Monday, December 26, 2005

The Annual Report: A Look Back at ricklibrarian 2005

Thank you for reading ricklibrarian. I hope you have found books to read, movies to see, and new ideas for your libraries. Before I continue with 2006 I want to reflect on the past year. Perhaps this report will encourage some others to blog, and it will highlight some of my earlier reviews and comments on libraries and librarianship that recent ricklibrarian readers missed.

2005 was my first year of blogging. I started on February 17 by taking about fifteen minutes to start a Blogger account and post a review of Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry, which I had already written for an occasional review I write at the Thomas Ford Memorial Library. Though I tend to read nonfiction, I started with a review of a novel because I felt it was one of the best books that I had ever read. I am happy that this review has been found often by readers via Google, Yahoo, and other search engines. Berry is one of my favorite authors and I have reviewed Fidelity: Five Stories, Clearing, and Given: Poems in 2005.

Most Visited Book Reviews

Perhaps my most read review of the year is that of a children's book about the Holocaust, Luba: The Angel of Bergen-Belsen by Michelle R. McCann. Readers find this review almost every day.

A close second is First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung, a book about growing up in Cambodia during the terror of the Khmer Rouge.

Some of my most frequently read reviews are for books often assigned to or chosen by teens:

A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck

Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt

Persopolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi

A Step from Heaven by An Na

Many of my reviews have hightlighted history or biography. Some that have often been found include:

Slave: My True Story by Mende Nasar

Mistress Bradstreet: the Untold Life of America's First Poet by Charlotte Gordon

Love and Hate in Jamestown by David Price

Founding Myths by Ray Raphael

In the Rose Garden of the Martyrs by Christopher de Bellaigue

Ogden Nash by Douglas M. Parker

Mimi and Toutou's Big Adventure: the Bizarre Battle of Lake Tanganyika by Giles Foden

Chicago Apartments: A Century of Lakefront Luxury by Neil Harris

My Detachment: A Memoir by Tracy Kidder

I have reviewed some mostly unknown novels found in few libraries. I enjoy finding that someone has read the reviews of The Fish Can Sing by Halldor Laxness and Unformed Landscape by Peter Stamm.

I was surprised by the popularity of my review about the Star Wars short story collection Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina. It has staying power.

I wish more people would read Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain's Gulag in Kenya by Caroline Elkins, but I can not force people to read huge, serious books. It did get a nice comment from a Kenyan.

Music and Movies

Some of my obscure music reviews get surprisingly good traffic, such as Peter, Paul & Mommy by Peter, Paul & Mary, Just the Right Sound: The Association Anthology, and The Steeleye Span Story: Original Masters.

None of my movie reviews have gotten much traffic. There are so many movie reviewing sources on the Internet that it is hard to wade through them. Still, someone found my review of Mad Hot Ballroom and added a long comment. I also find occasional readers have viewed my reviews of Les Choristes and Bride and Prejudice. My most visited movie review is Muppet Treasure Island.

Library Matters

Until recently, my most read library related item was an interview of readers' advisory librarian Joyce Saricks .

My most read reports from conferences are these two reports from the American Library Association Conference last summer in Chicago: Taking the Guesswork Out of Nonfiction Readers Advisory and Hear Here: Audiobook Trends in Libraries.

More of my conference reports can be found at the LITA blog.

I have been watching the Open WorldCat project. My most critical comments are in Open World Cat for Rural America. I do hope people contribute and wrote instructions for posting reviews.

I sometimes react to items in the news. My favorite is Examples of Corporate Thinking: A Danger to Libraries and The Demise of Marshall Field's: A Librarian's Viewpoint.

My favorite reflective pieces are I Learned to Be a Librarian Collecting Baseball Cards, Reading Glasses, and Bookmarks Found in Library Books.

The two items that got the most visitors were A Day in the Life of a Reference Librarian 2005 and IM Shorthand for the Monty Python Fan. The latter has nearly thirty reader comments.

Closing Thoughts

Though it has seemed at times no one was reading, lately many more readers have come than I imagined ever would. Thanks especially to all the readers who have linked to ricklibrarian, bring in more readers. I hope that I can continue to write something worth reading.


Dan Trabue said...

Hey Rick. Happy New Year to ya, thanks for all the reviews!

Speaking of books, I got a new Wendell Berry book for Christmas, The Way of Ignorance. Looks great so far and I recommend at least the first essay to every US citizen: Secrecy Vs. Rights.

Keep them reviews a-coming!

Dan Trabue said...

By the way, I just noticed that I've managed to never link to this site, an oversight I'll correct today.


ricklibrarian said...

Thanks for the good wishes and encouragement. Thanks for the link.