Your Favourite Posts of 2018

A couple of years back, I added a new feature to the blog, a round-up of blog stats showing popular posts, and today sees 2018 sliced up and analysed once more.  Earlier this week, I told you what I liked – this post is more about *your* preferences 😉

In general terms, last year saw another healthy increase in both page views and visitors, from 82,492 (31,969) in 2017 to 103,088 (47,740).  It doesn’t mean much, of course, but it’s somehow pleasing to have moved into six-figure territory and continues the upward trend since the blog started at WordPress in 2015.

In 2017, I had at least one page view from 158 different countries and territories, and that figure increased again in 2018, this time reaching 173, including a single page view from places such as Togo, Bhutan, Monaco and Samoa.  I do wonder what those people were looking for…

Today’s focus, though, is on the posts.  I’ll be looking at three main areas, and comparing the finidngs with those from 2017.  A statistical disclaimer: these numbers exclude visits to the homepage and other ways people may have come across the posts (whether legally through email feeds or illegally via fake sites).  All clear?  Let’s see what was hot, and not, in 2018 🙂

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First up, we have the most popular review posts published in 2018.  These are straight reviews, and the list doesn’t include any special posts, or reviews published before 2018:

1) ‘Soviet Milk’ by Nora Ikstena (Review) 807
2) ‘The 100 Best Novels in Translation’ by Boyd Tonkin 699
3) ‘In Praise of Shadows’ by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki (Review) 677
4) ‘About the Size of the Universe’ by Jón Kalman Stefánsson (Review) 406
5) ‘Flights’ by Olga Tokarczuk (Review – MBIP 2018, Number 7) 379
6) ‘The Stolen Bicycle’ by Wu Ming-Yi (Review – MBIP 2018, Number 9) 377
7) ‘Songs for the Cold of Heart’ by Eric Dupont (Review) 351
8) ‘Vernon Subutex One’ by Virginie Despentes (Review – MBIP 2018, Number 10) 297
9) ‘Die, My Love’ by Ariana Harwicz (Review – MBIP 2018, Number 8) 276
10) ‘Like a Fading Shadow’ by Antonio Muñoz Molina (Review) 264
11) ‘The Book of Tbilisi’, Becca Parkinson & Gvantsa Jobava (eds.) (Review) 264
12) ‘The World Goes On’ by László Krasznahorkai (Review) 252
13) ‘Companions’ by Christina Hesselholdt (Review) 250
14) ‘Night and Day’ by Virginia Woolf (Review) 249
15) ‘Der fliegende Berg’ (‘The Flying Mountain’) by Christoph Ransmayr (Review – MBIP 2018, Number 11) 247
16) ‘Ms Ice Sandwich’ by Mieko Kawakami (Review) 246
17) ‘This Little Art’ by Kate Briggs (Review) 232
18) ‘Frankenstein in Baghdad’ by Ahmed Saadawi (Review – MBIP 2018, Number 5) 227
19) ‘Albertine disparue’ by Marcel Proust (Review) 226
20) ‘Naomi’ by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki (Review) 205

As always, there are some excellent books here, with the inevitable slant towards books reviewed early in the year.  I was happy to see some of my Tanizaki posts included, but a little surprised (and pleased) that Soviet Milk was so popular.  As usual, there’s a fair selection here from the Man Booker International Prize Longlist, and several releases from Fitzcarraldo Editions made the cut this time around.

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Of course, if we include non-review and older posts, the 2018 figures tell a slightly different story (last year’s position, where applicable, in brackets):

1) Man Booker International Prize 2018 – Predictions 1470
2) ‘As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams’ by Lady Sarashina (Review) – (46) 1244
3) ‘Los Niños Tontos / The Foolish Children’ by Ana María Matute (Review) – (56) 1154
4) ‘I Have the Right to Destroy Myself’ by Kim Young-ha (Review) – (2) 1077
5) And the (Shadow) MBIP 2018 Winner Is… 883
6) ‘Photo Shop Murder’ and Other Stories by Kim Young-ha (Review) – (38) 844
7) ‘Soviet Milk’ by Nora Ikstena (Review) 807
8) ‘The 100 Best Novels in Translation’ by Boyd Tonkin 699
9) ‘In Praise of Shadows’ by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki (Review) 677
10) ‘The Girl from the Coast’ by Pramoedya Ananta Toer (Review) – (6) 669
11) ‘Gehen, ging, gegangen’ (‘Go, Went, Gone’) by Jenny Erpenbeck (Review) – (11) 528
12) ‘La Prisonnière (The Prisoner)’ by Marcel Proust (Review) – (85) 516
13) Just who is Tony, and what exactly is his Reading List? – (8) 516
14) ‘Müdigkeitsgesellschaft’ (‘The Burnout Society’) by Byung-Chul Han (Review)- (132) 504
15) Korean Literature for Beginners – Part One (12 to 7) – (5) 503
16) ‘Signs Preceding the End of the World’ by Yuri Herrera (Review) – (3) 497
17) Man Booker International Prize 2018 – The Shadow Shortlist 487
18) ‘The Story of Hong Gildong’, translated by Minsoo Kang (Review) – (44) 469
19) ‘Hopscotch’ by Julio Cortázar (Review) – (32) 465
20) The 2017 Tony’s Reading List Awards 456

For the third year in a row, my MBIP predictions post topped the list, showing that what people really like to read is random lists of books based on pure speculation.  Moving on…

Looking further afield, I can pretty much guarantee that someone, somewhere, set As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams for a uni assignment in the second half of the year (it got 658 views in November alone…).  Several of the usual suspects are back this year, with Erpenbeck, Herrera and Ananta Toer’s books as popular as ever.  I’ll leave the other big winner until the next category…

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To round things off, let’s take a look at the all-time most popular posts (i.e. from 2015 to today):

1) ‘I Have the Right to Destroy Myself’ by Kim Young-ha (Review) 2384
2) Just who is Tony, and what exactly is his Reading List? 1986
3) Man Booker International Prize 2017 – Predictions 1882
4) ‘Gehen, ging, gegangen’ (‘Go, Went, Gone’) by Jenny Erpenbeck (Review) 1493
5) ‘The Girl from the Coast’ by Pramoedya Ananta Toer (Review) 1491
6) Man Booker International Prize 2018 – Predictions 1471
7) ‘As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams’ by Lady Sarashina (Review) 1458
8) ‘Pour que tu ne te perdes pas dans le quartier’ (‘So You Don’t Get Lost in the Neighbourhood’) by Patrick Modiano (Review) 1365
9) ‘Los Niños Tontos / The Foolish Children’ by Ana María Matute (Review) 1360
10) ‘Signs Preceding the End of the World’ by Yuri Herrera (Review) 1341
11) ‘Photo Shop Murder’ and Other Stories by Kim Young-ha (Review) 1094
12) ‘The Nakano Thrift Shop’ by Hiromi Kawakami (Review) 1093
13) Korean Literature for Beginners – Part One (12 to 7) 1059
14) Man Booker International Prize 2016 – Predictions 1038
15) ‘Umami’ by Laia Jufresa (Review) 955
16) ‘Little Jewel’ by Patrick Modiano (Review) 952
17) 2015 Reviews 946
18) ‘Supernova’ by Dewi Lestari (Review) 907
19) ‘Fish Have No Feet’ by Jón Kalman Stefánsson (Review) 902
20) And the (Shadow) MBIP 2018 Winner Is… 884
21) ‘Hopscotch’ by Julio Cortázar (Review) 870
22) ‘Soviet Milk’ by Nora Ikstena (Review) 809
23) ‘The Unseen’ by Roy Jacobsen (Review – MBIP 2017, Number 13) 803
24) ‘Paris Nocturne’ by Patrick Modiano (Review) 803
25) ‘The Lost Daughter’ by Elena Ferrante (Review) 787

Let’s cut to the chase – there’s a *lot* of interest in Korean writer Kim Young Ha’s look at assisted suicide here, and I really hope that it’s purely literary.  If this continues next year, I may have to edit the post to add some helpline numbers 😦

Elsewhere, the Patrick Modiano reviews are still going strong, and I’m happy to see my review of Ana María Matute’s Los Niños Tontos getting a lot of love.  Meanwhile, the second-most popular post is my self-introduction.  On the one hand, that’s good as it shows people want to know more about me; on the other hand, if you don’t know me by now… 😉

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I’m not sure whether this tells us much (or anything) about the reading year that was, but it’s great fun, anyway.  Were any of your favourite posts mentioned here?  If not, never fear – I’ll be doing it all again next year.  I wonder if there’ll be any major changes for 2019…

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