Posted by: Lisa Hill | December 27, 2021

ANZLitLovers’ readers Top Twenty-Five posts for 2021

Popularity is not really something that works for a niche LitBlog like mine, but here are the Top Twenty-Five most popular posts for 2021.  Australian titles are in bold; New Zealand titles are in Italics.  BTW None of these stats include views by subscribers who receive my reviews by email or those who view the reviews from the home page.

Stats for 2021

  1. In the Fog of the Seasons’ End, by Alex La Guma.  This review is a stalwart, growing from about 2000 viewers when it was first posted in 2014, and growing now to 4010 views in 2021.  Almost certainly a set text for students somewhere in the world.
  2. The Concubine by Elechi Amadi.  Probably also a set text.
  3. Monsieur Ibrahim et Les Fleurs du Coran, (Monsieur Ibrahim and The Flowers of the Qur’an), by Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt.
  4. Cousins, by Patricia Grace has raced into the Top Five this year.
  5. The Labyrinth, by Amanda Lohrey.  An Australian title!  The Labyrinth won the Miles Franklin, the Voss Literary Prize and the Prime Minister’s Literary Award.
  6. Samskara, a Rite for a Dead Man, by U.R. Ananthamurthy, translated by A.K. Ramanajan
  7. The Lover, by Marguerite Duras, translated by Barbara Bray.
  8. The Yield, by Tara June Winch
  9. The Dictionary of Lost Words, by Pip Williams
  10. Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not) by José Rizal, translated by Harold Augenbraum
  11. The Dressmaker’s Secret, by Rosalie Ham
  12. The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy, winner of the Booker Prize in 1997
  13. ANZLL Indigenous Literature Reading List (This is a page, not a post, but hey, let’s not quibble.)
  14. ‘The Singers’, by Ivan Turgenev, translated by David Magarshack, in A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, by George Saunders
  15. Ways of Dying, by Zakes Mda
  16. Bruny, by Heather Rose
  17. The Solid Mandala, by Patrick White
  18. Death of a Coast Watcher, by Anthony English
  19. The Living Sea of Waking Dreams, by Richard Flanagan
  20. The Drover’s Wife, the legend of Molly Johnson, by Leah Purcell
  21. ‘Dead Roses’ in The Burnt Ones, by Patrick White
  22. Tasmanian Aborigines: A History since 1803, by Lyndall Ryan.  The only NF title in tis list.
  23. From Where I Fell, by Susan Johnson
  24. Potiki, by Patricia Grace

What does all this mean?  A look at the stats for all time, that is, from the time this blog started in July 2008, suggests to me that the enduring popularity of texts written a good while ago are the ones on student book lists and not necessarily the Australian books that my blog celebrates.

Stats for all time: 2008—2021

My all time, most popular reviews ever (rounded off a little bit) are:

  1. In the Fog of the Seasons’ End, by Alex La Guma (27000+ views)
  2. The Concubine by Elechi Amadi (22000+)
  3. Tasmanian Aborigines: A History since 1803, by Lyndall Ryan (16000)
  4. Ways of Dying, by Zakes Mda (16000)
  5. Faceless by Amma Darko (16000)
  6. Potiki, by Patricia Grace (14500)
  7. The Ladies’ Paradise, by Emile Zola, translated by Brian Nelson (13,000).  This one is an outlier.  It had thousands of hits when the book was a TV series in the US in 2013-4).
  8. Voss, by Patrick White (11,500)
  9. ANZLL Books You Must Read (10,500)
  10. ANZLL Indigenous Literature Reading List  (9,500)

Notice something?  The first six of these titles are by or about people of colour.  I am rather pleased about that and I like No 10 too.

So, what are the Top 25 popular posts featuring reviews of only Australian and New Zealand titles for 2021?  The results are very different if I exclude any books not published for the first time in 2021.

Top 25 ANZ published anytime

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Top 25 ANZ first published in 2021

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  1. Cousins, (1992) by Patricia Grace
  2. The Labyrinth, (2020) by Amanda Lohrey.
  3. The Yield, (2019) by Tara June Winch
  4. The Dictionary of Lost Words, (2020)  by Pip Williams
  5. The Dressmaker’s Secret, (2020) by Rosalie Ham
  6. ANZLL Indigenous Literature Reading List
  7. Bruny, (2019) by Heather Rose
  8. The Solid Mandala, (1966) by Patrick White
  9. Death of a Coast Watcher, (2021) by Anthony English
  10. The Living Sea of Waking Dreams, (2020) by Richard Flanagan
  11. The Drover’s Wife, the legend of Molly Johnson, (2019) by Leah Purcell
  12. ‘Dead Roses’ in The Burnt Ones, (1964) by Patrick White
  13. Tasmanian Aborigines: A History since 1803, (2012) by Lyndall Ryan
  14. From Where I Fell, (2021) by Susan Johnson
  15. Potiki, (1986) by Patricia Grace
  16. Voss (1957) by Patrick White
  17. The White Girl (2019) by Tony Birch
  18. The Tree of Man (1955) by Patrick White
  19. A Fringe of Leaves (1976) by Patrick White
  20. There Was Still Love (2019) by Favel Parrett
  21. Sincerely, Ethel Malley, (2021) by Stephen Orr
  22. Baby No-Eyes (1998) by Patricia Grace
  23. Tu, (2004) by Patricia Grace
  24. After Story (2021) by Larissa Behrendt
  25. The Beach Caves (2021) by Trevor Shearston
  1. ANZLL Indigenous Literature Reading List
  2. Death of a Coast Watcher, (2021) by Anthony English
  3. From Where I Fell, (2021) by Susan Johnson
  4. Sincerely, Ethel Malley, (2021) by Stephen Orr
  5. After Story (2021)by Larissa Behrendt
  6. The Beach Caves (2021) by Trevor Shearston
  7. Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray (River of Dreams), (2021) by Anita Heiss
  8. Locust Summer (2021) by David Allan-Petale 
  9. Farmers or Hunter-Gatherers (2021) by Peter Sutton and Keryn Walshe
  10. Small Acts of Defiance, (2021) by Michelle Wright
  11. The Kindness of Birds, (2021) by Merlinda Bobis
  12. The Case for Courage, (2021) by Kevin Rudd
  13. Scary Monsters (2021) by Michelle de Kretser
  14. An Insider’s Plague Year, (2021) by Peter Doherty
  15. Signs and Wonders (2021) by Delia Falconer
  16. Pietà (2021) by Michael Fitzgerald
  17. Indigenous Literature Week – a Reading List of Indigenous Women Writers
  18. O (2021) by Steven Carroll
  19. Reviews from Indigenous Literature Week at ANZ Litlovers 2021
  20. Nellie, the life and loves of Dame Nellie Melba, (2021) by Robert Wainwright
  21. Ein Stein, (2021) by Joe Reich
  22. In Moonland, (2021) by Miles Allison
  23. The Chloroformist, (2021) by Christine Ball
  24. Love Objects, (2021) by Emily Maguire
  25. The Performance (2021) by Claire Thomas

FWIW I think these stats are meaningless.  I got the idea for doing this from the Newtown Review of Books, but as they say, it skews a little to reviews from earlier in the year (as there has been more time for readers to discover them).  They say it’s one way to get an overview of the books that caught our attention in 2021.

But I think that the only thing my stats show is that my reviews have longevity.  Leaving aside the reviews obviously sourced by students seeking input for their assignments, (which also correspond to badly-spelled search terms) I have no idea why some posts are more popular than others…

Over to you.  Any thoughts?


Responses

  1. I have older posts still being searched. Some of them are on authors I’ve noticed getting traction on BookTok (I’m not on BookTok but I see via Instagram that this is happening). It’s nice to know that readers might discover an author on one platform and seek further info on their books via another.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That makes perfect sense to me. After all, not everyone reads a book when it’s first published…
      What is BookTok? #HangsHeadInShame ‘ve never heard of it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • There’s a video ‘thing’ that all the young ones are crazy about. My three watch it all the time, TickTok. BookTok is to that what Bookstagram is to Instagram. Personally, I’ve never looked at it but apparently there are cult-like followings for certain books and authors on it.

        Like

        • I’m guessing it would all be flavour of the month popular fiction?

          Liked by 1 person

          • Some, yes. A lot of fantasy and a lot of authors who write very angsty relationship novels. My Colleen Hoover reviews are getting viewed daily. Her books have all been released with new covers by a new publisher and BookTok is loving her. Some of my reviews on her books are 5 and 6 years old.

            Like

  2. I check my stats on NYE/NYD most years too, and like you, have no idea really what they mean. I’ll be curious to see how my year on WordPress has come out stats-wise though.

    One of the bumps in a more obscure post on my old blog, was to do with a Nobel Prize winning poet from early last century, that suddenly went ballistic, when she was featured as a Google image of the day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know what you mean about ‘bumps’. My most bizarre was when I had a little rant about the GST on online purchases (e.g. from the Book Depository) when it was being discussed in the media. For a long time it stayed at the top of the stats with about 1750 views, which was unheard for any post of mine!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I Duck duck go’d your top book post & your review & then goodreads came up as the guest search options. But nothing obvious under that. School text seems the most likely factor.

        Like

        • I think so. I’m pretty sure that those four Patricia Grace titles would be on book lists in New Zealand, and those African titles would either be on lists in the US or in Africa.
          I remember that Toni Jordan’s Nine Days had a sudden surge in popularity when it went onto Year 12 book lists.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. My most popular posts are photographs of Tasmania ;-). Next year I am taking a break from blogging, but will continue to check in on your posts, Lisa and Theresa.

    Like

    • I’m not surprised that those posts are so popular, you are a really good photographer…
      But oh… a break… does this mean you are travelling somewhere interesting?

      Liked by 1 person

      • No travel planned, Lisa, not yet anyway. No, I want to spend more time on my craft activities.

        Like

        • Ah, well I hope we continue to see photos of those. Your embroidery is beautiful.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Thank you, Lisa. There will be photos of craft, on Facebook and Instagram ;-)

            Like

            • Ok, good, I’m not on FB much (or Instagram at all) but I won’t miss out altogether!

              Like

  4. ‘badly-spelled search terms’ gave me a lovely LOL moment.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I will of course do mine in early January, in a slightly different way to the Newtown inspiration I think! But one think that’s changed in my stats in the last 2-3 years is that my posts on Australian books are starting to appear in my top 10. Actually, some Australians have appeared for quite a while, but for some reason they were always one or two Barbara Baynton short stories and Red Dog. However, in the last couple of years, that has diversified which has been good to see. Otherwise, I agree of course that earlier posts build up more numbers, but this exercise is always a bit of fun rather than a defendable analysis isn’t it!

    Like

  6. How interesting! This made me go look at my stats. The Top 10 reviews on my blog for 2021 are:

    1. The Solid Mandala by Patrick White
    2. Silk by Alessandro Barrico
    3. The Survivors by Jane Harper
    4. Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
    5. The Lover by Marguerite Duras
    6. Voss by Patrick White
    7. Dollar Bahu by Sudha Murty
    8. The Labyrinth by Amanda Lohrey
    9. Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson
    10. Benang: From the Heart by Kim Scott

    The Lohrey is the only book I reviewed this year; all the others are YEARS and YEARS old. I reckon most hits are from set texts or screen adaptations (people interested in reading the book after seeing the film/TV show)

    I think I told you about my experience with The Cry by Helen Fitzgerald. When the TV adaptation was screened on BBC in the UK in 2018, my review attracted more than 30,000 hits!

    Like

    • 30,000!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      That is phenomenal, they all wanted to know what happened and couldn’t wait for the next episode, I expect. I hope you didn’t tell them!

      Interesting that both you and I have Voss as a stayer…

      Like

      • My review gave nothing away ! And, as it turns out, the adaptation changed the storyline slightly.

        We both have The Lover on our popular hits list, too.

        Like

        • Of course, I was only teasing!
          Re The Lover… the thing I’ve noticed about the ones that are obviously set texts, is that — with the exception of Voss — they are all short. Is that because teachers don’t set anything long these days?

          Like

    • I plan to post my Blogging Highlights on the weekend or early next week. I always love seeing the top overall posts – and they are rarely for posts written in the year I’m reporting on, though occasionally one or two will creep in.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. […] popular? This year I did a separate post about my Top Twenty-Five Posts, you can see it here if so […]

    Like

  8. I’ve no idea either why some posts just fizzle out quickly and others still get traffic years after they went live – beyond the point you’ve already made about set texts. Among my top ten are books from African, Belgian and Brazilian authors which I am pretty sure are on a syllabus. The one I can’t account for is a post called GoldStar TBR which was just an update to celebrate the number of books I read from my TBR in 2016. What the searchers were looking for I can’t imagine but I’m sure it wasn’t an update on my reading!

    BTW in your sentence “In the Fog of the Seasons’ End, by Alex La Guma. This review is a stalwart, growing from about 2000 viewers when it was first posted in 2014, and growing now to 4010 views in 2010. ” is there an error in that last date – growing now, implies its post 2014??

    Like

    • LOL ‘Tis one of the mysteries of the blogoverse!
      You’re right that date was a brain fade, it should have been 2021… and already that post has had 4124 views over the last 365 days which means the students have started their prep for the 2022 academic year, I guess.
      How nice it is to see that someone enjoys these posts about stats and actually reads them!

      Like

      • Of course we read them, we are all hoping to find answers to the question of why some posts get little attention.

        Liked by 1 person


Please share your thoughts and join the conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: