End of Year Book Survey

There’s nothing I love more than keeping up with book bloggers who have inspired me so – and so of course I want to jump on the bookblog train and participate in part of Jamie’s (The Perpetual Page-Turner) End of Year Book Survey!

N.B.: This includes all books read in 2016 – they do not have to be published in 2016. 


Reading Stats

Number Of Books You Read: 135 (may get one or two more before we ring in 2017!)
Number of Re-Reads: 10
Genre You Read The Most From: Young Adult and Contemporary


Best Books

1. Best Book You Read in 2016

AH! This is a tough one to answer. I culled 7 favorite books in this post but I really don’t know if I had a FAVORITE, favorite. Some Kind of Happiness meant the most to me when I read it and still is very meaningful in my life, and one I love recommending. But I think my favorite book for the fun and the reread factor is A Court of Mist and Fury. Pumped for the third book in that series coming out in May 2017!

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

I think Eligiblethe modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice. It was one of my very few one-star reviews this year. It was just. so. bad. Considering how well-reviewed it was, I was surprised by how much I hated it: sloppy, uninteresting, chock-full of too many “hot modern topics” and it just had none of the charm of Austen (or any of the other excellent modern retellings of P&P).

3. Most Surprising (in a good way or bad way) Book You Read in 2016?

Lolz, the President’s Daughter series by Ellen White Emerson. They were a series originally written in the 80sish but modernized (ish) to today (so they have random mentions about characters using the capital-i Internet, etc). It’s exactly as it sounds like – a teenager’s mother becomes president and her life is turned upside down! I have a weird obsession with pieces of fiction about kids in the White House, and I really enjoyed zipping through this series. The last one, Long May She Reign, was particularly good, emotional, and full of depth.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (and they did) in 2016?

A Man Called Ove continues to be my #1 recommendation.

5. Best Series You Started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?

Series Started: Passenger, by Alexandra Bracken
Sequel: Court of Misy and Fury, by Sarah Maas.
Series Ender: Crooked Kingdom, by Leigh Bardugo (does a duology count as a series?)

6. Favorite New Author You Discovered in 2016?

I had been a little lax on Leigh Bardugo (I think I read one of her Grisha books, but I’m not sure). Considering how much I loved Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom, I may need to go back and revisit…

7. Best Book from a Genre You Don’t Typically Read/was Out of Your Comfort Zone?

Two very sad but ultimately hopeful memoirs, both recommended by my roommate (who used to work for a book publisher and is GREAT at hooking me up): When Breath Becomes Air (Paul Kalanithi) and Let’s Take The Long Way Home (Gail Caldwell).

8. Most Action-packed/Thrilling/Unputdownable Book of the Year?

Guardian and Proxy by Alex London.

9. Book You Read in 2016 That You are Most Likely to Re-Read Next Year?

I’m a broken record, but definitely Court of Mist and Fury (just purchased on a Kindle deal yesterday)

10. Favorite Cover of a Book You Read in 2016?

Geminabut less about the cover and more about the insides 🙂

11. Most Memorable Character of 2016?

Definitely Finley from Some Kind of Happiness.

12. Most Beautifully Written Book Read in 2016?

I just finished it, but I found the above-mentioned memoir When Breath Becomes Air beautifully and lyrically written. The author wrote it after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer; he was a neurosurgeon with a degree in English Literature to boot, and was able to capably pull in thoughts about what it means to be alive from a scientific and a philosophical standpoint. Bring the tissues.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/Life-Changing Book of 2016?

I can’t shut up about Lean In (a little late in reading it, I know).

14. Book You Can’t Believe You Waited UNTIL 2016 to Finally Read?

Anything by Sarah Vowell. I didn’t LOVE her books, but considering the world we live in now, her researched take on history, politics, and humor is much needed.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From a Book You Read in 2016?

“If you are afraid, sad, tired, or lonely; if you feel lost or strange; if you crave stories and adventure, and the magic possibility of a forest path – this book is for you.”

-Some Kind of Happiness

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read in 2016?

Shortest: Paris for One, Jojo Moyes

Longest: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J.K. Rowling
17. Book That Shocked You the MostThe Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time – does that count as shock?

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

I didn’t read a ton of shippy stuff this year, but I did love the relationship between Syd and Knox in Proxy (Alex London).

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship of the Year

Everyone in Britt-Marie Was Here.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 from an Author You’ve Read Previously

Leave Me by Gayle Forman. She’s an automatic read for me.

21. Best Book You Read in 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY on a Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure

My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante. Everyone in the world says this is an amazing book; when I tried to read it last year I found I couldn’t get past the first 100 pages. I decided to get into this again in 2016 because so many people loved it. And… I just don’t. I certainly didn’t hate it, but I’m not hooked and not putting the next books on the top of my list.

22. Newest Fictional Crush from a Book You Read in 2016?

Hmm. This is an easy gimme, but Ezra (the Darcy stand in) in First & Then (Emma Mills) is very swoon-worthy.

23. Best 2016 Debut You Read?

Shrill: Notes From a Loud Woman, by Lindy West. Lots to think about here!

24. Best World-building/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

I’ll keep saying it, but the Illuminae/Gemina series just really grabs me.

The Sun Is Also A Star (Nicola Yoon). It’s not a happy ending in the traditional sense (although I think it’s happy) but it’s just so enjoyable to read.

26. Book That Made You Cry or Nearly Cry in 2016?

Ugh, so many. I’m a crier. Most of the Harry Potters, definitely Sisterhood Everlasting (the last book in the Traveling Pants series), the memoirs I mentioned above, Some Kind of Happiness.

27. Hidden Gem of The Year?

I wish more people would read Some Kind of Happiness. How many times do I have to say it, people?!

28. Book that Crushed Your Soul?

Sisterhood Everlasting kills me every time. One time I started to reread before a plane ride, then remembered it makes me ugly cry and realized instead I needed to read it all in one night, lest I embarrass myself in the air the following morning.

29. Most Unique Book You Read in 2016?

Ugh, broken record, but Gemina. READ IT.

30. Book that Made You the Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

I think Lean In because it made me SO angry that there’s still so much fighting women have to do for equality.


And there we have it! I have a lot of repeats in my recommendations above, but you try to sift through 100+ books and remember everything about them *blushes*

I’m so proud that I was able to smash my reading challenge of 100 books this year! I think for next year, I need to cool it on the library books/new book request as soon as they come out, and focus on my personal library. I have such a backlist of both virtual TBRs on my Goodreads (which I want to organize this week!) and my actual bookshelf that I want to start to go through those.

Another 2017 book resolution is to read at least 4 classics (I think I can handle one a quarter!). There are just SO many I haven’t read, or read way back in high school, that I would like to revisit them.

We’ll see what 2017 brings!



The Next 100

Oh, HELLO. How nice to see you. You look great!

Keen observers of my life (my mom) will notice I went a giant two and a half years between posting. Let me take you back to 2013 – a time when Donald Trump was still just a reality TV star and sometimes-businessman, when Mad Men was still on the air, when the most culturally relevant thing about Hamilton was his reference in that Lazy Sunday viral video. That was also the last time lil’ ole Kristen posted on this blog. I had big dreams and stars in my eyes about documenting my explorations about Boston, my adopted hometown, but then Life Happened and I forgot.

Fast forward two and a half years – I have a different job (thank God), a new apartment (woohoo!), a gentleman caller, and – most importantly – JetBlue Mosaic status. That’s right, peons – allow me to board first and enjoy abundant overhead space!

Your queen also had a little bit of sadness in her heart, though. Even with all the wonderful things in my life, I felt like I needed a little something on the side to keep my brain moving, my wits sharp, and ensure I didn’t just redo the same routine day-by-day.

But how to scratch that creative itch? Despite my many, many attempts at Paint Bar, I must sadly admit I am not an artist. I can play the violin, but my work travel schedule makes it hard to commit to a group. The one thing I really do is read.

And so, the Cutthroat Reader is born (but it’s going to live under K10 Explores, because I’m far too lazy to create a new blog). I’m about to hit quite a lofty achievement – 100 books read in 2016! For #thenext100, I wanted to be more creative in how I pick, review, and recommend books. And so, a mingling of gimmicks. First, I’m going to pick books with more diversity – of subject, author, and location. I have a whole way of picking but I’ll tell you later, if I feel like it.

Secondly, I’m going to be CUTTHROAT. A book has a mere 50 pages to impress me (or 10% if it’s less than 300 pages). If I’m not into it, DONE. But I’ll still review it anyway, and probably (hopefully) be hilarious about it.

So, there you go. Read this or don’t, I don’t particularly care either way. But I shall read, and I shall write, and I shall find my side passion. Fin.