The Otissito Review

Month: February 2015

Total 2 Posts

Okay, It’s Time To Get Back To Business

Let’s be honest, I haven’t made any posts here that were very compelling since October, nearly a fourth of a year. All things considered, that’s probably not a wise way to go about keeping a book blog that for reasons I still don’t understand has a decent readership. I’ve probably lost at least a few loyal followers over the past three or four months, and it’s nobody’s fault but my own.

I need to fix things by getting back on the horse and writing some reviews, a few topical essays, and maybe branching out into some interviews or other types of content. I don’t really have an excuse for why I went dark with posting for the last few months other than I was trying hard to get those 100 books read and started a new job. Blogging just sort of took a back seat out of the blue and I’m just now realizing I need to get going again.

There were a few weeks, I admit, where I seriously considered just shuttering the blog altogether, calling it quits, and just walking away. I felt like I was stagnating in my reviews, lacking any sort of really compelling content, and that I was unable to do the structural things I really want to do with the site on the whole. Added to that was the sheer number of books I was finishing and not able to find the time to write reviews for when I was done. Some of which I may have to actually read again in order to write a worthwhile review. That had me a little frustrated as well.

But, I seem to have emerged from the funk! The time off to just read, adjust to my new job, and enjoy the holiday season without the pressure of blogging seems to have renewed my batteries and now I’m ready to get back to work.

Here are my current thoughts on things that need to be done or improved around here:

A serious number of reviews need to finally be written. I read 101 books last year, but I managed only 41 reviews written. That’s less than half of the books I read. Some of those reviews will require me to at least skim through the books again to refresh my memory before I can write anything of worth, and some of them I could still write on the fly. At the very least I need to get reviews written for The Mirror Empire, Red Rising, Gemini Cell, Ancillary Sword, and the two new Star Wars novels, Tarkin and A New Dawn. In an ideal world I will at some point get all 101 reviews written for the 101 books I read, plus reviews for everything I read in 2015. That should keep me in content for a long time.

Lots of topical essays and posts I am very interested in writing need to be written. I never got around to doing a post that reviews my year of 2014. I also want to write about what I learned in the process of reading 100 books in a single year. There are some posts about science fiction and fantasy as genres on the whole I want to write, and a variety of other things on top of all those I just mentioned. There are probably at least two dozen essay type posts floating around in my head somewhere.

The reviews listing needs to be updated and improved. I’d love to have a listing by author, by title, and by series, but I need to just sit down and do it. I may need to dive back into the custom CSS of the website to make them work like I really want, and that’s okay, I just need to make it happen. I spent a little time making sure the listing as it stands now is updated.

Once and for all I need a regular posting schedule. In my grandest dreams I’ll someday figure out how to effectively blog every single day, but for now I would settle on just being consistent instead of haphazard. My goal is to post a review every Monday and some kind of topical post every Thursday. If I can manage additional posts during the week, great. If not, I want to meet that minimum schedule.

Guest writers and interviews. I think there is a lot of opportunity for me to allow others who have enjoyed science fiction and fantasy novels a place to let their thoughts be known. I’d almost like to entertain the idea of putting out a call for submissions in some fashion where people who don’t want to run their own blog could drop me a line when they want to review something they think fits the audience here. On top of that, I’d really like to get started with the author interview game. I think that could provide some compelling content.

And lastly, maybe a bit of creative writing. Here in the very near future (as in the next month) I’ll be joining a writing group to get back on the writing horse like I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Maybe if I find myself having put together something of decent quality I might share some snippets here and there.

So, you can see there is a lot I want to do, and I’ve spent a lot of time over the past three months really thinking about how I want to get it done. Now I need to implement some of the plans, so expect to see some housekeeping type posts over the last two weeks of this month and then if all goes well I can hit the ground running in March.

Looking Back at January 2015

From the time I finished my 101st book of 2014 to the writing of this post I confess to taking a very big break in regards to reading. I walked away from my Kindle, walked away from the blog for the most part, and generally just let my brain decompress. The last three months of 2014 were an absolute grind in order to meet my reading goal and I needed some serious time off.

So, what did I do? I picked up a book I had been wanting to read for months and read it at the most leisurely pace I could manage. Some days I didn’t read at all, some days I read for ten minutes, some days for half an hour. Not once did I force myself to read unless I was in the mood. I have no specific “number of books” reading goal for 2015, so making January a very light month mattered little in the grand scheme of things.

Here are the books I read in January:

As I tend to do every so often I also read some short fiction in January:

Despite reading only two full-length novels in January I feel like I got to read two really wonderful books without rushing my way through the pages. I had heard fantastic things about The Mirror Empire and wanted to wait until I could really focus on it before picking it up to read. Firefight is the sequel to Steelheart that I’ve been waiting eagerly to read.

Hindsight really is 20/20 and if I’m honest with myself I should have waited a little longer to read The Mirror Empire as it is a dense, deep, and very elaborate tale. I read little to no true epic fantasy in 2014 and making The Mirror Empire my first foray back into that realm was probably a poor decision. The learning curve on that book is immense for the first 100 pages or so, especially if you are out of practice with that kind of huge world building and cast of characters. I loved the book though, so all is well that ends well.

For February I’ll be trying to get back on the horse with a ¬†book per week in order to keep myself in a pile of enough material to begin writing reviews again. I’m hoping to find the time to read Golden Son, The Autumn Republic, and The Mortal Heart if I can.