Happy New Year 2021!

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2020 is gone – thank goodness! Now, with all transparency I personally have had worst years than 2020 (looking at you 2019), but it has definitely been one of the more challenging ones to live through. Whilst I appreciate this will not have magically changed on the stroke of midnight, like many people I am hoping to see things slowly start to improve over the coming year.

Will life ever return to how it once was? I doubt it, I think those of us in countries that have and continue to be hit by COVID will always be a little more aware of how close someone is stood to us and anyone on public transport with an ongoing cough. But, this is a book (and albeit sometimes film) blog not a philosophical essay, so now seems the time to have a look at some of the bookish related aims and wishes that I have for the upcoming year.

~~~ Reading Goals ~~~

Last year I had set myself the optimistic challenge of reading 100 books – I have missed that by quite some distance and my reduced goal of 76. At the time of writing, I am on a grand total of 58 and not anticipating that there will be any change by 2021. This is a little below my totals for the last few years, but not drastically so as I had a few good reading months early in the year.

I have found that having such a high target did not motivate me as hoped when I fell behind, but rather made me put on the next episode of Schitt’s Creek instead because there was no judgement there.

This year I am setting my annual target at 24 (or two books a month). Low? Yes. But purposefully so, I am hoping a low target may encourage me to tackle some of the tomes on my shelves and perhaps ease me into the idea of DNF-ing books I’m not enjoying. (Currently they just go back on my shelves for a couple of years and then I try again to finish). Also I may look at taking part in some reading challenges, and sometimes this may mean picking up books that I traditionally find I am slower at reading.

~~~ Embrace New Tracking Platforms ~~~

Like a lot of the book reading community, I have been using Goodreads for a while now (I think my first book was logged back in 2015). Presently I am not looking to leave Goodreads completely, as I appreciate a lot of my NetGalley approvals are expectant of a Goodreads review. However, a new wave of platforms seem to be emerging that includes fixes to common complaints that the majority of us have about the platform that may sway me to make a more permanent move in the future. (The lack of half stars will be Goodreads undoing, but I doubt Amazon will care).

The main two that have popped up on my radar in 2020 are BookSloth and The StoryGraph (you can find me @BookStoreBinge on either). Both are in some form of Beta at the moment, but do allow imports of your Goodreads titles so you aren’t losing out of all your historic reviewing and logging. Although may require some checking as not all dates or ratings may completely track across.

So far I have been using The StoryGraph most, which not only allows half star ratings (or any decimal point system you wish to use), but also gives reviewer feedback of trigger warnings, pacing and character development. The creators behind the platform are very visible on social media and seem to be constantly looking to improve and fix any errors flagged by users. I also particularly love the reading challenging feature that allows you to link books to a reading challenge prompt without having to create a new shelf.

~~~ Backlist and NetGalley ~~~

We read so often how being a reader and book collector may as well be two separate hobbies – it is painful how true this is for me. I am definitely guilty of buying more books a year than I can ever read and am trying to look at ways to reduce these habits. So I am hoping that once I have moved in the next month or so and have better access and visibility to my owned books, I will make more of an effort to read some of the books I already own. This would be rather than picking up more new titles or going to the library and borrowing loads of books that I then don’t get time to read.

Perhaps in direct conflict to what I was just saying – I also want to get my NetGalley review ratio up this year (from the current low teens to maybe 50/60%). Getting early access to eARCs is another part of book blogging that I love, and I have been granted access to a number of exciting early 2021 titles that I want to read, review and tell you all about. But I do also have some titles that were released a little while back that I only find it fair I also try to review at some point this year.

~~~ Unhauls ~~~

I… have so many books. A fact I already knew, but that was more deeply driven home as I have had to pack all of the aforementioned books into cardboard boxes and lug them around. I am not great at letting things go in general, but I think I am starting to appreciate that not everything needs to be held onto. As such, I am hoping to review all my read titles and get rid of any that I didn’t love or intend to read again.

Furthermore, if I do manage to read more of my backlist, this will hopefully allow me to identify more titles to donate to local charity shops or potentially exchange. Maybe I will be able to take this one to more things than just books, but starting small seems a positive change here.

~~~

I think improving my frequency of posting goes without saying – given I have definitely said it before. But as mentioned earlier, I am moving this year into my own space, which I hope means less distractions from reading/reviewing and taking very bad photos for bookstagram. So please don’t expect miracles – but hopefully I will bring you more content in 2021 that you enjoy.

So what are some of your reading or bookish related goals for 2021? Or do you have any other resolutions for the new year? Let me know in the comments below.

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