Friday, December 31, 2021

Reading in 2021. Not the same. And a #mustreadin2021 update - 12.31.21

 2021 started out with so much promise.  I really thought this was the year that was going to push us past the pandemic.  Yeah.  That didn't work out so much.
When the pandemic started I thought a lot about what blogging was going to look like.  Ultimately, I decided to continue blogging because it was a way to feel normal, as well as help authors and publishers with getting titles out there.
I did notice my reading changed at the start of the pandemic.  I started reading more young adult than middle grade.  I don't ultimately know why - I needed a change?  Something that felt so different?  At any rate, I continued to read steadily through the early months, especially into the summer.   Once school started and we moved to a remote setting, my reading was interrupted, but again, once I got my footing, I was able to continue.
At the start of 2021, reading was definitely slower than pre-pandemic times, but I had a flow.  When I think about life March 2020-March 2021, there was a lot of home time.  We really did not do much.  My daughter had swim practice regularly, but being home from school and not going anywhere else allowed time for books.  April of 2021 gave us our first time for travel.  We had to travel for my daughter's first round of Paralympic Trials.  The travel was fine because again, really didn't go anywhere outside of our Airbnb.  The swimming did not go well.  From April to June (official Trials), things got a little more intense with swimming so reading slowed down.  Once she officially made the Tokyo team, I had the rest of June to live the dream.  That tension was off, school was done, and I made great headway into my reading piles.  
Then came July and if you didn't hear the screeching of the breaks to my reading game, well, I'm surprised.  Training was crazy. By the time August hit, between training and Tokyo prep, there was so little time to do anything.  And school was starting.
School 2021.  Even more different than school 2020.  You would think since we were back full time in the classroom it would be back to normal.  We all know that was silly to even think that.  I'm so grateful that in IL we are mandated to wear masks and have some distance.  Our school is even tested (optional) once/week through the Univ of IL Shield test.  But even with mitigations, it's so not normal.  And it's so stressful.  Reading?  Ha.  What's that?
Did I mention we also went through an entire first floor, leading up to the second floor renovation?  Because that wouldn't be any stress??
And now my daughter is a junior in high school, returning to school for the first time in 18 months, and having to go to classes, deal with COVID 19, pretend that isn't happening and keep up with all learning expectations, and figure out college, because shocker, that doesn't just fall in your lap.
A few weeks into the school year and I knew something had to give.  I couldn't keep it all up.  
So away went blogging.  I miss it.  But here's the other problem to that, blogger keeps changing what it allows and the newest thing is it took awhile subscribing by email.  So if you got this, thank you for subscribing awhile ago, because that is no longer an option.  I'm trying to figure out a new platform, but seeing as my technology goes no further than being fancy enough to use different fonts, setting up a blogging platform can be tricky.  Still working on that.  I'm looking into different options, but I still think it will end up as a summer project.
For the rest of 2021 I read what I could and was just satisfied with what I could do.
That means the stacks piled up, but I just look the other way.
Every year I keep track on Goodreads the number of books I've read.  Since I started keeping track in 2014, this will be the second lowest number of books read in a year.  In fact, I'll have read over 100 books less than I did last year.  I knew it was less but I was pretty surprised to see the actual number.

One of the reading communities I participate in is the #mustread community.  Late last year I chose books that are written by BIPoC authors.  Given how the start of 2021 began, these are books that need to be read and shared widely.  I started out well, but as my reading tapered, so did this list.  These are still books I will get to, but not sure when!  Here is how I did:

One day I'll get to the others on this list!
I've spent the last few days thinking about 2022 and reading and blogging.  I'll share my thoughts on that soon!
In the meantime, stay healthy and well, and continue to find time to read!


  1. You're so right, Michele - everyone's reading lives have been changing. This holiday break, I've set a goal of sitting down with a book and cup of tea every afternoon/evening, even just for a half hour. So far, I've not been meeting that goal!
    Who knows what the rest of this winter will be like, let alone the rest of 2022. I'm looking forward to hearing your take on things!

  2. Michele, it's nice to hear from you, and I'm so sorry that this year has been so chaotic, especially reading-wise! I can imagine that your daughter literally preparing for the Paralympics would have made for chaos, and trying to take care of her as she deals with COVID in school while you're *also* dealing with COVID in school seems so difficult. And renovating your house probably doesn't reduce the chaos much (at least in the short-term—it will be amazing in the long-term!). Your progress on #MustReadin2021 is awesome—those are some excellent books, and you read a lot of them! I think you're doing really well, considering how much you're also dealing with—reading less is worth keeping the rest of life going!

    Also, it might say something about me that I am ALWAYS glad to rant about how infuriating Blogger is, but whatever—Blogger is infuriating!! I mean, seriously, they have an email subscription service that the entire platform relies on, and then they're just like, "Hey, by the way, we're getting rid of this with no replacement, don't hate us, thanks." It's so ridiculous. And it's bizarre, because the whole point was that they were going to get rid of it in July...and I'm still getting FeedBurner emails in December?! Why get rid of the subscription form if you aren't actually going to get rid of the emails?! It's unbelievable. I will say, I know a lot of bloggers stayed on Blogger and used to set up email subscriptions (I use Mailchimp, but honestly, seems like a better option now that I know about it). And also, I'd like to think that I am semi-knowledgeable about some of the options, so if you ever need any tech help or advice, feel free to let me know in my comments, and I can see it and reply!

    Sorry for all the rambling, but I basically just want to say that even if you haven't been able to push through reading, you've been able to push through the chaos of LIFE, and that's what counts! I appreciate your post, and I hope 2022 is a less stressful year for you!