2017 Blogger Resolutions

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. Many of these are based on resolutions from previous years, which I have had mixed results in achieving.

  • Increase subscribers to this blog to 1100, excluding twitter followers
  • Increase annual page hits to this blog (to 12000)
  • Increase twitter followers to @brumnordie (to 1100)
  • Read and review 60 books. 50% to be paperbooks or audiobooks.
  • Post at least twice a week
  • Mamet use of sharing with Facebook groups as appropriate.
  • Make better use of twitter, including the analytics, scheduling content.
  • Take part in twitter chats such as #Blogtacular #bookbloggers etc
  • Ensure about and contact details are maintained and up to date.
  • Make use of scheduling and planning software as appropriate.
  • Take part in blogging challenges, such as Bloggiesta, as and when I remember!
  • Continue doing more non-review posts, such as Sunday Salon posts, which I hope people find interesting – they certainly generate comments!
  • Look to do more non book related posts – get out into Birmingham more and write about stuff! This includes stuff at the museums etc.
  • do more posts about sewing, my cross stitch and quilting in particular. I’m not putting numbers on this.
  • 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”.
  • Release more books via Bookcrossing. I still have half a crate left over from the closure of a couple of OBCZs and the bookcrossing UK meetup in Birmingham in September 2016
  • Reorganise my bookshelves (Haven’t been done in two years – about time they’re done!)

State of the Union 2016 address – Resolution updates.

It’s now becoming traditional for me to set goals at the beginning of the year, then reflect how I’ve done at the end of the year. Following are the resolutions I set at the beginning of the year.  As you can tell, I didn’t do as well as I hoped! There was a lull in the second half of the year, which meant that I hardly read, never mind blogged, so that took a large dent in my stats.

  • Increase subscribers to this blog to 1100, excluding twitter followers [I still got new followers, taking me up to 773]
  • Double annual page hits to this blog (to 12000) [considering the drop off in the amount of content I was producing, page views remained steady, at a same as last year’s stats]
  • Increase twitter followers to @brumnordie (to 1100) [i went some way to this, in getting to 690]
  • Read and review 75 books. 50% to be paperbooks or audiobooks. [i did a much better ratio of paper to ebooks, but didn’t hit the 75 mark, coming in at under 60 books.]
  • Post every other day [as I mentioned above there was a period I didn’t blog for several weeks, so missed this goal]
  • Make better use of hashtags on twitter [the increase in followers on twitter is due in part putting out other content than my own, as well as making use of tags]
  • Ensure about and contact details are maintained and up to date.  [Yes, this was done, especially by About and Review Policies]
  • Make use of scheduling and planning software as appropriate. [the death of my laptop late the year has meant that I haven’t used the spreadsheets that I used to use for tracking scheduling. However, what’s wrong with a simply diary?]
  • Take part in blogging challenges, such as Bloggiesta, as and when I remember!
  • Continue doing more non-review posts, such as Sunday Salon posts, which I hope people find interesting – they certainly generate comments!  [I did run out of subjects that I inspired to produce a post for, but I’ve found some more and will be posting some new content in the new year!]
  • Pay better attention to sites like Problogger and Hubspot for social media and blogging tips to see how I can achieve some of my goals [I did follow some additional sites in looking at producing content etc, but I don’t think I made best use of them. I certainly tried to comment more on other people’s blogs – not all of them about books, and attended several blogging events. I even managed to go to this year’s Bookcrossing event where I got some of my mojo back in terms of reading and releasing books – look out for more on this in the new year – I hope! ]

So, did you have any goals, and how did you do? Feel free to comment or link to your update post!

Sunday Salon – will you read everything on your TBR?

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I wrote a short post about this topic a few years ago, but I thought I’d re visit it. It’s the reader’s equivalent of “we need to talk about Kevin” with “we need to talk bookshelves.

my TBR bookshelfIf I’m honest – looking at my bookshelves I’ll probably not read every book on my TBR stack, but I’ll give it a darn good try!  This is what my bookshelves look like at the moment. They dont show the books that are stacked under the coffee table – thankfully I’ve got rid of the books hiding under the bed and in the cupboards! I’m trying to never get to that point again! However, even if I dont bring another book into the place, I’ve got enough books to last me several years (if not several decades!).Birmingham and Midlands Institute Library

By taking the reading challenge sword from over my head, I’ve been able to balance my reading between ebooks and paperbooks much better.  It has resulted in me reading some of the hardbacks that have been lurking around for a number of years, but many of which I will never be getting rid of (so I will still have a packed set of shelves!).

Once every few years, I do a mass re-order of my shelves. A few years ago they were changed from height order (easier to pack your shelves I think) and changed them to theme order (e.g. all the books by specific authors, or similar themes, such as “India”). During these re-oreders I check the book and ask myself if I’m realistically going to read it. If the answer is “no” then it leaves the house – either via bookcrossing or being given to a friend. I’m due another re-order if I’m honest, as the “theme” thing isnt really working out for me (though grouping books by the same author does, especially if they’re in some sort of series).

I’ve managed to slow down my intake of ebooks – finally! I’m still taking on perhaps one or two a month, but I’m also trying to go through my older books in order to get through them (and improve my dreadful Netgalley rating of 56% – eeek!). I started two books a few weeks ago, and have yet to finish either of them. I think I’m down to the last 50 pages for the last week on one of them. I’ve given up looking at my reading challenge on Goodreads as I know I will have missed it, potentially quite significantly, considering how low it was to begin with.

So what about you? What’s your relationship like with your TBR, and do you have any plans in the new year?

Sunday Salon: Yearly reading goals

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In looking to wind the year down, it’s time to reflect back on some of the reading subjects that tend to crop up most years, and I’ve found this question floating round the internet:

When you set a yearly reading goal, do you set it high to force yourself to meet that goal or do you keep it low and normally go over that goal any way?

For a long time I didnt track how many books I read, or even which books I read – the horror, right? Then, several years ago, I was listening to a couple of bookish friends compare notes as to how many books they had read, what were their top 10 etc – how could I list a top 10 when I didnt even remember what I’d read that year?!

Therefore in 2011 (had to go off and check there!) I started making use of Goodreads and their reading challenge facility. 2011 – 2014 I challenged myself to read at least 95 books, and each year read more than that. However, by 2014 I had realised that the challenge was no longer fun to be reading that number of books, and that by the end of each year I was finding myself reading short and light books simply to get the numbers up – and the reviews could be light on detail too!  (And I still dont produce top 10 lists!).

Book pages text
Patrick Tomasso via Upsplash

Therefore in 2015, I plonked for something more realistic: 60 books, with the very real chance of reading more. And I did – I read 64. 2016 was the same level of 60, which I may or may not meet. It’s meant that I’m not trawling Amazon for the freebie romances to boost my numbers. I’m reading the hardback books that have been on my shelves, unread and unloved, for years. Some of the books I’ve been reading are longer, genres I’ve not tried before (YA books and the SummerReads books from Quercus are examples) and a better mix of paper and ebooks. So whilst my numbers arent high, they have meant that I think my reading is more rounded as a result, and I will probably do the same again next year.

So I put the same question to you now:

When you set a yearly reading goal, do you set it high to force yourself to meet that goal or do you keep it low and normally go over that goal any way?

 

 

 

Do you practise Book Pologomy?

From Epicreads
From Epicreads

Not entirely sure how I came across the above flowchart but my notes say I got it from here – I thought it amusing and worth sharing.

Yes. I can and do practise “book pologomy”. I usually have two books on the go at any one time. I sometimes have 3 going, but end up switching between two main books and finishing one before I truly progress on the third.

I can’t read two books of the same genre at the same time, as I usually get myself confused as to plots and characters. Because I am trying to read more paper books, I tend to have one ebook and one paperbook on the go – where I read them depends on the physical copy of the book itself. If I’m reading one of my hardbacks (and/or a book I want to keep in reasonable condition), it never leaves the house.  If it’s one I don’t really care about the condition afterwards, then it comes along with me in the handbag.

One of the reasons I read ebooks almost exclusively for two years is the ease of carrying them around. My iPad goes into the handbag and is pulled out whereever I have a free time. One of the nightmare scenarios for regular readers is not having a book to read – with an ereader you just go to the next book and not have the dredded question of carrying multple books around with you when leaving the house (or even worse: do you leave the nearly ended book at home and bring a new one with you, or bring the one you’re reading and run the risk you’ll finish it, and have nothing else to read?).

So, Constant reader, how many books can you have on the go at any one time? how do you resolve the riddle of the nearly finished book? 

 

 

 

State of Play – My Bookshelves

It’s been a while since I posted pictures of my bookshelves, and I threatened someone with providing an update, so here they

Top 2 shelves of tbookshelf-2he one one on the left holds hardback books, usually those that I will never let go (Terry Pratchetts etc). The bottom two shelves have DVDs hidden by books that I am likely to let go, but have spilt over from the other bookshelf. The middle shelf has books, like the Persephone Greys you can see in the middle, that are not hard backs but will never be leant out.

The middle three shelves on the picture on the right consists of paperback books that I will be letting go, oncbookshelf-1e I’ve got round to reading them! Virtually all of them are already registered on bookcrossing.  These books are double deep, I have no idea how many there are of them, and I’m scared to count. There’s a whole range of genres and probably reflect my taste in books pretty well, if only I got around to detailing them properly!  The last time I organised the shelves was about 2 years ago, when I decided to have them in theme/author rather than in size order. Not sure this has worked out as well as I hoped, as once I read a specific book, I’ve found that perhaps I don’t want to read a book that could be too similar. I may have to reorganise the shelves at some point, but it’s easily a day’s job, so I’ll have to plan things correctly.

The top shelf consists of books relating to crafts (sewing, quilting etc), and the bottom shelf is comics – neither set of books are down to be leant or given out.

Not shown: The overspill of the overspill, where the hardbacks, magazines, craft and comic books are stacked on the coffee table awaiting more space to be freed up. It will happen sooner or later, honest!

 

Birmingham Bookcrossers Group

Anyone who has caught my posts and tweets over the last few weeks, will have known that there has been the 2016 UK Bookcrossing Unconvention in Birmingham on the 23rd to 25th September. This has meant that people from all over the UK (as well as Ireland and parts of Western Europe) bannerlogo_world-libraryconverged in the city to meet up, meet local authors, play games, eat, drink, tour the city and even do bookish things!  I wrote a post about it here

We still find people who have not heard about Bookcrossing, thought it was a fad from 10 years ago, or didn’t know there is a healthy community at city, country and international level.

I’m not sure we actually managed to get #Bcuncon2016 trending on twitter (I hope we did!), but I thought I’d just write a post about how the community is active throughout the year, and it isn’t just a once-a-year get together.

Since I live in Birmingham, I’m going to talk about the Birmingham Group in particular. We’ve moved around a bit the last few years, mainly due to our local coffee shops evolving and changing shape (some have closed permanently, some for a short time and some simply haven’t worked out) and I suspect that we’ve lost some people along the way.

We meet on the 4th (not last) Saturday of every month – currently we meet at 3threes Coffee in Martineau Place from 2:30pm.   Not only does this place cater for Vegans and Vegetarians, but it is also an Official Bookcrossing Zone (OBCZ) – if you see a book with a bookcrossing label or number, feel free to take it away!

We have other OBCZs around the city and they are:

There is an overarching Bookcrossing group on Facebook, that allows you to meet with international menbers. There is a Bookcrossing UK public group on Facebook, as well as the one for Bookcrossing Birmingham.  The Birmingham team tweets under @bxbrum.

Following the energy and fun that was had over the last weekend, it would be lovely to capitilise on it, and have new members join us