Sunday, 27 December 2015

Looking Over 2015, Looking Forward to 2016

I know most will take part in Jamie of The Perpetual Page-Turner's End of Year Survey, but I'm just not in the mood for it this year. However, I did want to write something that looked back over the past year on Once Upon a Bookcase, and looks forward to 2016.

In this post I'll talk about my favourite books of 2015, what I received from my Secret Santa, looking back over 2015's reading. I'll also talk about my plans for 2016, which include the kind of books I'll be aiming to read, the challenges I'm taking part in and why, and my plans regarding Twitter and my thoughts on leaving it.

Favourite Books of 2015:

This isn't an easy choice. I could choose just one, but it would be leaving out so many other wonderful novels. So instead of just choosing one, I'm going to choose one for different genres, or on different topics. Also, this is for books I read in 2015, not necessarily books published in 2015.

Fave Book of 2015 Overall:

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Fave YA Novel on Mental Health:

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

Fave LGBTQ YA Novel:

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

Fave Historical YA:

The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough

The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough

Fave Atmospheric/Creepy YA:

The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

Fave YA High Fantasy:

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Fave Feminist YA:

What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

Fave Intersectional YA:

Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz

Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz

Fave UKYA:

Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne

Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne

Fave Adult High Fantasy:

Fool's Assassin by Robin Hobb

Fool's Assassin by Robin Hobb

Fave Middle Grade:

George by Alex Gino

George by Alex Gino

Fave Non-Fic:

Asking For It by Kate Harding

Asking For It by Kate Harding

Presents from My Secret Santa:

I took part in Faye of A Daydreamer's Thoughts' UK Book Blogger Secret Santa, which was brilliant! My Secret Santa was Rebecca of Rebecca McCormick's Authorial Blog, and she sent me some wonderful books from my wishlist!

Secret Santa Pressies

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu - I heard about this book a number of years ago, but it was recommended on The Oral History Podcast by Carrie Mesrobian!
My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi - I've read Verdi's two other books and loved them, so I really wanted to read her debut!
The Summer I Found You by Jolene Perry - This is another book recommended by Mesrobian on The Oral History Podcast that sounds brilliant!

Thank you to Rebecca for my fantastic books! I didn't receive any other books for Christmas, but I think three is a pretty awesome number!

Looking Back over 2015's Reading:

I think I had a pretty good reading year over all! I completed six of the seven challenges I signed up to; pretty good for me! I read a fair number of novels based only on recommendations, which I think is brilliant. More recs from my fantastic blogger/reader friends in the future please!

I managed to read 46 diverse books in 2015, 27 of which were LGBTQ. I'd still like to read more diverse novels in 2016, but I'd like things up a bit. I still want to read a lot of LGBTQ YA, but perhaps not the majority of the diverse books I read. More on this later.

Sex in Teen Lit Month II went pretty well, I think. It wasn't as successful as I had hoped in regards to getting people talking about the topics here on the blog - most of the comments from the discussion posts came from other people taking part in the 2015 Book Blog Discussion Challenge, rather than from regular readers. But still, I really enjoyed it, and had wonderful contributions from authors and other bloggers, and so I'm happy!

Looking Forward to 2016:

Diversity in YA:

As I said above, I want to read more diverse books outside of LGBTQ YA. I'm hoping to read more
YA with characters who are disabled and characters who have chronic illnesses. I'm not giving up on LGBTQ YA, however. I still have quite a few LGBTQ books sitting on my TBR pile, but within LGBTQ, I want to try and focus more on the identities we don't see much of. I also want to read more intersectional YA, too. Some of the diverse books I'm going to read are:

The Summer I Found You by Jolene Perry My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi Skyscraping by Cordelia Jensen Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom
The Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate This Song is (Not) For You by Laura Nowlin If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan

The Summer I Found You by Jolene Perry - A character with type 1 diabetes, and another disabled war veteren.
My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi - The main character has HIV.
Skyscraping by Cordelia Jensen - The main character's father has HIV.
Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom - The main character is blind.
The Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen - The main character is in a wheelchair. This is a NA novel.
Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate - One of the main character is pansexual, and another is, apparently, asexual.
This Song is (Not) For You by Laura Nowlin - One of the main characters is asexual.
If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan - The main character is a Iranian lesbian.

Reading Challenges:

I'm going to be taking part in the usual reading challenges (2016 Debut Author Challenge, LGBTQIA 2016 Reading Challenge (different challenge run by a different blogger, but same idea), What's In a Name? Reading Challenge 2016) but I'm taking part in a few different ones as well, in order to try and keep track of what I'm reading. I'm taking part in the Read the Books You Buy Reading Challenge 2016, which is pretty self-explanatory and the 2016 NetGalley Reading Challenge, to try and get 80% of NetGalley eProofs read.

I'm also taking part in the Contemporary Romance 2016 Reading Challenge. As well as keeping track of the YA novels in this genre I read, I'm also hoping to do some re-reading in 2016 of books I've yet to review, so this challenge will help with that. I'm also taking part in the 2016 Classics Challenge; I never read classics, and I'd like to remedy this. And I'm hosting the Retellings Reading Challenge 2016, so do check that out!

Twitter:

I am considering leaving Twitter. As useful as it is to promote my posts, I think it makes me kind of lazy. I don't visit other people's blogs as often as I should; I ten to read the posts highlighted on Twitter, but those posts only, and not much else on the blogs. I also rely on Twitter to discover new books, which is great, but I very rarely try to find books myself, I kind of stumble on them. Also, I'd like to be much more active in the blogging community offline. I have yet to go to single Meet UKYA social events, and I'd really love to. If I don't talk to people so much on Twitter, the only way I'll talk to them is in person. I want to put more effort into my blogger-friendships. I think there are a lot of benefits for me if I leave Twitter. I'll still have my personal account, so I'll have a few of the benefits of Twitter that I get now, but it's a lot less reading focused, and I also use it a lot less. This will mean that those who hear about my blog posts via Twitter will need to follow me and my blog in some other way. I recommend Bloglovin'.

I'm still thinking about this all, and I'll probably have a trial break from Twitter to see how I get on. But I thought I should mention it. I really like the idea of not using social media. Seeing if I can do it. (RE my personal Twitter account, I wouldn't really count it as I don't use it very much). What do you guys think of this? Would my leaving Twitter cause huge problems for you all? Would you be willing to follow my blog some other way? Or would you stop reading altogether? Please share your thoughts.

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So that's it! My look back, and my look forward! Hope you've enjoyed the past year on Once Upon a Bookcase, and I hope you'll stick around for 2016!

4 comments:

  1. All The Bright Places is definitely on my reading list at the moment - so many people seem to have really enjoyed it this year.

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    1. IT'S BRILLIANT! Oh my god, it was so moving and wonderful and completely beautiful! I really hope you love it. I can't wait for the movie!

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  2. Wow, leaving twitter would be sad...I mean, obviously don't use it if you don't like it!! But don't forget that tweeting your posts might be the only way others see them...*shrugs* But like I said. TOTALLY up to you of course!! I always feel like social media is a massively important part of blogging. :P But that's just me. hehe.
    Ooh, those are awesome challenges! I'm only joining the Goodreads challenge this year. Although there's a diversity challenge I might join up with?! I CAN'T DECIDE OMG. JO. DECISIONS ARE TOO MUCH. XDXD
    I looove All the Bright Places too. :') And The Accident Season and zomg Made You Up?!?! Total highlights of the year for me. :')

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    1. I've been rethinking whether I choose to live Twitter or not. I think perhaps I just need to change the way I use it, maybe? I'm going to think about it some more. We'll see I guess!

      OH MY GOD, I have signed up for even MORE challenges since I wrote this post. So many. SO MANY! I'm so glad a lot of them overlap, otherwise I'd be driving myself round the bend trying to complete them!

      Ooh, do join a diversity challenge! I think they're really helpful to keep track of the kinds of books you're reading, and where you fall short, while also encouraging you to pick up ones you might not have otherwise.

      Yessss, we have great taste in books, Page! :D

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