2016 is officially over. Thank goodness.
This years had it ups and its downs (very oh-so-deep downs.) However, through it all, I kept reading and writing. Not to mention, this is the year I started blogging! So in this (longish because hey, it was a long year!) post, I’m going to focus on the positive: Literature!
Okay, so for maybe the first time ever, I completed a New Year’s resolution: Read 52 books. I tried to read a little bit of everything. Here’s how I did:
Now, because I like talking about books, I am going to host a mini awards ceremony for the books I read.
Without further ado, here’s the official rankings for 2016:
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
I wanted to like this book. I really did. But I just didn’t enjoy it. I wanted it to have a thicker plot. I wanted to care more about the characters. I wanted the book to have a satisfying ending. But, as this book loves to remind us, we don’t always get what we want. I understand, to some degree, why it’s a classic, but it just wasn’t for me.
The Girl Who Saved The King Of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson
This book had me CACKLING. I couldn’t put it down. It’s perfectly whimsical and was just the thing I needed to get me out of a reading slump. This book didn’t change my life, but it made me smile- a lot. And when I read it, that was what I needed. This book invites you to take a break from reality for a while and I’d highly recommend accepting.
A Doll’s House by Henrick Isben
GAH. This book is the perfect feminist, plot-twisting, complex creation. I’m so happy I read this. I never anticipated the turns the play took and Nora is one of the most interesting characters I met over my year’s reading. I hated her, loved her, and by the end of the play, found massive respect for her. The last few pages of this play make it all worth it. if you’re looking to read a classic play, start here.
Come, Thief by Jane Hirshfield // Edna St. Vincent Millay
There’s a tie for this one. I just couldn’t choose between Come, Thief and Millay’s poetry.
Come Thief: Wow, I can’t believe I only read this collection this year! I feel like I’ve known Jane my entire life. Her poems are intimate, thought-provoking, and starkly beautiful. I believe she is the best ‘traditional’ poet of our generation.
Millay: I feel like Edna and I are friends. Millay had a fantastic grip on language, and her poems are witty, emotional, and gripping. She’s the perfect poet to read while snuggled under a blanket sipping hot chocolate.
Picture Of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde
This book really surprised me. It was beautifully written, and funny in all the ways I didn’t expect it to be. Dorian was obnoxious in the best way possible, and the world Oscar painted was vivid, inviting, and gruesomely terrible, all at the same time. Oscar Wilde is one of my new favorites.
Citizen by Claudia Rankine
If you have not read this book, go get yourself a copy RIGHT NOW. Citizen is easily the best book I read this year, and I am convinced that Claudia Rankine is the smartest person alive. This book is wondrously crafted and eye-opening. It weaves race, pain, and beauty together with its clever use of words and formatting. It redefines our idea of what poetry is. Claudia dubs it “An American Lyric,’ and nothing could be more accurate. This collection of poetry, images, and prose is the current song of our nation.
This was the year of editing.
If anyone else has tried to edit a first draft, you know that “This was the year of tears, doubt, and having a minor mental break down over whether or not that one minor character actually belongs in your story” is basically synonymous with my first sentence. I thought my writing would be a lot like this:
When it was really more like this:
However, I still managed to get some quality writing done.
- I finished the first draft of my novel– I started it in last year’s NanoWrimo, reaching 50,000 words, and then picked it up again in January, 2016. I wrote another 39,000 words this year. I officially finished the first draft the day before my birthday. It’s the first completed manuscript I’ve ever written!
- I started editing this book (Calling it ‘this book’ and ‘WIP’ because I am bad at titles) and rewrote about 30,000 words. This sounds simply but it really means I changed plot lines and chopped off useless characters, which I still feel vaguely guilty about, but you know how it goes: We must kill our darlings. I hope to finish my second draft by next December.
- I wrote a feature piece about a local coffee shop that was published!
- I wrote a lot of poetry. Some for a collection, some just for fun, and for some reason, a whole lot of haiku.
- Okay, big news: I finished my first ever journal. I love writing daily, but whenever I tried to journal, I’d flake out after a couple of pages. Most of my entries were apologies for not writing enough. But in my most recent journaling attempt, I forbid myself from writing ‘sorries,’ and it worked. I’ve kept a journal for the past two years, and a couple of days ago, I finally completed it.
- I completed a 5,000 word short story.
- Started a novel based on Emily Dickinson. (because I am obsessed with her.)
All in all, it was a fairly productive year! In 2017, I hope to finish the second draft of my WIP, finish a first draft of my new novel, continue working on my poetry collection, and start a new journal. Also, write more haiku, because at this point, I could do a collection of those.
In July, I started this blog. I then promptly forgot about it. (Oops.) I started seriously blogging in October, so I’ve officially been a blogger for about 3 months. In that time, I’ve achieved:
- 3,868 views
- 445 followers
- 1,270 visitors
- 15 Posts
My most popular post was about creating a NanoWrimo Survival Kit.
But these are all just numbers. They can’t describe what a warm and welcoming experience blogging has been for me. Everyone on WordPress has been so kind and supportive. Thank you for being the awesome people that you are. Here are a few of the bloggers who made 2016 amazing. Some of them I’ve talked too, others I’ve just really enjoyed reading:
Lady Literary | My Bookish Life | Mind The Dog Writing Blog | Queens and Cupcakes | The Artistics | A Writer’s Faith | A Blogger’s Memo Pad | Hundred Acre Books | Day-Dreamer Night-Thinker | Elizabeth Rose
I’m looking for more extraordinary blogs to follow, so please leave recommendations in the comments below…or, you could take my survey! Please help me figure out how to make 2017 the best blogging year yet by honestly answering the questions below. If you leave your blog address, I’ll go say hi, but you can also submit it anonymously.