Thursday, December 21, 2017

2017 Reading and Blogging in Review

I have officially read over 800 books this year, which completes my Goodreads challenge. (I'm technically still reading, but I probably won't read too many more over the holidays, and I wanted to get this up before Christmas.) This pie chart shows the break-down of the different types of books included in that number:

I'm most surprised by how many adult books I wound up reading and how few middle grade compared to past years. I also posted 87 reviews to this blog, some of which were reviews of multiple books, as well as dozens more reviews on Goodreads.

In addition to my Goodreads challenge goal of reading 800 books, I also set out to complete five reading and blogging goals this year. Here's a look at how I did:
  1. Host a successful reading challenge.Considering how few people participated in the Old School Kidlit Reading Challenge after the first couple of months, I'm not certain I feel that this was a success. Still, I think it's a good idea for a challenge and it's not available anywhere else, so I'm offering it again in 2018. I'm hoping that the elimination of monthly categories will make it easier for people to participate.
  2. Connect more with the book blogging community.I didn't do as much networking with other book bloggers as I wanted this year. Participating in It's Monday! What Are You Reading? has helped, but I think I was actually more involved in the #bookstagram community and on Goodreads than I was with other bloggers. This is still something I want to get better at, and I have some things planned for 2018 that will hopefully help.
  3. Write more reflection posts.When I wrote this goal I envisioned myself posting one or two little essays or articles each month. It didn't quite turn out that way. Part of that was a time issue- I was writing a book this year and then I had a baby - but it was just as much a problem of not knowing what to write about. Still, I was really pleased with my post about seeking authentic value in children's books and my post about writing critical reviews and I really do want to write more like these.
  4. Complete my reading challenges.I participated in six challenges and did fairly well. Here is a quick summary of my overall progress for each one: 
    • Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge, hosted by Andi's ABCs
      I read 13 books but never linked up my titles. I got discouraged early on by all the explicit sex in so many books in this genre and wasn't sure I would actually find any I would willingly read, and by the time I did start reading them, I had fallen way behind in the link-ups. So I did the reading, but did not formally finish the challenge.
    • Craving for Cozies 2017, hosted by Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book
      I really enjoyed this challenge and kept up with it all year in the Facebook group. I read more than twice as many books as I had planned (more than 25 in all!) and enjoyed discovering new authors and series outside of the kidlit world. I plan to participate again in 2018.
    • Newbery Through the Decades, hosted by Hope is the Word
      I would have stuck with this one, but a few months in, the host apparently decided not to continue with it, and I wasn't as motivated to keep up with it without a monthly link-up to join. 
    • Newbery Reading Challenge 2017, hosted by Smiling Shelves
      There were no monthly link-ups with this challenge so I lost track of it during the year, especially once Newbery Through the Decades came to a sudden halt. Still, I read four Newbery Medal winners and four Newbery Honor books, which adds up to 20 points. I was aiming for 30, so I didn't quite make it, but that's pretty good for not really trying to complete the challenge. I'm not doing this one next year, though - I've read a ton of Newbery books already and don't want to be tied down to that list.
    • 2017 Picture Book Reading Challenge, hosted by Becky's Book Reviews
      My goal with this challenge was to finish as much of the checklist as possible, and I did pretty well. There were 102 categories on the list, and there were only 10 that I didn't cross off. 
    • Deal Me In Short Story Challenge hosted by Bibliophilica
      I started this a little late (February) and by June, I was so far behind I realized I could never catch up. Because it was so hard for me to keep up, I have decided not to do this one in 2018, even though I think it's a great idea for a challenge.
    • Old School Kidlit Reading Challenge, hosted by me
      I read the most books for my own challenge - over 50 in all. 

  5. Read only the books I want to readFor years, I read to keep up professionally and therefore felt obligated to read as many new children's books as I possibly could even if I would have liked to read other things. This year, I stopped requesting so many ARCs and borrowing so many new library books and just read whatever interested me. The result was a much more well-rounded reading experience and a lot less reading-related stress. 
I don't feel quite as accomplished blogging-wise at the end of this year as I have in the past, but now that I'm done writing librarian textbooks for the time being, I should hopefully have more creative energy to put toward blogging in the new year.  I'll have my new list of goals and challenges for 2018 ready to share next week.


  1. I'm impressed with your 800 books :) I am excited about next year's challenge. I definitely plan on reading more for it throughout the year!

  2. Wow and I throught my 350 books on goon reads was doing well. What was your average number of pages?

    1. Goodreads claims the average length was 83 pages, but it's probably not completely accurate since a lot of the adult and YA novels I read were ebooks without a page count and some of the picture books have inaccurate page counts. (It says my shortest book was only one page, so that's obviously wrong!)