion, Dangerous

Why Not Talking Cats: Cleopatra in Space, Mouseheart

History (Real and Alternative): Sugar, Madman of Piney Woods, Boys in the Boat, One Summer, The Inventor’s Secret, A Horse Called Hero, Wanderville, Hidden, Port Chicago 50, Dollbaby, March, Book One 

Books I should have read AGES ago: Obsidian Mirror


Mean Girls: Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass

Awesome LGBTQ+: Everything Leads to You, I’ll Give You the SunNeil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography, Drama, Afterworlds, The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher, The Vacationers, The Summer Prince, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, City of Heavenly Fire, Grasshopper Jungle, Rethinking Normal

WTH Did I Just Read: Grasshopper Jungle

Evil Incarnate: Half Bad

Snorting milk outta my nose award: Life of Zarf

Series I devoured: The Casson Family 

I’m in love with everyone: Blue Lily, Lily Blue

Woo-hoo, they’re back!: Ghosts of Tupelo Landing, Thursdays with the CrownThe Whispering SkullCress

Waaaah, it’s OVER: The Hero’s Guide to Being an Outlaw, Unmade, Dreams of Gods and Monsters, The Blood of Olympus, The Mortal Heart, The Grimjinx Rebellion, Return of Zita the Spacegirl, The Last Present, The Bitter Kingdom

Loved it, but can’t seem to sell it: Blue Lily, Lily Blue, The Shadowhand Covenant/The Grimjinx Rebellion, Shadow Hero

Indulging in my desire to carry around a photo of Nathan Fillion: Raging Heat

Books I finished but didn’t feel the love for: Dear Committee Members, The Bridge of San Luis Ray, S. , Riverman, Egg & Spoon, Dorothy Must Die, Fablehaven


Author everyone else loves that I discovered I liked: Jim Gaffigan (Dad is Fat, Food: A Love Story), A. S. King (Reality Boy), Rene Telgemeier (Smile, Drama, Sisters)

Author Events I dragged the girls/family to: Gabrielle Zevin (she was the best one!), Kristopher Jansma, Stephen King, Wendelin Van Draanan, Linda Greenlaw, Robert Gates

What are some of your bests this past year?

My Best Of 2013

To be perfectly honest, I’m not quite sure where 2013 went. Last time I checked, it was April. But then, I started a book group at work (which is still kind of struggling), organized my birthday party, sent a daughter to India, served on another Cybils panel, went to KidlitCon, and a saw a whole bunch of authors. It was a busy year! And, in between all that, I managed to read a bunch of books.

By the Numbers:

Middle Grade Fiction: 67
YA Fiction: 53
Graphic Novels: 9
Non-Fiction: 15
Adult Fiction: 25
(Number of those that were sci-fi/fantasy books: 80)
(Number of those that were audiobooks: 19)
(Number of those that were rereads: 15)

Grand Total: 169

Abandoned: 8

Not bad, for someone who doesn’t have time. Then again, I don’t watch too much TV or movies anymore.

And now this year’s awards:

Best Adult Fiction: The Golem and the Jinni
Best YA book: The Lucy Variations
Best Middle-grade book: The Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library
Best MG Fantasy: You’ll see what we come up with on our shortlist tomorrow! 
Best YA Fantasy: Quintana of Charyn
Best Sci-Fi/Distopian: The 5th Wave
Best Graphic Novel: Boxers & Saints
Best Non-Fiction: The Telling Room
Best MG/YA Non-Fiction: Bomb
Best Romance: Just One Day/Just One Year
Best Mystery: There really wasn’t one this year.
Best Audiobook: Fragile Things


And in other categories…

Cover love: Anna Dressed in Blood
  
Don’t judge a book by its cover: The Screaming Staircase

*Swoon*: Perfect Scoundrels (HALE!)

I could have written it (but not as well): The Book of Mormon Girl

Long Title, Great Book:  Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore (Also: Google!)

Best in-person book group book: The Golem and the Jinni

Best YAckers book: The Blue Sword

Favorite reread: The Blue Sword (followed closely by Emma)

Rocking Retellings: Tiger LilyThe Madman’s DaughterDodger,

Third Best Cancer Book Ever: Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl

Yes, I am a Janeite: A Jane Austen Education, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, Longbourn

Dickensian London, Represent!: How to Catch a Bogle, Rose, The Reluctant AssassinDodger, The Madman’s Daughter

Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic isn’t overdone (yet): Parched, The Rithmatist

Begs to be Read Aloud: True Blue Scouts of Sugarman Swamp

Fine. I cried: One for the Murphys, The Running Dream


Hippies at Heart: Eva of the Farm

The polar bear is real, I swear: Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made

Oh the 80s!: Eleanor & Park Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Tell the Wolves I’m Home

Best Unreliable Narrator: The Unchangeable Spots of Lepoards

I *heart* Musicians: The Lucy Variations, The Year of Shadows

Books I should have read AGES ago: Blankets, The Castle of Otranto

Give it up for the Awesome Heroines:  Dark Triumph, The Boneshaker, Rose Under Fire, Quintana of Charyn, Untold, Scarlet, Out of the Easy, Magic Marks the Spot, All the Truth That’s In Me, Giants Beware, The Blue Sword

Guys rock: Guys Read: Other Worlds; Winger; An Abundance of Katherines; The Beginning of Everything


Mean Girls FTW: Confessions of a Hater

Evil Incarnate: The Homecoming of Samuel Lake

Author Events I dragged the girls to: Rick Riordan, Melissa de la Cruz, Shannon Messenger, Marissa Meyer, Eoin Colfer, Claire M. Caterer, Lenore Applehans, Kahled Hosseini

Snorting milk outta my nose award: Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle

Series I devoured: Mortal Instruments (City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls); Infernal Devices (Clockwork Angel; Clockwork Prince; Clockwork Princess), The Grisha (Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm)

Odd isn’t a strong enough word: Teen Boat!

Honorary Dude Award: Dude and the Zen Master, OCD, the Dude, and Me

Ghosts!: Ghost Hawk, The Screaming Staircase, Ghost Prison, Beholding Bee, The Year of Shadows, How I Became a Ghost, Anna Dressed in Blood, The Dream Thieves, The Madness Underneath, Paper Valentine

Woo-hoo, they’re back!: Perfect Scoundrels, Amulet: Prince of the Elves, The Runaway King, House of Hades, Wednesdays at the Tower


Waaaah, it’s OVER: Quintana of Charyn

Loved it, but can’t seem to sell it: Counting By 7s, The Different GirlJust One Day/Just One Year, 

Can we have the sequel NOW?: The Screaming Staircase; The Madness Underneath; The Dream Thieves

Indulging in my desire to carry around a photo of Nathan Fillion: Deadly Heat 

It kind of called for a picture of Nathan Fillion.

Books I finished but didn’t feel the love for: Far, Far Away; Confessions of a Hater; The Lost Art of Mixing; Rebel Spirits; Blue Plate Special, What Would Barbara DoA Tangle of Knots, Flora & Ulysses

Disappointing book by an author I respect: A Grimm Conclusion, Panic

Author everyone else loves that I discovered I liked: Maeve Binchy (Tara Road), Cassandra Clare, Rainbow Rowell (Eleanor & Park)

First-time authors I’d love to see more from: Claire M. Caterer (The Key & the Flame), Peggy Eddleman (Sky Jumpers), Kristopher Jansma (The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards), Helene Wecker (The Golem and the Jinni)

What are some of your bests this past year?

My Best of 2012

It’s my fifth year doing this! It’s also the post (well, the one several years ago), that prompted another local blogger to say “Book Nut: it’s not just a blog name, it’s a diagnosis.” Which I still agree with. I have discovered that doing this is a ton of fun, and starting about mid-December, I scroll through all my archives, dreaming up awards. Enjoy!

By the Numbers:

Middle Grade Fiction: 89
YA Fiction: 47
Graphic Novels: 8
Non-Fiction: 19
Adult Fiction: 25
(Number of those that were sci-fi/fantasy books: 88)
(Number of those that were audiobooks: 14)

Grand Total: 188

Abandoned: 6

Not bad; more than the past couple of years, but not as many as my peak. Also: I knew my middle grade and fantasy totals would be out there this year. But, as I’m going through these awards, I realize that it was a really fantasy-heavy year overall. That’s not a bad thing: there was a LOT of good stuff out there. However, on the downside, I probably won’t have read the book that will win the Newbery before it does.

And now this year’s awards:

Best Adult Fiction: Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend
Best YA book: Code Name Verity
Best Middle-grade book: Three Times Lucky
Best MG Fantasy: You’ll see what we come up with on our shortlist tomorrow!
Best YA Fantasy: Bitterblue
Best Sci-Fi/Distopian: Ready Player One
Best Graphic Novel: Fables, the Deluxe Edition, Volume 1
Best Non-Fiction: Behind the Beautiful Forevers
Best MG/YA Non-Fiction: Amelia Lost
Best Romance: Highland Fling

Best Mystery (I read more than one this year!): The Sherlockian
Best Audiobook: Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand
Best Jacket Flap: Cold Cereal

And in other categories…

Okay, okay, so the hype isn’t always wrong: Water for Elephants, In the Garden of the Beasts 

Love stories aren’t always romances: Every Day

Cover love: Vessel, Splendors and Glooms
 
Worst cover, good book: Seven Tales of Trinket

Food love: Kitchen Counter Cooking School; Food Rules; Dearie; The Spice Necklace; Yes, Chef

Feeding my new-found interest in steampunk: Goliath, The Peculiar, Steampunk


*Swoon*: Grave Mercy


Long Title, Good BookThe Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

Best in-person book group book: Outcasts United

Best Nook book: Factory Girls

Best YAckers book: The Raven Boys (our discussion)

Favorite reread: Anne of Green Gables


Woot, dragons!: Seraphina, Wings of Fire: The Dragonet Prophecy, The Last Dragonslayer, Dealing With Dragons, Searching for Dragons, Calling on Dragons, Dragon Castle

Fine. I cried: A Monster Calls, The One and Only Ivan, The Fault in Our Stars, Wonder

Books I should have read AGES ago: I, Robot; Brave New World; Good Omens

Give it up for the Awesome Heroines: Cold Fury, Grave Mercy, Blood Red Road, Unspoken, Hex Hall, Code Name Verity

Guys rock: Curveball, Stupid Fast, The Fault in Our Stars, Ghetto Cowboy, Liar & Spy

Boarding school rules: Ordinary Magic, Beswitched

Snorting milk outta my nose award: Nanny Piggins and the Wicked Plan, Mr. and Mrs. Bunny — Detectives Extraordinaire, Sports from Hell, Good Omens, Cold Cereal, The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom; Bossypants.

Proof Stalin was evil: Between Shades of Gray, Breaking Stalin’s Nose

Best book with the worst characters: Before I Fall


It’s not Megan Whalen Turner, but it’s close: The False Prince

Series I devoured: Rae Carson: The Girl of Fire and Thorns/The Crown of Embers. Rachel Hawkins: Hex Hall/Demonglass/Spell Bound. Jacqueline West: The Shadows/Spellbound/The Second Spy; Patrica Wrede: The Enchanted Forest Series. Ally Condie: Matched/Crossed

Favorite reviews: Something Like Fate, Mark of Athena, Fake Mustache, Keeper of the Lost Cities


The Wink-Wink, Nudge-Nudge book: Shadow of Night

Better than Glee: Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy

The Guinea Pig award: Drop Dead Healthy

Odd isn’t a strong enough word: Railsea, Fake Mustache

Woo-hoo, they’re back!: Goliath (also, Waah: It’s Over!), Caddy’s World, The Mighty Miss Malone, The Unseen Guest, Midnight in Austenland, Clementine and the Family Meeting

Loved it, but can’t seem to sell it: Gilt, Splendors and Glooms, Grave MercyPalace of Stone, Breadcrumbs, Ready Player One, Nerd Camp

Can we have the sequel NOW?: Unspoken, Days of Blood & Starlight, Froi of the Exiles, The Raven BoysThe Crown of Embers, Amulet: the Last Council, Legends of Zita the Spacegirl

Fancy names does not a fantasy make: Throne of Glass, What Came from the Stars

Indulging in my desire to carry around a photo of Nathan Fillion: Frozen Heat

Books I finished but didn’t feel the love for: Jepp, Who Defied the Stars; Wildwood; Ilium

Disappointing book by an author I respect: Mark of Athena,What Came from the Stars, Why We Broke Up, Purity

Author everyone else loves that I discovered I liked: Meg Cabot (Size 14 is Not Fat Either), J. R. Moehringer (Sutton), Pauls Toutonghi (Evel Knievel Days)

First-time authors I’d love to see more from: T. M. Goeglin (Cold Fury), Mike Jung (Girls, Geeks, and Secret Identities), Eowyn Ivey (The Snow Child), Anne Nesbit (The Cabinet of Earths)

What are some of your bests this past year?

My Best of 2011

By the Numbers:

Middle Grade Fiction: 57
YA Fiction: 45
Graphic Novels: 7
Non-Fiction:18
Adult Fiction: 30
(Number of those that were sci-fi/fantasy books: 49)

Grand Total:157

Abandoned: 9

Challenges Completed: I only did three this year: Once Upon a Time, The Great Blogger Book Swap, and the People Of Color Challenge. I hit my goal in the POC challenge, finished the Once Upon a Time, and did less than I hoped on the Great Blogger Book Swap. I’m wondering if I should just be done with challenges for a while.

And now this year’s awards:

Best Adult Fiction: The Night Circus 
Best YA book: I’ll Be There 
Best Middle-grade book: Okay For Now 
Best Fantasy: Daughter of Smoke and Bone 
Best Sci-Fi/Distopian: Divergent 
Best Graphic Novel: Zita the Spacegirl 
Best Non-Fiction: The Disappearing Spoon 
Best Romance: The Grand Sophy 
Best Mystery(I read more than one this year!):  The Devil Went Down to Austin 
Best Audiobook: The True Meaning of Smekday 
Best Jacket Flap: How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack

And in other categories…

Okay, okay, so the hype isn’t always wrong: The Night Circus, The Help

Books I should have read AGES ago: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Cold Sassy Tree, Beowulf, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Hattie Big Sky 

Author I overdosed on this year: Rick Riordan (a grand total of 6, plus I read the Percy Jackson series aloud to A.) 

Favorite Reviews: Scones and Sensibility, Heat Wave 

The Wink-Wink, Nudge-Nudge book: good heavens. I shelved a lot of romance fiction, but didn’t read a single one. Favorite worst title: The Oldest Living Married Virgin. 

Best *Swoon* Factor: Uncommon Criminals, Anna and the French Kiss 

Satire isn’t just for English Majors: Beauty Queen 

Best Interviewee: Clare Vanderpool (whom I have seen in person now, but have yet to talk to…) 

Best book with the longest title:  The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making 

Best book with the worst cover:  The Trouble With May Amelia 

Best book for those sick of vampires: Drink, Slay, Love 

Favorite reread: The Great Gatsby, On Fortune’s Wheel, The Wee Free Men 

Woo-hoo, they’re back!: Son of Neptune, The Demon’s Surrender 

Can we have the sequel NOW?: Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword, Divergent, The Hidden Gallery, Liar’s Moon 

They’re commercial brain candy, but I liked them anyway: Heat Wave, Naked Heat, Heat Rises 

Book for in-person book group I liked best: The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency 

Book for on-line book group I liked best: Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer 

Books I finished but didn’t feel the love for: The Cross Gardener, Same Kind of Different as Me 

Number of Shakespeare plays I read: 1 – Twelfth Night. And we saw Taming of the Shrew, and about a third of Troilous and Cressida. The latter one was rained out. 

Disappointing book by an author I respect: Pay the Piper 

Books that made me laugh the most:  Seriously… I’m Kidding, Knucklehead 

Can I move in next door?: The Penderwicks at Point Mouette 

Best quirky book: The Chronicles of Harris Burdick 

Author everyone else loves that I discovered I liked:  Mercedes Lackey (The Fairy Godmother) 

Best book from an author I previously didn’t care for: Daughter of the Forest, Keeper 

First-time authors I’d love to see more from: Sarah Stevenson (The Latte Rebellion),  Erin McCahan (I Now Pronounce You Someone Else), Olugbemisola Rhuday Perkovich (8th Grade Superzero) 

Theme(s) that inadvertently manifested themselves: Greek gods (Son of Neptune, Gods Behaving Badly, Athena and Zeus); The South (Their Eyes Were Watching God, The Help, all the Texas mystery books, Friday Night Lights, Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer, Lions of Little Rock); Death/Loss (The Cross Gardner, Same Kind of Different as Me, Chime, Cures for Heartbreak, Angel in My Pocket)

What are some of your bests this past year?

My Best of 2010

By the Numbers:
Middle Grade Fiction: 68
YA Fiction: 60
Graphic Novels: 12
Non-Fiction: 15
Adult Fiction: 27
(Number of those that were fantasy books: 45)
Grand Total: 182

Abandoned: 7
Challenges Completed: 6

And yes, I have to do my awards (you’ve been waiting for this, haven’t you?):

Best Adult Fiction: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

Best YA book: Marcelo in the Real World

Best Middle-grade book: Out of My Mind

Best Fantasy:
Finnikin of the Rock

Best Sci-Fi/Distopian: Academy 7

Best Graphic Novel Amulet, Book 1: The Stonekeeper and Book 2: The Stonekeeper’s Curse

Best Non-Fiction: Open: An Autobiography

Best Romance: A Song for Summer

Best Mystery: The Beekeeper’s Apprentice

Best Jacket Flap: Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk


And in other categories…

Books I should have read AGES ago: Eat, Pray, Love; The Picture of Dorian Grey; The Wolves of Willoughby Chase

Favorite Reviews: It’s not terribly clever, but I really enjoyed being part of the NerdsHeartYA tournament this year.

Theme(s) that inadvertently manifested themselves: books about the immigrant experience, fantasies that have a historical fiction feel, crazy parents

The Wink-Wink, Nudge-Nudge book: Sugar

Best *swoon* factor: Heist Society, The Demon’s Lexicon/The Demon’s Covenant

Best Interviewee: Varian Johnson (though Wendy Mass has the squee factor)

Favorite Challenge (that wasn’t hosted by Carl): Flashback Challenge: It was fun rereading books this year!

Favorite reread: The Grey King

Woo-hoo, they’re back!: Ring of Solomon, The Lost Hero

Books that I wanted the sequel for as soon as I read them: Incarceron, Starcrossed

Best main characters: Augie, TC and Ale (My Most Excellent Year)

Book for in-person book group I liked best: Girl in Hyacinth Blue

Book for on-line book group I liked best: The Elegance of the Hedgehog

Books I finished but didn’t feel the love for:
Hachiko Waits, I am Morgan le Fey, Countdown, The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance

Number of Shakespeare plays I read: 1 – Much Ado About Nothing (and watched two movie versions of it), and I only saw one (MacBeth, even though the interpretation — the witches were actually space aliens — didn’t really work for me).

Best Sequel (by an Author Who Didn’t Write the Original):
Wishing for Tomorrow

Disappointing book by an author I love: The Candymakers (no review, as I chose not to put one up), by Wendy Mass

Books that made me laugh the most:
Belly Up; Going Bovine; Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging

Best books with the worst parents: How I Nicky Flynn Get a Life (and a Dog); One Crazy Summer

Best quirky book: The Kneebone Boy

Authors everyone else loves that I discovered I liked: Diana Wynne Jones, Sarah Rees Brennan, Ally Carter

Best book from an author I previously didn’t care for: Penny Dreadful by Laurel Snyder; Going Bovine, by Libba Bray; Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris

First-time authors I’d love to see more from: Rob Buyea (Because of Mr. Terupt),

Yay, a local author: Clare Vanderpool (Moon Over Manifest)

Book I read the fastest: Mockingjay

Favorite book from a series: I Shall Wear Midnight, A Conspiracy of Kings

Newbery Books I read: I didn’t read a single one this year. Shame on me.

Books that made me want to go out and do something: Confections of a Closet Master Baker (bake, of course); French Milk, Under a Tuscan Sun, Eat, Pray Love (travel); The Cardturner (play bridge); Bamboo People (help the people in Burma)

What are some of your bests this past year?