So, I rebooted this blog just a little over a year ago, and at that time, my goals were:
1.) write about what I enjoy writing about and
2.) look for patterns and think about what shape the blog should take long-term.
Most of my posts this year have been on four topics: book reviews, my own writing and to somewhat less extent my visual art practice, life in Denver, and photography gallery posts. I definitely plan to continue with all four, though I’m still working on finding the balance between them. As we get closer to the Sanctuary release, of course there will be a lot of posts about that.
I’ve just been posting whenever a post is finished; first of the year I’m going to start using the scheduling tool to get closer to a regular schedule. Friday Gallery will definitely remain Friday Gallery. I’m kicking around the idea book reviews early in the week, with an occasional second review post later (Thursday, or over the weekend). Some kind of varying content midweek.
I’ve been thinking about book reviews for a few weeks now. I really like the three-book format – that started out as Review Shorts early in the year when I had a few books I didn’t want to leave unmentioned but didn’t think they merited a full review. But I’m finding that organizing my reading into themed groups is deeper and more intentional both in the reading itself and in the analysis. I think you’re going to see in-depth single-book reviews very rarely from now on; most reviews will be in the shape they’ve been the last few months, three short to mid-length reviews on a varying tightness of theme.
I’ve spent quite a lot of time this year catching up on what’s been happening in genre SFF over the previous five years or so, and I feel like I have a pretty good handle on the scene right now. Half my holds list hasn’t been released yet, at least half my TBR pile is stuff that was released in November and December, and I am now on a couple of ARC request groups. So you’re going to see more reviews of current and upcoming SFF.
But both as a librarian and as a writer, I feel it’s important to read widely and draw influences from a variety of perspectives. I’ve read some pop science duds this year, but also some really brilliant, worldview-changing nonfiction on human nature and the human-environment interaction. I think it’s tremendously important for writers to read this kind of stuff, and I feel strongly about continuing to read and review it. I need to keep up on my classics and continue filling in the gaps of what I’ve missed. And I need to read more outside of genre. This year has been heavy-duty catching up in my core area of interest, but I have a little more breathing room now.
So I’m thinking of a monthly book review schedule that looks something like:
- Week 1 – New release genre SFF*
- Week 2 – How to Human narrative nonfiction &/or writing craft
- Week 3 – Backlist & classic genre SFF
- Week 4 – Out of genre – mostly fiction, sometimes nonfiction
- Week 5 – Wildcard – maybe an in-depth single-book review or a webcomic or a media roundup or whatever it is I don’t ordinarily do.
I also plan to participate in a couple of challenges this year: Worlds Without End’s Women of Genre Fiction (12 books by women whose works you have not previously read**); Mount TBR (a self-defined number of books that you already own but have not yet read – which meshes nicely with my commitment to only buy books I intend to read – I’ll probably also do 12 here); Beat the Backlist; and I’m looking for an indie/self-published/small press challenge, haven’t found one yet, and may just organize one my own damn self.
If you’re read this far, thank you. If you’ve stuck with me through this long, hard, strange, astonishing year, thank you so much.
Tell me: what do YOU want to see more of on this blog? More short fiction? More art? Geek culture and community, Denver-based or otherwise? Coverage of areas of fiction and media I haven’t touched on above? Link roundups? More of or less of anything I’m currently doing? Now is the time to tell me, because I think that this year is going be tremendously formative, and I really want to know.
*For the time being I’m going to call this anything published in the last year, or perhaps the last six months, but by 2018 it may be limited to previous/current/next month. “Find it on your public library’s New shelf” is the idea, and that in fact sounds like a suitably catchy category name. The New Shelf it is.
**This shouldn’t be too difficult as I already have Nisi Shawl, Kameron Hurley, Nalo Hopkinson, Kate Griffin, Naomi Novik, Becky Chambers, Emmi Itäranta, and Mary Robinette Kowal on my TBR list – I’m 2/3 there!