Here’s an overview of my six blogging and book goals for the new year.
In 2017 I only reviewed 10 board books. This was super frustrating to me because it was nearly 15. Turns out board books are substantially harder to photograph decently than most other types of books. And since I never get cover or interior images from publishers for these books, it means I have several reviews written just waiting on a photograph retake.
The Plan: In 2018 I’m hoping to do a few camera sessions focused solely on board books. I’m recruiting a better photographer to help. The goal is to review 15 board books this year, so I’m hoping to get 20 photographed so as to have some choice. They are all in the house already which should help!
2017 was my first full year doing Fiction Friday. Although I read most fiction books twice, they’re so much quicker and easier than most nonfiction. This year I’m planning to focus a lot on nonfiction, but I’d like to keep Fiction Friday going, and stick to a firm posting schedule.
The Plan: I’m hoping to schedule Fiction Fridays in advance so I won’t miss any in 2018. Also, I’m probably going to move away from picture books on Fiction Friday and keep it to chapter books. Generally those don’t require pictures as often, which will help me stay on top of upcoming posts.
If all goes well, at some point in the spring or summer, I will be taking a month off from active blogging. We have some (positive) changes arriving and it will be important to spend that time focusing on my family. However, I would like to keep the blog going while I’m gone.
The Plan: Scheduled posts. I’m hoping to have a month of Fiction Friday’s ready to go, and maybe even a few nonfiction posts. I’ll still log in periodically, and will miss having the time to read and comment on blogs, but last summer I found that the month away (for a not so happy reason) did help me come up with new ideas and return refreshed. Since I’m aware in advance this time, I can plan to be gone and not be so stressed.
My big reading goals for 2018 are all nonfiction, and I wrote a separate post about that.
In 2017 I realized how little historical fiction features diverse characters and topics and how problematic most of what exists is. Historical fiction is not one of my favorite genres, but I do think it’s an important one, especially in the middle grades. So one of my goals is to read one work of middle grade/YA historical fiction every month.
The Plan: I’ve already bought 10-20 works of historical fiction last year, mostly MG with African-American protagonists. All I have to do is read and review it, and maybe check out some others from the library. I may buy more Louise Erdrich later in the year as well. Any diverse MG historical fiction you’d highly recommend?
Spend Less Money
As I got back into the swing of book blogging in 2017, I was easily enticed by so many new books. There were many books I bought that clearly weren’t the best fit for me or our family, and since resale is usually less than half the value, it was a waste of money when I could easily have invested a little more effort to get those books from the library or waited for a used copy.
The Plan: I already resorted most of the diverse books into three groups – unread, read, and reviewed. My goal is to review the read books or move them back to the unread shelf if I don’t remember the book well enough to review it, and to read the unread books.
I’m not sure exactly how to improve the library cycle. I’ve started a return bag for each library we frequent or that I work at, and have been trying to keep library books on their own shelf. The one thing I need to do is give myself permission to purchase those library books I love rather than checking them out so often I start to think we own them. A rule of thumb is if checking out a book that’s been completely read before, it’s one I should consider buying.
As I mentioned above, in 2017 I bought too many books. I also didn’t get rid of enough books. Since many diverse books are harder to get, I’ve been finding myself reluctant to part with them. While I do intend to keep a diverse book collection, I would like it to made up of books that I, or my family, really love. It’s easy to get rid of books I strongly disliked, but it’s harder to destash middle of the road books, or non-fiction that I enjoyed but will never reread.
The Plan: I plan to keep all the books I highly recommend; my hope is to pass along the rest. Books in areas where I’m actively collecting like black history and diverse disabled will be kept. Most of the teen/adult books can be purged.
Part of the problem is that we donate books several different places, give others to friends or teachers, and also resell some. I have containers near the door or in my car for the most frequent donation/resale spots we use, and am hoping to make monthly trips. If the books are sorted as I take them off the shelf, it may be a smoother process.
What are your goals for 2018?
How do you decide which books to keep, and what new ones to buy?