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.
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
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.
- Marguerite Yourcenar – Memoirs of Hadrian***
- John Seabrook – The Song Machine* & ***
- Chilly Gonzales – Enya – A Treatise on Unguilty Pleasures**
- Tomasi di Lampedusa – The Leopard* & ***
- Hilary Mantel – The Wolf Hall Trilogy* & ***