It seems only fitting, in the last few hours of the year, to look back at my first full calendar year of blogging, and post a few reflections about the experience.
Best posts: I submitted my five favourites by request of The Corner and won't repeat the list again tonight. If I had to choose my favourite of these five, I think it would be God's "perfect will" and Romans 12, which best represents what I strive for in a theological post.
My best idea: The September moratorium on science fiction broadened my horizons a bit, and even though I didn't get through my entire planned reading list, I read some stuff I wouldn't have bothered with otherwise. Strictly speaking this was a personal reading idea, not a blogging idea, but the reason I decided do it in the first place was that I was tracking my reading habits on the blog and wouldn't have noticed otherwise. One thing blogging has done for me over the last year is help me to organize my thinking, somewhat.
From the another-flagstone-on-the-road-to-hell dept.: My best-intentioned idea that went nowhere was "Required Reading Month" in November. As it happened, the books on my list were perpetually checked out of the local library system and never available, with a single exception that wasn't the one I wanted to start with. So I never actually got around to reading any of them.
Books read: Since I started keeping track at the beginning of June, I've read 44 books. My habits didn't change just because I started charting them, so it's a safe estimate that I completed about 75 books since January. My favourite of the lot was The Life of Pi by Yann Martel.
I wrote 13 reviews, in varying lengths, of books this year.
Movies viewed: Again, since June, I have viewed 27 films, either at home or in the theatre. My favourite for the year was also the best movie from this year: The Village, M. Night Shyamalan's most recent.
Of those 27, I reviewed eight.
Out and around the blogosphere: Finally, so as not to toot my own horn endlessly, my favourite blog that I discovered for the first time in the last year is La Shawn Barber's Corner. Alphabetical order put her at the top of my blogroll, but over the last few months I've really begun to appreciate her insights, especially in those areas where our interests appear to cross.
My favourite "re-branding" effort is the one at Challies.com. Not that the old version was bad, but the new design is truly spectacular. Also, affirming the dictum that simplest is best, the new look at Coffeehouse at the End-Of-Days is very nice as well.
"Most improved blog" goes, without question, to James White, who finally ditched hand-coded HTML and all its attendant inconsistencies for actual blog software and a PHP backend. (And the content is top-shelf, with or without all the technical wizbangery.)
Summing up: I spent the last quarter of 2003 banging the Crusty Curmudgeon into shape and feeling out this blogging thing. In 2004, it actually became what I wanted it to be. If anything it has exceeded my expectations, as I suspect this blog has superseded my original Web site as the front end of my presence on the WWW. Finally, I close the year as the fifth most relevant site on Google for the search term "crusty." (I actually peaked at #2 just before Christmas!) I haven't lost interest in the blog yet, so on the whole it's been a very good year. Best of all, I'll be able to hit the ground running in 2005. My first post of the new year will detail some of my plans.