Tag Archive: Banks


End of Year Book Survey: 2012

Book Survey 2012Jamie is hosting the End of Year Book Survey again and I thought I would have a go this year, as it seemed a good way of reflecting on all the amazing books I have read in 2012.  My own quick wrap-up and goals for next year will follow shortly, I expect, but for now….


Best In Books 2012

1. Best Book You Read In 2012? 

I read several books in 2012 that I awarded 5/5 to but my absolute best book of 2012 has to be To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.   Yes, it was a re-read, but it is my favourite book of all time and was amazing this year as well!

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

I read The Great Gatsby back in January before I started book blogging and was expecting great things from it – so many people study it, I thought it must be really good.  However, I couldn’t get into it and I was relieved that it was so short!  I did put it on my re-read list though, as I assume I missed something.

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

I was very surprised (in a good way) with Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell: I didn’t know what to expect from this book but it was so amazingly intricate and imaginative that it quickly became a firm favourite of mine.

 4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?

I am going to split this one: the book I recommended most to book bloggers, I think is a tie between To Kill a Mockingbird and Cloud Atlas.  Secondly, the book I recommended most to non-bookish people was The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, as I thought them a great series for non-readers to enjoy reading with.

 5. Best series you discovered in 2012?

I didn’t really discover many new series, which is a shame; 2012 seems to be a year where I read a lot more standalones and classics compared to normal where I really enjoy reading series.  I hope in 2013 I will read more of the series I have already started over the past few years.
I did discover The Hunger Games for the first time and also I enjoyed re-reading Stieg Larsson’s The Girl who Played with Fire and The Girl who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest.

 6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?

Well, I could ramble on this one!  I definitely enjoyed my first Jane Austen (Emma) and my first Stella Gibbons (Cold Comfort Farm).  I also discovered that I love Simon Singh‘s way of writing about maths/science too when I read Fermat’s Last Theorem in October.

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

I wouldn’t say this is out of my comfort zone, but in 2012 I did start reading science/maths novels for the firs time so I guess that counts (again Singh’s Fermat’s Last Theorem and E=mc² by David Bodanis).  Also I read my first books in French – Harry Potter 1 and Fantastic Mr Fox, which was totally new but great.

 8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?

I could say either book 1 0r 2 but I will go for book 2: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins – I just couldn’t put it down at all.

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

I try not to re-read books within 18 months of their first reading so here are the 2012 books that I put straight on my re-read list: The Great Gatsby, David Copperfield, Wuthering Heights, To Kill a Mockingbird, Dracula, Cloud Atlas.

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

Well a lot of the books I read had really nice covers but here are my favourites:

Emma

Great Expectations

Fermat-Last-Theorem

11. Most memorable character in 2012? 

I think this would have to be Lisbeth Salander from Larsson’s books; who is more unique and interesting than Lisbeth?

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?

I think I would go with David Copperfield by Charles Dickens for this – amazing writing by Dickens.  (My second choice would be Great Expectations anyway, so good on you Charles!)

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

I will say To Kill a Mockingbird again, as I just loved it and liked all the characters and felt as though I really knew them. 

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

This is one is definitely The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown: everyone went crazy about this book a couple of years ago, so when I saw it in a charity shop in summer 2011 I bought it…then it took me until summer 2012 to read it!  Although, I do quite like the tradition I seem to have developed of Dan Brown as summer reading…

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

“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read.  One does not love breathing.”  16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012?”    Scout Finch – To Kill a Mockingbird

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.  Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”     Atticus Finch – To Kill a Mockingbird

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012?

The longest was David Copperfield at a whopping 1263 pages!! The shortest was Fatastique Maître Renard at only 118 pages.  Numerically, my average book length was about 400 pages, which is pretty good, I think.

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!

There were definitely lots of gruesome and upsetting scenes in The Kite Runner, which was the first book I read this year (before I started book blogging).

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

I think that the relationship between Clare and Henry in The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger is very unique and also very touching and changes and develops throughout the book.

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

The Kalahari Typing School For Men by Alexander McCall Smith was definitely the highlight of January 2012: I adore those books and I am very sad that I haven’t read one since then (I have all the way up to book 10 on my TBR shelf, they just haven’t come around yet).  Watch out for lots more of AMcCS in 2013!

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

Lots of the classics I’ve read this year have been due to various bloggers and lists on websites, but there are some books that I was bought by my friends: And This is True by Emily Mackie, The Shadow of the Wind by Carol Ruiz Zafón, Submarine by Joe Dunthorne and The Crow Road by Iain Banks.

 Book Blogging/Reading Life in 2012

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2012?

Well, I only started book blogging this year so any book blogs are new to me!  I love them all and I am going to try and be a bit more proactive and discover some more in 2013.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2012? 

Oh um maybe my review of Great Expectations where I rave about re-reading as well.

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?

Some of my non-bookish posts had lots of discussions – notably my posts about my exams, results and holidays; I think it’s important to share other parts of our lives too.

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

I can remember discussing why books in translation or books in other languages aren’t as popular over at Amanda’s blog.

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

I don’t think there are many book blogger events in England?  And probably none outside of London so I haven’t been to any, however The Classics Club is definitely a main feature of the book blogging world that I am proud to be a member of.

6. Best moment of book blogging in 2012?

For me, it would have to be the 1st March 2012 – the day I wrote my first post on adamsbibliomania!

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

My most popular posts by views are often those that people come across when searching on the internet, for example The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon.  My most popular post in terms of comments and activity was my original sign-up to The Classics Club.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Actually my Reading Habits post didn’t seem to get read much…maybe it was a bit text-dense or something.

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

Definitely the new Penguin English Library books this year – very addictive and attractive!

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

I wanted to read a classic a month after signing up to The Classics Club in March and in 10 months I have read 8.  That’s not too bad and it’s only November and December that I didn’t manage.

Looking Ahead…

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

Oh so many!  But I am halfway through Villette so I am determined to finish that in 2013.  Also I really need to read The Hobbit.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2013?

I’m really looking forward to loads of books in 2013: Pride and Prejudice, more AMcCS…

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

I really just want to improve – so that means do better than last year!  Who knows if this is a possibility or not with my heavier workload in sixth form etc but I think 35 books in the year is a good target to have 🙂

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August Wrap-Up and September Plans

Hello everyone…I can’t believe it’s September! 2012 seems to be flying by.  I like September because starting back at school is quite exciting and it’s my birthday!  Also, the Autumnal weather is a  favourite of mine.  Anyway, in August I really enjoyed the Olympics, a holiday to Majorca and brilliant results.  It has been great but I am ready to go back to school and have some structure returned to my life!

August was a great reading month for me, but not quite as good as last year…there was just too much going on!

Here’s what I read in August 2012:

The Crow Road – Iain Banks

The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown

Harry Potter à L’École des Sorciers – J.K. Rowling

Dracula – Bram Stoker

This is great as I aim to read at least three books every month.  This was the same number as I read in July.  Also, my target of at least one classic every month was fulfilled in August by Dracula.

Challenge Progress in August 2012:

The Classics Club :  7/60 books read  (Dracula)

The Victorian Challenge 2012:  4/6 books read  (Dracula)

The Literary Classics Reading Challenge: 4/15 (Dracula)

Really good progress in all the challenges this year.

Currently In Progress:

Currently in progress (as of yesterday) is Middlemarch by George Eliot.  I read one page late last night and then put it down as I was exhausted…I just hope this isn’t an indication of how I will respond to all 800+ pages of it!

September Plans:

Books: The next three books on my TBR shelf are The Girl who Kicked the Hornets’ NestMacbeth, and Cloud Atlas.  Middlemarch is so vast that I very much doubt I read anything else this month…and maybe next too!

Challenges:  Middlemarch will count for all 3 and Macbeth will count for 2 challenges.

Just though I would mention that it has been 6 months since I started blogging!  That is shocking – I still feel very much like a newbie and I would just like to say thank you to all subscribers/readers/commenters for your insight, support and welcome; you have all made book-blogging a very enjoyable experience for me, which is what I hoped for when I started out back at the start of March.  Thank you all 🙂

The Crow Road – Iain Banks

Title: The Crow Road

Author: Iain Banks

Date Finished: 12/08/12

Re-Read? : First time read

Challenges? : No

Overall: 3/5 – just average

This is another book I was given last year and I didn’t know anything about.  I knew the author had written The Wasp Factory but nothing else.  I didn’t have any expectations about reading this book and all I could glean from reading the blurb multiple times was that it might be similar to Submarine or And This is True, but it wasn’t.

The plot was quite interesting, particularly towards the end – at the beginning everything moved quite slowly.  Also, I just kept getting confused – there were too many things to understand all at once.  The constant flash backs to apparently irrelevant bits of the past was tiresome even though I eventually understood towards the end.  I really don’t like being confused about something when reading so I got quite irritated when I had got the wrong end of the stick about things.

I am also slightly in two minds about the characters.  Certainly, Banks has worked hard to make them all interesting but pretty much all of them, especially Verity and Fergus seemed completely unrealistic.  There were also far too many different characters to keep track of, especially in the first half of the book with everyone having about 5 siblings each with 3 or 4 different children AND the changing of time I just lost track of half of them.

In terms of setting it was quite interesting as I have never been to Scotland and don’t have anything except the stereotypical view of kilts, lochs and lots of rain.  I enjoyed the Scottish traditions as well.  Banks’ prose was very good and not too hard to read but he did say ‘I was sat’ a few times too.  It is so bad that many writers are still published with this error uncorrected.

Overall I would recommend that you read something else as there is nothing particularly special in this book.  However, it was not rubbish and had a decent story so that’s why it earned 3/5.

July Wrap-Up and August Plans

You may have noticed I’ve been a bit quiet this last week or so – not posting/reading/replying much and I think that’s fair.  I have been watching the Olympics non-stop – it is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see a home games and I am making the most of it.  We are off ourselves on Friday and I will try and get a post up to describe what we’re going to see!

I have had a good reading month in July, I think.  Considering I was camping for a week at the start with my friends (didn’t get chance to read) and have been pretty busy so 4 books is great!

Here’s what I read in July 2012:

The Subtle Knife – Philip Pullman

The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons

This is great as I aim to read at least three books every month.  This was one more than I read in June.  Also, my target of at least one classic every month was fulfilled in May by To Kill a Mockingbird AND Cold Comfort Farm!”

Challenge Progress in May 2012:

The Classics Club :  6/60 books read  (To Kill a MockingbirdCold Comfort Farm)

The Victorian Challenge 2012:  3/6 books read  (None this month)

The Literary Classics Reading Challenge: 3/15 (To Kill a MockingbirdCold Comfort Farm)

Really good progress in The Classics Club and The Literary Classics, just need to stay on top of The Victorian Challenge over the next few months.

Currently In Progress:

At the moment I am slowly making my way through The Crow Road by Iain Banks, which I can’t say I am enjoying, but I am not very far in – too early to say I definitely don’t like it!

August Plans:

Books: The next three books on my TBR shelf are The Girl who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest, The Da Vinci Code and Dracula. These are all pretty big and so is The Crow Road so I doubt I will get through them all.

Challenges:  Dracula is the only one of these which will count for challenges – all 3 actually so maybe I should prioritise that one…

Hopefully you are all enjoying some downtime in August, be it by enjoying the Olympics by not 🙂

I AM SO EXCITED – IT IS THE OPENING CEREMONY TODAY!

So yes, here in GB everyone is beside themselves with excitement for the 2012 Olympics and I am really looking forward to seeing all the nations compete.  Have any of you got any tickets?  My family and I are lucky enough to be going to the Table Tennis, Basketball and Athletics – we are extremely excited!  I don’t want to go on (as I’m sure there are many people who are sick of all the Olympics-hype by now) but it will be really interesting to see you all post/tweet about your favourite athletes as we all watch them do their stuff.

Anyway enough of sport, this blog is meant to be about reading!   This week I have been reading Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons and I finished it last night (post will hopefully be up tomorrow).  I enjoyed it towards the end, but found it pretty hard to get into.  I am definitely glad I picked it for The Classics Club and think it is one I will reread at some point.

I am now onto The Crow Road by Iain Banks, a book that was given to me a few months ago, and one I really know nothing about.  I am saving The Da Vinci Code for my holiday in Majorca in a few weeks as it seems like a holiday read to me and I read Angels and Demons last summer.

Who knows how much reading I will have time for during the Olympics – we have 4 TV channels dedicated completely to the Olympics with another 24 (!!!) available online.  Sorry – it seems to be the main topic of conversation at the moment!  I hope you all really enjoy the games, if you’re watching.

The Literary Classics Reading Challenge Friday Progress:

As I have already mentioned, I finished Cold Comfort Farm last night, which is my third book out of fifteen for The Literary Classics Reading Challenge.  The post will be up tomorrow, I think.  Safe to say I enjoyed it, but it was not a particular favourite of mine.

Next up for the challenge will be either Dracula or Middlemarch for new reads or maybe 1984 or Macbeth for rereads.  I am not sure what I will fancy reading over the next few weeks.  If anyone has any tips on tackling Middlemarch then please please please let me know!

June Wrap-Up and July Plans

There has not been much action on my blog this week as I have been super busy – I finally finished my exams on Wednesday; had induction days for sixth form on Thursday and Friday; a party on Friday evening; concert rehearsals on Saturday and then concert and then post-concert meal on Saturday evening; special church service Sunday morning and then packing for camping.  Yes, I am tired.  Yes, I am going camping on Monday… in England …wish me luck!

I have read an average amount in June, I think.  It has been hard to find time to read when everything has been so hectic and I hope I will have a bit more time in July.

Here’s what I read in June 2012:

Great Expectations – Charles Dickens 

Submarine – Joe Dunthorne

Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins (post to follow asap.)

This is good as I aim to read at least three books every month.  This was the same number of books as I read in May.  Also, my target of at least one classic every month was fulfilled in May by Great Expectations, which I really enjoyed.

Challenge Progress in May 2012:

The Classics Club :  4/60 books read  (Great Expectations)

The Victorian Challenge 2012:  3/6 books read  (Great Expectations)

The Literary Classics Reading Challenge: 1/15 (Great Expectations)

As you can see, I killed 3 challenge-birds with one stone, which is often going to be the case, as I am involved in 3 classics-based challenges.

Currently In Progress:

During camping, I am planning to read The Subtle Knife, which is a re-read of an old favourite for me.  Also, if I have time I will read The Time Traveler’s Wife but I don’t know what sort of reading time I will get – there are 25+ of us going camping!!

June Plans:

Books:  the next three books on my TBR shelf are The Timetraveler’s Wife; To Kill A Mockingbird and The Crow Road.  As I have already said, I don’t know how much time I will spend reading this month, but hopefully I can make a start on some of these titles.

Challenges:  To Kill A Mockingbird will count towards The Classics Club and The Literary Classics so that’s good..also considering it’s my favourite book, I think I will enjoy July a lot!

I hope you have all had a productive June and are going to enjoy some down time in July; you deserve it!