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Saturday, 2 January 2016

Looking Forward in 2016

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Happy New Year to all the readers of The Book Zone, and as ever huge thank you for your continuing support and kind words in your emails and comments. These have been especially meaningful to me over the past year, as 2015 was a very difficult year for me as far as The Book Zone is concerned, and my feelings border on shame when I look back at how few posts I wrote. Work pressures feel like they have increased exponentially over the last eighteen months or so, and this blog has been the main casualty of this. When I started The book Zone it pretty much took over my life, and I devoted huge amounts of time to reading the books I was sent, writing reviews and other features, and planning other posts. Sadly, I have not had the time or the energy to sustain this level of service, but I am definitely going to try harder in 2016.

2015 hasn't all be doom and gloom though. February saw the launch of Middle Grade Strikes Back, a project I had been mulling over for some time, and the support it received from the very beginning was pretty overwhelming. MGSB is now ticking over quite nicely, and there are some exciting things coming to it in 2016, so please keep your eyes peeled.

Anyway, enough moaning, this post is very deliberately titled Looking Forward in 2016, and I have a handful of blog/reading-related goals and ideas I want to achieve over the next twelve months:

1. Write more reviews

I've said this before, and little has changed since, but I really struggle to write short, to the point reviews. I always start off with good intentions, but then the verbosity somehow takes over and I end up spending far more time than I should, so instead of getting three reviews scheduled I end up using up my daily word quota in just one review. This. Has. To. Change! I have an idea of how I might do this, but if any of you have any golden nuggets of advice then they would be very gratefully received.

2. Read more non-fiction

I have never been a huge reader of non-fiction, but in recent months I have read and enjoyed several of the many non-fiction titles that have been languishing unread on my shelves for some time. Although I am not generally a fan of biographies (I am told that I am not nosy enough) I loved Felicia Day's You're Never Weird on the Internet, and Dave Haslam's Adventures on the Wheels of Steel was another hugely enjoyable read. With this in mind, my Christmas wishlist had more non-fiction books on than ever before (and no fiction or graphic novels for once) and so I have a nice pile to look forward to over the coming months.

3. Be more adventurous with my reading

I find it far too easy to read within my comfort zone. I love reading middle grade fiction, certain YA, and the type of adult thriller written by the likes of Chris Kuzneski, Andy McDermott et al. I also read a lot of comics and graphic novels (and in 2015 reread all of the Tintin books... again!). In 2015, I started to dip my toe in genres that I have long neglected by reading books that, like the non-fiction, have been sat gathering dust for too long. I finally got around to reading This Book is Full of Spiders, the sequel to David Wong's fabulous John Dies At The End, as well as Wong's almost-equally-as-enjoyable Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits, and I also took great pleasure in re-reading The Lies of Locke Lamora. I have resolved to read (for the first time) the next two books in the Gentleman Bastards sequence before The Thorn of Emberlain is published in June, and I would also like to read more adult fantasy and science fiction in 2016, either classics of the genres or the more recently published. I also want to read a handful of Doctor Who novels this year - I am a lifelong lover of the show but have not read much at all since the Target novelisations of the 70s and early 80s. More about this in my first review of the year, coming Monday.

4. Launch my next big idea for The Book Zone

I have an idea for a big new feature for The Book Zone, but it will take quite a bit of work to get it up and running. I am determined to find the time in the next moth or so to get this started, as it fits my blog's ethos perfectly. Please watch this space!

And that's it. Four goals, that I think should be manageable. Here's hoping for a much more productive year ahead!



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