It’s going to be difficult to top 2016. It was the year the Book and Brew blog was established, the second year of book club, the year we shadow judged two literary prizes (I may have mentioned that previously?) and the year I blogged for Berwick Literary Festival.
So, how on earth can I top that? Well, I have a few ideas.
Read, review, write, repeat
Obviously, Book and Brew is fuelled by my love of books so I’ll be continuing to read and review a whole host of new and classic fiction.
As a NetGalley reviewer, I’ve been given access to some wonderful ARCs and will be sharing reviews with you before the novels hit the bookshops to inform your book-buying choices.
There are some pretty cool titles on my TBR for 2017 (and an equal number on my 2016 TBR that I’m yet to get to but will try, promise). The ones I’m most excited about are The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel (out in March), The Girl in the Garden by Melaine Wallace (out in January), He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly (out in May) and Eveningland, a short story collection by Michael Knight (out in March).
As well our monthly book club meetings and whichever literary prizes I choose to follow (or shadow if we’re lucky enough to do that again in 2017), there are plenty of books to keep me busy in 2017.
Learning and training
As you know, I’ve been pondering doing some creative writing for a while. I even considered doing an MA in the subject to brush up my knowledge and hone what meagre skills I have at the moment.
However, I’ve been doing a lot – A LOT – of thinking and I don’t think a creative writer is what I really want to be. What I really want to be is an editor.
I’ve harboured the desire to be a book editor for as long as I can remember. I pursued it after I graduated with an English Literature degree under my belt but, for various reasons that I won’t bore you with, it never happened and I ended up with a career in communications and marketing. After recently listening to a webinar about being an editor, it reignited my desire and I’m going to see what I can do about getting more involved in this world.
There are a few book editing courses that I’ve discovered (mostly in London without distance learning options – boo!) and, once I find the right one for me, I’ll be pursuing some training in the new year. I’m also going to cram my brain with all of the information I can about how the publishing industry works to grow my knowledge about the trade that intrigues me so.
The Full Works
2017 will see the launch of a new reading project called The Full Works. The task is to read the entire back catalogue – ie the full works – of an author within a year.
To kick me off, I’ll be delving into the bizarre and wonderfully strange world of Angela Carter.
I’ve loved Carter’s work since I read The Magic Toyshop at uni, going on to write about her exploration of feminism and fairy tales within her novels and poetry. She is a writer that has intrigued me, baffled me, shocked me, made me blush and made me roar with laughter, and I can’t wait to dive back in to her world.
And, as if my magic, the Royal West of England Academy is hosting at exhibition dedicated to the author herself. Strange Worlds: The Vision of Angela Carter is on until March and I’ve booked flights to Bristol on 22 January to check it out. I’m rather excited.
Feel free to join me on The Full Works challenge – I hope to reignite the love for Angela Carter and introduce her to readers who’ve yet to taste her delectable prose.
In the mood for a book
I’m setting up a new project to help readers find books to match their moods.
In the Mood for a Book is all about pairing books with emotions. Whether you’re feeling down and need a novel to help you wallow in your misery, want something to uplift you or just want some escapism, this project can help you.
Reading is such a special activity that supports and encourages good mental health. Our lives are so hectic now, packed with stresses and strains, that taking time out to read can be a lifeline for anyone drowning in day-to-day troubles.
I’ll be launching the first phase of the project in January and am looking for readers to help me build the database of mood-enhancing books. If you’d like to contribute, head here to share your recommendations.
Considering my New Year’s resolution is to stop taking on so much, I’m not doing too well, am I? Ah well, I love this stuff and it keeps me creative, sane and out of trouble.
I hope you’ll join me in 2017 to take part in these new projects or continue to follow the adventures of the Book and Brew book club.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me in 2016 – your retweets, comments, likes and shares really matter and every one of them is treasured.
Best wishes to you all and here’s looking ahead to a happy, healthy and wonderfully bookish 2017.