Out with the Old, In with the New: 2016 Recap & 2017 Goals

Like many others, I won’t be too sad to say goodbye to 2016! I mean, in many respects it was a pretty crappy year. Losing Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds at the very end nearly pushed me over the edge.

I also faced some blogging challenges this year. Not only did I have numerous technical difficulties with Blue Host and WordPress.org (I seriously thought about quitting blogging altogether about…hmmm ten or eleven times during the year), but I became SUPER busy in my personal life and took on a volunteer job that has eaten up much of the time I usually spend reading and blogging. I am planning to stick with that job for one more year (my daughter will be a senior next year and I want to keep supporting her as long as I can), but after that I hope to have lots more time to read!

But despite the challenges, my love for reading speculative fiction and sharing my thoughts about it, looking forward to upcoming releases, drooling over gorgeous cover art, and getting excited when I get that one special ARC never left. Sure, once in a while I do dread writing reviews, because let’s face it, writing reviews isn’t that easy, right? But I get over it, and I write them anyway.

I only set two reading challenges for myself this year, and I didn’t completely finish either one. But it only makes me more determined to do better next year. By the time this post goes up, I will have completed reading 70 books (according to Goodreads) which is much lower than I expected.

But I did pretty well on my Women of Genre Fiction challenge, and I’m aiming to do better next year. Here’s how that challenge looks at the end of 2016:

As for next year’s goals, they aren’t much different from previous years, lol.

  • Read more books. (And get the hell off Facebook and Instagram!) I’m tempted NOT to set a GR goal this year, but I probably will. I might set it low so I don’t feel too bad when things go wrong.
  • Look for a new hosting site. Seriously, I know Blue Host is supposed to be one of the top hosting sites, but I’m not that impressed. Twice this past year they’ve had their site hacked, and my blog went down for hours and hours. It also went down randomly many times throughout the year for only a few minutes at a time, but it’s been quite annoying, especially when I get emails from Jetpack telling me my site has gone down. If anyone can recommend a REALLY GOOD hosting site, please let me know!
  • Tackle my backlist books. I say it every year, but I never follow through. I want to catch up on books I’ve missed out on, books I just couldn’t fit in. Books from new authors I discover and now I want to go back and read everything they’ve written! Let’s give this another try, OK?
  • Stop requesting so many review books. STOP. THINK BEFORE YOU SEND THAT EMAIL/SAY YES TO A PITCH/CLICK THAT DAMN REQUEST BUTTON ON NETGALLEY!! Seriously. I know how many books I’m capable of reading in a year, and yet.
  • Try to fit in some literary fiction! It’s one of my secret loves, non-fantastical, non-speculative, non-fantasy/science fiction stories. But since starting this blog, I’ve read exactly ZERO literary fiction. We’ll see…
  • Visit more blogs, leave more comments, and do better at replying to comments. When I get really busy, the first thing to go is replying to comments and visiting the bloggers who leave comments. (Although this doesn’t apply to the blogs I follow regularly. If you’re one of those, and you know who you are, I am pretty good about leaving comments for nearly every post.) I want to be more social, but it takes A LOT of work to be social! When blogging starts to feel like work, I shut down.

OK that’s enough for now! I always look forward to starting the year off fresh, and setting goals is a good way to focus.

Are you setting blogging and reading goals for 2017? I’d love to hear about them:-D

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Posted December 31, 2016 by Tammy in / 23 Comments

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23 responses to “Out with the Old, In with the New: 2016 Recap & 2017 Goals

  1. I’ll probably also start another goodreads goal to keep pushing myself, but I try to pay more attention to how many pages they say I’ve read than number of books. I just try to exceed the previous year. Like you, I also enjoy reading outside the genre, so I hope to get in more of that, especially some older classics I’ve missed (Les Mis has been on my list for many years (loved the musical)). As for blogging, mine’s a photog blog instead of genre/literary, but I do want to start sneaking in more book-related posts since I do enjoy spending so much time reading.
    todd recently posted…Best of 2016: My Favorites of the YearMy Profile

  2. I’ve found it easier this year to write reviews than usual…maybe it’s because I’m writing notes about plot, characters, funny quotes etc as I go along, which does help me write the things quicker when I’m ready to post. I used to take HOURS to write each one which led to a backlog which I’ve mostly cleared now! Yes to tackling backlog books-I so much need to do this! I’m glad I don’t read ARCs or I’d have no chance of controlling my tbr…erm…not that I have control yet but I’m working on it! Happy New Year and good luck with your goals!
    chucklesthescot recently posted…Stacking the Shelves #162My Profile

    • Tammy

      Wow, I’m impressed that you’ve managed to stay away from ARCs! It sounds like you have a lot more freedom to choose what you want to read. Happy New Year!

  3. Oh, your goals are my goals 😉 I was all on top of my ARCs and had a clear idea of what I wanted to read in the coming months… and then just couldn’t stop requesting a bunch more that I liked the sound of. There’s never enough time to get on top of the backlist I’m just as excited about! I might set myself a formal challenge around that this year to see if it helps.

    I’m also terrible for socialising – as you say, it’s the first thing to go by the wayside when life gets busy. I’ve been wondering about setting up with an RSS reader or Bloglovin’ / similar to try and make it easier to funnel everything into one place, but I’m not sure that would really help 😉
    imyril recently posted…Caraval: blood runs thicker than theatreMy Profile

    • Tammy

      I’m so glad I’m not alone! I like the idea of a formal challenge for backlist books, even though I’m not that great at challenges. As far as using a reader to keep track of blogs, I know lots of people use them, but I’ve always found the best way for me to visit blogs is to subscribe by email. Then I am automatically reminded to visit them when something new is posted. Or, maybe if we had more hours in the day we’d have plenty of time to do everything, lol:-)

  4. Marian

    I appreciate your reviews. I’ve found so many good books as a result of your recommendations. So, thank you.

    I’ve had eye issues this past year, and I’m only just getting back into reading semi-regularly, so my TBR pile is ridiculous. Yeah, I didn’t stop buying books even when I couldn’t read them. So my goal is to work on the backlog while maybe (hahahaha!) resisting temptation (what preorders?).

    • Tammy

      Oh no, I’m sorry to hear about your eye problems, hopefully everything is ok now:-) Thank you Marian, I’m glad my reviews are helpful:-D

  5. I have similar 2017 goals, including reading more books outside SFF and backlist books. When it comes to not requesting as many review books though, for the last little while my new approach has been to request anything and everything that I think I’ll like, but resist the temptation on books that I’m on the fence on and/or just mildly interested. It’s the middle ground, but I think it has helped a lot 🙂 It would help even more if I got over my guilt of DNFing. I still can’t bring myself to, even if I’m reading something I’m not enjoying at all, even when I think how much time I could be saving myself!
    Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum recently posted…Wendy’s 2016 Happy Holidays Round-UpMy Profile

    • Tammy

      I did the same thing quite a while ago, I stopped requesting books that just looked “interesting.” My personal rule is it has to be a “must read” for me to request it. I’m the same with DNFs, I have a hard time not finishing anything. I always feel so guilty! I did DNF one book this year and I feel terrible about it, I never even mentioned it. One of these days I’ll bite the bullet and do a DNF post and get over my fear!

  6. Finding time to read as much as I want has become the challenge, rather than how many books I manage to read, so I can completely understand your desire for more free time – the most elusive beast in the world! 🙂
    As for trying to prune down the backlist and requesting ARCs, I think they are two faces of the same problem: being a book lover also means being a book hoarder, so I’m not sure I could manage any new year’s goal on that subject… 😀
    Happy reading!!
    Maddalena@spaceandsorcery recently posted…Review: BABYLON’S ASHES, by James S.A. Corey (The Expanse #6)My Profile

    • Tammy

      I’m always trying to find more time to read, aren’t we all?? I always think maybe I can stay up an extra hour at night and read, but I get up at 5 a.m. every morning so staying up late isn’t really an option.

  7. Oh please don’t quit blogging! Don’t even think about it. I know you can get over all the hurdles of hosting and other technical issues. Your blog is seriously one of the highlights in my stream. It would be very sad if we lost it.

    As for literary fiction, I do agree we should read and blog about it more. It takes more to read it, more thinking and maybe more patience, but who else than us bloggers are going to bring it to the surface and to attention?

    I’m also glad I’m not the only one who struggles with getting too many NetGalley books I’d say it’s purely my luck that I’m bot such a big blogger yet that all my requests would go approved! Because then I’d seriously get 500 a year and there would be no salvation for me. THEY’RE JUST SO ENTICING. Who can blame themselves?
    Evelina recently posted…Bout of Books readathon and the results of BICothon!My Profile

    • Tammy

      Oh I won’t quit, don’t worry! Blogging has its ups and downs, and I always know the “ups” are going to come back around at some point. Thank you for such kind words about my blog, Evelina!!

  8. Couldn’t agree more on 2016, good riddance! Being more social with other bloggers has long been one of my goals, but it takes a lot of energy to keep it up at the best of times, let alone when things get really crazy.

    I’m hoping to read a lot more books by non-White authors in 2017, and to experiment with reviewing some romance novels on the blog (they are my not-so-secret love).
    Danya @ Fine Print recently posted…Best of 2016: A Year in Reading and ReviewingMy Profile

    • Tammy

      I have to agree with you, I also am always looking for new non-white authors, especially if they are women! And hey, I used to be a HUGE fan of romance so I totally get it:-)

  9. Sorry to hear you’ve had so many problems with your website provider. I can understand why it would make you want to throw your hands up in surrender! I’ve been with Dreamhost for… 11 years (eep!) now and can recommend them pretty unreservedly if you’re looking for a change.
    Lorraine recently posted…Read in NovemberMy Profile