Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006

Books, Stats, Prizes!


This old granny blog is about to hit 300,000 views thanks to you, my lovely readers. In addition, I also have to thank the person who searches on ‘charlotte lurken’ for their visits and the people who really really want to know about ‘young women with grey hair’ for theirs. Mr ‘Is it cheap to love in Germany?’ deserves a special mention, and an answer: no, it isn’t, my dear. Love in Germany does not come cheap.

Anyway! To celebrate this milestone in the life of Charlotte’s Web, I’m announcing a competition. But you have to read through the whole post to find out what it is.

I have a lovely new pile of books awaiting reading. First off is fellow Litopian Sally Zigmond’s Hope Against Hope. Described as ‘a rich slice of Yorkshire Victoriana’, Hope Against Hope is the story of sisters May and Carrie who are driven apart by misunderstanding, pride and a mutual sense of betrayal and resentment. One Amazon reviewer said it is ‘one of those books where both the characters and the settings are strongly written and hugely memorable. It would appeal to anyone who likes historical fiction – it’s a half-way house between literary historical and family saga.’ I’m halfway in and loving it.

Next on the pile is a book by another Litopian: The De Lacey Inheritance by Elizabeth Ashworth. Elizabeth is a historian whose first three books focus on the history of Lancashire and this is her first novel. It is apparently a ‘tale of loves lost and found during the exile of Richard the Lionheart.’ Dying to dive in.

I also have a couple of Man Booker Prize contenders to read: C by Tom McCarthy (according to my most well-read friend, the most literary of this year’s short-list) and The Long Song by Andrea Levy. Looking forward to those.

The last two books on my TBR pile are new books by old favourites: Sex and Stravinsky by Barbara Trapido and Private Life by Jane Smiley. I feel a glow of warmth each time I see these on my bookshelf, just knowing the pleasure that awaits me within their pages.

And now to the competition part …

You can win one of these celebratory, 300,000-visit milestone books. Tell me in the comments which of these six books you most want to read and why. I’ll draw a winner in a couple of days and post you the book after I’ve read it, when it becomes yours for evermore.

Thanks for reading and for being part of my blogging journey. It means the world to me.


Author: charlotteotter

Novelist, feminist, crime writer

19 thoughts on “Books, Stats, Prizes!

  1. Hi Charlotte, fellow Crusader. I’d like to win the Sex and Stravinsky by Barbara Trapido because I’m ashamed that I’ve never read any of her books. It’s about time I did, I think. (I can provide a UK address….)

  2. Congratulations, Charlotte! That just goes to show how very popular and loved you are.

    I’m always up for a competition. Although I have just got hold of the Trapido and the Smiley myself because they looked so fab. So by a process of elimination, next would be The Long Song by Andrea Levy, as I’ve never read her but hear only good things.

    And love is never cheap, globally, although it holds its value well in a recession.

  3. I’d love The DeLacey Inheritance because not only do I adore leprosy books (why else could I make it through all the Thomas Covenant books?) but I love that period (Rosemary Sutcliff et al).
    And congratulations:).

  4. Wow Charlotte! What a milestone. I can’t even imagine where my blog will be in four years. It seems you had years of blogging behind you before finishing and submitting your novel (and securing representation). I pretty much did things the other way around, and started blogging when I already had a manuscript on submission. I was fortunate enough to secure representation about a month ago – and I still think my blog brought me luck!

    I’m not going to ask for any books because my TBR list is already groaning. But it sounds like you have some great reading in store for you. Enjoy. 🙂

  5. 300,000! Congratulations!

    I’m not entering (my TBR list is beyond belief! Shameful! Horrifying! Really, really BIG!). Also, could any of those books really improve on the experience of that chocolate I won in your last competition?

  6. Congrats, Charlotte! Good to see that your blog is still thriving after four years! I don’t think I should enter either but I will anyway. I already have the Trapido (well L has it) so I will opt for the Tom McCarthy. Glad to see the Litopians on your list (but I think I need comfort reads right now). Oh, and that comment about love in Germany was very funny.

  7. Hi Charlotte,
    hope you are doing fine! Things must be exciting with everything that happens with your writing!
    I would like to read “Hope Against Hope” – I was immediately drawn to this title. I love beautiful words and words being used in a beautiful way. The different levels and possibilities of meaning of the phrase “Hope Against Hope” is what makes them beautiful to me.
    I hope that these words make sense… My English is unfortunately not good enough to express things in a way that would be appropriate while talking about the beauty of language.
    But I like to read in English in order to learn about the beauty of this specific language!
    Have fun with the Ngobos next weekend.
    See you soon,

  8. Hi Charlotte, greetings from the rainforest and fellow Crusader. We are both grand, to start with (that is if you were talking about yourself, not just the blog, if not please accept my apologies).

    Congratulations on your 300,000 hits, what an achievement! I started my blog three months ago and had averaged 1,000 hits per month. At this rate I will reach your status in 25 years…I just hope I’ll still be around to write posts

    I’ll go for the sex book, as at this age anything that stimulates must be good, no?

  9. Hi Charlotte,
    Congratulations! May I duke it out with Grandpa for the sex book? No? This is a different sort of competition? Okay, then I like the sounds of C, because it is literary, as a good novel should be, and a Bildungsroman, according to the Guardian. The added bonus – for you, of course – is that you would save on postage and get a meal in return if you bring it over some night.

  10. Congratulations on reaching such a milestone! I’m about the same age, and I haven’t even hit 40,000 views, so you should be very proud of yourself (or maybe not. Maybe you are normal, and I’m just a loser. I don’t really think so, though. I think 300,000 is an extremely impressive blogging number, considering how many blogs are out here).

    Anyway, since I love Yorkshire and love strong characters and settings, I’d like to be entered to win Hope Against Hope, please.

  11. Congratulations! I just picked up The Long Song–so that’s what I’m reading first.

  12. Oh how lovely, and congratulations on yr veteran blogdom. Genuflection all round. Books… but me wants to read them all! So please let me win the one that offends the eye most on that glorious colour coded book shelf (you told us about… 😉

  13. I’m too in awe of your blog stats to even begin thinking of a decent book grab – heartiest congratulations, Charlotte, that’s a hell of a milestone!

  14. Huge congrats! I’m about 20K away from 300,000 myself. Don’t you love those stats that tell you what brings people to your blog? For me, I had someone coming because of ‘drowning earthworms in gasoline.’ I don’t know WHY, but there you have it.

    I’m not entering at this point in time as I don’t know enough about these books to form an educated opinion and don’t want to take a chance away from those that do, but did want to congratulate you on your success! Thanks for all you do here!

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  15. Greetings Charlotte! You have no idea how glad I am I found you. I am going to have to spend a lot of time on your writings about Germany. I started a novel last year and my main character is German. I’ve been relying on the kindness of German friends (and bloggers) to help me understand a country I have only visited a few times, but quite liked and found complicated, but in a ‘good material for a book’ way. I’ll be around your blog often.
    Regarding the competition, I would love to read Jane Smiley’s book. The reason is that I have on my shelf, in constant view (and dog-eared), her book “13 Ways of Looking At the Novel” and am ashamed to say I haven’t read one of her own novels! You would do me a favor.

  16. Ooh, hope I’m not too late. Thanks, Charlotte – you’ve just given me an introduction to quite a few new books I hadn’t known about and the happy opportunity to browse around some reviews of them! I’m opting for C by Tom McCarthy, because a) I’d never heard of him and love to discover new authors,;b) the combination of being nominated for a literary prize/described in pretentious literary terms yet rated by all reviewers as UNpretentious, highly readable and having a “functioning sense of humour” is irresistible; c) if Zadie Smith, fave author of mine, calls it “one of the great English novels of the past ten years”, that’s quite good enough for me!

    Congratulations on your milestone, and keep blogging please …

  17. After a random draw, I can confirm that Emily is the winner!!

    You are in luck, because I’ve finished Hope Against Hope and am about to interview the author, Sally Zigmond. When we’re done, I’ll gather your address and post it to you.

  18. Hi Charlotte

    I can see I’m too late for the comp …. but wanted to say Hi. – And I will check your list of books out.


  19. How exciting! Can’t wait to read the interview and the book.

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