02 January 2017

Stacked-Up Book Thoughts: Fresh Starts

I would love this post to be all about my 2016 stats--the number of books read, the breakdown by genre, the division of male and female authors, the total hours of audiobooks listened to--but, alas, I was a horrible data collector during the last half of the year.

My 2016 review index is not up to date (but I'll correct that soon), and I didn't even feel motivated to compile my favorite books of the year. Well that was last year, and this year is full of bookish hopes. I'm turning my back on the what I didn't do, and I'm looking forward what I can do in 2017. Look for more reviews and more engagement.

Discoveries. Regardless of not having accurate records to back up my claims, I managed to surprise myself in 2016. For example, I've always said I don't like science fiction, unless, of course, it was fantasy set on space ships and other worlds (see the original Star Wars). Yet I read and loved several books last year that I think are technically science fiction, including Sleeping Giants, The Fifth Season, and the Illuminae series. Who knew?

I'm also relieved to discover that I can survive a mini/semi social media break. I didn't exactly disappear, but I stopped reading blogs, stopped feeling the need to post an Instagram photo every day, and stopped closely monitoring Twitter. Although I was still mostly online, that break revived me. I feel fresh and newly interested in resuming all my usual social media activities (just as soon as I hit "mark all posts read" in my blog reader).

Finally, I learned that organizing one's entire book collection across all media is really time-consuming, a little bit boring, and a big pain in the butt. That work continues, even though I missed my goal to be done by the end of the year. I just keep thinking about how good it will feel to be done with this project.

What I listened to lately. I listened to three books last week and enjoyed them all for different reasons.

Three good audiobooks

I plan to write full reviews of these books, so I'll give you only the quick run-down here. Becoming Queen Victoria by Kate Williams is a dual biography of the two women who were in line to succeed King George III  (Charlotte and Victoria) and the circumstances that caused Victoria to be crowned. In H Is for Hawk, author Helen Macdonald talks about the loss of her father and her experience training a goshawk. It's hard to describe in one sentence, so wait for the review. Mincemeat by Leonardo Lucarelli is also a memoir, this time about a young man on an unconventional path to becoming a professional chef in Italy.

What's up for the week and year. I'm ready to get back into the blogging and reviewing groove and to make a full return to social media. So look for me here, on your blogs (not necessarily all on the same day!), on Twitter, on Instagram, and on Litsy. On the other hand, I know I'll step back when I need to, without the guilt or pressure. I plan to find a happy place (= in the book world) to get through the coming uncertain times. Let's hope for and work toward good things in 2017.


rhapsodyinbooks 1/2/17, 6:23 AM  

Social media is definitely very time consuming!

Tina 1/2/17, 7:07 AM  

Stepping back is needed sometimes. Recently I had people from work discover me in Instagram. I am one of those people who don't like work and personal to cross. Oh well, I will be stepping away from that social media fo a awhile.

The books you highlighted sound great, I think I'd like the one about Queen Victoria, definitely I tereted in your review of H is for Hawk. Happy new year and I hope you get those books catalogued 😊

(Diane) bookchickdi 1/2/17, 8:00 AM  

I'm almost done with Daisy Goodwin's Victoria. I hope this year to get back onto a groove with my reading as the last quarter of 2016 was consumed by politics, and I'd like to catch up my reviews of the books I read last quarter.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz 1/2/17, 8:02 AM  

I really want to try H is for Hawk again. I'm not sure why I couldn't get into it at first reading attempt.


Kailana 1/2/17, 8:21 AM  

All of those sound good! I am hoping 2017 will be better for everyone!

JoAnn 1/2/17, 8:58 AM  

That's a great outlook for beginning a new year! I'll be curious to see what you thought of H is for Hawk... something keeps preventing me from picking it up.

Laura at Library of Clean Reads 1/2/17, 9:12 AM  

I had to balance my blogging time too when I first staring work full-time 3 years ago, but now I feel I know what is important and what I can forsake once in a while. :-)

Susie | Novel Visits 1/2/17, 10:34 AM  

Organizing your entire book collection? I'm impressed. I just organized mine for the last year and that took me a whole day. I'd love to go back year, but it's too daunting. Mincemeat sounds really interesting. You have me curious about it. Here's to a new year!

Laurel-Rain Snow 1/2/17, 10:52 AM  

I Tweet my blog posts...and that's about it. I do go on FB too much, but I don't linger...and I don't play any of the games.

That said, I don't think I could do without it completely.

Speaking of discoveries, my fascination with The Crown on Netflix made me long to read more about the royals historically. So that could happen this year. I used to LOVE historical novels, and I may return, just a bit.

Enjoy your New Year and whatever projects you explore. Here are MY WEEKLY UPDATES

bermudaonion 1/2/17, 11:04 AM  

I've tried keeping stats for several years and I'm horrible at it as well. I know I could go back and figure things out later but that seems overwhelming. Here's to a terrific 2017!

Sarah's Book Shelves 1/2/17, 12:17 PM  

Glad you were able to take a break and look forward to seeing you back in full action in 2017!

Katherine P 1/2/17, 2:42 PM  

It's such a struggle to find that balance on social media and blogging! H is for Hawk has been on my TBR for awhile. It sounds really wonderful. Happy New Year!

Melissas Eclectic Bookshelf 1/2/17, 3:08 PM  

Why is everything so time consuming...if only I didn't have to work! lol Great goals and I am with you about looking forward rather than bemoaning what wasn't done. I just skipped wrapping up my book challenges when I realized the whole year had passed without keeping track of anything!!

Iliana 1/2/17, 4:24 PM  

I have to take breaks from social media and stuff periodically to recharge! Glad that helped you too. Looking forward to your reviews. I'mr really curious about the books you read!

Florinda 1/2/17, 4:31 PM  

I'm still trying to get a handle on the book-cataloging thing, so I hope you'll do a wrap-up report when you finally get it done! I am so incompetent with my level of social-media activity, but it's always nice to see you there when I show up 😊.

Greg 1/2/17, 5:48 PM  

Social media can be great and exhausting at the same time! Little breaks do help. I may go for days without Twittering but I always go back. :)

Good luck with your balance! H is for Hawk definitely looks interesting, I've always been fascinated by hawking.

westmetromommy 1/2/17, 5:52 PM  

I think taking a break from Social Media now and then is a good thing. By the way, I just followed your IG account and your pictures are lovely!

Heather 1/2/17, 7:11 PM  

I created myself a form in Google Drive to help me track my data. I'm hoping it will be much easier to use than trying to fill out the actual spreadsheet! I am very hopeful! I love my stats, but they can get soooo tedious to actually track! lol

I loved H is for Hawk sooooo much. I totally didn't expect to love it so much!

Aj @ Read All The Things! 1/2/17, 7:47 PM  

Happy New Year, and good luck with your goals. I’d love to have an organized book collection, but that seems like a lot of work.

Aj @ Read All The Things!

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm 1/2/17, 8:21 PM  

I hear ya. Keeping up with social media is a full time job. I do what I can but with family, work, reading and daily life I do what I can and try not to think of what I 'should' be doing to get my blog out there. I receive plenty of books, have connected with great bookish people (love Litsy for that) so I have a lot to be thankful for. It's important to step away when you need to. Looking forward to chatting books with you in 2017!

Unknown 1/2/17, 10:46 PM  

2016 was an odd year for me,I blogged very little, read less books than in recent years and felt off. I'm committed to doing things at my pace and enjoying them more.
I'd like to know how you are organizing your books. I look at mine, now out of control with more un-read than read, and they are not organized at all....it's a hot mess. A lot of ARCs and Im really torn on how best to organize. I keep a spreadsheet for all books and I most often view it by publication date. It's nice to haVe choices if I need to see it differently.
Looking forward to seeing more of you.

Daryl 1/4/17, 2:03 PM  

even before i got sick just before Christmas i was feeling overwhelmed by everything so i began to let the comments i get via email pile up until i finally just did it i hit delete all ... it wasnt as cathartic as i anticipated but ....

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