Tuesday 31 December 2019


Looking Back over 2019, Looking Forward to 2020

A photo of pink 2019 light art - like writing with a sparkler in the air - against a black background.

Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash.

Looking Back over 2019, Looking Forward to 2020

Titles marked with an asterisk (*) were gifted to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

It's New Year's Eve! Can you believe the year has flown by already? It's gone by so quickly! I swear, the older I get, the quicker the years go by!

But it's the time of year when I look back over my reading and blogging over the past year, and share what my plans are for the next. So without further ado, onwards!

Favourite Books of 2019:

In putting this post together, I realised I actually had a pretty terrible reading year. Looking back over the books I read this year, there were so many that were really disappointing. So many. 17 of the 42 fiction books! (Also a pretty bad year for the number of books read, too. But this is due to illness, and then a switch in focus in my life that meant less reading, more of doing other things I enjoy.) But here are my favourites of the year! I should point out that these are books I read this year, not just books that came out this year - though I'm pretty sure all but one came out this year.

Fave Book of 2019 Overall:

The Kingdom of Copper by S. A. Chakraborty

The Kingdom of Copper by S. A. Chakraborty*

Fave YA Debut:

How It Feels to Float by Helena Fox

How It Feels to Float by Helena Fox

Fave Adult Debut:

Impossible Causes by Julie Mayhew

Impossible Causes by Julie Mayhew (giveaway win) - Review coming in January.

Fave LGBTQ* YA Novel:

Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman*

Fave YA with multiple POVs

Furyborn by Claire Legrand

Furyborn by Claire Legrand*

Fave YA Contemporary:

How to Make Friends With the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow

How to Make Friends With the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow

Fave YA High Fantasy:

Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto

Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto*

Fave YA Retelling:

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

Fave YA Thriller:

Heartstream by Tom Pollock

Heartstream by Tom Pollock

Fave Feminist YA:

Queen of Ruin by Tracy Banghart

Queen of Ruin by Tracy Banghart*

Fave Adult High Fantasy:

Holy Sister by Mark Lawrence

Holy Sister by Mark Lawrence*

Looking Back Over 2019's Reading

As I changed the focus of the blog a few months ago, I also stopped tracking the things I used to track, as well as trying to complete my reading goals. They just didn't make sense any more, especially as I wasn't reading as much, and was no longer as interested in what I was reading. I think for the most part, I do pretty well when it comes to reading diverse books now, compared to when I first started setting myself diverse reading goals, which I'm really happy about.

The one thing I did continue to keep track of was where books were set and where authors are from and based (some have moved country), because I find it really interesting to see the correlation, and whose authors I'm reading.

Where Books Are Set Pie Chart

Where Authors Are From Pie Chart

Where Authors Are Based Pie Chart

So I'm reading mostly SFF, and books by authors from or based in the US.

Looking Back Over 2019's Blogging

So Once Upon a Bookcase saw a big shift this past year. I changed its focus from a book blog to a more personal blog with a hint of lifestyle, and I took the pressure off in regards to always posting. I realised that blogging was actually taking away from other things I enjoy doing, so I started blogging less often, and doing more things I enjoy. I want to kind of keep that up; while I don't want weeks going by without anything but book reviews, I don't want to feel like I have to be posting all the time, and therefore spend all my time off work trying to get out new content. I used to spend so much time thinking about what I could write about next in regards to discussion posts, and then, after the change, in regards to what aspect of my life or interests I next write about. I don't want to feel like I have to be "on" all the time with regards to the blog. So this little step back was good for me. I plan to continue it in 2020, but I have plans for the blog, too. I adore writing, so I won't be scaling it back too much.

As a recap, you can now find posts on Once Upon a Bookcase on art, musical theatre, health (mental health and migraines) and well being, and witchcraft, as well as books.

2020 Goals and Challenges

Here's what I'm hoping to achieve, and read, over the next year.

General Reading & TBR Goals

Most of these are a repeat of last year's, but with some removals and some additions.
  • Continue to cull my books. I managed to get rid of so many this year, but there are still more that need to go. It's just a matter of timing and when I can have someone drive me around with boxes of books for donation. 
  • Try not to add too many bought books to the TBR, and be very selective about those I do acquire.
  • When requesting eProofs, don't request everything that takes my fancy. Only request those books I know I will definitely read. Only those books I think sound amazing, not those that I think sound interesting.
  • Only request physical copies of books when I can't get them on NetGalley. And then, only for books I desperately want to read.
  • Try to read more books on your Kindle than physical copies. Should work out ok if I follow the above goals.
  • Read what I think I'll enjoy.
  • Don't put too much pressure on myself to read everything.
  • Track the source of the books I read, as well as where books are set, and where authors are from and based.
Reading Challenges

Even though the blog isn't going to focus solely on books, reading is still a big part of my life, and I really enjoy reading challenges, so I've signed up for a few for 2020. I'm focusing on challenges around books I really want to read more of, genres or types of books that I really enjoy (especially after a load of pretty disappointing books this year).

You can see my progress in all the challenges I'm taking part in here (where all hosts are credited), but I'm taking part in the 2020 Retellings Reading Challenge, the 2020 Swords and Stars Reading Challenge, and the 2020 Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge, because I adore retellings, am really in a high fantasy mood, and definitely want to read more exciting mysteries and thrillers!

And just for fun, I'm taking part in two general reading challenges for books that fit certain categories - What's in a Name? Challenge 2020 and While I Was Reading's 2020 Reading Challenge.

Once Upon a Bookcase in 2020

I do have some plans for the blog for 2020. There are a couple of personal posts about myself and my writing that I have planned for early next year (hopefully January, but we'll see how busy I am), which I'm really looking forward to. They'll really take Once Upon a Bookcase in the much more personal direction I really planned. You'll definitely get to know me as a person better. I definitely also have plans to discuss my other hobbies. I've touched on a few so far this year, but there are more things I'm interested in that I want to share with you all.

I'm also have a new series in the works. I most definitely want to talk more about witchcraft, as it's quite a big part of my life now, but I'm still learning, and I'd rather write posts about it that I'm sure of - I'll leave the experimentation and writing through my thoughts around things to my grimoires, until I'm more certain. However, what I'm super looking forward to is a new series where I interview independent online store owners who either own witchy shops - selling witch services or magical products - or shops that sell products witches purchase. I'm really, really looking forward to this. I've come into contact with so many kind and generous people in the community, and I really want to give back - plus also learn more about the products and the owners themselves. It's still in it's planning stages, but I've got five store owners on board so far, so it'll be happening!

Over to you graphic

So that's been my 2019 in reading and on the blog, and what will be happening in 2020! How was your 2019 for reading and/or blogging? What were your favourite books of the year? What are your plans for next year? Let me know in the comments!

And Happy New Year to you all! Hope you have a fantastic night, and 2020 is a joyous, healthy and prosperous year for you!

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1 comment:

  1. My 2019 was stressful but I can I did enjoy a lot of things especially creating art, writing fiction, blogging and reading even though I had read very little this year.

    One of my goals and one that I'm certain I will be doing is reading more on my Kindle as well. I'm also getting rid of lot of paper books to remove some of the clutter. I find I like more spaces and less material things.

    Good luck with your plans. Have a great new year!