2012 Year End Survey

A Year End Survey (long but fun to fill out). I found this at A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff.


1. Best Book You Read In 2012? (You can break it down by genre if you want)

Hmm… I read a lot of good ones. For fiction I’d have to say The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Non-Fiction is an even bigger toss-up, but I’ll mention “Final Jeopardy” by Stephen Baker, which is the story of IBM’s “Watson,” a computer that defeated two of Jeopardy’s greatest human champions in 2011. Currently doing my second stint in the Jeopardy! contestant pool, I found this book very interesting.

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

The Queen of Katwe by Tim Crothers. This is the story of a girl from the slums of Kampala who, through learning and growing proficient at chess, rises above her circumstances. As a former tournament chess player, I found the author’s frequent and obvious misunderstanding of some common chess knowledge disappointing.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012?

Pandora by Joanna Parypinski. I took a chance on this one. In late 2012 I began to try to be more aware of independent and especially local authors. I found Parypinski’s debut novel to be both engaging and well-constructed. I plan to continue my efforts to read first time or local “undiscovered” authors in 2013.

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?

Non-fiction: probably Susan Cain’s “Quiet: ThePower of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking.” Fiction: Hmm… I’ve recommended Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 to several people, but only one thus far has been brave enough to undertake reading its 1,000 pages. I still recommend Peter Brett’s “Demon Cycle” books often, and “The Gargoyle” by Andrew Davidson.

5. Best series you discovered in 2012?

I don’t usually read series, but a first book that showed potential was Leigh Bardugo’s “Shadow & Bone,” discovered by me via Laini Taylor’s NY Times review. Both are YA authors – not my normal reading genre.

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?

I’ll take this as “new to me” authors. Too many to name them all, but Margaret Atwood, Marilynne Robinson, and Willa Cather spring to mind immediately.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

How about Gilead by Marilynne Robinson? I don’t usually enjoy books steeped in religion or spiritual themes, but Robinson wrote so well I couldn’t help myself.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?

I can’t think of any that truly fit this category, but I will mention that I enjoyed the first two books of Mike Mullin’s “Ashfall” series. Plus he’s an Indiana author. 🙂

9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year:

I rarely re-read something so soon, but I’m sure I’ll revisit the short story collections “Bagombo Snuff Box” (Kurt Vonnegut), “I Am No One You Know” (Joyce CarolOates), and “Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman” (Haruki Murakami) often…

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?

Tough one, but I’ll go with Somerset Maugham’s “The Painted Veil”


11. Most memorable character in 2012?

I’ll go with twelve-year-old Paloma from Muriel Barbery’s wonderful – and polarizing – The Elegance of the Hedgehog. Maybe Renee from the same book as a co-winner…

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?

Either Gilead by Marilynne Robinson or Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?

I don’t think I can answer that one. I’ll switch it to the author that had the most impact and say Kurt Vonnegut.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read?

Oh, Jeez. Well, people have been recommending The Handmaid’s Tale and The Elegance of the Hedgehog to me for years. I shouldn’t have waited until 2012 for either of them.

15. Favourite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012?

“…this world will be Troy, I believe, and all that has passed here will be the epic of the universe.”
– From Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (E Pluribus Unum)

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012?

Shortest: “The Scarlet Plague” by Jack London and “Free Will” by Sam Harris (also two of my LEAST favorite books of 2012). Longest: “Memory Babe,” an exhausting biography of Jack Kerouac.

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling

Hmm… I’m still reading it, but the honeycomb scene in James Alexander Thom’s “Panther in the Sky.”

18. Favourite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

How about Alex and Darla from “Ashfall” and “Ashen Winter?”

19. Favourite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously

“Bagombo Snuff Box” by Kurt Vonnegut

20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:

Probably “The Elegance of the Hedgehog” which I first heard about at The Sleepless Reader.

Book Blogging/Reading Life in 2012 (optional)
1. New favourite book blog you discovered in 2012?

Several good ones. The Book Wanderer and Multo (Ghost) come to mind immediately. I can’t remember which from my blogroll I “only” discovered in 2012, so you should probably just visit them all. 🙂

2. Favourite review that you wrote in 2012?

I don’t do “traditional” reviews but maybe this one on Fahrenheit 451:

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?

My favorite was this one on “The Value of the Indefinite”

4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?

I’be been following a yearlong string of comments on author Susan Cain’ blog about the book, “Quiet.”

5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

Easily author James Alexander Thom’s visit to the KurtVonnegut Memorial Library last spring.

6. Best moment of book blogging in 2012?

No single moment. Just discovering great new books and great new book bloggers.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

“The Lie” by Kurt Vonnegut. I suspect this story must be assigned reading in a lot of classes in a lot of schools. I didn’t even write this post in 2012, but it got the most hits.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Meh, I don’t care so much about that.

9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

See blogroll and sites mentioned above.

10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

Just my own “Project: Deal Me In” short story reading project where I Pick 52 stories to read. This is the second year I’be done DMI,and I’m doing it again in 2013. Check my page for my 2013 selections for details. You should try this project! 🙂

Looking Ahead…
1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2012 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2013?

Too many to mention, sadly.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2013?

Maybe the third book in Peter Brett’s “Demon Cycle?” I think it’s due for release in 2013.

3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2013?

Shoot for quality over quantity in reading – maybe read fewer books,but get “into” them more. Post and comment a little more frequently and regularly. Try to better integrate with my new Twitter account (@bibliophilopoly ). Maybe shoot for 75,000 visitors this year. Most importantly, I intend to focus more on local and “independent” authors. I’m looking for suggestions for the latter, if you want to help.

Well, that’s it for me. What were your 2012 highlights?


  1. Alex said,

    January 5, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    I’m so happy to be part of this survey because of The Elegance of the Hedgehog – this is what blogging is all about and why it’s so rewarding. Happy 2013 Jay!


    • Jay said,

      January 7, 2013 at 12:58 pm

      Happy New Year to you too, Alex! I never blogged about The Elegance of the Hedgehog after I finished it, but I really did enjoy it.

      I look forward to other “discoveries” I will make at The Sleepless Readerin the year ahead!



  2. Dale said,

    January 6, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    Great answers to this survey, Jay! I thought about doing it myself, but had a difficult time coming up with answers.


    • Jay said,

      January 7, 2013 at 12:59 pm

      Thanks, Dale. I quickly realized that I need to have my list of books read handy to do something like this. 🙂


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