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Random Thoughts: Looking Back and Looking Ahead

My New Year’s Resolutions Book Blog Style

As the year winds to a close we often take time to look back at what has been accomplished or missed, where we’ve succeeded or failed and what lessons we have learned. We then turn our attention to focusing on the year ahead and what we hope to achieve, goals we might set (realistic or unrealistic), wishes we’d like to see fulfilled and make our plans accordingly.

Aside from the numerous personal goals I have for the year, there are many goals as a book reviewer and blogger that I hope to achieve in the coming year. As this is my blog I thought I’d share, but if you only came for a visit to read the reviews, just scroll down, there are a few here or click the tab for “Book Reviews” to find links to some of the other reviews on the site.

Looking ahead

1. To read more books. I always seem to find something else less important taking my time away from reading. Sure, I still want to keep the important stuff in my life, but how much reality TV does one really need?

2. To improve my skills as a reviewer. There is always room for improvement. I still haven’t quite focused my style or come to a balance I feel comfortable with between expressing my love of a book versus a true critique.

3. To improve my blog. I hope to make my blog even more engaging, with as much new and interesting content as possible, including more reviews, more guest reviews, author Q&A’s and giveaways. I seek to learn more about the technology behind the scenes so that I can improve things visually and technically to make visiting a better experience. And although I love the memes (believe me, using someone’s already brilliant strategy to add new items makes things a lot easier) I hope to add my own, different elements.

4. To meet some of the wonderful authors whose books I read. I so rarely get to book signings or events where I can actually listen to and meet authors. I’m not in a remote village, so I hope to attend a few more signings and events. In 2010 I only attended one – and it was a virtual event so it doesn’t count – which was Cassandra Clare at the Union Square Barnes & Noble. The only other author signings and readings I’ve attended in all my years have been Mary Higgins Clark, James Patterson and Jimmy Carter. So, yes, I hope I can improve this drastically by attending the BEA and more!

5. To be more social. It’s so wonderful to have these great online communities for people to discuss books, their love of books, authors and more. Although I have been on Goodreads since 2007, until I started this blog I had not reached out to one single person or author. I really only used it as my online book wish list/reading list. I think it’s so wonderful to meet people who are actively interested in talking about things that I am passionate about. Many of the people in my day-to-day life are not the enthusiast I am toward all things books so it’s great to see that there are actually people out there that are just as delighted by reading that I am. I hope in 2011 to become more involved.

6. To read more books. Oh wait, did I say that already? Well, it deserves a repeat. My goal is 150 books, so we’ll see how that goes.

7. To improve my vocabulary. I do rely somewhat heavily on Thesaurus.com. I always thought I had a fairly broad vocabulary. But apparently that isn’t quite as true as I always conned myself into believing. I’ve discovered that I use the words “wonderful,” “awesome” and “amazing” way too much. And even if a book is awesome, amazing or wonderful, there are only so many times it can be said before the review becomes boring. So my goal would to be try rely less on the Internet and more on my brainpower to come up with new ways to describe a book that is entertaining, enthralling, gripping, wonderful, fantastic, inspiring, engaging, captivating, beguiling, engrossing and delightful.

8. To learn to edit a.k.a. “enough is enough already.” This may fall under the “to improve my blog” category. But I really want to learn how to edit my brain. To make my posts and reviews more concise. As with this post, I tend to ramble on, incessantly. So my wish is to sum things up in quicker, more appealing ways.

I’m sure there is more, but I still have about 23.5 hours left to figure out my resolutions for next year….

Looking back

Looking back I have to say that I’m glad that I started this blog. It was an idea that was suggested to me by my very best friend as a creative outlet, meshing my love of reading with my love of writing. I had always dreamed of one day becoming a writer, but that hasn’t worked out quite as planned. My characters all deserted me to find someone who would give them the attention they deserved. And this blog, which I thought would be the very next best thing has actually turned out to be even more than I could have hoped for.

Looking back I am grateful to my Kindle which has kept me company late into the night this past year reading so many new stories in genres that I never thought I would read. And, thanks to a friend who first pointed me in the direction of young adult literature, what started in late 2008 as a possibility has grown into a full-blown obsession. In this market there are so many amazing authors for which I am so very thankful. It has made 2010 near perfect!

Where is the year-end “top ten” list?

I know I may be doing a disservice to the blog by not having year-end “top ten” lists here. They are quite popular for book blogs…well, for really anything. It’s nice to see what people pinpoint as the best-of-the-best for the year. It also gives readers insight into the likes and dislikes of the person creating the list.

The main reason I don’t have one here is that I am a terrible editor. I can choose about one hundred of my favorite books, authors or book covers for 2010, but could never narrow things down to ten. And then trying to put them in some kind of order – it would be 2012, a whole lot of nail-biting and hair-pulling to make that happen.

And forget about trying to guess my top ten picks for 2011. It was hard enough choosing the twelve books I’m going to read for the Debut Author Challenge. I would like to read them all if I could, but alas I am just one girl.

As far as least favorites go, no way would I ever spotlight the negatives. There’s something inherently wrong with that. Besides, even among your absolute favorites, once you order them there is one that’s going to be on top and one at the bottom of that list. So would you want to refer to that as your least favorite of your favorites? Meh. Not me.

Further, there are so many fantastic blogs that have already put together their list of top tens for the year. I have completely enjoyed scoping them out and have even found some new books to add to my 2011 TBR.

This is my first New Year’s with my blog, which is still in its infancy. Perhaps next year I will be more bold and will realize the true importance of these lists, but as a newbie I’m going to take the easy way out by not forcing myself to choose.

Happy New Year and Happy Reading in 2011!

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