Season’s Greetings

WA Christmas tree, Nuytsia Floribunda

Yes, it’s clearly that time of year, and nearly the end of my first calendar year as a blogger. The Christian Right would have it is political correctness to eschew “Merry Christmas” but, even if I a) accepted that political correctness was an insult rather than a laudable attempt to address injustice; and b) was inclined to celebrate the birth of the Messiah, I’m not sure pagan celebrations of the northern winter solstice is the way or the time I would choose to do it. Out of interest I thought I would compare Jesus’s “birthday” with the timing of the census that brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem but according to Wikipedia the census was 10 years after his most likely year of birth, and in spring rather than winter, so more disappointing historical fiction apparently.

As a newby I must thank Michelle (Adventures in Biography) for introducing me to this space, she probably regrets it! and Sue (Whispering Gums), Lisa (ANZ Lit Lovers) and Nathan (A Biographer in Perth) as well for their ongoing support and comments. And of course thankyou everyone who has sought me out, or more likely, accidentally run into me, and read my pieces. My initial interest was a place to discuss and expand my masters dissertation but the greater pleasure has been the new reading and discussion that I have been introduced to and become part of.

Thankyou also, Sue and Lisa who have shared their sorrows with us and Nathan who has shared his joy (first child!).

Sue (here) and Lisa (here) have been discussing lists of best reads for 2015 – I initially wrote ‘1915’ which shows where my head’s at and might provide an interesting topic for another day. With Jane Rawson’s Formaldehyde, Ellen van Neerven’s Heat and Light and AS Patric’s Black Rock White City all still unread on my coffee table, I can only offer Victor Hugo, Les Miserables (1862), surely the archetypal historical novel and the great Doris Lessing’s Mara and Dann (1999). Of the 120 or so audio books I listened to the most notable were probably G. Eliot, Middlemarch and Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending. I really must start taking notes. My pulp fiction favourite for the year was JD Robb’s In Death detective novels set in the 2060s starring Lt Eve Dallas. No Sookie Stackhouse or Phryne Fisher this year sadly. Though I regularly read on-line columnists Helen Razer, Guy Rundle and Clementine Ford, my best column for the year must be Jane Rawson‘s Anzac Day piece in Overland (here).

But, given where we are, we need a new category. So without further ado, let me announce Best Blog Post for 2015 (as read by wadholloway). And the winner is:

Whispering Gums Jane Austen, Emma Vol 3

I’m sure Sue will say she knew that would be my favourite. Runners up, in no particular order:

A Biographer in Perth KSP … in the Shadow of The Great War

Alysha Kaye Marfa, Texas!

Historians are past Caring In-Laws and Out-Laws (also wins prize for best name for a blog).

And if I may name my favourite of my own posts, it was Wilde Eve.

So, Happy Getting-Family-Together-and-Opening-lots-of-Presents Day. Ex-Mrs Legend has organized me to shout those few family members in Perth on the 25th to dinner at the pub, and she’ll be preparing her usual multi-course feast in January when we and all our children, grandchildren, cousins, nieces and sisters manage to be in town at the same time.


13 thoughts on “Season’s Greetings

    • Cheers Marion. I always find your posts detailed and interesting. As for “Christmas”, names take on a life of their own irrespective of their literal meaning and I accept that is what this period is mostly called in Oz, and will certainly be happy!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Well, thanks Bill, I’m really rather chuffed that you liked that post so much. I had fun writing it.

    It’s been great having another active Aussie litblogger … There aren’t enough of is.

    So, have a great Christmas and I look forward to more blog chatting in 2016.


    • You’ll have to be on your toes in 2016 Sue, I’m definitely going to take notes this time (and I’ve got 12 months to think of a prize). Anyway all the best and I hope you will have made noticeable progress after great clean-up trip #3.

      Liked by 1 person

      • We are there now, thanks Bill, and are pretty pleased with our progress. A way to
        go yet but we’ve done the worst of it. Another skip full! And enough for the next visit’s one, but after that, it’s negotiating what people want then of course working out what to do with what they don’t. Thanks for asking!


  2. What a splendid wrap-up of the year, Bill! I’ve been so thrilled by the sense of a Aust-lit/history blogging community which has probably been going for a while, but has been strongest for me this year. And thanks for the mention in your blogging awards – a real encouragement. I was brought up a Baptist, and we used to say Merry Christmas even then, so I’ll wish it to you now.


    • Thanks Nathan, there seems to be an interesting and intersecting spread of blogs, the ones above and Resident Judge and so on, covering literature, history and biography, which are giving me new insights into my reading and my writing. I find them all, together, much more usable than ABR say.
      As for Merry Christmas, thankyou. I was brought up CofE, altar boy, father a lay preacher, the whole lot. Now, any and all expressions of goodwill are gratefully accepted.


  3. Sue, my phone doesn’t give me option of reply after your last comment, but yes, I am very much looking forward to family feast – 30 or so tapas dishes and a mohito or two!
    Today I am in the desert 500 km north east of Kalg. I have been dilly dallying all afternoon to avoid unloading in the heat which I understand will reach you just in time for Xmas dinner.


  4. Great post.
    Thanks for mentioning my billet.

    I had a lot of fun reading your blog and interacting with you this year.
    Thanks for the interesting posts and the spot on comments you left on my billets.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family.
    To another year of great blogging fun.


    • Thank you Emma! I have greatly enjoyed interacting with you. It is especially interesting observing the efforts you take to make us English speakers aware of the nuances in French books. I find I have to take the same care not just for non-Australians, but also often for my fellow Australians from the urban east coast. BTW you have time-slipped back to 2015, when as you can see, I also used the christmas tree photo.


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