Tag Archive: Catching Fire


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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Every week, The Broke and The Bookish poses a category for book bloggers to post their ‘Top Ten’ in that week’

This week the category is ‘Top Ten Books on your Summer TBR list‘ and even though I’m very busy (3 exams tomorrow), seeing as I haven’t posted in a while, I thought I would have a go at this topic.

I LOVE summer reading!  It is (for me) the best time of year to read lots of books – I usually get through a fair amount when I go on holiday, but also when I’m off school at home in the summer too.

Here are (some) of the books I am really looking forward to reading this summer (not in order):

    1. The Timetraveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger:  I haven’t read this kind of book in a while, so it will be nice to have some easier reading (compared with the classics) and my sister really enjoyed the film (I refused to watch until after the book) and said it was a great story, so that’s encouraging.
    2. To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee:  Yes, I know it is on practically every TTT post I write, but it is (probably) my favourite book ever, so why should I not be really excited about re-reading it?  Again!
    3. The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest – Stieg Larsson:  I am re-reading the Millennium Trilogy this year (I have already read TGWTDT and TGWPWF) and hugely enjoyed both of them again, so I can’t wait for the epic final instalment to this unique series.
    4. Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons:  I talked about this on my TTT for The Classics Club post as well, and as I said then, it is meant to be very funny and light-hearted so will be very nice to settle down with in the garden in the sun (well maybe the sun).
    5. The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown:  Even though Brown’s books are ridiculously unrealistic, they do make your heart pound.  I read Angels and Demons last August so it seems right to read The Da Vinci Code this summer.
    6. Middlemarch – George Eliot:  Another Classics Club read and a scary one.  I am looking forward to the challenge, because so many people sing Eliot’s praises, I really want to give her a try, even if Middlemarch is scarily long!
    7. Fantastique Maitre Renard – Roald Dahl:  Well, even though I am currently in the middle of German and Latin exams (I finished my French exams a few weeks ago) I am still looking forward to reading my next French children’s book!
    8. Mockingjay – Suzzane Collins:  The Hunger Games Trilogy has had me completely hooked; you can read my thoughs on book 1 here and book 2 here.  I just know that I will power through this volume too and to be quite honest, I cannot wait!
    9. Villette – Charlotte Brontë:  we are getting a long way down my TBR shelf now, but you never know – I might have a very voracious summer!  I loved Jane Eyre and am seriously craving some more Brontë right now!
    10. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams: I ADORE this series and the radio episodes are perfection (I have all 5 series on CD – thanks Dad!) and I thought it is only fair if I read the books soon as well.

Are any of these books on your summer TBR lists too?

May Wrap-Up and June Plans

Three months book blogging and I am still going strong.  I am really grateful to everyone who has followed/reads my blog and I hope you feel like it’s a two way connection and that I am just as interested in your posts as you are in mine, because believe me I am! 🙂

May has been a very hectic month for me: earlier on, I had my Last Day and Prom which were great and then the exams kicked in…which were not so great.  (You can catch with my exam progress in my Friday Quick Wrap-Up posts.)  But in terms of reading, it has been quite a good month and I am very pleased with what I have achieved.

Here’s what I read in May 2012:

The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins

The Girl Who Played With Fire – Stieg Larsson

This is good as I aim to read at least three books every month (and I really enjoyed these books).  This was the same number of books as I read in April.  Also, my target of at least one classic every month was not officially fulfilled in May, a I haven’t read any classics, but I read two in April so it works out fine anyway.

Challenge Progress in May 2012:

The Classics Club :  3/60 books read  (None this month)

The Victorian Challenge 2012:  2/6 books read  (None this month)

This isn’t amazing but doesn’t really matter, as I am on target for both challenges as I only need to read a Victorian every 2 months and a classic every month to complete these challenges on time.

In other challenge news, I have recently signed up to Ali’s Literary Classics Reading Challenge, which ties in very nicely with the other challenges I am participating in.  Here is my sign up post

Currently In Progress:

Great Expectations: I am re-reading this as I don’t think I understood it enough to enjoy it when I struggled through it a few years ago, and so far (about 20% through) that is proving to be right – I don’t seem to remember anything except the basic story.

I still have Harry Potter À L’École Des Sorciers – J.K. Rowling, Living French, The Languages Book and Italian For You by my bed, for languages reading, but with my Latin and German GCSEs not complete, this is quite a rarity at the moment (I don’t want to get my languages muddled).  Yes, I am going to teach myself basic Italian grammar and vocabulary over the summer and hopefully enter for a GCSE in it before I leave school – I just think it’s a great language!

June Plans:

Books:  the next three books on my TBR shelf are Submarine – Joe Dunthorne, The Subtle Knife – Philip Pullman and The Time-Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger.  Great Expectations may take me a while, although I do have a week’s break this week so (even though levels of revision are high) I should get some reading time.  Therefore, I will probably get round to Submarine and The Subtle Knife, at least.

Challenges:  Great Expectations will count for all three of the challenges I am involved in – The Classics Club, The Victorian Challenge 2012 and The Literary Classics Reading Challenge, which is great.

I hope you’re all looking forward to some (hopefully) warm weather this month and can take some time out to relax with a good book!

Title: Catching Fire

Author: Suzanne Collins

Date Finished: 22/05/12

Re-Read? : First time read

Challenges? : No

Overall: 5/5 – absolutely fantastic

As you may remember, I read the first book in the Hunger Games Trilogy back in March and decided to wait a while before moving onto the second, as I enjoyed the first so much and wanted to savour the experience!

It was certainly worth the wait.

I thought that perhaps this second book would be a bit of a disappointment after the riveting first instalment, as the main part that occupied me was the actual tournament…however (and I’m not going to spoil it for the people who haven’t got this far yet) people who’ve read this one know that I wasn’t disappointed in that area!

It was interesting when my sister asked me “which book did you prefer, 1 or 2?”, as I answered with “neither”.  What I meant was that I saw the second book as just a continuation of the first, not a different story.  This was good and it felt like the second volume of the story rather than another book about the same characters.

Again the plot is the supreme highlight of the novel.  After the first hundred pages, I simply couldn’t put it down again, just like the first one.  I read from pages 200 to 480 (the end) yesterday!  Sadly at the cost of my revision :S  I can only say, don’t pick up this if you’ve got lots of things to do!

Again, the characters were good but still not great.  They do just seem a bit too unrealistic to me.  However, you feel for them and spur them on regardless.  Certainly, they are all vivid and memorable which is great as there are often so many to keep track of.

I have to echo myself yet again when I say that Collins’ prose is perfect for the job it does – makes you want to keep reading.  In my post on the first book I said:

There is something extremely readable about Collins’ prose – people I know who certainly aren’t readers have been reading this book as obsessively as I did and I think that is really special.  It brings me so much pleasure to see people who I know think reading is a chore and a waste of time opening up their bags and taking these books out.”

This applies again to Catching Fire and I assume it will to Mockingjay as well.  Just as the ‘Harry Potter years‘ seem to be closing, it is encouraging to see a new literary phenomenon taking their place.  And I also have to say I hope the films are as good as the books – I haven’t even seen the first film yet!!

Overall, another brilliant, readable and thrilling book from Suzanne Collins and I would seriously recommend this trilogy to everyone.  It is taking a lot of willpower for me not to pick up Mockingjay and carry straight on with the story, but I am determined to have a break (even if it is very short) so that I will appreciate the last book even more.