Can you believe that is has been five long years since I counted up all those books, almost fainted and went to work cutting down my backlog? I can’t believe I’m still here, particularly given the state of this blog at the start of this year!
So, first things first. It’s another year done and how far on am I? Well, I’m midway through the 500s with 201 books read since I started the challenge. Not overly impressive I must admit, but at least I’m trying!
I’d love to make it into the 400s next year – so that is going to be one of my goals for 2019, however the fact that I’m now buying a few books here and there again AND am using Netgalley AND have to read certain new books for work, means that progress is destined to remain slow.
I have done quite well with my reading this year – I set myself a Goodreads Challenge of 75, but have currently read 89 and would secretly love to reach 100 by the end of the year (not happening!).
It was a year of two halves on 746 Books – the year started very slowly. I was in a reading and blogging slump and found little time to dedicate to my little corner of the internet. Reading Ireland Month was a bit of a let-down as far as I was concerned – I only read 4 books for that particular challenge – but I got my mojo back mid-summer courtesy of 20 Books of Summer, which continues to be a highlight of my blogging year.
That challenge really kick-started my reading and blogging again and I’ve spent the latter half of the year feeling energised and excited by my blog again. I will definitely bring 20 Books back next year, but am still undecided about Reading Ireland Month – I need to decide if I have the time and energy to do it justice.
Given the slump in posts at the start of the year, I’ve still managed had another great 12 months on the blog. According to my friends at WordPress, I’ve had almost 23,000 views and over 10,000 visitors with my 20 Books of Summer master post being the most viewed throughout the year.
This Autumn I have introduced a couple of new features, my monthly Miscellany round-up of non-746 books read and Northern Exposure.
Anna Burns Booker-win really made me want to highlight some of the great work coming out of Northern Ireland and I hope to continue my monthly look at writers from this part of the world throughout 2019.
Last January I set myself the challenge of reading a novel a month in translation and by and large I’ve done OK. I’ve read all 12 but have 2 still to review and although I veered massively off my reading list, this is a habit I’d also like to continue next year.
On a personal level, 2018 has been a great year. I continue to love my work at Seamus Heaney HomePlace and this year I had the real honour of attending the Jaipur Literature Festival in India and the Dalkey Book Festival in Dublin to evangelise about Seamus Heaney and his work! I’ve met some amazing writers – Marian Keyes, Paul Muldoon, John Boyne, Helen Pankhurst and I have some amazing writers lined up already for next year (DAVID MITCHELL!!!).
I usually do my Top Ten reads of the year as part of this post, but I’m going to save that until the end of December because, who knows, one of my best reads may still be waiting for me!
I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who has viewed, read, liked, commented, tweeted, retweeted, reposted and generally supported me along the way this last year. The bookish blogging community is such a friendly one and I genuinely love the little half hour I take every evening as my twins are falling asleep to read and interact with all your wonderful blogs.
Finally, as it’s a birthday and a birthday needs presents, I’m hosting a little giveaway today. Up for grabs is a festive copy of December Stories by Ian Sansom, signed by the author himself.
Published by No Alibis Press, December Stories features 31 short stories, one for every day of the month each offering a very different slant on the Christmas experience; a 1979 Floridian barbecue soundtracked by The Clash, a heart-warming Christmas housebreaking, terrible Christmas poetry, Kylie Minogue in a can-can outfit crawling across a piano and the perils of buying your children’s teacher a novelty mug.
It is a funny and moving collection that explores the more realistic side of the Festive season.
Just comment below to enter and I will randomly pick a winner on Monday 10 December and will post a lovely festive package world-wide.
Thanks again everyone and here’s to another great year of blogging
I am a 40 something book buying addict trying to reduce the backlog one book at a time!