Four Years of The Millions

March 25, 2007 | 8 2 min read

The Millions notched its fourth anniversary this weekend, and I’m very pleased that the site is still going strong and more popular than ever. As much as I’d like to take full credit for this, much of it should go to my contributors who really stepped it up last year and who since the redesign at the beginning of this year have, in a few short months, really taken the site to another level.

I should also thank the readers of The Millions whose participation in the comments and whose emails to me help make working on the site a tremendously fulfilling endeavor. In fact, just peeking at the site’s stats and seeing how many regular readers we have makes me feel very grateful to know that so many readers appreciate what we’re doing here.

And what is it that we’re doing here? As ever, The Millions and its fellow book blogs continue to evolve. One of the most interesting developments over the last year is how several bloggers have become regular fixtures in newspaper book sections across the country. Some of these folks were critics before they were bloggers, but some, like Ed, began down that path with their blogs. Even as blogs have been increasingly accepted as legitimate voices contributing to the greater literary discourse, there are still those who question their value and accuse them of cliquishness and worse. Hopefully, though, book blogs will continue to matter enough to enough people that they will continue to be targeted by such attacks. I’d rather The Millions be criticized than irrelevant.

The Millions, of course, has never been particularly controversial. Fomenting arguments has never been a big part of the site’s mission, as much fun as it to sometimes get involved in those battles. The mission of this blog is to act much like your favorite independent bookstore might. As I’ve written before, “one should be able to walk into [a good] bookstore and be able to grasp, based upon which books are on display and based upon conversations with staff and fellow customers, what matters at that moment both in the wider world and in the neighborhood.” I hope that when people “walk into” The Millions they get that same feeling from those of us who write the posts and from their fellow readers who leave comments.

Deeper than that, at the very core of The Millions, is that we should seek out good books to read and pass them along to like-minded friends. As I wrote nearly four years ago when I decided that the site needed a manifesto to give the then bumbling proto-Millions some shape, “this isn’t about compulsory reading; this is about making sure that whatever you read will serve a purpose for you and that, as often as possible, this purpose is to bring you the curious sort of joy that only a book can.” There’s more there too.

All of which is to say, I hope The Millions still feels relevant and worthwhile amid the millions of blogs that crowd the Internet. To me, our mission is still worth pursuing. Thanks again to all of you for another great year. Let’s have another.

Previously: An Historic Day; The Millions Turns Two; Thanks for Three Years from The Millions.

created The Millions and is its publisher. He and his family live in New Jersey.


  1. Happy fourth anniversary, Max! The Millions is one of my favorite blogs–you and your contributors are thought-provoking and literary without being snobbish. My love for literary fiction is fairly recent and your blog definitely helped me overcome my prejudice regarding literary fiction; you and your contributors have a great way of making it accessible and exciting.

    And without your blog, I'd still think that "Pynchon" is pronounced "Pin-chon." My favorite post of yours, and one that I still revisit from time to time, is the one on how to pronounce difficult author names. :)

    Here's to four more years.

  2. I found you guys only late last year but have since heavily contributed to the traffic spike you see :-)

    Congratulations on your anniversary! There is a reason your blog is tops on my list of bookmarked websites.

  3. Very relevant & very worthwhile. Thank you for continuing to provide oustanding and insightful content.

  4. I've only been reading the Millions for a year, but I'm hoping for at least four more years. Keep up the great work!

  5. I'm not crazy about your new regular contributors; their reviews are too long and edge toward the elitist, or maybe they're just boring (I find myself skipping most of them), though I keep coming back because The Millions is still mostly what Brandon describes as "thought-provoking and literary without being snobbish." Yes, four more years of Max Magee moderated book news and observations, please!

  6. Thanks for the kind words all. And Laurie, of course you are entitled to your opinion, but I happen to think that the contributors provide some much needed variation (even I get tired of hearing myself all the time) and I've personally enjoyed their longer reviews tremendously. They enable the blog to touch on many more books than it otherwise would, and they bring new points of view to the table.

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