Your Favourite Posts of 2020

A couple of days back, I published my annual awards post, rewarding (and punishing) the books I read in 2020.  But enough about my views – what did *you* think of my reading year?  Well, that’s the subject of today’s post, in which we dig a little deeper into 2020’s stats.

While the first half of the year was fairly quiet, things improved markedly towards the end of 2020, and as a result, both page views and visitors increased slightly again, up from 107,182 (48,652) in 2019 to 109,585 (49,892) last year.  It would have been nice to reach the 110,000/50,000 mark, but after a miserable first few months, I’m happy with where we ended up.

In 2019, we had readers from 173 nations and territories checking out at least one review, but that figure went down marginally to 169 for 2020 – was it something I said?

Of course, what’s more interesting is which posts people were actually interested in, and that’s what we’re about to find out.  Remember: all stats below exclude visits to the homepage and other methods people may have used to come across the posts (either via blog readers or email subscriptions).  Having got that out of the way, let’s see what *you* found interesting last year 🙂

First up is a list of the most popular review posts published in 2020.  This list excludes any reviews published before 2020, as well as last year’s non-review posts:

1) ‘Breasts and Eggs’ by Mieko Kawakami (Review – Book One) 573
2) ‘Honeybee’ by Craig Silvey (Review) 548
3) ‘The Wisdom of Tea’ by Noriko Morishita (Review) 360
4) ‘The Discomfort of Evening’ by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld (Review – IBP 2020, Number Twelve) 354
5) ‘Untold Night and Day’ by Bae Suah (Review) 330
6) ‘The Eighth Life (for Brilka)’ by Nino Haratischvili (Review – IBP 2020, Number Five) 260
7) ‘The Lying Life of Adults’ by Elena Ferrante (Review) 253
8=) ‘Breasts and Eggs’ by Mieko Kawakami (Review – Book Two) 249
8=) ‘Red Dog’ by Willem Anker (Review – IBP 2020, Number One) 249
10=) ‘Wolf Girl 3’ by Anh Do (Review) 246
10=) ‘Hurricane Season’ by Fernanda Melchor (Review – IBP 2020, Number Nine) 246
12) ‘Who We’re Reading When We’re Reading Murakami’ by David Karashima (Review) 231
13) ‘The Memory Police’ by Yōko Ogawa (Review – IBP 2020, Number Four) 225
14) ‘Hōjōki’ by Kamo no Chōmei & ‘Essays in Idleness’ by Yoshida Kenkō (Review) 219
15) ‘Arturo’s Island’ by Elsa Morante (Review) 213
16) ‘Tyll’ by Daniel Kehlmann (Review – IBP 2020, Number Two) 212
17) ‘Earthlings’ by Sayaka Murata (Review) 193
18) ‘Les Misérables’ by Victor Hugo (Review) 191
19) ‘The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree’ by Shokoofeh Azar (Review – IBP 2020, Number Eight) 188
20) ‘People from my Neighbourhood’ by Hiromi Kawakami (Review) 184
21) ‘The Refugees’ Daughter’ by Takuji Ichikawa (Review) 183
22) ‘Border Districts’ by Gerald Murnane (Review) 181
23) ‘Kentukis’ (‘Little Eyes’) by Samanta Schweblin (Review- IBP 2020, Number Seven) 176
24) ‘Vernon Subutex Three’ by Virginie Despentes (Review) 175
25) ‘Into a Black Sun’ by Takeshi Kaikō (Review) 174

Unsurprisingly, this list reflects my interests as well as yours, with seven International Booker Prize longlisters included, along with nine posts on Japanese literature (even if two of them are for the same book!).  More surprisingly, my second-most popular review post for the year looked at an Australian YA book, so perhaps my audience isn’t quite who I thought they were…  On another note, it’s nice to see one of Hayley’s posts make the list, with her take on Wolf Girl 3 even cracking the top ten 😉

But how did these reviews fare in comparison with my other posts, such as older reviews and non-review posts?  Let’s take a look at the overall top 25 for 2020 (the numbers in brackets indicate the 2019 position, where applicable):

1) ‘Before the Coffee Gets Cold’ by Toshikazu Kawaguchi (Review) – (9) 1630
2) ‘Almost Transparent Blue’ by Ryū Murakami (Review) – (95) 1568
3) International Booker Prize 2020 – Predictions 1409
4) ‘The Word Book’ by Mieko Kanai (Review) – (325) 872
5) ‘I Have the Right to Destroy Myself’ by Kim Young-ha (Review) – (6) 736
6) ‘Los Niños Tontos / The Foolish Children’ by Ana María Matute (Review) – (5) 670
7) ‘The Lost Daughter’ by Elena Ferrante (Review) – (48) 649
8) ‘L’orangeraie’ (‘The Orange Grove’) by Larry Tremblay (Review)- (88) 640
9) ‘Maybe the Horse Will Talk’ by Elliot Perlman (Review) – (460) 616
10) ‘Breasts and Eggs’ by Mieko Kawakami (Review – Book One) 573
11) ‘Hopscotch’ by Julio Cortázar (Review) – (19) 555
12) ‘Honeybee’ by Craig Silvey (Review) 548
13) ‘Night and Day’ by Virginia Woolf (Review) – (11) 547
14) ‘Celestial Bodies’ by Jokha Alharthi (Review – MBIP2019, Number 8) – (2) 529
15) Just who is Tony, and what exactly is his Reading List? – (21) 485
16) ‘Como agua para chocolate’ (‘Like Water for Chocolate’) by Laura Esquivel (Review) – (20) 465
17) Korean Literature for Beginners – Part One (12 to 7) – (32) 458
18) 2020 Reviews 452
19) The 2019 Tony’s Reading List Awards 437
20) ‘Things We Lost in the Fire’ by Mariana Enriquez (Review) – (30) 429
21) ‘The Story of Hong Gildong’, translated by Minsoo Kang (Review) – (36) 412
22) ‘Familiar Things’ by Hwang Sok-yong (Review) – (286) 409
23) The 2020 International Booker Prize Longlist! 403
24) ‘In Praise of Shadows’ by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki (Review) – (31) 384
25) ‘La Prisonnière (The Prisoner)’ by Marcel Proust (Review) – (35) 383

In a major change, my perennial number one, the traditional IBP predictions post, only made it to number three this year, with the top spot being taken out by a review of Before the Coffee Gets Cold.  That’s not a post I would have envisaged being popular, given I wasn’t a huge fan of the book…  In other news, somebody obviously set Ryū Murakami’s debut work as an exam text as I had a flood of hits for Almost Transparent Blue late in the year.  It’s also plain to see that the bulk of my blog hits come from my back catalogue – in fact only two posts from the first list made this one 😦

Let’s move on to the final list, then, in which we tot up all page hits since the 2015 blog migration.  This is focused on review posts, and we can easily see here which are the writers and books that keep on keeping on:

1) ‘I Have the Right to Destroy Myself’ by Kim Young-ha (Review) 3806
2) ‘Los Niños Tontos / The Foolish Children’ by Ana María Matute (Review) 2786
3) ‘Photo Shop Murder’ and Other Stories by Kim Young-ha (Review) 2277
4) ‘The Girl from the Coast’ by Pramoedya Ananta Toer (Review) 2255
5) ‘Celestial Bodies’ by Jokha Alharthi (Review – MBIP2019, Number 8) 2244
6) ‘As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams’ by Lady Sarashina (Review) 2210
7) ‘Before the Coffee Gets Cold’ by Toshikazu Kawaguchi (Review) 2207
8) ‘Almost Transparent Blue’ by Ryū Murakami (Review) 1874
9) ‘Hopscotch’ by Julio Cortázar (Review) 1844
10) ‘Pour que tu ne te perdes pas dans le quartier’ (‘So You Don’t Get Lost in the Neighbourhood’) by Patrick Modiano (Review) 1816
11) ‘Gehen, ging, gegangen’ (‘Go, Went, Gone’) by Jenny Erpenbeck (Review) 1770
12) ‘The Lost Daughter’ by Elena Ferrante (Review) 1720
13) ‘Como agua para chocolate’ (‘Like Water for Chocolate’) by Laura Esquivel (Review) 1625
14) ‘Signs Preceding the End of the World’ by Yuri Herrera (Review) 1495
15) ‘The Story of Hong Gildong’, translated by Minsoo Kang (Review) 1431
16) ‘In Praise of Shadows’ by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki (Review) 1410
17) ‘The 100 Best Novels in Translation’ by Boyd Tonkin 1395
18) ‘La Prisonnière (The Prisoner)’ by Marcel Proust (Review) 1379
19) ‘Umami’ by Laia Jufresa (Review) 1369
20) ‘Night and Day’ by Virginia Woolf (Review) 1347
21) ‘Little Jewel’ by Patrick Modiano (Review) 1281
22) ‘The Unseen’ by Roy Jacobsen (Review – MBIP 2017, Number 13) 1263
23) ‘In altre parole’ (‘In Other Words’) by Jhumpa Lahiri (Review) 1236
24) ‘Supernova’ by Dewi Lestari (Review) 1213
25) ‘Der geteilte Himmel’ (‘They Divided the Sky’) by Christa Wolf (Review) 1212

In a list remarkably similar to last year’s, my look at Kim’s short novel on assisted suicide continues to rack up the views; as always, I’m not quite sure how to feel about that…  One post I am happy to see featured here is Boyd Tonkin’s take on world classics, a book I must take another look at eventually.  Predictably, given the numbers they amassed in 2020, both the Murakami and Kawaguchi books muscled their way into the top ten.  I wonder if that will continue next year, or whether the reviews will drift back into obscurity…

I hope you found that interesting, and I wonder if any of these stats surprised you (or is your favourite not even there?)  After the awards and figures, we’re almost done with 2020, but I must ask for a little more patience as I have one more post to put out before normal reviewing service resumes.  Please come back in a couple of days for another of the traditional round-up posts, namely the State of the Blog Address.  Was 2020 more of an annus mirabilis or annus horibilis – I’ll let you know very soon 😉

4 thoughts on “Your Favourite Posts of 2020

    1. Kaggsy – Yes, that often happens when I do that kind of thing, but it’s not really what I’m here for. That’s the sad truth about literary blogging, listicles and photos of piles will get you ten times as many views as reviews that took you hours to write…

      …and yet I still pump out 95% reviews 😦

      Liked by 1 person

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