End of Year Survey 2018

14th April 2020

By Jamie @ Perpetual Pageturner

Number of books I read work-related + private = 30 + 76 = 106
of which 10 are audiobooks and 14 are rereads

Genre I read the most from: Contemporary and SFF
(if I count all the different subgenres of SFF together, which I usually don’t)

Please keep in mind that I work for a publisher and, as stated above, read a lot of their books. So it’s bound to be quite a couple of them in here. But this is still my personal opinion.

1. Best book I read in 2018

Let’s split that up a little [only counting first-reads]:

2. Books I was excited about and thought I was going to love more but didn’t

That would be Deception’s Princess (Deception’s Princess, #1) by Esther M. Friesner. I adored the cover from the moment I laid eyes on it and had such high hopes. After all, it’s set in medieval Ireland and was supposed to feature a headstrong protagonist. Unfortunately, the pacing was rather slow and not particularly engaging. I decided to abandon this duology after finishing this first book, especially since the sequel seems to feature a love triangle (or were it even three guys vying for her hand?).

3. Most surprising book I read

I have a confession to make: up until 2018, I hadn’t read a single book by Michael Ende, who’s one of our classic German children’s authors (his internationally most acclaimed book is The Neverending Story, maybe you have heard of it). I’ve seen adaptations and my mum read one of the books to my sister and I listened in on snippets, but I had never read a single book front to back. So I decided I had to redeem myself and finally read something. I picked up Momo and was blown away. I mean, I knew it must be pretty damn awesome because it not only won the German Children’s Literature Award in 1974, since 1996 the prize is a bronze Momo statue. I just didn’t expect it to be so relevant today. It’s such a beautiful and deep story; I highly recommend giving it a go!

4. Book I “pushed” the most people to read (and they did)

I don’t think I had a book in 2018 that I pushed privately. Still do it professionally, though.

5. Best series I started in 2018 / Best sequel of 2018 / Best series ender of 2018

A: Die Känguru-Chroniken (Die Känguru-Chroniken, #1) by Marc-Uwe Kling
I already knew chapters of these books but have never read them. The audio book is read by the author and it’s just so hilarious!

B: Ein Esel unterm Weihnachtsbaum (Der Esel Pferdinand, #5) by Suza Kolb
This was just such a sweet adorable read.

C: Obsidio (The Illuminae Files, #3) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
I have a lot of issues with this book (e.g. too many protagonists, stakes not high enough) but oh my god was I glued to the pages! Even though it didn’t quite turn out as epic as I would have liked, it was a highly gripping and engaging read. It’s an amazing scifi series with a very unique concept – and my favourite AI ever!

6. Favourite new author you discovered in 2018?

I decided to go with the only new-to-me author I read more than one work from in 2018 and that is Marc-Uwe Kling. I never thought I would enjoy the kangaroo stories this much but the audio books had me in stitches!

7. Best book from a genre I don’t typically read
I rarely read comics and I’d never read manga – at least I can’t remember ever picking one up. But then I came across a video of the anime adaptation of Your Name by Makoto Shinkai & Ranmaru Kotone on YouTube and immediately decided I had to watch that film and read the manga. Since there are only three books in the series, I breezed through them. Really enjoyed the story although there were some details that leaned a bit towards the problematic.
8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year

Hands down: Obsidio (The Illuminae Files, #3) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff. I could not put it down, reading it even while travelling – at the station, on the train, in between trains, and so on. It’s been a while since I was this invested in a book. And yet, it was by far the weakest of the series and I ended up being a bit underwhelmed. Still, I highly recommend this series!

There has also been another book that quite surprised me and that is The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis. I read that one when I was visiting Milan with my sister and each minute we spent in our airbnb flat neither eating nor sleeping, I was reading this book. It’s one with a very special atmosphere and very interesting characters.

9. Book I read in 2018 that I’m most likely to reread next year

Let’s continue the list:

2016: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman – neither reread it in 2017 or 2018.
2017: The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy, #1) by Marie Rutkoski and The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson – neither reread in 2018

2018: Let’s choose something simple: Penguin Problems by Jory John & Lane Smith. It’s a short picture book but I’m probably not going to reread it anyway.

10. Favourite cover of a book I read in 2018

I hope I’m allowed to choose 4 – looks like there’s a theme going on:

11. Most memorable character of 2018

I started rereading Artemis Fowl and I just love him and his ragtag crew of friends so freaking much! With The Illuminae Files coming to an end, I also had to say goodbye to my favourite crazy-ass murderous AI AIDAN. I also met a new favourite, which is the communist kangaroo of Die Känguru-Chroniken. Hilarious!

12. Most beautifully written book I read in 2018

Let’s divide this into three:

13. Most thought-provoking book of 2018
14. Book I can’t believe I waited UNTIL 2018 to finally read

That’s Momo by Michael Ende for sure! Though it is quite interesting to read popular children’s books for the first time as an adult. It truly is a classic of children’s literature and holds up so well!

15. Favourite passage/quote from a book I read in 2018

I don’t think I have one? In recent years, I kind of stopped noting down memorable quotes. Either I’m no longer paying as much attention to what I’m reading or nothing really caught my attention.

16. Shortest and longest book I read in 2017

A: If I’m not counting the picture books, that would be Das Waldfest der Tiere by Katharina Neuschaefer [63 pages]

B: The longest book I read during 2018 is Der Dativ ist dem Genitiv sein Tod (Der Dativ ist dem Genitiv sein Tod, #4-6) by Bastian Sick [715], which is a collection of essays on the German language. Special shout out to the longest book I finally finished in 2018 which is The Complete Novels of Jane Austen by Jane Austen [1,431]. The ones I read in 2018 were Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, and Lady Susan.

17. Book that shocked me the most

Contentwise that would be The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I had to go back and forth a couple of times checking the original publication date because I couldn’t believe it’s this old and at the same time unfortunately this relevant. It really got to me.

18. OTP of the year (I will go down with this ship!)

I always cheat because I usually have an OTP for everything. I just can’t decide on a single one. My favourites of 2018:

  • Jannis & Frida [Mähnen im Wind by Theresa Czerny]. I love a good hate to love romance and while Jannis and Frida don’t really hate each other, they’re not immediately friends either. While there’s not much in case of romance between them (yet), I already ship them like crazy.
  • Anne Elliot & Captain Frederick Wentworth [Persuasion by Jane Austen]. Easily my second favourite Austen novel after Pride & Prejudice, I couldn’t put it down because I was so invested in these characters! Lotsa love! Lotsa sighs!
  • Monty & Percy [The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee]. Squee, they are so cute!
  • Sophie & Mina [Far From You by Tess Sharpe]. Oh, the pain!
19. Favourite non-romantic relationship of the year
  1. Flora & Gisbert the talking armadillo [Die Wunderpeperoni by Astrid Göpfrich]. I am very much in love with grumpy Gisbert, who’s Flora’s hilarious sidekick.
  2. Grace, Maya & Joaquin [Far from the Tree by Robin Benway]. Oh. the. feels. These three made me shed buckets of tears!
  3. Artemis Fowl & his ragtag group of friends both human and supernatural [Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer]. Just one of the best ensemble cast of characters out there.
  4. Marc-Uwe Kling & the kangaroo [Die Känguru-Chroniken by Marc-Uwe Kling]. So funny! Like, insanely funny. And witty. And brilliant.
20. Favourite book I read in 2018 from an author I’ve read previously

I don’t read much adult historical romance but I do read Kate Morton. The Lake House has become my favourite and it was so very close to five stars, however the ending was a little too kitschy for my taste. Another new favourite is Persuasion by Jane Austen. While Pride & Prejudice will forever be my favourite, this one really surprised me and I couldn’t stop reading. For someone loving the only book by Patricia A. McKillip she’s ever read (I love Alphabet of Thorn with a passion and have read it at least three times), it took me an awfully long time to pick up another of her books. I chose the short story collection Wonders of the Invisible World and really enjoyed it!

21. Best book I read in 2018 that I read bases SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else/peer pressure

I actually read three books this year that I wouldn’t have picked up by myself. Here are the two of them I really liked:

  • Girlsplaining by Katja Klengel is a graphic novel about feminism, femininity, the female body, and patriarchal/societal taboos that come with these topics. I wouldn’t have picked it up because I seldom read comics/graphic novels but I’m glad I did. It’s highly entertaining and I found myself in many of the scenes she created.
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood left me quite shocked. I loved everything except the last chapter which was weird and didn’t fit the rest of the book at all, therefore I had to deduct a star.
22. Newest fictional crush from a book I read in 2018

That would be Peter Kavinsky [To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han], though I do have to admit that I first met him in the adaptation and only then picked up the book. But swoon. The other one is Captain Frederick Wentworth [Persuasion by Jane Austen] who was such a gentleman and so sweet.

23. Best 2018 debut I read

Hey, after I didn’t read a single debut last year, this time I’ve got one I can wholeheartedly recommend. Mähnen im Wind (Die Pferde von Eldenau, #1) by Theresa Czerny is such a wonderful horse novel! There are two perspectives – one male, one female – focusing on natural horsemanship and show jumping, features great characters, and is just an overall very entertaining read!

24. Best worldbuilding/most vivid setting I read this year
  1. Earth & Aventerra by Peter Freund
    Laura is one of my MG/early teen favourites and I love the idea of earth having a partner planet, Aventerra. By the way, this series is the reason I’m the firm believer that mind reading is actually a thing.
  2. The world of Momo by Michael Ende
    The whole time concept is brilliant!
  3. The World of the Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger
    One of my favourite literary universes, so I started rereading the Finishing School series.
  4. The Universe of the Hitchhiker’s Guide by Douglas Adams
    This is by far the most whimsical thing ever – and I love it!
  5. The Universe of Star Wars
    I grew up with scifi, especially Star Trek, but I’m also a huge fan of Star Wars. From a Certain Point of View retells the original movie chapter by chapter from the point of view of side characters. My favourite was the story by Ken Liu. That was simply amazing!
25. Book that put a smile on my face/was the most FUN to read
  1. Die Känguru-Chroniken (Die Känguru-Chroniken, #1) by Marc-Uwe Kling
    Simply hilarious! I had so much fun listening!
  2. Girlsplaining by Katja Klengel
    Girl power ftw! There were many things I found myself in.
  3. Die Wunderpeperoni (Flora Botterblom, #1) by Astrid Göpfrich
    Mostly due to Gisbert, the grumpy talking armadillo.
  4. Lizzy Carbon und die Qual der Wahl (Lizzy Carbon, #3) by Mario Fesler
    Being in Lizzy’s head is always great craic!
  5. Life, the Universe and Everything (Hitchhiker’s Guide, #3) by Douglas Adams
    This world is just totally whimsical, it’s ingenious!
  6. The Eternity Code (Artemis Fowl, #3) by Eoin Colfer
    Started rereading this series via audio book in the hopes of finally moving past book four (still hasn’t happened yet). This one’s my fave of the four books I’ve read. Gives me so much joy!
26. Book that made me cry in 2018
  1. A Berlin Love Song by Sarah Matthias
    It’s about a German boy and a Romani girl falling in love during World War II. It’s as heartbreaking as this premise suggests and though I had some issues with it, it made me cry a lot.
  2. Every Falling Star: The True Story of How I Survived and Escaped North Korea by Sungju Lee
    A heartbreaking memoir.
  3. Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
    While I wasn’t that much into the diary stuff, the parts set in the present and immediate past KILLED me!
  4. Far from the Tree by Robin Benway
    I’m not sure I actually managed to read more than one chapter without crying. Those siblings and their respective issues … one of the most emotional books I’ve ever read!
  5. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
    It took me over a year to finish it because I could only take it in small slices.
27. Hidden gem of the year
  1. Girlsplaining by Katja Klengel
    It was a delight and I wouldn’t have picked it up if I hadn’t seen it in the Instagram feeds of a couple of friends.
  2. Motherfoclóir: Dispatches from a Not So Dead Language (Motherfoclóir, #1) by Darach Ó Séaghdha
    I love languages and I love Ireland! I found this at Dubray Books in Galway on my very short trip to Ireland this year. I went on to a secluded hostel where I had to stay indoors the first day because there was a pretty hefty storm going on. So I curled up on one of the armchairs with a nice cuppa and pretty much inhaled this one. The hostel I’m talking about is Sleepzone Connemara btw and I’ll certainly get back out there again.
28. Book that crushed my soul

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas as well as Every Falling Star: The True Story of How I Survived and Escaped North Korea by Sungju Lee. The injustice and despotism in these two books was almost too much for me to handle and I lived in constant fear of the characters’ wellbeing. They also once again reminded me what a privileged life I lead.

29. Most unique book I read in 2018

I think that’s Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente. It read as whimsical as The Hitchhiker’s Guide and has Eurovision at its core. I loved the idea; unfortunately, I wasn’t fully on board with the execution. I wanted even MORE Eurovision stuff! Like the whole semi finals, interview marathons, unfunny and fremdschäm hosts, snarky commentary, weird halftime shows, and endless discussions about favouritism and points politics. You know, the usual. The fun. The heart and soul.

30. Book that made me the most mad

And then there was The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily (Dash & Lily, #2) by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. I really enjoyed the first book, which is a cute Christmas read. And that’s what I wanted because I had more than enough drama at home with my granny hospitalised in the heart unit the second Christmas in a row. Instead, I got a really bleak and depressing book that most certainly didn’t manage to lift my spirits. I wish this sequel wouldn’t exist.

1. One book I didn’t get to in 2018 but will be my number 1 priority in 2019

Looking back: In 2017, it was Die Spur der Bücher (Die Spur der Bücher, #1) by Kai Meyer, which I did finish in 2018. Yay!

For 2018, that would be The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell, which I’ve been meaning to read ever since I got it in June, keeping it in close proximity but never actually picking it up. Let’s see whether I can change that in 2019.

2. Book I’m most anticipating for 2019 (non-debut)

Looking back: For 2018, it was The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1) by Holly Black (faeries from the queen of faeries!), Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente (Eurovision in space!), Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik (loved the short story this novel is based on!), and Competence (The Custard Protocol, #3) by Gail Carriger (Parasol Protectorate Universe ftw!). While I do own all four of them, I only managed to read Space Opera.

For 2019, that would be The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern (MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK SINCE 2012!), A Thousand Sisters by Elizabeth Wein (non-fiction about the female Russian pilots during WWII called the night witches!), Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle, #1) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (new scifi by the dream team of The Illuminae Files!), The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys (new historical fiction from one of my auto-buy authors!).

3. 2019 debut I’m most anticipating

Looking back: For 2018, it was The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin. Did I read it? Nope. But I own it, alright?

For 2019, I’ve got a couple of them this time! Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy, #1) by Emily A. Duncan (Eastern European inspired dark fantasy!), We Hunt the Flame (Sands of Arawiya #1) by Hafsah Faizal (ancient Arabia, a cross-dressing protagonist, and a guy called the Prince of Death!), The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad (a girl getting tangled up in the djinn wars!), Descendant of the Crane by Joan He (Chinese inspired fantasy with a young queen tracking down her father’s murderer!), and Wicked Fox (Gumiho #1) by Kat Cho (“she’s a gumiho, a nine-tailed fox who must devour the energy of men in order to survive” – sold!).

4. Series ending/a sequel I’m most anticipating in 2019

Looking back: For 2018, it was Obsidio (The Illuminae Files, #3) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff. While I was glued to the pages, I was a bit underwhelmed and found it the weakest of the series. But AIDAN. AIDAN makes everything so much better!

For 2019, I only have two in series I’m not even caught up with: The Place on Dalhousie by Melina Marchetta (the series doesn’t have a name but it consists of Saving Francesca, The Piper’s Son, and this one) and Reticence (The Custard Protocol #4) by Gail Carriger.

5. One thing I hope to accomplish or do in my reading/blogging life in 2019

Getting my blog back … I’m writing this post not even knowing when I’ll be able to publish it.

6. A 2019 release I’ve already read and recommend to everyone

Once again one of the books I read for work: Die Wunderpeperoni (Flora Botterblom, #1) by Astrid Göpfrich is a delightful story of magical plants and the talking armadillo totally steals the show!

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