Hello everyone! Despite my really poor memory of all 100 books I read this year so far, I’m going to attempt to fill this out. I’ll be going mainly based on reviews and ratings (with the help of Goodreads too) along with what I can remember. It’s especially hard this year because I took a nice long break over the summer from reading. Or maybe that’s a good thing? Because if I had read more books this past summer, I would have more books to remember and…subsequently…forget. Hmm. Well, either way, I don’t remember the books I read one month ago, much less 11 months ago. That’s why…
Next year will be different.
That’s right. I’ve got some big plans for next year. As you might know from my last post, I’m scrapping the idea of doing reading challenges. I summed it up with these two facts: I’m lazy. And I’m a mood reader. No schedules or lists or plans for me. Not anymore. HOWEVER. I do like organizing things. A lot. I like improving. That’s why I have these things lined up:
- I’ll have a nice little form for review requests from authors. Once I start accepting them officially again. (Still just doing blog tours.) That might not be for a while because I actually do want to get to the books I own but have not read first.
- I’ll start doing series wrap-up posts with series ratings. I’ve only reviewed a few complete series on here, but that may change. Anyway, for the ones I’ve done, they’ll get reviews.
- I’m going to start implementing Parajunkee’s book blogger icons with my tags. They are the coolest things. But it’ll take me a while to go through all my old reviews. BUT. (continued below)
- I still have to go through all my old reviews and re-format them with UBB. I’ve done one or two months so far but it’ll be a long process. I have hundreds of reviews that need formatting. And with those, I have to remember enough details about the plot and writing etc. to fill out the rating report. Granted, I don’t HAVE to, but I want it to be complete. I’ve been putting that off for a while. We’ll see how that goes.
- I may, MAY start writing a book. I’ve said it before. It’s still a small idea tumbling around in my mind. It would be nice to say I’ve written a book. I think I could. But it would have to be a GOOD book. And I would definitely edit it myself. Firstly because despite what I tell other people, I believe you actually CAN edit your own work in some cases. I’ve edited my papers for school my entire life and have gotten a minimum of corrections. Plus I think I’m a spankin’ good editor. And I am not quite willing (or affluent enough) to pay hundreds of dollars for someone else to do it for me, especially because I’m not going to be giving them really crappy work that needs a lot of editing. It just doesn’t make sense to do that. So that’s a lot of pressure on me, and that’s why it’s just a small idea at this point. But it may happen yet. And I’m not going to do NaNoWriMo because that’s just tons more pressure ^.^ I’m not Cait from Paper Fury. I can’t sign up for NaNoWriMo and then finish a book in four days. Heavens no. Not even if I had all the free time in the world. I’m not a pantser.
- I will finally introduce the bookish crafts I have been working on. I have kept those under the rug for a while, mostly because I want them to get a greater amount of attention, which means I need a bigger blogging presence, and I’ve been slowly trying to be more active in the blogosphere. (It’s hard when I’m so addicted to crafting. So many hobbies, so little time.) They are quite fun, I think. Not entirely unique, but better (more detailed/realistic) than the stuff on the market today. In that way they’re probably unique. Be excited. Being a reader of my blog entitles you to coupon codes too; don’t forget that.
- NOW back to the original point of this post: The survey. I have a way to make the remembering process a little easier for myself, and this will link a little bit to point number 3. I am going to start doing this survey as a little bookish awards ceremony of types. The awards are going to be Bookies. (Like Grammys or Oscars.) “Oh, that book? Yeah, I think I gave it a Bookie last year for best contemporary romance.” Isn’t that cute? I think it’s a cute name for an award. (And it rhymes with cookies.) Fun fact: bookie apparently means bookmaker, which could have something to do with betting or could be just someone who makes books. I make books, so how fitting. (: Anyway, yeah. So be on the lookout for The 2016 Bookies: The Ultimate Bookish Awards Ceremony. The part of this that will make this easier on my memory is the concept of nominations. As I read each book, I can choose to nominate it for any number of categories of awards. (This is why it’ll help to use tags with icons in each review. An easy at-a-glance way to determine what category the book could be nominated for.) So at the end of the year, each category will have a nice little list of a few books (hopefully no more than ten) for each category and I only have to remember those books when determining the final winner. It won’t go by rating because realistically most of the books nominated will have high ratings. Hence their nomination. It’ll most likely go by feeling. (That’s how I rate all my books; the final rating is a holistic one based on how I felt about the book after reading. I can usually feel a star rating immediately after reading. The rating report does not actually have much bearing on the final rating.) What would also be fun is if there is a people’s choice aspect: If other bloggers have a different opinion on what book should have won, they can comment and we can give those books honorable mentions. Then when a book has won, I’ll go back and give the book a nice little Bookie award on its review, corresponding with the year. Oh! I just had another idea. There could be a list at the end for the All-Time favorites. If I think one of the books was good enough, perhaps the Best Book of the Year, it would be added to my list of All-Time favorites, which is ongoing and cumulative for all the years and forever. That would be the highest honor a book could receive and would result in a fancier Award. (Gosh darn, I feel more ideas coming on. This brain of mine won’t stop working.) There will be categories for characters too. Best main character, best villain, best secondary character, best couple, best familial relationship, etc. If a character or more win a category, their book will receive a Bookie. It would be quite easy for a book to receive multiple Bookies, especially with nomination crossovers. The more a book has, the higher the chance of it receiving an All-Time Favorite Bookie. Now, this last part is an idea I had before: the Bookish Boyfriend Bracket. I had started one for this year, along with a best books of the year bracket, and I had them saved on Piktochart, but somehow they got deleted so I lost them. Sad story. (But I think this idea is better anyway.) I do so love the idea of brackets. So instead of just having a bunch of bookish boyfriends nominated for an award, we’ll do it bracket-style. Start with a number, maybe 16 or so, and pit the ones of equal caliber against each other until one is left. It may not be entirely fair to some, but it is possible as I had already started one and gotten it nearly filled out. The contestants will be judged for their qualities: looks, brains, humor, wit, friendliness, loyalty, ingenuity, swoon-worthiness, generosity, etc. The winner will receive the Best Boyfriend Bookie. (Note: I’m peculiar about my bookish boyfriends. I judge them as people, regardless of whether I think they would be a good partner to either me or the character they end up with, if any. I’m not the jealous type.) (BAM: had another idea.) I know there are a few male bloggers/readers out there, and it’s sad to say that the idea of book girlfriends hasn’t quite taken hold of yet. (Forgive me for catering to the most common sexual orientation. You can interpret the concept of book boyfriends and girlfriends how you wish; we’re honestly just rating people here on how awesome we think they are, or rather, their “muchness,” to use the Wonderlandian term.) But I think females deserve a chance to be in the spotlight as well, so I’m also going to have a Best Friend Bracket. This will be for female characters we love. (I think partners should also function as best friends, so that’s why I said you can interpret these brackets as you wish. You can have a Bookish Girlfriend Bracket and include men in your Best Friend Bracket. We’re just choosing our favorite fictional men and women. I’m using the terms ‘bookish boyfriend’ and ‘best friend’ to cater to the majority.) These brackets will continue to be filled out throughout the year until about the last month (or maybe January of the next year depending on when you want to publish the results). People may be kicked out of the bracket and new ones may be added until the final bracket is assembled. One you have 16 (or however many) people for your bracket, you can then narrow it down in a deadly
eliminationelection. You can publish the results all at once or on a regular basis (maybe weekly. or daily). I will probably do it once every week leading up to the final week, when I will publish my Bookie Awards Ceremony post with the final winners for each bracket. For me, the brackets will close at the beginning of December and any eligible characters will be included in the following year’s bracket. The book nominations will continue until the day the awards are published. I think that’s all my ideas for now, but I’m sure more will come as the year goes on. There will be a linkup. This is sort of going to expand on the idea of Jamie’s end of the year survey, but I will always credit her for coming up with the survey that gave me the idea. I will still add my post to her linkup at the end of the year. (It still kinda is a survey.) Now, since I’m terrible at designing graphics, I’ll have to go to someone to design the awards for each category. I’m thinking either Parajunkee or Ashley. I’ve gone to Ashley before (you can thank her for my blog design) and she’s great. We’ll see. If you have any other recommendations, let me know.
- Additionally, I may actually host the Harry Potter week-long celebration next year. I still really want to do it. I’m still re-reading the series. I’m on movie 4, book 5 right now. Sadly, no one signed up for last year’s celebration, and I didn’t want to do it by myself, so I’ll keep trying until I get a good group together.
- I may open the option of paid advertising on my blog. You pay me, you get to advertise whatever in my sidebar. (Should be something bookish.) Since my blog isn’t too big yet, I’ll keep my rates low, and I might not get any interest, but it’ll be there as an option. Also toying with the idea of Expedited Book Reviews- you pay a certain sum (cheap) and your book will jump to the front of my queue. (Believe me, I have a terrifying queue. And a shelf specifically for physical ARCs that are somewhere on that queue. I haven’t touched the queue in at least a year. Hence why I closed review requests.) That also may not be so popular. I know some people do it. Some people are willing to pay for that. So, like advertising, it may not be a thing people wanna do, but it’s always an option. You never know.
- I’m also playing around with the idea of an online magazine/newspaper. I do like writing. I LOVE writing essays. If I found a book I particularly liked, I could write a series of essays on different points about it (I did this with The Hobbit, but I haven’t put the essays on my blog yet). I could write other fun non-fiction. I could write my opinions (rather old-fashioned ones) on the world today. Etc. I could have other contributors to the magazine. This may also function as an extended version of my Blogosphere Travels feature: we would share cool bookish and bloggy things we’ve found on the web. We could also treat it like an actual newspaper and allow people to subscribe to it and get articles as we write them, weekly, monthly, whatever. (It would probably be free, at first at least.) In addition to that, it would be like a newspaper in that we could sell advertising. This would be on a separate site. I think it would have to be another WordPress self-hosted because the plugins would be very valuable, but that would require me to upgrade my plan with my current host and that gives me a headache. (Also $$$). But anyway, if you want to maybe get in on this, brainstorm a few ideas and whatnot, become a part of the project (co-editor- you’d have to pay some for hosting but would have administrative duties as well as writing opportunities; writer- you’d have to write articles and submit them to us for editing and review; advertiser- you would pay us to advertise in our paper, but probably don’t do this until we have an established paper; subscriber- let me know you would be interested in receiving our paper on a regular basis), then shoot me an email at ANotarainni@yahoo.com. We could make this happen. But probably not anytime soon. (Busy with all the other things on this list.)
- I’ll start a new blog feature where I give editing/writing tips. I LOVE editing and grammar and the English language like crazy so this will be super fun for me and informative for you.
I believe that’s it! Goodness, this will be the longest post in my blog’s history. The Bookie Awards idea will probably translate into its own post as I get my ideas organized. Be on the lookout for that in January.
So what did I actually accomplish this year? (that I remember?) Well, I re-formatted some old posts. I cleaned up my sidebars to the point of getting rid of the right one completely. I’ll miss that sidebar, but I like the feeling of having more space to write. I got some sweet editing jobs. (Must get on that.) I read 101 books even with my huge hiatus in the middle of the year (there’s always one). I participated in my blogging bestie Jillie’s Blogger Positivity Campaign. That was so fun. I probably did loads of other bookish things.
As for my non-bookish life? I graduated high school. I started college (is calling it university a Europe thing? Or just a countries-not-America thing? Who else refers to it as college?). I LOVE it. It’s like high school + tons more freedom and time. And apparently I’m doing well at it. But I am glad to be back home on break. There wasn’t really stress in college but there was the illusion of stress and I’m glad to be away from that. As for other things, you know I’m very crafty, so I started tons of new things. Bookbinding. Sewing. Etc. Opened up a new crafty shop online. (More on that soon.) I’m an incredible nerd and I play Dungeons and Dragons with my group of amazing guy friends. That’s always fun. Oh, I almost forgot, I went to London and Paris for the first time this past summer. That was awesome. (17 countries baby! Booyah!) I also went to New Orleans for the second time on a road trip for school. Beignets are life, man. After lemon-flavored macarons.
So that’s my life. How was yours this year?
2015 reading stats
- I read 100 books so far this year, completing my goal of 100. The total # of pages is apparently 26,557, according to Goodreads, but I think that some books on there didn’t have pages included in the book information, so it’s not quite accurate. With that, I’ve completed my goal for 3 years now. The first year my goal was 45 and I exceeded that by 2 books. Last year my goal was 100 and I exceeded that by 2 books.
- I re-read 8 books.
- The shortest book was a short story, Mama Cried by Talia Haven. It was 12 pages.
- The longest was The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin by H.W. Brands. I had to read that one for school. It’s a whopping 765 pages.
- The average book length was 283 pages. I can generally read any book 300 pages or fewer in a day, usually between 1.5 and 7 hours. I think it averages between 3 and 4 hours.
- The most popular book I read was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The least popular (only one other person read it) was Romancing Brimstone by Brit McGinnis. I rated it 4 stars, and that’s its only rating, I think. (However, I think other people read it but just didn’t put it on Goodreads.)
- My average rating for 2015 was 4.1 stars. That’s pretty reasonable for me. I do give out more 4-star ratings than any other rating. 3-stars and 5-stars come next, probably pretty equal for each one, maybe a few more 5-star ratings. I rarely give out 1- or 2-star ratings.
- The highest-rated book on Goodreads I read this year was Shadow in the Sea by Sheila A. Nielson. It’s rated 4.79 out of 5, with 24 ratings. I gave that one 5 stars.
- My top two genres for every year are generally fantasy and contemporary (contemporary romance, most of it). I believe fantasy usually wins out by a slight margin, and this year is no different. I read 29 fantasy books and 24 contemporary romances.
Best in Books
Best Books in 2015
Book I thought I was going to love more
I gave this one 5 stars! I did love it, but I expected a tiny bit more. However, the second book is sitting on my Kindle, waiting to be read.
Book that surprised me
How did I rate this 5 stars? It’s become one of those The Fault in Our Stars books that I can’t even think about without vomiting. One of those 5-star books that I hated. I don’t know, it was good? Clearly it was. But it was very painful. VERY. PAINFUL.
Okay, I found my review, and I gave my reasoning here:
I gave it 5 stars because I believe the more a book affects you, the more powerful and important it is, and the better it is for you as a person. It will make you learn and grow somehow.
So there you go. And I will continue to rate things just like that.
Books I pushed people to read
Heh. I push every good book in my reviews, but I don’t actually recommend books to people directly. Everyone’s different, you know? I probably raved about The Hobbit a bit. I fangirled over Wish for Me and The Touched and The Vanishing Girl quite a lot right after I read them.
Best book from a genre I don’t typically read
I’m usually not a classics person, but I really adored this one. (Still going to give Pride and Prejudice another go eventually.) Had to read it for school, another factor that makes it surprising why I loved it so much.
I swear this book is crazy with all of its plots and sub-plots going on. There’s just so much. I won’t say it’s the most action-packed of the whole series (yet) but so far it is. The review will be going up during the HP week event.
Book that I am most likely to read next year
Don’t know if I will, but if I were to, it would be this one.
Favorite cover this year
I know, totally cheating because it’s a movie image, but they chose a good one for the cover. I love the contrast between the tiny hobbit and the huge door. It’s terrifying. I love that contrast. Lots of good contenders this year but I have to give it to this one.
Most memorable character
Harry Potter. Duh.
Most beautifully written book
Book I can’t believe I waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read
Gonna be a tie between The Hobbit and the Odyssey for this one.
Book that shocked me
Book I read due to hype
Had seen this book floating around the blogosphere, and finally in my school library. Thought I’d give a whirl. Glad I did, because it turned out to be 5-stars.
Newest fictional crush
There are a few (hence my now-destroyed book boyfriend bracket) but #1 would have to be Caden from The Vanishing Girl. Ooh yes.
J.R.R. Tolkien will always win at this. So, The Hobbit.
Most fun to read
There were a few for this but middle grade books are usually adorable. This was a re-read.
Book that made me cry AND crushed my soul (two in one here)
All the Bright Places. You should know this by now. Evil, evil book. Doesn’t deserve another photo here, despite its 5-star rating.
Most unique book
Because I read it in French! Lovely, amazing book with great lessons. A sort of French The Phantom Tollbooth without as much wordplay.
Book that made me the most mad
Okay, I hate to do this, but it’s true. It had a lot to do with the editing. The version I got to review was clearly not edited at all and my editor brain just about shriveled and died. It made it very difficult to read. This was probably the first book I had to quit a blog tour for. No offense to anyone involved in the production of the book- it just got to me at the wrong stage in the process. I’m sure it’s all nice and clean for you to read now. But I still gave it 2 stars holistically. The characters bugged me a bit too.
Favorite new blogger
Cait from Paper Fury! She’s totes amazeballs.
Best discussion I wrote/had
All my discussions are awesome. I only wrote like 3 this year though, sadly. But I think my last one was pretty great (longest one EVER). I compared plot-driven books to character-driven books.
Jillie’s Blogger Positivity Campaign! See the very top of this post.
Best moment of my bookish life
Getting my editing jobs! I was so happy to finally get going with my passion.
Most challenging thing
Overcoming my reading slump towards the end of summer. It’s always hard coming out of those. And it was a long one.
Most popular post on my blog
The most popular post continues to be my TFioS Quotes Page. I guess people really want a list of all the best quotes (and page numbers) without going back to the book. And YES. I PROVIDED THAT. YAY ME. I’m pretty sure I got every single awesome quote on there. It’s a long list. There are 20 quotes on it. Gold stars for me.
The world…is not a wish-granting factory.
Post I wish got a little more love
My HP blog hop signup page. I still think it’s a terrific idea and if I were a more popular blogger, you can bet your bottom dollar all the HP fanatics would come running. I just have to go out there and find them so we can do the event next year.
Best bookish discover
The fact that I can easily make [insert secret bookish crafty project that you will find about soon]. That really took off.
Reading challenges completed
- Goodreads challenge: 100 books
- Contemporary Romance challenge: 24 out of 16 books
- TBR Pile challenge: 23 out of 20 books. This is basically my “hype books” challenge.
- You Read How Many Books? challenge: 100 out of 100. I only reviewed 77 of those, but I read 100.
I failed 6 challenges (including my Fantasy challenge by ONE BOOK) so that’s why you won’t be seeing any reading challenges on this blog next year. The Goodreads one will stay because number is the only thing I can reasonably expect.
Books I didn’t get to in 2015 that will be priorities in 2016
All of them……
Seriously though, I have so many that I need to read. I haven’t counted it out exactly, but out of the 430+ books I own, I probably haven’t read between 30 and 40 percent. It’s embarrassing. THAT DOESN’T EVEN INCLUDE REVIEW BOOKS. I am years behind on those. I hate myself. So I need to get cracking…
Book I Am Anticipating in 2016
Okay, I am terrible at this, at paying attention to future publications, especially debuts, so I usually skip these, but there is one this time…
Are you surprised? Of course it’s a story about Wonderland. The Red Queen’s backstory, no less. I am drooling. Despite the fact that I have yet to pick up a retelling other than the Looking-Glass Wars series…I can’t wait to read this one. And all of them. (I don’t think I’ve read any Marissa Meyer yet either.)
Things I want to do with my blog in 2016
Um, see the list above. The VERY LONG LIST. The one you could not possibly have missed. But there are these things too:
- I would like to read more books. Review more books definitely. Post more. Be more creative. (This will happen; can you hear how many ideas I had while writing this post? I am an idea machine. It’s the getting-others-on-board part that’s hard.)
- I would also like to read more good books. To do this, I think I have to stop accepting review books and stop doing blog tours, because looking at the statistics, they can churn out some pretty good 4-star books but they just don’t seem to be of the same caliber as books I actually add to my TBR. (Generally older books too, I find.) There’s a lot more risk and a lot more reading mediocre books before finding a hidden gem. I’ve found fewer than 5 true hidden gems this year out of the 100 that I’ve read. And most of the ones I’ve read have been review books. Time to get to the books that are actually on my shelves. Of course I’ll still have to work my way through the huge pile of review books on my shelf and Kindle, but hopefully those won’t be the majority. I’ll probably still do some blog tours sprinkled throughout the year (got a few lined up already) but between those I’ll read books I already wanted to read.
I love you guys. Thanks so much for sticking with me, all you old readers, and welcome all my new readers and thanks for giving me a chance to ramble in your ear for a bit. I really value your presence in the blogosphere.
Wow, another year has gone by, hasn’t it? I’m getting older. (Not sure if this is my first time revealing my age here or not, but I’m 19.) Things are changing. Life is getting better, despite the things trying to hold it back. There are always books we can escape to.
If you guys want to chat, drop me a comment or shoot me an email. (Fling me a pie, while we’re verbing random nouns.) If you have suggestions, let me know! If you want to see something on this blog (read: if you want to see me do something because of the unique flair I will add to it), say it! If you want to help me with any of the above goals I have for my blog in the upcoming year, it will be much appreciated, whether it’s just a referral to someone else or actually becoming a partner in a project. I will continue to remain a one-woman show on my blog, but with other things I am open to collaboration.
Link up your End of the Year Surveys below or just tell me what your favorite book this year was!