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Looking back at 2016

My friends, 2016 is (finally) behind us, and though it’s been a roller coaster of tragedy and disaster in the world at large, I can at least say that it’s been a good year for reading, and a great year to Warble. The bookweb is replete with beautiful souls who love genre fiction and one another, and that gives me hope. I’ve met (digitally and in person!) some fantastic people, and it’s all thanks to our mutual love of These Crazy Books(tm).

So let’s take a look at the year behind us and the year ahead, starting with 2016:

2016 in Review

You might have noticed several changes on the site, the foremost of which is the total visual overhaul of the site and the “brand,” such as it is. I thought it was past time for there to be a more minimalist version of the site, and after completing a redesign of my personal site, I decided to make similar changes here. This is part of an overarching change, whereby this site has become less of a hobby and more of a Serious Pursuit.

In the five years since this blog’s founding, it’s expanded into more than a passion project: it’s part of my identity as a writer, and it’s connecting me to the book world in a way that fills me with joy and pride. It has led to my developing a working relationship with several publishers, all of whom do me a tremendous honor by sending over books for me to review. It has improved my skills as a writer, both from the reading of wider-reaching works and the practice of more frequent writing. It’s also helped me develop discipline (something I’m in dire need of, and can always improve upon) as a writer and business-person.

And this year was by far the most successful year this blog has seen.

  • 2,890 visitors from 75 countries viewed pages on this blog 5,236 times.
  • There were 68 posts published (an average of 1.3 per week!), 31 of which were book reviews.

I’m certainly proud of that. While it was more than a little shy of my personal goal of 52 published reviews (which will remain my goal for this year), I’m stoked. I moved three times, in two states, held three different jobs, had surgery on my face, and still managed to post 31 reviews. Forgive me while I continue tooting my own horn.

So how did this year look, reading-wise? According to Goodreads, I read 41 books this year. However, not all of the books I read were available in Goodreads, nor did I want to mark all of them. As a student, I read six books. Now we’re at 46. As an editor, I read six books. That means I read 53 books in 2016! I achieved my goal!

But now let’s get to the more interesting bits of this post. The best books of 2016.

Best Fantasy

Every Heart a Doorway – Seanan McGuire

Bands of Mourning – Brandon Sanderson

Best Science Fiction

Central Station – Lavie Tidhar

Binti –  Nnedi Okorafor

Best Non-Fiction

Between the World and Me – Ta Nehisi Coates

Storyteller – Kate Wilhelm

Honorable mentions

While they’re not the best/runner-ups, these are wonderful books that are well worth your time:

So that’s 2016. What can you, friend of the blog, expect from 2017?

To begin, you might have noticed a bunch of small, circular icons beneath the new Warbler logo on the homepage. These all represent the media outlets I hope to extend the blog to in the next year. Chief among those developments is the introduction of video content. My hope is to begin recording video reviews/interviews/thoughts about what I’m reading. The second video element I plan to introduce is live reading sessions on I think these read-alouds can be a fun way to bring books to readers, while serving as excellent practice for me as a hopeful audiobook narrator some day.

I’d also like to expand the author interviews that started in 2016. I have been working up the nerve to email a few of my favorite authors with a few questions. Hopefully that pans out and you’ll get to hear directly from them.

I’m also going to formally launch a part of the larger Warbler business, in the form of Warbler Author Services (or some such naming convention.) I’ll be offering developmental and copyediting services, as well as web design/support for authors. Be on the lookout for a more formal announcement some time in the next few months.

Finally, as the project grows, I’m toying with the idea of launching a Patreon account for the blog. I’ve yet to determine what the rewards for supporting the blog will be, but if folks feel inclined to throw a few dollars a month at the blog, I’d be incredibly grateful and honored.

Thank you for being a part of my 2016. I look forward to sharing the coming year, and many more, with you.


2 Responses

  1. Elan,

    Thank you for the Year in Review. I want to congratulate you on your growth and development and the achievement of your goals while living such a busy life. I’ve enjoyed your reviews and I look forward to all the exciting things you have planned for the Warbler in 2017. All the best and be sure to enjoy your writing time this year.

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