A new blogging year

I wish you a fabulous New Year feast with all the food and friends you like best! Art by Carl Larsson

At the end of my fifth year of blogging here at The Emerald City Book Review, I’d like to express my gratitude to all the readers and bloggers I’ve interacted with over the years. You are too numerous to mention individually, but if you’re reading this, please know how thankful I am for your presence. It’s been great fun to share our mutual love of books, and this activity has even kept me going through some hard times in my life. You are some of the most interesting, thoughtful, and amusing people I’ve never met, and I’m so glad to have this virtual connection with you. Thank you! In 2019, I wish you all a year of wonderful reading and stimulating conversations.

As you may have noticed, I’ve started a new blog, Entering the Enchanted Castle — as if I didn’t have enough to do! — and I’ll be seeing if it works to continue running ECBR in parallel. My feeling is that I’ll bring this blog to a close when my hosting contract is up in July, but who knows? I may change my mind.

Regardless of how many blogs I keep going, I won’t stop writing about books — I just plan to do other kinds of posts as well under my new identity. And if this blog comes to an end, I’d like to put together a “Best of ECBR” volume in both PDF and print form. I would do this just for myself, but could also make it available (with a small fee for the printed version). Let me know if you’re interested.

In other year-end news, I need to check in on my challenges. I’m proud that I have nearly made it through the Les Miserables Chapter-a-Day Readalong. I did not always read just one chapter per day; especially as the year wore on, I tended to skip a few days or a week and then catch up, but I did keep up the pace overall. I’ll share my final thoughts tomorrow.

From my Classics Club list, I started off the year with the monumental, unabridged Don Quixote, Part I, and also enjoyed Herland, The Shuttle, Invisible Man, Uncle Silas, and The Left Hand of Darkness. I hope I can get through DQ Part II in the next year, and I’ll then have just seven more books to complete my target of fifty. It feels like yesterday that I started on this particular adventure — I can’t believe it’s almost over!

Don Quixote Reading by Adolf Schroedter

My progress on Reading All Around the World, on the other hand, was abysmal this year — I only read four books representing three different countries. I really want to do better on this challenge.

And my self-created list of Ten Books I Want to Read in 2018 was a total flop. I didn’t read a single one of them! I still want to, though … so I’ll just carry it over into 2019.

I did do well with my goal of only reading from my TBR pile for the first three months of 2018, and not acquiring or borrowing any new books during this time. I would like to do this again — even though it tends to have a rebound effect as I buy even MORE books once the ban is lifted. Still, it helped me get through some of the backlog.

How has your reading year gone? What are you looking forward to?

A New Blogging Year

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Happy New Year, everyone! After my holiday break, I wanted to take a moment to look back at how I did on the blogging goals I had for myself last year, and see what I want to add this year.


  • I added new monthly features: a Discussion post, a Wrap-up post, and a Link Love post that grew out of the wrap-up when it got too long. I’ve found all of these to be excellent ways to introduce different kinds of content and also to keep track of my own reading. I’ll definitely plan to continue them this year.
  • The monthly wrap-up posts encouraged me to stick with my goal of keeping records of every book I read this year. I tracked title, author, publisher, date, page count, and format. So far I’m too lazy to do spreadsheets or fancy statistics, but maybe I’ll get into that at some point. Now at least I know how many books I read in 2015! (140, in case you’re wondering.)
  • I completed the Back to the Classics challenge, reading one book from each of the twelve monthly categories. This added welcome scope and variety to my classics reading, and was a fun way to connect with others who love to read the classics.
  • This wasn’t a goal last January, but in the middle of the year I switched to self-hosted WordPress and can’t imagine doing without it now.
  • As the year went on I limited the ARCs I requested more and more. I’m going to try to continue to pare these down because although I like to present a mix of new and old titles on the blog, and I find it exciting to be part of the initial launch buzz for books I really love, having too many deadlines makes my reading feel like homework.


  • Having enjoyed the challenges on other blogs, I created my own year-long challenge for 2016, Reading New England, and now I have to keep up with it! I have so many ideas for books to read and places to visit that I know I won’t be able to fit them all into one year, but I’ll do my best. I’m also planning to do the Back to the Classics challenge and the Book Blogger Discussion challenge again.
  • Along with continuing to read classics, and exploring my usual favorite genres (historical fiction, fantasy, children’s books), I want to push myself into some areas that are not so congenial. I’d like to read some nonfiction about topics that scare me (like climate change, death, and the criminal justice system) and more edgy contemporary fiction, like the titles discussed at the Socratic Salon. I’ll hope to read at least three or four books from each category.
  • I not only want, but need to organize my blogging time better. If I blog every day it eats up all of my time because I enjoy it so much, but there are other things I ought to be doing! So I’m trying to limit my blog writing, reading, and commenting time to three days a week (to go with my usual posting schedule). Wish me luck.

What are your blogging goals for 2016? Is there anything you’re proud of achieving last year?