2016 Year in Review

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Well, this sure has been a year, hasn’t it? Some good, quite a lot of bad, more interesting than I know what to do with, and regardless of everything, I have to agree with the consensus of “thank god it’s over.” Blogging has certainly not been as eventful as everything else in my life, let alone the world, but the opening of a new year is a good time to look back and take stock for anything, really. Reinforcing that I have managed to accomplish at least something always helps me to be able to pick at what needs work. And picking at what needs work always helps me to figure out how to plan for the future.

So without much more in the way of ado, here’s a look at the first year of this blog: what I did, what I need to do better, and where I want to go.

Books Read

I managed to read more this year than I did last year (progress!), and did well enough with my goal of less popcorn reading that I’m not disappointed. Because I actually have reviews for most of these, and am planning on writing them for most of the ones I don’t, this is going to be far more list-like than last year. The ones I don’t have reviews for yet will get a couple of sentences of overview, but again, expect forthcoming reviews on most of those.

1) Incarceron—Catherine Fisher

2) Saphique—Catherine Fisher

3) Geek Love—Katherine Dunn

4) Eating Mammals—John Barlow

5) Cruel Crown—Victoria Aveyard

I barely even mentioned these two novellas, I think, but I did like them. In spite of the major disappointment of the second novel, they flesh out the world well and provide voices to two characters we barely get to see in the main series.

6) The Outsorcerer’s Apprentice—Tom Holt

7) Glass Sword—Victoria Aveyard

8) Titus Groan—Mervyn Peake

I’ve mentioned this series several times as being one of the most difficult, unique things I’ve ever read, and that about sums it up. The second after this one, Gormenghast, is still in the process of being read; I wandered away from it and never quite made it back.

9) The Darkest Part of the Forest—Holly Black

10) Summer and Bird—Katherine Catmull

11) Lost Time—Susan Schmid

12) Born Wicked—Jessica Spotswood

13) Legacy of Tril: Soulbound—Heather Brewer

14) The Vorrh—Brian Catling

15) Forest of Memory—Mary Robinette Kowal

16) Ten Mile River—Paul Griffin

17) The Corgi Chronicles—Laura Madsen

18) Labyrinth—Kate Mosse

19) Obsidian Mirror—Catherine Fisher

This is one of Catherine Fisher’s more interesting books, with very good ideas and somewhat uneven execution. I’d love to read the sequels, if I can ever figure out how the British release translated over into the American.

20) Proxy—Alex London

21) Passenger—Alexandra Bracken

22-28) The seven main Harry Potter books—J. K. Rowling

I figure you know what they are, I don’t have to list them all. Much like the following several books, I am planning on finishing the discussions of these. Given, with the way I’m going, it may have to wait for next summer.

29) Libriomancer—Jim Hines

Possibly Hines’ most lyrical novel, but I’m not sure how well it fits on him. Given, my reaction may have been clouded by circumstance, there; more on that later.

30) Fangirl—Rainbow Rowell

Remember when I said this sounded like the song of my people? I may have completely underestimated how much it was exactly that.

31) The Duchess of Bloomsbury St.—Helene Hanff

I’ve never really read travelogues before, but this makes me want more. Witty, relatable, and surprisingly melancholy at times.

32) Harry Potter and the Cursed Child—Jack Thorne and John Tiffany

My inner fan is both jumping for joy and screaming in anger here, and I’m still unsure which one is going to win out. I have badly mixed feelings on this.

33) No Passengers Beyond This Point—Gennifer Choldenko

A little too kiddish and a little too stereotypical for me. Generally could have done without this one.

34) Indexing—Seanan McGuire

Fun, interesting, and clever as hell with its meta. I’ve been meaning to read Seanan McGuire’s work, and I’m glad this was my first.

35) Chum—Jeff Somers

Suffice to say, I really need to stop trying to be that person who likes literary fiction.

Lessons Learned and Goals for Next Year

First and foremost…three posts a week is way too much for me. The resulting burnout from attempting that may not have been the main reason for the gigantic, three month gap in posting, but it was a major part of my losing momentum in the first place. I can see myself working my way up to two posts a week if things do manage to stabilize, but for now I think getting back to weekly is a large enough endeavor.

And finding the time to write is going to have to be another work in progress for me; I can’t just set aside huge specific chunks of time like I did when my work schedule was more stable, so I think I’m going to have to learn how to work throughout the week in small bits and pieces. That’s never been something I’m good at, at least as far as writing goes, but if I want to update regularly twenty minutes of writing somewhere each day is going to have to happen. With the way my schedule is I can’t do the thing where I write Sunday/Monday, edit Tuesday, and do the final polish on Wednesday anymore.

I’m also learning that I need to do something more in the way of promoting if I want more of an audience. Whether that’s doing community events or memes more often, or just being more active in seeking out and responding to other people, it needs to be something. As far as readers go I’m fairly content to let things move slowly, but I started doing this partially because I miss talking about books with people. So far as I’m small enough that discussion isn’t happening, this is somewhat counter-productive.

In other blog goals, I definitely want to try to do more with the couple of post series I stared, especially Forgotten Fantasy. One post in the category isn’t much at all, and while they do take a lot of work I want to be better at actually getting those together.

As for bookish goals, I’d definitely like to continue to try to read more and read difficult. The entire point of blogging, and discussing, and list-keeping is, for me, to get back to something I’d loved and lost between college stress and work stress. I want to work my way back into feeling like I’m actually a reader, and continuing to push myself is possibly the only way that’s going to happen.

That said, I did come back to this after a large pause, which is also something I’ve always had a problem with. I think I’ve proven to myself that this is something I actually want to do, which is half the battle for me.

So on to next year! May things continue to move forward, and may any setbacks be far more minor than this years’.

Cover Photo by Stephanie McCabe on Unsplash: sourced from Pexels

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