Back in what may have been a golden age of this blog in 2009, I committed to blogging every Thursday at 3pm and managed 37 such posts. Writing usually gives me life, even a book review. So in these times where my whole day can go by transcribing handwritten letters and barely constructing a sentence of my own, I’m going to make some time to write. I shall attempt from now on to write a weekly blog post scheduled to appear on Saturday 10am AWST. You’ll be hearing from me tomorrow!
As promised, part two of this blog’s greatest hits!
Statistics have a way of humbling us, I think. My most popular post of all time, by a long way, is a rather prosaic summary of my favourite novel, Paul Auster’s Moon Palace – sitting on 9855 hits. In writing it, I was just trying to remember the details better, but unwittingly I created an essential resource for students who have Moon Palace as a set text and don’t want to actually read it. I have actively contributed to about 9000 people not reading my favourite novel. Continue reading
This blog turned ten years old in June and I was too busy to mark the occasion. I started blogging in 2003 but I chose the wrong platform and everything I wrote was washed away when modblog closed suddenly in 2006. I was so disheartened I stopped blogging for a year. Seems I backed a winner in WordPress when I started this new blog in 2007. WordPress has become more interactive in recent years, and it’s been wonderful to feel part of a community of literary bloggers. Thank you to all my readers over the decade. Continue reading
Welcome to my new look blog! It’s had a coat of paint but I’m also merging my two blogs – hence the new title. It feels good to have things under the same roof. Here’s the final post from the old blog:
Photo: “Abandoned House” mrfreson, Wikimedia commons.
Starting this separate blog seemed like a good idea at the time. It was January 2014 and I was writing a lot about the art of biography on my original blog, nathanhobby.wordpress.com. It was quite specialised and I thought that (a) it might bore readers who came for other things and (b) if I started a new blog it might help me connect to other biographers and readers of biographies.
As it turns out, I don’t have time to maintain two blogs and most of the readers of this blog would probably enjoy or at least tolerate the things I write on my other blog. So the blogs have merged, and I’ve exported everything on this blog to my new address, https://nathanhobby.com. My two blogs, “The Annotations of Nathan Hobby” and “A Biographer in Perth”, have become one: “Nathan Hobby, a biographer in Perth:…
View original post 87 more words
It’s my 300th post on this blog. Many of those posts came in the early years after I started the blog in 2007. There was a stage I dried up altogether, and I felt I didn’t have anything more to say here. But that seems a stage many long term blogs go through, and I’ve come out the other end this year with some more things to say. (These days it’s my theology blog which lies fallow.)
The occasion has me reflecting on blogging itself. I like the way it’s instantaneous, instead of that great time lag (newspapers aside) between writing and being published in print. I like the interaction, the evidence that someone is reading when they comment – thank you so much to those who have, over the years. It’s easier not to, and yet it’s a good thing to join in the conversation. I like the strange genre of blogging, the mini-essay, with looser rules than more formal writing, and many possibilities. All that said, blogging’s strengths are its weakness, and most posts would benefit from the long gestation that writing for print has normally entailed.
I’m not altogether comfortable with the blog blaring out my name at all times. It started that way to replace the previous blog (2003-2006); my novel was still a recent memory then, and the site was the place to promote it. I changed the name, quietly, to ‘The Annotations of…’ earlier this year, because I wanted to give a better taste of what this blog was about. ‘Annotations’ seemed to capture it, words scribbled in the margins of other texts, notes on what’s going on. ‘Book reviews’ have been the most common category I’ve written in, followed by ‘film reviews’. These are never my favourite posts; I don’t get to writing what I intend to write in here often enough. I would like to be inspired to write more autobiographical posts, mini-memoirs like the one about the bus station and the houses I used to live in. I thought of some alternative names for this blog, but they didn’t sound quite right – ‘The Unlit World of Old’ (from the Morphine song) and ‘Messages in Bottles’.
I look back and see I was writing in quite a different voice for this blog in 2007, more informally, and more concerned to write about politics and religion. I can’t imagine what I might sound like in 2021, and what I might be caring to write about. Well, actually, let’s face it – it could be much the same as now.
Despite knowing how shallow it is, I do check how many visitors I’ve had and am excited to have passed the 30 000 mark yesterday! (If only my next book sells this many.) Thanks to you for stopping by. (The counter can be seen in the sidebar.)
In celebration, I would love to meet more of you – why not leave a comment introducing yourself if you haven’t made yourself known yet, or even if you have already made yourself known? Let me know your interests, the things you wish I’d write about more or write about less, and feel free to promote your blog or your book or your manifesto.
Sorry, this is just a maintenance announcement (and one duplicated from my other blog at that). But a potentially helpful one!
I’ve just added two subscription buttons that if you’re observant you might have already noticed in the right hand column. You can now get new posts sent to your email inbox or to your RSS feed aggregator. (If you don’t know what the latter is, you should probably go for the former.)
PS: the new post is coming at 3pm. This isn’t it. It’s a much longer, more interesting one.
Deadlines are good things. And so is being regular.
So from now on, this blog will be updated every Thursday at 3pm WST (+8 GMT). (There may be additional posts through the week, but there will be at the minimum a post at this time.)
Some of these posts, I can just imagine now, will be short. But it is my aim to never waste your time, dear reader.
First this blog degenerated into Nathan’s reading journal, and then no posts at all. I’m sorry. It’s all been happening at my other blog, because a lot of my thinking and attention has been tied up with faith and theology.
I started rereading Updike’s Rabbit at Rest, because it was once a favourite book, but I didn’t finish it and I can’t explain why. Then I didn’t finish Richard Ford’s Men and Women either, and I can’t explain that either.
I read two chapters of G.K. Chesterton’s St Francis of Assissi, but I didn’t like that at all. It’s something his tone – I get this in a number of books written in the first half of the twentieth century – that is so condescending, as if the reader wants to be lectured. He spends those chapters explaining what sort of biography he mustn’t write. It was written for the ‘layperson’ and I got the impression he wanted to give the layperson a good piece of his mind. I just wanted to know about St Francis, thanks. (And I don’t even like your detective stories.)
And now I picked up the Arabian Nights in this old companion volume that is just beautiful. If you flip it around, it’s got Aesop’s Fables on the other side. And the binding page is this sixties wallpaper style. The Arabian Nights are enchanting me. What sheer and beautiful craziness! A doctor lets his head get cut off and then talks back to the king after his head’s cut off to get his revenge. There’s fish which start talking when they get cooked and there’s all these interwoven repeating variations on themes, like the delay of death due to the telling of a story.
And Sinbad borrows from the Odyssey to tell the story of his escape from a Cyclops. I’m sure there’s an interesting story behind that.
For a couple of years I blogged voraciously at nathanhobby.modblog.com. Then modblog went down about a year ago and it all disappeared. I don’t want to be dramatic, but I guess that gave me a bit of a taste of what will happen when I die. All those memories and words and pictures go with me. (At least as far as I’m concerned.)
I blogged about everything in the one place – theology, quotes, reading, my writing, my personal life. I think the end result of that is that I really limited my readers. So now I’ve got heaps of blogs with quite specific focuses. So that people who want to read the quotes I’ve collected don’t have to read about a great recipe I found or that I thought The Others was a waste of time the other night.
I don’t know if this new approach will work or not. I’m not going to have the time to blog like I once did; it stopped me working on my novel.
At the moment, I’m sort of between novels, so maybe I’ll have time to blog.