I wrote 64 blog posts altogether last year. Some, obviously, were about my books; some were reviews of other people’s books; some were serious essays on historical themes; some were mostly photos of Wales and one (which will come as no surprise to those who know me) was about tango. But what did people read?

Inevitable tango photo

Of the top ten blog posts, four were book reviews. But of the ten least read, three were book reviews. That suggests that a lot of my blogs were book reviews but of the 64 posts, only 11 were reviews. That’s quite a lot, but not nearly as many as made the top and bottom ten. Here’s a thought that might interest authors. (I just put it out there as a possibility.) My regular readers aren’t that interested in reviews (and I suspect that goes for readers of lots of blogs) but reviews get read if, besides my mentioning them on social media, the authors make a fuss too. If that’s true, step forward Gilli Allan, Jennie Ensor and C C Humphreys, shameless (and effective) self-publicists all.

Guest posts are popular too (anything to get away from stuff by me). Grateful thanks to Carol McGrath for her piece on Eleanor of Castile’s Property Portfolio and to Penny Hampson for her robust defence of Bridgerton against historical purists. Both posts made the 2021 Top Ten.

Two of the most popular posts of the year were historical pieces. One was about the history behind the film Edge of the World. I had hoped that Edge of the World would generate lots of interest in The White Rajah as both the book and the film are based on the life of James Brooke in Borneo. Sadly, Edge of the World was one of the many 2021 movies to go straight to DVD as cinemas around the world closed because of Covid and The White Rajah will have to wait for a place in the best seller lists. The other (and easily the most read blog post of the year) was about the sensitivities surrounding the words we use to describe the events of 1857 in India. Was the bloodshed that features in my book, Cawnpore, a mutiny, a rebellion or a war of independence?

Posts on Indian history have always been popular, so you can expect to see more in 2022. Other treats will include my wife’s ‘Journal of the Plague Years’ which will provide a handy reminder of exactly how limited our lives were on each day that our Prime Minister was having a party. It’s interesting to see, though, how it all looked at the time. For example, two years ago, with the country about to be plunged into crisis, there is no mention at all of any concerns about a potential plague. Let’s see how that unfolds.

What about you? What would you like to see me write about? Let me know. After all, as I was told as a child, “Those who don’t ask, don’t get.”

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