I love putting together posts for my blog’s birthday! It’s fun marking the passage of time – it’s hard to believe I’ve already been blogging for three full years – and it’s always interesting to look at statistics about what visitors seek and read.
It’s you, the readers who visit the Bookshelf, who make blogging so rewarding. I didn’t have many expectations when I started blogging three years ago, but I certainly didn’t think I’d meet so many of you in person and by e-mail. I love the solitariness of my reading and writing, but I also love the fellowship that so often grows around books. A big thanks to all of you for your comments, messages, and ideas.
Geography. Not much has changed in Bookshelf geography since last year: by country, the largest number of visits comes from the United States, but many of you are in the U.K., Russia, Canada, and Italy. The top city is London, which makes me look forward to the 2011 London Book Fair even more.
Popular Posts & Search Terms. My “Overcoat” post is still the most popular on the blog, followed by my list of pre-revolutionary Top 10 Greatest Hits. Next: Dostoevsky’s The Possessed/Devils, Pushkin’s Belkin Tales, and Ulitskaya’s Daniel Stein. The giant surprise for this year is at number 7: my post mentioning the New York Times article about Elena Chizhova. Variants on Chizhova’s name are among the top searches for the past year, too. I wish I could say I enjoyed her Booker-winning Время женщин (A Time of Women) more than I did. The combination of “Prussian Bride” and “Buida” comes up consistently, too. Buida’s books never seem to be available when I look for them; I may need to order something up through interlibrary loan one of these days.
Odd Recent Search Terms. Scanning through the search terms that bring people to the Bookshelf often provides decent entertainment. The mysterious combination of “Zinik” and “Sorokin,” which used to come up regularly, has disappeared and there haven’t been many truly strange combos lately but here are a few that got me imagining or wanting to answer:
- Vladimir Sorokin my email. Is someone treating Google as a seer that knows why Sorokin hasn’t answered an e-mail message?
- How enjoying is reading Russian. People ask me this all the time. It’s easy to say I enjoy my Russian reading but I have difficulty explaining what, exactly, is so much fun. I’m sure part of the enjoyment of reading Russian comes from the fact that I read Russian slower than I read English. For me, reading Russian takes more concentration and attention than reading English, making Russian reading a far more intense experience. (This Googler probably landed on this page.)
- Gogol read. Yes, please do read Gogol! I particularly recommend two short stories as starters: the afore-mentioned “Overcoat” and “The Nose.”
- 600 Pages of Dostoevsky. I can’t read this querier’s mind but want to think the person sought a recommendation of 600 especially interesting pages of Dostoevsky. Well! Six hundred pages eliminates most of the big books, (if they’re printed in legible type and/or sold without a magnifying glass), though some translations of Crime and Punishment weigh in with page counts just under 600. Not a bad option, of course, though my personal choice would be selected short novels and stories. There’s lots to choose from: the “Grand Inquisitor” section of The Brothers K., Notes from the Underground, The Gambler, White Nights, House of the Dead, and the derivative but important Double… There are plenty of other Dostoevsky short novels and long stories I keep promising myself I’ll read.
On that note, I’ll leave and say another huge thank you – огромное спасибо – to all of you for your visits, encouragement, and reading suggestions over the last three years!
Up next: Yuzefovich’s Казароза (Kazaroza), which has been growing on my since I finished it, and then Ilichevskii’s Матисс (Matisse), which only really started to grab me after about 170 pages...