Here is a somewhat cliché introduction to the New Year where, perhaps, I spell out my resolutions and goals (that no one really asked for me to spell out). As this post is a celebration of the New Year, it is equally an anniversary of the conception of this blog. Indeed, roughly six months prior to the first post in June, I had been making notes on what kind of blog I wanted.
Sometimes I imagined a politically charged blog. Sometimes I imagined an online book club. And sometimes I imagined a bit of both. So I think its felicitous moment to reflect on ReadingNReding as I blow out its one-year candle.
Running a blog is a lot of work. Especially as a full-time graduate student (mark this as the first cliché). My reading list this Fall mutated, rapidly, from a list of leisure to a list of dense, stuffy theoretical and academic work. I like the dense and stuffy. But it doesn’t always translate well into good blog content. Timelines become crowded with duties and crunched with deadlines. Coursework and Thesis research saps the energy from me, and by the time the New Year rolls around, I’m a husk of the person I was in September.
And ReadingNReding haunts me like a ghost nobody believes is really there.
The guilt compounds when I realize that I had prepared in advanced eight posts to carry me through a semester of school. If I got bored, or couldn’t find the time (or energy) to write new content, I simply had to post it. These posts are lurking the halls of the Internet—desperate to be seen as fleshly beings.
So I type this post as a sort-of (re)commitment to ReadingNReding—this is the second cliché—by retooling my content goals. This doesn’t change any of ReadingNreding’s core values. I still wish to engage with fiction and non-fiction alike from a variety of perspectives. I like to read thought-provoking literature, and thought-provoking can be found in a variety of shapes and sizes. However, for the time being, I think a reduction in content size is in order.
I’ve been aiming for reviews and posts that are between a thousand and fifteen-hundred words. Primarily because Internet standards dictate that “high-quality” content is within this word count. In other words (in more words), search-engine algorithms dictate the availability and promotion of my content on search engines by factors that are near impossible for a novice blogger to control let alone understand. The new word count is going to be about five-hundred words.
Nevertheless, my goal is to produce content at a regular and manageable pace to keep ReadingNReding an active place to engage with ideas across the spectrum of literature.
To offer the final cliché, please join me in this literary adventure! My bookshelf is currently stuffed with so many titles that I want to read and talk about. Honestly, I never which book to read next and I keep accumulating more—and I am always open to suggestions. One of the best ways to discover new authors is recommendations. That is, excluding recommendations from Amazon, who loves to clog my email and social media feed with book recommendations. There is something hollow, to be honest, about book recommendations from an algorithm.
Algorithms are keen on maximizing sales within boxed-in, marketable categories. Reading inside the margins of these algorithms limits, over time as the algorithm further entrenches you in this box, literary palate.
Please, again, join me (possibly with book suggestions)!