Here’s to 2020… and Adventures With Words 2.0!

This new year before me is going to a big one. Why? Because I say so. And it’s my blog, my reader’s life, my so-called writer’s life… and I can say things like that. That’s why.

I’m not renaming this blog or starting a new one, not even to add 2.0, because that just seems wrong after all the years as “Adventures With Words.” No, my history will still be here, warts and all. All the would-be themes that fizzled after a post or two, all the cringeworthy book reviews that I’d sometimes rather didn’t exist in the ether of the interwebs, and all the times I’ve posted about recommitting and being a better blogger and producing better content… only to say the same things two or three months later.

I do know I’ve made these promises before.

And I’m not saying I won’t ever make them again.

I probably will.

And that’s okay.

I’m saying that for the first(ish) time here and now.

All that being said, I am going into 2020 with far more blog plans than I ever had before. It’s almost like a New Year’s Resolution, but we’re not going to call it that because that’ll be the quickest way to bring on another self-deprecating post about recommitting. No, this isn’t a resolution. It is hopes and goals and, yes, even dreams.

It is what I want to do.

And I’m going to tell you about it.

Reading Challenges

Other than the Goodreads Reading Challenge (my goal will be to read 60 books, again), I’m not officially or strictly doing any reading challenges.


I have created a little ongoing challenge/test/research type thing-a-ma-jig in which I gathered up the Book Riot: Read Harder Challenge, the PopSugar Reading Challenge, and the Reading Women Challenge. Am I going to complete all three of those challenges? Heck no! What I am going to do is this…

I am going to read whatever I happen to read and, when I finish a book, I will go through the lists for each of those three reading challenges and see if the book fits anywhere.

Then, at the end of the year (who even am I doing a year-long thing like this?!?! a new me, that’s who!), I’ll tally up each one and see which I was most successful at. (Note: I have a goal of quarterly updates for them too.) And then, possibly, whichever I was most successful at in 2020, I will try and conquer fully in 2021.

The Books I’ll Read

This will probably change six or eight times, I’m sure, but it’s a plan I really would like to stick to because… well, in large part because I’m embarrassingly behind on my NetGalley ARCs, to the point of feeling very guilty – especially since my addiction to requesting new ARCs on NetGalley is real (I thought you got approved for less if you have a bad review ratio thingy?). I need to do better.

So, inspired by Natasha’s (she of myreadingisodd on YouTube) “TBR Star Jar,” I made origami stars for all my backlog of unread ARCs, for the books I’ve bought and haven’t read, and the books I really want to re-read. We’re not going to talk about how many stars I made because that’s just… shh. Because I’m more than a little bit extra at things like this, I marked the month and year (or just year if I couldn’t find the month) each book was published on the outside of the star.

With unread ARCs in mind, the plan is this:

  • Pull out all stars marked January, let’s say, and a twelfth of the books I have only years for.
  • Put a month’s worth of stars in a much, much tinier box then the other eleven months are in.
  • Read only books published in that month/from that box.
  • And, if it’s an ARC I slacked on, say “happy 2nd birthday! so sorry I missed the ones before!”

Good plan? I think so.

Being A Better Reviewer

I am my own harshest critic, I know that. And I know that’s a cliched thing to say but it’s true. I don’t feel like my reviews are always the best that they can be. I’ve tried too many ways of writing reviews. I need to streamline the process, at least some part of it. So, while I can’t control what I’ll actually have to say in each individual book review, I can fine-tune the things I rate books on.

And those will be these:

  • Readability … as in (1) did not finish, (2) finished & will unhaul, (3) finished & will keep to collect dust, (4) finished & may re-read again, (5) finished & will pester other people to read and will definitely re-read.
  • Whole Package … relating to cover & blurb & whole story as in (1) this was not the book I expected & I am annoyed, (2) flimsy covering for a flimsy story, (3) it’s a bit dinged up and questionable but fine, (4) I was told no lies and that works for me, (5) it’s like the best Christmas present ever, if wrapping paper were see-through and you could buy exactly what you wanted.
  • The Plot … (1) what plot?, (2) am I the odd one out to not like this plot?, (3) it took a few strange detours but I got there in the end, (4) good plot, probably a great plot for somebody else, (5) lordy, why didn’t I think of writing this amazing piece of genius?
  • The Characters … (1) who are you again?, (2) having trouble caring what happens to these people, (3) the sorts of people you meet four times and introduce yourself to every time, (4) the nice, solid friends/family/neighbors who you can count on in times of need, (5) people you’d fight for, people you know who fight for you.
  • The Details … (1) there are too many issues here, (2) it is solid, if not totally sturdy, (3) please tell this story in more/less words, (4) with a few minor adjustments, everything would be perfect, (5) nothing to complain about, everything is perfect.

And that’s my goal for book reviews.

The Blog Itself

Last but not least, we come to the oft mentioned trouble of content and consistency. This is where I always trip myself up with promises, so I’m going to hold back on some of the things. Suffice it to say, I do have a list of a themes and sections, playlists if you will, that I hope to work into something good here. It will change, of that I am sure, so maybe it’s best left unsaid just now.

And that about sums up my definitely not-New-Year’s-Resolution for my little corner of the world here at Adventures With Words.

What sorts of plans have you made for reading and reviewing and blogging this year? Let me know in the comments!

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