Now for the last of my year-end trifecta (the others being my Australian Women Writers’ Challenge wrap-up and Reading highlights posts). I don’t know how much this one interests others, but I like to document trends on my blog for my own record. I won’t be offended if you don’t read this, as if I’d know!
Top posts for 2017
Change has been slowly happening in my top posts – though a few usual suspects, like Virginia Woolf’s short story “The mark on the wall“, remain there. Last year, an Aussie book, Hannah Kent’s Burial rites, finally topped the list, but this year that changed again. Here’s my Top Ten, by number of hits:
- What do you say when you order food at a restaurant (posted November 2014)
- Edith Wharton, “A journey” (posted November 2010)
- Hannah Kent, Burial rites (posted April 2014)
- Red Dog (Movie and Book) (posted August 2011)
- Virginia Woolf’, “The mark on the wall” (posted March 2012)
- Barbara Baynton, “The chosen vessel” (posted November 2012)
- The importance of tone (posted July 2010)
- Australian Literary Awards (a page, not a post)
- Barbara Baynton, “Squeaker’s mate” (posted November 2012)
- John Muir, “A wind-storm in the forests” (posted January 2010)
Now some basic analysis. Firstly, four Australian posts (plus, again, the Awards page) appear in the Top Ten, one more than last year. Craig Silvey’s Jasper Jones dropped to 12th position, while Barbara Baynton’s “The chosen vessel” regained its Top Ten position, and has been joined by another of her short stories from Bush Studies. (I’d love to know whether Bush Studies features high in the lists of other Aussie bloggers who have reviewed it.) Meanwhile, Red Dog just keeps on keeping on.
As I noted last year, short stories and essays (Wharton, Woolf, Baynton and Muir) dominate the top ten. This must surely be because they are set texts. I have a pretty good feeling that Red Dog is too!
My most popular 2017-written post – ranking 48th – was, as happened last year, for an Australian work, this time AS Patrić’s Black rock white city. (Last year, though, the top ranking post written that year was 66th in the list). The next 2017-written post, ranking 58th, was for another Australian work, Sara Dowse’s As the lonely fly. And to complete the top three, coming in at 71, was an English classic, Graham Greene’s Travels with my aunt. A rather eclectic trio, which appeals to me.
For the Monday Musings fans amongst you, my most popular Monday Musings posts were: Novels set in Sydney (posted November 2015); White writers on indigenous Australians (posted February 2014); Australian Gothic (19th century) (posted December 2012).
Finally, last year, I noted that there was a surprising post in my Top Ten, What do you say when you order food at a restaurant (posted three years ago in November 2014). Ranking 8th last year, it climbed to the top this year, just pipping Edith Wharton at the post (overtaking her in the last throes of December). Most intriguing.
Random blogging stats
I always share some of the searches that find my blog, so here’s a selection of this year’s:
- several searches included the words “analysis” or “reading guide” or, in one case, “reading guide answers”, such as the adventure of the german student reading guide answers
- searches such as say please when you make an order and can i get or can i have for ordering food: you know, now, what post they retrieve
- several searches seemed concerned with whether Jane Austen’s writing is progressive or conservative, such as, is emma by jane austen conservatove [sic] as the ending; how is the ending of emma by jane austen not conservative; progressive plot pride and prejudice; jane austen’s conservatism and progressivism related to pride and prejudice. Homework questions perhaps?
- if im white can i write about aboriginals: regular readers here will know why this one found me
- musings on the famous novel: this one picks up several of my Monday Musings posts
- which journal is favourite in literature: what do you think?
I didn’t unearth any really strange searches this year, which could be partly due to the fact that the majority of search terms are no longer revealed to us … but I do miss the weird and wonderful ones!
Other stats that tell the story of my year. I wrote around the same number of posts as last year, averaging 13 posts per month, but traffic to my blog increased by nearly 10%. While numbers are not my prime goal, and are not something I specifically focus on building, it’s nonetheless gratifying to think that the hours spent writing posts are not just for me.
My blog visitors came from 178 countries (6 more than last year). Australia, the USA, and Britain again filled the top three slots, with India edging out Canada for fourth this year, thanks partly perhaps to the lovely Deepika! My most active commenters (based on the last 1000 comments, says WordPress) were Lisa (ANZLitLovers), Bill (The Australian Legend), Deepika (New Fractured Light), Meg, Theresa (Theresa Smith Writes) and Guy (His Futile Preoccupations). A big thanks to them, and to everyone who reads and/or comments on my blog. Whether or not you comment, it is a joy to share books and reading with you.
Challenges, memes and other things
I have now been doing the #sixdegreesofseparation meme, run by Kate (booksaremyfavouriteandbest), for just over a year. I enjoy the challenge of completing these posts and that it results in my thinking again about the books I’ve read. I’ll continue with this one. I did, occasionally, do other memes during the year, which can be seen at this “memes” category link.
My biggest highlight of the year though was mentoring two litbloggers in the new ACT Litbloggers of the Future initiative, sponsored by the ACT Writers Centre and the National Library of Australia. Emma Gibson (see her guest post), Angharad Lodwick (see her blog) and I met several times to talk blogging, literature and ACT literary culture – and had great fun doing so. We wrapped it up at the end of the year at a meeting with Nigel Featherstone (ACT Writers Centre) and Kathryn Favelle (NLA), and agreed that while there are things we could improve if the program runs again, it did achieve its main goal of helping “to stoke cultural conversations in the ACT”. And that, really, is what it’s all about, isn’t it.
Wrapping up my wrap-ups …
To conclude, a big thanks to everyone who read, commented on and/or “liked” my blog last year – and thanks to all the other wonderful bloggers out there, even though I don’t always manage to visit everyone as much as I’d like. While some people find the Internet and Social Media cruel and unwelcoming, that’s not what I find in our litblogging corner of cyberspace, proving that technology isn’t inherently bad for you. And so, I wish you all happy reading in 2018, and hope to see you again at your place or mine!
Finally, a big thanks to the authors who write the books, and to the publishers and booksellers who get the books out there. May 2018 be a great one for you (us) all.