End of Year Book Survey 2017

Hi everyone! It’s my favourite time of year in the book blogging community- when everyone is reviewing their year, settling on their top books and celebrating how well they did with their reading year. I love doing my two-part wrap up of the year in reading but I can’t finish my posts until I return to Liverpool in the New Year and am reunited with my laptop and it’s image-editing capabilities. So, in the meantime, I’ve decided to participate in the very exciting End of the Year Book Survey! This is organised every year by the lovely Jamie from Perpetual Page Turner so be sure to check out her original post with the survey and join in yourself if you fancy it!

Number Of Books You Read: 86
Number of Re-Reads: 35
Genre You Read The Most From: fantasy, young-adult

Best in Books

1. Best Book You Read In 2017?
(If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2017 release vs. backlist)

I have an entire top books of 2017 post pending any day now (once I stop being indecisive and settle on them already)… is that the way of getting out of answering this question? Maaaaaybe… but watch this space.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Probably Milk and Honey by rupi kaur. It’s not to say that I didn’t like this poetry collection, I did in fact, but I expected to LOVE it and I didn’t quite do that which is a shame.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

In a bad way, The End We Start From by Megan Hunter. So many reviews said this was beautifully written and I was optimistic that the contents would match the absolutely stunning cover but, alas, I just did not get it, I still don’t, and I’m not sure I ever will. I’m still surprised it has such rave reviews to be honest and I surprised myself somewhat too since with this book I’m unable to understand that whilst it might not be to my taste it might be to others. I just don’t get how it could be?? Clearly I’m the one who’s wrong here though, and that’s fine by me.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
I’ve pushed my housemate and friend Liz to read quite a few books this year but I think my biggest success has definitely been getting her to read Wishing for Birds, a poetry collection by Elisabeth Hewer, because she’s really not one for poetry, especially not free verse poetry, and she enjoyed it and then also gifted it to her TBTB Santa!

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Tag | Get To Know Me Better Tag

Welcome to another Thursday and another Tag Thursday! This one is less about books and more about (book) blogging itself, so I thought it would be a nice change of pace for today. I saw this tag on Thrice Read (when don’t I find tags via Thrice Read these days?) and let’s not waste any more time and jump straight into the tag itself instead…

1. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN BLOGGING?

Technically this blog is a good 6 years old, I made it when I was in my very first semester at university and experiencing a not-so-small amount of self-doubt. But I didn’t exactly post with any sense of regularity then and I only started posting as a book blog from 2014 after a 2-year hiatus with this post – not exactly book blogging at that point but much closer to the mark. I think it’s safe to say that it ebbs and flows.

2. DO YOU ENJOY DOING TAGS?

I think this very post is evidence that I do indeed enjoy doing tags – I’ve made it something of a weekly feature too, and try to post a fun tag every Thursday. Because who doesn’t love to hear me mention A Darker Shade of Magic and/or Six of Crows and/or Harry Potter as an answer for every damn tag?

3. DO YOU FOLLOW THE BLOGS THAT FOLLOW YOU?

I follow a lot of blogs, too many almost, so nowadays I try to follow just the blogs that I’m interested in reading regularly. Usually, I follow back any blogs who engage with me in some way – either by commenting here or popping up on Twitter – but I’m always on the lookout for more so do say hi if you think I’d like your blog!

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Discussion | Finding Your Blogging Voice

Hi all, I bring you a semi-rare post today in the form of a discussion post. This time, I’d like to discuss the struggle of finding your own personal voice and blogging tone, as it has been something that’s been on my mind a lot over the last few months and it definitely affects how much I blog since it’s constantly playing on my mind.

First, let me explain what I mean. I follow some amazing bloggers who have such fun and engaging blogs. And, in an internet full of blogs (especially those about books), what distinguishes one book blog from another? Largely, it’s the tone, it’s the blogger’s personality coming across through the “voice” of their blog. My favourite blogs are the ones full of this voice, the ones where the blogger’s complete personality seems to really shine and engage their readers. I’m not necessarily talking about big personalities; there are more understated blogs and bloggers that just sound so distinct, so very much them, that it’s hard to resist automatically reading their latest post when it pops up in my Reader.

This is what I aspire to. Or not even that, but to have a more distinct voice. Because I feel a disconnect between my different writing styles and I’m not sure if my (attempted) amalgamation of them in this blog quite works to form one ‘voice’. You see, I am well used to adjusting my tone depending on the audience.

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Discussion | Stagnation & Slumps

WordPress reliably informs me that my last review (The Alloy of Law as it happens) was published a whole 51 days ago. That’s practically two whole months. Since that point I’ve published 12 posts which isn’t terrible, but it isn’t brilliant by any stretch of the imagination. As I look back, however, I realise that very few of these posts have actually been a sustained discussion of anything I’ve read. There are bits and pieces of reviews and comments on things I’m in the midst of reading, but nothing sustained.

The truth is I cannot accurately say I’m in a reading slump because I have read a good deal more books since that last review (10 books to be precise), I just haven’t particularly had the enthusiasm to review said books. I don’t have the excuse of being busy because I only work part-time and, as it happens, I have slow periods at work in which I can (and do) blog. Now, given the amount of time and books I’ve consumed, I ought to have more frequent reviews? The lack of them suggests a problem… it’s not a stretch that one might think perhaps these books weren’t very good. But the truth is quite the contrary; I’ve read some amazing things lately (some more literary than others) but, for some reason, I just haven’t been able to formulate my thoughts into reviews or discussion posts.

You may have noticed lately the majority of posts I’ve published have been weekly memes and to be honest relying on these for posts feels like a little bit of a cop-out to me. I hasten to add that weekly memes are by no means lesser than reviews or discussion posts, it’s just that I know that I personally complete weekly memes with less care and attention than I would pay to other posts. There’s an element of the autopilot or mechanical posting to it. Obviously this doesn’t apply to everyone and I’m really not trying to suggest everyone is quite as lazy as me when it comes to filling out such weekly themes! It’s just that weekly memes appeal to the lazy side of me because they provide an existing jumping-off point, so I don’t have to think about that initial reason to write a post. It makes posting a lot quicker and a lot more mechanical. When it comes down to it, I personally feel like I’m not really contributing much with my own answers to these weekly themes, even if I do adore doing them. Because of this, I feel like the quality of these posts isn’t quite where I’d like it to be… and I’m not quite happy with my blog as it is, or indeed as it has been for a while now.

(This entire thing also feeds into my incessant anxiety about my own personal lack of originality or voice in my writing – an ongoing running sore that we won’t probe any more right now!)

The long and short of all this self-indulgent reflection is that I’ve come to a conclusion: it’s about time I stopped stagnating and actually did something about the fact I’m not happy with my blog as it is at the moment…

I am going to stop obsessing over participating in weekly memes, for one. I’m still going to participate, of course, because the themes of Top 5 Wednesday, Top Ten Tuesdays, Book Travelling Thursdays etc. are always wonderful, but I’m not going to beat myself up about it if I miss a week, which is actually what I do now even though you might not realise that through the relative silence on this blog.

I am going to focus more on the quality of what I publish rather than the quantity. Of course I would like to be more regular with my posts on this blog, but I would much rather be happy about what I put out there than post every other day out of necessity. Which leads me to the next (and main) point of this rambling post…

I am going to try to be more thoughtful in my posts. Part of my problem when it comes to writing a post is always my innate lack of confidence that makes me think ‘well what more am I actually saying that others before haven’t said? Am I actually contributing anything by throwing this post into the ether that is the internet?’. As far as I can see it, the only thing I do have, really, is a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in English Literature… for what that’s worth (little in the wider world but, personally, quite a lot!). So I’d like to approach my blog more like I used to approach my seminar preparation and essays – with thought and attention and care. I want to be able to immediately identity a point, a purpose, to any given post, rather than just what was clearly me thinking ‘oh balls, I haven’t updated in three days, what day is it? Friday? Perfect, I’ll just quickly shove a Friday Reads onto my blog’. (And yes, that has been my thought process at times!)

If you’ve been reading this blog with any regularity you may have witnessed similar grand pledges or posts in the past. Every so often I have a sudden crisis of confidence where I vow to be better, to write better, to create content etc. etc. It’s all rather tiring to hear, I know, but here’s to me saying it again. Hopefully this will be the last time I need to make such a pledge because this time I’m going to actually schedule/plan out posts for the future. Jesus, whilst we’re making grand plans let’s kid ourselves that I might even dig out that abandoned bullet journal to help with scheduling my life into more productive days!

Hopefully this time something will stick.