The 200th post book giveaway has been run and won. Congratulations to the winners James, Jo, Robyn and Helen! Thank you to everyone for your entries and a big thank you to the publishers – Magabala Books, NewSouth Press, Text Publishing and UQP Books for supporting the competition. These and many other publishers are great supporters of historical writing in Australia.
As a requirement of entry for the book giveaway, readers were asked to answer one of three questions. This blog is made all the better because of feedback from readers via comments, but here was a chance for me to get some specific feedback and ideas from you. I appreciate the thoughtful responses you gave. Over the next few weeks I’ll be writing some posts in response to this feedback, but I can quickly respond to some comments in this post.
With over 200 posts, even I don’t always remember everything I have written. Many of the older posts are still popular indicating that they are just as relevant now as when they were first published. There are three aides on this blog that I recommend you use to uncover enjoyable posts to read and useful information.
Firstly try the search box. It is by itself in the blog header on the right. I use this often and find it works well.
Secondly, I suggest you have a look at the tag cloud on the right hand side of the body of the blog. Scroll down to find this. Click on the word that interests you and it will show all the posts I have tagged with that word.
Thirdly, have a look at the categories I have filed my posts in. These can be found immediately below the tag cloud. Every post is filed in at least one category. This is a good method to use if you want to flick through my book reviews, posts relating to conferences etc, or you just want to browse.
I am very specific about the genre of books I review. While I read fiction I don’t review it, not even historical fiction. I review histories, biographies and some memoirs. As you will have noticed in my last post, this year I am going to put renewed emphasis on reviewing histories, biographies and memoirs by women of diverse backgrounds. We are a multicultural society and have been for a long, long time, yet that diversity is not reflected well enough in our reading space. This matters because a writer’s cultural background, their life experiences, their world view always shapes their writing. Our society is stronger when a diversity of views are shared and discussed. We can make horrible mistakes when the opinions of one sector of society dominates to the extent of excluding other views. Sometimes reading these diverse opinions is uncomfortable for those of us from Anglo-Celtic backgrounds as it confronts us with things that are not pleasant to know. Do we have the humility to accept the advice, change and become the fair and considerate person we would like to be?
This is a history blog, not a book reviewing blog so I will continue to write a wide variety of posts. If I write about current affairs it will always relate to underlying historical processes. I am not interested in entering the argy-bargy of political argument – there are hundreds of opinion writers elsewhere on the net who are doing that. I agree with the Annales historian, Fernand Braudel, when he described political events as ephemeral. I am struck by this when looking at the political history section at second-hand bookshops. Books about politicians and politics which raced off the bookshop shelves when new are quickly consumed, the topic of the week or month, then everyone moves on. Within only a year or two the reader doesn’t want the book clogging up their shelves and sends them packing to the second-hand bookshop. Only a couple of years on, these books are stale.
Many of you made told me what it was that you specifically like about my blog, whether it is the Stumbling Through the Past name, the archive of useful posts or the references I include in each post usually through hyperlinks. Thank you for your good wishes and encouragement.
Now I am looking to the future of this blog. I have ideas for content and design. I am hoping to implement some changes but as anything to do with this blog is done in my spare time, it may take a while.
Most importantly, I hope you continue to enjoy reading my posts. I’ll keep them coming!