So not only was 2020 a mess, I never really did a wrap up from 2019. I’ve gone ahead and updated my Review pages (2019, 2020) so let’s look at a few other things before getting into my favorites of the last two years and goals for 2021.
Middle Grade Mondays
For 2021 I am going to start a new occasional post, Middle Grade Monday. Towards the end of 2020, my Fiction Fridays were almost entirely diverse middle grade fantasy novels. I have a LOT more books in that category to read, review, or post about and am hoping to put out a second round up at the end of 2021 or beginning of 2022. But I also read a lot of other books including adult novels, YA, picture books, historical fiction, realistic stories, and even middle grade science fiction, all of which I would love to discuss on Fiction Friday.
I don’t want the diverse middle grade fantasy to overwhelm the blog, so sometime in the next few months I’ll be switching to posting that on Mondays and hopefully doing other fiction reviews for Fiction Fridays.
Board Book Reviews
Okay, so it’s been pretty dismal with the board book reviews this past year. I’m honestly still uncertain as to what to do next. If publishers were interested in sending me review copies, I would probably keep going, but I don’t know if board books even have review copies sent out? However even if I don’t buy more (it just doesn’t make sense as my younger children age out of needing board books and I am not in a school these days), I am committed to still reviewing the 26 left on this list that we own which I haven’t yet reviewed.
A few other things worth mentioning happened this past year. There was a global pandemic, which put a stop to many things including my ability to blog or even read for a while. WordPress decided to add fake “sponsored posts” to blogs which has me considering other options for hosting Colorful Book Reviews. And after several years, I finally finished and posted my epic list of 40+ Diverse Middle Grade Fantasy Novels, which was one of my proudest moments simply because I’d been working on it so long I was starting to feel like it’d never be complete!
2019/2020 Nonfiction Favorites
2019/2020 Fiction Favorites
It’s extremely difficult to choose some chapter book fiction, so I’m going to remove from consideration anything on my list of 40+ Diverse Middle Grade Fantasy Novels and then it gets a bit easier to say I loved Clean Getaway, Amal Unbound, and Us in Progress for young readers.
I debated a bit over even making goals. Clearly the last few times I’ve made blog goals, it hasn’t gone very well. But I do have goals, so I’m going to write them down and then if life happens or things change or I decide to make entirely new goals, I can always do that.
Read more nonfiction. This year was so busy and very emotional that I read almost no nonfiction. Other than a few posts that will be going up next month, and some books I had to read for my work, the reviews I’ve posted are what I read. 2020s actually my slowest year for nonfiction in DECADES. At this point to get out of the slump I’m going to read whatever I want, just to get back in the habit of daily nonfiction reading.
Review board books. As mentioned above, I want to at least get through reviewing the ones we have before my children destroy them.
Make a second diverse middle grade fantasy booklist (which of course also means reviewing all the books for that list) and finish posting reviews from the first list. Since fiction seems to be what I want to read right now, I’m going to lean in to that by reading and hopefully reviewing a lot of diverse middle grade fantasy novels.
Read other fiction too. I’d love to focus on historical fiction for a while, but realistically, I’ve made that a goal before and not followed through on it. So I don’t think it’s a goal I’m likely to stick to especially while trying to get back into regular blogging.
Let go of picture book reviews. It might sound counterintuitive because I read every novel twice, but picture books are actually what takes me the longest to review. I’ll still keep reading them with my children, and might occasionally post some, but getting pictures for these reviews (and then matching the pictures to page numbers in unpaginated books) is awful and I’m giving up on spending energy trying. This makes me sad because it means changing one of the original goals of this blog – to share the picture books our family was reading and loving. But it’s important to be realistic about my time.
Clean out my drafts folder. Right now I have over 200 draft posts sitting in various levels of completion. Many are from an older blogging style I used where I would create a post and type my thoughts as I read. Others are waiting for pictures or editing. Others are outdated or for books that I returned to the library or otherwise decided not to review. I’d like to clear this to the 50 or so drafts I’m actively working on, so it’s more manageable.
So, what were your favorite books this year? Do you have any reading or blogging goals? Any especially anticipated books coming out next year?