Book to the what?
The original concept behind Book to the Future was pretty simple: I’d read and review one book to represent every year of the twentieth century, in chronological order. So, my first stop was The Wizard of Oz, which was published in 1900, followed by Miles Franklin’s My Brilliant Career, published in 1901 – and so on.
I started this blog in 2010 with the intention of posting a new review every week.
My last real review for Book to the Future was published in 2012. I stalled at 1959, having made it just over halfway through the initial project I’d set out for myself.
What went wrong?
A few things. I started getting distracted and reviewing whatever I felt like, rather than sticking with the original plan. Also, a few people started reading my blog, which I wasn’t expecting. Cue extreme self doubt.
My biggest setback? I found out that book reviews are really hard to write.
When I was writing a review every week, I had no idea what I was doing. Actually, I think I thought I was trying to be hip and witty. Ugh. I was neither. My reviews were written in a slapdash, sarcastic tone that makes me cringe when I think about it now.
When I started to take what I was doing seriously and not treat every review as a Goodreads-style snarkfest…that’s when things became difficult.
However, despite all the things that went wrong, there’s one thing that went right: I realised how much I enjoy writing about books. I’d always secretly intended Book to the Future as a side project to help me build a platform (criiiinge) and become a better fiction writer. Somewhere along the way, I came to the conclusion that I’d rather write about books than write my own books.
(As a sidenote: it’s totally normal to want everything you wrote more than a year or two ago to spontaneously combust, isn’t it?)
What’s the plan then?
Unfinished things bug me. This blog has been sitting here on the internet, getting on my nerves for way too long.
One option I considered was to just delete everything, which would solve the problem of all those awful old reviews hanging around. But the thought of giving up on Book to the Future made me feel sad. And guilty.
Starting in September, I’m going to pick this project up where I left off. I’ll begin by reviewing a book originally published in 1960, then post a new review every two weeks until I reach the year 2000.
How long is all this going to take?
I have 40 reviews remaining to complete the project. At a rate of one review every two weeks, I should be finished around…early 2020?
That’s a really long time. Are you really sure you want to continue?
Yes! I still have things I want to say. I still have books to read. And I’m still finding my voice as a critic. What better place to do that than here, in my own space?
Also, I still think book blogging is important and worthwhile (whether this particular book blog is either of those things remains to be seen). That’s probably a post for another day, though.
Don’t you have anything better to do?
I work full time, so there’s that. Plus, there are other things I’d like to write, like reviews of modern books, essays and other fun non-fiction stuff. However, finishing what I started is important to me, so I’m putting everything else on the back-burner for a bit and getting back to the business of completing this blog.
Hopefully with the minimum amount of soul-crushing self-doubt as possible this time around. That’d be nice.
What if things don’t go to plan again?
Look, I know I’m the least reliable blogger ever. I promised I’d be relaunching this blog towards the end of 2017. I’ve had a genuinely rubbish year so far, which has made me realise how important it is that I do what makes me happy. And it turns out that’s writing about books. Weird.