It’s my birthday!

Goodness! Who knew when I started the blog that I’d actually stick it out for four years! I certainly didn’t! I almost feel like I should apologise to those of you who’ve been around since the earliest days – you have read roughly 600 reviews, over 100 TBR posts, several nonsense posts, a couple of heartfelt political posts, and the occasional pastiche! You deserve a huge thank you…thank-youAnd thanks too to all the newer people who’ve joined me along the way – you should know I appreciate every view, every like, every comment. If it weren’t for all of you, I’d never have kept going this long. (So, in a sense, it’s your own fault… 😉 )

So, while I meander on about a few statistics, put your feet up and have a bit of cake…


* * * * * * *

In 2016 I read 118 books – a total of 37770 pages, or an average of 103 pages per day. Down a good bit on 2015 (110) and even more on 2014 (117). I abandoned six books at too early a stage to justify a review. I went through a big reading slump last year, what with the world falling apart with Brexit, Trump and all. But even so, there’s no doubt blogging eats into my reading time more and more.  Which isn’t a problem yet, but might become so if I end up with no books to review!

The breakdown of ratings for the year was…

5 stars (I love it)                       55

4 stars (I like it)                        36

3 stars (It’s OK)                        16

2 stars (I don’t like it)                7

1 star    (I hate it)                       4


A similar pattern to 2015 overall, which I’m pleased about because there were points when I felt I might be rating more harshly than usual because of my slump. Any year where over three-quarters of books fall into either the “I like it” or “I love it” category has to be a good year!

* * * * * * *

The split of genres…


Crime continues to fall as my distaste for the current trend of misery-fests continues, though I’ve been reading far more vintage crime this year to make up for it. Genre fiction has collapsed! However I should read more SF this year, since I’ve included several in my Classics Club list. Pleased to see a bit of a rise again in fiction – I was surprised when it dropped off last year.

* * * * * * *

The divide continues between what you, my valued regulars, like, and what the rest of the great anonymous world out there pops in to view.

Here are the top 5 posts based on views: –

Thrawn Janet – a Tuesday Terror! post from March 2014. This story written in archaic Scots has been in the leading spot for the last two years. I’m convinced it must be on the curriculum of some massive online literature course. Rarely a day goes by when it doesn’t get a few visits. Very odd!

The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains – from July 2014. Still in second place, as it has been since posting. I remain convinced it’s the pics that bring people in on that one.


The Tell-Tale Heart – posted in October 2015, and like Thrawn Janet attracts visitors more or less daily. The Tuesday Terror! posts in general attract far more random visits from searches than any other kind of post on the blog.

Butchering Books – The Wind in the Willows – posted in October 2015, this one had stopped getting lots of views until a couple of months ago a visitor posted a link on her Facebook page, resulting in a big surge of visits over the next few weeks.


The Apple TreeTuesday Terror! again, from March 2014. This one has never really surged but picks up a steady stream of a few visits a week – no idea why. It’s a great story though!

* * * * * * *

But you, my dear regular visitors, are rather surprising in your tastes too! Here are the 5 reviews you most ‘liked’ last year…

4.50 from Paddington by Agatha Christie

Exposure by Helen Dunmore

Travels with My Aunt by Graham Greene

2001: A Space Odyssey (Film of the Book review)

Dubliners by James Joyce

Well! Only one 21st century book! I find that fascinating, considering that the vast majority of my reviews are of new releases or fairly recent books.


I was so intrigued I checked the next five… Slaughterhouse-Five, 2001: A Space Odyssey (the book), Moby-Dick, Jekyll and Hyde, Black Narcissus! In fact, I only reviewed 17 classics and 8 of them appear in the top ten most “liked” reviews. Isn’t that odd??

* * * * *

Happily you also joined in on some of the fun posts, which are the ones I usually most enjoy doing. Here are some of the ones you “liked” and/or commented on most…

Let’s Have a Heated Debate! On Women’s Only Literary PrizesWoo, boy! You like a debate, don’t you?! I must find some other subject to rile you all up again soon… 😉

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again… – Oh, how you like to laugh at my total failure to achieve ANY of my New Year’s Resolutions! But I’ll achieve them all this year, you’ll see…

The Story of a Year in Books – a story created from all the book titles I read in 2016. I’m so glad you “liked” this one, because I had so much fun doing it! My personal favourite post of the year…

The Entertainer Blogger Award – frankly, I think you only visit for these tags and awards because you know there’ll be a picture of my Darcy…


Friday Frippery: A conversation regarding whales… – that pesky whale seems to have dominated the year, so I had to get him out of my system somehow! I’ll miss him, you know…

So that was Year Four. Thank you all so much for being part of it!

Hope you’ll stick around for Year Five!

97 thoughts on “Four…

  1. Happy Blogday dear Fiction Fan 🎶 I so appreciate the hours you spend writing about your reading adventures (and a few other things!). It’s a double pleasure: the enjoyment of reading your blog and the major impact that you (along with LF) have on my own reading journey. So, thanks for the cake, and best wishes for a wonderful year of reading 🙂

  2. HAPPY bloggy birthday 🎂🎂🎂🎂 dear bloggy friend. Now I assume that it is because you are 4 that you have achieved early mastery of your sums, hence you are gifting us with the stats! So, my question for you is what % of that cake, was the slice you quickly cut for yourself before us hordes descended?

    • Oooh, chocolate cake icons!!! How wonderful!!! I only had a little piece – about 85%, I think. Leaving a generous 15% to be divided amongst the rest of you – but if it runs out, you can all have a piece of my pie charts!

  3. Congratulations on the Big Four! As a mere two year old I’m still continuing to look up to you and your reviews. I find your statistics fascinating- you are more generous with your five stars than I thought you were. Now I feel positively stingy! There’s always so much good stuff to read on Fiction Fan’s Book Reviews. May there be many more years of great blogging!!

    • Aww, thank you, Phil! I know – it’s because I tend to criticise even books I love, but I’m always amused that everyone thinks I’m so mean to books. In fact, I’ve given more books 5 stars than all the rest of the ratings put together. See? I’m a nice person really… 😉

  4. Congratulations and happy Blog Birthday! I, for one, am a much better blogger and person because of your blog. I’m very glad to see you’ve had more good reads than bad, and I wish you years and years more of excellent books!

  5. Happy 4th Blogversary! Always fun to see what you’ve been up to, been reading, and watching your hilarious quest to get your TBR down to….what…zero? As I said, hilarious. Not the least of which is the ‘smallness’ of it – under 200? Did I ever tell you what mine is? Let’s just say over 2,000 and leave it at that. Congrats!

    • Thanks, Kay! 😀 Hahaha! 2000???? That would be twenty years worth of reading for me roughly! Ooh, no, I feel stressed enough with my 200… although three more arrived today… they must have known it was my birthday… 😉

  6. Congratulations dear FictionFan! Your blog never fails to inspire, entertain and amuse me. I am in awe of how you manage to read so much, blog so much, keep such impressive records and generate stats and pie charts and all while baking us a delicious cake. Keep up the marvellous work!

    • Thanks, Annie! 😀 I must say it kinda sneaks up on you – I never thought I’d stick it out for four years, and I actually find it quite hard to believe it’s been that long…

  7. Happy Blog Anniversary! Four years passes fast when you’re having so much fun! Thanks for the yummy cake — I’m sure you took out all the calories before dishing it up, right? I’m always blown away by bloggers who post every day — well done, ma’am!!

    • Thanks, Debbie! Yes, indeed – I can’t believe it’s been four years – and yet I haven’t aged a day… 😉 Definitely calorie-free – here, have another slice!

  8. Happy birthday! I don’t remember exactly when I began following you, but it’s been sometime in the last year, I think. I’m so glad I did! Your blog consistently provides me with chuckles (and lovely Darcy pics, of course!) I appreciate the wide range of books you review.

    And damn, that cake looks good!

  9. Many happy returns, and the very happiest birthday wishes for you! It’s one of my favorite places to visit. Lots of variety, and of course, great writing. 🙂

  10. Happy Blogbirthday. I think I’ve read all of your posts – it’s part of my daily ritual, and, unlike some other things I do daily, it’s always a pleasure! ❤

  11. Happy Birthday, FF! The cake was delicious, but not as delicious as your dear Darcy pic, that will forever be linked to your blog. My favorite post was your Story of a Year in Books. I remember it quite well and thought it was brilliant. You do have a diverse group of readers here! You know I love literary fiction, so please add more of that to your list! (Thought I’d ask while you were still eating cake… Did it work? Have another piece… The calories count has been plagued with alt facts; the real nutritional content is closer to an apple.) 😉

    • Thank you, DD! Haha! I’ve used just about every Darcy pic available on the internet now – many of them several times! Oh, I’m glad you liked that post – I had so much fun doing it. I was convinced it would be impossible, and I can never resist a challenge! I know – I guess it’s because of my butterfly reading tastes. There’s not a lot of exciting lit-fic that I’ve spotted yet this year, but I do have some older reads coming up… just as soon as I’ve replenished my energy with another slice of cake… 😉

  12. Happy Birthday!! What a fab post I love all those facts and figures and I am surprised that the most read reviews are of older books, although of course your reviews are great. Yes please to another debate soon – I thought the woman’s only prize one was fascinating. And of course thank you for the picture of Darcy – I was thrilled to see him as I scrolled down to the bottom of my screen 🙂 Here’s to sharing many more books!

    • Thanks, Cleo! 😀 Yes, I found the older books thing surprising too – maybe people like reading reviews of books they’ve already read or something. Ha! I’ll need to think of something controversial to set everyone off! I’m convinced people only come here for the Darcy pics… 😉

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