Today marks the last day of 2021, the first year in which I decided to start a blog all about books and blogging. It’s been a fascinating year and one that ai’ve enjoyed a lot! There’s a lot that I’ve learned about what works and what doesn’t work with blogging and in 2022 I hope to optimise this workflow even further.
I decided I wanted to find out what my best-performing articles from 2021 were. This is to not only gauge which posts I should focus on, but also give any budding bloggers some ideas on posts they could copy on their very own blogs.
Therefore, below, counting down from the fifth most viewed to the most viewed post on my blog throughout the year.
A few of these went viral on either Twitter or Instagram which helped them gain the viewership that they did. However, a lot of them I’m actually quite surprised at!
Please note that this article contains affiliate links. This means if you choose to purchase a product via the links, I’ll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you to support the blog. These affiliate links do not affect my final opinion of the products.
5. Book review: The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski
The Last Wish is the first book in The Witcher series by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. This review contained my thoughts and feelings on the book that started off the Witcher phenomenon we see in pop culture today. The first book features lots of mini-stories of Geralt’s tales instead of one long story which we see come later on in the series.
I summarised The Last Wish by saying: “If you couldn’t tell, I loved The Last Wish. It’s considered 0.5 in Thw Witcher selection as there are books that come out later that do consist of one tale and then this overarching story continues on throughout the rest of the series. However, Sapkowski has written these shorter stories perfectly, introducing the character of Geralt to us and introducing so many other fantastic characters that you hope to return later on.
This is up there with one of my favourite books and SPOILER ALERT, the whole Witcher series is one of my all-time favourites. There’s an ongoing discussion as to whether you should just skip to Blood of Elves as this is considered the first full novel in the series. To everybody, I would say NO. Read the two books that contain short novels first. Start with The Last Wish, you won’t regret it!”
4. Book review: A Splendid Thousand Suns by Khaled Hosseini
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini was one of my favourite books of 2021. It blew my mind with how powerfully it was written, how engrossed I got into the characters and how sorrowful it ended up being. It is a book that grabs you by the heartstrings and holds on to them until the very last page. This is a very popular book that I believe a lot of people feel very passionately about.
I summarised A Thousand Splendid Suns by writing: “A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini blew me away. It had come highly recommended by quite a few and it did not let me down. This is a book that will tug at your emotions and immerse you in such a dark and horrible life that you won’t be able to stop yourself feeling sympathy for the women, poor and homeless of Afghanistan during these times and even likely now.
If you enjoy books that take you on an emotional rollercoaster or books that educate you with their tales, then I’d highly recommend this novel. If you just love good books, I’d recommend this novel too as it’s beautifully written. However, I must issue some trigger warnings of rape, physical and mental abuse and even possible trigger warnings around war. This isn’t your jolly summer read. But it is, without a shadow of a doubt, worth every word on every page.“
- Read my full review of A Splendid Thousand Suns here.
- Pick up your own copy of We Begin at the End here.
3. My Honest Reaction to the Wheel of Time TV series TV trailer
I’m a huge fan of the Wheel of Time book series, having read the first five so far. Therefore, when I saw there was going to be a TV Series made of it, I got excited, to say the least! When the actual trailer then came out, I was buzzing to watch it and see how the TV series would look in comparison to how I envisioned the series whilst I was reading it. Therefore, I thought I’d write an article on my initial impressions after watching the video.
In my summary, I wrote: “With the likes of The Witcher recently coming out, a new Lord of the Rings series being announced and obviously the unfathomable success of Game of Thrones, high-budget fantasy series are well and truly here to stay and I can see a lot more epic fantasy novels being turned into series on Amazon, Netflix and HBO over the coming years. Hopefully, Wheel of Time will be a huge success and will be well into its story by then.
If you’ve been reading this and have absolutely no idea what the Wheel of Time series is, I’d highly recommend picking up the first book in the series either on Kindle or in Paperback. They’ve recently redone the covers to be more in line with the TV Series and they look quite good! Alternatively, go and read my review of The Eye of the World, the first book in the series.”
2. Book review: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Fittingly, To Kill A Mockingbird was the number one book I read in 2021. I fell in love with the characters, the setting, the powerful messaging and the incredible writing. To Kill a Mockingbird is a book that many consider one of the best ever written and is actually the only book Harper Lee wrote during her lifetime with another book being released under her name after her death. It’s one of those books that I’d recommend to everybody so I’m not surprised it’s one of my most popular posts of the year.
In my summary of To Kill a Mockingbird, I said: “I listened to To Kill a Mockingbird via audiobook and I read the kindle version too and whichever I was choosing to do, I found myself absolutely obsessed and invested by the story and the characters. When I pick up a classic, I always go into it with hesitancy as I worry I won’t grasp why it’s received the acclaim it has and to have endured for such a long time. But I can 100% see why To Kill A Mockingbird is considered one of the greatest novels ever written. It gives you an utterly pure look into prejudice and the beginnings of the questions of whether it’s right the way people of colour were treated back then and whilst doing so writes in some utterly loveable characters, a gripping story and the feeling of completion when finished.
If you’ve not read To Kill A Mockingbird, I would highly recommend it to absolutely everyone. Usually, I pick a genre so I can link it to those genre reviews on my blog but I have to recommend this book to everybody. It’s fantastic and possibly up there with one of my favourite novels I’ve ever read.”
- Read my full review of To Kill a Mockingbird here.
- Purchase a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird from Amazon here.
1. Comparison: Goodreads vs StoryGraph
Earlier in the post, I mentioned that some of these posts went slightly viral on social media. This was one of those posts. When StoryGraph got hold of it on Twitter, they decided to retweet it and this meant that a lot of people ended up visiting the article to find out what StoryGraph is. It’s an article that highlights the downfalls of Goodreads and the genuine benefits of using StroyGraph as a full-time replacement. You can’t get around Goodreads’ influence, especially with Amazon behind it. But StoryGraph offers up a genuinely cared-for environment which many Goodreads users have suggested it lacks as of late.
I broke the article down into categories that I felt fairly reflected things people would want from their book-tracking apps. Then I put them head-to-head and gave my opinion on which was the winner. Then finally, I voted for an overall winner based on who won the most amount of categories. You may well be surprised who wins here!
So, to summarise 2021…
At the start of 2021, I hadn’t even thought of starting a blog, let alone thought I’d have written over 150 articles on a public forum for people to read.
I’ve read over 62 books this year, most of which you can read reviews of here. These have ranged from mystery to crime to fantasy and science fiction. I’ve read what will likely go on to be some of my favourite books of all time this year including the two mentioned above as well as We Begin at The End and A Man Called Ove.
On top of this, I’ve released five book-quizzes, testing your knowledge of books. These are incredibly fun to create and, I find, really engage you all in my posts. If you’re yet to test your knowledge on them all, you MUST. Try your best at a quiz here.
If book reviews and book quizzes weren’t enough _ on my blog I decided to start offering some advice and behind-the-scenes advice on some things I’ve learned about blogging over the past 7-8 months. Under my Featured articles, you can find Tips and Tricks, How-Tos, Comparisons and so much more that isn’t all necessarily book content.