Born on the 14th of July

I’ll return next week to the kind of post I usually write, but I wanted to devote today’s column to the one-year anniversary of this blog — which launched on July 14, 2014. There will be some statistics, some of my thoughts, and more.

As many of you know, I decided to start this blog after three years of writing about literature for The Huffington Post — where my columns became the most consistently popular of any on that site’s “Books” page. The “thanks” I got from HP was no pay, frequently buried posts (perhaps because I wasn’t a “celebrity”?), being ignored 90% of the time when I occasionally emailed HP with a question, etc. My readers were “thanked” by often having their great, intelligent, unobjectionable comments killed by human or “automatic” moderators, or waiting hours or even days for their comments to post. (The same thing happened with my replies to comments.) There were other problems, too.

The 2005-founded HP — which continued to not pay bloggers even after making $315 million when bought by AOL in 2011 — does have a huge audience, and I’m grateful I was able to “online-ly” meet some of that audience. Being on the site also got me several offers for other work, but unfortunately each and every offer was to again work for free. I declined.

But now it’s time to get positive! πŸ™‚ Being only middling savvy with things digital, I was nervous about creating a blog, but WordPress made it easy. And I vowed to make things easy for readers — including adjusting the settings to make sure comments posted immediately. Still, I wondered how many current or former HP commenters would migrate to my blog, but a lot of them did. (Thank you!) I was able to tell a number of people about my new blog via email and social media, but there were some HP commenters I couldn’t find because I knew them only by their aliases.

That said, a number of my current visitors never commented at HP!

What you’re now reading is the 50th column for this blog, and, by afternoon’s end on July 14, those posts had drawn a total of 31,015 views and 8,224 comments. (As you might have guessed, WordPress offers its bloggers a handy-dandy statistics page!) Nearly every comment has been friendly and full of literary knowledge — with many also containing humor.

The most views in a day was 366, on Feb. 23 — after I posted a column about authors’ pen names. That Feb. 22 piece attracted 295 comments, second only to the 344 comments under a Nov. 2 piece about single parents in literature. Rounding out the top five were posts about novels turned into movies (249 comments), unhappy marriages in literature (236), and humor in fiction (229).

The post with the fewest comments (88) was about symbols in literature. Imagine how few comments there would have been if I had discussed cymbals in literature!

Countries where the readership originated? The U.S. was first by far (26,667 views), followed by Japan (896), Australia (729), Canada (363), Brazil (311), the United Kingdom (274), Germany (256), India (113), Italy (74), and Russia (65). Views came from a total of 111 countries on six continents.

Approximately 75% of the books and writers I read nowadays are those recommended by commenters here. Thanks to you, authors I tried for the first time during the past 12 months included, among others, Joan Barfoot (Duet for Three), Geraldine Brooks (March), Eleanor Catton (The Luminaries), Lee Child (eight Jack Reacher novels — I’m hooked!), Michael Connelly (The Lincoln Lawyer), Alexandre Dumas fils (Camille), Neil Gaiman (American Gods), Nadine Gordimer (My Son’s Story), and Graham Greene (short stories).

Also: Adam Johnson (The Orphan Master’s Son), Anne Lamott (Blue Shoe), Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa (The Leopard), Stieg Larsson (The Millennium Trilogy), Billie Letts (Where the Heart Is), Mario Vargas Llosa (Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter), Alistair MacLean (Where Eagles Dare), Elsa Morante (History), Patrick O’Brian (Master and Commander), Boris Pasternak (Doctor Zhivago), Dorothy Sayers (Strong Poison), Zadie Smith (On Beauty), M.L. Stedman (The Light Between Oceans), and John Kennedy Toole (A Confederacy of Dunces).

In addition, after recommendations from you, I’ve enjoyed other novels by authors I had read before, including Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine, E.L. Doctorow’s World’s Fair, George Eliot’s Daniel Deronda, Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, John Grisham’s The Firm, Henry James’ The Portrait of a Lady, Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland, and Toni Morrison’s Sula.

And the words of commenters were part of the reason I reread and was impressed again by classics such as Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov, and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. (Yes, we can continue discussing Ms. Lee’s “new” Go Set a Watchman!)

Which literary works have you read during the past year at least partly because of this blog and its comments? Anything else you’d like to say is welcome as well!

One more note: During the fantastic U2 concert I attended last night, the band did not sing “One” — which reminds me that one-year anniversaries are not that significant. πŸ™‚

(The box for submitting comments is below already-posted comments, but your new comment will appear at the top of the comments area β€” unless you’re replying to someone else.)



I’m writing a literature-related book, but still selling Comic (and Column) Confessional — my often-funny memoir that recalls 25 years of covering and meeting cartoonists such as Charles Schulz (“Peanuts”) and Bill Watterson (“Calvin and Hobbes”), columnists such as Ann Landers and “Dear Abby,” and other notables such as Hillary Clinton, Coretta Scott King, Walter Cronkite, and various authors. The book also talks about the malpractice death of my first daughter, my remarriage, and life in Montclair, N.J. — where I write the award-winning weekly “Montclairvoyant” humor column for The Montclair Times. You can email me at dastor@earthlink.net to buy a discounted, inscribed copy of the book, which contains a preface by “Hints” columnist Heloise and back-cover blurbs by people such as “The Far Side” cartoonist Gary Larson.

86 thoughts on “Born on the 14th of July

  1. Hi Dave,
    My apologies for taking so long to comment here. Congrats on your first year anniversary. I have no doubt that there will be many more successful years to come. I very much agree with Pat who said that your blog is cozy and comfortable. It also feels incredibly safe. It’s nice that you encourage such open and diverse conversation. And it seems that nothing is ever off topic, or too trivial. I’m sure if I wanted to comment on reading the cornflakes packet over breakfast, it would be no problem, even if it was under an article titled “Books that aren’t about Cereal”.
    As others have said, my Books to Read list has changed because of this blog, although I’m kind of proud to admit that I haven’t been swayed too much. Like jhNY, I had always wanted to read Jane Eyre, but it was just something that I never seemed to get around to. However she got bumped up to the number one spot on my list after your high praise. And although I’m technically not allowed to buy any new books, I accidentally found myself at a book shop last week buying a copy of Anne of Green Gables. I think I may have read it as a child, but I don’t remember it the way that Ana so beautifully describes it, so either I’m thinking of a different book, or it’s time for a re-read.
    Once again, Dave, congrats on your first year, and a big thank you for providing this fun and safe and cozy forum for us to discuss our literary passions.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Susan, for the very kind words and the anniversary congratulations! I loved your comment!

      Because of this blog, I too have read novels I wouldn’t have otherwise read or at least not have gotten to for years. Thank you for recommending books such as “Fahrenheit 451” and “The Luminaries,” and for your smart, engaging comments during the past year (and before that on HP)! Among other things, I think your humor is terrific — with yet another example being what you hilariously said above about reading cereal packaging. πŸ™‚ I greatly enjoy having and reading conversations that are trivial and weighty and everything in between.

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  2. Happy one year and the less said of HP the better. Easy selection for me to start , it was your love of Charlotte Bronte that sent me back to the world of Victorian literature . Had tried and failed many years ago on Middlemarch and sort of thought I was done with British 19th century classics in general other than perhaps an occasional evening with Jane Austin or of course a random Trollop πŸ™‚ . Anyhow numerous enthusiastic comments by you forced me to download The Mill on the Floss. At first I thought the novel pretty standard in both it’s strengths and weaknesses but as I read on ,and more importantly after finishing the work I found both the story and characters to continue to resonate in my imagination. Who knows perhaps I’ll eventually give Middlemarch another shot .

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    • Thank you, Donny, for the kind words and that “Happy One Year” (I like that phrase πŸ™‚ )! And, yes, the less said about HP the better. I debated whether to even mention that site in my anniversary column, but decided it deserved a few digs. And I left out HP’s decision to not allow commenters to remain anonymous, the various changes for the worse in the site’s comment-area format, etc.

      Very glad you got interested in trying 19th-century literature again, and that you enjoyed “The Mill on the Floss”! Yes, a deep, humane, psychological, and readable book — like virtually every novel by the magnificent George Eliot. “Middlemarch” may be “the best” Eliot novel, but I found “Mill” (and “Silas Marner,” “Adam Bede,” and “Daniel Deronda”) more “page-turning.”

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  3. Congratulations on this one year anniversary! I can’t tell you how much I enjoy this blog, and the conversations with so many fellow lovers of literature. The last two books I have completed (and thoroughly enjoyed), I would never have read if it wasn’t for this site – “Anne of Green Gables” and “The Red and the Black”. I look forward to another year (and many more).

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    • Thank you for your very kind words, drb! Much appreciated! Glad you enjoy this blog. πŸ™‚

      And thank YOU for your terrific comments and book recommendations — such as the excellent “World’s Fair” I mentioned in my column.

      “Anne of Green Gables” is such a wonderful novel. I’m currently reading (for the first time) the seventh sequel to that book — “Rilla of Ingleside.” It stars the 14-year-old daughter of Anne Shirley, who I’m guessing is about 50 in the book, set during World War I. Hard to picture Anne at 50 after seeing her as a teen in “Anne of Green Gables”!

      Stendhal (“The Red and the Black”) is an impressive writer. The first of the great 19th-century French authors — followed by Balzac, Hugo, Dumas, Zola, Flaubert, and others.

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    • Thanks so much, Bob! Very kind of you.

      As I’ve told others, many of the novels I discuss I read years ago. Wikipedia is invaluable for refreshing my mind about plots and characters. πŸ™‚ Nowadays, I try to read about a novel a week.

      Thanks again!

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    • Thank you for the kind comment, Claire — and for the other excellent comments you’ve made in the past!

      Yes, HP has a reputation for not treating people well. If one does a Google search, there are MANY articles that attest to that. It irks me that a site with a (supposedly) “progressive” reputation has such an attitude. 😦

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  4. Dave, I know over the years at HP I read at least one book a year from your recommendations or other commenters. I know for a fact I would never have read “Silas Marner” or “Middlemarch” if not for you and your blog. I’ve read far more books this year and my list has evolved , but the finds here are always worth exploring. I am not sure which I’ll take up next, but Lee Child is so often recommended that when I’m done with my current series of ebooks, I think I’ll start on Jack Reacher.

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    • Thanks so much, GL! Very glad my blog posts and the comments in them led to you reading books such as those two terrific George Eliot ones you mentioned! And I appreciate you recommending some of the many authors you read and have read. For instance, thanks to you, I really enjoyed writers as varied as Neil Gamin (“American Gods”) and James Fenimore Cooper (his five “Leatherstocking” novels).

      When it comes to “escapist” thrillers, few people seem to do it better than Lee Child. Whenever I pick up one of his Jack Reacher novels, I have to finish it in two days. And they’re not short! (Though not long either — sort of in between.)

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      • I like those hard to put down stories that aren’t really short. It can be hard to find a compelling story that is complete in the age of ebooks. I have found lots on amazon where they are broken up like the old magazine serials but its only one story being told. And then they charge much the same price as you would pay for a complete novel from some one else.

        Right now I’m working on the “Uglies” series by Scott Westerfeld. The four books are a distopian world where at age 16 all the youth in the city get cosmetic surgery, its free, to make them all pretty. They are YA books however like “Harry Potter” or “Hunger Games” they really do have a message for all.

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        • I know what you mean, GL. When an author can write, say, 400 words of page-turning prose and dialogue, it’s so satisfying for a reader. Breaking up a story has its cliffhanging benefits, but it can be very frustrating at the same time.

          That “Uglies” series sounds intriguing! And, yes, “Harry Potter” and “The Hunger Games” do have messages along with being GREAT reads.

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  5. Everything comes full circle! You and I met on a Facebook page called Nell Harper Lee! We found that we “knew” some of the same people and began discussing literature! Now, here we are after the passing of time, discussing Nell Harper Lee (among other authors)! Last night, I watched a PBS special about her life. I thought of you as I watched it! I find her life fascinating!

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    • So true, lulabelle! Who could imagine back then that another Harper Lee novel would be coming out? She seemed to be in that eternal one-book-only club along with Margaret Mitchell, Emily Bronte, Ralph Ellison, etc.

      Harper Lee IS fascinating. Someone that reclusive in this age of self-promotion is highly unusual — plus of course “To Kill a Mockingbird” was and is an exquisite book.

      Thanks for your great comment!

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      • One of the reasons she IS so fascinating is because she has been so reclusive! They made an analogy in the documentary that she is not the grown up Scout recounting a fictional childhood, but that she is, in fact, Boo Radley. She quit talking because too many people were hanging on her every word and making too much of what she did say. It brings to mind Bob Dylan. He didn’t want to be the conscience of the 60’s.

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        • Yes, being reclusive does create a mystique — whether that’s the intention or not. Also the case with authors such as Thomas Pynchon and the late J.D. Salinger, and with “Calvin and Hobbes” cartoonist Bill Watterson.

          Excellent analogy — Harper Lee is indeed Boo Radley-like in a certain way more than she is the semi-autobiographical Scout!

          I should also add here that I always look forward to your terrific comments — and book recommendations. “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe” is one of my favorite novels, and I also enjoyed books such as “Lady” and “My Family and Other Animals.” πŸ™‚

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          • Thank you, Dave! I am so happy that “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe” is one of your favorite novels! Fannie Flagg is an amazing writer! I think I have read everything she has ever written. She is also dyslexic which makes her writing MORE amazing because she has to work so hard at it! I think I told you about her Birmingham connection to my sister. They had common friends and neighbors.

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            • lulabelle, you reminded me that I need to try another novel by the wonderful Fannie Flagg! I had that in mind just after reading “Fried Green Tomatoes…,” but of course got sidetracked with other authors. πŸ™‚

              That IS impressive about Ms. Flagg being so excellent and productive a writer despite her dyslexia difficulties.

              And it’s nice when one has a personal or near-personal connection with a favorite author!

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              • lulabelle, my local library had a very nice collection of Fannie Flagg novels when I went there today. πŸ™‚ I took out “The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion,” basically at random. What’s your opinion of that one?

                Thanks again for making me think of returning to Ms. Flagg’s work!

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  6. Congratulations, Dave! You’re a celebrity, HuffPo or not! Your reasons for dropping Huff are exactly why I stopped writing for Inman News. Get this – if/when they decided to post bloggers columns, they wouldn’t give us a subscription to their paid site where they sometimes posted our stories So to see our writing we would (ha!) have to buy a subscription! We both got what we needed out of them – followers and another “published on” site for our resumes!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for the kind words, Cathy!

      Wow — forcing contributors to pay to see their own writing. That is really low. VERY understandable why you dropped Inman News. As you say, places like that can be useful temporarily, but not for too long.

      Exploitation is the mantra for so many media outlets. 😦

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  7. Hi, Dave. I did not post because I tend to just read Politics and Religion. Imagine that? Ha.

    Good article. I enjoyed every word.

    Have a great rest of summer!

    Deb

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  8. Congratulations, Dave!!! Your talents were wasted at HP; this is where you belong! One of the things that caught my eye about your HP column, and lead to my following it regularly, was that you always responded to comments. I’m sure I must have been slightly shocked the first time you answered one of my posts, because almost NO one did that, and absolutely no one responded to every comment — except you, Dave. Did I mention you were wasted at HP?

    Reading your column and everyone’s comments is something that I always look forward to — it’s a weekly joy πŸ™‚ I don’t know if a blog can be “cozy”, but that’s how it feels, cozy and comfortable. Thanks for providing that to all of us.

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    • Thanks so much for your generous words, Pat! I greatly appreciate them. Representative of all your comments — smart, friendly, funny. I laughed when you repeated: “Did I mention you were wasted at HP?” Nicely done. πŸ™‚

      I also wish more HP bloggers had replied to comments. 😦 To me, the conversations are the most fun about being a blogger — and you and others here make the conversations terrific.

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      • …and I laughed when I read “The post with the fewest comments (88) was about symbols in literature. Imagine how few comments there would have been if I had discussed cymbals in literature!” Nicely done as well! πŸ™‚

        Thank you for your kind words about my comments, Dave. I, too, enjoy the give and take of the conversations, although I sometimes find myself reading those conversations more than taking part in them. Either way, they are great fun πŸ™‚

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        • Thanks, Pat! Glad you liked that punny joke.

          Also, I should thank you for recommending “The Firm,” which was quite a page-turner! I still have to get to “Goodbye, Columbus.” πŸ™‚

          And you’re very welcome about my comment!

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    • PatD you have it so right. Dave’s availablity is a huge factor is why I got started reading him at HP. His personality and friendliness is why I followed him here. I can’t help but hope to be more engaging on my own blog someday, but its hard to discuss poems when everyone interprets them differently.

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    • PatD – I couldn’t agree with you more. I recall this first time I posted to this blog (on HP) – and was shocked that the author of the article commented on my comment! Yes – I felt as if a celebrity had reached out to me! I never would have suspected that any blog on HP could be filled with so many civil, pleasant, and intelligent commenters – my previous experiences with blogs were many rude, belligerent comments. It was, and continues to be, very refreshing!. Thanks to you, Dave, and to all of the folks that comment.

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    • Thanks so much, Annie! Glad you enjoy the blog, and thanks for reading it!

      Also, you make a good point about the birthday parties of one-year-olds. I remember attending a number of them. πŸ™‚

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  9. Congrats, Dave, and thanks again for supplying us all with a forum for people who truly love books, as well as music and films. Everyone here always has such interesting comments, and you always respond to each and every one of them with astute insights, in an often very humorous manner. Thanks again, and I hope your blog is around for many more years to come!

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    • Thanks so much for your generous words, Kat Lib! And thank YOU for your great comments — filled with knowledge about literature, and often containing wry humor and/or personal anecdotes. It’s very enjoyable conversing with you about authors ranging from Jane Austen to Anne Lamott.

      Hope you’re having a better week this week than last week.

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      • Well, not to complain, but the worst thing that happened to me this week was that my laptop was infected by the worst virus out there, crashed it and wiped out my entire C drive, However, compared with things some of my friends are going.through, that’s nothing. I’m still suffering from “reader’s. block” and haven’t yet found the book to get me out of it, Perhaps I will.have to try the Lee Child novels that have you, others on this site, and my brother so enthralled. πŸ˜‰

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        • Kat Lib, very sorry about what your friends are going through — and about your laptop, too. You deserve a long run of good luck very soon.

          Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels ARE addictive, and it seems like almost as many women as men like them. (Reacher is partly a feminist in his way.) I’ve rationed myself to one Reacher novel a month so I can read other, weightier things, but it’s hard not to read every Reacher book in a row. πŸ™‚

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  10. I understand the entire nation of France celebrates July 14! Could it be, that like auteur Jerry Lewis, you are far more appreciated there than here? Encroyable!

    Congratulations on your first blogging year! Hope you have many more!

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    • Ha! And hmm…I AM married to a French professor. πŸ™‚

      But, seriously, thank you very much for your kind words, jhNY — and for your deep knowledge of literature, music, and more. Your comments are always SO eloquent — very intellectual and very readable at the same time.

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      • Thanks very much!

        I enjoy visiting here weekly and mixing it up with you and everybody who comments. A lively spot!

        And thanks to you, I am now a proud veteran of Jane Eyre, which I had always intended to read, but when? It was your love for the book that made it happen.

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        • You’re very welcome, jhNY!

          Yes, the conversations are great. And while I know you (rightly) felt “Jane Eyre” had some flaws, I’m very glad you read it and mostly liked it. Even with its flaws, I love that novel. πŸ™‚

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          • I am steeling myself to take on another Bronte soon– bought a Oxford U edition of Wuthering Heights off a seller’s blanket last week.

            Perhaps if I live another 30 years I’ll manage to read all the 19th century Brits I think I should– even Trollope, my mother’s favorite!

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            • “Wuthering Heights” is definitely a hell of a (quirky) read.

              I might reread Charlotte Bronte’s “Villette” next month (got it as a birthday present this spring), and Anne Bronte isn’t bad, either. “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall” has its great and not-so-great moments, but the great ones approach Charlotte and Emily territory. Plus it’s one of the early feminist novels (even more so than “Jane Eyre”).

              I read a couple of Trollope novels in college, and found them so-so. (I think one was “Barchester Towers.”) Maybe I should give him another try.

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    • Thanks for your comment, Peter!

      HP does potentially give a blogger a much larger audience, so I don’t regret writing for it for a while. It can work as a temporary “devil’s bargain.” πŸ™‚

      I’m not sure if HP is understaffed or what, but its treatment of bloggers (except perhaps for its treatment of its “celebrity” bloggers) can be rather unfriendly considering the site is getting often-excellent content for free…

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    • Yes, Ana, a big omission. But they played so many other classics (along with good stuff from their current album): “I Will Follow,” “October,” “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “Pride in the Name of Love,” “Bad,” “Bullet the Blue Sky,” “With or Without You,” “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” “Where the Streets Have No Name,” “Mysterious Ways,” “End of the World,” “Beautiful Day,” “Vertigo,” etc.

      So great that you got to see Rush last night!!! I can just imagine how terrific the show must have been.

      Has Rush been leaving “Limelight” off their set list lately?

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      • Similar songs as the Vancouver concert. I loved how they opened with The Miracle of Joey Ramone. That is such a great song. I don’t recall One either, so maybe it’s been dropped from the North America leg.

        Rush hasn’t performed Limelight since The Time Machine tour in 2011. I was hoping it would be included for this tour, but it wasn’t. That’s ok because those incredible extended instrumental performances more than made up for the absence of Limelight.

        The Portland concert is unfortunately conflicting with our work schedules, so I sold our tickets on StubHub. I used that money to buy tickets to the Janet Jackson concert next month in Vancouver.

        Hmmm…Rush, U2, and Janet Jackson. My musical tastes are seriously all over the map. LOL.

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        • Ana, I guess the play lists are somewhat similar from concert to concert. If not, that would be a LOT of songs to practice and play. As you know, U2 has an enormous catalog, as does Rush.

          I wonder if bands get tired of certain songs. “Limelight” is a terrific tune, and a big fan favorite (even though fans are basically told in that song not to get too buddy-buddy with Neil Peart. πŸ™‚ ).

          Sorry you can’t make Rush’s Portland concert. Rush, U2, and Janet Jackson is indeed an eclectic variety!

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    • Thanks so much, Ana! I appreciate that. And thank YOU for your interesting comments, your knowledge of literature and many other topics, your humor, and…your successful effort to make me a Rush fan. πŸ™‚

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  11. This year has gone by so fast! I remember when you first launched. Your wealth of book knowledge is intimidating…which is why I sometimes do not comment. Usually “I got nothin”! Congrats on the anniversary and, in a blink, we’ll be doing this again next year!

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    • Thanks so much, Susan! Yes, the year has gone fast — as they often do. 😦

      In my blog posts, among the novels I talk about are those I read many years ago. If it wasn’t for Wikipedia to refresh my memory, things would be a lot more difficult. So that makes my literature knowledge look like more than it is! πŸ™‚ (I’ve mostly used the library for the last couple of decades, so I often don’t have the books at home to leaf through.)

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  12. Congratulations on this 1st anniversary, Dave! As I’ve told you before, I originally followed you on HP because of your Margaret Atwood post and then after subsequent posts on many of my favorite authors. You were an oasis of literary inquiry in a sea of superficial mediocrity and I was so happy when your new blog appeared and we could finally communicate unencumbered! Thanks to you I re-read ‘Middlemarch’ earlier than I would have and read ‘Daniel Deronda’ the first time also earlier than I would have, and those are just two examples. Your blog is an online book discussion where almost NOTHING is off limits and you maintain a calm, reasonable, civil and civilized presence throughout it all. That attests to your integrity as a person, I believe, and is a quality that seems to be quite rare these days in public discourse. Long may you reign!

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    • bobess48, thanks so much for your very kind comment! You made my day (and week and…)! It’s definitely a two-way street. I’ve greatly enjoyed our friendly conversations on this blog, and I’ve read a number of EXCELLENT novels and authors you’ve recommended — included several books by Henry James, Colm Toibin’s “The Master,” Walker Percy’s “The Moviegoer,” etc. James’ “The Ambassadors,” which you spoke highly of, is on my August list. And, as I’ve said before, your book reviews are fantastic!

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      • Ana..you are absolutely a sweetheart.and my pleasure too , cherish your friendship for all these years, ..I am a friendly person like yourself..but restrained myself in HP for obvious reasons .

        Now Dave has offered a very safe place for all his readers which is absolutely delightful.

        Incidently I wrote to Dr. Barker..obviously she has moved on or could nor recognize who could be ” bebe”.

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        • *blushes*

          I absolutely understand wanting to maintain some level of privacy on HP. Some of the posters there were…hard to take. I briefly (very briefly) thought about adding a pic to my profile so that people would stop referring to me as a man due to my user ID, but I quickly killed that idea. Dave’s blog has attracted sane people, so I feel comfortable posting here with my face and real name visible.

          Cara hasn’t posted on Twitter in a very long time. She still holds a series of retreats in the Lake Washington area, which is not that far from Seattle. There’s one coming up that I wouldn’t mind attending. It’s in the same month as my anniversary and birthday, so maybe me and the hubby can have a little getaway on Lake Washington that weekend.

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          • Silly me I used to have my face of course photoshopped a bit in HP, what was I even thinking clueless what posting online was about.

            Good to know that Cara is well and has moved on, she was the only other dedicated person like Dave who gave so much to HP without receiving a simple gratitude. Weekly blogger for years and in the end when she submitted her last blog she was rejected. Could you imagine the insult ?
            She wrote a hand written note to me always with a red rose petal.

            Great Ana that you two are connected by being is the same Seattle ..if you ever attend her retreat give her a big hug and hello.

            And greeting to you Dave for keeping us all connected.

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            • I remember that photo. That’s when I saw how pretty you were/are. I did not know that about Cara’s last article. She never posted objectionable topics, so there was absolutely no reason for HP to reject any of her articles. Wow.

              Her blog had a very relaxing atmosphere. I learned a lot about yoga and mind-body-spirit activities from you, Sabel was my go-to person for recipes, and there was another lady (her name escapes me, but I remember her face. She was a gorgeous brunette, very friendly, around 55 years old) I enjoyed chatting with as well. She had an interest in ethnic cultures, and we had conversations about my past experiences when I lived in East Africa. And of course I can’t forget how supportive you all were when my brother was injured in the Boston marathon bombing.

              I don’t think Dr. Barker will ever have another social media presence comparable to her HP days. She’ll probably just focus on her face-to-face activities, which is a shame because she had a sizable audience on her blog.

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              • Oh you are so very thoughtful as always !!!!!
                Sabel was in Dave`s blog too, if I remember correctly she was posting from Ireland she has her own blog as well and I lost it. I followed Cara also for her spiritual nature. I could not do much of yoga but have joined a tai chi class…love it.

                The dark haired stunning beauty was Ella ? She was from Hollywood and I did forwarded her Dave`s blog but she has too much going on with her life.
                Actually I met her in Dave`s then suggested Cara to her and they formed an unique bond.There was Paul and we are still in touch.

                WE do remember Sandy Hook devastation and how Cara got involved with those families and we all helped her a little bit to reach her goal.
                It was right after that…her latest one was rejected without any explanation.

                Incidentally I came to know Dave years ago in HP from my another close friend Little Princess and the rest is history !!!

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                • ELLA! That’s her name:) She was just so fab and glam, lol. I really liked her. You’re right about Sabel too. She’s German, but lives in Ireland with her daughter. I followed her briefly on Tumblr until the constant ads and spam drove me away.

                  So many good people left HP after the new rules took effect. Some of my former followers/fans managed to track me down on Twitter, so I still communicate with them from time to time.

                  I probably won’t post in here for the rest of this week. I know it’s early, but have a good weekend in advance bebe:)

                  (BTW, I saved your Brimful book cover photo as the wallpaper on my tablet and phone. I am so in love with that artwork and put it on my to-do list to track down more books that CM Burd illustrated)

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                  • Indeed Ella….was a glam film actress I understand…LOVE her to pieces.
                    I am connected to her but do not want to invade her privacy..she needed Cara badly I really hope they are in touch !

                    Have a great week and before you know i will send my spring pictures to you.

                    have invited people for Saturday so see you in Dave`s next blog.

                    greetings to your brother !

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  13. Cheers and Congratulations Dave for embarking on a new venue to a highly successful Blog..”Dave Astor on Literature” and many more years to go for your readers and bloggers !!!!!!

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    • Thanks so much, bebe! I appreciate that.

      You’re actually this blog’s most frequent commenter! According to my WordPress stats, you post about 14% of the comments. Thank you for the frequency (and excellence!) of your thoughts on literature and other topics. πŸ™‚

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      • bebe, I forgot to thank you for the terrific books and authors you’ve recommended during the past year and at HP: The Millennium Trilogy, Arundhati Roy’s “The God of Small Things,” Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books, John Grisham, John Irving, etc. Plus you encouraged me to reread “To Kill a Mockingbird”! Much appreciated. πŸ™‚

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        • Dave invited some folks tomorrow so busy preparing.
          Though to let you know library is in big demand for the movie version of TKAM..same goes with the Classic book .
          Have a great weekend πŸ™‚

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          • Great that you have visitors tomorrow, bebe! Good luck, and enjoy!

            I know what you mean about “To Kill a Mockingbird.” I was at the library yesterday, and all the copies were gone. Didn’t look at the DVD shelves, but I assume the movie is checked out, too. Also looked for “Go Set a Watchman” in case there was the biggest miracle of all time and one of the copies wasn’t checked out. Of course it wasn’t there. πŸ™‚

            Have a great weekend, too!

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            • HA..I wish there was one copy so you could have borrowed it and not have to purchase. Invited some folks for dinner. One throws a huge sit down dinner on New Years eve , the other folks is way due for us. But I planned okay I suppose. So see how that goes.

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              • bebe, I thought I might buy “Go Set A Watchman” this week, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Maybe another time…

                At the library yesterday, among the books I took out was of course a Jack Reacher novel — “Bad Luck and Trouble.” Very good so far. The “twist” in this one is Reacher getting back together with some of his old military police team after a member of the team is murdered.

                I’m sure your dinner will be terrific! πŸ™‚ (But I know there is a lot of work involved.)

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                • Sorry Dave that you have to spend money which will,be of no use to Lee Harper..I wish there was some other way. 😦
                  Oh I read that Lee Child book..I have to check back to see which one. πŸ˜‰
                  I’ll let you know of my food…

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                  • I could certainly afford the book, but the thought of participating in the money grab of the publisher and others around Harper Lee makes me hesitate. You’re right — the money is of no use to Ms. Lee, who’s undoubtedly already rich and obviously not in the best of health.

                    Oh, you read “Bad Luck and Trouble”! Great!

                    Yes, I would be interested to know about the food. πŸ™‚

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                  • Good morning, bebe! I’m about a third of the way through the book, but I can see that this could indeed end up being one of Lee Child’s better ones. I’m very curious about what those number codes will turn out to mean.

                    Liked by 1 person

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