Friday, January 02, 2009

Looking Backward and Forward: Resolutions Made and Kept

I had no plans on making any resolutions for 2009 and I completely forgot about the ones I made for 2008 until I read Larry’s post about his resolutions. I'm convinced that I blogged about my 2008 resolutions, but if I did, I can't find it.

Read 10 Short Story Collections: Accomplished. 14 Collections. I made a point to read more single author collections last year and given that I was able to work my way through most of the World Fantasy Award nominees for Collection, it was easy to keep up with collections. I would like to keep this number fairly consistent for 2009.

Read 10 Anthologies: Failed. 7 anthologies. I started out strong, but there was always another novel which I wanted to read and anthologies slipped down my priority list. Also, I did not read as many of the World Fantasy Award nominated anthologies as I had planned / wanted. Had I done so I would have met this goal. So, once again I would like to read more anthologies. I think I’ll be able to pull this off and I plan to make a point of it. More anthologies. There are several anthologies I have in mind already for 2009.

Read 4 Philip Roth Novels: Epic Fail. 0 Novels. Didn’t even crack one. I have The Dying Animal out from the library, own Operation Shylock, and there are several I intend to read in 2009. It’s not an official goal (as I don’t have official 2009 goals), but I hope to read at least a couple Roth novels.

Read 10 Terry Pratchett Novels: Quit. 0 Novels. I've read 14 Discworld novels, but I came to a realization midway through the year – More often than not, Discworld is a chore to read. The thought of reading a new Discworld novel exhausted me. Yeah, there is some good stuff in there and I’ve enjoyed several, but Discworld has consistently been more work than I feel it is worth. I’ll miss Death, but Discworld is right out.

Over the last two months I feel as if my reviewing has slacked off a bit. I have a really good explanation in terms of “personal reasons”, but I don’t think it really holds water. I just haven’t sat down to write the reviews. Now, I don’t plan to review absolutely everything I read, but if I don’t do a full on review I’d like to at least do short blurbs on what’s going on. Besides, I do want just review more. There will be some exceptions to this as some of what I read will be committed to review elsewhere (yay!) and as these are short format reviews I do have permission to do full reviews here, but I don’t really see me doubling up on those books. I’ll link them up when available, though. Other fuller reviews will be delayed as I intend to still submit reviews to Strange Horizons and The Internet Review of Science Fiction. If I get really ambitious I’ll throw something at Rain Taxi, but it would have to be the right book. I intend to find other markets for my reviewing, and hopefully at least one of those will work out.

To supplement the book reviewing, especially if I am able to place reviews at other markets, I want to talk more about short fiction again. That’s something else that fell off in 2008. It will pick up. I intend to do monthly roundups of the short fiction I read in the previous month, and perhaps some story reviews. Obviously the award seasons for the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards will bump these numbers, as will my collection / anthology reading, but I want to read more from the online ‘zines – especially some of those I previously neglected. Besides which, I have a couple of back issues of Asimov’s, four of Weird Tales, and I recently won a year’s subscription to Interzone. I may not be able to afford to subscribe to Weird Tales again, but I have quite a few magazines at home that really need to be read. I’m still debating whether I want to / can afford to throw $20 at Electric Velocipede for an outstanding offer (expires Jan 8) for a year’s subscription plus two Night Shade titles. It’s an awesome deal and I really like Electric Velocipede.

Not sure if I want to try to interview more authors in 2009. My interview with Nancy Kress could have been better (my fault), and I see ways I could have improved the Elizabeth Bear interview. Even over e-mail, interviews are something I really struggle with and I feel like I can’t do as good of a job as I want unless I’m intimately familiar with the author’s work. We’ll see. I know Larry has said in the past that he tries to do several rounds over e-mail so he can ask follow up questions and to improve the overall flow of the interview, so if I do try my hand at more of these, that’s a tactic I may want to employ.

As I said, I don’t have any official resolutions and this will be all about perception, but that’s what I would like to do in 2009 for the blog (and with reviewing in general).

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