Tuesday, July 13, 2021


I like to recap and update my readers periodically in order to explain the blog and perhaps solicit some feedback. When I started the blog in 2014, I thought that it might contain a fair amount of discussion, but by 2015 I had more or less given up on that idea. Actually, I don't mind not having to deal with a lot of comments, because I think that most web comments are a waste of time. Even so, I don't like to think that the blog exists in a rarefied bubble, and, in the absence of direct contact with readers, I attempt to analyze their interests with the very limited means that are available. Thus, I like to see which posts get the most hits and where in the world the readers are located.

One thing that has changed recently is that a web crawler has publicized the blog, and I'm getting more hits than I used to. That may also be related to the fact that the blog is now seven years old and has over 500 posts, more than enough pages to constitute a book. My most popular post is still "Robert Hughes on Andy Warhol," but "The Monologue/The Woman Destroyed" has bumped "Kakutani on Houellebecq" from second to third place. In fourth place is "A Woman Meets an Old Lover," the Denise Levertov poem, and in fifth place is "Meliorism," in which I discuss optimism about the future of mankind. Since Houellebecq isn't very popular in most countries and Kakutani has retired from the New York Times, they probably don't get googled as often as they used to. Several of my other "Poem of the Day" posts are popular. I like to speculate and think that the pandemic has affected women's psyches in a manner that attracts them to "The Woman Destroyed" and "A Woman Meets an Old Lover," because I doubt that these would appeal to most men. Loneliness and mental illness have increased since early 2020. Of course, the popular posts also depend on the ranking systems used by search engines, and many of my posts may never come up in searches. As before, my readers seem more interested in the arts than in the sciences. People seem to like some of my reviews of biographies, though I think the ones on Bertrand Russell were too long for many. In terms of geographic locations, I seem to be getting more hits from all over the world, though some of the data may be disguised.

It's hard to tell how many regular readers I have now. There were once about six and then they went down to four. Now it could be somewhere between six and ten. Most of the readers who google one post never look at other posts. I like to think that the blog has a certain style and a collection of subject matter that would appeal to certain people, though that group must be very small.

On the whole, I enjoy writing very much, and I plan to continue this blog indefinitely. However, even though I don't care about being popular and will never have a commercial website, I like to avoid getting into ruts, with a lot of repetition or a format that seems limited. For example, I've now read a lot of biographies and don't want to continue reviewing them on autopilot even when I can't find good ones to read.

With visitors in the house and my normal summer reading lull, I haven't been inclined to write lately. I've started another book and will probably begin commenting on it soon. 

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