2021 Blogger Resolutions- the results!

It’s now traditional for me to set goals at the beginning of the year, then reflect how I’ve done by the end. TL;DR, I’ve not met my goals – Again!  At the time of writing (1am 29th December), I’m considering not doing goals for 2022, and certainly not so aggressive if I do.

Book pages text
Patrick Tomasso via Upsplash
  • Increase subscribers to this blog to 1000, excluding twitter followers.

Update: whilst I’ve increased by a few, I’m certainly not at 1000

  • Increase annual page hits to this blog (to 7500)

Update: I dropped numbers to somewhere between 2017 and 2018 numbers. You may be able to spot why later!

  • Increase twitter followers to @brumnordie (to 800)

Update: Oh so close at 797!

  • Read and review 20 books. 50% to be paperbooks or audiobooks.

Update: I read and reviewed about 14 books, with not quite a 50% rate on the audiobooks, but it’s still a work in progress

  • Get my Netgalley ratio into the 72% range (from 66%).

Update: I’ve read one or two Netgalley books this year, have not requested any new ones, but not managed to improve my ratio by much

  • To aid in reading the books that I already have there will be a moratorium on requesting books from Netgalley or LibraryThing, and reviewing books I already have,

Update: I didn’t request any, but I did purchase some from the bookstore! Only one new audiobook has been listened to

  • Make better use of twitter, including the analytics, scheduling content.

Update: one day I may allow someone else to look over my numbers. Maybe. My scheduling software has changed a number of times, so it can be a tad difficult to get things set up, but I’ve found some workarounds

  • Take part in twitter chats such as #ContentHour, #BrumHour

Update: I’ve lost some followers by not engaging enough, but have picked up more, mainly by engaging more.  In the new year, I should be taking part in at least one reading challenge, and do it beyond December/January!

  • Make use of scheduling and planning software

Update: I’ve changed my schedule software around a little in the effort to make some stuff more visible. There does seem to be a bug/”feature” in my scheduling software that makes auto scheduling books more difficult, but I may well have found a workaround for that

  • Release more books via Bookcrossing, either in OBCZs or via RABCKs.

Update: with the travel restrictions being eased a little, I’ve been able to release more books at local OBCZs. It’s certainly helped in lightening the load a little!  For a second year running, the Country wide Bookcrossing event has had to be cancelled – boo! It does mean that not many books escaped, but it also means that not many books came into the house, neither!

As for my previous comment about blog view:

  1. I’m simply not reading (and therefore reviewing) books at quite the same level as before. However, my twitter feed has still be reminding my followers of posts (especially the older ones!) and many are still getting views
  2. Putting out my themed tweets, whilst having a targeted framework and timescale, also has made me realise that perhaps I need new content. (NO!).  Therefore I need to read and review some more stuff.
  3. I’m aware that to ensure that people know the blog is not technically dead, I’ve tried to be creative in some non review related posts.  This is just one of them.
  4. I’ve officially retired the ‘Blog prompt’ post that’s been lurking around for years. I may well have some of the prompts lying around….somewhere…..but if I’ve not written something for it yet, it wont be happening soon!

Stacking Shelves

Book lovers have multiple ways of filling their shelves; by author, size, colour, Dewey Decimal etc.

I’m not really that complicated

I have two groups of books: the one i keep and the ones I will give to others.

The latter is broken down into two: those that I want to read, then let go, and the ones that will be let go, no matter what.

Normally in all situations I have previously packed by size. To some it makes sense – if you have 6 books the same size, you can pack another few horizontally, that you cant do with mixed sizes. Some order differently. I try my best to breath deep!

A few years ago I reordered by shelves into “Themes”, e.g. all the ‘Asian’, ‘Romance’ or ‘Crime’ Books together. As I am very much a ‘I’ll read what ever I’m in the mood for’ kind of reader’, I was quickly bored of this kind of sorting.

With new books coming into the realm on a regular basis, and in a greater number than I’m letting go, I also became a situation of the “will I read before letting go, or straight releasing?”.

Sometimes I will store by authour (not so common nowadays, due to various issues), but usually by publisher or some other supplier. e.g. all my Persephone greys will end up on a certain non release shelf, all my box of stories books will go asap, and my comic book/graphic novel stories will go where they need to. It’s now a case of “where will this one fit?!” (Books are on shelves, coffee table, bedside table and now in boxes on the floor).

I dont plan on reordering my shelves, at least any time soon. I want to get rid of the over flows I already have at which point I hope I will have the space, will etc to reorder – probably in book size. It will also give me the chance to sort out the books i no longer want to read.

What about you? What do your shelves look like? How are they ordered?

Book Talk and Update

Yes, I’m still here, just not publishing (review) posts as frequently. However, I thought I’d make an update post of general things going on

Book Talk

In scheduling my May (i.e. Comic book) tweets, I’ve realised that whilst I’ve read lots of *Comics* over the last year (My LCBS and I now have a reasonable monthly deal going on), I’ve not read and reviewed any *Graphic Novels* over the last year.

Previously I’ve done Comic Books into June, but I’ve become aware that June really should be #PRIDE month. I will admit that I dont track my books at that level, so currently, it’s difficult to identify the books that could be classed as predominate “LGBT+” books (why cant people read everything?).  I’ve realised I do have a few books or authors that *could* be classed as LGBT, but in a way I do think it’s hooking my name to an unnecessary flag. i’m curious what people think. Constructive comments only please!

I’m halfway through reading “the 19th Wife”, which at 500+ pages is long for me at this time.

My 2 year Persephone Book Subscription has finished (I brought 1 year, I got another year as a pressie). I now have a HUGE stack of books that need to be read.

Because that’s not enough, I decided on a number of other subscriptions:

One for A Box of Stories, where every few months I get a box of books that would have other wise ended up in Landfill (or elsewhere) because they didnt sell through the usual routes (e.g. a bookshop). Due to the number of books I have, I have yet to attempt any of the boxes I’ve received so far.

Periene Press – 1 book every 3 months (i.e. 3 a year), of translated books based on an overall theme

I’ve brought virtually no individual books (I have WAY too many to read) but I have pre-ordered “Riccardino” by Andrea Camilleri. It’s rare for me to order books (esp hard books) but this is the last Montalbano book, that Camilleri told his publisher not to publish until he died.   Along with my Pratchett Hardback (I’ve got most of them, but especially his last Discworld that I still have to read), this will be added to the “Permanent Collection” pile.

New SM

WordPress and Hootsuite have changed their User Interface (UI) which has made it a tad difficult to work out some stuff, including numbers and being able to shedule tweets.

Bookcrossing general

I normally have several shelves that I can “release” books to, but of course, these shelves have not been available for the last 14 months or so. Therefore books have been backing up in my flat, which has meant my flat has looked even more cluttered than I’m happy with.  As an interim, I left books in my apartment block foyer. Initially, the books I had chosen didnt move, so I changed my selection – choose from the books that I *had* planned to read at some point, but if I was going to be brutal, I realised that I would not read in the next 12+ Months. So those got put on the pile. It’s been interesting in how many of them have gone (I’d say over 50%). I really should do a refresh in the next few weeks – if they haven’t gone now, its unlikely they’re going to go in the next few days)

At time of posting, the 2021 #Bookcrossing UK Uncon is scheduled for October 2021, to be held in Newcastle. The twitter account is @BCUKUNcon2021 and I would love for more people to follow and/or tweet and/or recommend Newcastle related accounts or things to do (or even suggestions as to possible additions to the raffle pressies would be lovely)

2021 Blogger Resolutions

It’s now traditional for me to set goals at the beginning of the year, then reflect how I’ve done by the end. Following my failure to achieve these the last few years, I’ve significantly dropped my numbers, in the chance of actually meeting a couple!

Book pages text
Patrick Tomasso via Upsplash

  • Increase subscribers to this blog to 1000, excluding twitter followers
  • Increase annual page hits to this blog (to 7500)
  • Increase twitter followers to @brumnordie (to 800)
  • Read and review 20 books. 50% to be paperbooks or audiobooks.
  • Get my Netgalley ratio into the 72% range (from 66%).
  • To aid in reading the books that I already have there will be a moratorium on requesting books from Netgalley or LibraryThing, and reviewing books I already have,
  • Make better use of twitter, including the analytics, scheduling content.
  • Take part in twitter chats such as #ContentHour, #BrumHour
  • Make use of scheduling and planning software
  • Release more books via Bookcrossing, either in OBCZs or via RABCKs.

2020 Blogger Resolutions – An End Of Year Update

It’s now traditional for me to set goals at the beginning of the year, then reflect how I’ve done by the end. Following my failure to achieve these the last few years, I’ve significantly dropped my numbers, in the chance of actually meeting a couple!  Here is how I performed against the 2020 resolutions

Book pages text
Patrick Tomasso via Upsplash

    • Increase subscribers to this blog to 1000, excluding twitter followers

running very hot at 950+

    • Increase annual page hits to this blog (to 7000)

Despite the lower number of posts, I’ve still managed to get more views this year than what I achieved over the last 5 years, with a reasonable 7217. I’m not entirely sure what I did right! WordPress have changed the way things are done, including the editor. I cant say that I’m impressed with it overall, but much of that could be down to not liking change.

    • Increase twitter followers to @brumnordie (to 950)

Still not there – still hovering around the 778 mark, give or take. A loss in functionality has meant that I dont know exactly who I have lost or gained, but it is usually smaller authors, who dont engage with me, then unfollow when I have failed to engage them at the level they hoped. Until recently I got Google Alerts in order to seek out what I hoped would provide me with some more content, but I found myself drowning in emails, and not getting any contentI found useful.

    • increase twitter followers to @bxbrum (to 280)

I’ve relinquished posting rights to BXBRUM, so have not been tracking numbers for much of 2020. Therefore this is redundant.

    • Read and review 50 books. 50% to be paperbooks or audiobooks.

50? Who said 50? Whatever the number, I’m not even close. I’ve not even hit 50% of the 20 books challenge I have on goodreads

    • Get my Netgalley ratio into the 72% range (from 66%).

I’ve tried to increase my ratio, but with the overall lack of reading, this is not as high as I’d hoped

    • To aid in reading the books that I already have there will be a moratorium on requesting books from Netgalley or LibraryThing, and reviewing books I already have

Done.

    • Make better use of twitter, including the analytics, scheduling content.

It’s been a mixed bag this year. Overall, i have interacted less on twitter, but the numbers on the blog make me wonder. I have tried more targeted tweets, so romance novels in Feb, Christmas in Nov/Dec. Something seems to be working.

    • Take part in twitter chats such as #ContentHour, #BrumHour

See above. To be honest, I’ve not been as active in chats as I should have been. The things I wanted to talk about simply weren’t happening

    • Make use of scheduling and planning software

See above

    • Release more books via Bookcrossing, either in OBCZs or via RABCKs.

LOL. Not happening. I’m using my apartment foyer as a pseudo-shelf, leaving the occasional set of books out. They *are* going, but I’m struggling to workout what people like (as opposed to “i’m bored, I’ll read anything” syndrome.) Odd choices e.g. Mort by Terry Pratchett has gone, Joan Collins went and came back, a Debbie MaComber Christmas Romance apparently never left!

Deciding on whether to DNF a book

I think I’ve written about this before, but the following post popped into my feed recently and I thought I’d write about it again.

I never DNF books: Here’s why

For anyone that doesnt know: DNF means Did Not Finish. DNC is Did Not Complete. Both are essentially the same thing….the reader started a book, and had to make a decision over whether or not to finish it.

Some readers will NEVER DNF a book (see above post).  Some will DNF with various caveats. I’m in the latter camp. I havent taken a picture of my recent TBR (To Be Read) pile, but it has spread from the shelves to below and above the coffee table, several piles on the sofa and a huge pile on the bedside table. At the rate I’m reading at the moment, I dont have time to finish the books I actually enjoy, never mind the books I dont.

When I come across a book that I’m not enjoying and I’m thinking of abandoning it, I have to make a decision as to why.

  • Do I have a problem with the book itself (e.g. they way it’s written, the characters, etc)? If that’s the case, I will put in the “go somewhere else” pile and never look at it again.
  • Is the book potentially ok, and I’m currently not in the right mood for this right now?  This is always possible, and generally why I don’t prescribe a set order in which to read a book. I find this is too close to “homework” and I will instantly dislike a book that I could have loved under different circumstances and times.  Therefore the book gets put back on the shelf, to be attempted again later. Often I’ve forgotten I’ve tried that book before so I often go in “fresh” to a book!

So, dear reader, what is your stance? How do you approach a book that you are struggling with?

 

 

Dust Jackets – Yay or Nay?

Dust Jackets: do you keep them on or remove them as you read the book? I’m the former – I believe they are there for a reason, (to protect the book) and therefore should be kept on the book whilst it’s being read.

Back when I lent out hardback books that had dust covers, I lent the majority to someone who removed the jacket for safe keeping. The specific hardbacks he borrowed were the Terry Pratchett books, where the Dust Jackets were a piece of art in their own right, and his thinking was that the Jackets were as much a part of the book as the actual book itself. He returned the books in as good a shape as when I lent them (which is why he got to borrow more) but…it still annoyed me.

Meanwhile, I no longer lend out books. I have two piles: Books that I will keep and never lend; and Books that I will happily give to others, without the expectation of ever getting back. Unfortunately I have had too many instances of lending someone a book, with me stating “I want this one back”, only to find they’ve given it to a charity shop or “lost” it and refuse to replace it with something equivalent.

What would you do?

Working from Home – Has my Reading got better?

Unfortunately, not really. In fact, if anything, it has got worse.

I used to commute, which gave me the potential of at least 90 mins of Public Transport travel where I at least had the chance of reading or listening to a book, I didn’t always take the chance to actually read a  book – normally I would take a nap; listen to an podcast or some kind of audio download;  watch an episode on Amazon Prime (i pay for it, I’m sure as hell going to watch available video!).

Since I now “start” work at 8am, rather than 9am, there’s an hour of commute i lose. I like being able to finish at 4, instead of 5pm, and I’ve lost another hour of a commute, no matter what time I finish.

I have a remarkable amount of Audible books, as well as ebooks and paper books. However, i have yet to change my non working hours to take account of the fact that I have lost several hours of potential reading – I really need to assess how I do things during the week.

I have yet to change my habits for the weekend where i often spend my days in bed. I tend to repeat the stuff I have listened to before, as it means i can fall asleep for several minutes or hours without missing any updates – I hate falling asleep in the middle of a book and therefore miss out on something potentially critical later in the story.

I’ve also noticed that I cant have two streams of verbal coming at me at the same time. So if I’m working and reading emails/having meetings, I can have an audiobook, talk radio, or random tv/radio shows going at the same time – one takes precidence.

 

Tell me, constant reader, how has your reading/book consumption been during lockdown?

 

 

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge – The Results!

histfic.jpg

I found this Reading Challenge from Passages to the Past a while back, and decided that I should and could sign up. I read a lot of historical fiction, right?

I went in low with my numbers, based on my reading over the last few years and went with a Medieval level of 15 books.

Some people may argue/be surprised with my definition of “Historical” fiction, but to me “Historical Fiction” is “A book set in a period significantly earlier than the time the author was writing in”.  So if the author is writing in 2015, and sets a tale in the 1970s, then I class that as “historical”. It’s a loose definition, but I’m sticking with it.

 

A list of the books I read, with links to reviews, is as follows:

As you can see, I didn’t *quite* meet my objective of 15 Historical fiction books in the year. I will admit that I can’t actually remember when I picked up a book to read, never mind write a review. As ever I will attempt to do better in 2020!

 

 

 

 

2019 Blogger Resolutions – the results!

It’s now becoming traditional for me to set goals at the beginning of the year, then reflect how I’ve done by the end. Following my failure to achieve these the last few years, I’ve significantly dropped my numbers, in the chance of actually meeting a couple!

Book pages text
Patrick Tomasso via Upsplash

    • Increase subscribers to this blog to 980, excluding twitter followers

    I managed to get to 950, so am considering this a win!

    • Increase annual page hits to this blog (to 6500)

    Not quite there, though my numbers have increased on the last few years to over 6100 views.

    • Increase twitter followers to @brumnordie (to 950)

    Not there, hovering around the 760 mark

    • increase twitter followers to @bxbrum (to 250)

    Nearly there, hovering at the 230+ mark

    • Read and review 60 books. 50% to be paperbooks or audiobooks. I’m going to take part in 2 challenges this year, keeping m6 numbers low, but I see the two tying in together quite nicely.

    Not even close. LOL. See other posts

    • Get my Netgalley ratio into the 70% range (from 65%).

    Upped to 66%

    • To aid in reading the books that I already have there will be a moratorium on requesting books from Netgalley or LibraryThing, and reviewing books I already have

    I Haven’t requested stuff of netgalley or librarything for a while (except the stuff I’m auto approved for).

    • Make better use of twitter, including the analytics, scheduling content.

    Something I must do better at. I’ve been capturing analytics data for a year now, I just need to take time to digest what the numbers are telling me.

    • Take part in twitter chats such as #ContentHour, #BrumHour

    My participation dropped off in the second half of the year, but I feel I did get a level of support when i did take part

    • Ensure about and contact details are maintained and up to date

    The new Unconvention twitter feed is as up to date as I can make it. .I’m still not accepting submissions, so I’ve not reintroduced my email address on my blog

    • Make use of scheduling and planning software

    Because of taking part in the 2019 and 2020 Bookcrossing Uncon, I’ve paid to upgrade my scheduling software, and have been making use of the service more. I’ve also set up google alerts to help me find different content to share, which I hope people are finding interesting. I’ve also started to make more use of my Pinterest boards

    • Do more posts about sewing, my cross stitch and quilting in particular. I’m not putting numbers on this.

    I’ve done few personal posts about sewing, but I have tried to be a bit more vocal in sewing groups and sharing other people’s content.

    • Comment more on other people’s blogs – I’m not going to put a number on this as it’ll be a nightmare to track. Just “do more”.

    I’ve commented on a couple of posts, “Pinned” a few more, but that’s about it

    • Release more books via Bookcrossing, either in OBCZs or via RABCKs.

    Certainly doing this! My flat currently looks like a second hand book store with all the books that need to be taken to various shelves around the place.  Telford Train Station and Moor Street Station seem to be the most voracious.