The Compulsive Reader: Happy New Year!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

I got a little introspective this morning when I realized that I was heading into my seventh (seventh!) year of blogging. I’m not quite sure what I imagined seven years of blogging would look like back when I started, but I could not have imagined how awesome these past six years have been. I don’t usually take the time to write long, chatty posts about myself, but I’ve been thinking a lot about where this blog has been, where I’m going in life, and how my blog fits into the future.

I was paging through my notebook where I keep my list of every book read I’ve read since 2010, and looking over my year in reading. In a lot of ways, my year in reading reflects what was happening in my life, and the surprises that came my way. I read 111 books in 2013 (up two from 2012, hooray!), and that’s not counting all of the wonderful picture books I discovered the past year. Of those books, 24 were middle grade. Five were nonfiction (a small number, but impressive considering I read one nonfiction book in 2012). Six were classics, which I suppose reflected that I am no longer in college and I’m not reading as much canonical literature as I once did (although I do hope that I still can make time to do so in 2014). Eighteen books were adult novels, and I took time to re-read eight books that I’ve read and loved before, with a new perspective. Nineteen of my books read were e-books. (Despite the constant advances in technology, I don’t think more than 20% of my reading has been e-books since I got an e-reader three years ago.)

During my three years in college, I used to have to carve out time to read the YA books I love. When I was accepted to a grad school that required you to read 10-15 YA, middle grade, and picture books per month, I thought I was in heaven. PERFECT. No more setting aside time to read things I loved. It would actually be my homework. Truly a nerdvana.

What I have instead found is that by being in grad school, I read far more widely than I did before. Part of this is due to what I refer to as the curse/blessing of being in school: I read everything with a critical eye. That’s cool. Except for when it’s not. Not only have I become a more discerning reader as far as the quality of my reading, but I’ve also read different and new-to-me genres and authors. “Read widely to become a good writer” was the advice given to me as a first semester student at my first grad residency, and I think I’ve now, at the end of the semester, taken that to heart. I was slow to explore at first, but now I’ve read a lot of middle grade. I ventured into picture books. But now it’s more than that. I’m carving out time to read other, non-YA things. And I am really enjoying it.

Obviously, that means less time to read YA and that translates into less YA to review. And this became starkly obvious to me when I realized that although I read two more books in 2013 than in 2012, I also blogged much, much less in 2013 than any other year since I began blogging. Ouch. I had a really difficult time keeping up with the blog during the semester, for obvious busy reasons, but also because I wasn’t quite sure what to do with my blog. For six years, this blog has been almost exclusively a YA book blog. I was almost exclusively a YA book reader. And now I’m not, and I’m wondering how my blog should reflect my changing tastes without losing, upsetting, or disappointing any readers.

I don’t want to let the blog go (and don’t worry, that’s not going to happen), but for about a year now I’ve been trying to keep the blog the same as it’s been for the past couple of years, and that’s just not working. As I become more serious about writing and my studies, I’m going to talk about a lot more than just YA releases. And unfortunately, posts may come a little more infrequently.

So, here is something that is as close to a New Year’s resolution that I will commit to: I want to try blogging four times a week. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and once on the weekend. We’ll see how it goes. I have a lot of exciting things coming up in 2014, including being a Cybils judge, two more semesters of school (including a thesis later this year!), more books to write, and more friends’ book releases to celebrate! It’ll be a great year, and I can’t wait to see what will happen!


Sarah Binning said...

I've really enjoyed reading your blog and I love that you're expanding to include middle grade as well! You can also ask authors and writers to guest blog for you. It might take some of the immediate pressure to produce the content yourself (especially when it comes time for your thesis!)

LinWash said...

Tirzah, I'm glad you'll keep blogging. I agree with Sarah. You can ask for guest bloggers.

Good luck on your next semester!!! I'm so glad you had a great first semester.

The Compulsive Reader said...

Thanks, Sarah and Linda! You are awesome. I definitely don't want to quit, but it's hard to go easy on myself when I am not blogging every day or even every other day. Hopefully this new system will work for me! At this point, I just want to get through res! And recruit some VCFA people to write awesome guest blogs.