Tag Archives: About this blog

Blog Statistics for 2018

It is already a tradition to start the new year with a little bit of statistics at Mytwostotinki.

According to the WordPress statistics feature, the blog was visited 4235 times in 2018 (compared to 7154 in 2017). The blog had 3285 unique visitors (4979 in 2017).

The visitors came from 95 different countries. Most of them are from the USA, Germany, Bulgaria, the United Kingdom and Moldova (last year: USA, Bulgaria, United Kingdom, Germany, Turkey).

I published 49 blog posts (24), of which 32 were in English, 12 in German, and 5 in Bulgarian.

Most viewed posts in 2018 were “The Devil within”, “Tschick or Why We Took the Car”, and “The Bleeding of the Stones” (as compared to “Logic for Democrats”, “The Devil within”, and “Tschick” in 2017.).

The original languages of books mentioned or reviewed last year on the blog: German 74(5), Bulgarian 50(7), English 16(2), French 2(0), Albanian 2(0), Russian 1(0), Serbian 1(0). (Last year there were 2 books from Turkish and one each from Japanese and Italian mentioned/reviewed on the blog.)

The blog had at the end of the year 2018 1221 followers on Twitter (1202) and 797 on Facebook (686).

© Thomas Hübner and Mytwostotinki, 2014-9. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and Mytwostotinki with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Good-bye 2018, welcome 2019!

2018 was for a number of reasons of private nature a quiet year here on Mytwostotinki. I even had to skip my planned participation in German Literature Month, my favorite literary event in the sphere of blogging about books.

Nevertheless I was during a considerable part of my free time busy with things that are in a wide sense related to literature. For the Global Literature in Libraries Initiative I curated a Bulgarian Literature Month, and this was so far my most challenging but also most rewarding experience as a book blogger. A number of readers that otherwise would have never picked up a translated book by a Bulgarian author, decided to give it a try and I am sure that some of them will follow new books by Bulgarian authors also in the future. This was of course a joint effort, and I would like to thank again all contributors to this event!

Right now I am working on two translation projects, and also one book project for Rhizome, the publishing house I founded with my close friend Elitsa Osenska. I had also for the first time one of my poems printed in three anthologies (in Bulgarian, English and French translation) and was also for the first time a member of a jury for a poetry award (see last blog post).

Next year will hopefully be again a more active year here on the blog. I intend to publish more reviews, but I don’t want to make any forecast how regularly I will be able to do it. From January on, I will also write a monthly column for the blog of the Global Literature in Library Initiative on Intellectual Freedom issues, and I am looking very much forward to this new experience. There will be also news from the publishing house in which I am involved, but I prefer to reveal the details later on when things become more concrete.

Additionally, 2019 will also bring a new professional challenge for me. As you see, there are quite a lot of interesting things ahead of me next year, not included those which you can’t foresee anyway…

To all readers of this blog I wish a Happy and Healthy New Year 2019!

© Thomas Hübner and Mytwostotinki, 2014-8. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and Mytwostotinki with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

From the inbox

“Hello,
My name is Justine, I am a writer and I want to bring exposure to my writing, I have decided to start by writing articles for as many sites as I can within the cannabis industry to grow exposure for my blog.”

Justine? Cannabis industry? De Sade on THC?

So many questions…

© Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014-8. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 


Reading and blogging plans for 2018

2018 is just a few days old; therefore it is not too late to look into the future and make a forecast regarding what is ahead for the next twelve months here on the pages of my modest (mostly) bookish blog.

First of all, I have decided to embark on a small experiment for this year. I intend to reduce my pile of unread books considerably. Last year my habit of excessively buying books has got again the better of me and I try to dampen this compulsive-obsessive behaviour as much as I can. A radical solution would be probably the best; but to buy no books at all for a year seems to be a very unrealistic aim. Therefore I will allow myself to buy a new book only after I read two books from my TBR pile of unread books on my shelves. 

As for writing about the books I have read, I intend to increase the number of reviews again. My reading is usually eclectic and rather anarchic, so my strong guess is that there will be a little bit of everything, with a preference for books from “small” languages and genres that are usually not so well presented in the sphere of book blogging. I will join again German Literature Month in November and I also have my own small Edith Wharton reading challenge going on, but beside from that I don’t plan to engage myself into any blogging events or readalongs, as much as I like to follow many of them as an interested reader. (I also want to comment more on interesting blog posts of fellow book bloggers again.)  

There will be reviews of poetry as well as of non-fiction. And there will be more reviews regarding Bulgarian and Romanian literature; with a permanent residence in Bulgaria and a temporary one (for at least two years) in the Republic of Moldova, this is probably not a surprising step. I am also looking into literature from Moldova not written In Romanian language; while I read Bulgarian literature in the original, my Romanian and Russian are too limited – but there is fortunately a lot translated into one of my reading languages: German, French, Bulgarian, English. As for Romanian and Moldovan authors, I have presently the following on my TBR list: Mihai Eminescu, Octavian Paler, Nina Cassian, Dan Lungu, Mircea Cartarescu, Nicolae Dabija, E.M. Cioran, Paul Goma, Grigore Vieru, Vladimir Lorchenkov. I will also include a few blog posts related to books by German-language authors from Romania and the Bukovina.

There will be every now and then also some translations of poetry (mostly Bulgarian-German), maybe some of my own poetry, and a few other texts. Since I have a few translation and publishing projects in the pipeline with my Bulgarian partner, this might be also reflected on this blog.  

I wish all my readers a good year 2018! 

© Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014-8. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

My blogging year 2017 – some figures

2017 was a quiet blogging year at Mytwostotinki; here a few figures, as always at the beginning of a new year (figures for 2016 in brackets):

Posts total: 45 (92)
Post in English: 34 (51)
Post in German: 9 (25)
Posts in Bulgarian: 2 (10)
Number of unique visitors: 78,496 (46,049)
Number of unique visits: 134,525 (117,916)
Number of visited pages: 577,170 (609,624)
Number of page hits: 762,215 (803,912)
Countries of location of visitors: 200 (181)
Top Five countries page hits: USA, Germany, Moldova, China, Russia (USA, China, Germany, Russia, Ukraine)
Number of FB followers: 686 (586)
Number of Twitter followers: 1202 (1149)
Most popular blog post: ‘Logic for Democrats’? (The Devil Within)
Original language of reviewed/mentioned books: Bulgarian 7 (100), German 5 (40), English 2 (49), Turkish 2 (1), Japanese 1 (4), Italian 1 (1) 

© Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014-8. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Mytwostotinki is on Bloglovin’ too

You can follow this blog now also on Bloglovin’ – just saying…

<a href=”https://www.bloglovin.com/blog/12172529/?claim=tphwms8jbyp”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

© Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014-7. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 


Why I rarely publish negative reviews

Since I started this blog, I have reviewed approximately 120 books here; I share these reviews also in Goodreads and in Facebook. But I read much more books, which means that I am by far not writing about all the books I am in fact reading.

The reasons for this are mainly the following:

Reviewing takes some time; if you want to write something more than just a few superficial remarks, something meaningful, you need to spend a comparatively big amount of time – time I sometimes don’t have, or time I prefer to invest in something to me more valuable in that moment – for example in reading, travelling, working on my actual book project, or spending quality time with people that matter to me! And imagine, I have a job too, haha.

Furthermore, a lot of the books I am reading are not really creating this urge in me to write about them. Maybe it’s just me, or maybe the book is kind of dull and boring, or it is more or less ok, but nothing special and I have already forgotten the plot after a short time, or the topic is too special to be of any interest for a wider audience. So what’s the point to bother someone with my thoughts in such cases?

A special case are awe-inspiring books, books where I feel that at this moment they are beyond my capacities as a reviewer – recent example: Dostoevsky’s Demons. I would need to write a 10,000 words text if I wanted to review it, otherwise I would have to neglect important aspects of the book as I understand it. And if I will ever be able to express my limitless admiration of and fascination with Hans Henny Jahnn’s strange behemoth of a novel River without Banks – a book that literally changed my life and my view of life in general – in an adequate way remains a big question for me. (I reviewed the first part here; the biggest part of the novel was never translated in English.)   

The fourth category are the hopelessly bad, crappy, worthless books that you come across sometimes. I am not particularly inclined to write reviews about books I didn’t enjoy or that I even strongly dislike. In general, I prefer to be silent in such cases instead of wasting valuable time to indulge in negative feelings. In general, I believe that I am usually much better in positively raving about the qualities of a book than to give it the thump-down. Therefore, only about 5% of my published reviews so far are negative; if I would write a review about every single book I am reading, this percentage would be much higher, maybe more like 25-30%.

So, in which cases of this fourth category I am nevertheless making the effort to publish my negative opinion about a book? There are of course, as I see in retrospect now, a few reasons:

There are books and authors that have acquired the status of a “classic”, or at least of being extremely popular. While I have no problem with popular books and authors in general, I have experienced a couple of times the situation that I read a book that was praised as a “masterpiece”, or even as “one of the best novels of the 20th century” – and it turned out to be awfully bad from whatever standpoint you look at it. That’s what I call the “Emperor’s-New-Clothes syndrome”, and in such a blatant case as this one I feel obliged to raise my finger and voice my objection. This specific book and author get in my opinion much more attention than would be deserved if we look just at the – according to me hardly existing! – literary quality of the work; it is more a result of the successful efforts of the author during his lifetime to turn himself into a brand, than of the genuine quality of his writing that he occupies such a prominent place in literary history, and this book is praised by so many people although it is obviously no good at all (admittedly not all books by this author are as bad as the one I reviewed). The purpose of my review is to be a small contribution to a re-assessment of this specific book, and thus maybe also to a re-assessment of other, much better novels published during that period by authors who were not so good in self-marketing, but maybe better writers with some meaningful message in their works, written in a much better prose.

Another category of books are those by contemporary authors, who – supported by an aggressive marketing, a devoted group of friends in the media, and a similarly devoted crowd of “groupies” in social media – blow the horn and thus make a lot of noise around their silly, shallow, obnoxious books and turn this kind of attention into a mass phenomenon, and in extreme cases even into a movement that shares certain elements with a sect. That’s what I call the “One-million-flies-cannot-go-wrong syndrome”, and again I find myself every now and then in a position that I simply must voice my objection against such a book, and may it even be in a very succinct way, like in this case. (This review by a fellow book blogger sums it up very nicely in more detail what is wrong with this book and its author.)

Closely related to the last category are books that are lacking a basic quality a book (and its author) should have in my opinion: intellectual integrity. When the content and the message of a book is in stark contrast with the personal behaviour of its author, it is clearly a case of hypocrisy and lack of integrity. Intellectual impostors like the author of this book, should be always exposed.

Some books simply make me angry. A lot of people like this book and similar one’s by the same author – but to me it is obvious that the book is just an alibi for something else. This author makes his living by providing arousal templates for the needs of a very “special” audience. His sick anal-sadistic torture fantasies are poorly written, and as a reviewer I really hope that I prevent a few readers from exposing themselves to this revolting stuff.  

Very young and inexperienced authors will be usually treated with kindness by me; most bad books I read by such authors will be never reviewed here. In exceptional cases, when for example the publisher is to blame for not editing a book by an inexperienced author at all (and thus doing him a very bad service), like in this case, I will make an exception. Not because I want to slam the poor author for his shortcomings, but because I find it unethical when some publishers don’t protect authors from seriously damaging themselves.

Another exception are cases (like this one) in which a young author who in my opinion lacks literary talent is “made” by a publisher, in co-operation with key figures of the literary scene; a system that manipulates the public, arranges that such an author gets literary awards, and plenty of media attention that will in turn help to generate additional money and influence for this person in the literary scene, damages the chances of other young authors with real literary talent (but maybe with less talent for self-promotion), and even corrupts the readers and potential young authors, because a system that systematically ignores literary merit must in the long run have negative repercussions on the literary life in general, especially when the book market in that country is very small. Also in these cases, a reviewer should speak out and make it clear when such a “hyped” book has no literary value, and is obviously more a media or lifestyle phenomenon than serious literature.  

Hey, before I forget it – I know some authors personally. Some of them are nice people, others not so much. It is just like in all other spheres of life. Would the fact that I am in good or maybe not so good terms with someone influence my judgement (as imperfect as it may be) regarding the quality of their respective writing?

The answer is obvious: never!

© Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014-7. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

An abandoned book review

The book has a nicely designed cover.

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© Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014-7. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

My blogging year 2016 – some statistics

This was my blogging year 2016 in a few numbers (in brackets the figures for 2015):

Posts total: 92 (87) – +5.7%
Posts in English: 57 (71) – -19.8%
Posts in German: 25 (15) – +66.7%
Posts in Bulgarian: 10 (1) – +1000%
Number of unique visitors: 46,049 (38,331) – +20.1%
Number of visits: 117,916 (94,639) – +24.2%
Number of visited pages: 609,624 (300,456) – +102.9%
Number of page hits: 803,912 (580,619) – +38.5%
Number of countries of location of visitors: 181 (164) – +20.4%
Top five countries page hits: USA, China, Germany, Russia, Ukraine (USA, Albania, Germany, France, Ukraine)
Number of FB followers: 586 (478) – +22.6%
Number of Twitter followers: 1149 (1026) – +12%
Most popular blog post: The Devil Within (A case of revisionism)
Original language of the reviewed/mentioned book: Bulgarian 100 (25), English 49 (10), German 40 (49), Albanian 10 (0), French 7 (7), Serbian 5 (1), Japanese 4 (1), Spanish 2 (2), Yiddish 2 (1), Russian 1 (4), Indonesian 1 (3), Arabic 1 (2), Dutch 1 (2), Italian 1 (1), Romanian 1 (0), Turkish 1 (0)

All the best and a Happy New Year 2017 to all readers!

© Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014-7. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

My blogging year 2015 – some figures

This was my blogging year 2015 in a few numbers (in brackets the figures for 2014):

Posts total: 87 (83) – +4.8%
Posts in English: 71 (81) – -12.3%
Posts in German: 15 (2) – +750%
Posts in Bulgarian: 1 (0)
Number of unique visitors: 38,331 (19,261) – +99%
Number of visits: 94,639 (82,672) – +14.5%
Number of visited pages: 300,456 (299,447) – +0.3%
Number of page hits: 580,619 (477,390) – +21.6%
Number of countries of location of visitors: 164 (134) – +22.4%
Top five countries page hits: USA, Albania, Germany, France, Ukraine (China, USA, Albania, Ukraine, Serbia)
Number of FB followers: 478 (306) – +56.2%
Number of Twitter followers: 1026 (565) – +81.6%
Most popular blog post: A case of revisionism
Original language of the reviewed/quoted book: German 49 (47), Bulgarian 25 (9), English 10 (51), French 7 (6), Russian 4 (6), Indonesian 3 (2), Arabic 2 (4), Spanish 2 (4), Dutch 2 (1), Japanese 1 (4), Italian 1 (2), Portuguese 1 (1), Yiddish 1 (1), Chinese 1 (0), Serbian 1 (0), Albanian 0 (3), Turkish 0 (3), Greek 0 (2), Lithuanian 0 (1), Norwegian 0 (1)

All the best and a Happy New Year 2016 for all readers!

© Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014-6. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.