29 December 2017

Stacked-Up Book Thoughts: Looking Back, Looking Forward

Year in review at Beth Fish ReadsGood-bye 2017, you can't be over too quickly. What a year for stressful news and deaths of musicians and writers, but it also brought me new opportunities and women the empowering #MeToo movement. I would like to think that next year will be calmer, but I know better.

Instead of giving you my year's stats (my review index is stuck on April 2017 as I write this post) or coming up with top 10 lists, I'm going to talk about how Beth Fish Reads flowed and changed during the year and what you can expect in the months to come.

Blogging in 2017

Here's a quick break-down of changes in my blogging life of last year.

  • Reviews: The biggest change here at Beth Fish Reads has been the nature and timing of my book reviews. I haven't lost my interest in writing about the books I've read, but I have lost my energy for writing formal reviews, one book at a time. I've grown to love my new format of one-paragraph reflections on each book I've read (or listened to), posted every Monday. Sometimes I gush, sometimes I'm critical, but you get my thoughts without a long analysis or creative plot summary. This suits me and gives you a good snapshot.
  • Year in review at Beth Fish ReadsAudiobooks: As many of you know, I'm now a contributing editor for AudioFile magazine, which means that besides writing reviews I also write for the magazine's blog, posting every other Wednesday. My posts, under the column "Take 5 with Candace," have two forms: (1) a feature of 5 audiobooks that are linked in some way (such as celebrating the season or covering a similar topic) or (2) a 5-question interview with an audiobook narrator. I encourage to click over to read my posts, and while you're there, check out the other posts on the AudioFile blog.
  • Weekly Round-Up: One thing I loved doing last year was posting a round-up on Thursday or Friday of almost every week. I focus on featuring recent books that caught my attention, and the lists often have a theme. The posts not only help me keep track of my reading list but also let me share some exciting titles with you. Although I truly hope to read many of the books I highlight in my round-ups, time usually gets the better of me.
  • Social Media: Sigh. What to say. The stresses of the year made me a social media lurker most of the year.
Goals for 2018: A Milestone Year

In the coming year, I'll hit a lot of blogging milestones, including my 10th blogging anniversary and my 500th Wordless Wednesday photo. I have no intention of quitting blogging (she says today), but I'm looking forward to meeting these goals. Once I do, I'll see how I feel about making sure I never miss a day or week. Here are some thoughts on next year.
  • Year in review at Beth Fish ReadsStats: I really hope to keep my review index up to date. I've slipped behind, and I'm not happy about that. I also would like to keep better track of the sources of my books (pitched, requested, bought, borrowed) and would like to remember to send links to the publishers, NetGalley, and Edelweiss. I'm really bad.
  • General blogging rhythm: I expect to make no major changes.
  • Movies: I used to review a lot more movies, and I'd like to start doing that again, perhaps adding some TV series as well. As in the past, I'll likely concentrate on films and shows available through streaming services and premium channels.
  • General reading goals: Or rather my lack of reading goals! Because my work life is filled with deadlines, I like to keep my reading life flexible. I've always been interested in reading newly released (or about to be released) books, mixed with trying to catch up on all the series I've started in the past. I may make 2018 the Eve Dallas year and attempt to read or listen to the 20 or so books I'm behind. As last year, I want to continue to read books in translation and add more short story collections to my list.
  • Non-book posts: I have a few (not many!) ideas for some general posts, similar to my "Life as an Audiobook Junkie" post of a couple of weeks ago. For example, after struggling for almost 3 years with the idea of bullet journaling, I think I've finally found a method that works for me. Because my journal setup is unconventional, I thought you might be curious to see how adaptable the system can be.
  • Social Media: I hope to make a comeback! My thoughts are this: I'm just going to post and tweet as if it were 2016. If I bring a little joy back to social media, then maybe my friends will follow suit. I've also started reintroducing my periodic Twitter book nights, during which I share the more exciting books that landed on my doorstep. Stay tuned.

Do you have any goals for the new year?


Amanda 12/29/17, 8:46 AM  

I've been a social media lurker too, and I'm getting to a point where I'm considering giving up certain venues altogether. They just cause too much stress. But we'll see.

When does your 10-year hit? I hit mine in Feb! Of course, my ten years have been a lot more fragmented than yours, haha!

Molly 12/29/17, 8:57 AM  

I LOVE all of this!
I hope to return to blogging again in 2018, but I need to do it in a sustainable fashion. You provide a lot of possibilities for me to consider.

Anxious to hear about your bullet journaling. As you know, it is a subject I adore :)

Happy New Year!!

bermudaonion 12/29/17, 9:25 AM  

I love the changes you've made. I would rather read a quick paragraph about a book than a long, formal review. Here's to a fabulous 2018!

Col Reads 12/29/17, 10:38 AM  

Great post! Here's a small goal: let's make time for lunch in 2018!

Unknown 12/29/17, 10:56 AM  

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I'm writing a post now about goals and enjoy reading about thoughts of other bloggers. I will check our you audio blog. Have a merry Happy New Year Beth!

rhapsodyinbooks 12/29/17, 11:21 AM  

I agree I would rather read quick paragraphs, even though I don't hold to that rule for myself. But the reason is, otherwise when I go back to see what a book is about, I won't remember! So my reviews are really in service to my bad memory. But I think most people don't want to see all of that! :--)

Tina 12/29/17, 12:43 PM  

I have also been blogging for 10 years on my Squirrel Head Manor site, only 8 years on Novel Meals. The social media thing....I get your sigh. The politics had me hibernating after a while, just couldn't take it, but I am now on Twitter after a long, long hiatus.

Great post about your blogging breakdown. I like the change in format for reviews and may adopt some of your policies, quicker and to the point on book reviews.

Happy new year to you!

Vicki 12/29/17, 1:36 PM  

I've been planning on making my reviews shorter, and actually did on the last book or two I reviewed. I like reading short reviews so why not write them as well.

Iliana 12/29/17, 5:32 PM  

Looks like you have some wonderful reading and blogging goals for next year. I look forward to seeing what you have in store. Here's a fabulous year ahead!

Greg 12/29/17, 8:30 PM  

Nice round up. I like movie and TV show reviews, always nice to see. And wow- you've got some amazing milestones coming up! Congrats!

I like your thoughts on social media too! Sounds like a good approach. :)

Carole 12/29/17, 10:57 PM  

Happy New Year, Beth ... or is it Candace? Wishing you a better 2018 than you are expecting. Cheers

Bryan G. Robinson 12/31/17, 10:48 AM  

I think a lot of bloggers are getting away from formal reviews and are doing like you are. I think it's a good thing personally...social media, I only use Facebook, mostly for The Sunday Salon, and haven't been on Twitter in a long time. I don't know if I'll follow your lead or not. I'm skittish about Twitter, to be honest.

Daryl 1/3/18, 1:58 PM  

regardless of the format or frequency i love reading (even belatedly) your blog

(Diane) bookchickdi 1/4/18, 4:46 PM  

I love your Twitter book nights!

Les in Oregon 1/7/18, 7:31 PM  

I'm right there with you with regards to the book reviews. I don't care about long, intellectual reviews but I do want to keep track of ALL the books I read every year. My numbers were down for 2017 (too many distractions), but I only managed to write 1 out of 28 reviews! I hope to get caught up and stay caught up. We'll see how that goes. Good luck with your goals and changes to your routine. I look forward to more movie reviews!

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