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A year of Stephenie Meyer, Stephen King and more

Last week marked the first anniversary of Read Street, a significant milestone considering that Nancy and I were novices to blogging and barely knew each other when we started. Over the past year, which included about 850 blog posts, I’ve come to have a better appreciation for her literary tastes, which run to supernatural killers and strong female protagonists, or any combination of the two such as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I’ve also enjoyed getting to know the Baltimore area’s fellow book lovers, who joined discussions on topics ranging from favorite reads to faked memoirs to shelving strategies (by author, genre or color-coded?).

The hottest exchange continues over Stephen King's criticism of Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight series. More than 450 comments have been made on that issue, some defending King, others blasting him (in oft-fractured grammar usually reserved for text-messages). My favorite: stephan ur a gerk!

And I've enjoyed experimenting with the combo of a print column and online blog. The blog provides the freedom to publish news and opinion every day, without worrying about deadlines and space restraints. We've developed quizzes, an events calendar and a U.S. map of favorite bookstores. And we can call on authors and others to write about topics such as the 200th anniversary of Poe's birth — for which author Marilynne Robinson did a poetic post. An excerpt: "Poe made me think about words. Which is the loveliest word, the loveliest letter? I believe I may have known that these are the kinds of almost idle questions one poses to oneself when a night seems to be unending, when the weight of sorrow is so great as to be dangerous."

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Over the year, I've also watched my literary tastes evolve. I was once a monogamous reader, limiting myself to a relationship with one book. Nancy and other Read Streeters have pushed me toward literary polygamy, so I now read two or three books at a time. I sought to understand the King-Meyer storm by reading Twilight, a YA book that I normally would have shunned. (And, to Nancy's horror, I liked it.). I also stretched into poetry.

Thanks to all of you who made this a memorable year.

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