Tag Archives: 2020

A Look Back and A Look Forward: Book Reviews

Looking Back

At the beginning of the year, I was doing quick recap reviews of all of the books I was reading each month. I didn’t want to put a lot of pressure on myself to read so many books in a single month in order to write a review of each book. But by June, I was back to writing out my reviews, one book at a time. I prefer that format.

Especially since I spent the majority of this month making lists of the books that I read in the last 12 months: 5 star, 4 star, and 3 star books. I know that the rating format can be very subjective, but I hope that the reviews speak for themselves and explain why the books received their ratings. I’ve tried to challenge myself to dig deeper into why I didn’t like some things about books. I’ve also learned a lot about my tastes

For example, I learned that I gravitate towards fantasy and psychology/self-help kinds of books. And I haven’t really been a fan of books written in the first person. Not sure if that’s just a coincidence or something I actually don’t like.

Looking Forward

Last year, I made a goal of reading 48 books, which I completed. This year, I’m challenging myself to read 50 books. Not knowing what this year will bring makes me slightly nervous, but I’m just going to take it one book at a time.

My 2021 Media and Reading Journal

Like this year, I’m also going to keep a handwritten journal of what I read (as well as what I’m watching). I hope this will help hold me accountable as well as hone my reviewing skills. I still plan to share reviews with you on Wednesdays, and in an effort to give myself a head start on the reviews, I’m going to review the books I read in December and continue from there.

It’s hard to make any goals or resolutions after a year like 2020, so instead of making a new goal, I plan to keep doing what I’m doing, and hopefully get better at it and learn some things in the process. That’s really what I hope for in the new year – more growth, more passion, more pursuing the things that bring me joy and letting go of the things that are no longer working. And perhaps learn a little more about myself along the way.

A Look Back and A Look Forward: Movie and TV Reviews

Looking Back

I didn’t begin the year watching and reviewing movies or series shows. In fact, the first films I shared were at the end of June, after a month of watching shows that told BIPOC stories like Just Mercy and 13th. I wanted to spread awareness for these films, especially since at the time, they were free to view.

Slowly over the course of the next six months, I started reviewing films and series shows on Mondays using the same model that I use with my books. First, I try to share my thoughts without spoilers. I talk about things you might see in a trailer, but I don’t ruin plot twists or endings. Also, I include whether there was profanity, sexual or violent content, and what in these categories really stood out to me (particularly trigger warnings if I see them, though I’m not always completely comprehensive with triggers, so I always say proceed with caution regardless).

Honestly, I write these reviews for myself. I like looking back and seeing what I watched, why I watched, and what moved me at any given time in my life. I’m glad if my sharing these reviews prompts you to watch them too. And I’m always up for talking about films or tv shows. I tend to learn something new in every conversation. It challenges me and I’ve really enjoyed thinking critically about the things I watch.

Looking Forward

Next year, I want to keep this momentum going, but I want to make a change or two.

  • Instead of waiting until I’m completely done with a season before writing a review, I’m going to make it slightly easier on myself by only reviewing pilots and finales online (as well as I can without any real spoilers).
  • I also want to include movies again, but as it has been this last year, a lot of films are getting delayed or found on only a specific platform like Amazon Prime, Netflix, or Disney+. (Or HBOmax which we have heavily been considering subscribing to simply because Warner Brothers is going to stream a lot of their future films on that platform).
My 2021 Media and Reading Journal

Like this year, I’m also going to keep a handwritten journal of what I watch (as well as what I read). I like having the journal with me to take any notes while I’m watching the show. Favorite quotes or scenes. Characters or Actors that I want to look up later. Anything that may be triggering as well. And the journal helps me focus on why I enjoy doing this in the first place.

It’s hard to make any goals or resolutions after a year like 2020, so instead of making a new goal, I plan to keep doing what I’m doing, and hopefully get better at it and learn some things in the process. That’s really what I hope for in the new year, more growth, more passion, more pursuing the things that bring me joy and letting go of the things that are no longer working. I want to think more critically about the media I consume. And perhaps learn a little more about myself along the way.

2020

I have had a love/hate relationship with New Year Goals.  I always think that maybe this will be the year I don’t make them, but let’s be honest, even though I am a type 9, my wing 1 is strong.  Checklists, to do lists, goal lists, all lists…it’s just a part of who I am.

But I’m pretty much like everyone else when it comes to follow through.  Some years are wonderful, and others are not so much.  In 2018, I picked a word for the year – anticipation.  It was absolutely perfect.  I was halfway through my pregnancy with my son at the beginning of that year.  The monthly reminder to look forward to the big and small helped me keep my joy and my sanity. 

This past year fell into the “not so much” category.  I tried to recreate the experience by picking another word.  I had really good intentions with the word “thrive,” but I didn’t keep up with it.  It wasn’t in the forefront of my mind like the word for 2018.  I’m okay about this being a failure. Trust me, I’m not losing sleep over it.  But it helped me realize that I was forcing something that wasn’t meant to be.  

So, this year, I decided to deviate from the “word of the year” idea to something that speaks more to my heart. It came to me as I was listening to a Worship playlist on YouTube. As soon as this song began to play, I knew what I wanted to do for the new year

Instead of a word, I have a song of the year. I want God to be my vision, my treasure, my inheritance, ruler of all.  I want him to be the heart of my heart.  I want to not heed man’s empty praise.  I want my victory to be in Jesus.

In the next few weeks, I’m going to share a few other goals I have for this year, but this song is where I want my focus in 2020. I don’t know how it will translate in the coming months exactly.  I’m sure there will be some predictable moments, and some unpredictable challenges as well. All I know is that I want to keep my eyes on God and allow him to guide me through it.  I pray that by the end of the year, I will have a renewed focus and love for God that is greater than today.

Thank you so much for all of your support as I took a break from blogging at the end of last year. And thank you for all of your kind words at the passing of my father-in-law in November. I am so grateful to have such a kind, encouraging community. I know that people don’t always have that experience online, and I just wanted to say how grateful I am for each one of you. I’m so happy to be back. Be sure to check back for new posts every Wednesday!