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Blogging highlights for 2018

January 2, 2019

Here is the last of my year-end trifecta (the others being my Australian Women Writers’ Challenge wrap-up and Reading highlights posts). This is my self-indulgent post, as I like to document trends on my blog for my own record – so do ignore it if you like.

Top posts for 2018

Barbara Baynton 1892

Baynton 1892 (Presumed Public Domain, via Wikipedia)

I’m intrigued by how little change there is in my top posts. Some have been there for a few years. Almost all are for posts that are over 5 years old.

Here’s my Top Ten, by number of hits in 2018:

Now the usual analysis. Firstly, only two Australian posts appear in the Top Ten, two fewer than last year, as both Hannah Kent’s Burial rites and Barbara Baynton’s The chosen vessel dropped out. Meanwhile, Red Dog just keeps on keeping on. Unbelievable.

Merlinda Bobis Fish-hair woman

Intriguing that Mark Twain’s “A presidential candidate” suddenly popped into the Top Ten. Anything to do with … you know who, I wonder? And, Alice Munro and Jack London also made their way into the list. So, as last year, short stories and essays (seven of them) dominate my top ten. This must surely be because they are set texts?

Several Australian works appear in the next ten, and they are an eclectic lot: Barbara Baynton’s “The chosen vessel”, Merlinda Bobis’ Fish-hair woman, Bruce Pascoe’s Dark emu, Shaun Tan’s Eric, and Jeanine Leane’s Purple threads.

Mirandi Riwoe, The fish girlUnlike last year, my most popular 2018-written post – ranking 23rd – was not for an Australian work, but W Somerset Maugham’s short story “The four Dutchmen”. However, I read it as preparation for my review of an Australian work, Mirandi Riwoe’s The fish girl – and, guess what was the next most popular 2018 post (52nd)? You guessed it, The fish girl. It was closely followed by Claire G. Coleman’s Terra nullius (55th).

For the Monday Musings fans amongst you, my most popular Monday Musings posts were: Novels set in Sydney (posted November 2015); Australian Gothic (19th century) (posted December 2012); and Some new releases in 2018 (posted January 2018). The first two were 1st and 3rd last year.

Random blogging stats

I always share some of the searches that find my blog, so here’s a selection of this year’s:

  • last year several searches included the words analysis or reading guide, but this year the word “summary” was very popular. What does this shift say?
  • searches such as proper way to order food and “I’ll do” order restaurant linguist!: you know what post they retrieve. Apparently a lot of people say “I’ll do” when ordering food!
  • what does the book “the hate race reveal about Australian society”: hmm, sounds like it comes straight from a school assignment question, don’t you think?
  • how to reach and take problems: I have no idea what this was looking for, or, indeed, what it found.
  • salmon gums bakery: I do hope they found the bakery, wherever it is.
  • tara moss tits: oh dear, oh dear…

Other stats. I wrote slightly more posts this year, averaging 14 posts per month, one more than last year’s 13. I think 13-15 posts a month is about right for me.

Australia, the USA, and Britain, in that order, were the top three countries visiting my blog, with Canada regaining its fourth position from India which had edged out Canada last year. The Philippines remains 6th, largely, I think, because of interest in my review of Merlinda Bobis’ Fish-hair woman.

My most active commenters (based on the last 1000 comments, says WordPress) were Lisa (ANZLitLovers), Bill (The Australian Legend), Brian (Babbling Books), Pam (Travellin’ Penguin), Ian Darling, and Buried in Print. As always, a big thanks to them and to all of you who comment. I particularly appreciate the always respectful conversations when we disagree. And thanks the the rest of you too. Whether or not you comment, I love that you visit my blog.

Challenges, memes and other things

I only do one challenge, the AWW Challenge which I wrapped up this week. (Here’s the Sign Up page if you’d like to join us). And I only do one regular Meme, #sixdegreesofseparation run by Kate (booksaremyfavouriteandbest), but I occasionally do others. You can see all the memes I do on my “memes” category link.

I also took part in Bill’s (The Australian Legend) AWW Gen 1 Week, and Lisa’s (ANZLitLovers) Indigenous Literature Week and Elizabeth Jolley Week.

My biggest highlight of the year, though, was being asked once again to be the blogging mentor for a program sponsored by the ACT Writers Centre, the National Library of Australia and the Street Theatre. The program was re-titled to New Territory but its aim remains: “to stoke cultural conversations in the ACT”. I enjoyed working with Amy over the second half of the year. If you’re a regular reader here you will have seen our wrap-up posts (Amy’s and mine). Do check out Amy’s blog, The Armchair Critic. Her thoughtfulness about what she reads and sees makes for excellent reading and she’d love to hear your opinions.

And so to 2019 …

To conclude, a big thanks to everyone who read, commented on and/or “liked” my blog last year – and to all the other wonderful bloggers out there, even though I don’t always manage to visit everyone as much as I’d like. Some people find the Internet and Social Media cruel and unwelcoming, but I don’t find that in our litblogging corner of cyberspace where discussions are lively but respectful (in my experience anyhow.)

And so, I wish you all happy reading in 2019, and look forward to discussing books with you here or there!

Finally, as I concluded last year, a very big thanks to the authors who write the books, and to the publishers and booksellers who get the books out there. I hope 2019 will be satisfying for us all.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. January 3, 2019 1:11 am

    It’s fascinating reflecting on our year in blogging. I succumbed to doing stats graphs again this year (I swore I wouldn’t but I couldn’t help myself. Annabel inspired me.)
    I’ve just taken a quick look at my WP stats and learned that Wednesday is my most popular day (who knew?) You are my top commenter along with Bill, China, Theresa Smith, Booker Talk, and Travellin’ Penguin.
    My top posts and *surprise!* top student search terms are all for the African books I’ve reviewed e.g. “theme of oppression in the alex la guma’s ‘in the fog of the season end” and *sigh* “why did the writer name the novel faceless?” and (my favourite) “expanciate on the opinion that eleshi amadi’s the concubine is a reflection on the african pre colonialism”. But I’m very pleased to see that the ANZLL Indigenous Literature Reading List is a top performer at no 7. We have collectively all worked so hard to make it the resource that it is, I think every contributor deserves the bouquets:)
    Enough already, it’s gone one o’clock and I’m off to bed!

    • January 3, 2019 1:30 am

      It is isn’t it, Lisa.

      Strangely my most popular day changed to Wednesday a month or so ago. It used always to be Tuesday, because of Monday Musings I believed but now, particularly with your figures, I’m not so sure.

      Looks like we are each other’s biggest fans!!

      Most of my student-sounding queries are for those top American stories.

      Finally, though, that’s great news about the Indigenous Reading List. You do a great job managing that and sticking to it each year.

  2. January 3, 2019 3:29 am

    Loved this overview…will have to read it more than once!
    Question: How did The Netherlands rank “people visiting my blog”?

    • January 3, 2019 8:47 am

      Wow thanks N@ncy. That’s great to hear.

      The Netherlands is 10th, after Germany (7), Mexico (8), France (9).

  3. January 3, 2019 4:46 am

    Ha! Some of the searches you get! Every year after reading your post I think I will start paying attention to searches on my blog but I never do. But I do like to hear about yours. A good year for you. Happy New Year! I hope 2019 brings lots of good bookishness your way!

    • January 3, 2019 8:54 am

      Thanks Stefanie. I’m glad to hear someone else likes them. They are fun. In fact it’s lovely hearing that people like you and N@ncy like this post because I was almost wondering if it were too much, and everyone would be sick of these posts by now.

      And as I said before, I wish you and yours – including the Dashwoods whom I forgot last time – every good thing in 2019.

  4. January 3, 2019 11:37 am

    This is a fascinating post. Of course I also look at the stats on my most popular posts and popular search terms. I guess most bloggers do. I also find that there is little change over time as to what is popular.

    I went back and read your post on ordering food in a restaurant. I never thought of it before. I tend to be very polite, but I am not actually sure exactly what I do say, I will start paying attention going forward 🙂

    • January 3, 2019 1:14 pm

      Haha thanks Brian. I’d love you to let me know if you remember what you do say. I can’t imagine you would be anything other than very polite.

  5. January 4, 2019 11:08 am

    My most popular post remains The Rainbow Bird, Vance Palmer. I have no idea why except the hits come mostly from India. Next is Paterson vs Lawson and then Benang and Aboriginal Masacres. FYI Salmon Gums is a small town north of Esperance, on the Goldfields Hwy to Norseman, Kalgoorlie etc, but also the on the route used by tourists following the coast from the South West to the Nullarbor. Only through it once in 2018, don’t remember a bakery.

    Read your Jack London post and story. Was a great JL fan in my twenties. Interesting that he speaks of invaders speaking an alien tongue. He died aged 40 in 1916 and the only war he was exposed to was Japan-Korea as a war correspondent, but he was certainly a mans man as a writer. And a good socialist.

    • January 4, 2019 4:33 pm

      Thanks Bill. Fascinating isn’t it to see what posts are popular and guess why. Yours is particularly mysterious though. Have you looked at the Referrers? While most are search engines, I see that some (a very small some) of my referrers are educations sites which have listed my blog.

      I’ve just searched Salmon Gums Bakery and I see where you are talking about, but no specific bakery.

      Thanks re Jack London. Yes, that’s what I’ve always felt – politically correct or not! – that he’s a man’s writer. But that’s probably just because I never was much into adventure. I didn’t like Blyton’s Secret Seven or Famous Five much. Much preferred her school girl stories.

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