Seasons Greetings 2019


Happy (northern) Winter Solstice to you all, but “remember whose birthday it is” as they say – a bit like the Queen’s birthday, which is celebrated on every day but the real one. Perhaps in the future it will be Trump’s Birthday seeing as a significant portion of the GOP apparently see him as the new Jesus. Imagine the sermon on the mount beginning “and verily, I grabbed them by the pussy”.

You may remember the christmas tree ladder from last year. Apparently it is a tradition now. I’d better go round to Milly’s and get it out of the shed. She’s ‘it’ again, though the remote kids – in Darwin and Malawi – won’t be home this time. Still, there’ll be one daughter, grandkids, some of Shelley’s sisters, a boyfriend, a niece, the niece’s family, two dogs. We’ll do ok.

Hopefully Lou will send us some Christmas photos from his village in Malawi that I can share (that’s a hint Lou). Psyche’s photos from Darwin might scare the horses.

Now, without further ado, the wadholloway Best Blog Post for 2019 โ€ฆ

Well, a little bit of ado. During the year, from time to time I copy links to the draft for this post and at the end of the year, ie. this morning, I review them. So, in the sequence we are used to with other awards, here is the short list:

Brona’s Books, The Vindication of Accidental Feminists (here)
Melanie at Grab the Lapels, Is Grab the Lapels actually Feminist (here)
Emma at Book Around the Corner, A master class on how to talk about race (here)
Sue at Whispering Gums, a very clever Six Degrees (here)
Lisa at ANZLitLovers, The White Girl by Tony Birch (here)
Kim Kelly, On inappropriate use of the Holocaust (here)

It seems, WG’s amusing piece aside, I am very much into analysis this year, how we write about difference. I loved, and was impressed, reading them all again, but there can only be one winner and I’m going with… drum roll

Kim Kelly, On inappropriate use of the Holocaust. Congratulations!

My favourite post of my own, for the past year, was the most recent one, Moll Flanders. I think I’m finally getting a handle on the birth of the English novel.

Elsewhere on the internet, I haven’t read so much of Helen Razer as I’m used to, or as I would like. But she’s no longer with Crikey and I no longer seem to be getting Daily Review (it was in Junk for a while which I check insufficiently often). I still read and enjoy the analysis of Guy Rundle in Crikey but my new go-to political rag is the Palmer Report, a day by day, minute by minute account of the downward spiral of the criminal monster in the White House.

And thanks to cousin Kay, a librarian in Bendigo, who pointed me to this story, which may give us all hope: Turkish garbage collectors open library full of discarded books.

As usual, I read too few new releases to make any meaningful comment, in fact I may have read more from the C19th than I did from 2019. What do I remember? Bruny, The Weekend, Blakwork, because they were recent. Wintering. Gerald Murnane’s A Season on Earth was by a long way the standout, but of course was as usual with Murnane, ignored by our very middle-of-the-road awards judges. Of the books in my TBR I mentioned last year, I read only Solar Bones, which I loved. Bloodlines, One, Doing Life, Georgina Molloy, The Art of Time Travel are all still up there behind me, waiting, waiting.

I hope you all have books on hand for Australian Women Writers Gen 3 Week, 12-18 January 2020. I hope I do! Just to recap: the period we will cover is between the Wars, and the themes are Modernism, Social Realism, and, carrying over from Gen 2, the recognition of women’s role in Pioneering (farming) – which I have overlooked in previous posts – the ‘seminal’ work being Miles Franklin & Dymphna Cusack, Pioneers on Parade (1939).

Enjoy the holidays. I will, though I’ll be back at work early in January, if there is any work, the weeks up to Invasion Day are a quiet time for general freight. And good reading!

30 thoughts on “Seasons Greetings 2019

    • You’re welcome! I’ve discussed elsewhere my dislike of the Holocaust being used as a device in historical fiction, so your post resonated. And aren’t all blogs an “open diary” on our thoughts? I could say with bravado “no such thing as too open”, but I routinely stop at the point where I might hurt others or tell stories which are not principally mine. And sometimes I just find I haven’t the courage to be Helen Garner.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Oh well, as shortlistees always say – because, of course, regardless of our inner feelings it would be impolite not to (haha) – I’m very happy to be on the shortlist. After all, just being shortlisted is a win, isn’t it? A big congrats to the winner! I haven’t read your post Kim but will now as an award from Bill is high praise indeed.

    As for my shortlist, I’m not sure whether to be pleased or not that I got an award for being amusing not analytical! Son and Daughter Gums would be impressed though, I think, that I amused anyone. They don’t think a lot of mum jokes!

    Seriously though, I enjoyed your Seasons Greetings post, and wish all the best to you and yours for this season and for 2020!

    I have a little pile for Gen 3 but know I am not going to get through much of them at all. I will get through something though!


  2. This is a great Year End Best Of
    Thanks a lot for mentioning me and I’m happy to see it’s for a non-book post. I always feel self-conscious when I post about exhibitions, festivals or plays. It feels self centered but these posts have good responses.
    I wish you and your family a happy holiday season. I still have a hard time imagining Christmas during the summer.. ๐Ÿ™‚


    • You got a runner up last year too, for The Meursault Investigation, you’ll have to break through soon! I enjoy your non-book review posts. I go to art galleries once a year maybe and to plays not being performed by my grandchildren never. But I like to read about them, and to think about the nature of art, and what the artist is attempting to say (and what he/she is saying without meaning to).
      Enjoy your cold Christmas. I will be out on the back patio in shorts and a pink hawaiian shirt overeating and over drinking no doubt, surrounded by family, so just the same as France really, except for the temperature.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you so much for another year of reading, commenting, and friendship, Bill. You’re such a treat! I just got a notification that my library copy of Moll Flanders is ready, so I’m going to pick it up today. There’s also a holiday concert this afternoon, free, by the area symphony. That should put me in a spirited mood despite the lack of snow. I love your tree ladder. It definitely needs an ornament or two, though! Maybe get some string and hang up some shop tools to complete the look!


    • Why thank you Melanie, I assure you there was just as much pleasure in my side. Hope you enjoyed your outdoor concert. We are having a massive heat wave in Australia and coast and scarves are just a distant memory. Milly’s “tree” will look much better by Christmas Eve, covered in decorations and presents.


    • Thanks TP. I hope you guys down there are keeping your end up with all these historically high temperatures (nice cool day in Perth, we’ve already done our bit). I had a look at your Christmas post – I hope you and Alexa have a fun time (though ‘she’ really is reporting back to head office. I bet your ads start looking very like your book and dogfood lists).

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy holidays! I think I’ve discovered your blog this year, through Grab the Lapels, or maybe it was last – anyway, thank you for the interesting posts and hope you have a great reading year in 2020.


    • You wished me Happy Christmas last year, so more than a year. There appears to be a circle of blogs – or more likely, intersecting circles of blogs – all around the world, with the same names popping up in comments. I find it great fun to be able to join in, to vicariously, do laps around Birmingham, attend plays in Lyon, read books in America, Canada, Ireland. Here’s to another year of international sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you Bill for another wonderful, thoughtful year of books – we may generally read from different eras but there always seems to be a lovely intersection.

    Thanks for pointing me in the direction of Kim’s post (we are in heated agreement about that book…).

    Have a safe and happy Christmas with your family.

    PS. Love the Christmas ladder!


  6. Seasons greetings to you and yours Bill and I’m delighted that your Christmas tree ladder has become a tradition.
    Like Sue I’m thrilled to just to be included in such an interesting sounding shortlist of bloggers. I’m saving this post for the Christmas break when I hope to have time to read or reread the other nominees.

    Thank you for another year of inspiring posts and all your thoughtful, generous comments, here and other blogs.


    • Thank you Brona. I hope you’re flat out selling lots of (Australian) books. We’ll let you put your feet up in a few days. This year I found Facebook kept me pretty well up to date on your new posts – and yes, I read the poems and was surprised to find I even enjoyed some of them.

      With reference to The Vindication of Accidental Feminists, I will have to follow your lead and write up Wollstonecraft myself, in my occasional series on pre-Jane Austen English Lit.

      And of course, I look forward to hearing from you during Gen 3 Week.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hey, how did I miss this on the day it came out, with me on the shortlist and all?
    I’d second the win for Kim Kelly because that was a brilliant piece that really did explain exactly what was wrong with that awful, awful book.
    Seasons greetings to you my friend, like Sue I have a little pile of AWW Gen 3s ready to go, and will get cracking on it once the festive follies are out of the way.


    • Well I wondered, though I guessed you’d notice eventually. It was a very even field this year, but Kim Kelly’s resonated on the day. I’m glad you endorse my choice. Glad too to hear you’re ready for Gen 3 Week. I just hope I am.

      All the best to you and The Spouse, I’m sure your festive follies will be very well catered. Mine will be I know, though less excessively than usual – Millie’s on a cleansing diet.


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