A summary time! 😉 We’re not very good at those, but we’ll try our best…ish 🙂 As we’ve already published an end-of-year summary, quite recently at that, this one will look a bit different. We’ve taken a look at our most popular posts, most controversial posts (measured by the amount of comments and the subjective evaluation of the temperature of discussion, both within the post and in the comments), as well as the overall performance of our blog. We’ll also take a look at the recent changes on Re-enchantment, both those already implemented and those still remaining in the plans. And if that’s not enough for you, we’ll embellish the post with some pretty shelfies 🙂
So here we go!
I. Most popular posts:
- Astrid Lindgren (1907 – 2002) (1293 views)
Ola: A post especially popular with Scandinavian countries, though I strongly believe Lindgren deserves to be known more widely everywhere :).
Piotr: And German, we had a true German invasion for a short period of time. But I’m not worried about these any more, I’d probably welcome one. Anyway, it’s a beautiful tribute to a great writer I did not appreciate enough in my younger age, but now I’m making sure my nieces do 😉
- Why everybody should read & love Honor Harrington, take 1. (935 views)
Ola: I’ve been toying with an idea of writing a companion post, “Why everybody shouldn’t read & love Honor Harrington”, but it would be like kicking someone when they’re already down ;). I dutifully tried two first books in the series, and like Piotrek said, it’s a “porn for military s/f nerds”, and those with a strong right-wing cant at that.
Piotr: I… still stand by my post. Supplemented by another one, where I eviscerate one of the latest installments. Times have changed, I’ve changed, Weber… is still the same, or even more so, I’d actually compare him to Clancy here. Sad.
- Naomi Novik, In His Majesty’s Service (2009) (706 views)
Ola: A series that despite Piotrek’s high praise I’ve never got around to reading. I mildly enjoyed Novik’s Uprooted, despite some serious problems with over-simplification and gender stereotypes, but not enough to jump into a long, winding series by that same author.
Piotr: Well, the praise was not that high. Idea is great, execution… disappointed me a bit. I never went back to finish the series, three books were enough. I’d only actually recommend the first book and the final few chapters of the third one.
- A short introduction to fanfiction. (222 views)
Ola: Piotrek’s earnest praise of fanfiction almost convinced me to try it. And I still might, one day 😉 A pingbacked post, which is a big blogging compliment.
Piotr: In the era of self-publishing, many fanfics are actually above the average, quality-wise, thanks to some great online communities providing in-depth reviews and editorial help. I could, and did, recommend a few great stories, and some of the funniest non-political things I’ve read in recent years are fanfics 🙂
- Adrian Czajkowski, Children of Time (2015) (140 views)
Ola: One of the few posts on our blog that has actually been commented by the book author via Twitter – a very nice gesture which also definitely helped the stats! 😉 Plus, it has spiders!
Piotr: I actually still haven’t read it, although I’m sure I’ll enjoy it immensely. I’m a bit ashamed, as it’s on my shelves…
II Most controversial posts:
- Wonder Woman (2017) – votum separatum
Ola: The most commented and the most contested post we’ve had to date. I still stand by my statements, even though I’m a bit less incensed then I have been while writing ;).
Piotr: And we debate it regularly offline as well 🙂 Same is the case with CA: Civil War, where, again, I’m much more forgiving. I’d say, it was as decent retelling of a great comic storyline as possible in the blockbuster genre. Ola disagrees… Ola: Yes, I do. The movie was mediocre at best: empty of meaning, empty of emotional payoff, chaotic and unable to sustain its own plot. Another lost chance of Marvel – instead of creating something meaningful, in line with the original comic storyline, they made a movie equivalent of a cotton candy: fluffy, bright, lethally sweet and unhealthy. You can enjoy it for a moment, but be prepared for indigestion later. Even Spider-man couldn’t save it.
- Thor: Ragnarok
Piotr: Here we agree, between ourselves, but differ from the general audience. Read the post for details, but… this is not the Götterdämmerung we love and await 🙂
- Ola: An Angry Dragon garnered many comments as well, though admittedly not on the intended topic, but rather on the pitfalls of internet and created personas 😉
Piotr: On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog…
- Piotr: Hmm, but aren’t books supposed to be the most important topic here? And we quarrelled often about two, completely different, series. Ola introduced me to urban fantasy, with Briggs and Butcher. Mercy Thompson and Harry Dresden (that would be a worthy crossover!) are among the favourites of both of us, but I could never get into Kate Daniels. To such a degree that my take on Andrews’ books is entitled A few words on not liking Kate Daniels 😉 For some reason, Ola gave it an overall 9/10 😦
Ola: Admittedly, it was a long time ago – my appreciation of the series took a deep dive since then, as evidenced by the last two posts on the series: here and here. Today, I wouldn’t rate it higher than 7/10. I think I’m seriously tired of Urban Fantasy in general. I couldn’t find in myself any warm feelings for the October Daye series, despite overall positive reviews, and these days I generally try to stay away from this particular genre. A bit of escapism now and then is great, provided it isn’t formulaic 😛 I find that ambitious SF works much better here!
- Piotr: The Magicians by Lev Grossman though, I adore. I don’t have anything to add to my review, but I like its wry style, its often unlikeable characters, its brutal play with the Narnian tropes. I was really happy to discover some people share my enthusiasm 🙂 Ola: And I don’t – not by a long shot. I find Grossman’s opus magnum pretentious, coldly calculated for biggest sales, with protagonists I couldn’t care less about, and scenes of gratuitous sex/rape which were frankly off-putting. Moreover, I consider his use of Narnian tropes childish in its vengeful brutality. I’d like to tell him: “Grow up!”, but I’m afraid it wouldn’t work.
Ola: In general, the third year of Re-enchantment saw us both more engaged in the blogosphere, reading and commenting posts of other favorite bloggers – and here we owe special thanks to Bookstooge, Calmgrove and Bormgans (in no specific order) for luring us out of our cozy shells :).
Piotr: Thanks! I never really liked the idea of blogging. Writing down my thoughts about books I like, discussing it with friends, even publishing – why not. But I never wanted to spend too much time on actually managing the site and its position on the web. Following bloggers with similar interests, and occasionally taking part in their discussions – now, that is different and very enjoyable 🙂
Ola: We’ve introduced some changes on the blog, from the Gallery to entries more focused on the current state of the world’s affairs. We’ve also increased the number of Two-shots: posts written in a form of dialogue between the two of us. First of all, it’s great fun, and secondly, it’s helpful in nuancing our opinions on the more controversial topics – or at least those topics on which our opinions differ. They very rarely differ substantially, but, as I said, writing Two-shots is great fun, with verbal sniping and low flying curveballs all around! This post is a good example of that! 🙂
We also plan to introduce a new type of posts, covering our reading of non-fiction literature – sometimes relevant to the genre fiction, like Campbell’s A Hero With a Thousand Faces, sometimes relevant to life in general, like de Waal’s The Bonobo and The Atheist. So stay tuned, and thanks for being with us!
Piotr: I hope we will finally start with that 🙂 My original thought was to introduce some non-ficiton that we find interesting from genre-reader point of view, but we might go beyond that, I’ve heard de Waal, while being generally brilliant, has some silly ideas about important things, so I might want to point that out… but I mainly want to write about history books, maybe a bit of political and war theory.
Ola: And here’s the curveball… Eyeroll :P.
Piotr: Hmm, I think I need to ask someone talented for a photo session of my library. And also we have a new address – https://reenchantmentoftheworld.blog/ as we decided to pay a few bucks and get rid of adds here by going pro 😉