annual report

Looking back on this year

Looking at the stats on this blog for this year, our Annus Horribilis II, the previous horrible year being 2020, I took note that the numbers have more than doubled, which it’s been doing more or less annually since I started the blog:

The birth of a completely obscure blog
Who could’a thunk that it would end up where it did?
“Look, Ma, no hands!” All grown up and suitably disreputable.
SevenCircumstances blog stats at Dec. 29, 2021

2021 sucked

The year 2021 sucked…mostly. Since I was officially unemployed, I tried not to be self-pitying, and did not, as we say in our family, go into the garden and eat some worms. One upside was that I used the time that I suddenly had on my hands to write music and, in-between struggling with music theory and my creative limitations, continue to post articles on this site. What a heck of a habit. Probably some weird mental glitch.

I published 60 posts, roughly one per week, though many of them were micro-posts, or one long post broken into instalments, or not actually reviews. But ever since the numbers reached a level that is noteworthy, I am being inundated with spam emails and comments, and, same as last year, the majority of visitors are crawl engines from other sites, not real people. To all those spammers and click-baiters and fakes, I say: Go away, leave me alone, you irritate the bejeezus out of me.

I take note of the real humans who read and comment on my posts, and I enjoy those interactions (you know who you are!) and I appreciate that you actually write to me.

I had a realization recently: one of the reasons that I continue to write about books and related matters, is for my own amusement: I often browse through and read my own writing on this blog. I do it not just to find and correct the grammar and spelling mistakes, but because I have forgotten what a particular book was like, or what I had thought about it. It often seems to have been written a much younger, sharper and more fluent version of me. I think, wow, did I think that up? It is as if I enjoy the book all over again.

Sometimes the posts or articles are my way of clarifying concepts that I have difficulty with, or that niggle or puzzle me: I put the concept into words to explain it to myself. I sometimes need to remind myself of what that actually was. As a result, most of the posts that I’ve written are long, and deep dives into a specific subject. Well, as deep as someone like me, who is a Bear of Little Brain, can be.

2021 “deep” dives from a Bear of Little Brain Who Was Puzzled

Main Niggle: Nothing comes from nothing
Nothing comes from nothing
When and how to get an editor to finish off your work, as a step in the creative process
At the end of your tether with typos? Read this
“Nothing comes from nothing.”

Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall series
A historical figure comes to life – The Mirror and the Light, by Hilary Mantel (Part 1 of 4)
Who is the mirror, and who is the light? – The Mirror and the Light, by Hilary Mantel (Part 2 of 4)
What is “too long”? – The Mirror and the Light, by Hilary Mantel (Part 3 of 4)
The downfall of Cromwell – The Mirror and the Light, by Hilary Mantel (Part 4 of 4)
A man on the roof of a 70-storey building – Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel
Music, lyrics, and books about music and musicians
Music with hooks like talons – The Song Machine, by John Seabrook
Your brain wants to be happy! The Song Machine, by John Seabrook (cont.)
Revealing the real story behind modern pop music – John Seabrook interview
All the little angels…
Horrible lyrics and pitiful prose
The most important thing in First Person Singular, by Haruki Murakami
Listen to this – Feel it
Nick Cave explains his departure from fictitious narrative songwriting
Lessons from a Masterclass course – Neil Gaiman on Storytelling
It all depends on how you look at it…
What is it about? – First Person Singular, by Haruki Murakami
The most important thing in First Person Singular, by Haruki Murakami
Finally – Then what happened? in First Person Singular, by Haruki Murakami
Megalomaniac Masters and Monarchs – Four interconnected fiction and biographical non-fiction works

Megalomaniac Masters and Monarchs (1) – The Juicy Biographies
Megalomaniac Masters and Monarchs (2) – What is it with harems?
Megalomaniac Masters and Monarchs (3) – Undone by Mysteries
Megalomaniac Masters and Monarchs (4) – He was not right in the head
The Leopard by Tomasi di Lampedusa (following Lampedusa, by Steven Price, 2020)

“…Peace in a little heap of vivid dust” – The Leopard, by Tomasi di Lampedusa
When a novelist turns to poetry
Falling for the Leopard – Lampedusa, by Steven Price
New Science Fiction and novels about space exploration

A winner of an alien – Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir
Can you feel for Klara? – Klara and the Sun, by Kazuo Ishiguro
Hell hath no wrath like a disappointed Star Trek Fan
Writing from rare experience – The Apollo Murders, by Chris Hadfield
A few words more on The Apollo Murders, by Chris Hadfield
Investigations into literary oddities
A Paraguayan Perspective on: The Strange Case of the President of Paraguay and the Irish Courtesan
(Subsequent to: The Strange Case of the President of Paraguay and the Irish Courtesan – 2020)
The people are revolting, are they?
The origins of “Waiting for the Barbarians”

My favourite books of 2021

**To be reviewed

Many of my favourite books of 2021 are previously published works that I rediscovered – and realized that they are even better than I remember. I did not, thankfully, waste my money on buying dud books this year. All the books I bought were praiseworthy, but some are important to me. They will not go back onto the bookshelves, or be lent to someone else. They will sit on my desk and every so often I will open one up to pick out something else that is profound and beautiful. I will read them and study them until the pages get dog-eared and the spines get frown lines.

To be continued in 2022…barring force majeure

3 comments on “Looking back on this year

  1. Daardie portret van Neil Gaiman kort ‘n knoets van ‘n robynring aan sy linkerhand 😘 Voorspoedige nuwejaar, liewe Marthe!

  2. I love that you see blogging as a ‘mental glitch’- made me laugh. Thanks for sharing this post.

  3. Dieselfde vir jou, Fran.

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