diaCRITICS editor Viet Thanh Nguyen picks his top ten posts of 2012.
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Happy New Year! As I write this, I’m having Apocalypse Now flashbacks. A helicopter is circling my house close enough for its rotors to vibrate my walls. It’s the LAPD and that’s the kind of neighborhood I live in. Just thought I’d share.
To business: 2012 was our first full year with the new look for diaCRITICS. It took us a while to hit our rhythm and publish enough posts per month to be able to do a top ten per month, which we resumed in October. We had a pretty good year, and you can see the total numbers here. The basic numbers: 102 new posts (for a total of 356), with about 100,000 views, and visitors from 154 countries, primarily from the United States, Canada, Viet Nam, western Europe and Australia.
Here now is my look back on ten notable posts from 2012 (with a couple of music video bonuses thrown in).
1. We ran a successful fundraising campaign, and my New Year’s resolution for diaCRITICS is that we continue seeking reader donations to pay our writers and editors. What a concept! There’s now a donation option on the homepage, to the upper right, or you can just go here. I estimate we need $2000 in 2013 to pay for site maintenance and to reward our writers and editors with the equivalent of a couple cups of coffee for each post. It’s a beginning. Please donate now!
2. We lost one of our valued diaCRITICS, Dr. Boitran Huynh-Beattie, one of the few historians of Vietnamese art outside of Viet Nam. It was a sudden and sad loss for the Vietnamese scholarly and art world.
3. The novelist Madeleine Thien wrote this wonderful appraisal of the novelist Bao Ninh’s classic Sorrow of War. In case you haven’t read the novel, you should. It still holds up.
4. Kyanh Tonnu shared reminiscences of her “living yet lost father,” and I dare say her experiences with her father are commonplace in the Vietnamese diaspora.
5. Guest blogger Matt Martin brought our attention to the overlooked writing of Pham Thi Hoai in a fantastically detailed and rewarding review.
Video bonus #1:
6. We had our first big moment of controversy this year when the poet Paisley Rekdal addressed what it means to be biracial and angry in Viet Nam. The comments in response are something to behold.
7. I was so angry with some of the response that I wrote about the uses of rage and anger. Second New Year’s resolution: meditate about the necessity and complications of forgiveness.
8. We had our second moment of controversy when columnist Jade Hidle addressed Vietnamese American suicide. As an editor, I like controversy, but realize not all writers and readers do. Third New Year’s resolution: learn how to negotiate between dialogue and controversy on diaCRITICS.
9. Our second-most popular post of the year in terms of views was editor Julie Thi Underhill’s essay on self-immolation’s terrible history in Viet Nam. This was the post we published on the day we got the most views ever.
10. Our most popular post of the year was columnist Jade Hidle’s essay on the German Olympic star Marcel Nguyen. What’s there not to like? He’s an Olympic medalist, he’s super cute, he’s got great hair, and his body has less fat than a vegan salad.
Video bonus #2:
I hope you’re hungry after watching the video. Stay hungry, readers.
Viet Thanh Nguyen is a Los Angeles-based professor, teacher, critic and fiction writer, author of Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America and numerous short stories in Best New American Voices, TriQuarterly, Narrative and other magazines. He is the editor of diaCRITICS. More info about him here and his writings for diaCRITICS here.
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