This is proving to be a more difficult opening sentence than I imagined on first putting finger to keyboard – we are not all Christians, I certainly am not, and possibly we don’t all have families, I do but even the immediate members are a bit spread out this year. So … I hope those of you who gather with family and friends on Sunday, or who will gather shortly thereafter, have a pleasant time and receive lots of exciting pressies, and I wish you all a prosperous New Year.
As I’ve already indicated (here), I don’t read widely enough among new releases to opine on the Best Book of 2016 but probably the best I read was Sylvia Martin’s biography of Aileen Palmer, Ink in Her Veins (review). Even amongst all your reviews I did not see any fiction to rival Patric’s Black Rock White City or Woods’ The Natural Way of Things from the previous year, though many of you found more to like than I did in Emily Maguire’s An Isolated Incident (my reviews here, here and here). Next year I am looking forward to Jane Rawson’s From the Wreck which will be out in March, she is an amazing, quirky, talent.
Once again I have had a wonderful blog-following year. I know you’ve all been waiting, so for Best Blog Post for 2016 (as read by wadholloway), the winner is:
The Resident Judge of Port Phillip for the series This Week in the Port Phillip District 1841 (here) which I have been following rapt all year.
Somewhat unfairly Lisa at ANZLitLovers has to make do with first runner up for her post Yevgeny Onegin, by Alexander Pushkin, translated by Anthony Briggs, February 20, 2016 (here), an excellent exposition on both the text and the problems of translation.
My other runner up is Michelle at Adventures in Biography for Georgette Heyer and Genre, 17 Oct 2016 (here). “Why did no-one tell me what I was missing?” I’m sure we did but maybe someone wasn’t listening. Anyway, welcome to the club!
My favourite among my own posts for the year is The Young Cosima, Henry Handel Richardson, 11 Nov 2016 (here), partly because of the considerable research it required for me put the story into its correct historical context within ‘classical’ music, not an area with which I am familiar. For some reason I do not understand at all the one post of mine that is looked at week after week is The Rainbow-Bird, Vance Palmer (here) – an odd choice you would think to be included in a literature syllabus in 2016.
As always I tried following some new blogs. Two in particular I have found interesting. They are The Logical Place which will flood you with pieces on logic, philosophy and science, and less to my taste, anti-political correctness; and Grab the Lapels where Melanie, a Literature professor in a US mid-west university, concentrates on women writers from independent presses.
My favourite on-line writer remains Helen Razer, our last remaining marxist-feminist, at Daily Review and Crikey. As an example here is How Hillary Clinton uses feminism to advance her neoliberal, hawkish agenda, Daily Review, 13 June 2016.
This year I gave up reading the daily newspaper after half a century when if I was broke, and I often was, I’d buy the newspaper before I bought food. Breaking point was the introduction of Andrew Bolt as a correspondent in my local paper the West Australian, though I miss Shane Wright on economics. I subscribe to Crikey and the Age online, but the Age like the ABC has had an unsympathetic board for too long and next year I think I’ll give the Age money to the Guardian.
The books I bought my family for xmas represent my tastes more than theirs probably, though I do try and compromise. If there’s less science fiction than usual it’s because two of my kids needed presents other than books.
Clementine Ford, Fight Like a Girl (2016)
Elise McCune, Castle of Dreams (2016)
S Pirotta & B Barrager, Ballet Stories for Young Children (2016)
Nik Cohn, Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom (1969)
Ursula Le Guin, The Word for World is Forest (1976)
Brian Selznick, The Invention of Hugo Cabret (2007)
V Parker, Myths & Legends (2006)
J Berry & L McNeilly, Map Art (2014)
For review next year I have already sitting on my shelves –
Tom Griffiths, The Art of Time Travel (2016)
Larissa Behrendt, Finding Eliza (2016)
Kate Chopin, The Awakening (1899)
Bernice Barry, Georgiana Molloy: The mind that shines (2015)
Brain Dibble, Doing Life: A biography of Elizabeth Jolley (2008)
Catherine Helen Spence, Mr Hogarth’s Will (1865)
– and many more besides. Enjoy the break! I might be working now but I’m off to Europe for a month in April.