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cover-past-the-shallowsNOTE:  Each year I like to see which reviews are the most popular on this website, and each year I find some surprises.  Because the site ranks books and reviews by their total number of hits over time, older books which have been on the site for years have had more opportunity to accumulate many hits.  Newer books tend to be far down in the list, with a few lucky ones eventually making it to the Top 25 as the years pass.

Here is the list some of the old favorites which have been in the Top 25 for five or more years. Newer books which are performing particularly well and may one day become Top 25 Books are listed separately following the “oldies.”

The most popular “OLD” books for this year, still in the Top 25 of all books visited:

#1 overall: Favel Parrett’s PAST THE SHALLOWS, a family drama set in Tasmania.  On the list since 2014 when the review was posted, this book seems to be the #1 book every time I check the DAILY stats, and it makes me wonder if this family drama cover-ru-197x300set on the southernmost island at the end of the Australian continent is being taught in the schools in Australia andTasmania.  It has more than seven times the number of hits of any other book listed here, including all the books and reviews here for Jo Nesbo’s work!

#2.  Helon Habila’s WAITING FOR AN ANGEL, from Nigeria, has been a favorite since this site began in 2011 and remains in the #2 position.

#4, overall:   Jo Nesbos’s THE REDEEMER from Feb. 2011.

#5.  Kim Thuy’s RU, the story of Vietnamese boat people arriving in Canada, originally posted in  November, 2012.

#6.  Katcover-kartographye Atkinson’s STARTED EARLY, TOOK MY DOG, from March 2011, is #6 overall

#15.  Kamila Shamsie’s KARTOGRAPHY, set in Pakistan, was posted in January, 2011.

#18, overall.  Patrick White’s VOSS, a classic by this major writer from Australia, was posted in Dec, 2017, and is the story of the settlement of western Australia.

#21.   Roberto Bolano’s THE INSUFFERABLE GAUCHO, a terrific collection of stories, has been in the top 25 reviews since it was posted when the site opened.

#22.  Alan Bennett’s THE UNCOMMON READER, about the Queen’s discovery of a new kind of reading experience, has also been on the site since the beginning.

#23. Gerald Durrell, A ZOO IN MY LUGGAGE, set in Cameroon, is another review from early 2011.

cover-uncommon-readerBooks on the Site for Fewer than Five Years and now in the Top 25 of all Reviews.

If I remove the ten reviews above and all others which have been on the site for five years or more, the newer books, which have had less time to accumulate hits, move up the list dramatically.  Here is the separate ranking of the books which would be on the Top Ten list if all reviews five or more years old were removed. (Separate overall listings are included here in parentheses to show rankings among all books, regardless of age and years on the site.)

#1.  Favel Parrett’s PAST THE SHALLOWS, set in Tasmania, remains #1, among all books reviewed within the past five years.  (#1 overall)

#2.  Jo Nesbo’s recent novel, THE THIRST,  set in Norway, was reviewed here in May, 2017.  This is one of the Olav Johanssen novels, MUCH shorter than the usual Harry Hole novels, and much more interesting for many readers, including me. (Now #3 on overall list )

#3.  Irmgard Keucover-tommy-orange-there-there-2n’s THE ARTIFICIAL SILK GIRL, posted in June, 2015, is set in pre-Nazi Germany in 1932 and was a book that has been recently been rediscovered, after it was supposedly purged by the Nazis. (Now #12, overall, in the Top 25, not in the Top Ten books yet.)

#4.  Tommy Orange’s THERE, THERE, a book by a Native American who lives in the city, focuses on the difficulty of maintaining their culture in a city foreign to their original beliefs – the last stop on the road to acculturation, the author fears.  Posted in July, 2018.  (This review/book has made great strides – now #13 on the overall list for a book that did not appear here till a year ago.)

#5.  Esi Edugyan’s WASHINGTON BLACK, from November, 2018, is the story of a slave who escapes a cruel master in Barbados when he is freed, and learns how to survive and prosper in an alien world in Canada, England, and even Marrakesh.  Posted Nov. 2018. (#14 on the present overall list)

cover-henrik-groen#6. Hendrik Groen’s THE SECRET DIARY OF HENDRIK GROEN, AGE 83 1/4, set in the Netherlands, offers a wonderfully incisive and often very funny look at life in a senior home.  On its way to becoming a classic.  From July 2017. (Now #16 on the overall list)

#7.  Patrick Modiano’s SO YOU DON’T GET LOST IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD is a murder mystery focused on memories and identity connected with an old man who still lives in the house where the murder took place.  From October 2015.  (#17 on the overall list)

#8.  William Boyd’s LOVE IS BLIND, the story of a Scottish piano tuner who is consumed with his love for a married woman whom he follows throughout Europe and especially Russia.  Feels like a well-done Russian romance.  From October, 2018. (#19 on the overall list.)

  cover-knife#9.  Jo Nesbo’s latest (and I think best) thriller, THE KNIFE, concerns the death of someone close to Harry Hole, with beautifully developed themes, flawless pacing,  intriguing and repeating subordinate characters, imaginative plotting, unrelenting dark atmosphere, and plot twists – one after another – after another.  From August 2019. (#20 on the overall list, though the review has been posted for only four months. Look for this one to be in the Top Ten overall next year.)

#10. Simon Mawer’s PRAGUE SPRING is set during 1968, a time in which Russian influence has waned and a broader view of socialism and some new freedoms are being celebrated by students and political writers in Prague.  Then the Prague Spring is cancelled by the sudden arrival of half a million Warsaw Pact troops led by the Soviet Union. Posted December, 2018.  (#26 on the overall list)

Hope you have enjoyed this look at the stats for this website and the look forward for some of the recent books and reviews we have posted here.  Best, Mary

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