Most Popular 10 Posts for 2009

It’s a little late – these things are traditionally done on December 31, but I thought I’d break with my own tradition of not doing such lists and provide them this year.

According to the wp-stats plugin, here are the top ten.  Well, actually the top 14.  I put in a few more so as to include a couple more that I wrote, since two of my top ten were editions of the Christian Carnival, which speaks volumes regarding the limited traffic on this blog.

Christian Carnival CCLXXXVIII – Caravan Route Edition
Pastoral Candidate
Psalm 46 as an Italian Sonnet
Psalm 103 as Blank Verse
The God-Talk Club and the She-Bears
Thanking him for Faithfulness
Christian Carnival CCCV – Advent Edition
Who Felt God’s Presence?
Psalm 121: A Translation and Poetic Response
Caravan Stop
Susanna: A Transformation
Daniel and the Forgotten Prince
The New Judge
I Have No Gifts

When I split my may blog, Threads from Henry’s Threads, into three, I expected this one to be very low traffic (the third is the Participatory Bible Study blog). It has actually exceeded my expectations in traffic, and I find that when I update it regularly it does even better (no shock there!) so I do plan for the new year to put a little more effort into this fun place.

On Reading Bad Books – and What They Are

I’m trying to get back to this blog, but paying work continues to intervene, and fiction writing is not paying work for me, nor is reviewing or commenting on fiction. I will get back to posting and even have some plans for some of my material elsewhere.

That said, this morning I found a link from Martin LaBar of Sun and Shield to a post by Elizabeth Moon, Why “bad” books succeed. If I can summarize her post very briefly, I think she is saying that it’s because bad books are not entirely bad.

And I would add that, of course, good books are not entirely good. For example, I read Ms. Moon’s books, and would definitely not call them “bad,” in fact, she is one of those authors I regularly read. Yet I sometimes dislike her battle descriptions and I was not too happy with the ending of Victory Conditions. But to all that I say, who cares? I read the books anyhow, and I like them. Sometimes when you’ve done enough reading you just feel like complaining about something.

To make the same point again, I hate time travel, yet I read everything from the Dragonriders of Pern and other series by Anne McCaffrey that I can get my hands on. Why? Anne McCaffrey is simply in a class by herself as a story teller, and her characters draw you in and make you want to hear more about them.

I think it’s fairly arrogant to tell other people what they ought to like in literature. I’ve been told I should like Dostoyevsky. I can’t stand him. All apologies to advocates of great literature. I’m going to miss that part of it. But are people who like his writing stupid? Do they have bad taste? In my opinion, they simply have tastes that differ from mine. In this case it might be that it is the social commentary and the ideas that drive them.

Speaking of ideas, I like reading parts of Ayn Rand, but things like John Galt’s speech in Atlas Shrugged just turn me off as part of a novel. When I first read Atlas Shrugged I scanned the speech and then read it later when I was in the mood for some non-fiction.

I wrote on this topic before in Defining Good Literature (Or Not), and the follow-up, So Are There Actually Standards in Literature.

Enjoy. (Or not!)

No More Reviews!

At first I thought it would be fun to include a few notes on books I’ve been reading here. Then I thought it would help keep my posting rate up. Now, I’m thinking, not so much.

After a couple of my friends called this my “book review blog” and one was even unaware that I was posting my own writing here, I decided that anyone who shows up and sees book reviews as the last several posts is likely to get that impression.

So I’m just going to allow this blog to be a bit slower and post my own writing and links to other writing I find on the web.

Will I quit writing book notes and reviews? No! Never! I’ll just post them at the new blog I created for the purpose: Book Blog, which is closely connected with my existing review site. The two ideas go together anyhow.

Cleaning Up the Blogroll

I spent some time cleaning up my blogroll today as some of the sites had disappeared, and some hadn’t been updated for several months.

At the same time, I added a “Writing” folder to my bloglines account, where hopefully I can keep better track.

As a normal practice I will make regular posts of things I make more than one short paragraph of comment on, and Asides of shorter material. Often my Asides (see the sidebar, top right) will simply be links to material I find worth reading.