Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Year in Review Post #3: Blog Resolutions

At the start of this year, with the help of Top Ten Tuesday, I made some reading and blogging related New Year's Resolutions. This is something I did every year as a teenager, in my journals, and I had a pretty surprising success rate. There is something about writing down promises to yourself that - consciously, or subconsciously - makes you work on those things. I didn't reach 100% of the goals I set out to accomplish, but I still think I did pretty well. Here is how it all adds up:

First, the Top Ten Books I Resolved to Read in 2011.

Of the ten titles listed, I finished these three:

The Tale of DespereauxThe Tales of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
Finished on May 10, 2011.
N is for Noose (Kinsey Millhone Mystery)N is for Noose by Sue Grafton
Finished on October 11, 2011.
Savor the Moment (Bride Quartet, #3)Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts
Finished on January 26, 2011.

These three, I started to read at some point, but never finished.
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • That Summer by Sarah Dessen
  • Alice on Her Way by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

And finally, despite my best intentions, I never even looked at these four:
  • Zombies vs. Unicorns by Holly Black & Justine Larbalestier
  • They Called Themselves the K-K-K by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  • Untamed by P.C. and Kristen Cast

I have never been good at making a list of books to read and then sticking with it, so I'm not really surprised to see that I didn't read all ten. What I choose to read depends so much on my mood at any given time, and working in the library means that I am constantly exposed to brand-new books that always appeal to me so much more than books I've read before, or books I've tried and failed to read a number of times. For 2012, I think I'll just read whatever strikes my fancy, and then I won't have to worry about whether I completed my goals or not!

Next, here are my Top Ten Bookish Resolutions.
  1. Return to YA.
    I read more than 40 YA novels this year. While the bulk of my reading was still for children, considering I don't even work with teens in my current job, I think I've done well with keeping up. I also discovered some new realistic fiction authors I love, such as Courtney Sheinmel and Melissa Kantor.
  2. Read more broadly.
    I think my intentions in making this resolution were good, but ultimately, there are genres I am not interested in and trying to make myself read them doesn't really work. I did introduce some historical fiction into my bookshelves this year, which I enjoyed, and I read a handful of fantasy titles and adult books, but I actually think for 2012, I'll be working more on establishing exactly what it is this blog focuses on, and part of that will be filtering out those books that don't really interest me, that I only read because I think I should.
  3. Catch up on Newbery winners.
    This was another great intention, but maybe not a project to tackle in one year. (Especially given my poor success rate trying to read assigned lists!) I did manage to read a few Newbery winners  - The Tale of Despereaux, Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!, and Moon Over Manifest - but what wound up catching my interest were other older titles that haven't necessarily won awards, like Swallows and Amazons, The Saturdays, Half Magic, and Ballet Shoes.
  4. Read more than 100 books. I feel almost stupid for putting this on my list to begin with, considering I wound up reading over 800 books this year.
  5. Read more picture books. I had no idea when I made this list last year that I'd be doing as many as ten library programs in a week. Had I know that, I would have realized I don't need to promise to read picture books. I have to do it whether I want to or not!
  6. Review as many titles as possible.
    A year ago, I was expecting to write two reviews a week. By the middle of the year there were some weeks where I did more than 7 and had to post twice a day. I think of all the items on this list, this one is where I really exceeded my own expectations.
  7. Blog.
    I stuck with it for a full year! And I think it's become such a significant part of my professional and reading life that even with upcoming changes in my personal life, it will continue in some form for years to come.
  8. Learn how to talk about picture book art.
    I didn't seek out a lot of formal training on this topic, but I did start paying more attention to illustrators and the materials they use to create picture book art. And what a difference it made! I started noticing things I would have missed completely in the past, and even read a few wordless picture books, which previously I shied away from.
  9. Read every day. I have been reading almost every single day, usually on my lunch break, sometimes before bed.
  10. Go back to writing fiction.This is the only resolution I didn't keep in any way. I have wanted to be a writer since I was in first grade, but I keep hearing that writers "have to" write, that they can't resist the urge. Since I don't do any writing, I feel like I must not have that urge. But I still get inspiration from so many places, and stories pop into my head all the time - it's just never enough of a story that I feel like I can write it down. I'm not ready to say I will never be a writer, but I have to admit it seems less and less likely with every passing year.
I don't think I'll make any resolutions per se for 2012, but check back on Sunday when I'll outline where the blog is headed this year.

Tomorrow: revisit my Themed Thursday posts from the past year!
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