I'm a big believer in taking a day or two at the end of the year to take stock of where things are: what went right, what didn't go so hot, and most importantly, where you want to take things in the future. This blog is no exception. Overall, I'm very happy with how things are going. I feel blessed to have an absolutely amazing group of readers that grows every week, which is really all any writer can ask for. Even though it often takes me longer than I'd like to respond to your comments and e-mails, I read every one of them, and am honored that you take time out of your busy days to read what I've written. This blog also has become more or less self-sustaining, meaning that I can pay my hosting fees while still generating some meager affiliate/ad revenue to keep products coming in the door for review. For 2016, I want to keep things going in the right direction.
So what does this mean for you? One of my biggest fears is that I'll produce boring content and/or simply re-review products that too many people already have reviewed to death, without offering any sort of unique perspective. That's where you all come in. This year, in exchange for leaving a comment on this post containing a suggestion for a new article or review, you'll be entered into a giveaway for a special secret "grab bag" of products. Most of these are products that I've been sent or that I've purchased throughout the year for review, and just don't have the room to keep. I'm not going to tell you what's in the box, but trust me, it will be good. As always, subscribers to my e-mail list will automatically be entered into the giveaway.
And now, I give you the five most popular Gentleman Stationer posts of 2015:
1. My Review of the Conid Bulkfiller Minimalistica. Following this year's Atlanta Pen Show, I made a conscious decision to streamline my pen collecting and focus on custom-made pieces. Conid's new lower-priced entry, featuring its proprietary "bulkfiller" filling system, is perhaps my favorite (and apparently you all like it too).
2. Franklin-Christoph Eyedropper Mania. Another post-Atlanta Pen Show piece. (I guess I should go to this show every year!) I have both of these pens inked and sitting right here in front of me, filled with Sailor Apricot (the Model 65) and Iroshizuku Tsuki-Yo (the Pocket 66). I really don't ever get tired of looking at these pens, and the Masuyama nibs are fantastic.
4. My "Tier One" pens. Episode 164 of the Pen Addict prompted more than one of us bloggers to draw up our own "Tier One" and "Tier Two" Pen lists. I'm a list junkie writing for other list junkies, so it didn't really surprise me that this post was in the top 5.
5. Top Five Fountain Pens for Less Than $75. We'll see whether TWSBI's new Vac Mini eventually cracks this Top 5, but the availability of a solid pen in the $25-75 price range continues to pose a challenge, and the pickings are slim.
I also didn't want to close out the year without sharing some personal favorites with you. I definitely had the most fun testing and writing about mechanical keyboards--which is perhaps my nerdiest obsession ever--and I think I've finally found the keyboard that makes writing on a computer fun again. (Review forthcoming, I won't spoil the surprise.) I also really enjoyed visiting and recapping both the Atlanta and Washington, D.C. Pen Shows, where I got to hang out with fellow bloggers and enthusiasts for several days. Both are definitely on the list this year.
Thanks again, and best wishes for 2016!