As is my tradition, I have separated out my annual Reading highlights from my Blogging highlights, mainly because combining them would result in one very long post.
Top posts for 2022
In recent years my top posts gradually shifted to contain more posts on current Australian books. However, this year’s list has reverted to the “old look”, with one exception, which is that, unusually, two posts that were published during the year have made the Top Ten. This is rare because, mostly, they have not had the time to build up a following. It’s also a bit curious, because on those occasions that a this-year post has reached the Top Ten, the reason has been obvious – it’s been a runaway hit of a book, like Trent Dalton’s Boy swallows universe. That’s not the case here, as you can see.
Here is my 2022 Top Ten, in popularity order:
- Jack London, “War” (March 2010)
- Barbara Baynton, “A dreamer” (January 2013)
- What do you say when you order food at a restaurant (November 2014)
- Epiphany in Harrower’s “The fun of the fair” (January 2022)
- Mark Twain, “A presidential candidate” (August 2016)
- Merlinda Bobis, Fish-hair woman (April 2012)
- Shirley Jackson, “The lottery” (October 2021)
- Monday musings on Australian literature: Books banned in Australia (June 2019)
- ABR’s Top Twenty Aussie novels of the 21st Century (September 2019)
- David Foster Wallace, “How Tracy Austin broke my heart” (February 2022)
- Four of these (London, Ordering food in a restaurant, Twain and Bobis) were Top Tens last year. These, along with Barbara Baynton, who just missed out last year, are now serial Top Tenners (with some occasionally dropping into the Top Twenty, only to reappear again in the Ten.) All are related, I think, to assignments.
- Five of this year’s Top Tens are debuts, including, curiously, my post on epiphany in Elizabeth Harrower’s “The fun of the fair” from Belinda Castles’ book. Perhaps the word “epiphany” has been the drawcard here?
- Last year, six of the Top Ten posts were for full-length books, but that was clearly an aberration, as this year we returned to my more usual motley mix of mainly short stories/essays.
- Five, versus last year’s seven, of the Top Ten posts were published over 5 years ago, which tells us that blog posts have staying power!
Just three Australian posts appear in the next ten: Barbara Baynton’s “Squeaker’s mate” (16), my post on the Canberra Writers Festival’s session with Germaine Greer (17), and Red Dog (19). Only Red Dog featured in this group last year, but a different Baynton did also. Red Dog was a Top Ten regular for years until 2020 when it moved to the Top Twenty, where it still remains.
Regarding posts actually written in 2022, this year saw two appearing in the Top Ten, whereas last year the first one appeared at no. 32.
Here are the Top Ten 2022-published posts (excluding Monday Musings and meme posts), with their ranking, month published, and relevant nationality:
- Epiphany in Harrower’s “The fun of the fair” (4th, January, Australian)
- David Foster Wallace, “How Tracy Austin broke my heart” (10th, February, Australian)
- W.E.B. Du Bois, “Strivings of the Negro People” (12th, June, American)
- Canberra Writers Festival 2022: (My) Session 3, Germaine Greer in conversation with Rick Morton (17th, August, Australian)
- Shelley Burr, Wake (23rd, May, Australian)
- Jane Sinclair, Shy love smiles and acid drops (75th, February, Australian)
- Damon Galgut, The promise (79th, June, South African)
- Book Launch of My heart is a little wild thing by Nigel Featherstone (87th, May, Australian)
- Audrey Magee, The colony (99th, September, Irish)
- A little note on dark literature (112th, April, general)
One of last year’s 2021-published Top Ten, Shirley Jackson’s “The lottery”, jumped to this year’s “actual” Top Ten. Will any of the above achieve that this year? What surprises me most here is Wallace’s essay on Tracy Austin. Que?
My most popular Monday Musings posts were:
- Books banned in Australia (June 2019): new to this most popular MM list
- Some new releases (January 2022): the year’s new releases post is always popular
- The lost child motif (February 2011): in third spot last year too.
Random blogging stats
I love sharing some of the search terms used to reach my blog, although search term visibility is no longer what it used to be, which spoils my fun. However, some still get through.
- this year there were a couple of very long searches … “i mean there is this guy who aparently is using me as his muse to do some form of story telling and writing and pass it off as satire… hmmm… i wonder who the person in the satire could be?…” (this found my Satire tag I think)
- and this one that seems to have been copied from an assignment question, “dialogue about you at the restaurent you place an order but everything goes wrong the service is poor the food when it comes isnt what you order its poorly prepared even plates and cutlery were not good write your responsetothewaiter andthewaitercomplain” (no prizes for which post this one found)
- there are always some that mystify me, like “virtuallightexperiments” and ‘“ashfield tamil” wardrobe‘, though repeating the search does reveal what they found (though not whether it was what they were looking for!)
- as always, several searches seemed to be for assignments, like “writing a war story irony” (which found Wharton, presumably) and “everything good will come. settings” (which found who knows what?)
Overall, 2022 was a challenging year for me blog-wise and it shows in the stats. I only wrote 138 posts, which is well under my long term average of 155. However, I wrote significantly more words per post this year, and my overall hits for the year increased by 8% on last year. Clearly my posts weren’t too long!
The top countries visiting my blog are the same as last year: Australia, the USA, Britain, India, the Philippines, Canada, Germany, France, Mexico and China, in that order.
Challenges, memes and other things
I only do one regular meme, Kate’s (booksaremyfavouriteandbest) #sixdegreesofseparation, and occasionally do others, which you can find on my “memes” category link. And, of course, as mentioned in a recent post I continue to be part of the Australian Women Writers blog.
As last year, I also took part, to different degrees, in Lisa’s (ANZLitLovers) First Nations Reading Week, Bill’s (The Australian Legend) AWW Gen 4, Nonfiction November, Novellas in November (Cathy of 746 books and Rebecca of Bookish Beck), the #YEAR Club (by Kaggsy’s Bookish Rambling and Simon’s Stuck in a Book), and Brona’s Aus Reading Month.
All of these align with my reading practice, with some providing a welcome opportunity to explore outside my blog’s main focus.
And so, 2023 …
As always, thank you to all of you who commented on my blog this year – the regulars who have hung in with me year in year out, and the newbies who have taken the time to visit and comment. I hope you have enjoyed the community here enough to stay. A sadness this year was the death in December of longterm friend Neil who had become a semi-regular commenter here and on other blogs. It is a testament to his lively personality and to the community feeling that blogging creates that his loss was commented on with genuine feeling (it seemed to me) by many. Thank you too to the lurkers. I may not know who you are but I know you are there and appreciate your interest and support too.
I also want to thank all the wonderful bloggers out there. I have done a poor job of keeping up this year, but I do appreciate you and enjoy reading your posts when I can. I wish you all good reading and great book talk in 2023.
Finally, huge thanks to the authors, publishers and booksellers who make it all possible – and who prove again and again that the book is far from dead. Roll on 2023 …