As this year comes to an end, the question is…
How was 2021?
These are my personal opinions. I do not expect anyone to agree with anything here, and in fact, I’m certain that many will disagree and/or even hate many of the things I’ve written below. Sorry about that, but you are always welcome to express your own opinions – be they contrary or comparable – in the comments section. So, with that out of the way… let the controversy begin!
What made me think about this topic?
When you begin to see all of the best of lists and memes for the year popping up, you start to take stock of the year in general, and I’m sure many (if not all) of us are thinking about overviews of 2021 as the year draws to a close.
It has been a very strange year for me, both personally and as far as my blogging and reading is concerned.
On the Personal Level:
Obviously, this second year of this virus has been disheartening for us all, but then we started getting vaccinated (I’m fully triple jabbed, and willing to get a fourth booster, or more), so that was good. But then, this new omicron variant came in and we can only hope that it will be less deadly than delta (see how quickly we learn the Greek Alphabet).
Last December, I moved into a new apartment (flat, for my British friends), which was absolutely wonderful. For the first time in my life, I finally have a kitchen big enough to work in properly, and although I didn’t design all of it, it is pretty close to what I’ve always wanted. Plus, the place came with a dedicated parking space (city dwellers will get how great that is), and is in an elevator building (people of a “certain age” will understand the importance of this). So that’s a good thing (and more about this later).
Unfortunately, there were some really terrible things that happened as well, but I’d prefer not to detail them here (just know that I’m getting help to cope with these upheavals in my life. I’ll be fine… I take it one day at a time. Plus, for the most part, I am healthy, and trying to stay that way).
Public Service Announcement: PLEASE get Vaccinated and Boosted!
As a Blogger:
At the outset of this year, I decided to stop following so many book blogs. I was getting close to 800, and getting hundreds of emails about new posts every day. Well, that was untenable, so I stopped following a bunch of bloggers. These were mostly people who focused only on books in genres I absolutely NEVER read, or bloggers who weren’t reviewing so much as just giving us a summary of the story and something about the author. Mind you, there were quite a few exceptions to that rule (for bloggers who I’ve come to like through contact with them, even if our tastes vastly differ), so I still get nearly 100 emails a day. That’s mostly manageable (but beware… I’m still culling my subscription list).
In addition, it seems to me that there have been a whole lot of changes happening that were beyond my control. When I first started blogging, NetGalley was great about giving me ARCs, and I had to struggle to get to an 80% read/reviewing level. Then NetGalley realized I’m not in the US/Canada, the UK, or any of the other “normal” countries, and they started making most of the books on their site unavailable for me to request, and only able to wish for them (that’s how I got to 97%). Well, their wishes never seemed to come true. So, I became more involved with Edelweiss, and lo and behold, the approvals started to come back.
However, both of these sites have changed (again) recently. On NetGalley all of the “wish for it” buttons seem to have disappeared, but at the same time, I saw that I could request all the books on their site again. However, now if a book isn’t for an international reviewer like myself, the book just doesn’t appear on the site for me at ALL. With Edelweiss, I’m now noticing that I’m not getting as many approvals as I used to, but I’m also not getting denials, either. Books that were open on my requests list lose their “pending” status, and/or just disappear from my open list altogether! This happens mostly when the publication date has passed, so I’m guessing that they passively denied me the ARC (not nice. If you don’t want me to read your book, just say so). This also impacts me…
As a Reader:
Now I’m fully retired, totally unpacked, and settled into my new place, with bookshelves that have been carefully curated. So this year, I put my Goodreads reading goal at my age (64). Well, I’ve surpassed that goal, and I’m pretty proud of this. Sure, I did read some shorter books, but I also read some HUGE ones as well. Considering that before I retired I struggled to fit in 30 books a year, I think I have something to be proud of, don’t you? Remember, I have mild dyslexia, which makes me a slower than average reader.
In addition, financially, I’m doing okay, and I’m seeing that I can afford to spend money on new print books (I try to reserve my Kindle for ARCs, unless there’s a great deal on for a book I’ve been wanting to read for a while). Mind you, that means that I’m going to have to do more curating of books on my brand new shelves, since already I’m finding the (small to begin with) empty spaces beginning to fill up! Ah, the troubles of readers, right?
Let’s hope for a bit more stability for 2022, because all told, this year has been a real…
There you have it!
So… what about you?
How was your 2021, as a person, as a reader, and as a blogger?
This post is my 14th entry in the 2021 Discussion Challenge, hosted by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction and Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight!