I am essentially clueless about what the readers of this blog want to read. Often I'll put up a post about something that is very important to me and that I think others might care about and...nothing. It gets no reaction and very few readers. (I know that because my friend Google helpfully tracks and reports to me about how many readers I have, what part of the world they are from, and how many of them read particular posts.) Then again I might dash off some spur-of-the-moment comment about something in the news and thousands of readers will look at it. Obviously, if I understood that dynamic better, I'd write something like that every day!
Just this morning I was looking at the ranking of my most popular posts over the years and, frankly, I still don't have a clue. My five most popular posts of all time don't seem to have much in common at all.
1. Fifty shades of bad writing, posted 04/22/12: This is far and away the most popular post that I've ever done, maybe because it's a comment on that blockbuster reading phenomenon, Fifty Shades of Grey. It includes some of the steamier quotes from the book and that may have attracted some readers as well, but other than that I can't really see why it should be any more popular than a hundred other posts I've done.
2. Sidetracked by Henning Mankell: A review, posted 10/15/11: In general, my book review posts are the most popular posts that I do, and Henning Mankell is the most popular author that I've reviewed. Several reviews of his books do rank in the top twenty or so posts. I've even thought about making the blog strictly about books. Since I am a constant reader, I would have plenty of material to write about. But then, where would I be able to rant about my views on other things?
3. The earth moves and its axis shifts, posted 03/01/10: Earth science, how the planet works, is another passion of mine and it always makes me happy to be able to write about it. Even such catastrophic events as earthquakes and their effects on Earth are fascinating for me to read about and I'm happy to see that my readers find them interesting, also.
4. The American caste system, posted 01/19/12: Inequality of income and opportunity is becoming more and more ingrained in American society. The American Dream for those on the lowest end of the economic scale has become the American Nightmare. No matter how hard they work, the way up the ladder is blocked for them. In many cases, those blocking their way are their elected representatives. Unconscionable!
5. An alternative view of bodice rippers, posted 12/30/09: Romance novels get little respect in the world of literature, at least from critics and all the Very Serious People. But why should a romance novel that is well written be any less legitimate than a spy novel or any other genre? Because they are chic-lit? That seems to be the standard by which they are judged: If it's written to appeal to women, it must be inferior!
So, three of the top five posts are about literature, broadly speaking, and that doesn't really surprise me. I know that many of my readers are passionate lovers of books who care deeply about the written word, as I do. I'm just happy that I have this venue in which to share my passion about literature, as well as Nature, politics, science and all those other things that move me. And I'm especially happy and grateful that you take the time to read my words.