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20 years of lection

9 september 2023

It was 20 years ago today, as some band once sang, that I began to post these book reviews here at lection.

At first, I imagined that I would review new books (and old ones that had gotten back in the news, like the Oprah's Book Club selections) rather infrequently. Before long, lection became a regular reading blog and before much longer, it became the thing that I have done most consistently in my entire life: thinking in bytes about anything I read. There are probably a couple thousand reviews here. I have never counted them.

I had no vast program, except that I wanted from the start never to change the format of the site. I thought for a long time about the navigation and the logic of the various pages I'd have to maintain regularly. Earlier this year, I did expand the right-hand sidebar with the help of some JavaScript. But this site was designed in a minimalist way that has helped it survive into a Web environment all but alien to the one it started in. If it looks primitive … that's because it is. But maybe still fairly readable?

Originally I thought nobody would ever see the reviews here, and I didn't really mind if nobody did; I wanted to get my own opinions down, to save them for myself as much as anyone else. But I have been pleasantly surprised by the response from readers, and I have been grateful over the years to authors, publishers, and various citers of my reviews.

I don't know if I thought, in 2003, "When I'm sixty-four" (I can't get away from that album, I guess). But when I'm eighty-four, I hope lection will be turning 40 and looking much the same as ever – but with far more frequent reviews once I retire from my day job.