03 January 2010

The Year Ahead: What to Expect in 2010

I summed up my reading stats for 2009 on Friday. Today I'm jumping on the bandwagon (or the lily pad) and am talking about what's ahead for 2010.

New on the Blog

The biggest immediate change is that I've deleted my blogroll. If you recall, last September I asked for your input in Blogroll: Use It or Lose It? I stewed over what to do and reread all your comments several times. Then I tried several options on my test blog. For now, I've decided to just do without a blogroll.

If you were on my blogroll, you are now in my blog reader, so never fear, you haven't gotten rid of me yet.

I am thinking of adding a top commenter widget, but I haven't found one that will work nicely in my narrow sidebars. If you have suggestions, please let me know.

I found a fun widget that counts my posts and the number of comments I've gotten. You'll find that in my sidebar now.

Challenges and Lessons Learned

You all know what I think about challenges, because I told you last October (see Reading Attitudes: Challenge or Fun?). Nothing has changed there, and I've signed up for a ton more challenges, listed in my sidebar. I plan to have fun and do the best I can.

I did learn some lessons about hosting challenges. I have not been a good hostess for the Sookie Stackhouse Reading Challenge. There are 148 reviews linked up, and I've read only a few. When I decided to host the What's in a Name? 3 challenge this year, I thought about what I did wrong.

  • I've learned that it is better to have a separate blog for a challenge rather than have people link back to a single page on my main blog. Yeah, I lose out on all that great link love, but a separate blog means that I can organize the challenge more easily.
  • I should have had a separate Mr. Linky and separate page for each book in the Sookie series and another Mr. Linky for the wrap-up post. With the big long list of links, it's impossible to track anyone's progress and to see who has finished.
  • I also learned that it's better to offer just one prize to challenge participants. Most people sign up for a challenge for fun, not the prize. I committed to 4 prizes for Sookie, but only one for WIAN3. It's a much saner way to go.
  • The good news is that I learned it is tons of fun to host a challenge. I have discovered a lot of good blogs through Sookie and now I'm discovering a lot of good books (and blogs) through WIAN3. I wouldn't hesitate to host again.
Blog Reading

Since Book Blogger Appreciation Week and the Fall Read-a-Thon, my blog reader has grown in leaps and bounds. And now that I've removed my blogroll, it just grew again.

I have my blogs organized in alphabetical order so I can find what I want to read quickly. The only problem with an A to Z listing is that sometimes I don't make it much past the Ms. So this year, I'm going to alternate or change up my reading. Some days I'm going to start from the bottom and work my way up; other days, I may start in the middle.

I am also going to restrict myself a bit. I plan to read blogs in the morning before I start work, and then scattered throughout the day when I need a break, and then again in the evening before we watch a movie. What this means is that I might not get to you every day, but I will get to your blog more than once a week, and I will read pretty much everything.


Although I announced that I was joining the 2010 Read & Review Challenge, I've changed my mind. I plan on reviewing everything I read anyway, but I've decided to do without the stress or pressure of a challenge.

Continuing review styles:
  • Full (long) reviews for most books I read.
  • Highlights of my print book on Tuesdays and my audiobook on Thursdays.
  • Short reviews of books read before I started blogging.
  • Reviews of unfinished books.
New review styles:
  • Mini reviews. What books will get mini reviews? Books that I've waited too long to review so I've lost the emotional connection or I can't remember the details, cozy mysteries and other light books that don't require a lot of analysis, and books that have been well reviewed or that are well known so I can focus on just my opinion.
  • Spoiler reviews. What do I mean by this? I am always very, very careful not to give away anything important about a book when I review it. Sometimes, however, I have strong opinions about the plot or the ending or the main character's decisions, and I can't say anything without giving away the story. How can I discuss, for example, a daughter's reaction to her father's death without first spoiling the book by letting everyone know that the father dies? If I feel the need to write this type of review, it will be clearly marked so you can skip it if you want to.
Goals and Continuing Features

I'm not much for making resolutions that I must follow no matter what. On the other hand, I like to have some idea of where I'm headed, so I do like to have some goals in mind.
  • I'd like to continue to keep up with writing my reviews.
  • I hope to better balance my pleasure reading with my review copy/ARC reading.
  • I have Literary Road Trip posts planned into February and hope to keep this project going indefinitely.
  • I love Wordless Wednesday, and I will continue to post a weekly photograph.
  • I am having a lot of fun with Weekend Cooking, and I have some good movies, biographies, culinary mysteries, recipes, and cookbook reviews planned for 2010. I encourage you to participate whenever the mood hits.
  • I have a couple author interviews and guest posts planned for January, and I am looking forward to more throughout the year.
  • I am looking forward to BEA and hope to attend more events if my work time and finances allow.
  • I may have to work on publicists to get authors to speak at Penn State or to appear at the State College Barnes & Nobles (the only non-university bookstore in a college town, sad eh?). I live close enough so that I could go to readings or signings and do some face-to-face interviews. Publicists? Are you listening?
Most important though, I hope to have a fun and fulfilling reading year. I am looking forward to discovering new authors and revisiting old friends. And most of all, I'm so grateful to be part of the book blogging community, and I hope to continue to spread the love of reading and to introduce others to the books I've enjoyed.


Vasilly 1/3/10, 9:59 AM  

I can tell you put a lot of thinking into your goals for this year. I think a post like this one is important for bloggers to have as something we can go back to and consult when we're wandering from the goals we've set. I thought about joining the Read and Review challenge but I don't need that pressure either. I'll probably resent blogging if I reviewed everything I read. Good luck to you with all your goals. Happy New Year!

Michelle 1/3/10, 10:14 AM  

Good luck with your goals!

One thing I've started doing with my reader is putting people in different folders. The blogs I definitely want to get to are in one folder, then the next tier, then the next. If I'm short on time, I can make sure I read my favorite blogs.

And I still keep them all in one bigger folder so I can easily access them or read them all at once.

Michelle 1/3/10, 10:15 AM  

I'm excited to see what you have in store for Literary Road Trip. Thank you for your continued participation I'm so happy you're enjoying it.

Like you, I hope to have a productive year with challenges, features, and being more organized.

Happy New Year and best of luck for 2010 :)

SuziQoregon 1/3/10, 11:32 AM  

Great goals. Good for you and inspiration for others. I'm still working on my "looking aheat at 2010' post, but it will be up by the end of the week.

As someone who's blog name starts with W, I appreciate the commitment to switch up and read from the bottom of the alphabet ;-)

Lisa 1/3/10, 12:34 PM  

I've been wondering about getting rid of my blogroll, too. I'm not sure how many people link from there and there is so much stuff to have added on the sides.

Great tips about the challenge. I'm hosting one this year and it's good to know what you learned as I'm heading in to it.

Sandy Nawrot 1/3/10, 1:35 PM  

That wasn't so long! I love wrap up posts, and yours was nicely thought-out and very complete. I love everything about your blog, and even if I decide to not comment as much (I may not stop though - it is like a biological function for me) yours will not be one I will forego!

Kim 1/3/10, 1:39 PM  

Nicely written and thought out.Your blog is always on my list of 'to read' although it seems my visiting blog time is forever shrinking. I wish I had the freedom to do a little blogging at work--but think my boss would frown upon that! ;)

Robin of My Two Blessings 1/3/10, 1:41 PM  

Wonderful goals. I decided not to join read and review this year for the same reason. I don't need the pressure. Lessons learned - good idea to start separate blog for your challenge. I did and easier to take care of. I'm thinking about joining in on literary roadtrip because we have a lot of local authors. Signed up for a newsletter that highlights our local authors which is incentive. Wish the best of luck with arranging author lectures. Sounds like fun!

EmilyBryan 1/3/10, 2:26 PM  

The Literary Road Trip is an idea whose time has come! Brilliant!

Dorte H 1/3/10, 2:40 PM  

"The good news is that I learned it is tons of fun to host a challenge. I have discovered a lot of good blogs through Sookie and now I'm discovering a lot of good books (and blogs) through WIAN3. I wouldn't hesitate to host again."

Whew, I am glad you still think it is fun. I am not quite sure yet that I knew what I did when I decided to make up and host my Global Reading Challenge, but so far it SEEMS fun. Besides, I had seen how you organized WIAN3 so I knew immediately I wanted a separate blog for it.

Florinda 1/3/10, 2:42 PM  

I thought about joining Read and Review, but like you, I decided I didn't really need it. I review every book I read - that was why I started blogging in the first place.

I use Google Reader as my blogroll, and have done so for awhile - it's been the easiest approach for me.

I wanted to ask where you found that post/comments count widget - I'd like one of those for my own blog (and my template is similar to yours, so it should work).

Best of luck with your reading and blogging plans for 2010!

bermudaonion 1/3/10, 2:54 PM  

You've obviously given this a lot of thought and have come up with some great goals! Good luck with each and every one.

Margot at Joyfully Retired 1/3/10, 3:15 PM  

I enjoyed reading this post about lessons learned and plans for the future. I enjoy following your blog with your great book reviews and other features. I'm glad to hear you are staying with Weekend Cooking. That has become my own challenge - to submit a piece each week. Good luck with your blog in 2010.

Literary Feline 1/3/10, 4:26 PM  

It sounds like you have quite a few good ideas and goals for this year, Beth. I wish you the best and look forward to seeing your blog continue to grow and evolve.

Chèli 1/3/10, 4:37 PM  


Like you I love challenges but I needed to concentrate mine to the books that I want to read so even if a challenge sounds like fun, I have to be realistic about whether I have a chance to complete it.

have a great new Year!
Cheli's Shelves

Aarti 1/3/10, 4:46 PM  

Good luck with all your goals! i hope 2010 goes well for you. I have considered removing the blog roll, too. At this point, it doesn't really reflect all the blogs I read. And there are so many blogs I follow, it would be hard to list them all there...

Marg 1/3/10, 4:54 PM  

I was just having the blog roll conversation with myself yesterday! Still haven't decided what I am going to do about it!

Good luck with your goals.

Julie P. 1/3/10, 5:14 PM  

You are so darned organized. I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't really thought much about next year and blogging.

caite 1/3/10, 6:17 PM  

I agree that I am very glad you have decided to continue 'Weekend Cooking'. I think it is a lot of fun and love to see what others post.

I Heart Monster 1/3/10, 8:57 PM  

Good Luck :o)

I also ditched my Blog Roll in favor of just using my Google Reader, but am kinda wishy washy semi-sorry I did... it was a good way to check on blogs in the whole if ya know what I mean?

Hope you have a great 2010!

Alice Teh 1/3/10, 9:08 PM  

All these changes that you've incorporated or will be incorporating sounds good. Here's to a wonderful 2010!

stacybuckeye 1/4/10, 12:46 AM  

I have the same problem with getting through my Google Reader!

Michele at Reader's Respite 1/4/10, 12:49 AM  

I'm loving your plans for around here....and I wish I were 1/2 as organized as you!

KyleeJ 1/4/10, 11:19 AM  

Great list of goals. Sound well balanced and that's something I'm trying to strive for this year (and into the future) too.

Book Chick City 1/4/10, 2:09 PM  

What a great post! I have been thinking about doing away with my blog roll but still not sure. I always make new year resolution, but whether I can keep them is another matter! I hope you have a successful 2010. Happy New Year! :)

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) 1/4/10, 7:40 PM  

I like the idea of spoiler reviews. There are some books that I've read that I want to discuss, but you have to share something about what happens to do that. It's more of a discussion that way, rather than a review. Earlier this year someone did two reviews of a book -- one with spoilers and one without. I've thought of doing something like that, perhaps.

Jenners 1/4/10, 8:16 PM  

Loved this post. You have some excellent points and ideas. I try to mix up my blog reading too, and I don't try to get to everyone every day; I just can't do it. And I learned a lot from hosting a challenge ... though now I wish I'd thought to do a separate challenge blog!! I did break up it up in 12 separate posts though so that should help. And I too found that some books just don't long reviews ... I've found I like that "Show Me 5 Saturday" format for those reviews. It helps to keep me from being backed up. Looking forward to more of your blog in 2010!

The Bumbles 1/4/10, 11:53 PM  

Thanks for sharing your lessons learned. So often I read only what people have been doing right instead of learning from things less than perfect.

I categorize my Reader in folders by blog genre, location, and memes people participate in. That way if I'm in the mood for book sites I go to that folder - for photo posts I read through the photo folder - or to feel warm on a chilly day I read through the Florida folder ;0)

And thanks for instituting a spoiler warning when you do those reviews - I hate hate hate accidentally having a plot spoiled.

Jackie (Farm Lane Books) 1/5/10, 8:02 AM  

It is interesting to hear your thoughts. I had recently noticed that blogs lower down the alphabet were getting ignored by me. I have tried starting at the end and the middle, but those Ts always seem to lose out!

I think you have acheived an amazing amount in 2009 and am very impressed by the number of challenges you host. I look forward to seeing how much you achieve in 2010.

Serena 1/5/10, 10:01 AM  

seems like we are all looking for a little balance in 2010! Good luck with your goals and I plan to finish up the Sookie Challenge...now that I have most, if not all the books.

nat @book, line, and sinker 1/5/10, 10:21 AM  

wow, way to make me feel like a slacker! lol. i love your weekend cooking challenge and still have photos and recipes to link when i get to it. i also got a macro camera lens for christmas and future foodie shots will be even more delish!

happy 2010--i'm sure you'll achieve with the goals you've set.

Care 1/6/10, 10:17 AM  

Thank you for blogging! You add a lot to the community. :)

Elizabeth 1/7/10, 12:20 PM  

Boy, I wish I had thought to do something like this. I don't think I do enough planning of my blogging - it just sorta happens as it happens. Maybe taking stock a little bit wouldn't be such a bad idea.

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