No book was given 10 stars this year, and only one was given 9: Henry IV Part I, by William Shakespeare; so it’s probably fair enough it should take the honours (which is not bad for a book I was forced to read in school). 11 books were given 8 stars, including plays by Shakespeare (again, and more than one) and Villiers, short story collections by Dostoevsky and Andrić, novels by Čapek, Lem, Faulkner, Conrad, and a memoir by George Moore.
Conrad was the only writer I read more than one book by (I read two, but one of those was only a novella) – and there might be more than one Conrad next year too, since he’s a writer whose works I feel minded to revisit. (Cortázar also almost managed 2 books, but was cheated out of it at the last minute).
In general my reading was c20th-orientated, and I just about managed to cover every decade – though the 80s only just scraped in. English-language books dominated once again (in fact, there were more books originally in English than all the rest put together), but this bias was exacerbated by the concentration on plays (Shakespeare, in particular) and non-fiction. Plays almost overtook novels in terms of types of reading (and will almost certainly overhaul them next year).
Most visited posts:
- Writers Nabokov (Dis)likes (once again, four times as many as the next best)
- Lispeth, by Rudyard Kipling (a strangely popular – and, I feel, for once quite worthwhile post)
- Mrs Fox and Lady into Fox (this year’s most popular post, though I’d be surprised to see it in again next year)
- On Synthetic and Analytic Languages
- John Cowper Powys’ Best 100 Novels
Other notable stats: 7th most visited page was The Vortex, by José Eustasio Rivera (I guess the obscurity here for once counted in its favour); “mitchelmore” was the most searched term internally on the website (I’ve no idea why?!); and US has now taken firm control of top country from the UK (though obviously per head of population the UK would be well ahead; – though probably then some tiny country that 1 person has visited from would trump even that – Réunion, New Caledonia or the British Virgin Islands, for instance (a quick check shows BVI by far the smallest with population 28,000, so we’ll give them top spot)).
I set a new record in film-watching (180), which possibly I won’t approach again.
Two films were awarded 10 stars: Hitchcock’s North by Northwest, and Klimov’s Come and See – and I’m inclined to give the honours to Klimov, a film I knew nothing about beforehand and which watching became one of those rare visionary artistic experiences. Rio Bravo, the sole film on 9 stars, is almost much recommended.
Films were quite evenly spread by decade, at least going back to the 50s, though the 60s lost out in particular this year (it was 2nd last year). English films again predominated, with French films as usual second, then Italian, Japanese and Chinese (almost exactly the same sequence as the year before, though next year I intend to confound Chinese by properly splitting by language).