It is hard to believe that this is my 50th newsletter. I thought those of you who are more recent subscribers might like to hear of the origins of my ‘Notes from a Book Addict’.
Friends often used to ask me for suggestions of good books, or wanted to know where and when my forthcoming talks would be. In 2015 I decided that I’d create a little news-sheet and send it to some close friends. Someone else heard about the first one, and asked why they did not receive it too, so I began sending it to all those who had come on my tours, and to members of the Jane Austen Society. It grew ‘like Topsy” and, at talks I gave, others signed up to receive the newsletter. It now goes to over 4000 people each month, but I know that many of you forward it on to friends and book group members, so I suspect about 5000 people get it each month. My incredibly helpful webmaster and PA, Cheryl, tells me that I have a very high ‘opening’ rate, but there are still some people who get the newsletter and fail to open it. (If it is really something that doesn’t interest you, you can always unsubscribe.) The first post in blog form was in 2016.
In its pages I have discussed many aspects of being a book-lover – lending books, books to help you sleep, keeping book lists, the plusses and minuses of e-readers, finishing books you are not enjoying, items found in books, arrangement of books, and many other dilemmas and joys of being a keen reader. It was in the 3rd issue that I introduced a monthly poem and I’m delighted at how many people tell me that it’s their favourite section of the newsletter.
My newsletter does bring quite a sense of responsibility – each month I must come up with ideas, find a new poem, and consider reading suggestions, but I am also aware that not everyone is going to share my reading tastes and love the books I recommend. But isn’t that the wonderful thing about reading – we all love different things, and find such a variety of things within the same book. As Jane Austen says, “one half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other” and I remind myself of that phrase often when someone has not shared my passion for a particular book or character.
I’ve been very touched by the comments and feedback I have received. I love to know that you share my newsletter with friends, that you do take up my suggestions, and feel happy to have been introduced to new poems. I was so touched one day in Sydney when a lovely man stopped me in the street to tell me that getting this newsletter was a real highlight of his month! The community of those who love books is wonderful – readers are so generous about sharing their favourites and recommending. We all love to spread the joy of books around.
Thanks to you all for being constant readers of ‘Notes from a Book Addict’. I’ll do my best to come up with new comments, discussions and books to keep you all entertained and instructed. Please feel free to send me ideas, comments or suggestions for improvements. Happy 50th to us all! Comment.
I only recommend books I have read and know. Some of these links are my affiliate links. If you buy a book by clicking on one of these links I receive a small commission. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but does help cover the cost of producing my free newsletter.