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Blogging highlights for 2015

January 3, 2016

So, I’ve done my Australian Women Writers’ Challenge wrap-up, my Reading highlights, and now, to complete what’s become my annual trifecta, my Blogging highlights. I hope I’m not boring you – but I’m doing this partly for my own record!

Top posts for 2015

Hannah Kent, Burial Rites bookcover

Courtesy: Picador

As in 2013 and 2014, my most “hit” post for 2015 was a short story by Virginia Woolf, her “The mark on the wall (posted March 2012). I presume it’s a set text for schools/universities.

However, for the first time in my blog, Australian works occupied 2nd to 5th place:

Last year’s fifth highest hit, Barbara Baynton’s “The chosen vessel” (posted November 2012), continues strongly at 9th, and I’m thrilled that indigenous writer Tara June Winch’s Swallow the air (posted July 2014) ranked 10th. My most popular non-Australian novel post was Jeanette Winterson’s Oranges are not the only fruit (posted April 2010), which came in 8th. My most popular 2015 post – albeit 45th in the list of top posts – was for Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and punishment.

As last year, many of my top hits are for older posts, which suggests that there’s some longterm value in litblogging.

Random blogging stats

Kim Scott That Deadman Dance

(Courtesy Picador Australia)

I always love to share some of the searches that find my blog, and this year, as always, there were some interesting ones:

  • what new stories does that deadman dance tell: an interesting question – I’d love to know why it was being asked
  • how useful are hachette writers retreats: now, there’s someone doing their research
  • custard apple cultivation in india: I have no idea
  • chic lit gum: I suppose this found chick lit reviews (such as for Toni Jordan’s books)
  • unrevised japanese girl adult pictures: again, keine Ahnung

My busiest day this year was November 19th with 611 views. The most popular post that day was Don DeLillo, Midnight in Dostoevsky. Last year, my busiest day was October 28th with 436 views. Guess what the most popular post that day was? Yes, Don DeLillo’s Midnight in Dostoevsky. It must surely be a first semester set text in the US somewhere?

Other stats tell the story of my year. As many of you who read my blog regularly know, it was a very disrupted year, and this shows starkly in my posting stats. This year I wrote 133 posts, some 19 fewer than last year’s 152 (neither of which is anything like Lisa’s rate of posting!) This didn’t stop you visiting though – and for this I thank you. According to WordPress, my blog visitors came from 168 countries, and my most active commenters this year were: Stefanie (So Many Books, So Little Time), Lisa (ANZLitLovers), Ian Darling, M-R (author of the memoir, And then like my dreams), and Meg. Thanks to everyone who reads and comments on my blog. I love “my” little blogging community (and I worry when some of you disappear at times! I want to know you’re OK. You are allowed not to comment, of course, but …)

Monday Musings on Australian Literature

I have been posting Monday Musings since August 2010. WordPress tells me that Monday was my best posting day with 51 posts. Funny that! To be honest, I’m surprised I’ve managed to keep it going this long. It’s an interesting challenge, and makes me appreciate even more those newspaper columnists who have to keep producing to get paid! However, as I said in last year’s highlights post, it’s all of you who read and comment on my musings that encourages me to keep going, so, rest assured, you’ll see another one tomorrow!

Australian Women Writers’ Challenge

awwchallenge2016As I wrote in my AWW Challenge wrap up, I will participate in the Challenge again this year, so let this be my announcement post. I plan to stick to the top level – Franklin, read 10, review 6 – though, for fun, I may have a go at a Bingo Card challenge. (See here for the Sign Up page). I will read more of course, but I’m not in this for the challenge so much as for the community and supporting Aussie women writers.

And finally …

I’ve already said it in my Reading Highlights post, but I’ll say it again: thanks to everyone who read, commented on and/or “liked” my blog in 2015. You demonstrate what a positive place cybersphere can be. I wish you all happy reading in 2016.

And, of course, thanks to all the wonderful bloggers I visit, the authors who wrote the books that make it all possible, and the publishers who get the authors’ works out there for us to read. May 2016 be a stellar one for you all.

24 Comments leave one →
  1. January 3, 2016 11:53 pm

    Yes, what a good point you make – that with all that we hear about the negativity out there, the litblogsphere is a positive space.
    I want to especially congratulate you on the Monday Musings: the way you bring themes and ideas together is an enormous contribution to our Australian literary culture. I don’t know how you do it, all I do is read books and ramble on about them, but you think of interesting new topics to write about every week! You’ve been the biggest influence on my growing collection of classic Aussie writers – you introduced me to Amy Masters, Barbara Baynton and I now have (at last!) a copy of A House is Built by Barnard Eldershaw. But my favourite one of all time is the Musings about Late Bloomers – I bet that’s been an inspiration to many a writer getting started in her retirement!

    • January 4, 2016 12:03 am

      Why thanks Lisa. I’m really glad about the classic Aussie writers. We have such a rich literary history. And I do enjoy my Monday Musings – most of the time!

      I love that you love the Late Bloomers post! I’d love to think it inspired more people, like … ?

      (Oh, and you do more than ramble on …)

  2. January 4, 2016 12:35 am

    I agree with Lisa, I don’t know how you come up with all those Monday Musings topics, but they’re always perfectly topical and I always learn so much. I loved Jasper Jones so much that it’s one of my biggest blogging regrets that I never got round to blogging it. I’m going to see the play in a few weeks though, and toying with the idea of a reread, although realistically I know that I don’t really have the time.

    • January 4, 2016 1:40 am

      Thanks Louise. I hadn’t realised there was a play. Maybe that’s why the hits increased this year. Although it’s always done well, it’s done particularly well this year. Perhaps you could just review the play?

      • January 4, 2016 9:52 pm

        Yes I thought about reviewing the play. I might. There’s a movie version on the way too, so that should make it an even more popular post.

        • January 4, 2016 9:56 pm

          Haha, yes, it should. Certainly the Lady in the Van movie saw hits on my blog post on that lift significantly. Do write up the play – well, if you feel inspired when you see it. (BTW Have I asked you before about putting a subscribe by email widget on your blog? I’m hopeless at using readers. Emails are the main way I keep up with new blog posts.)

        • January 5, 2016 10:04 am

          No we haven’t spoken about the email widget. I’m hopeless at using readers too. I don’t use email widgets and have no real knowledge about them but can look at it. Often I post a link on FB, but don’t always.

        • January 5, 2016 10:15 am

          Oh I think I’ve added one! Hopefully it works for you.

  3. January 4, 2016 2:28 am

    Gummie: I have you to thank for one of my Reads of the Year: This House of Grief, so keep spreading the wealth.

    • January 4, 2016 3:21 pm

      Oh, that’s wonderful to hear Guy. I’m so glad that you like it so much. It’s not one you quickly forget is it.

      • January 4, 2016 3:57 pm

        No I had to leave a gap before starting Joe Cinque’s Consolation, though.

        • January 4, 2016 9:53 pm

          Oh yes, you would … Joe Cinque is equally, differently perhaps, intense.

  4. January 4, 2016 5:41 am

    Well congratulations on all this! Wow! I regularly read both you and Lisa and enjoy the different perspectives, whole different approaches, really. And I’m able to keep up with some Australian lit this way, too. 🙂

    Your post this time was interesting to me for several reasons. My old post on Americanah continues to get lots of hits and I just know some college class(es) is/are reading it and Googling around. Also i understand there was a possible film for that one. I once got a question about diet and Americanah – I really had to reply that I hadn’t considered that but perhaps she should read the book again. lol –

    Keep up the great work, Sue – I love the litblog world – it is a positive space and you’re such a delightful and educational part of it. – And my own small blog keeps growing along – more hits, more views. It’s not at all why I started it but I smile.

    • January 4, 2016 3:26 pm

      Thanks Bekah. I’m sorry I don’t visit your blog more often but I do watch it come through, and read many of your reviews. You are a reading machine – and I love to see your variety! Great to hear that your blog is growing too. I started mine as a formal way of ensuring I documented my reading and I was very anxious about people – particularly those I know – reading it, but I’m gradually getting more comfortable with owning up to it!

      It’s fascinating to ponder why people come to particularly posts isn’t it? And I’d love to know sometimes what they get out of it when they do land on a post with a specific query in mind.

  5. January 4, 2016 6:54 am

    What a busy year. I always look forward to reading your Monday Musings, they direct me to many ‘googlings’ and good reads. I like to know about old and new Australian writings. I did especially enjoy your “Griffyn” reviews. Have a great year of reading, music, and blogging in 2016

    • January 4, 2016 3:20 pm

      Thanks Meg – I love that you also enjoy the Griffyn reviews. I love doing them but they are my most challenging because music is out of my comfort zone. I look forward to hearing from you again this year.

  6. sharkell permalink
    January 4, 2016 8:35 am

    Looking forward to sharing the journey – your blog is an inspiration.

  7. January 5, 2016 6:11 pm

    Great Louise, I’ve subscribed. You’ve changed your blog look/theme too. Nice.

  8. January 5, 2016 6:13 pm

    Oh, and Louise, I’m not sure about Blogger but in WordPress you can set it up so that it automatically posts your posts to Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and all manner of social media sites. It’s a great function. (I do run a blogger blog but it’s for my reading group and while it’s public we are not into publicising as we don’t plan to build up a community besides ourselves, so I haven’t checked for this function there.)

  9. January 6, 2016 2:42 am

    Oh my gosh, I’m going to be giggling over some of those searches for a while! What kind of establishment are you running here anyway? 😉

    I was really surprised by the WordPress stats email they send to discover that none of my top five posts for the year were even from 2015. I suppose I should be glad people are looking at older stuff too.

    You were also one of my top commenters, for which I am very grateful 🙂

    • January 6, 2016 8:09 am

      Oh that’s nice to know Stefanie that even with my inattentive year I was in your top group in of commenters. If, however, given the sort of establishment I’m running lowers your tone too much, let me know and I’ll desist!

  10. Moira Nolan permalink
    January 6, 2016 12:10 pm

    Thank you Whispering Gums for a fantastic year of reviews. I thought Australian fiction would be tangential to my preoccupation which is finding good French writers for our book groups, but your clear exposes, workman-like outlines of books and genres and writing (which turns out to be very thought provoking – but I love the details and straightforward approach in your reviews), continually sparks my own reflections on literature and writing.

    I started my year 2015 with Tim Parks: Where I’m reading from; the changing world of books. But fascinating though that is, your uncovering of older fiction as well as contemporary fiction, and your not being afraid to tackle fiction which requires a bit of work, gives a salutary fillip to my literary endeavours. As if Tim Parks whilst in the thick of translation and contemporary writing (in the Anglo/Italian/Euro scene, anyway) has somehow become too concentrated on that, a sort of victim of being ‘up there’. To whit, your not being afraid to tackle Mark Twain and curing a cold!

    BTW, is posting comments days after the post any use, I often mull over your posts and contribute later, ie does everyone in your blog community see those, or just you?

    • January 6, 2016 3:15 pm

      What a lovely response Moira. I’m so glad you enjoy reading my reviews – and that you enjoy my idiosyncratic reading pattern. I love mixing it up occasionally with a Twain, or a contemporary essay, etc, every now and then.

      Re your last question, yes absolutely it is worth contributing later. Anyone can see the comments anytime, but with later comments they’ll be seen by me, by those who read the post later AND by those who check the “Notify me of new comments via email” box next to the “Post comment” bubble.

      French writers for your book-groups? Plural? You have me intrigued – and impressed. Mr Gums reads in German (slowly) but I haven’t read in French for, well, decades.

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