It’s time for my most favorite post, the end-of-year book survey hosted by Perpetual Page-Turner! Not a lot of people read these all the way through, but I still love doing them. Because survey. And the questions always help me reflect on the books I’ve read in a substantive way. I’m a forgetful little scamp if I don’t have questions to guide me.
Number Of Books You Read: 327
Number of Re-Reads: 28
Genre You Read The Most From: Graphic novels, with 95, if I’m using library categories (picture books, adult, nonfiction, etc.). I tried more of a browsing-style genre count too, and that would be science fiction with 75.
1. Best Book You Read In 2017?
Usually I do this by genre, but it didn’t really break down that way this year and I don’t believe in forcing it. It did fall into a pretty easy top 7 though (vaguely in order). I’ve posted about all but one.
- Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erickson. A complex dark fantasy. Review here.
- The Gunslinger by Stephen King. I started the Dark Tower series at my friends’ behest and it’s really dang good. Post here.
- Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by A.J. Hartley and David Hewson, read by Richard Armitage. This is a novel written for Audible, and it’s my favorite version of Hamlet bar none. Review here.
- Airman by Eoin Colfer. Fantastic younger-YA or older-MG, and one of my top two audiobooks ever (the other being Hamlet). Review here.
- Children of Lucifer: The Origins of Modern Religious Satanism by Ruben Van Luijk. Excellent historical work and fascinating nonfiction. Review and summary here.
- Afterlife with Archie Vol. 1: Escape from Riverdale by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. I know, it’s weird to be in a top six list, but if you like Archie, then this will be incredibly intense. They didn’t go for slapstick, they played the horror straight.
- DC Comics Bombshells Vol. 1: Enlisted by Marguerite Bennett. Another surprise, this series is not only an aesthetic but super well written and super feminist and just excellent. Review here.
I usually add my own “worst book” category, but I had a lot of DNFs this year and I don’t think it’s really a fair comparison when there were so many “not my cup of tea” things that didn’t even make it onto the list.
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Boy Robot by Simon Curtis. I love his music and I was so excited for this book — queer scifi yes please! — but I just… I just hated it. It’s not even on my Goodreads list or included in my total count because I didn’t get very far into it. The writing was kinda… bad… and it just seemed like that book every tween wants to write about how their Mary Sue is super speshul. I won’t dwell on it any longer; plenty of people liked it and if you’re one of them I’m genuinely pleased.
3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
Star Trek: New Visions by John Byrne. These are comics made out of screencaps from original-series episodes and I really didn’t expect them to be good, but they turned out to be the closest I’ve ever seen to actual new episodes.
4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
I’ve done a lot of tailored recommendations this year, I don’t know of anything that’s been a mass hit…
5. Best series you started in 2017? Best Sequel of 2017? Best Series Ender of 2017?
- Started: The Gunslinger and Gardens of the Moon are tied for this, as they are for “best book.”
- Sequel: Skulduggery Pleasant Book 4: Dark Days by Derek Landy. The first book is one of my favorites ever, but two and three were a bit disappointing after that. Book 4 brings the intensity back up.
- Ender: Death Note Vol. 12: Finis by Tsugumi Ohba. I first started this series in 2009 and have been meaning to finish it ever since. (I KNOW I’M A BAD PERSON AND I DON’T FINISH SERIES.) I finally buckled down and read the whole thing through this year, and it was well worth the modicum of effort I put in, it’s a comparatively dense manga with a lot of substance. Volume 12 ties the whole thing up quite satisfactorily.
6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2017?
I haven’t read any of his novels yet, but I’m super excited to have stumbled upon Star Trek author Dayton Ward. He wrote the Vulcan travel guide, which I loved, and if he can make faux-nonfiction that good I can’t wait for a story. Plus I like my fandom writers to have a good grasp of the lore.
7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz. My whole Goodreads review is about how I’m not interested in contemporary fiction (with no spaceships or dragons) and YA’s not really my thing anymore either, but this book is fantastic. I listened to the audio, read by Lin-Manuel Miranda, and I could hear the way I would’ve read it wrong. He gave the characters authentic life and made me care about the story.
8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
The whole Death Note series, really. I read all 12 volumes in a week or so, and I was hankering for the next one every time.
9. Book You Read In 2017 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
I’ll almost definitely listen to Airman again, and that’s a great honor. I hardly ever reread, especially not as soon as a year later.
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2017?
Apparently I liked anthropomorphic animals looking at me this year… My two favorites are The Midas Flesh Vol. 1 by Ryan North (the graphic novel inside is great too) and Mort(e) by Robert Repino (also great, review here).
11. Most memorable character of 2017?
As usual, a nonfiction person — Sam Steward of Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist, and Sexual Renegade by Justin Spring (review here).
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2017?
The Fox and the Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith, more for visual design. The fairy tale is beautiful, but the art even more so.
13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2017?
The Myth of Irrationality: The Science of the Mind from Plato to Star Trek by John McCrone (review here). I’m still thinking about this book, and it’s changed the way I think about thinking, about how I engage with the thoughts and actions of others. It’s all about how humans aren’t irrational the way culture tells us we are, that embracing irrationality isn’t “natural,” how language evolved and how it is inherently a rational thing… I can’t recommend this enough. It’s so good.
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2017 to finally read?
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2017?
LUCIFER: They say what they must sing and say on pain
Of being that which I am and thou art–
Of spirits and of men.
CAIN: And what is that?
LUCIFER: Souls who dare use their immortality,
Souls who dare look the omnipotent tyrant in
His everlasting face and tell him that
His evil is not good!
16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2017?
According to Goodreads, the longest was 12 Doctors, 12 Stories at 876 (which I listened to on audiobook and, as an aggregate, loved) and the shortest was The Black Hole: A Pop-Up Book at 10. (It’s about a Disney movie I’d never heard of…)
17. Book That Shocked You The Most
(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)
Death Note again, probably. It goes along with being the most action-packed and unputdownable books… That series is not afraid to drop a gamechanger.
18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)
As usual, I don’t really ship in books, but of the romances I read this year, I very much enjoyed both Brute/Gray in Brute by Kim Fielding (review here) and Belimai/William in Wicked Gentlemen by Ginn Hale (review here). And let’s not forget Kirk and Spock in Killing Time by Della van Hise, which I discussed on Comparative Geeks here.
19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
Linus and Conor in Airman. I just absolutely love that even with Conor’s heroism, intelligence, and skills, he’s not just an island unto himself in this book, he still needs mentors. Adults (mostly men, but also his mother) provide examples and direct guidance, no one better than Linus Wynter. With a character like Conor you get a lot of supporting characters telling him how great and special and needed he is, but Linus will tell him when he’s being selfish or stupid too.
20. Favorite Book You Read in 2017 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
My Enemy, My Ally by Diane Duane. She wrote some of my favorite books as a kid, like the Young Wizards books, but she also wrote some great Star Trek novels. I’d never read this one from 1984 before, but it set off a multi-book series about Romulans and their culture, and it also showcases a more-realistic vision of the Federation. Starfleet is still about peaceful exploration, but she gives it a welcome sense of multiculturalism and naval rhythm, both more mundane and more extraordinary than what we’ve seen on TV. If you’ve never read a Trek novel, this would be a fine beginning.
21. Best Book You Read In 2017 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
Gardens of the Moon for sure. I’d never even heard of this series but I met a guy who found out I liked books and told me on multiple occasions that I should read this one, and he was right.
22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2017?
23. Best 2017 debut you read?
Apparently I didn’t read any 2017 debuts, or indeed anything published more recently than March. Instead I’ll drop a 2016 debut, Space Battle Lunchtime Vol. 1: Lights, Camera, Snacktion by Natalie Reiss. Super cute, good for all ages, especially for people who like the Food Network.
24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
Mort(e) by Robert Repino (again, review here). The book is about how the ants disperse a substance that transforms animals into anthropomorphs and then they embark on a war to kill all the humans. It’s some of the most creative and different stuff I’ve read this year, fully sci-fi rather than animal fantasy.
25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
The Manny Files by Christian Burch. It’s an oddly soothing, gently-plotted book in the upper children’s/lower middle-grade range, with plenty of laugh-out-loud bits and age-appropriate queerness.
26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2017?
27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
Paradise & Elsewhere by Kathy Page (review here). It’s a tiny little book, but it takes you on a journey through unimagined worlds. I found it through serendipity and haven’t heard anyone else talking about it or Page.
28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
Afterlife with Archie, for reasons previously discussed.
29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2017?
Probably Mort(e) for the worldbuilding reasons already discussed. It’s weird because I think hard and can’t figure out what exactly makes it so different, but it is. Maybe in the commitment to a real story about pets, not a simplified or happily anthropomorphic one.
30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
The Willow novelization by Wayland Drew. There were any number of technical and structural problems but also IT TURNED BAVMORDA AND FIN RAZIEL’S RIVALRY INTO A LOVE TRIANGLE WHAT EVEN
1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2017?
Reading While White: Working for Racial Diversity and Inclusion in Books for Children and Teens. It’s a blogspot blog, but with great content.
2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2017?
This one of Children of Lucifer: The Origins of Modern Religious Satanism by Ruben van Luijk. It was one of my favorite books of the year, but also super fun to distill into a review! I feel like nonfiction stretches my analytical muscles a little more and provides a useful Google hit for years to come, plus this one has Lucifer memes.
3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
This series on queer picture books. That one was brewing for yeeears.
4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
This was a big ol’ fail this year. I didn’t go to much of anything. Next year!
5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2017?
Well, I didn’t go to any events, which is usually where that kind of thing would happen. But I’ve been a book blog for a year now and that’s been great!
6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
Again, it’s been a real pleasure to be blogging regularly, especially on my favorite topic (books). It’s been hard to get back in the rhythm of reading blogs and networking and making friends though, so I’m going to keep working on that in 2018.
7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
My most popular post has for years been the one about Better Angels of Our Nature: How Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker. It currently has more than 3,100 views. Of the posts I published this year “A Queer Public History Reading List” has been the most popular, mostly because one of the main public history blogs picked it up and sent it out (thank you!)
8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
Probably that review of The Myth of Irrationality… I just think it’s a really important topic.
9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
I’ve started noticing bookstores more, and am planning trips to visit about three special ones in my corner of the US. I haven’t visited any of them yet, see complaints above about not having gone to anything, but even having the destinations is a discovery!
10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
Yep, the Book Riot challenge.
1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2017 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2018?
Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire. I’ve mentioned it in a “top priority” kind of context several times now, but I’m just waiting for a day when I don’t mind doing violence to my poor delicate soul. The third book comes out like next month or some craziness.
2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2018 (non-debut)?
Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker, as I’ve mentioned before. His books are inevitably mountains of research presented well and leading to meaningful conclusions, so I cannot wait. It comes out next month and I’ll post as soon as I’ve read and processed.
3. 2018 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
I only have two that I know of: Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender (queer middle-grade book!) and Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann (bi-ace POC main character!). Yeah, I found both on “upcoming queer books” lists like today…
4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2018?
I’m finally up to the point where Doctor Aphra gets her own Star Wars Disney Canon comic book!
5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2018?
Read less, write more. Cut down on my unread book hoard, and, paradoxically, start collecting Star Trek books and queer SFF more purposefully. So that’s like five things.
6. A 2018 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone (if applicable):
I’ve already read most of Betty RIP, the second volume of Afterlife with Archie, but they keep pushing the paperback release date which seems to affect the digital release of the last few issues… It’s good though!