HAPPY SMUGGLIVUS, FOLKS! It is official: we have been Book Smuggling since January 7, 2008, which makes us six years old today. We repeat, six years old.
If we were kids, we’d be starting first grade! We can hardly believe it.
Like last year, we’re taking this moment to reflect on 2013 – our favorites, our firsts, our worsts, our goals, and our hopes for 2014.
Our Top Accomplishments of 2013:
In which we list our most valued accomplishments of the past year.
1. Speculative Fiction 2013 Editors – We were selected as joint editors of next year’s SpecFic anthology. HOW AWESOME IS THAT?
2. Site Redesign (This Time With NEW HEADER) – Look at that header! LOOK AT IT! We love the work of the lovely Jacquelyn Pytyk, and are so very proud of the beautiful new logo she designed for us this year.
3. Surviving NYCC (and Ana’s double visit to the USA) – This year, Thea was asked to moderate a panel at New York Comic Con. We basically died of shock and fear and awesomeness – and even though the panel was tough, we’re proud of going through with it. PLUS, Ana got to visit NY TWICE this year, and that’s a record.
4. Creation of Old School Wednesdays – For us, 2013 was also the year we celebrated Old School SFF and created Old School Wednesdays (a weekly Wednesday feature in which we take a break from the new and shiny, and review books that are at least 5 years old). WE LOVE THIS FEATURE.
5. Creation of SFF in Conversation – We created another new feature in 2013 which hasn’t been as popular as our OSW posts, but which we love and are so proud of. In SFF in Conversation, we invite publishers, authors, and bloggers over to talk about the SFF genre, with a special focus on inclusivity and diversity.
6. 5 Million Visitors – In 2013, we hit the 5,000,000 visitor mark!!!! Holy schnikes.
7. The Hugo Longlist for Best Fanzine – That’s right. Yours truly made the longlist for Best Fanzine, and we are so incredibly blown away, proud, and flattered. THANK YOU!
Our Favorite Moments of 2013:
In Which We Reveal Our Favorite Moments & Milestones of the Prior Year.
1. Our First OSW Suggestions Post – In March of 2013, we opened the floor to suggestions from you for favorite long-lost gems of books for review every Wednesday. The response was so overwhelmingly awesome, we decided to compile a Goodreads shelf, an ongoing database, AND a monthly readalong/book club. It’s the highlight of our week, basically.
2. Thea’s Favorite Review of Ana’s: September Girls by Bennett Madison – I (Thea) am always so eager to read Ana’s reviews because she is so incredibly insightful and passionate about the books that strike a chord with her, and no review encapsulates this fire better than her reaction to the highly controversial novel September Girls. (On a cheesy note, Ana inspires me every freaking day, and reading reviews like this make me so proud to be her blog partner in crime.)
3. Ana’s Favorite Review of Thea’s: The Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher – This review is a perfect example of not only how well Thea writes (I am forever awed by her writing skills) but how seriously she takes writing reviews regardless of category (middle grade, YA or adult) or genre – her reviews are always thoughtful and in-depth and displaying levels of knowledge about a myriad of different topics that always blow my mind away.
4. Favorite Joint Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – This bestselling title, soon to be a movie, was loved by so many…but neither of us did. We’re proud of this review and had a fun time writing it – you should have SEEN the emails flying back and forth between us as we made our way through the miasma of disgustingness that is this book. And as it just so happens, this review is also our most popular review of the year with more than 35,000 views on it alone (and counting)!
5. Favorite Old School Wednesday Review: Dreamhunter/Dreamquake by Elizabeth Knox – This duet of books was brilliant and infuriating; wonderful and icky; awesome and horrible. We are conflicted about these two books, but we sure had a fun time reading and discussing ’em. And that’s what it’s all about, right?
6. Halloween Week Movie Marathon – Thea’s favorite time of year is Halloween (for obvious reasons), and one of her highlights of Halloween Week is that she forces Ana to watch horror movies with her. This year, we set aside a Saturday to watch, in order: Halloween (Original 1978 Version), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978 remake), and Hocus Pocus. We live tweeted the event and IT WAS SO MUCH FUN. We must do it again this year. MORE.
Our Goals for 2014:
In Which We Detail Our Goals for the Coming Year.
1. Publishing Specfic 2013 Without Hiccups – We are so honored to be at the helm of this year’s anthology, but we’re also TERRIFIED. We strive to get this year’s anthology out the door without any significant errors, hiccups, typos, etc. Wish us luck.
2. Expand on Existing Book Smuggler Features (OSW, SFF in Conversation, The Newsletter) – We have a TON of features running, but we haven’t been able to explore and expand on them as much as we’d like. 2014 is the year that we make these features even better. We are on a mission.
3. Thea to visit the UK at LEAST Once – Last year, Ana visited New York TWICE. This year, Thea vows to visit the UK at LEAST once. Looking at you, launch of SpecFic ’13 and/or Loncon 3!
4. MORE REVIEWS – 2013 was a year of fewer reviews for both Ana and Thea (thanks to pressures with the day jobs). We solemnly vow to review more in 2014.
5. More Movie Marathons and Appreciation Weeks – Because they are so much fun (see Halloween Week Movie Marathon 2013). Appreciation Weeks have taken a backseat since 2011, and we want to bring them back. Any recommendations? WE ARE ALL EARS.
6. Diversity in 2014 – After compiling our 2013 Best of the Year Lists, we were appalled at the lack of diverse authors and characters on our lists. In 2014, our goal is to ensure that at least 25% of our reviews reflect diverse authors and/or characters (this includes but is not limited to authors and characters of color, or LGBTQA authors and characters).
PHEW. It has been an AMAZING year, and we want to thank everyone for reading and helping us get through 2013! Here’s to an awesome 2014!
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