I’m back! At least for a little while. The last few months since I got a puppy, started a new job, and moved have been crazy busy, but I have this week off (which I am super excited about), so I figured I’d spend some time blogging and talking about my reading and knocking out a few year-end posts!
This year has been hard in a lot of ways (though overall I’ve been incredibly fortunate), so it’s not at all surprising that it’s affected my reading. I know people’s responses have been all over the place, but for me, I’ve struggled to read on and off. I’ll get hit with the reading bug and doing nothing but read for a good week or so, and then I’ll lose the motivation to pick up a book for a month even though I have a huge TBR of books I’m really excited to read. It’s the weirdest thing, and I have yet to figure out a reliable trick to get me back in the swing of things. So I’ve been trying to lean into it and enjoy playing with my puppy and watching TV and YouTube videos, but it’s hard because reading has been such a big part of my identity for so long!
It’ll be interesting to look back at my reading stats for this year, but I can already tell you that this is the least I’ve read in years and I am not a fan. I also read almost exclusively romance in 2020, which is kind of a weird change of pace since I usually read a lot more nonfiction and SFF. Also, romance novellas have been such a godsend. I’m not usually much of a fan of novellas because I rarely find them satisfying and they always leave me wanting more, but this year they’ve been just the thing to pull me into a story quickly and make me feel accomplished for finishing quickly.
I’m hopeful that with a full week off, I’ll be able to get a bunch of reading done! I didn’t visit family for Christmas this year (thanks covid), but one of the good things about that is I have a full week off with nothing to do but read! It’s really about the small wins this year, I suppose.
While I haven’t looked at my reading goals since the beginning of the year (I abandoned them very quickly once I realized lockdowns were lasting longer than a few weeks and haven’t looked back since), I still wanted to revisit them and see what I had in mind at the beginning of 2020 and if I managed to inadvertently accomplish any of them. I just remember that one of them was to read less in 2020 and focus on my other interests, and if that isn’t one of the biggest jokes of the year, idk what is.
Actually looking back, my goals for 2020 were pretty low key. I wanted to read for my own enjoyment, which I definitely think has been the case, and while I’m not happy with just how little I’ve read this year, I do think overall it’s been good to cut back some. Hopefully the puppy and I can find a balance in 2021, because he’s also eaten into a lot of my reading time when I am in the mood to read!
Apparently I wanted to continue being responsible with my book purchases, but that is also a goal that got totally thrown out the window this year. That was a deliberate decision, though. I knowingly bought a lot more kindle books in an effort to support more Black authors and other authors of color, and I went majorly out of my way to buy physical books in an effort to help support indie bookstores. So both my physical and digital TBRs have gotten a little out of control, but I have no regrets.
I also made it a goal to read 40 percent authors of color and to try and reach 50 percent. Honestly, I didn’t push myself to reach this goal since I was struggling to read so much that I just read what I wanted without paying as close attention as I usually do, but my commitment to reading diversely has become second nature, so it almost happened pretty naturally. I wound up finishing the year at 39.76 percent, which rounds up to 40, so I guess I hit it? I’m disappointed I didn’t get closer to 50 percent (or meet my goal without rounding up), but I’m trying to focus on the fact that I’ve done any reading at all this past year.
I also said I wanted to read more fantasy since it’s a genre I love but haven’t picked much up from lately, and yeah…that definitely did not happen this year.
The last two things I mentioned were finishing my reading project with Jenica and working on my KissCon TBR. Funnily enough, I actually made great progress on my KissCon TBR even though KissCon was delayed and later cancelled. I’m definitely holding up my reading project with Jenica, though, since I’ve been struggling to read and haven’t been in the mood for our picks!
I also want to cover the goals I mentioned in my Black Lives Matter post, which arguably served as a mid-year goals post. I explicitly made it a goal to read 20 percent books by Black authors this year, but I did not go out of my way to stick to that goal, so it’s not surprising I didn’t quite reach it, though I did make it to 19.88 percent. Definitely something to keep improving on in 2021!
I also mentioned wanting to support Black-owned bookstores, which is something I’ve continued to do throughout the year and plan to keep doing in the future.
I also committed to reading more Black romance (romance by a Black author featuring two Black main characters), and while I have done this, it’s definitely something to continue working on and being aware of when reading books by Black authors.
Another goal of mine was to speak out more on racial issues, though I was unclear on what that looked like. With such an undefined goal, it’s not surprising that I didn’t meet it. I also didn’t speak out more on the need for diverse historicals and start a blogging series about diverse historical romances. I have bought a bunch of diverse historicals, but to be honest, I’ve stepped back a lot from blogging the last few months, and it hasn’t been solely because of how busy I’ve been.
I’ve been struggling on and off with whether to continue blogging for a while because sometimes it’s a lot of work with little reward — I largely do it for personal satisfaction, and that’s been missing a lot lately. And it didn’t help when a bunch of authors I previously respected decided to pile on a review by a white woman of a historical romance by a South Asian author that South Asian readers said they found particularly helpful as the book contained a number of harmful themes.
It really made me question how much what bloggers and reviewers do is valued, and whether I should really continue when I’m not writing critical reviews that are as helpful and insightful as this one was, especially when I don’t do nearly enough to support other bloggers and reviewers. Let’s just say I wasn’t heartbroken when my puppy proved to be so much work that the decision to blog was taken out of my hands, and I haven’t quite figured out yet how blogging fits into my life going forward.
Also, I mentioned that I wanted to put an alert on my phone with a reminder to be antiracist, and while I did do that, I can’t say I benefited much from my alert in September. It’s definitely something I need to take more to heart in the future!
All in all, there’s definitely room for improvement, but I’m also not at all fussed about missing my goals considering, you know, 2020. But there’s something about the new year that’s making me excited to give goals a try again, and a lot of these things are important to me, so I really would like to try and meet them in 2021. Stay tuned for my upcoming goals post to see which things I’ve decided to prioritize!
Also, idk if I’ve shared any pictures of my puppy Darcy, but here are a few in all his glory!