2013 was an excellent blogging and reading year for me. Blogging has changed my life way for the better. I for decades felt isolated and even odd in my love of reading. Now I know I am one of millions of people that feel the same way.
Here are some of the highlights of my blogging and reading year.
In March and April I focused on Irish short stories. I did Q and A sessions with about seventy Irish writers. This was a tremendous learning experience for me. In May in the company of Max u, I went to Ireland where I met a number of writers, soaked up as much of Ireland as I could and ate some awesome food. This was a peak life experience for me. It was almost overwhelming to visit the grave of William Butler Yeats.
I continued to post on the work of Desmond Hogan whom I had the honor of meeting. This will continue in 2014 and beyond.
I continued reading and posting on short stories by writers from the Philippines, the most viewed of any of the now 2007 posts on my blog. I continued reading Japanese novels, though not as many as in previous years. I read a good number of Indian short stories also.
I began to post on collections of poetry, so far just by Irish writers. I find posting on collections of poetry very challenging.
In November, through my participation in German Literature Month, I discovered several new to e writers I want to read in full, chief among them Joseph Roth.
I was given a large collection of Yiddish language works in translation by Yale University Press and am finding this a fascinating area.
In December I began something totally new for me. In Cooperation with Sue Guiney, project director, I began to post short stories and poems by at risk Cambodian Street Children being helped by the Anjali House Writing Project in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I found these works deeply moving.
One of the things my blog is about is giving what voice I can to the lost, the forgotten, those with no one to speak for them. The Yiddish may be a destroyed civilization but there was never a culture more into the reading life. The Irish are man for man and woman for woman, the world's greatest writers.
I am also very influenced in my thinking by the ideas of Edward Said and Declan Kiberd. I see the Cambodian posts as the recreation of literature from ground zero.
The item I am most proud of on my blog is My Q and A with Dana Hui Lim author of Mother and the Tiger- A Memoir of the Killing Fields. -
I am not a scholar or an academic (though I don't defer to those who are). I read stuff and I post on it. I don't like to be referred to as a "book reviewer".
I started to make a "big reads" list as I did in the last two years but when I was at sixty books i quit.
The top blog visitors countries are The USA, the Phillipines, India, Russia, England and Canada. The top cities of residence are the greater Manila area, then Mumbai, then New York City, London, and New Delhi. The top American states are Califorinia and New York.
The writers who draw the most hits internationally are Katherine Mansfield and R. K. Narayan.
I am very proud of the extreme literacy and keen intelligence of my readers.
I ended the year with 3062 Twitter followers. Since blogger began including a statistics pack with their software The Reading Life (begun July 7, 2009), has had 2,226,423 pageviews.
My greatest thanks are to those who take the trouble to write comments and the writers who did Q and A sessions. There will be more in 2014.
I will do another post where I talk about the future of The Reading Life.
Thanks to all visitors, even homework assistance seekers (just don't blame me if your professor says the ideas you take from me are crazy).
I am always looking for reading suggestions.
Be sure and come join in for Irish Short Story Month Year Four starting March 1, 2014