Friday, January 6, 2012

Looking back: the most viewed Reader’s Almanac blog posts

Are we surprised that the most-read post on our “literary” blog in 2011 is marketing copy? Not if it’s written by Andy Borowitz. We always thought he was funny; and, apparently, quite a few readers do, too. Just published in October, the book he edited, The 50 Funniest American Writers*: An Anthology of Humor from Mark Twain to The Onion (*According to Andy Borowitz), has become quite a sensation: the first Library of America book to make The New York Times Best Seller list. Given this, it’s no surprise that the book resulted in two of the top four 2011 blog posts. It is possible to be literary and funny.

Readers do like lists: from our announcement of best-selling and forthcoming titles to Adam Levin’s list of the works that influenced The Instructions to what you can discover when you compare two lists of “best short stories” a century apart. Readers also responded positively to our “Influences” series—writers describing the authors or works that most influenced them. Three of those—by Levin, Jim Moore, and Lev Grossman—made the top ten. We deeply appreciate that so many writers have generously agreed to contribute to this ongoing series. And seeing two posts on poetry—Moore on Kenneth Rexroth and John Ashbery on Arthur Rimbaud—become so popular confirms what we have long believed: the audience for poetry has been sorely underserved.

Reader’s Almanac Top Ten for 2011
  1. Andy Borowitz’s marketing copy for The Library of America: “Does being funny get you girls?” – March 17, 2011
  2. The Best-Selling Titles in The Library of America’s First Three Decades – January 3, 2011
  3. Forthcoming from The Library of America (Summer—Fall 2011) – February 7, 2011
  4. The 50 Funniest American Writers: Who made the list? – August 11, 2011
  5. Adam Levin: American literary influences on The Instructions – January 19, 2011
  6. Jim Moore on how reading Kenneth Rexroth changed his life – August 16, 2011
  7. John Ashbery translates Rimbaud’s Illuminations, “the book that made poetry modern” – May 16, 2011
  8. James Baldwin on hearing Martin Luther King preach in Montgomery – January 14, 2011
  9. Lev Grossman on Ernest Hemingway, verbal membrane, and The Sun Also Rises – August 30, 2011
  10. The “Best” Short Stories? Two lists—one recent and one from 1914—show their strengths and limitations – June 6, 2011
The Library of America launched Reader’s Almanac in July 2010 and has published some 270 blog posts since. To date our “all time” top ten are evenly spread between 2010 and 2011. Web searches probably account for the continuing popularity of the 2010 entries: Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg at Jack Kerouac’s grave; the cautionary tale of publishers rejecting Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita; Mark Twain inventing how to sell a banned book; Elaine Showalter (our first guest blogger) parsing the parallels between Philip Roth’s Nemesis and Albert Camus’s The Plague; and the rediscovery of Zora Neale Hurston’s little known early ethnographic work. We suspect that these posts will continue to attract new Library of America readers; time—and many more page-views—will tell. In the meantime, we look forward to another season of “seeking the enduring.”

Reader’s Almanac All-Time Top Ten (from 2010-2011)
  1. Andy Borowitz’s marketing copy for The Library of America: “Does being funny get you girls?” – March 17, 2011
  2. The Best-Selling Titles in The Library of America’s First Three Decades – January 3, 2011
  3. Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and Bob Dylan: Desolation Angels led to “Desolation Row” – October 21, 2010
  4. Vladimir Nabokov: Lolita first published in the U.S. 52 years ago – August 18, 2010
  5. Forthcoming from The Library of America (Summer—Fall 2011) – February 7, 2011
  6. The 50 Funniest American Writers: Who made the list? – August 11, 2011
  7. Adam Levin: American literary influences on The Instructions – January 19, 2011
  8. Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn, and How to Sell a Banned Book – September 29, 2010
  9. Elaine Showalter on Philip Roth, Albert Camus, and plagues – October 20, 2010
  10. Zora Neale Hurston: Video of her ethnographic work in Florida in 1928 – July 26, 2010
Also of interest:

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. All the best for the new year. Peace.

    ReplyDelete

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