2016, The Year That Was (The Grumpy Version)

grumpyAs many of you will no doubt have realised over the course of your own literary adventures, blogging has its ups and downs, its good and bad points, and 2016 (my eighth year of reviewing) was no exception to this trend.  Over the next couple of days, I’m going to explore a few of these troughs and peaks in more detail, which means I must ask you to indulge me today while I whinge and whine.  Tomorrow, I’ll be putting a more positive spin on things, but this post is all about getting some stuff off my chest (metaphorically, of course…).

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Yes, the turn of the year brings up another bloggerversary (now I am eight!), but I’m starting to wonder what good it’s all done me, with the feeling that I’m not really going anywhere increasing with every year that passes.  Much of that comes from the miserable numbers that populate my WordPress stats page.  Yes, I know page views aren’t everything, but it is nice to feel that someone is actually bothering to read what you write.  If I’m lucky, I get a couple of hundred views a day (on a good day) and a few likes, but some of my favourite posts of the year, reviews I spent a lot of time on (e.g. the Your Face Tomorrow posts, my review of Some Rain Must Fall) sank without a trace.  It hardly seems worth the effort to craft full-length reviews when a few hundred words of fluff gets more attention…

I’m also a little disheartened by the setback in my efforts to do more external reviews.  After several requests in 2015 and the start of 2016, I’d even started dreaming of being paid occasionally for my trouble, but for most of this year, there’s been nothing on the horizon (and I wasn’t even paid for one I should have been paid for…).  To be honest, the money’s not important, but it is nice to feel that others in the area value your work, especially when (as I said above) things aren’t really moving along too well on the blog.

I hate to admit it, but it doesn’t help when I see other reviewers moving on, with invitations to review externally, take part in prize judging or even appear on conference panels.  I try not to be jealous, and I’m genuinely happy for everyone who is chosen for these gigs, but I’d be lying if I said there’s no sense of ‘why can’t that happen to me?’.  This is especially true when it comes to people I consider my peers, amateurs like me who don’t pursue this full-time, yet still manage to make their way into what looks like the inner circle of the reviewing world from my vantage point.

Perhaps this feeling is exacerbated because I’m located in Australia, which really is the arse end of the world when it comes to fiction in translation.  My interests are very much a minority pursuit here, and I can’t help but look on in envy at events happening in London and New York.  I’m frequently disappointed by the parochialism of the local scene, living on the tiny morsels of events that might come my way, and even when I tried to help out, I was met with disappointment.  A good while back, I contacted my local library to see if they’d be interested in having me give a (free) talk on translated literature, and I even had a quick chat to the events manager.  She asked me to email her the details, and then… crickets.  I’ve tried a couple of times since – somehow, I don’t think she’s that interested…

Still, at least I get lots of free books, right?  Well, yes and no.  Here in Australia, for example, I’m not particularly well known, and I have to ask nicely for anything (the major publishers basically ignore me).  In addition, some presses (especially in the US) are loath to post books to Australia because of the expense of the postage, and while I try to help out by accepting ebooks, the truth is that I don’t really like them.  #FirstWorldProblems?  Absolutely, and I’d be the first to admit that my complaints are all a little childish, but this is just a hobby, something I do in my free time – why should I bother if it’s a hassle…

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As promised, that was the grumpy version, but don’t feel too sorry for me – it’s not that bad, really.  Come back tomorrow to see a happier Tony, when I celebrate all the things that did go right last year 🙂

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51 thoughts on “2016, The Year That Was (The Grumpy Version)

  1. Sympathies! I’m not exactly moving into the higher echelons of blogging (which doesn’t bother me at all) and I suspect it may be the fact that I’m not in a position to nip off to London every five minutes to network, but more pertinently because of the kind of book I write about. I’ve dabbled in the occasional new book but they’re really not my type of thing. The translated lit and classics that I enjoy aren’t such high profile releases and so I get to pootle my way through my blog reading what I like which suits me. Fortunately, the small publishers whose work I enjoy are often kind enough to send me review copies, which is a pleasant bonus – but I only take the ones I *want* to read. I can understand your frustration, but most of the bloggers with a larger scale profile seem to me to be often the ones who cover much more mainstream writing. You do what you do very well, so hopefully will feel inclined to keep writing about the books you do. You may feel isolated Down Under, but that’s the joy of the Internet – it can bring us into contact with like minds around the world!

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    1. Kaggsy – Yes, eclectic and popular rarely go together (and I’m certainly in no position to pop off to London for the day!). I enjoy your focus on what interests you, and I certainly intend to spend more time on my particular focuses – when I make some headway with my ARCs… 😉

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  2. Ah – the reality of blogging. I, myself have encountered something of a hiatus in my bligging life, one which I anticipate is about to end now that I am reading posts and commenting once again. Reading in translation is something of an esoteric niche, I think, especially here in down under. I haven’t analysed my own reading niche for 2016, yet, but I suspect the number of books in translation will be counted on one hand. But right there, that’s the thing about your blog – I’m thinking about that. And more, I suspect you are going to help me grow my ever widening reading life. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s post and BTW I found your blog via Claire at Word by Word.

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    1. Jill – Always glad to help 🙂 It does frustrate me that Australia is very English-language focused (and often obsessed with US and UK releases…). There are a couple of presses trying (e.g. Scribe and Text), but none of these small, indie publishers coming out with gems, as is the case elsewhere…

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  3. A thoughtful and heartfelt post, Tony, which I have a lot of sympathy for. I’ve always loved coming here to read what you have to say. I probably should “like” or comment more on your blog posts. I have all but abandoned my blog. I’ve found the last 2 years difficult to find the time to do it. But I love the writing and to be vaguely good at it requires practice. As much as I’d love to say I get a couple of hundred views a day, I would be totally lying. Hardly anyone visits my blog, and when they do they visit for 2 or 3 posts that seem to be popular or about books not reviewed elsewhere or a review more honest than the normal “I love this book – it was so amazing”. I decided over the Christmas break that I need to get back to what I started this for; writing. Writing about books I love. I don’t read the stuff in the best seller list, I read what I want. If that is unpopular with those surfing blogs, then so be it.
    I think you have a good way with words, with bringing alive books on the periphery, of highlighting books that readers may not have thought of reading. Carry on, if you have the time. It’s good to whinge every now and again to get things off your chest, but remember what you started this for and that you are good at it. Here endeth the sermon – sorry to go on!

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    1. Sarah – Of course, like most bloggers, I complain about not getting enough comments while not leaving many myself! I think it’s more that I’ve been doing this for so long, and so regularly, that I’ve come to expect a certain amount of interest, and when that doesn’t happen, I feel a little disappointed. Like you, I am trying to focus on what I like, even if I have to admit that I do get swayed by what I think I *should* be reading. Still (as you’ll see tomorrow), there are plenty of good things about my blogging too!

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  4. My book blog is on a host that doesn’t have statistics (dreamwidth). I’m actually very glad about that! I started writing about books so I could have a place to write down my thoughts on them. I don’t read that many new books. Though I have received new books from publishers, but I don’t want too many – my own TBR pile is large enough :p

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    1. セレネ – Statistics can be a curse for bloggers, especially for one as prone to compulsive checking as I am! For me, receiving ARCs is actually very useful as it stops my wife getting getting angry with me for spending all our money on books (as you may have noticed, I read a *lot*!).

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        1. セレネ – I do use libraries from time to time, but not having mainstream interests, they don’t always come through (particularly with books only available from American presses). As for Bookcrossing etc, it’s probably cheaper for me to buy books from the Book Depository than to swap them through the post 😉

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  5. Love the honesty, Tony, and confess to having felt the same way as you at times – stuck as I am in the outbacks of Lanarkshire. (Which is why Edinburgh Book Festival is such a big deal for me.) Re blog stats, mine have fallen through the floor over the past 2 years, and I’m struggling to get 100 hits per day. I think that is in no small measure to the FOLLOW ME button. I currently have 2025 followers, which means 2025 emails are sent whenever I publish a post. It would be nice to think that every one of those emails is read ….

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    1. Lizzy – Ah, well, I have nowhere near that many (a couple of hundred subscribers, maybe?). I hear you about the festival, but sadly the Melbourne event is nothing compared to Edinburgh when it comes to my preferences 😦

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  6. Don’t stop…I send your lists and reviews to lots of readers, book clubs in the US. Intelligent, well selected. I’m just timid about comments, but forge ahead. Thanks for all you do for so many silent viewers.

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    1. Margaret – Thank you for the kind words – it’s nice to know that there are people out there behind the scenes enjoying my posts 🙂

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  7. Hi Tony, I like your blog very much. It’s one of my two favorite blogs together with the blog of Dutch Anna van Gelderen who writes in Dutch, mainly about English literature. Like you I read a lot of books in translation, in my case translation in Dutch. Compared to English language literature Dutch literature is not particulary rich in highlights, though there a few still not translated into English or German. It,s nice to read about classics and about books others simply don’t read. Unlike you I’m particulart fond of illustrated books and specially graphic novels and photobooks. Anyway, I hope you’ll continue your blog for a long time to come. Greetings, Erik
    and you get a lot more comments on your blog than I get.

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    1. Erik – Thanks, and I appreciate your comments on my posts 🙂 I don’t read much Dutch literature, unfortunately, but (funnily enough) my next review will be of a Dutch classic! As for graphic novels, no, I’m not a fan, but that’s what makes blogging worthwhile, the knowledge that there’s a place for everyone, no matter what their preferences are 🙂

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  8. I hear you, Tony. I could go on about how your almost 2.5 k followers look astronomic to me, how living in Eastern Europe is compared to living in Australia, how 2oo page views a week make my day, how the popularity of translated literature can be compared to that of untranslated literature and so on. But knowing that someone is worse off than you is no great consolation. You have a solid following and your blog can become a launching pad for something bigger. Why not up the ante and write an e-book or something? Perhaps some kind of branching out is the solution. Anyway, I wish you all the best, and let me tell you that you have a great blog and I am a frequent visitor.

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    1. The Untranslated – I know, I know, and I’m painfully aware that much of this is very privileged whinging 😉 As for branching out, I think that’s what I was trying to do with the external reviews (and the disastrous attempt at public speaking!), which is why I was a little down. I will pick you up on the 2500 followers comment, though – that’s the sum of my social media ‘followers’ (Twitter, Facebook and, *ahem*, Google+). Anyone with a decent social media following who starts a WordPress blog will automatically find themselves with a fairly impressive number of followers 😉

      Don’t worry – tomorrow’s post, as I mentioned at the top of the page, will redress the mood considerably 🙂

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  9. Happy eight years well I can sympathise somewhat with views mine dropped to all times low last year but I had decided mid year that I was going take it slow for year hence the surge since the new year I never worry anymore about free books I get sent enough never ask for any these days and buy a lot more cheap second hand ones these days.

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    1. Stu – It’s nice to take it easy – unfortunately, I’m the kind of person that struggles to blog in ups and downs. If I don’t stick to my schedule, I get a bit nervy. Towards the end of the year, I was down to no stored posts because of a busy period at work, and I felt a little pressured to tell the truth!

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        1. Stu – I only did that the very first year of my blog. Since then, I’ve tried to stick to a schedule (if I didn’t, there’d be days where I find myself writing two or three reviews just to keep up!).

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  10. Oh, I am sorry that you feel, well, maybe neglected. I for one really appreciate you and was jumping up and down metaphorically at my age, when you chose Javier Marias’s trilogy for best books. Marias is absolutely my favorite author and I have turned some people on to him, since I found “My Heart so White” in my 55 storey condo building on Lakeshore Drive in Chicago laundry book exchange. His trilogy is one of the most fabulous books of the modern age, but getting people who work to read 1200 pages is a little hard. But I have friends who have read him and who now don’t want to read anything else because it is not up to his level of writing. I can’t believe he didn’t get the Nobel then.
    I also enjoy your German book surveys and your translations, because for some reason I can understand German again. I am not so keen on the Korean books; they don’t seem to be my type of reading. I am a translator, editor, literature professor (it used to be reverse order before I retired). I have encouraged my fellow literary people to follow you and even ask you to review their books, don’t know if they have followed through yet. So if I could, I’d give you an A+ in my graduate student class, your critiques and choices are absolutely great. Please don’t stop. Do you follow the 3% blog out of Rochester NY? I bet they would ask you to review for them. Do you want me to promote you on my Facebook page? Anything to help you stay in the game. The world needs you and globally Australia is no further than any place else.

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    1. Violeta – Thanks for all your kind words, and never fear – I have no plans to give it all up just yet! Tomorrow you’ll see that despite the grumbles I’ve revealed today, there is a lot I enjoy about my blogging life 🙂

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  11. I think the reviews at Three Percent are all by Rochester students.

    The insularity of the publishing world can drive a person crazy. I second the idea of an e-book, or at least thinking about it.

    I have no problems with page views – I just had a nice surge in December – the Russian and Ukrainian robots seem to enjoy my writing, or anyway they like specific posts a lot. As long as the robots are happy, I’m happy.

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    1. Tom – Robots, yes, the stats from my old Blogger site were certainly driven by Artificial Intelligence (although the technology hasn’t yet advanced to the stage where I would actually respond to the spam comments).

      As for the book, but then who’d handle all the reviews while I’m writing it? Anyway, a certain Mr. Orthofer has published all the books you need on the subject. Now *your* blog is definitely ripe for conversion into book format…

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  12. Oh, Tony, I hear you and can sympathise with so much of that. You are also overwhelmingly honest, which makes a nice change from some book bloggers who five-star everything and are all about self-promotion. And, although I do a fair share of reviewing of recent mainstream releases (mostly for the Crime Fiction Lover website), fame and fortune have failed to come my way either! So it’s not just about the type of books you promote, it’s a lot about how you do it and sometimes short trumpet bursts are preferred over carefully-crafted thought pieces.

    If it’s any consolation at all, perhaps having lower numbers but really committed readers is a good thing? I know I always look forward to reading your posts, even if I don’t often comment on them – usually because I haven’t read the books yet, so have nothing of value to add! But your reviews are always thoughtful, often funny, open my eyes and also my appetite for different literatures. You are the one who introduced me to Marias and made me buy the trilogy, and I’m somewhat obsessed with him now (but I keep saving him up to read for later).
    My blog is not at all comparable – although it surprises me that soon I’ll be coming up to 5 years. Mine is not at all dedicated to serious literary criticism, in fact the reviews started as a sort of sideline to my poetry and ruminations about writing. So I call it a good day when I get 100 visits and I have a motley crew of readers, not just book fanatics (all lovely, I hasten to add),

    But it’s not about the visits: from what I sense, it’s the isolation in your Australian outpost and the inability to join in with conferences, judging panels etc. Not sure if I’m adding to your frustration if I say that I would love to see more of you on those as well? Getting some recognition for the huge amount of effort that goes into maintaining a blog like this.

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    1. Marina Sofia – Thank you for your kind words – it’s nice to feel appreciated 🙂 Yes, I’d like to feel I’m taking part in the promotion of fiction in translation rather than just watching on the sidelines. Still, I do have a lot to be happy about, and tomorrow I’ll be talking about it, so watch out for that post 😉

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  13. I sympathise, Tony. I’ve been doing this malarkey for more than 12 years, have never been invited on a panel or asked to review a book elsewhere, am lucky to get 100 hits a day etc. and pretty much all the free books dried up this year. And yet I’ve never been more satisfied with my blogging life. Sure, I’d love more comments but that means I’d have to spend more time commenting on other blogs and time is in short supply. The thing is I’m not doing this to be popular… I don’t read popular books for a start… but as a way of keeping track of my reading and having a creative outlet. That anyone else reads my posts and bothers to like or comment is a much welcome bonus! I’ve been following your blog for years now and I always appreciate your take on literature…it’s nice to see a blog cover stuff that’s different to everyone else and I particularly like your Japanese coverage. Your blog is a shining example of passion, integrity and originality. It takes dedication and effort to plough your own furrow; it’s much easier to jump on bandwagons and succumb to hype but I’m truly not interested in reading blogs that do that. Sometimes it’s better to have a smaller, but more loyal and appreciative following, than having a big audience that aren’t fully engaged in what you do.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Kim – Yes, it’s nice to have a core following, and I admire the way you set aside the year for what you wanted to do. It is hard, though, to justify the amount of time I spend on this blog to myself, and increasing my exposure is one of the things that helps me fool myself that I’m not just wasting my time 😉 Still, as you’ll see today, it’s not as if the year was a total disaster…

      Liked by 1 person

  14. My blog will also be eight years old this year. Luckily I started from a very low base so, even thought I get nowhere near 200 view a day, it’s still generally going up!
    I rarely get review copies (5 in total in those 8 years), but as they make me feel very obligated that’s maybe not a bad thing. (Its does make the shadow panel expensive though!)
    I rarely spend more than 2 hours writing a review, and have no time to re-read or do much research. If I was paid for it I would feel I had to spend much more time and I wouldn’t have time to do my real job.
    The one thing I do resent not being able to do (because publishing is a closed shop) is interviewing authors at events – because I have seen it done very badly more than once!
    What I enjoy about blogging is the way it makes me think about my reading, and everything I learn from other bloggers – like you!

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    1. Grant – I hear your comment about interviewers (and the idea is even alluded to in today’s post!). My usual posts probably take me an hour or so (OK, ninety minutes – OK, two hours…), but I do spend longer on external pieces, and I enjoy that pressure to come up with something more polished. Still, I do have a family, and a job, and a house to look after…

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  15. Just the phrase over the comment book tells how original your blog is. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for your honesty. Sometimes it’s hard to remember why we bother when the response is not up to the effort. But writing about books enhances the reading experience, so it’s worth it, just for yourself.

    I enjoy reading your blog too, even if I’m not too fond of Japanese lit and not too attracted to Korean lit either. It’s important to draw attention to these books though and as the comments above me show it, what you do is appreciated. I wish I had more time to read other blogs and leave comments but honestly, I can barely keep up with my blog. It is frustrating but days only have 24 hours and some of these are wasted on necessary sleep. 🙂

    I’m not an IT geek but I think our stats dropped mechanically because of WP’s improvements of their platform, and especially the like and “respond to comment” buttons. You don’t need to click on the post to like or react to a comment, so it decreases the hits. That’s only a point of view, it’s not backed up by evidence.

    Anyway, fame is overrated, better have a few committed friends. My blog will be six soon, it has a few hundreds of followers and a group of regular commenters. That’s all I care about. And the fact that my two first followers are still there, reading and commenting.

    I can understand that you feel isolated in Australia but some of us travel. I met fellow bloggers in San Francisco, in London or here in Lyon. Each time it was a wonderful moment. There are other bloggers in Australia as well, no?

    As for literary events, yes, it’s frustrating to miss out on conferences. Not all of us can live in London, New York or Paris.

    Bonnes lcctures, et s’il te plaît, continue de nous faire découvrir des auteurs différents de ceux qu’on voit partout.

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    1. Emma – Merci beaucoup 🙂 Yes, I wish I had more time, but as I mentioned in the comment above, there are things other than blogging that make demands on my time… I should make time to catch up with some other bloggers, though 🙂

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  16. Hi Tony – I just wanted to let you know that you’re not alone in your frustrations. After going to the trouble to revamp my blog, it’s been sitting under a cover of dust and cobwebs for months now. Most of my energy has been directed towards getting my reviews out into the world. Looking to be published on sites that have more traffic (my numbers were never high – and the kind of comments you get on your blog make me green with envy) and experimenting with different platforms takes a lot of time – and involves A LOT of rejection. I completely understand where you’re coming from – while it would be nice to be paid (let’s be honest, it would be brilliant!), more important it would be nice to feel… well, respectable seems like the best word for it. Or rather, like an important critical voice?

    But, I think you’re selling yourself short! You’ve accomplished a lot on the blog and I think your frustrations are the same as many bloggers. I think we’re all in a transitional time right now in terms of book blogging and criticism. Just not sure what it’s transitioning into… And I think most of us get jealous (I know I do) of bloggers who appear to be doing better or advancing. It’s natural to be jealous, but their success is not really a reflection of your own success (or an indication of lack of success). That, at least, is what I tell myself. It’s just the nature of the beast.

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    1. Tara – It is a Catch-22 situation. The blog is where you make your name and serve your apprenticeship, but to broaden your horizons you almost have to neglect it… Well, I’ll try to keep my jealousy in check 😉

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  17. Not a whingeing post at all, a great discussion in fact and should help us all to see many of us are all in the same boat.

    I think it helps to have a strong objective to writing a blog in the first place, you are not just a reader, you are a writer, you even admit it (with some self-deprecation admittedly) in your byline, maybe it’s time to reassess that and pursue your talent, take your apprenticeship out there – whatever, the changes that have occurred, which benefit those living in the publishing world orbits of place like London have meant that the rest have to do a bit of navel gazing.

    Publishers/Booksellers have clearly updated their blog support strategies and are targeting some, in some ways I feel sorry for them, does all that extra activity come from one’s own desire or are they at risk of becoming a publisher’s pawn.

    Being in France and writing in English, I get rejected often, but last year was great as I read a lot more from my own shelf and reminded myself of my original blog intentions, which were to have a place to write regularly and my apprenticeship has probably gone on far too long as my ultimate objective is indeed to write a longer form, but like you, raising a family and having other distractions, meant that the short form blog, filled the need to keep writing, I chose reviews because it’s so different to what I was writing before, words that never saw the light of day, were read by no one and did nothing to establish and kind of literary credibility.

    I think you are right to question the effort and the reward, but I absolutely believe you are destined to write and to recognised for it and only you know in the deepest part of you, what you desire that to be, perhaps something you’d perhaps forgotten about, and now it’s rising up and wanting to be heard.

    Well thanks for giving us all the space to have a bit of a rant and rave as well, I hope you continue this train of thought and come up with a new strategy for 2017, one that resonates with your underlying ambition. For what it’s worth, I say, go be the writer that you already are Tony.

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    1. Claire – Again, thanks for your comment. It’s interesting to hear what others feel about the art (and struggles) of blogging – I’m certainly not alone in my opinions. It’s interesting that you, and a few others, mentioned my writing as I’ve never really thought of myself as a writer (I certainly never wrote anything before starting the blog). I suppose that after almost a thousand reviews, which will probably have amounted to more than a million words in total, I should revisit that thought… 😉

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  18. If it makes you feel any better, I’ve just started my fifth blog in five years. The weight of it, the “does it mean anything to anyone?” of it all gets me down on a yearly basis. But I keep coming back to it. So regardless of your down days, kudos on sticking with it for so long. I have huge respect for longevity in this “business.”

    And hey, I just found your blog, and you gained a follower. Not a bad day, eh?

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  19. Not really anything I can add but echo so much that’s been said in the above comments… yours is a blog I return to knowing I’ll get introduced into a wider selection of books I’d otherwise miss but also a well balanced honest review.

    I’m still very much feeling my way at this ‘blogging malarkey’ as Kim calls it… dabbling and not quite found my groove yet BUT do know while my reading (and TBR piles) have been enhanced by blogs like yours I need to resist the ARCs and ‘NEW’ books more as like Grant said – reading with obligation changes my experience. I’ve a few reading goals this year but the key ones are to get a healthier balance,to enjoy what I read more and read to my own agenda – and that includes initiatives like the Voss readalong with you & others that opens up opportunities to discuss books not simply review them.

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    1. Poppy – Yes, it’s important to focus on what you really want to do and enjoy the reading and reviewing (as easy as it is to get side-tracked at times). Hopefully, I can balance the ‘obligations’ with a bit of freer reading 🙂

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  20. I have to say I enjoy reading your grumpy posts and you don’t do enough of them. I think your blog is wonderful, erudite, clear and enjoyable – one of the things I particularly like is how your connect the books you are reviewing to the ones you have read before. So keep up the good work Tony!

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  21. Please please don’t throw in the towel. Even though I don’t comment as much as I should I do enjoy reading your reviews and discovering authors I have never heard of before. Blogging can be such a frustrating experience because you invest time and effort in crafting an article only to find it disappear into a black hole. It’s not necessarily the low number of visits that we care about but the lack of dialogue because after all that’s why many of us blog – not to get fame and fortune but to engage in a discussion about a subject we love.

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  22. Such a comfort to read this post on a dreary January day in Illinois, when I, in my tenth year of blogging, wish to throw it all in the air just because I’m tired. It’s hard to read what I feel I ought to read, as publishers have taken the time to send it to me. It’s hard to feel that anything I have to say really matters anyway. But…

    I do love being in the Man Booker International Prize jury with you. Sure it’s a non-paid position, 😉 but it gives me thrills just to discuss a select number of books with erudite readers such as yourself. So, thanks for hosting that.

    And, as others have said above, thanks for being so open. I’m sure many of us feel as you have described, at least occasionally, and it’s nice to not have any false pretenses among one’s peers. xo

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    1. Bellezza – Yes, my feelings are certainly not unique 😉

      I’m also looking forward to the Booker shadowing, and I hope it throws up some surprises – as long as they’re good ones!

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      1. I’m certain there will be something more politically correct than literary as a contender, but I’ve come to expect that with the winning of The Iraqi Christ (and Paul Beatty’s The Sellout for the Man Booker last year). But that’s another point altogether. Looking forward to discovering the list and reading it with you and the other panelists.

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