Last Year’s Best Reads? (Or Self-hosted vs Hosted)

In the past week I’ve been engaged in looking at my statistics… And since the blog moved from being self-hosted to wordpress.com during the year, I had to collate the statistics manually, a task during which I found myself evaluating the pros and cons of…

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Mediterranean Mondays

Much as I love the Mediterranean, in the past few months I found that I could do better things with my Sunday than writing blog posts. 🙂 This morning’s sunshine finally gave me the push to make up my mind that Sunday’s Miscellany will be moved to Mondays, when regardless of the weather, I’ll be stuck in an office all day anyhow and will want to cheer myself up with thoughts of sea and sun…

So I suppose we herewith rename the miscellany, to mark the change.

And while I’m making changes, I thought I’d invite your thoughts on what would you like to see more of in this feature about the Mediterranean? As it’s the only feature of the blog in which I’m committed to a publishing schedule, I still intend to keep it reasonably short but I think I might as well do away with the self-imposed 300 word limit (which I often failed to stay within anyhow).

You’re invited to vote on which of the topics we had in the last year you’d like to have more of – or let me know if there’s something new you’d like me to include – Spanish pop songs anybody? 🙂

In the meantime I’m off to enjoy the weather; you’ll get a dose of Mediterranean sunshine tomorrow. 🙂

It’s Not Like Anybody’s Going to Read It

I’m only an accidental blogger: when I started, I didn’t even know that blog was short for web log or what a blog is actually for.

It all started during the summer holidays in 2015 when I had nothing better to do. Exactly one year ago today, in fact. Fed up with the way my family pulled faces at the dinner table whenever I tried to share my clever thoughts about books with them, I typed my latest earth-shattering insight into my husband’s website editor instead…

Pride and Prejudice… manages to be witty about something utterly mundane. Jane Austen is all about character observation and style. The plot is not important.
Read my first ever blog post

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How to Fail as a Blogger (In Five Easy Steps)

The other day I carelessly volunteered for  a guest post on Bloggers’ World and feeling that I ought to write something that might actually interests people there instead of boring them with my pet obsessions (such as Herodotus or the continuing Brexit wars), I hit upon the subject of blogging advice: How To Be A Successful Blogger. Between you and me (don’t whisper it outside these walls), I’m not qualified to give such advice; nevertheless, after a year of blogging I’m not entirely without expertise…

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Five Books You Shouldn’t Read

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Picture by florian.b via Flickr.

Life is short and bookshelves are long… and it’s too easy to get suckered into a book, keep turning the pages, start philosophising or daydreaming and forget to live. So here’s five books you should avoid like the plague if you don’t want to become a book addict:

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I Read Therefore I Write

Herodotus wrote because he wanted to record the events of the recent past so that great deeds would not be forgotten. The Spanish conquistador, Bernal Díaz del Castillo wrote because he was annoyed by what somebody else wrote about men he knew and fought with. García Lorca wrote because poetry bubbled up and out of him, like water from a fountain on some sun-drenched Plaza Mayor… and Hemingway, you suspect, wrote at least in part because through writing he could live the lives of men whose manliness, courage or sheer bloody-mindedness he admired.

P. G. Wodehouse wrote because it was better than working in a bank. (I’m all with him on that one.)

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Taking Myself Seriously

I decided to take myself seriously as a blogger from now on. (Well, somebody has to.) So I signed up for a basic photography course with the so-called Blogging University – those of you who live your lives on WordPress.com you know what I’m talking about, the rest of you, don’t waste your time looking it up.

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Blogger Recognition Award

I’d like to thank Vibrant of blabberwockying! for nominating me for this award: I sure don’t know what I’ve done to deserve it but I take any praise that comes my way willingly and with thanks… Cheers, mate.

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This is an award that originated with Eve of Edge of Night. In accordance with the rules, here’s my story… followed by my advice to new bloggers and the nominees for the next round.

“It’s Not Like Anybody’s Going to Read It”: How My Blog Started

It started during the summer holidays when I had nothing better to do. I typed my latest earth-shatteringly clever insight into my husband’s website editor because I got fed up with the way my family pulled faces at the dinner table whenever I tried to share my clever thoughts about books with them. At this point, I didn’t actually know what a blog was other than it’s people putting stuff on the internet for reasons best known to themselves… A day or so later I had another brilliant idea and I made another entry. At this point my husband inquired in passing as to what exactly I thought I was doing on his computer with his software… “I’ve started a blog,” I replied grandly and he went away.

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How Not to Forget Books You Read

For years I’ve been suffering from rubbish memory: I forget the details of the books I’ve read, the places I visited, the faces of people I met, what we had for dinner yesterday (I remember it was tasty), what the boy my daughter fancies is called. (This last is particularly galling as it took months to worm it out of her.) At some point I got worried that I’m suffering from dementia already, a gloomy thought. But against this was set the fact that I remember all the deadlines at work (there’re galore), don’t need reminders to pay for the children’s school trips in time and just managed to learn a foreign language. Minus the foreign language though this means I’m forgetting everything I actually would like to remember – very annoying. In fact, to top it all, I even forget foreign languages I spent years acquiring as soon as I stop using them.

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The Lonely Reader’s Lament

I started book blogging because a really important (well, to me) idea would hit me during Sunday dinner and I would try to share it with the family… only to get this look of: “you’re not telling us something about Sophocles again!… surely?” Yes, I’m afraid I am. My family doesn’t share my more obscure tastes, such as Herodotus or Spanish literature… or Stick and Rudder by Wolfgang Langewiesche… or poetry… or Antoine de Saint-Exupéry… or… all right, they just don’t generally share my taste in reading. Full stop.

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Why Not To Blog About Books (Pride and Prejudice)

I read an article in El País about Jane Austen. The author used some 500 words to say what could have been tweeted: viz. that Jane Austen was a good writer and Pride and Prejudice is a good book. Much writing about books and literature is like that: too many words to describe something that would be better read. And it’s difficult to say something new about a book; usually whatever you want to say has been said before – and better. So where does that leave anyone who wants to blog about books? Don’t bother.

Pride and Prejudice was my favourite book in my twenties. It manages to be witty about something utterly mundane. Jane Austen is all about character observation and style. The plot is not important.

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