Saturday, 22 December 2012

Highlights of Stuck-in-a-Book 2012

I know I should probably round-up other people's blogging highlights, and normally I do try to point you all off in various bloggers' directions, but today I wanted to point you to a few of my own posts through 2012.  Although, thinking about it, most of these were highlights because of their collaborative nature.  You all know by now how much I love the community of bloggers, so I have them to thank for most of the joy of blogging in 2012.

So, here are some of my personal highlights from Stuck-in-a-Book in 2012 - do pop back and read the posts, if you missed them the first time, and why not feature your own blog highlights as 2012 comes to a close?  In no particular order, of course.

1.) My Mum and I had a very public disagreement about Daphne du Maurier's Frenchman's Creek - I posted my review here, and Mum's riposte the next day.  Most of you sided with her, and her love of Jean-Benoit... and we all had a very fun time!  (Give or take some rampant sexism.)

2.) I unleashed my wicked side a little, and I stuck my claws into Mary Webb and Dewey: The Library Cat (separately... can you imagine the treatment The Webb would give Dewey?  "Sleak and shimmeringly glossy of coat, he stole, unafraid as the lark, towards the humble owner whose nature he so trustingly adored - with the adoration offered by speculative birdsong at dawn" &c. &c.)  Luckily, you didn't desert me in your masses - and everyone seemed to enjoy seeing me be a teeny bit vicious.

3.) Flushed from success in my new-found role of Comedy Blogger (well, I hope there's always some of that), I decided to turn my hand to Television Recaps - more precisely, The Great British Bake Off.  Only the last four episodes, that is - here, here, here, and here - it was super fun, and those posts are now among my top ten most-viewed.  (The top place is taken by a post my housemate wrote, so that puts me in my place.)

4.) 2012 saw not one, not two - oh, no wait, it was two - series of My Life in Books, so that's another 30 bloggers revealing their favourite books throughout their lives, and then trying to guess their co-participant's characteristics, based on their book choices.  I'm so grateful to the bloggers who participated, particularly those who enthusiastically spread the word on their blogs, Twitter etc.  You can see the index of My Life in Books posts by clicky-click-clicking here.

5.) Although I've been blogging for a while now (2012 saw me pass my 5th birthday, and I suppose I'm nearer my 6th now), I'd never quite had the courage to inaugurate a week devoted to a single author.  What if nobody joined in, I thought?  I needn't have worried - you lot were amazing.  Harriet and I co-organised Muriel Spark Reading Week, and we got eighty reviews that week, covering all of Muriel Spark's novels.  They're all indexed here - and special thanks to Christine for going all out to speed through The Mandelbaum Gate at the end of the week, when she spotted that it was the only outstanding novel.

6.) And I couldn't do a round-up without mentioning my recent post On Commenting.  It got more comments than anything else I've ever posted, and seemed to strike a chord.  I felt rather zeitgeisty, and really appreciated the feedback - and have spotted a rise in commenting around the blogging world of late.  Well done everyone!

Thanks so much for reading Stuck-in-a-Book in 2012, and for your own fab blogs (if you have blogs).  It's been another wonderful year in the blogosphere, and I've really needed it this year.  You'll never really know how much I've appreciated bloggers and blog-readers this year!

My Books of 2012 will be appearing soon - once I've managed to whittle down my list!




34 comments:

  1. Somehow I missed the dust-up with your mother, I will have to check that out. I haven't read the book so can be impartial :)

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    1. Heehee! I think you might agree with her, like everyone else ;) But enjoy!

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  2. Lots of great moments, Simon, though certainly causing a rush on all available second-hand copies of Guard Your Daughters should be remembered as one of your particular achievements? Think how many booksellers owe you their thanks! The Dewey/Webb combination made me laugh; as horrific as both books sound, I think that book would be so awful I would have to read it. And you know how much I adored the GBBO recaps!

    Looking forward to seeing your "Books of 2012" list!

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    1. Oh yes, Claire, good point! That should have been there - a really lovely highlight for me, to see how many people went off to try it, whatever the result. And thanks for your enthusiasm for the GBBO recaps - it was mainly you who made me want to write more, after the first one.

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  3. I would second your Guard Your Daughters post! It sparked all sorts of interesting discussion, and some fairly eloquent disagreement with your approval. And of course, a "run on the bank" - it's so difficult to find any decently-priced copies of it online anymore! I think you've single-handedly started a revival, and perhaps some enterprising publisher will even notice this new demand.

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    1. Fingers crossed, Samantha! GYD will have to be my honorary highlight no.7 - and has clinched the top spot on my Books of 2012.

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  4. I enjoyed your blog very much, especially the my life in books series. One of my favourite reviews was that of OVW - she said something that really made an impression on me (I have just checked the wording) "... do not allow the eye of experience to dull your fervour!" There's a lesson in that.

    Thanks

    Sue

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    1. Mum was thrilled that you liked this! She told me about your comment before I'd even opened my laptop :)

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  5. Merry Christmas and many thanks for a wonderfully stimulating blog. I may not comment on all posts but I do read them!

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  6. Another wonderful year of thoughtful and fun blogs Simon - thank you so much! Have a festive and restful Christmas and lots of lovely books too!

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    1. thanks so much, Donna! Have a lovely Christmas :)

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  7. Simon, many thanks to you for keeping me entertained throughout the year, for making me think, and for suggesting some wonderful books - especially Frank Baker's Miss Hargreaves, which was a delight from start to finish and, were I to choose a Book of the Year, this would be it.

    Happy Christmas to you and your family - and don't fall out with your mother over your festive reading!

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    1. It makes me so happy to know how much you loved Miss Hargreaves! Getting that back in print is definitely my highest ever blogging highlight - and meant a lot to the lovely lady who first told me about it, before she died.

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  8. It's been a great year on Stuck in a Book, Simon. Although I loved all the bits you picked out above, your Muriel Spark week gave me the confidence to do the same for Beryl Bainbridge - Thank you. Merry Christmas!

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    1. Thanks so much, Annabel - and I'm so glad that MSRW encouraged you to do the fabulous BBRW! I'm delighted to have finally read some Bainbridge.

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  9. Simon, you are always well worth reading, though I was less of an enthusiast for your Bake-Off reviews than most I'd guess. I hope to be reading your views on books, cakes, and life in general for another 5 years. I'll be sharpening up my claws after Christmas but I hope that most of the time I'm not too spiky a commentator.

    Have a wonderful holiday, Peter

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    1. Thanks, Peter! You're certainly nowhere near as spiky as Sherpa, who disgraced herself by savaging the Virgin Mary in our nativity scene...

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  10. What a fun post. I loved your take-downs of Webb and Dewey! I second Claire's suggestion about the run on all available copies of Guard Your Daughters. I ordered a very cheap copy after the first time you mentioned it, but the bookseller never came through and in the end I ended up paying a premium for my copy and the one I sent my sister. Several booksellers should pay you commission!

    Merry Christmas!

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    1. A few people ended up not getting their copies - I think some booksellers had them listed in more than one place, and were probably rather taken by surprise at the run on them! Well done for persevering :)

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  11. What a lovely post, Simon.
    I’ve read Dewey review about 10 times since October and it still makes me laugh. And I agree with Kristen M. I’d pay for a copy of Gone to Earth with your commentary. I was so funny.
    I enjoyed very much your “The Great British Bake Off” recaps although I didn’t see any of the episodes on TV and I’m not really interested in baking. But it was so brilliantly written.
    I second those who mentioned Guard Your Daughters, it was a wonderful and important review.
    I know I started to read your blog relatively not long ago but it already made a big difference. I have learnt about so many new books and authors and it wouldn’t be possible without Stuck-in-a-book. It’s been a pleasure to read it. Thank you, Simon.
    P.S. I can’t go without saying how wonderful your sketches are. You know I’m a great fan!

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    1. aww, thanks so much Agnieszka! Your appreciation of my sketches has really encouraged me this year - they usually go unmentioned, so it means a lot to me.

      How sweet of you to go back to Dewey! I have to confess I sometimes go back to Dewey and Mary Webb, to check how mean I was ;)

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  12. I'm still newish to your blog, but thank you for every one of them, I always look forward to what is there. Happy Christmas. Sarah

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  13. I'm wondering if any of the titles on your forthcoming books of the year list will have been published (for the first time) in 2012? My guess is that the average years of publication will be closer to 1932. Then again, given that you have been doing that 'Reading the Century' project, the average year of publication should in theory be around 1950.

    Happy Christmas to you and your family, and to your lovely readers.

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    1. And the answer is now up, David! Nothing for the 21st century... but the average date is actually rather modern, because it included so many nostalgic memoirs.

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  14. Definitely agree that putting up the price of all the copies of Guard Your Daughters must be one of your major achievements this year! But I've enjoyed reading all your posts, Simon - hope you and your family have a wonderful festive season!

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    1. It's now absolutely on my list!
      Have a lovely Christmas, Kaggsy :) I've finally got around to adding you to my blog list on here.

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  15. Much enjoyed the mother/son battle of the reviews - not sure who won, but it was a pleasure to see your family talents in action. Merry Christmas to you and your family, and in the interests of forgiveness I will try to at least forget you being so unjustifiably unfair to Mary Webb. She is *not* a Bulwer-Lytton Bad Writing Contest examplar. Precious Bane is wonderful!

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    1. I think Mum probably won ;)
      As for La Webb - I can only judge on what I read, I must admit! (But what I read would sweep the Bulwer-Lytton award table...)

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  16. Those interested in Frenchman's Creek may like to know that it is currently the Book at Bedtime on BBC Radio 4 (as of Christmas Eve), which I noticed when browsing iPlayer as the first episode is available here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01pfv98/Book_at_Bedtime_Frenchmans_Creek_Episode_1/

    Incidentally, having quickly read the two Thomas reviews of the book, it'll please you to know, Simon, that while I can see your mother's points about the Bad Man sort of characters (e.g. the temptation for excitement over stability at times), I come down on your side - a) in that Heathcliff sounds horrid and, when push comes to shove, no-one really wants to marry such men (well, I wouldn't, at any rate), and b) in that gender stereotypes are rather unhelpful in books, let alone life in general! I think my love of maps (and related books!) and sci-fi, and distaste for chick lit, attest to that.
    xRx

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  17. How on earth had I missed your mother vs. you posts on Daphne? Shame on me. I have saved them as favourites to catch up with at some point, though I am struggling to catch up with blogs full stop at the moment!

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