Why am I sharing my Top 10 Reads of 2016 now? In part because I never got around to doing it in late 2016 or early 2017. Why? Who can remember. I could blame it on the presidential election, which did throw me for a loop. More than anything, though, my own slothful blogging habits are to blame.
Before I get into this four year old list, I have some book blogging support to discuss and I set a public goal for myself (yikes!).
Bygone Bloggiesta Days
There used to be an event called Bloggiesta where book bloggers virtually got together to improve their blogs. That event often help nudge me into doing some blog housekeeping and I always learned a thing or two. There are so many things to tinker with on a blog. Some fun, some nerve wracking. Others are just time consuming tasks that bloggers put off for some fairy-dusted future day when they have bot the time and the desire to work on things.
Blogging From A to Z Challenge
Karen of BookerTalk ran a series last month called the “A2Z of Book Blogging” to help book bloggers improve their blogs. You can check out Karen’s excellent book blogging advice HERE.
She’s motivated me to start cleaning house and sprucing up the nuts and bolts of my blog.
Old Drafts Are Like Dust Bunnies
One of the blog housekeeping chores I’m starting with is looking through my drafts. These are posts I started and never completed or published.
I currently have 89 drafts. The oldest has been collecting dust for ten years and the most recent are a few months old. They’re accumulating like dust bunnies. I feel a slight twinge of guilt each time I metaphorically walk past them and start a shiny new post.
My aim is to clean up these drafts and post them, or sweep them into the dust bin and move on. I have a feeling I’ll be deleting more than I post.
I’m giving myself a deadline for this task: July 4, 2020, Independence Day. By this date, all of the drafts will be either deleted or scheduled.
My Four-Year-Old List
As I started scrolling through the list of drafts, one of the titles that caught my eye was this Top Ten Reads of 2016. This wasn’t a draft I thought I’d share. I figured I’d delete it after looking to see what books I had listed. If any.
When I opened the draft, I was please to see I actually had listed my 10 books. Some drafts are just a headline with an image or one sentence. Hence, my prediction that I’ll be deleting more than I’ll be completing and sharing.
Finally, The List
Here’s the original draft content in blue:
It was a hard exercise to whittle down my 2016 reading to the top 10.
- Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue – Kathryn J. Atwood
- Laura – Vera Caspary
- Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi
- Shelter – Jung Yun
- The Mirror Thief – Martin Seay
- Black Deutschland – Darryl Pinckney
- And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie
- The Price of Salt – Patricia Highsmith
- The Bill Hodges Trilogy [Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers, End of Watch] – Stephen King
- A Great Reckoning – Louise Penny
So ends the original draft content.
What Do I Think Now?
2016 was an excellent reading year for me! I still remember each of these books fondly.
Of these 13 books (I obviously cheated by including a trilogy), the two that most deeply impacted me are Shelter by Jung Yun and Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.
These two novels are very different and also have much in common. Shelter is about one man’s struggle in life and with his parents and Homegoing is a multi-generational family saga that spans hundreds of years
Both novels are written by women born in other countries who grew up in the U.S. Yun was born in South Korea and grew up in North Dakota. Gyasi was born in Ghana and grew up in Alabama.
The stories they’ve written are about individual choices, family, home, longing, frustration. What it means to love and how outside forces can wipe away yesterday’s concerns making some things clearer and others more complicated.
Scenes and themes from both of these novels regularly pop into my head and they’re regularly on my mind to re-read.
To wrap up, I shared this list because these are all excellent reads. I’d write more about each book had I not gone on long enough already. Have you read any of these?
I also wanted to write about behind the scenes of blogging and my plan to deal with these old drafts. I think I’ve mentioned my old draft problem before. If not here, perhaps it was on social media.
If you’re a blogger, I’m curious: how many drafts do you have?
Great post! I have read the Stephen King, Louise Penny and Agatha Christie books but not the others. However, I do love the cover for The Price of Salt.
My drafts are stored on my computer and when I have tweaked them enough, I upload them to WordPress. Some sit there for awhile and others get posted same day. It certainly beats the boxes and boxes of old paperwork I have accumulated over the years 🙂
Enjoyed this little behind the scenes view Chris. I have 10 drafts but one of this is what I call my Sandbox post. It’s purely a place to try out new ideas for formatting and using images – I have marked it with a huge headline Not To Be Published just to prevent myself being embarrassed should I inadvertently push the publish button!
I’ll look forward to finding out what you rescue from your drafts – the headline might give you an idea for a totally different topic…
Love the idea of a sandbox post. I’m going to implement one of those myself. Rather amazed that you have only 9 drafts.