It’s Time To Party
BookerTalk was born on impulse ten years ago.
It started as a way to document my project to read all the Booker Prize winners starting from 1969. That was the topic of the first post I published on February 14, 2012.
It wasn’t the best of starts. I had no idea how to run a blog, how to write interesting blog posts or how to use WordPress let alone how to engage with other bloggers. Clearly I didn’t even understand that blogging requires constant effort because that was the only post I did that month. It took six months to get into more of a regular pattern of blogging and commenting.
What kept me going was the generosity of other bloggers who not only spent time to read my content, but gave helpful suggestions and advice. Without them I would probably have stopped long ago. I wish I could thank them here, but sadly they all decided to close their own blogs.
So 1418 posts and 1.2million words later I’m still here.
Looking back over those years I cringe at the quality of some of my earliest efforts. But I’m also chuffed to find some blog posts from years ago are still getting visitors and appear in my list of 10 most popular posts.
10 Most Popular Posts
These are the ten posts that have had the most views over the last ten years, shown in descending order.
Some of the titles I suspect are on a school or university curriculum somewhere. I know that’s the case with the Machado de AssisI and maybe also the Ngugi wa Thiong’o. It’s also about the only explanation I can think of for the presence of The Holy Woman on the list.
A few things about this list were surprising. The only post that isn’t a book review is a piece I wrote in 2019 about the strange ways in which some authors met their deaths. Obviously it has a curiosity value.
In the book reviews, just one of the featured books won the Booker Prize (Staying On). Three Things About Elsie and Dissolution stand out as the most ‘contemporary’ books on the list: published within the 10 years BookerTalk has been in existence. The rest of the list is a mix of novels in translation and “modern classics.”
Petals of Blood by Ngugi wa Thiong’o
This Kenyan author has long been touted as a potential winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. His novel is savage indictment of the political and government regime in his native country after it gained independence.
Fear and Trembling by Amélie Nothomb
Nothomb is Belgian by origin but lived for many years in Japan which is the setting for this novel about the difficulties experienced by a young woman in a male dominated corporate world.
Dom Casmurro by Machado de Assis – Review
A strange, playful tale from a South American author whose profile doesn’t match the big names of Gabriel García Márquez or Isabel Allende.
The Holy Woman by Qaisra Shahraz
Desire for personal freedom clashes with ancient customs and beliefs in this novel from Pakistan. Unfortunately the execution lets it down with weak characterisation and clunky narration.
Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon
It was hard to miss this novel when it was published in 2018. Cannon’s crime/mystery novel captures so well the forced jollity of residential homes for elderly people.
Review: Dissolution by C J Sansom
The first book in a series of historical crime fiction novels featuring an unusual “detective” in the form of the hunchback lawyer Shardlake.
The Human Factor by Graham Greene: Loyalty And Betrayal
Greene’s novel in set in the world of spies and secrets, focusing on a very ordinary, almost nondescript man whose secret life is threatened with exposure.
Bizarre And Mysterious Deaths of 10 Famous Authors
Was Albert Camus killed by Soviet agents? Why was the inquest report on Emile Zola’s death never made public? Was Charles Dickens at home when he died or at the home of his mistress? All questions discussed in this post.
Staying On by Paul Scott: Delightful End to Raj Quartet
The Booker Prize winner in 1977, Scott’s novel picks up the threads from his magnificent Raj Quartet, showing what happens to some Brits who decide to stay on in India after independence.
Old Goriot by Honoré de Balzac
My first Balzac novel turned out to be a biting novel that portrays France as a corrupt, ruthless society that feeds on ambition, money and status.
I wonder how this list will look in 10 years time. Or maybe the bigger question is: will I still be here ten years from now? Maybe all those forecasts of the death of blogging will prove correct. I hope not because the other social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram don’t have the same appeal for me.
If I am still here it will be because of all the lovely people who visit the blog and leave comments. Bloggers and readers really are the most lovely people imaginable. It’s thanks to all of you that I’ve encountered so many authors I’d never heard of previously — some of whom have gone on to become favourites — and discovered the world of translated fiction.
Thanks to you all for sticking around. I hope you’ll still be here in 2032.
60 thoughts on “It’s Time To Party”
Happy Bloggoversary Karen, and here’s to many, many more!
I think our first ever blog posts are meant to be embarrassing – they at least show how far we have all improved as writers and bloggers 🙂
Your community service in recent years with blogging advice and tips on how to use WP have been invaluable to people like me who have made the move from blogger to WP.
Thanks for that lovely message of support Brona. You’ve given me a much needed nudge to write something about the most recent changes in WP
Happy blog birthday!! It seems to be a common thing that bloggers really can’t pick which of their posts are going to be the most popular/enduring – I know I sure can’t. It’ll be fascinating to look at it again in another 10 years’ time, see how many are still going gangbusters 😉
I’ve learned that list based posts don’t have much of a shelf life , memes even less so. It’s the reviews that endure the longest but as to which will prove popular, its a complete lottery
Happy blogiversary and I love your top ten posts! I have some really obscure popular ones I can only put down to curricula! Here’s to your next decade …
I can often tell that students are looking for help with assignments because of the search engine terms that got them to my content. If they were hoping for extensive character analysis they would have been very disappointed
Ah, I started a couple of months after you but I recognise all that you say about support from other bloggers being the lifeline that stops one sinking. Llongyfarchiadau, Karen, da iawn i ti for continuing to produce quality posts and for paying back bloggers with your own support!
That means there are at least 5 of us who all started blogging the same time – you, me, Ali (Heaven Ali), Karen (kaggsysbookishramblings) and Marina (finding timetoright)
I sort of knew Karen started in 2012 but hadn’t twigged it was such a vintage year! I know mine’s coming up on the 29th April, so I suppose I might be expected to make a song and dance about it — but I’m a lazy so-and-so so who knows?
Oh come on your output shows you are anything but lazy
Thank heavens you keep on keeping on Karen. Your comments and reviews are greatly valued. I’ve, bought, borrowed and enjoyed many, many books as a result of reading your blog. Congratulations on your stamina and may your blog continue for many more years.
Happy anniversary! And thanks for all the reviews and various posts.
We are quite a few bloggers now with blogs that are over 10 years old. Like you said, I hope we’ll celebrate the 20th year of our blogs.
Then we’ll be un our twenties again, yay!
I wouldn’t mind being in my mid 20s again….
Happy 10th Blogiversary! I wonder if any of us thought when we posted that first post that we’d still be here years later! Sad that so many bloggers have come and gone over the years, but I’m happy you’ve stuck around. Here’s to the next ten years! 😀
Congratulations, that is amazing! I seem to remember reading that most bloggers don’t make it beyond one year. It’s great you’ve kept up the motivation in all these years.
Congrats on ten years here is to many more
Thanks Stu, I have a long way to go to catch up with the number of reviews you’ve written 🙂
Congratulations! A great achievement. You’re one of my favourite book bloggers. Live long and prosper (and keep on blogging, please). BTW, one of my faves was the Alpha series you did on Blogging, A – Z.
Thank you Alison, thank you so much for the boost to my confidence.
Congratulations on your ten years of book blogging! I very much enjoyed your post about the strange deaths of authors and couldn’t help feeling sorry for Tolstoy (I expect his wife would have had quite a lot to say to him on the subject of peace and quiet had she been allowed to see him sooner!). And poor Tennessee – I’ll think of him every time I use my eye drops from now on!
Tolstoy’s wife had a lot to put up with according to the film The Last Station. What was astonishing was the level of media attention his death bed – I can’t imagine any author these days being so famous they have a whole press pack camped outside the house.
Well, if I can help keep you here for another 10 years, then I’ll be very pleased. Congratulations, and onward to the next 10!
Thanks for the boost to my confidence.
I think blogging is here to stay in one way or another. It’s a more permanent home on the internet where you’re not at the whims of an international corporation. I think the way that Instagram has gone has really cemented the idea for me of not relying on someone else’s platform. They make it so hard to get stuff seen unless you play their algorithm game. Well done for sticking it out ten years and here’s to many more!
The problem with Instagram and Twitter is that they are so fast moving. Blink and the topic has gone. I’m also not inclined to spend time thinking of creative photographs for IG
Well done Karen! I began at the very end of 2012 and I think yours was one of the first blogs I discovered and started following 🙂
How wonderful that you are still here Kate. Thanks for your loyalty
Congratulations – a real achievement! Here’s to the next ten!!
You, me and Ali should form the Class of 2012
Well done, Karen, and I agree about exchanges with other bloggers. Here’s to another 10 years!
I shall raise a glass to that 🙂
Perhaps we might do that in the real world sometime this year!
Congratulations! 10 years of blogging is a great achievement.
I’m astonished quite frankly Helen.
My own blogging story is not dissimilar, though mine started as a way of keeping in touch with British friends as we moved to France. But your last two paragraphs sum the whole experience up for me. I’m glad you’ve made it, and plan to continue!
I’m going to continue for as long as it continues to give me pleasure Margaret.
Congratulations, long may it continue.
I hope so Rosie, thanks for all your support over the years
Congratulations on your perseverance and passion for reading and blogging, long may it continue! ✨
It’s been a surprise that I’ve lasted this long when so many other bloggers have given up
Congratulations on reaching double figures, Karen! And long may it continue.
I hope it does Kim. I’ve had a few wobbles when I was under pressure because of work and thought about giving up but somehow just kept going
Here’s to another ten! When I started, I was lucky in that I knew what I wanted to write, a friend had already researched who were the best bloggers to follow, and above all in that Sue/Whispering Gums and Lisa/ANZLL ad a couple of others encouraged me right from the beginning
Sue, Lisa and Kim are wonderful role models
Congratulations, it’s a wonderful achievement and I love visiting your blog!
You know how much I love yours even though I’ve not been able to read it as often lately – just too much stuff going on in real life right now
Don’t worry, we all go through phases of Life Getting in the Way!
woohoo, happy blogiversary, and to many more! I’m so grateful you persevered!
Thanks for those kind thoughts. It’s only because people like you read me that I do continue!
Congratulations Karen, 10 years is no mean feat – here’s to many more!
I’ve learned a lot over the years about the technicalities of blogging but the thing that I value the most is the spirit of comradeship and the connections I’ve made with lovely people like you
Congratulations! Here’s to another 10! J💚📚
Cheers Janet. I think if I make it to 20 I shall definitely have a real party
…p.s….my blog started on an impulse, too!
Really? What was the impulse??
Driving home from work the day I retired! I cried all the way home and knew I needed something to fill the empty spaces….so I started my blog that night…..like you…..by the seat of my pants!
Happy ten years!
Thanks Stefanie for your support