November reading and looking towards the last month: 11/30/16
Last week I posted my plans for reading in 2017 which includes a whole bunch of what if contingency plans based on the very likely possibly that I will be moving to Canada. Now it's time to reflect on what I accomplished in November.
I must admit that blogging wise this month I've been pretty much on autopilot. First it was because of the sheer amount of focus first round CYBILs requires. Second though was the election results and with it the news that I'm now probably moving to Canada. I say probably because we've gone through these almost big moves before and only once out of four previous ones have we actually moved.
The point though is I've not been in a very good metal space right now. Usually in the last month of year I'm cramming to finish everything I've meant to read but haven't gotten to or haven't finished — those books I've been lingering over for months. This time I'm looking more at a blank slate. The CYBILs reading for me is pretty much done except for re-reading key passages of books that come up for short list discussion. I don't really have much else out from the library and won't be getting more since the last two weeks of the month will be travel — to Canada (though not to where we might be moving). This is normal Canada stuff — seeing relatives, being tourists and experiencing both Vancouvers (the city and the island).
Now looking back at a completed reviewing goal of 52 books published this year I see the silliness of it. Memory is so fickle. My memory of what I've read lasts for about a year. So I have a fairly good picture of what I've read this year and how I felt disappointed about what I'd accomplished last year. But I keep lists and have been tracking the currency of my reviews since 2008. Three of those eight years i accomplished this year's goal. Two of those years I came very close to doing so, meaning that in more than half of those years I was reviewing at least one currently published book a week.
Looking at the first year I started tracking books reviewed by year published, I see my last full year of reviewing ARCs. It was a year when I was running giveaways and scheduling two or three ARC reviews every week. I was basically saying yes to everything because I felt like I should. By December I was burned out, but it took me until mid 2009 to finally realize I didn't have to rely on ARCs for content.
My lowest number comes in 2011, when I was burned out by scheduling my reading and my reviewing. Yes, I'd stopped taking ARCs except for NetGalley (and even that I no longer accept). I had a ton of reviews written and a ton more to write and there was such a back log of things to talk about that there was no wiggly room to react to current events or even my current mood. So I went with the complete opposite approach — randomizing what I posted from the list of things I had already written. Totally random doesn't make for coherent or engaging content either but it was what I needed to push through a slump.
Looking at the other part of the puzzle — the making sure reviews don't stagnate before I get the posted, I'm down to two reviews to post from 2013: Catty Jane Who Hated the Rain by Valeri Gorbachev and Pippi Moves In by Astrid Lindgren; these are both scheduled for December. I have nine books read in 2014 that still need reviews posted. The remainder are from 2015 and 2016.
With 182 books read in 2015 and 2016 to review and only 31 more days to post in this year most of these will be still waiting for posting going into 2017. Of those books, I have twenty-two books published this year that I've read. At least ten of those reviews will make it into December's posts but now I'm coming to the point of having to decide which ones to highlight now and which to save until next year.
And finally, reading inclusively. I can say that the CYBILs nominees are more diverse than I've seen in previous years. Reading wise, then I've had one of my best months, with two-thirds of my reading being about someone other than a male able bodied cis-het protagonist.
Reviews, though, fell short. Only 19% (or seven reviews out of thirty) were of inclusive books. Part of this is a result of trying to get through my backlog of reviews. Part of it though was being on autopilot.