One positive aspect of this very strange year as far as I am concerned is the much greater volume of readers visiting me here at reviewsrevues.com. The figures show well over double what I have had in previous years, so I’m starting off with a big thank you to all of you who have continued to stop off at reviewsrevues.com and to those of you who first stumbled on the site at some point during lockdown.
Here is my annual list of what you have been reading, the 10 posts this year that have attracted the most attention. Don’t ask me to explain why certain posts end up being more popular than others – after nearly 6 years of doing this I don’t have the faintest idea. You now have 741 posts to choose from, so these have done very well in rising to the top. Over the years the most popular posts have been fairly consistent but this year there are 7 new entries onto the top 10, but only one was first published in 2020. Once again. I have no idea why this is all how it is but I thought it would be fun to just run down the 10 posts with links to the original review should you wish to find out more (just click the title). The figure in the bracket refers to the posts position in What You Have Been Reading 2019 post.
10 (-) 20 Of The Best – Shirley Bassey – Number 80 in my Essential CD countdown. This year saw the great Dame Shirley Bassey getting a Top 5 album chart placing with what is reputed to be her final recording setting an Official Charts record of being the first female recording artist to get a Top 40 chart placing in seven consecutive decades. That is an extraordinary achievement and the new album gave her the highest chart position she had attained for 42 years. Perhaps it is statistics like these that made people want to find out about her back catalogue. This budget CD from the Music For Pleasure label spans from 1960-73 and has most of the big hits. In the UK it can be bought new for £9.63 from Amazon, or used for £0.01.
9(-) Very – Pet Shop Boys – This 1993 Parlophone album made it to number 45 on my Essential CD countdown and was their (to date) only UK number 1 album. It is the one with the orange bubbly cover which contained such gems as their cover of “Go West”, “Yesterday When I Was Mad” and “Can You Forgive Her?” In 2018 it was reissued with a bonus disc of remixes entitled “Very; Further Listening 1992-4. It seems to be easier to find this than the original CD which I own.
8(-) Behaviour – Pet Shop Boys – I’m delighted that people are working their way through my Pet Shop Boys reviews. I had this 1990 Parlophone release at number 91 in my Top 100 listing. Perhaps their most rounded pop album it contains “My October Symphony” and “Nervously” two of their very best non-single tracks together with the big hits “So Hard” and “Being Boring”. This was also reissued as a Further Listening Double CD package but the original can be currently bought on Amazon for £13.74 and used from £7.43.
7(-) A Natural – Ross Raisin – A four star 2017 novel which I read and reviewed in 2018. It’s a tale of a young gay football player with more soccer between its covers than in anything I have read before. I said of it; “this is a very claustrophobic piece, generally grim and paints a fairly depressing hostile environment inhabited by the characters.” I did acknowledge the story telling and the sheer skill of the writer and was very impressed by it. In fact, it is a book which does quite often come to mind so it did resonate with me. It could be read as aversion therapy for anyone considering a career as a professional footballer!
6(-) Lets Groove: The Best Of Earth Wind & Fire– This is really a re-entry as my number 30 in my Essential CD list has been bouncing around my most read lists since I first published it in October 2015. On last year’s Five From Five post to celebrate 5 years of the blog I counted down the five most read posts of all time and this was at number 5 with the highest total of visits of any my 100 Essential CD list. A 17 track 1996 compilation which would prove an excellent introduction for this group for the very bargain price currently at Amazon of £3.08 and from £0.60 for a used copy.
5(6) Diary Of Two Nobodies – Giles Wood & Mary Killen – This was posted in 2018 and has hovered around the Top 5 most read posts for most of the time since. Giles and Mary from “Gogglebox” should maybe consider putting pen to paper again as the interest in them in still there.
4(-) Sanditon – Jane Austen & Another Lady – I gave this a five star review for this 1975 publication when I read it in 2019 where it ended up at number 3 in my end of year list. Australian-born author Marie Dobbs was extremely successful in carrying on from the fragment of the novel Jane Austen left when she died in 1817. I read this because of the Andrew Davies TV adaptation which I also enjoyed, a significant number of you have wanted to find out more about this book and/or the TV series this year.
3(7) Once Upon A Time – Donna Summer – First posted in March 2018 when I placed the late, great Donna ‘s 1977 release at number 85 on my 100 Essential CD lists. For the second year running this has been my most read of the reviews on that list. Despite its slightly awkward “Cinderella” concept this double album resulted in a much broader scope than ever before with some great tracks from the Moroder/Bellotte/Summer team. It is well worth the £7.15 price currently on Amazon (used from £5.52)
2(-) A Traveller At The Gates Of Wisdom – John Boyne – A 2020 publication which I read and reviewed just as it came out. This was a high-concept work which I described as 52 mini-novels requiring a vast amount of historical research. I gave this book 4 stars, which pained me a little as Boyne is a huge favourite of mine and his “The Heart’s Invisible Furies” is one of my favourite books of this century. It’s still a very good read and is extrarodinarily ambitious.
1(4) Scott And Bailey – I have no answers. In January last year when I looked at my five most read posts of all time this was sat at number 3. It is a review from the beginning of the final fifth series which began on ITV in April 2016. It just shows how well-loved this much-missed TV series starring Suranne Jones and Lesley Sharp was. Over four years on and it has reached the summit for this year.
Where Are You Reading From?
The Top 10 countries for visitors of reviewsrevues.com
Wherever you are reading from I hope you have found something to entertain you during a year which has been difficult for all of us. I look forward to your continued support in 2021.