Well, folks, it is official: it has been FIVE YEARS since we started The Book Smugglers. Five freaking years! We have officially outlived the lifespan of several television shows. We could have gone through a whole cycle of high school or college for an undergraduate degree (or a graduate degree – that actually happened)! If we were both alpacas, we’d be THIS big:
That old adage about time flying when you’re having fun? Apparently that is 100% true, because we have been having a blast and it sure doesn’t feel like it has been long at all.
This year, instead of doing the retrospective month-by-month thing that we’ve done in the past to celebrate Smugglivus Proper, we’ve decided to highlight The BIG Moments over the past five years: our favorites, our firsts, our worsts, our triumphant, and most infuriating Fives!
Our 5 Most Memorable Posts:
In which we name our 5 favorite, most memorable posts of all time
1. Cover Matters: On Whitewashing – an essay on the whitewashing of book covers (2/26/2010)
2. Harry Potter and The Book Smugglers – our tearful farewell to Harry and crew (7/15/2011)
3. Sisters Red Book Discussion – and ensuing shitshow in the comments and following Bitch-Media-Gate (7/10/2010-2/6/2011)
4. Book Blogger Con 2011 & 2012 Recaps – regarding the treatment of bloggers and relationship between bloggers and publishers
5. Hush, Hush Book Review – and ensuing insanity in the comments section (10/12/2009)
The 5 Most “Popular” Posts:
In which we reveal the surprisingly highest frequented posts since 2008 (according to Google analytics)
1. Book Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner (11/12/2009)
2. The Half-Year Mark: Best Books of 2012 (so far) (7/2/2012)
3. From the Page to the Screen: Hugo (12/12/2011)
4. Book Review: The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (7/28/2010)
5. Book Review: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (7/31/2009)
Yep, the list surprised the crap outta us, too.
Our 5 Favorite Books/Reviews:
In which we grapple with our many, many reviews and try to narrow down an impossible list
1. Heir to Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier (Fantasy, Rated 9, 11/12/2008)
2. Ark by Stephen Baxter (Science Fiction, Rated 10, 10/1/2009)
3. Hero by Perry Moore (SFF/YA/LGBT, Rated 10, 5/28/2010)
4. Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness (YA Science Fiction/Dystopia, Rated 8/9/8, 1/21/2009)
5. Life as we Knew it & The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer (YA, Apocalypse/Dystopa, Rated 10/9, 12/8/2010)
1. The Queen’s Thief Series by Megan Whalen Turner (Fantasy, YA, Rated a Million, 7/29/2009)
2. The Dorothy L. Sayer’s Peter Wimsey books (starting with Strong Poison) (Crime Fiction, Rated 9, 12/26/2012)
3. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth E Wein (Historical Fiction, Rated 10, 2/10/2012)
4. Fly By Night by Frances Hardinge (Fantasy, MG, Rated 9, 7/12/2012)
5. To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis (Fantasy, Rated 9, 1/14/2011)
Our 5 Favorite Joint Reviews:
In which we name our 5 favorite collaborative book reviews
1. American Gods by Neil Gaiman (Fantasy; Ana 10/Thea 10; 7/4/2008)
2. Gullstruck Island by Frances Hardinge (MG/YA Fantasy; Ana 10/Thea 9; 8/16/2012)
3. The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente (MG Fantasy; Ana 10/Thea 10; 5/13/2011)
4. The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson (Fantasy; Ana 9/8/8; Thea 8/7/8; 9/4/2009)
5. The Dreamblood Duology by N.K. Jemisin (Fantasy; Ana 9/10; Thea 9/8; 5/3/2012)
AND now it is nostalgia time – we take a look at our five BIG first moments (and last ones, too) on The Book Smugglers.
5 Major Firsts:
In which we take a look at our biggest first milestones
2. First Author Interview: Joel A. Southerland, editor of Fried! Fast Food, Slow Deaths (2/8/2008)
4. First Giveaway: Your Scandalous Ways by Loretta Chase
In which we allow a moment of silence to some old features that have gone the way of the dinosaur
1. Appreciation/Feature Weeks – We used to do these week-long bonanzas dedicated to a certain theme! Some of our past favorites: Western Week, Steampunk Week and Manga Appreciation Week
2. The Boob Tube – We are TV junkies and used to have a weekend feature in which we would talk about our favorite shows of the week (we quickly realized this was an insane plan)
3. The Guest Dare – a formerly monthly endeavor in which we invite an unsuspecting victim to read a book totally outside of their comfort zone
4. From the Dungeons – in which we’d unearth (or drag out from the cobwebbed corners of our memory dungeons) some of our most favorite books/films/geekery and share with the world. Past entries include Thea’s love for Christopher Pike, Thea’s tween/teen obsession with Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, Ana’s Bollywood faves, etc…
5. From the Page to the Screen – in which we review films derived from books (examples: Kick-Ass, ‘Salem’s Lot, I Am Legend)
Now that we’re sufficiently bummed out over our lack of follow-through with these features, let’s look to awesome accomplishments and the future, shall we?!
5 Accomplishments of 2012:
In which we take a moment to bask in the glow of accomplishment
1. Our Smugglerific Newsletter – we’ve faithfully sent this out once a month over the full year of 2012, and plan to keep it going, baby!
2. All-time Reading Highs – in 2012, both Ana and Thea acheived personal bests in the number of books read and reviewed (154 and 155 reviews respectively)
3. Kirkus – this year, we were invited to write a regular Friday column over on Kirkus’ Science Fiction & Fantasy Blog
4. VPS Optimization & Advertising – one of our big goals for 2012 was to make sure our server migration was finalized and optimized, and to finally start seriously supporting affiliate links and advertising. And, by golly, we did it.
5. 3 million visitors – we hit and surpassed the big 3,000,000…and counting!
5 Goals for 2013:
In which we set lofty goals for ourselves in the coming year
1. Old School Wednesdays – Kinda inspired by our “From the Dungeons” defunct feature, with a dash of inspiration from Angieville’s Retro Fridays, we will attempt to review an oldie (published more than 5 years ago) every Wednesday this year.
2. More Frequent What She Saids – Yeah, yeah, we know we promised it before but we really mean it this time! The goal is to do one of these a month.
3. Bring the Dare Back – We’re disappointed in ourselves for letting the Dare slide last year. In 2013, we vow to Dare eachother on a much more frequent basis.
4. Super Secret Project (that is not ready to be announced yet) – Muwahahaha!
5. Bring Back the Feature Weeks – We are bringing them back because they are SO much fun. It all starts in February with our Crime & Mystery Appreciation Week!
PHEW. It has been quite a ride – thanks to all of YOU for reading, encouraging, and helping us through these past five years. Now here’s to another five great ones!
And with that we declare Smugglivus officially finished! Thank you so much to all of our guests (authors, publishers and bloggers) who made it all possible.
And as usual, we remain…
~ Ana and Thea, your friendly neighborhood Book Smugglers