Blog Update - September 2017

Running a bit late on this update post as I've been spending far too much time reading books and posting reviews, which I suppose given this is the purpose of the blog, is an allowable excuse!  

As mentioned last update, I decided to do away with the Blog Analytics page as a way of keeping track of visitors and installed the Statcounter widget on the site. This enables me to properly weed out duplicate visits (as much as possible) and also provides a lot more flavour to who might be visiting

September's numbers are broken down per below:

Unique Visitors: 42
Page Visits: 60

These numbers are way down on my previous stats, but I've pulled out all double ups and non-genuine "visitors" (Squarespace, Amazon etc).  I can stand over these numbers, however, as being an accurate reflection of the (small!) amount of people who have visited the website.

By far the most popular page visited is the top 20 Things to Do in Niue (24 visits), followed by the Home Page. Referring links when identified are coming from both Google and Pinterest.  Through September, the site had visits from 12 different countries. There's the usual suspects that you'd expect in there (US, UK, Australian and NZ) and some slightly more esoteric ones from the UAE, Philippines and Guyana - very cool!

No site changes this month as taking a breather from all the changes from last month and also, unfortunately, no travel undertaken either. We have something planned for Clyde in Central Otago at end January, so will just have to wait until then.

Another good month for reading and reviewing books as listed below:

In Xanadu by William Dalrymple (1989) - 4 stars
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson (1997) - 4 stars
It's Every Monkey for Themselves by Vanessa Woods (2007) - 3 stars
Where Soldiers Fear to Tread by John S. Burnett (2005) - 3.5 stars
From the Holy Mountain by William Dalrymple (1997) - 4.5 stars
Finding George Orwell in Burma by Emma Larkin (2004) - 3.5 stars
New Europe by Michael Palin (2007) - 3.5 stars
Iranian Rappers and Persian Porn by Jamie Maslin (2009) - 3 stars

By far the pick of the bunch was William Dalyrmple's From the Holy Mountain which, after a bit of a slow start, turns out to be a great travelogue. Glimpses of how good his writing was going to be was seen in the first book he wrote, In Xanadu, which is also well worth reading (and one which he wrote at the age of 22!). At this rate, Dalrymple is shaping up to be one of my all time favourite travel writers.

Speaking of which, September was also a month when I read another Bill Bryson book which is widely considered to be one of the all time classics, A Walk in the Woods. Bryson writes so consistently good, that I'm always left wondering why I haven't scored his books higher.  Is it that my expectations are too high to begin with, and when he "only" meets these expectations, I unfairly penalise him? Who knows. Regardless, he still is one of the go to authors I'd recommend for anyone wanting to read a travel book.

On the flip side, I was less enamoured with Vanessa Woods' 2007 book, It's Every Monkey for Themselves. But the real disappointment is reserved for Jamie Maslin's Iranian Rappers and Persian Porn. I loved Maslin's book The Long Hitch Home and was hoping his first book would be equally as good. Unfortunately, the standard wasn't anywhere near as high. I'll definitely be reading some more of Maslin, the result of which will determine whether he, also, ends up making my yet to be compiled favourite travel author list.

To the 42 talented and clever individuals who visited the Best Travel Books website last month, thanks for stopping by (not that you'll necessarily be reading this entry!). Hopefully you found something useful during your visit to this website.