Dec 10, 2012

Tying Up Loose Ends (Or: Help?)

Knot of yarn
Credit

2012 was by far my slowest blogging year to date. Not only did I read considerably less than in previous years (the downwards trend that started in 2010 continues), but I reviewed a lower percentage of what I read than ever before. I’m not going to beat myself up about it, though – I’ve come to realise that to keep blogging interesting and fun, I’ll have to let go of the compulsion to find something relevant to say about every single book I read. Sometimes a book will just be forgettable, or I won’t have the intellectual or emotional energy to truly engage with it. Sometimes I won’t even know which one of the two is the case. I also need to accept that at other times, even though I’ll have plenty to say, life will get in the way of my posts ever getting written, and it’s okay to let go and move on when that happens.

Having said that, I don’t like seeing so many gaps on my reading record at the end of the year. I especially don’t like the fact that I can’t help but feel that I’m not really done with the books I haven’t reviewed; that there’s something’s missing from the process. One thing I’ve noticed is that if I don’t sit down to write about a book, I remember it much less clearly than the books I do blog about. So, with the end of the year upon us, I thought I’d give it one last shot. Obviously I can’t review all these books in full in the coming weeks, but I can pick a few and do a “brief thoughts” type post – and this is where you come in.

I feel a bit sheepish asking for your help again, because the last time I did this I ended up not writing about the most asked for book – Elaine Dundy’s The Dud Avocado. I’m so sorry! I did try, but I ended up discarding inane draft after inane draft. Hopefully you’ll forgive me and still tell me which of the books below you’d like to hear about (you can pick more than one, of course). I created a poll that leaves out the books I don’t think I remember clearly enough to be able to say anything about (not a small amount, unfortunately). For obvious reasons, I also left out books I have nearly finished drafts about, like Maurice and Jo Walton’s Farthing.

If you were feeling extra generous, you could perhaps ask me specific questions about the books in question and help me find an angle (earning my eternal love and gratitude in the process, I should add). Many thanks in advance, and here’s the poll:

27 comments:

bermudaonion said...

Since blogging is a paid position, sometimes you just have to let things go. I voted in your poll!

Alex (The Sleepless Reader) said...

I voted for Hemingway just because earlier this year I visited his house in Key West and now I'm curious to know more about him.

Natalie~Coffee and a Book Chick said...

I voted for 11/22/63 and A Moveable Feast selfishly because I loved them both and hope you do, too :) I also voted for Ursula K. LeGuin because I've only read one of her books and I'm interesting in reading more of her work.

I made some drastic changes in my reading this year and found I enjoyed blogging much more. I also just don't post as often, which once I came to terms with it, I've found that being on the blogosphere has become a lot less stressful!

Sandy Nawrot said...

I have that compulsion too, to write about every book I read. Maybe that is my problem, but also the issue is that I just don't read enough to support a blog these days. I'm distracted. I have faith that my mojo will be rediscovered. I think this is a fun way to decide what to write about!

Amy said...

Man I wish I had this many books I'd read and not blogged about! My reading has been at a SNAIL's PACE this year.

I totally agree about forgetting books more easily that you don't write about.

I voted for the Avatar comics: Q: Are they worth seeking out and reading? Do you feel they maintain the spirit of the show?

And Buffy season 8: I basically just want to know which side of the divide you fall on...love them or do you pretend they don't exist?

Memory said...

I voted! I'd love to hear what you thought of the Lev Grossman books, and of the Buffy and Angel comics.

Debi said...

Sheesh, I think you have more unreviewed books than all the books I've managed to read altogether this year! Hope you don't mind that I voted for a whole handful. I wanted to vote for them all because it just get so much joy out of reading your thoughts on books! Btw, how the hell did I not know that Part 3 of The Promise was out?!! Bad me!!! Please tell me it was back up to the level of Part 1 (not that I disliked Part 2, but...well, we talked about that a little already).

Joanna said...

I always want to hear more of your thoughts on Buffy, so I voted for those. And Forever by Judy Blume - I read it when I was about 11 and re-read it again and would be curious to hear what you think - do you think it realistically portrays what a relationship feels like at that age?

And Pink Brain, Blue Brain - no idea what it is but love the title! Hopefully about gender roles??

Tasha B. said...

I also write about nearly every book I read, and I've found that this leads to me DNF a lot of books that are just okay. If I don't have anything to say about them, I feel like I'm wasting my time reading them. On the other hand, I'll finish books that are really bad just so I can rant about them on the blog. :)

Clare said...

I voted for a handful, but I only really have a specific question about Pink Brain, Blue Brain—does it counter the gender essentialist texts you've encountered? In fact, I'd be superinterested in a post that examines the gender essentialist texts you've read so far and contrasts and compares. Of course, it might not be pleasant to spend more time with those ideas…

Also, I can't wait for your Farthing review.

Amy said...

I voted, sort of selfishly too. I always want to know others think of I book I liked or didn't like. :)I'd love to hear what you think of Lev Grossman.

I've read less this year and blogged less. Sometimes I feel guilty but most days I let myself off easy. I don't love every book I read and forcing myself to write something about every book just makes it feel like work. I started my blog because it was fun and I want it to stay that way. That might mean I blog less for it to remain that way. Life gets busy and things happen. We all do what works best for us.

I'm looking forward to your thoughts on Walton's Farthing. I discovered her this year and she's on my list to read next year too.

Jeanne said...

I want to know what you think of the angsty tone of The Magicians and whether you agree that The Magician King is an even better book.

jessicabookworm said...

I voted for Eva Ibbotson...what a surprise?!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

I feel the same way about reviewing. It seems like the final stage in reading a book now, but sometimes the reviews just don't work.

I voted for the Lev Grossman books because I've heard such mixed reviews. I haven't read them and I'm really on the fence. I'd love to hear if you think they're good and if so why. Do they just feel like an HP knockoff or are they original? Also, if you don't write about those books don't worry about it! No stress allowed around the holidays.

Stefanie said...

So I picked the Stephen King and the Le Guin. My husband read the King and said he really liked it but couldn't say more than that. What I'd like to know is whether it says something interesting about history or if it just another you can't change the past kind of book? For the Le Guin, I've read several of her books of short stories, is this collection worthwhile or did it feel repetitive since the stories other places already? Hope that helps! :)

Michelle (intoyourlungs) said...

I voted a day or two ago and then forgot to comment so I actually forget what I voted for! I do know that I definitely voted for Cordelia Kent though -- I absolutely loove Aidan Chambers to pieces and that doorstopper of a book was probably my favourite of what I've read by him so far, so I'm dying to know how you felt about it. (:

Loni said...

I love Buffy and Angel. I've read the first 6 of the Buffy graphic novels, but none of the Angel. How does it compare to the show?

I'd also like to hear about Avatar and how the characters compare to the show. They're older, right? I've been wanting to read the books. They might be my first post-holidays purchase.

Daphne said...

This is probably the lowest-count year for me as well.. first I couldn't read, and then I did, and then I got too busy to read. A strange year. Still, it's just nice to know you're out there (we're all out here!)

Gavin said...

I voted for several, the first being the Lev Grossman books. I am reading The Magicians right now and would love to read what you think of it. I also voted for "Pink Brain, Blue Brain" 'cause you are so good at writing about gender issues and I want to know what you think of that one!

Chris said...

Can I just say all of them? :p I'm kidding, I actually picked a few I'd love to see you talk about. I'm with you completely on blogging…This has been my slowest reading year by far too and I've come to just accept that I won't always be able to review everything I read no matter what. As much as I want to. I wish I could…but blogging has become much more fun again since I've given myself permission to let it not be an obligation.

Ana @ things mean a lot said...

Thank you so much to everyone who voted and/or helped with questions! So far the most popular choice is The Magician/The Magician King by far. I'll probably do the mini-reviews in a two-part post early next week. Thank you again!

Beth F said...

I keep thinking I need to ease up... but it never happens. Then I say I'll write mini reviews but I end up writing a bunch anyway. I voted.

Meghan said...

My blogging is also slowing down. Too much else going on sometimes, not enough brain power. But I agree with you, I feel like I'm just not really done with a book I haven't reviewed. I also remember them better and feel like I've processed them much more. It just helps to write something down!

I voted in your poll too - for a couple of books I've read or want to read and am curious to know what you think.

Literary Feline said...

I just finished a post with the same title! The tying up loose ends part, anyway. Mine won't go up until next week though. :-)

I know I've struggled with something similar in the past year and a half when it came to writing about books--or for me, at least, posts in general. All we can really do is do what we can and move on.

Here's hoping for a wonderful 2013!

Bookgazing said...

I voted :)

Forever - I read this when I was young, but it was already kind of old by then. How well do you think it holds up? What is dated about it and what do you think still feel current about it?

Notes from the Arctic Circle - I know nothing about this, but there are magic words in the title. So, was the author actually at the Arctic circle or is this book about other people who have been? If they were at the AC, why were they there? What exciting facts did you learn about the AC?

A Song for Summer - Where does this one sit in yor personal ranking of Ibbotsen novels?

Quirky BookandFilmBuff said...

I voted for several titles, but I can't think of specific questions at the moment. :)

Ana @ things mean a lot said...

Thank you, everyone! Questions or no questions, you all helped me a lot :D Expect a two-part post early next week.