1 October 2023 Susannah

100th Edition

Notes From A Book Addict 100th edition

As this is my 100th edition of Notes from a Book Addict, I thought my many readers might be interested in how it all began.

For many years I had friends ask me for book recommendations, or ask me to let them know when my various talks were coming up. And so, one day, it occurred to me that a simple newsletter might be well received.

On 1st July 2015, I sent out my first newsletter to about twenty friends who I knew shared my love of books. That first edition stated that I hoped my friends would enjoy my reading suggestions, would like information about my literary events and tours, and to learn of important literary anniversaries. I mentioned a literary tour of the Deep South of the USA that I had just done, raved about Anthony Trollope (whose 200th birthday was that year), described how Georgette Heyer’s Wimbledon home had got a blue plaque (unveiled by Stephen Fry) and recommended a movie of Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd. I concluded it with a literary quote.

A few editions later, I introduced the ‘Poem of the Month’ segment, which has proved consistently popular. Over the years I have run regular themed segments – this year it is seeing a literary statue, but I’ve also covered favourite libraries around the world and serious book addicts from history. You will have to wait until January to learn what the 2024 theme will be.

The friends who received the first newsletter passed it on to other friends, who asked to be added to the list. Members of the Jane Austen Society of Australia asked to be added once they heard about the free newsletter, and I started giving attendees at my talks the chance to sign up. It is impossible to know today just how many people the newsletter goes to, as it gets passed on to relatives and friends, shared with book groups, and distributed widely. That thrills me – the more people reading books and reading about books the better!

Before long, my fabulous technical assistant Cheryl came to help. Sending it out to so many people was beyond me, but Cheryl knew exactly what to do. Today I could not manage without her assistance, but there are costs involved in sending it every month, as I need to pay for software, and Cheryl for her skills and time. This is why I hope you will support the changes I must make to remain viable and continue offering all the things you love about my newsletter. Thanks, Cheryl, for all your help.

At the start of every month, I do wonder how I will fill yet another edition, but somehow ideas always come along. I have written about movies of classic novels, beloved classic authors, crime novels, literary biographies and forthcoming literary events. I have mused on some of the challenges of being a book addict – arranging books, lending books, using bookmarks, to finish or not to finish a book you don’t much like, how and where to read, books for long journeys, and much, much more.

I will keep producing the newsletter every month and sending it out on the first day, in the hopes that you will continue to enjoy what started as a perhaps whimsical idea, and turned into something that goes around the world to thousands of readers twelve times a year.

How long have you been receiving my newsletter? Tell me your thoughts by leaving a comment.

Comments (16)

  1. Brett R Johnson

    Dear Susanna Congratulations on this great milestone. I was fascinated to see that I’m one of about 5,000 -at least, with all the forwarding to friends – who look forward to the first of the month, each month. Or should that be, reminded of it actually being a new month only when the Notes from a book addict appears in the in-box. I can’t think of a better way of noting the passing of the months than a new edition of your Notes. Of the many many features I love, I do love the focus on a poem each month. I am probably not alone in regretting that I don’t read more poetry – your poem of the month reminds me how rich the world of poetry is and how close reading of poetry (like we were taught so many years ago at school) is one of life’s great pleasures. Looking forward to hearing about the changes you are implementing and future editions. Fondest regards – and thanks. Brett

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Thanks for your kind words, Brett. You are not alone in enjoying the poem I choose each month – it is the most popular part of the newsletter. I am so very touched that I get your month off to a good start with the newsletter and hope to keep it going for a long time to come.

  2. Wendy Tierney

    Have loved receiving your newsletters . Have joined your walk around Sydney plaques and would love to one day do a tour with you.I just love reading about them and I also have viewed some of your videos.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Thanks for all your support, Wendy. I’m delighted you have enjoyed my newsletters and video talks.

  3. Elaine Cox

    Elaine Cox

    Some years ago about 2003 you gave a talk on Jane Austen
    to our fund raising group.This was so successful
    you came back many times and spoke on a wide range of authors.
    I have many happy memories and although I am not very mobile any more
    I still enjoy reading your news letter. Please keep this going and
    enjoy your travels.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      How nice to hear from you, Elaine. I remember those talks well and am so glad you enjoy my newsletters.

  4. Yvonne Read

    I signed up for your newsletter at a talk you gave at the Chermside library in Brisbane quite a few years ago. You made reading Georgette Heyer books respectable in that talk….thank you. I was a closet GH fan up till then.
    It is lovely to receive the informative letters and I often get a book by one of your recommended authors and thoroughly enjoy reading something I would not have found otherwise.
    Thank you so much for your enthusiastic first of the months letters.

  5. Margaret Debenham

    I have just checked back on the date of the earliest Book Addict I received – it was July 2015 and it was labelled No. 1. I received No. 1 because I wrote my name and email address on a sheet of paper at one of your talks (good move on my part). So this is the 100th edition for me also. And I have thoroughly enjoyed every one of them – the 1st of each month is keenly anticipated! So thank you so much for all the work you put in to provide that monthly delight, your erudition and your enthusiasm! (And thank you Cheryl for making the erudition and enthusiasm look so pretty!). (Also looking forward to the England trip next year – only 11 more months to wait.)

    • Susannah Fullerton

      It will be wonderful to travel with you on tour again, Margaret. I didn’t realise you’d started getting my newsletters so early. Thanks for all your support!

  6. Diana Paulin

    My cousin introduced me to your feature about six years ago. He knew I loved books. and I have enjoyed every minute, especially the poems. Congratulations.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      It’s really lovely to know that the poems have proved to be the most popular section of the newsletter. I am so glad you enjoy each edition. Thanks for your kind comments, and thank your cousin for me too.

  7. Vivien Santer

    Dear Susannah,
    Congratulations on your 100th edition!
    I always enjoy your newsletter, and learning about your favourite books and authors, as well as the places which you visit on your tours.
    Keep up the good work— your husband yet become a convert to Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer!
    Very best wishes
    Vivien Santer

    • Susannah Fullerton

      I’m afraid I have yet to convert my husband, but many thanks for your kind words and good wishes. Keep reading!

  8. Honey

    My friend sent me your newsletter a few years ago and I loved it so much, I shared it with my book group and I asked to be added to your list.

    Your enthusiasm is contagious, your knowledge is miraculous and you are a wonderful teacher. I love to see what interests others.
    Do you like Walker Percy, an American Southern, Catholic writer? I began an interest in him about fifteen years ago. I corresponded with Jay Tolson, his biographer, and he guided me through the reading of the Percy novels.

    Lately I have been taking Hillsdale College courses on line. There is so much to keep me busy, but I will get back to them in time. So far I have completed fourteen courses.

    Shakespeare and Jane Austin are favorites of mine.

    Congratulations on your 100th and may there be many more to come.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Thanks for your kind words, Honey. I am so glad you enjoy my newsletters.
      Keep up the reading courses – they sound great.

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