Friday, 30 December 2016

2016: a year on the blog.

Yeah, so, this year has been...turbulent. That's the word. I would run through some of the shocking headlines, but to be honest I doubt very much that anything is truly *shocking* any more. Some bad shit has gone down. We have a tough future ahead - a future in which some of the greatest pop and comedy icons are absent and some rather questionable authority figures will be pressing all the big buttons. Let's leave it at that. But we got this, guys. For every 1 big bad thing that happens, there has to be at least 10 little good things. 



I went through a lot this year, personally. My relationship of 2 years ended, I got a new job, my medical situation was up in the air as per but compared to previous years it was a breeze...I also read 68 books over the 12 months. Not bad. I am always happy to reflect on recent reads, and recommend titles wherever possible, and you readers are always so lovely about my bookish posts soooo I thought I'd run through my Goodreads 'read' shelf and pull out some highlights – then intersperse them with posts I wrote around that time as well, both personal and bookish. 



This time last year I posted one of my most popular posts, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. Because, I'll say it for the millionth time, women wank and yeah, that's a thing. Why don't we talk about it? Let's talk about it! 
I am so happy with how that post went down; it brought such a huge, fresh and gorgeous audience in and I swear I befriended pretty much everyone who responded to it! So thanks, guys. If that was the post that alerted you to my scribblings, and you've stuck with me for this long, I thank you from the bottom of my very awkward and forever misbehaving heart. 

So, I was really feeling the new year vibes when 2016 had kicked off. Like, seriously. But sadly I was then hit with a bout of Somnolence Syndrome; a late side-effect that came with my radiotherapy a month or so before. I managed to binge watch a lot of Netflix during that time (and luckily it didn't really matter if I fell asleep during an episode) though sadly my reading game hit a slump. Although just before I spent 2 weeks in bed I managed to get an interview post written up with the legendary David Owen, author of 'Panther' and the soon to be released 'The Fallen Children'. I also got right on the adult colouring book hype...and confided in y'all just how frightening I find meeting my idols



Also in January, I read books from the reading list on Keris Stainton's online YA writing class. They all made me feel...things. Good and bad! 

January last year was also when I first started properly allowing myself to believe that someday I could blog for a living. Like, make blogging my full-time freelance gig, rather than a tidy little side-hustle. I'm planning to step up my blogging game this year, so let's see where I'm at in January 2018! *gulps* 

I began February with a post about my love for (500) Days of Summer, and the reason I've only actually watched it a few times. I wrote a love letter on Valentine's Day to my one true love and long time partner in crime, Jack. 
I also confronted the issue of...my face. I started talking with specialists about getting my awkward face reconstructed. I saw City and Colour live for the 2nd and 3rd time within a week, reviewed the magical night in London, and reflected on past me and her love of a certain song. I got more serious about my fiction writing, and my obsession with about making characters. My love of independent cafes grew tenfold when I first experienced the beautiful All You Read Is Love in Leytonstone. 



I ended February with a list of goals to achieve by the time I am 25...well, kind of. 

In February I also read 'How Hard Can Love Be?' by Holly Bourne (my love for that book was in no way hard, yay), and 'The Sky Is Everywhere' by Jandy Nelson (cried on the tube as I finished it, just before meeting her). 



March began on the blog with a post about my week's work experience at The Times Magazine. It was a very strange but overall...interesting...experience. I can't say it taught me much about writing. But my CV is very grateful for that little entry, at any rate. 



I then published another post that's become a big presence on here, and I am so happy it has...my views on virginity (how dumb a concept it has become and how it shouldn't matter anywhere near as much as it does to some!). 

I also visited Berlin for the second time, and once again it inspired me to be more adventurous and creative (when I'm not puking up pizza and booze on trams). I later wrote a love letter to the city in a Just Some Things post...



In March I read more Faber books (and added lots to the TBR lists), thanks to a lovely blogger event I went to. I read 'Crush' by Eve Ainsworth and it blew me away a little bit. I also was enjoying writing each night in my 'One Line A Day' book



April was an emotional month, looking back. My counselling sessions ended happily. I wrote an open letter to the fatality on my train line one day. I addressed my seriously problematic FOMO and my need for more activities and events in my day-to-day life. I saw Newton Faulkner live and jived it up a storm while riding a mega wave of feels. Then I ended the month with some good old-fashioned Scanxiety



I read a more varied pile of books...and I met Caitlin Moran. Sorry but, c'mon. I hugged Caitlin and she complimented my tits. I will carry that with me forever. I also revisited my beloved David Levithan with his newest writing partner Nina LaCour when I read and reviewed their first novel together 'You Know Me Well'
I also read 'Needlework' by Deidre Sullivan, and wow, ouch and wow. 



In May, I tentatively started up a new feature: #AskGracie. Still unsure about that one...? My little sis turned 18 and surprise surprise, I had a shit ton of feelings about it. I bumped into a kid I used to know, and he's rather perfectly different now. My plastic surgery enquiries and musings continued. 

May saw me reflecting on my insane and at times all-consuming love of signed books, and book signings. I also reviewed 'The Girl of Ink & Stars', one of my absolute favourite books of 2016. 


My grandma's birthday rolled around in June and for the day - actually, like most days - she was in our thoughts, and locked tightly in our hearts. I saw a guy and fancied him for the first time since my break-up. My time working as a barista came to an end, and I gave newbie coffee makers some tips

I took part in the 'Girl Out of Water' blog tour. And of course I celebrated Books Are My Bag's Independent Bookshop Week with two posts; one answering all the questions in the tag going round, and one in which my family spoke up about their favourite books. I wrote about my heroes in books I'd read growing up. 



In July, I upped my theatre reviewing game and interviewed the stars of Avenue Q (yeah, I mean the puppets!!). I also wrote about why everyone just has to see Matilda the Musical

July saw me discover some of my new favourite books, and more than one new author crush (Hi, Laura...). Also I hit the one month mark since beginning my new gig as a bookseller, so I decided to expose some of the rather lovely hidden truths about the job




I didn't blog specifically about YALC, I merely threw in a few mentions of it in later posts, because OMG it was the most amazing - and draining - weekend at the end of July. Bring on YALC 2017, though. I'll be more prepared this time! 
I particularly enjoyed being Tonks on the last day...




I turned 23 in August. I love that August begins with my birthday; who could ask for a better induction into a month?! I got weirdly brave for some reason and decided to tell every reader that I hadn't had sex at all at that point in the year...oops. I saw American Idiot in London many, many times. An astounding older customer who came in while I covered a shift in the Rye Bookshop blew my mind and broke my heart. I saw all the #ALevelResults panic on social media and wanted to reassure the kids. A bartender chatted me up and turned out to be an utter asshole. 

I'd been to Majorca in July, but only got round to blogging about my holiday reads in the beginning of August. Silly me, taking ages to post about them - they were all amazing! My birthday present arrived in late August, and my beautiful bookshelves were born! 



In September I wrote a creative piece entitled 'An Unwelcome Christmas Present'. I went to a Zumba class for the first time in forev. I began my Just Some Things feature, and got crazy excited to have guests on my blog for the very first time (still am!)

I read 'This Modern Love' by Will Darbyshire and...it was kinda lovely. I found a couple more new favourite books, all by rather brilliant ladies



Oh yeah, and I totally interviewed one of my blogging heroes Emma Gannon and reviewed her (brilliant) book, no big deal guys, no biggie whatev (omg). 


In October I'd settled into a morning routine. I was pushing myself a little more both professionally and personally. I also took my brain for a walk



I did the cosy Autumn Reading TagI interviewed a friend about his dyslexia for Dyslexia Awareness Week, and I girled up and got happy (Danish-style!) thanks to an excellent discount books website. Oh, and I was one of the BAMB's chosen bloggers for their first ever Readers Awards, writing about their Children's Shortlist. Bit of a bloody honour. 



I lectured at Winchester University all about blogging at the end of October (literally, on Halloween, how perfect), and when November began I decided to publish a list of the questions I was asked in the lectures I ran, with more coherent and thought out answers than I probably gave that day... 
On the 25th, I watched the Gilmore Girls revival with my little sis and we had many feelings about it
I ended November by attempting to shatter another taboo...periods. It went down a treat, and I'm so relieved and delighted it did! 

I re-read One Day, and had an entirely new experience with it. I was overcome with something entirely different. Later in the month I attended the BAMB Readers Awards, and it was magnificent. 



In December, I got glasses. It turned out to be a much bigger deal than you'd think. I mean, I can see things now?! I advised y'all on how to be happy on a budget, and ermm, had a little whinge about being generally unhappy with my life at the moment...

My Recent Reads post this month was about 'books from friends'; whether they lent or gave me them, or even wrote them. I suggested 6 books you could buy for others (or ask for yourself) for Christmas, which was so fun to write. 



I found a lot of happiness this year, on here. For all the mess 2016 has brought with it, I've been able to find solace and love within my - our - online community. So thanks for that, friends. 

I'd say it's been the most fruitful and fun time to have this blog - yeah, in the whole 7 years (?!) I've been writing it! I have big hopes and aims for 2017, as well. Watch this space... *she said as if there was a big reveal in the works, lol there isn't soz*

Thanks for reading, throughout the year and now, you angelic readers. Speak soon. 


2 comments

  1. I was so pleased to find your blog last year Gracie! Keep up the amazing work, I love reading your stuff! Michelle x

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow, you accomplished so much during this year! I wish you all the best things in the world for you, your blog and your loved ones!

    ReplyDelete

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