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Celebrating a Year of Page Turners: The Most-Read Articles

Cindy Burnett
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Amanda McGee

For the Buzzy Books of Summer article, Amanda McGee recommended the latest Elin Hilderbrand novel, 28 Summers.

This week is the one-year anniversary of this Page Turners column. I have loved every second of writing it and am grateful that I have found this space to share my passion for literature with others. Thanks so much to those who read it and to those who comment on a column or email me with their thoughts about a book or a particular column. Those interactions always make my day when I receive them.

For Page Turners, I highlight books and/or authors in some manner on a weekly basis: my favorites in a particular genre such as historical fiction or mystery series, an author Q & A, fun author events happening around Houston (or, during this pandemic, online via Zoom or Facebook Live), and cookbook collaborations with Andria Frankfort, who writes the Back Porch Table column. Occasionally, I will cover a Buzz resident’s book club, poll readers on their favorite books, or feature trends in the book world such as bookstagrammers and podcasters or some other movement that is gaining traction.

Before and After

Before and After: The Incredible Real-Life Stories of Orphans Who Survived the Tennessee Children’s Home Society by Judy Christie and Lisa Wingate chronicles the powerful impact of stories and how they can bring people together. 

Since it has been a year, I thought it would be fun to look back at the 10 most popular articles measured by the amount of views each one received. I was curious to see if the columns shared anything in common or if these was a uniting thread among them. I enjoyed reflecting back on each one and determined that my articles about the best books in a genre, cookbooks, or ideas for what to read during a time period such as summertime or a pandemic resonated with readers. 

  1. Best Books of 2019 – For my initial article, I wrote about my favorite books of 2019 as of early August of last year. This was a delightful way to kick off the column, and I loved hearing from so many readers about their thoughts on various books on this list.
  2. We All Need a Little Humor Right Now - Remember a hundred years ago back in March when the pandemic was just beginning? Well, I wrote an article highlighting light, entertaining reads to help people keep their minds off the real world. That subject matter clearly resonated with people and probably warrants a follow-up since not too much has changed since March.
  3. Discovering a Good Mystery Series, part 2 - For this Page Turners article, I wrote about my favorite mystery series set in foreign locales. With the limits on traveling we are all experiencing, these reading suggestions will allow you to “armchair travel” during these trying times.
  4. The Power of Stories – This column remains one of my personal favorites. I believe strongly in the power of stories to change lives and this article details an example of how one book impacted so many.
  5. Music and Recipe Inspiration – Questlove’s cookbook, Mixtape Potluck, is unique and makes a great gift. It is my go-to gift when I need a creative, special present.
  6. Discovering a Good Mystery Series, part 1 – As a person who loves to read mysteries, I was thrilled to find that my two mystery series columns were both in the top 10. Going forward, I plan to write more about mysteries as a result.
  7. Virtual Book Events – One silver lining of the coronavirus pandemic is the plethora of online book events that have popped up – single author talks, book clubs, author panels and more.
  8. Buzzy Books of Summer 2020 - Reaching out to readers to hear their favorite reads of summer 2020 was very entertaining. I loved learning what books were hits with people and added a bunch to my own list.
  9. Historical Fiction of Summer 2020 - Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, and I was delighted that this column made the top 10.
  10. Houston Cooks - Rounding out the top 10 is a cookbook that highlights Houston restaurants and includes a few recipes from each one. This is the perfect article to complete the list because during these trying times, Houston restaurants need our help, and Houston Cooks is a great guide to finding new places and reconnecting with old ones.
Historical fiction

The Best Historical Fiction of Summer 2020 article highlights Cindy's favorite historical fiction titles publishing between June and August.

As always, I love to read your comments and emails so keep them coming! In April of this year, I began writing the Buzz Reads column where I select 5 top picks for each month. If you have not already, look for it in your monthly Buzz print issue or find it online here

Conversations from a Page is hosting a Curated Book Discussion over Zoom for Just Mercy by Brian Stevenson on Wednesday, Aug. 26 at 11 a.m. CST and for The Last Flight by Julie Clark on Sept. 24 at 11 a.m. Cost: $5 or $30 for an annual pass. See details here.

For more book recommendations and bookish thoughts, see Cindy’s Thoughts from a Page Podcast or follow @ThoughtsFromaPage on Instagram.

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