A Statistical Interlude

Bloggers who use WordPress get a statistics-laden “backstage” area telling them how their readership is going. So I thought I’d skip writing about literature for just one week in order to offer some 2018 statistics, along with one overall number that began growing when I launched this blog in mid-2014.

Last year, this blog had 21,249 views, 10,674 visitors, 3,365 comments, and 2,508 likes.

The four most widely read 2018 posts were: “Strong Female Characters in 19th-Century Fiction” (by far!), followed by “Love-Hate Relationships in Lit,” “Some of the Saddest Novels Ever,” and “Literature’s Unlikely Heroines and Heroes.”

Of the aforementioned 21,249 views, about 65% came from the United States. The next nine in the top ten of viewership by nation were, in order: Australia, the United Kingdom, India, Canada, the Philippines, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy. Readership last year came from 132 countries total — also including Finland, Ireland, Kenya, China, Mexico, Japan, Jordan, Jamaica, etc.

This four-and-one-half-year-old blog now has 2,306 followers.

Back to a more interesting literary topic next week!

My 2017 literary-trivia book is described and can be purchased here: Fascinating Facts About Famous Fiction Authors and the Greatest Novels of All Time.

In addition to this weekly blog, I write the award-winning “Montclairvoyant” topical-humor column for Baristanet.com. The latest weekly piece — about an expensive hotel, busing equity, and a great decision about a not-great standardized test — is here.

97 thoughts on “A Statistical Interlude

  1. This is “Zazu” checking in with my morning report! It looks like the lake is almost frozen over, though there is still water coming through the spillway into my babbling brook! There’s only a dusting of snow so it looks very pretty here. I spent most of my morning looking at and laughing at clips of Robin Williams in interviews. He was a true comic genius and I feel so sorry that he’s no longer around. Thank goodness that we have YouTube to play many of his funniest moments, and I need to laugh a lot these days, rather than reading about the news. I also sometimes forget how many movies, comic and serious, that he starred in. But right now it’s a great diversion from the politics of Trump and what he’s trying to do to our country. My father was once in the hospital, probably 25 years ago, and his doc came into the room and said he had GOK or as he then translated into (“God Only Knows!). πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! Thanks, “Zazu”!

      It IS cold; not surprised your nearby lake is almost frozen. A little snow? Nice.

      I agree that Robin Williams was hilarious, from “Mork and Mindy” to his “Aladdin” voiceover to his many (as you noted) non-animated movie roles, etc.

      Any diversion to Trump is welcome. His favorite movie is probably “Vladdin,” a Putin biopic I just made up.


  2. Fascinating statistics, Dave!!! I think you and I “met” because of our mutual interest in Harper Lee, even before the blog, but I’m not sure of the timing. In any case, I’m so glad we DID “meet”. I look forward to reading your thought provoking blogs every week!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I add my congratulations to those of others, Dave. This is the only place I write into anymore, and I am grateful.

    Thanks for your unflagging and supportive hospitality here!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks so much for your kind comment, jhNY! I deeply appreciate it.

      Very glad you offer your literary, musical, and other expertise here after migrating from HP (where you posted many great comments — under my blog and elsewhere on that site — but were treated shabbily by the HP staff when you tried to get a technical issue fixed).

      Liked by 2 people

      • Dave all , I urge all like-minded people not to turn on the television tonight.
        The liar in chief will be talking about getting a steel wall on our money.
        Shame on all the networks for giving in

        Liked by 2 people

    • jhNY, I wanted to add my thanks to you for all you add to this blog, especially when it has to do with music and mysteries (though many of your other book references are somewhat obscure to me, which makes it all the more interesting). I’m now listening to “Where Have All the Flowers Gone: Songs of Pete Seeger.” which is a mix of different styles of singing what are thought of as folk songs, but which aren’t able to fit in any one category as sung by this great number of wonderful singers, e.g. Bruce Springsteen, Holly Near, Nanci Griffith & Friends, Kim & Reggie Harris & Magpie, Donovan, Jackson Brown & Bonnie Raitt,, Judy Collins, Richie Havens, Sweet Honey in the Rocks, and others I wasn’t familiar with many of them that were wonderful. Anyway, thanks again to you!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Didn’t look in on the site for a couple of days, and now I see your message– much appreciated! I thank you for your impassioned delight in Dorothy Sayers, whose short stories, thanks to you, I have begun to read. Then on to Gaudy Nights…

        Pete Seeger was a rarity– a man whose like we are not likely to see again– he even invented a type of banjo– longer-necked by I think four frets– which was useful to folks like himself who wished to use the instrument to accompany their own singing. Somewhere among my 1000+ lp’s I’ve got an early Seeger recording– on the Stinson label, if memory serves. As a teen, I think, he traveled with his parents across the US in a homemade trailer, while his father introduced as many people as would gather around, often in tiny towns and rural campsites, around to classical music which he played on his violin. Pete remained an educator, warm and giving all his life, as well as an able musician and fine songwriter.

        Liked by 1 person

          • And more– I left unmentioned his bravery in the face of HUAC, his environmental work, his civil rights work, his anti-war work… all of which did much to inform those who would listen, and sometimes, those who could not help but hear. A national treasure!

            Liked by 1 person

            • Definitely he was so, thanks jhNY. I wonder if anyone will take his place on the national stage. I hope so, but I’m not too optimistic about that. Where does one go to get to folk music these days? It seems everyone wants to listen to hip-hop (?) rather than something they think is boring I still remember the days when one listened to The Kingston Trio or Peter, Paul and Mary, and even Bob Dylan before he went electric. My dear beloved brother turned me onto Joan Baez among others, including Dylan. I still remember the days when I was a pre-teen and brought my friends over to hear Dylan, and we laughed because of his voice (we were all in love with the Beach Boys at that time, prior to “Pet Sounds.”.) Then I fell in love with Donovan (“Catch the Wind,” as well as a friend I met in Texas who introduced me to Laura Nyro and Joni Mitchell. I was already smitten with Judy Collins and her spectacular voice, whether she was singing Dylan or Leonard Cohen. Are any of these singers still around today? (I guess I could say popular today). So Dave and jhNY, I’ve once again switched this column on to music rather than books. Sorry!

              Liked by 1 person

              • Always happy to see discussion of music, Kat Lit! πŸ™‚

                Folk music and folk singers are definitely not as prominent these days, but it/they still exist in less-publicized ways. Tracy Chapman, Lucinda Williams, Loudon Wainwright III, etc. And higher-profile musicians sometimes go the folk route — as have Springsteen, 10,000 Maniacs, current superstar Ed Sheeran, etc.


  4. Thanks so much for sharing this, Dave. Although I’m now a little regretful that I β€˜hi-jacked’ your blog a couple of weeks ago. This would have been a perfect week to remind you and myself, how grateful I am for this site.

    And of course, many thanks to Kat Lit for her kind comments. I’m struggling to be back at work this week, and that loveliness will be the highlight of my day. Maybe my month!

    Like J.J., I feel that these numbers could just reflect how much I personally look at this site. But I’m glad that it’s not just me who feels compelled to view this site almost habitually!

    It’s impressive that your blog reaches so many countries! And I can’t believe how long ago you left that other page. It seriously doesn’t feel like much more than a year ago that I received your very welcome email inviting me to join you over here.

    Congrats to the ladies in literature who made the top of the list, and of course, a big congratulations to you, Dave, on the success of your blog. It’s very, very well deserved.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks so much for your generous words, Sue! They are greatly appreciated. πŸ™‚

      I’m sure the fact that Australia is the country with the second highest viewership of this blog has a LOT to do with you.

      And, yes, HP doesn’t seem that long ago. I’m very glad I was able to contact you when things went south there for so many bloggers and readers. (Hmm…fitting that HP is headquartered fairly south in Manhattan. Which is nowhere near as funny a quip as many of yours!)

      I’m also very pleased that “Strong Female Characters in 19th-Century Fiction” was the most-read blog post in 2018.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Dave, I’ve got the most gorgeous sunrises from my bedroom picture window. This morning is a dark sky other than the view of a yellow, pink, rosy in the morning reflecting off the lake. I wish I was actually a photographer so I could capture this on camera. Photos were never my strong point. I didn’t even take a camera when I went to Europe in 1969, and had to rely on my two girlfriends to take pictures they shared with me later. I don’t know why this is so difficult for me, but it is, much to my chagrin. I suppose one of my problems is that I spent too much time enjoying the moment, but is that really a problem? Since I first started typing this, the view has already changed from a blue sky to just a yellowish sky and white clouds. It’s still lovely. And why am I still writing about this now? I suppose because you didn’t have a new column this week, as interesting as it was, and I’m becoming used to making comments on your columns, most every week! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Kat Lit! Must be a great sunrise day for the northeast U.S.; we had a really nice one this morning, too. You described yours beautifully.

      There is definitely something to be said for enjoying the moment (whether it’s a nature scene, an event, etc.) rather than worrying about taking the perfect photo of it.

      This coming Sunday’s blog post will definitely offer an opportunity for literature comments. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • I could definitely rhapsodize on my beautiful view forever; however, I’ll spare everyone from that. It’s a gray day here in the Poconos, which makes me think of Mimi and Richard Farina’s album “Celebrations for a Grey Day.” Please see my earlier comments about him (thanks to jhNY) from last week’s column and others I’ve mentioned through the past years. I agree with bebe, though I’ve not been around as long as she has, that the people on this blog follow Dave in his columns because he’s always interesting, literate, and kind in all of his responses to comments. Thank you Dave, for all you do!

        P.S. to all of my favorite email pals, bebe, PatD, Sue at Work, Elena, and others I’ve come to know through this blog — thanks to all for enriching my life!

        Liked by 3 people

        • Thanks so much for the very kind words, Kat Lit! Greatly appreciated! Given that you first start commenting when this blog was with HuffPost, you HAVE been around for almost as long as bebe. πŸ™‚ And, as I also said to bebe, thank you for all your excellent comments, book recommendations, and friendship! Last but not least, I’m very glad you’ve become email pals with several wonderful commenters here. πŸ™‚

          Liked by 2 people

          • The fact that you started your own blog was a huge motivator in getting me away from the comment sections of Salon and the site who shall not be named. Mostly they could turn nasty at worst and unproductive at best. What a relief it was to come to a site where you treated everyone so well — it was a revelation where the owner answered every comment made. I can remember the first time I commented on your blog and was amazed that you did so!

            Liked by 2 people

            • Thank you for the additional very nice words, Kat Lit! πŸ™‚

              It’s unfortunate that many comment sections turn nasty; I guess there’s something about anonymity that allows that (though of course some vitriolic posters use their own name). Plus there’s the toxic environment that starts at the top — with Trump, other awful (usually right-wing) politicians, divisive (usually right-wing) media people, etc.

              I deeply appreciate how respectful the commenters are here, and I thoroughly enjoy replying to what people say!

              Liked by 1 person

              • Thanks for the comment, Dave. I just switched over to a 2 volume Best Of Renaissance (which you recommended to me). I hadn’t listened to it for a while, but it usually happens that I will not check in to a CD(s) that I loved but haven’t for a while, so it’s always fun to check back into my favorites, and this is definitely one. I’ve been mostly listening to “Hamilton,” “Springsteen on Broadway,” “Where Have All the Flowers Gone, Songs by Pete Seeger,” and “Best of Queen. ( 3 discs).)

                Liked by 1 person

                • Glad you listened to Renaissance’s “Live at Carnegie Hall” CD again, Kat Lit! What a concert…and great group of songs…and Annie Haslam’s amazing voice…and the band’s impressive musicianship. And the other four albums you’ve been listening to…well, music doesn’t get much better than that!


          • Dave remember I had some crazy stalkers in the other place and was worried they might show up but no one did because of you.
            You welcome all but so straightforward no one would have dared.

            On your fans yes I miss princess but what happened to Ana I wonder, she was so diversified and intelligent, hope she is okay.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Very unfortunate about the HP stalkers, bebe. I guess the sheer number of people reading that site meant that some of those readers would have issues.

              As for none of them coming here, might be partly dumb luck. πŸ™‚ But thank you! πŸ™‚

              I miss Ana’s comments, too. Yes, very intelligent about many things. Got a Facebook message from her back in mid-2018, and she seemed to be doing okay.

              Liked by 1 person

        • Kat Lit, I want to thank you and Sue at Work for enriching my life as well. Kat Lit, you were my very first “pen pal” ever, and Sue is my first, and only, pen pal from another country. Thank you both. I also have a fond attachment to bebe, as we followed each other on that “other site” where I first discovered Dave Astor. Dave, I’ve said this before, but I clearly recall my astonishment the first time you replied to one of my comments. I had frequently read other columnists and left comments here and there, and never got a syllable in return. I thought that was the way it must be; columnists don’t have the time to respond to their readers. But you did, and you do. You are one of a kind, and I am so happy for you that your readership spans so far and wide. πŸ™‚

          Liked by 2 people

          • Thanks so much for those generous words, Pat! Very kind of you. πŸ™‚

            So glad you were one of the people who gravitated here from that “other site.” I also used to comment under other writers’ blog posts there, and often did not get a reply. In this digital age, I don’t understand that non-response, though I suppose it’s a way of writers saying “I got more important things to do” (allegedly). But replying to a person who takes the time to comment under a piece is the right thing to do — and fun/interesting!

            Liked by 1 person

        • It’s now a very cold day in the Poconos, as I continue with my weather report. I promise I’ll do better next week! I don’t know if you saw the animated classic of “The Lion King,” or the Broadway show of it that was magical. There was the character of Zazu, a bird that would deliver the “morning report” to Mufasa every day. I woke up to a very cold day, and there’s a frost on my picture window, and when the sun shines in on it, it’s as if there were hundreds of diamonds twinkling (or at least rhinestones!).

          On another note, Bill has just completed reading his 16th Reacher novel. I know this series is very popular on this blog, but I’m a bit hesitant to read them even so. Is he considered something of a vigilante? In which case I’d find it hard to read. Dave, as you and many others here know (as well as one of my brothers and one of my sisters), I’ll read my share of violent crime mysteries, but this seems over the top to me, book after book. So I hope someone can explain to me the main attraction. I trust you all to give me the real scoop, as well as I do about many of my favorites!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Thank you, Kat Lit! Weather reports are fine, especially the enjoyable way you provide them! Also very chilly here (19 degrees when I woke up) but I just took a long walk anyway and it was very enjoyable with all the sunshine that makes your picture window look so good. πŸ™‚

            I saw “The Lion King” movie back in the mid-’90s, but never saw the theatrical production. Totally forget many of the details, including the Zazu character!

            Sixteen Reacher novels read by Bill — nice! I’ll try to explain the appeal of Lee Child’s series, and maybe bebe, jhNY, lulabelle, and others can help, too. Yes, Jack is a vigilante, but always for good. And he’s almost always attacked first, so it’s often more of a revenge thing. The massively built Reacher is definitely a decent person at his core, very smart, very funny, very charismatic, and feminist in his way, and has an interesting back story. The suspense in most Reacher novels is almost unbearable; author Child has the page-turning knack to the nth degree. He also produces excellent prose, snappy dialogue, and deadpan humor, and frequently tackles social issues amid the mayhem. Actually, there’s been a bit less mayhem in recent novels as Reacher gets older and a little more vulnerable.


            • Thanks, Dave, for giving me that assessment of the Reacher novels. I suppose part of my problem is that I’m not reading much of anything these days other than the news, which is actually more horrifying than what an author could come up with.

              On top of that, I’ve been fighting with my new printer for 3 days now, and I even had to pay The Geek Squad to come out to help yesterday. So now I can print, other than from Office Products, from which I can generate most of the things to print. I would agree that it’s my fault for not properly activating the Office Products software. So now, I’m considering throwing out the printer through my picture window. Ha! But I do need to get on the internet to figure it out or take it to The Greek Squad.

              Btw, I had to go to Wikipedia to remember Zazu’s name, and when we got tickets I was wondering how “The Lion King” could be transformed into a Broadway show, It was simply amazing how they could do so, mostly with masks and costumes. I had a lump in my throat when the first characters came in walking down the aisles for morning report. That’s something that will always be with me.

              Liked by 2 people

              • You’re welcome re the Reacher books! And thanks for the comment and humor!

                I’ve heard “The Lion King” show is incredible, in large part due to the ingenuity of Julie Taymor. Glad it was such a memorable experience for you.

                No fun having printer issues. 😦 I have an only-months-old Epson, which so far has cooperated. I print stuff off my older laptop (even though I use my newer laptop for everything else), because the older one has a slot in which I could put the printer software disc. When that laptop goes, I’ll have to figure out wireless printing. πŸ™‚


                • Here’s hoping you have better luck than I did. Yes. I was stunned to learn that the newer laptops don’t have a disc drive, I’m happy that I bought a portable DVD/Video player that I can use for mostly my music. I know there are other ways, but I never got into iPods or whatever they are called. I love my CD and DVD collections, and I always swore I’d never invest any of my money into upgrades into any of these things ever again. As long as they still work, I’ll be quite content. This after some went from vinyl (which have now come back!) to CDs and then to iPods, etc. I’m just glad I never got into 8-tracks or tapes, or laserdiscs or Blu-rays! πŸ™‚
                  Anyway after spending 1-2 hours on the phone this morning with Microsoft and The Geek Squad, I think everything is now working as it’s supposed to, I hope!

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Thanks, Kat Lit!

                    Glad that your tech problems are solved, for now at least.

                    I also still listen to music on CDs (as well as on YouTube) and watch movies, etc., at home on DVDs (the rare times I watch movies, etc., at home). I agree that constantly upgrading gets expensive, and that it’s best to upgrade only when necessary.


                    • I thought “Ashes Are Burning” was on the double CD I bought, but I guess I was thinking about “Carpet of the Sun” that I dearly love. I listened to the former on YouTube this afternoon, and it seemed so lon……………..g. I loved the parts sung by Annie Haslim, and the piano music, but I lost interest after a while; apparently I’m not a guitar aficionado! Which is OK by me. We all have our special niches when it comes to music, as well as everything else in this life we lead. Other than piano, my favorite instrument to listen to is the violin, followed closely by the cello. How is Maria doing with her violin playing? It sounds as though she has so much going on in her life, which is why I gave up the piano to do other things, but of course I now am sorry about that, but you couldn’t have told me that when I was younger!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Kat Lit, a 20-plus-minute version of “Ashes Are Burning” is definitely on the “Live at Carnegie Hall” double CD, but it’s possible you have a different Renaissance double CD. πŸ™‚

                      “Carpet of the Sun” IS such a nice tune — one of the band’s shorter and simpler songs, but beautiful.

                      Piano, violin, and cello are all wonderful instruments. Maria is still playing, and enjoying, the violin. She does have a very busy schedule — I totally understand what you’re saying about how hard it is for a kid to fit everything in — but violin is still manageable during summer, fall, and winter. Spring gets crazy with the addition of softball to Maria’s usual gymnastics and soccer.


              • Kat Lit that`s what I am doing these days.
                I have two great books in my hand John Grisham`s and Michelle Obama`s. I have not read much of those two.
                It is snowing in here and I tell my husband I have to read and stay away from news.

                This is more to our worries

                Liked by 1 person

                • That was a humorous cartoon, bebe, while at the same time, I don’t think I want to buy any fresh produce these days. My sister had salmonella from a lunch back probably 10 years ago, and was absolutely miserable for weeks. Not that I would anyway, but I wouldn’t fly anywhere these days either. I’d also like to think that when I do my tax return it will be processed as soon as possible, unless of course I owe the government something! πŸ™‚

                  Liked by 2 people

                  • Same here…don`t eat salads, I cook my vegetables.
                    And Pomchi is old and we stropped travelling, it is okay…it is a pain anyways.
                    My husband does the tax returns,

                    It is snowing a lot wish i could pictures but I am not tech savvy πŸ™‚

                    Stuck home next few days …

                    Liked by 1 person

            • I think I’m smart enough to know when further comment would be superfluous. Your assessment of Reacher and his effect on his readers illuminates his appeal pretty much completely!

              Liked by 1 person

          • Oh adding to Dave’s beautiful explanation of Reacher, I love Reacher , he is truly selfless, devoid of any greed, have no possession or destination, if you are in trouble you would want him to walk in there.

            Liked by 1 person

  6. This is not a surprising fact at all.

    One of the best blog for intellectual stimulation, encourage one to read more and a friendship from the best blogger and the most authentic person in the World Dave !!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

      • How long it has been Dave since I know you ?
        At least eight years or more from another place which does not exist πŸ™‚

        Now I am reading John Grisham`s THE RECKONING , which is still number one for the last ten weeks and then Michelle Obama`s BECOMING is waiting for me to be picked up.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Yes, bebe, from back in the HuffPost days before that site went downhill! Eight years is right, because I started writing about books for HP in 2011. (Oops, I named the site that does not exist. πŸ™‚ Funny line by you!)

          Wow — “The Reckoning” by the great John Grisham is selling great! And I’ll be very interested to hear what you think about “Becoming.”

          Liked by 2 people

        • bebe, I’ve got the Michelle Obama book sitting in my to be read pile, growing ever bigger. I’d be interested in your take on it. I’d love to have her and Barack still in charge of the government. So classy and informed about how the government is supposed to work. What a concept! I still remember the skit on SNL, in which right after the election, Angela Merkel (as played by the wonderful Kate McKinnon) had a rather wacky conversation with DJT, so after she hangs up, her phone rings again, and she picks up the phone to say “Barack, Barack, is that you?” If only…

          Liked by 1 person

          • Oh, I have to look for that skit.
            I just started on the book, have read only 20 pages. So well written it is amazing.
            There is a streaming series I just started watching, called Good Fight. I think you and PatD would love it.
            It is continuation from the ending of Good Wife.
            About an all Black law firm , hired Dianne Lockhart as a partner, calls the hiring diversification πŸ˜€
            So well written and intelligent series. ( they can’t stand trump)

            Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, whatcathyreadnext! Glad your excellent blog has gotten some single views from unexpected countries!

      I’ve also wondered about some single views of my blog from certain countries. Maybe a post is seen via the WordPress “Reader” section? Or from a retweet of a retweet of a blog post link on Twitter? I don’t know. πŸ™‚


    • Thank you for the question, The Reading Bug!

      I’m not sure how many of my readers/viewers come from Internet searches. I’m guessing that a lot come from the WordPress “Reader” section and my posting links to blog posts on social media.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The “referrers” secton on the stats page tells you where traffic comes from – internet, WP, facebook, etc – I find it really handy knowing where my readers are coming from – most are people on the Internet rather than bloggers or WP followers.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you, The Reading Bug! Somehow I never looked much at the “Referrers” part of the stats area. Looking at it now, I see that in 2018 a total of 6,185 views came from search engines, 3,158 views from WordPress “Reader,” 1,157 views from Facebook, etc.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Howdy, Dave!

    β€” Last year, this blog had 21,249 views β€”

    Well, it appears the Powers That Be at WordPress accurately counted my page views of your blog in 2018, but it seems they obviously miscounted everybody else’s . . .

    Happy New Year!

    J.J. (Alias MugRuith1)

    Liked by 2 people

  8. As a lover of statistics, I found this very interesting. I had no idea you reached so many countries and viewers, although I knew there was a regular commenter from Australia, Sue at Work, and it’s so nice to get her perspective on books, as well as American politics.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Kat Lit!

      I personally know a few people in non-U.S. countries, but this blog’s readership is definitely helped by WordPress bloggers seeing posts from other WordPress bloggers throughout the world. My posting a link to the column each week on Facebook and Twitter also helps. πŸ™‚ (I like FB more than Twitter.)

      And, yes, a lot of readership and many great perspectives (serious and funny) from Sue in Australia. And I know another Australian citizen from my membership in the National Society of Newspaper Columnists who reads this blog at least occasionally.


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