The Top 10 Posts From 2013


101 Books

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!

Today is my last post of 2013. I’ll be back posting live on January 6, which will make this my longest hiatus since I started 101 Books. But I think it will be worth it, plus no one really reads book blogs during Christmas anyway, right?

To cap off the year, I thought I’d take a look back at the top posts of 2013. You think that would be easy, right? But it’s something I struggle with because, when I say “top posts,” does that mean my favorite posts, your favorite posts, or just the posts with the highest traffic?

Usually, when I do this, I pick the posts that are my favorites. Today, though I’m just going to let the numbers do the talking.

Here are the top 10 NEW posts (in terms of page views) on 101 Books in 2013. I didn’t include posts…

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What Hemingway Can Teach You About Web Writing


101 Books

William Faulkner once said, “[Hemingway] has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.”

Hemingway responded: “Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?”

No surprise here if you’ve read my review of The Sound And The Fury, but I stand in Hemingway’s camp on this one. To me, the best writing is clear, simple, and to the point.

That’s why I think anyone who writes web copy, whether it’s a blog, an article, and especially any form of marketing content, should look long and hard at Hemingway’s writing style.

As a guy who spends all day writing for the web, I’ve probably been subconsciously using Hemingway’s style for years. With that, here’s what I think Hemingway can teach you about writing for the internets.

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A New Katherine


I haven’t checked my stats to see how long it has been since I posted anything, but I know it’s been a long time. Most of my writing over the past 16 months has been very private. It has been an agonizing process of emptying my heart onto paper. Yes, paper. After my son died, I started writing and writing and writing. Letters to him. Questions for God. Poems in the darkest hours of the night when I had not slept in days. Almost all of these were written on paper. At my age, 53, the words seemed to come easier when I used a pen and paper. The thoughts poured from my soul onto the paper, sometimes until my hand cramped so badly that I had to stop. If I had no paper with me, I would write on the back of a receipt, a napkin, an envelope, or any surface available. My laptop, iPad, and smart phone were my last resort. I even downloaded an app to my iPad so I could handwrite my thoughts with a stylus or even my fingertip. Note…if you try it, it is not the easiest handwriting to read when you go back and I have not tried to print any of it.

I also read everything I could on grief, grieving, loss of a child, suicide, survivors of suicide (a term I used to think referred to one who attempted suicide and lived), depression, treatment, and so many more things than I can remember, much less list here. I am still in counseling and trying to get into a group for bereaved mothers. I talked to people, at least to those who would talk to me or rather, would listen to me. A grieving parent soon learns that very few people can bear to listen to or witness your grief. I’ve found that other parents have the hardest time. I believe that is because my loss has forced them to face the possibility that if it happened to me, it could happen to them. And, no parent can bear to think about that. It is terrifying. It hurts. I know, but I feel that I have lost friends because of the tragic loss of my son. The friendships were not strong enough to weather the changes that have occurred in me since Donald’s death.

Any parent who has lost a child will tell you that they have lost the person they used to be. I can tell you that unequivocally. I knew it within the first week. I am not the Katherine I was before Donald died. I’m not even the Katherine I was in the first few months after his death. For many months, I felt as if I was less than half a person, physically and emotionally. I am slowly becoming the new Katherine, but I’m still not sure who she is going to be. I see a vague picture developing, but it will be a long time before it becomes clearer. I know God has a plan and a purpose for me, one which will use my talents and honor my son’s life here on earth.

I may have mentioned before that I have always wanted to write. I’ve never wanted to be the next James Patterson or Nora Roberts. I love fiction, but I’m not sure that my talent lies in that direction. I may learn that I’m wrong about that but it’s not on my agenda for now.

I have reached a point where I believe it is time for me to start my new blog…a phoenixmom.wordpress.com. I have many ideas for blog. I feel, as the new year comes closer, that it is time for me to get busy. My hope is that by writing this new blog, I will be able to reach and help other grieving mothers. I am not ignoring grieving fathers, but their way of grieving is different. Any post I write about grieving fathers will be more along the lines of the differences in how mothers and fathers grieve, and how mothers can hopefully understand a little more about their child’s father as he grieves. I do hope to be able to find and share materials for grieving fathers, and even guest posts by grieving fathers.

Another topic I will be tackling is suicide, suicide prevention and awareness, and survivors of suicide. I’m not sure if that will fit into my new blog or will develop into a separate blog.

I am not a doctor, medical professional, therapist, social worker, or in any manner trained to give advice on this subject. I do not intend to give advice. I plan to share my experiences, and the stories of others willing to share, along with links to resources for help and treatment.

I hope that I can help at least one person. If I do that, I’ve done at least part of what God is leading me to do in this phase of my life. I really hope I can help many. The number of followers I may get is not important. I’m not trying to make money on this. It’s a calling. I am going to write from my heart, add in my research (as a retired lawyer, I can do some research!) and let God lead me. I feel very strongly that He is calling me to do this, as well as other things which will come later.

I ask one thing of anyone who reads this post. If you feel inclined to comment, I would greatly appreciate any suggestions, thoughts, resources, and constructive criticism that you can share. If you prefer not to comment publicly, please feel free to email me. One thing I’m trying to determine is how often I should post. Those of you who are experienced bloggers, please share your tips with me as well as any reading materials that you think would be helpful.