So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, 2016!

NYEThis has been a particularly tough year. I’ve had a few family dramas taking up a lot of my time, I’ve been working a lot, and a couple of months ago I moved house and have been without internet since which has just been delightful and made blogging an almost nonexistent activity.

But aside from that! On the positivity train, I discovered so many amazing books and authors, and went to so many wonderful events. I discovered a range of amazing Aussie authors, specifically a lot of fantastic women writers. I fell in love with authors like Sarah Ayoub and Megan Jacobson, not to mention Fleur Ferris and Shivaun Plozza.

I had a wonderful year in terms of book events, meeting again some favourite authors like Garth Nix, Melina Marchetta, and Ryan O’Neill. I met David Levithan for the first time which was awesome and made me remember how much I love his books. I also got to meet Rainbow Rowell, Alice Pung, Kirsty Eager, and a range of fantastic new authors I am looking forward to falling in love with through their works.

I was a bit bad this year, abandoning my second hand hauls for a lot of retail book buying, though in my defence I was very thrifty, getting the best prices. Either way my bank balance is not that happy with me. I am hoping to be a bit more conservative next year and maybe make use of the fact I work in a library and should borrow before I buy like I used to do. Not that I don’t enjoy seeing my shelves lined with gorgeous books šŸ˜€

In terms of challenges I did surprisingly well all things considered. I met my 80 book goal on Goodreads and I exceeded my Australian Women’s Writer’s Challenge for books read. Reviewing I just missed out, but I still think I did very well. My Book Bingo was also a success, I made a winning line, and I filled up the majority of my card. I’m really excited about making up my 2017 card; in addition to a new Goodreads goal and AWW up my sleeve I will certainly have a lot of diversity and variety in my reading.

One thing I noticed about 2016 is that another year has now been and gone before I get a copy of The Book of Dust in my hand, the book by Philip Pullman that I’ve been hanging on for since it was first announced. The late 2016 estimate clearly was wrong, I was waiting got an 11th hour announcement but none came. Pullman tweeted mid-December saying the new date is now late 2017. So I will no doubt see you this time next year with an update one way or another.

While that didn’t eventuate I did celebrate the 90th anniversary of Winnie the Pooh on the blog. Blocking out October to bring you all things Pooh and Milne (at the time of posting three posts short but on their way, see internet issues for explanation). Next year is the big one, bigger probably than my HDM of 2015. 2017 marks the 20th anniversary of the first publication of Harry Potter. Even as I type those words it freaks me out. 20 years! How on earth? But with seven books and eight movies, and so much additional material it’s clear to see how it could span such a space of time and feel like it wasn’t that long ago we first fell into the wizarding world. Still, it makes me feel very old and makes me realise just how young I was when I picked up that first book.

So that they year that was, the plans ahead, and a bunch of rambles in the middle. That about does it for me this year I think. I’m not going to make promises about posting more, trying to balance life and blogging. I am instead going to do my best, read what I choose and share what I love. I am not going to let guilt of blogging dictate me and I am going to try and remember why I wanted to start this blog in the first place. That’s my mini plan at any rate.

I wish everyone a very happy new year, whether you are braving a big city celebration or a night in with friends, family, or just the dog. Don’t fret if all you have to celebrate New Year’s is a book, a wine, and a dog at your feet. I celebrated on my own last year like that but it was fine because I just had to remind myself that it’s not drinking alone if the dog is home.

Have a happy new year and read something spectacular!

So long 2014

NYEAs my second year of blogging comes to a close it is pretty remarkable looking back and comparing this year to my first year. While I learnt a lot in the first year and was given some great opportunities, outside the blog there was a lot going on and there were so many hassles with my old host website that nothing was going right. Jump forward a year and this year could not have been any more different if it tried. I have been to numerous literary and bookish events, read dozens of brilliant stories from people requesting a review from me, and I did it all while finishing my Masters degree.

I have loved blogging this year I loved writing reviews, reading so many, so many wonderful books and getting to share them all with you. I know working on my top five list is going to be interesting since there was no real stand out book, they were all so great.

I could try and count how many beautiful authors and publicists asked me to review their books but I won’t, I will estimate it is somewhere in the 40-50 range which if I have not said it enough I am so grateful for, for all of you asking me to review your works. I already have a few lined up for the new year so bring on more great reads!

As I was preparing to write this I was rereading my New Years Eve post from last year and it brought back a lot of memories. Not just the stuff I was not talking about, but just the things I had been through that year; the blog, uni, the fact that by the end of the year I was a mess and trying to find what I was doing with myself amidst uni and reading and trying to sort my headspace out. Reflecting a year later I do not regret that year, all the drama, pain, and emotions help you grow. It makes you tough and it teaches you a lesson. It also helps you appreciate the good things and this year has been filled with so many good things it has been truly wonderful. The mood was also quite reflective last year. I know you are supposed to be reflective on the last day of the year, and I am, but I think in a much cheerier mindset which is never a bad thing.

Book wise I set myself a realistic goal of reading 70 books this year, which was met by sheer determination to not not finish (which means I bumped it down to match the 66 I did read, shh don’t tell), and I managed to get out on the other side of my Masters which makes me feel very adult, while still fully aware I have no idea what I am doing.

In the last twelve months I also attended so many bookish and blogging events, allowing me to open up my contact range and my eyes in how the book/blogging world operates. I went to PTA Live, the Hachette Bloggers Night, the Book Bloggers Forum, the Book Expo, both Sydney and Newcastle Writer’s festivals, the Sydney Author’s Event, plus a fabulous literary lunch with John Marsden. I am looking forward to 2015 being filled with just as many events and getting to meet some wonderful readers, bloggers, and authors from around the country and overseas.

Before I finish up for the year and go grab myself a wine, some chocolate, and a very adult and mature sparkler to bring in the new year, I want to thank everyone who has been by my side through this year and the last. I appreciate each of you for sharing my reviews, commenting on my posts, sticking with me when I miss posts, back posts, and just plain vanish for a few days (or months), and more importantly for making me feel like I am not just talking to myself out on the internet.

Once again I must ask of all of you to find and watch any fireworks you can get to tonight as they are one of the greatest gifts to the world and sent by the gods. As I said last year, my absolute love and fascination with the beauty and gloriousness of fireworks can never be underestimated and I will not stop forcing people to watch them when they occur, no matter what the occasion.

I wish you all the best for the New Year and may books be forever at your disposal.

Happy New Year guys, I will see you on the other side.