Before we get too far into 2010, let’s take a look at what was keeping readers interested on The Millions in 2009. To start, we’ll divide the most popular posts on The Millions into two categories, and we’ll begin with the “evergreens,” posts that went up before 2010 but continued to interest readers over the last year:
1. Hard to Pronounce Literary Names Redux: the Definitive Edition: Three years on, our “definitive” literary pronunciation guide is still a favorite The Millions. There must be a lot of people name-dropping Goethe out there. The initial, aborted attempt remains popular as well.
3. The Best Sports Journalism Ever (According to Bill Simmons): Sports fans love this collection of links to some of the best sports writing of all time.
4. Food Fight: Anthony Bourdain Slams Rachael Ray: This rare dalliance for The Millions into celebrity gossip suggests an enduring interest in the bad blood between these two food (and publishing) superstars.
5. On Our Shelves: 45 Favorite Short Story Collections: A terrific list that will keep the short story fan busy for quite a long time.
6. The World’s Longest Novel: Ben’s profile of this work of record-breaking performance art has continued to intrigue curious readers.
7. Reading List: World War 2 Fiction: There are a few books still on my wish list as a result of this three-year-old list.
8: Big in Japan: A Cellphone Novel For You, the Reader: Lots of folks were talking about the Japanese trend of cell phone novels, but Ben was the first to offer a translation.
9. Haruki Murakami in Berkeley: Murakami fans continue to flock to this collection of wisdom compiled by Ben at a Murakami reading. An earlier piece by Ben has proved popular among readers looking to get their hands on a lost Murakami work.
10. Why Bolaño Matters: Roberto Bolaño has become a literary sensation over the last two years, but Garth’s 2007 piece helped set the stage.
And now for the top pieces written in 2009:
1. The Best of the Millennium (So Far): This list would be dominated by our Best of the Millennium series, so we’ll just go ahead and mention the introduction to the series here.
2. Diagramming the Obama Sentence: In the aftermath of Obama’s victory, Garth’s analysis of our new president’s rhetorical skills got picked up on a number of political sites.
4. A Year in Reading: New Yorker Fiction 2008: My ridiculous attempt to catalog all the New Yorker fiction in 2008. Will I ever do it again? Probably not this year.
5. Islands in the Stream: Our “Walking Tour of New York’s Independent Bookstores,” Revised and Expanded: In 2009, we joined readers for a walking tour of indie bookstores in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
6. A Bolaño Syllabus: Garth’s instructive piece helped readers make sense of the late Chilean’s ever-growing oeuvre.
7. About the Author: Readers got a kick out of Edan’s take on author photos.
8. eBook Paths Converge: This brief item, pointing to some of our more extensive coverage of “the future of the book,” proved a popular entry point into the discussion.
10. Working the Double Shift: Guest contributor Emily St. John Mandel struck a chord with this exploration of writers and their day jobs.
Where did all these readers come from? Google (and Facebook and Twitter and StumbleUpon) sent quite a few of course, but many Millions readers came from other sites too. These were the top 10 sites to send us traffic in 2009: