The Year in Review: ‘Riting and Randomness, 2009

I “borrowed” this first line meme from Kristen at BookNAround – it suggests that taking the first line of the first post of each month of the year will make an interesting portrait of your blogging year. I guess it depends on how you define “interesting,” but let me know if you can spot a theme here. I don’t see one, other than the fact that several of my “firsts” were Weekend Assignments. However, you may notice that I was providing disclosure statements about my review books before all that FTC business got started…

January: I’m not a stickler for reading the book before I see the movie adaptation. (At the movies: “Marley & Me”)

February: I’m substitute-teaching “guest-professoring” another Weekend Assignment for Karen. (Weekend Assignment #253: Roughing It)

March: Thanks to Anna Jarzab of Authors on the Web for providing an Advance Reader Copy (ARC) of this book! (Book Talk: “True Colors,” by Kristin Hannah)

April: I’m the guest professor for the Weekend Assignment again this week, and when I gave Karen this topic suggestion, I already knew what my answer would be. (Wednesday’s Weekend Assignment: Best. Job. Ever.)

May: I try to mix nonfiction into my reading pretty regularly; in fact, I’m currently reading my third consecutive nonfiction book. (TBIF: Thank blog it’s Friday! 5/1/09)

June: I had heard of the annual Book Expo America conference and trade show before this year, but to my knowledge it was a book-industry thing not open to civilians. (It was not to BEA…but it was on Twitter!)

July: I already did the extra credit – that was yesterday’s post. (Weekend Assignment #273: Meaningful music(ians))

August: I know…you’re thinking, “Hasn’t she spent a whole week now talking about where she’s been?” (Where I’ve been, and where my books came from)

September: This review is based on an Advance Reader Copy (ARC) provided by the publisher via Trish at TLC Book Tours. (Book talk: “The Weight of Silence,” by Heather Gudenkauf)

October: Karen once worked for a travel agency, and travel is on her mind for this Weekend Assignment. (So far to go: a travel-themed Weekend Assignment (#286))

November: The Salon is on the short side this week – I think I’ve been in Readathon Recovery mode for most of it! (Sunday Salon 11/1 – “Did you change your clocks?” edition)

December: Welcome to a “less” edition of Ten Items or Less, bringing you tidbits and thoughts that don’t warrant a blog post of their own. (Tuesday’s special: Ten Items or Lessby the end of December, this would morph into the recurring feature Tuesday Tangents)

The only real “theme” I’ve been aware of in my blogging this year is that my content is becoming more focused on books and reading. Considering that I started blogging in the first place so that I could have a record of the books I read, I really can’t complain about that…and yet I’m going to, just a little bit. Despite the original inspiration, I’ve never really wanted this to be a single-topic blog.

While I feel very much at home in the book-blogging community, and with reading-related discussions – enough to self-identify as a “book blogger,” should anyone ask – there have always been, and will continue to be, posts here that have little or nothing to do with books. I’m still contributing to the LA Moms Blog and cross-posting content between this blog and that one, but the fact is that I have varied interests…and I only want to have one blog of my own, so it’s going to be a mixed-up place.

I published 318 posts here this year, counting this one. In September 2009, I hit the 1000-post milestone on this blog, and marked it with a roundup of my 10 most-popular (based on hits/visits) and 10 best-liked (personal favorite) posts from the preceding two and a half years. In that vein, here are 2009’s Top 5 most-visited posts (posted IN 2009, and NOT including giveaways), only one of which is book-related:

And my Top 5 10 personal favorites for 2009, including a couple of two-parters:

These brought reading and writing together in book-inspired commentary:

Getting back to the topic of “community” for a moment: I think it’s another theme. It’s one of the aspects of blogging that matters most to me, and it crosses between the virtual world and “real life.” It’s a big part of why I do my weekly link round-ups – to pass along interesting things to my readers, and to let the original writers know it made an impression by giving them some “link love.” For the last several months, I’ve been doing two round-ups most week – one drawn just from the book blogs I keep up with, and one from the variety of other blogs I read (I subscribe to a LOT of blogs). Community is one reason I’ve begun participating in reading challenges, and it’s the main reason I helped out with Weekly Geeks and Book Blogger Appreciation Week this year (and intend to be involved with both of them next year as well). Community is why I wanted to meet up with other Southern California book bloggers at the LA Times Festival of Books last April – and why I want to do that again in the spring of 2010. Community was one of my primary motives for going to the BlogHer’09 conference last July, and why I’ll be attending BlogHer’10 this coming August in New York City (where I hope book bloggers will be a bigger presence than we were last year – did you think I’d forgotten about that?)
Thanks for being part of my community this year, and for welcoming me as part of yours! Before we go off into the New Year, tell me about one of your highlights of 2009.

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  1. The first line meme is a great idea. I may have to try and work it in next year. I hope I remember!

    I've really enjoyed following your blog again this year, Florinda. I did notice that your content recently has skewed more towards books. I do enjoy your non-bookish posts too, so I look forward to whatever you decide to share with us.

    I am so glad we had the chance to meet this year and hope we'll be able to again this next year. It definitely was one of the highlights of the year. 🙂

  2. Wendy (Literary Feline) – I think I've been tweaking my primary blogger identity this year – and if that's as a book blogger, it seems that more of my content should reflect that. Since I'm never going to read and post reviews at the pace that some others do, the commentaries inspired by my reading have a fun way for me to work that content in, and I plan to keep it up. But there will always be non-book-related posts here too, no worries :-D!

    I'm very glad you're still a regular here, and I certainly hope we'll see each other again IRL in 2010!

    Lenore – As long as I have time to keep up with blog-reading – which is sometimes the tricky part – the link roundups will continue. I really enjoy doing them, so it's always good to know people like reading them too!

  3. I LOVE reading these year in posts. It seems like you had a great reading year with several book that I know I enjoyed as well. Glad to see you liked 19th Wife (on my 2010 list)….Hope that you have a Happy and Healthy New Year. May all they books that your read in 2010 be terrific.

  4. I struggle with the balance between book posts and regular joe stuff myself because like you, I never intended for my blog to become a one topic blog. Frankly I'm too lazy to maintain more than one but that's probably not your reasoning! 😉 And I too have seen my blogging get more and more bookish this year. Yes, I consider myself a book blogger as well but for me, part of being a book blogger is really sharing who I am outside of my book reviews with my readers, especially since who I am there so heavily influences my book choices. Oddly enough, I don't share like this in my real life (and a couple friends read the non-bookish posts just to get an inkling about what's going on in my head despite seeing me almost daily) but I find I need a safe place to let it out. Anyway, that's my usual long-winded way of saying that I, for one, enjoy the non-book posts intermixed with the book posts. It helps me feel as if we are actually friends who share stuff and therefore makes me feel more communal. So I guess it's all wrapped up together for me and that's one of the reasons I enjoy your blog so much.

  5. Marie – I may try to give a little more thought to my first post of each month, if I'm going to do this at the end of the year. I did for my 1/1 post, anyway. I'll probably forget by March :-).

    Kristen – Actually, "too lazy to maintain more than one blog" IS part of my reasoning! (I contribute to a few others, but only want sole responsibility for one.)

    I like the way you define what being a book blogger means to you, and I can relate to that. My book posts always have a subjective element – it really can't be separated out, for me. And I don't think I'd want it to be. I'm also more open on my blog than I am with most people in person – I've always been more comfortable with expressing myself in writing.

    Seems like we have a lot in common :-)! And don't worry; I'm quite sure this blog will always be a mix.