2016 Year in Review

It’s that time of year where we assess what this year has composed for us, and how we’d like to improve on this year’s failings.

For me, I feel I’ve improved on life and maturity, outside circumstance notwithstanding.

Reading

I’ll refer to my Want-to-Read list back from January.

As far as reading goals go, it’s been rather disappointing, as you will see:

  1. Consider Phlebas (Culture #1) by Iain M. Banks. I’ve heard so many great things about this author (apart from his tome-length novels). The Algebraist was on my list for the longest time, but upon further research, I hear the Culture series is a good start for the Banks newb.
  2. The Source of Magic (Xanth #2) I read the first book of this series, Spell for Chameleon in the last quarter of 2015, and it was such a fun read. Anthony Piers is witty (nevermind his social status) and a very easy and fun read.
  3. Yendi (Vlad Taltos #2) I read the first book of this series, by Steven Brust, a number of years ago. He has an addictive writing style and I’ve been meaning to finish this series eventually.
  4. To Light a Candle (#2), by Mercedes Lackey
  5. Hyperion, by Dan Simmons
  6. Elantris, by Brandon Sanderson (to analyze his first published novel)
  7. The Eternal Champion, by Michael Moorcock
  8. The Sword of Shannara, by Terry Brooks (my first Brooks novel)
  9. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A Heinlein
  10. The Gambler, by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  11. Bleak House, by Charles Dickens
  12. Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte
  13. The Eternal Husband, by Fyodor Dostoevsky (Apart from his Diaries, this will complete my Dostoevsky library of all his novels)
  14. The Burning Land (#5) by Bernard Cornwell
  15. Middlemarch, by George Eliot
  16. Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray
  17. Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott
  18. Emma, by Jane Austen
  19. The Girl Who Played with Fire (#2), by Stieg Larsson

Well, doesn’t look like I made much progress, though I did read a total of 35 books this year. The classics didn’t get much attention this year, unfortunately. My stats on Goodreads are here, if you’re interested.

My favorite book of the year, not besides the fact that it was my most recent read, was Shadow of the Wind by Zafron. If it could be made into a mini-series like Norrell and Strange, that would really make my day. Ben-Hur and Elantris certainly took #2 and #3 of my top favorites for 2016, and my least favorite books would be The Raven Boys, Wuthering Heights, and Consider Phlebus. Apart from the last one, those books were entirely overrated. The Raven Boys read too desperately and hormonal, while Wuthering Heights was a slog to get through, and I couldn’t empathize with any of its characters.

Writing

This year, I wrote 2.9 novellas. The 0.9 would be from NaNoWriMo where I still have the final chapter or two lingering. Well, at least ~60k works, it isn’t quite a novella, but it needs major trimming and rewriting in the middle section. I’m not happy at the character’s turning point scene, so it will need to be reworked. This is probably why I’m procrastinating on getting back to it after November’s marathon. This is one of the few stories of mine that write itself, but it’s plagued by month(s) long stints of stagnation, and it perpetually haunts me without fail.

Life

Personally, situations have improved… people, specifically family members, have shown their true colors… it’s been a year of personal development and relationship revelations. Some for worse, some for better.

This year, I’ve played way too much Candy Crush, learned lots of new recipes, got two new kittens to make a total of 3 familiars in my home, made some new friends both virtually and vis-a-vis, so consequently learning a little more about what friendship is (and isn’t), thereby closing the chapter on those who’ve gone their own ways, actually managed to achieve some sort of savings account, and spent this year being the best person I can be. There is always a lesson to be learned, a silver lining to be seen, and not enough time in the day to achieve all I want to achieve. Time is precious, and fleeting.

The older I get, the fast time flies by. In my younger days, activities always took quicker than anticipated. Nowadays, activities take so much longer than anticipated. It’s a bit frustrating.

Aspirations

I’d like to spend my time more wisely in the coming year.

I’d like to spend more time on self-improvement, and less on worrying about what other people think.

I’d like to ration my writing time equally throughout the year, rather than binge-writing on two CampNano’s, as well as NanoWriMo, then suffering a month or two long writing burnout post Nano.

I’d like to teach my oldest daughter more extracurricular activities such as art, playing piano, or writing. Something creative.

For 2017, I’d like to achieve to attain more patience than ever before. I like to think of myself as easy-going and lackadaisical, but in certain aspects of my life, I know I am far from being that.

 

Come 2017, I’d like to make a list of to-read books, as well as be more personal on this blog. I’d like to keep it on the formal side of things, but change the tone here a bit. This self-imposed urge to keep this blog strictly for how-to-write/educational purposes has kept me reticent of writing here as often as I’d like to. I want to provide something useful and informative, but due to my frequent bouts of introversion and feeling useless to fellow writers, I remain silent. The next blog post will hopefully be more specific in these aspirations.

I’m looking forward to everyone’s New Year’s Resolutions posts!

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7 responses to “2016 Year in Review

  1. So, less Candy Crush for 2017, I’m guessing? 😉 I know the feeling, though; I’m going to have to shut off the Bejeweled Blitz habit that I developed over the holidays.

    But on a more serious note, it sounds like 2016 gave you a lot to ponder and learn, and you want to make the best of all that in 2017. I also liked your goal of getting your daughter involved in more creative activities. Does she do anything creative now, or are you hoping to expand her horizons?

    I’m hoping to read Elantris this year. “Hoping” is the key word, of course… because SO MANY BOOKS. XD :S

    Here’s to a happy, healthy, and productive 2017 for you and your family, Jessica. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • So far, doing good on the Candy Crush thing! But then again, it’s only day 4 into the year.

      My daughter actually wrote me a short story for Christmas! She also loves art and messing around on the keyboard, so her creative juices are definitely flowing. I’m hoping to give her a more formal education as far as the art or music is concerned. Writing — well, that goes hand in hand with her language arts grade 😉

      Yes, so many books!! I’m hoping for a goal of 30 books again this year, have you made a Goodreads goal yet? You won’t regret Elantris, that I can assure you. I’m hoping to get to the Way of Kings by Sanderson this year, but ~1,200 pages… So I chose the Grace of Kings by Lui to read first. ~600 pages isn’t so bad, right? A reply on Twitter by the author definitely nudged me in his direction, of course *squee!*

      Thank you so much for your well wishes. Also wishing you and yours the very best for 2017! I’ll see you over at your blog!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Same here with Bejeweled. 😉

        Awwww, that’s so sweet about the short story from your daughter. And yeah, it definitely sounds like she’s found her creative muse, so I bet she’ll love being exposed to more art forms.

        I don’t really do goals on Goodreads, but if I’m close to the same number of books I read last year (58), I’d be happy with that.

        Let me know what you think of The Grace of Kings. That one has been on my radar, too, after all the good things I’ve heard about it.

        Liked by 1 person

        • 58 books, wow! That’s awesome! Maybe you can get to 60 this year. You do have a long plane flight coming up, after all..!

          And I’ll definitely let you know about Grace of Kings. I’m about 100 pages into it now, and so far, it’s very good, though I can see how some may find it a little dull at first. It reads like those 3 hour Chinese epic films — I enjoy them, but some find it too slow or artsy. But for me, the longer it takes to read a book, the better! Spending more time with a good book is always a great thing 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • Ha ha, I don’t know about that. I actually can’t read for more than an hour at a time, or else my eyes start crossing. :S But I’ll definitely bring a book or two along for the trip!

          Liked by 1 person

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