- First off, thanks to those who visited the blog over the last year. There was a 13.6 percent increase in visitors in 2010 over the previous year and a similar 13.5 percent increase in unique visitors. For what it’s worth, the most popular post last year remained my 2008 review of Out Stealing Horses (consistently the most popular since first posted although down 70 percent from 2009), followed by the reviews of Tommy James’ autobiography and 2009 Nobel Laureate Herta Müller’s The Appointment.
- Given my struggles with music in 2010, as of today the Records of the Year page is on hiatus. In its place is a new addition, A Commonplace Book.
Worthwhile Reading in the Interweb Tubes
- Escape route (” The crucial point of a prison library may not be its book catalog: The point is that it is a library.”) (via)
Blog Line of the Week
- “Which reminds me of my dog Rascal. He ate his own crap, licked furniture, and once peed on a baby. And when he died, my parents looked at me and said, ‘It should have been you.'”
- The South Dakota State Historical Society Press is asking its authors and illustrators for brief blog posts on the topic why I love history.
- Meanwhile, the National Book Critics Circle asked its membership which book they would most like to see republished. (Although I’m a member, I didn’t respond largely because I was, honestly, too lazy to research out-of-print books.)
- In what may well be the first of several, Salon suggests a “great book” a month for the sesquicentennial (150 years for the math- or prefix-impaired) of the Civil War. (via)
- Kick off 2011 with the 2011 list of banished words, all of which truly deserve to be abolished from common usage. (via)
- Medieval warfare was as brutal, nasty and terrifying as one may have suspected. (via)
- Who’d a thunk that a conference called Boring 2010 would sell out? (via)
Yesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink and swore his last oath. Today, we are a pious and exemplary community.
Mark Twain, Early Tales & Sketches, Vol. 1: 1851-1864