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.