Here is a blog chain thing I was nominated for. I am just going to choose the interesting question-bit, and not nominate anyone further.
2) link to a post that fits the following categories: most beautiful piece; most helpful piece; most popular piece; most underrated piece; most pride-worthy piece; most surprisingly successful piece; most controversial piece.
- Beauty … I’m afraid, lies in the eye of the bereader. There is a great difference in my mind between my blog posts and my real writing (novel writing): I write blog posts much quicker, without any real interest in style; I don’t really edit them at all (except sometimes when I read them back over months later, it’s an editorial habit I can’t escape from). Some, I’m sure, come out quite well written – I can’t help that. Others – most, perhaps – are poorly written and incoherent.
- Helpful – I’m not sure anything I’ve written is that helpful. The main conception of the blog was a desire to express to other people how good I have found certain books which they might not have read – or heard of. Indeed, the blog’s original title was “Great Books You’ve Never Read”. – One of my posts most visited by random searchers through Google is the one about the difference between analytic and synthetic languages, and I like to think of students using my post as a basis for essays they can’t be bothered to research properly (particularly since almost everything I say in my post is wrong).
- Popular – Going by hits, then the page I once wrote devoted to Nabokov’s likes and dislikes is by far the most popular on my website. – If I exclude pages and only include posts, then it’s this post on Best French Novels. This is simply because, if you type “Best French Novels” into Google, my website is the sixth entry – two ahead of the very Wikipedia page it references!!!. This demonstrates the importance of using the right title on blog posts. (“Best French Novels” is my best keyword return on Google – excluding anything based on Obooki; the next two, fairly bizarrely, are “Ekow Eshun” and “Stephen Mitchelmore”). – In general, I have not courted popularity on Obooki’s Obloquy. If I wanted popularity I would review newly-released and well-known books, rather than obscure old books.
- Underrated – Hmm, not sure. It annoys me sometimes when in those infrequent moments I happen to write a long, well-thought out piece about something which I feel actually for once says something interesting, and then nobody comments on it. But I suppose that’s the way of things.
- Pride-worthy – Is this an English word? I’m sure this is strongly connected to underrated, for the period of time before I discover that nobody is going to comment on it. Oh, OK, I’d nominate C is for Avant-Garde (perhaps also my favourite title), my review of that utter fake, Tom McCarthy’s C. (Maybe that has the most comments, too!).
- Surprisingly successful – Hmm, no idea.
- Controversial – There is nothing at all controversial at Obooki’s Obloquy. The opinions I state here are the opinions which all right-thinking people hold. There have occasionally been arguments in the comments’ section, and if we take that as a criterion then these two quite early pieces (here and here) about pseudonymity on the internet attracted a lot of comments (which have subsequently been lost, I’m afraid); and I suppose our recent discussion of the nature of history, which has caused me to be removed from somebody’s blogroll (the ultimate sanction in these affairs!).