EOY 2019

Journal: 042

xmas 2019 by Raylene 1

Well, I hope you all had a pleasant Christmas. The Resident Judge did a post on the origins of the day (here) which, as I might have discussed before is neither the anniversary of Jesus’ birth nor of any supposed census, but I guess it was handy for the Romans to tie in with the winter solstice.

I ate very well at Ludmilla Agnes’ festivities and by the time I got to the pavlova, cheesecake and cheese platter I was struggling. Everyone else must have been too because there was pavlova for breakfast. I caught a taxi home and rode my bike back in the morning to pick up my ute, so that’s my exercise for the holiday break.

A pleasant end to a good year. A very easy year. Since I stopped getting work from Sam & Dragan there’s been no one to push me along and I’ve dropped back from one round trip a fortnight to one every three weeks. With a concomitant drop in income. So, no more breaks. Hopefully, by the time this post is up I’ll be on my way back to Melbourne [No I’m not]. And then in the new year, I’ll get another trailer, to run as a B-Triple, effectively a road train.

I’ve done my reading stats for the year past and they are as follows –

Books read: 159 (down from 208 last year. You do fewer kms, you listen to fewer books)

Gender balance: Male authors 84, Female 75

Author from: Australia  47, USA  51, UK 36, Europe 19, Asia 4, Other 2
The ‘Other’ were both South America. Sorry Canada, Sorry Africa.

Genre: Non-fiction 14,  Literature  44, General 43, SF  21, Crime/Thriller 37

Year: 2010-19  67,  2000-9  25, 1960-99  37,  1900-59  17, pre-1900  13

There were 16 new releases, more than I expected, and to whatever commentary I’ve made over the past week or so I must add that Behrouz Boochani’s No Friend but the Mountains was absolutely bloody exceptional.

A lot of the US crime/thriller etc. reflects what is available from the library, but Cockburn (my fourth suburban library in ten years) have a good selection of classics and lots of ‘hard’ SF which I enjoy, though I’m probably getting near the end now. I’ve started an Audible account, so ‘all’ I have to do is hook my phone up to the truck radio, and that with Borrow Box will make a difference next year. I hope.

[Inserted later]

Posts for year: 85
Reviews: 60 (Authors Women/Male: 31/29).  Other/Journals: 25
Included in the above, I posted 14 times for AWW Gen 2 or Gen 3 Week, 6 of those were reposts or guests.
I reviewed/wrote about Indigenous writers/subjects 6 times, David Ireland 5 times.
Of the 60 books reviewed, 46 were Australian, 1 Indian, 2 Japanese, 4 US, 5 UK (and all those C19th), 1 Irish, 1 French

[end insert]

Kate W has nominated her ten best reads for the decade (here) which is more than I’m going to do, but I am willing to declare that the best Australian book published in the last ten years is The Swan Book (2013) by Alexis Wright, which will be a classic forever.

For those of you planning (well) ahead, my 70th birthday in Paris (in 2021) is off. Too hard for too many of my immediate family. A shame, because friends had already said they planned to be there.

Now, reminder time:

Australian Women Writers Gen 3 Week 12-18 Jan. 2020

Basically, we will be discussing Australian women who began writing between the World Wars. The following year, we will discuss the later Gen 3-ers who got going before the 1960s.

The themes of the Gen 3 period are: Modernism, Social Realism, Pioneering

If you need inspiration, check out the AWW Gen 3 page (here) which has an Introduction and long lists of authors, reviews, posts and related reading.

After that there’s Gen 4, my and Sue and Lisa’s generation, the Baby Boomers, and then Gen 5. Kate W, Kimbofo what’s your lot called? We should have some good ideas about how to define the literature that was being written as we became young adults. Write and tell me what you think. I actually can’t name a lot of Gen 4 women off the top of my head – Helen Garner definitely, but then …

I think (now anyway) that Gen 5 will begin with Grunge in the early 1990s. So Justine Ettler, Linda Javin (who’s actually a baby boomer), Nikki Gemmell.

It’s probably hard to pick a new generation while it’s actually getting underway, but I think Gen 6 may have started in the last few years with the rise to prominence of  dystopian.Lit typefied by The Natural Way of Things.

And where does Indig.Lit fit in?  Anita Heiss, Alexis Wright, Kim Scott have been going for longer than just a few years, so they’re more than just Gen 6. There are some who claim that they are separate from Aust.Lit. That’s possible, and maybe up to them, but Ellen van Neerven and Claire Coleman for instance would seem to be also very much mainstream Gen 6 by my definition – but of course, the trend to dystopian is world-wide.

Happy New Year!

Currently ‘Reading’ (for AWW Gen 3 Week):

Drusilla Modjeska, Exiles at Home
Myrtle Rose White, No Roads Go By
Ernestine Hill, The Great Australian Loneliness
Daisy Bates, The Passing of the Aborigines
Dymphna Cusack, Jungfrau

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting
The end of a long day

30 thoughts on “EOY 2019

  1. Great post with too much to comment on, Bill. A B-Triple!! Are you a masochist? Anyhow, I look forward to more Journal posts next year.

    Can I respectfully suggest that you could have broken this in three posts? The Journal, the Reading Highlights, the Gen 3 intro. It would make it much easier to comment on, and you could schedule them to post over a few days! I will be posting my Reading Highlights on New Year’s Day, with my AWW round-up for this week’s Monday Musings. I don’t plan to do a Top Ten of the decade either. I really don’t like doing Tops.

    Kimbofo and co are Gen X I believe, my son straddles Gen X and Gen Y (depending on whether you end Gen X in 1980 or 1984!), while my daughter is Gen Y (or now more frequently called the Millennials) and my grandson. So, are your Gen 4 writers those coming into their main career doing that 1960/74 to 1980/84 period? If so, it would be Thea Astley, and Jessica Anderson, for a start. Olga Masters, Elizabeth Jolley, Helen Garner really weren’t published until 1980 on? But, I’ve forgotten how your are defining the Gens.

    Anyhow, I need to get started reading soon, don’t I?

    BTW Loved the pics. I hope you that the 2020 you are wanting – work and family wise.


    • Your answer as bad (multifaceted) as my post, but let me start with “I’ve forgotten how you are defining the Gens”. The Gens are given years for convenience but they mark periods in society and in literature, and the breaks up to now, that is up to Gen 3, have been unmistakable. The transition from Gen 3 to Gen 4 during the 1960s is the same transition that occurred in music, from Sam Cooke and Frank Sinatra to The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, or in Australia from Peter Dawson and Johnny O’Keefe to The Easybeats. Next year we’ll have a look at how the white picket fence Australia of Gen 3 rolls into the multicultualism, and experimentation and postmodernism of Gen 4. It’s possible that Anderson is one side of that fence and Astley the other. (But you can’t make Garner Gen 5 – she’s older than us, and Monkey Grip might even be the seminal Gen 4 work)


      • Thanks Bill, I was wondering, I guess, whether you were focusing on when they were born, or when they were mainly writing – as well as what they? It gets tricky – you have less benefit of hindsight – the closer to us you get. For example, Amy Witting was older, I think, than Astley, but was a real late bloomer. Hence, how relevant is the point about when Garner was born for example versus when she was being published? I’ll need to think a bit more on this! We have a big revival of women’s writing in the 1980s (perhaps starting late 70s?) (which Astley preceded by many years, and could be seen as a pioneer of them.)

        And my answer HAD to be multi-faceted to respond to your post! That was the problem!! Haha.


      • I’ve had very little push-back about my definition of Generations, though as up till now they have largely agreed with HM Green’s they were probably reasonably logical. We’re on our own from here on and unless the university set pitch in our definitions might be the ones that prevail -we’d better get it right!


  2. Great post, sorry to hear about the cancellation of the Paris birthday.

    You’ll have to wait until January 1st to get my wishes for the new year. In France, we don’t say it in advance. 🙂


    • All my family were firmly in favour of the Paris birthday when it was announced, but circumstances change … I think Milly and I will do one more trip to Europe when she’s working again, but not for 2 or 3 years.


  3. I’m picking out small bits of challenges for next year but have chosen a Ruth Park memoir for the Gen 3 which I am really enjoying. I’ve decided that any challenge participation must be books already on my shelves as they do tend to pile up. All the best for 2020.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Will do. I went into the second hand shop here, Cracked and Spineless, but they were out of Ruth Park books. I’ll keep an eye out for the one you mention. Happy New Year🤠🐧☕


      • I was guessing rather than suggesting. My next guess, with assistance from Wiki, is A Fence Around the Cuckoo, which I don’t know at all. I’ll guess I’ll just have to wait and see. But if you see The Drums Go Bang, my recommendation is buy it.


  4. Pavlova for breakfast is the best.

    I’m surprised you read more male authors than female… perhaps you don’t mention the male authors in as much detail because I would have said the scales tipped toward the women!

    Both you and Kim have reminded me of No Friend today – I must read it. And I haven’t read The Swan Book, so clearly another for the list.

    What a shame about Paris – does it man you can’t still go, or is it something you wanted to do with particular people? To the horror of my own mother, some of the best holidays I’ve had have been on my own (she doesn’t understand why I’d want to travel solo).

    I’m in Gen-X (don’t want to speak for Kim *but* I think she is too….) – my childhood was the seventies and my teens the eighties. Think Puberty Blues 😉

    So, thank you again Bill for your blog posts. Another wonderful reading year and cheers to more in 2020.


    • In 2018 I was able to identify that my median read was a crime/thriller written by an American guy. That was probably true of 2019 too, and then throw in a fair bit of mainstream SF and you have a lot of time-fillers not interesting enough to write about. Now you’ve pointed it out I see I should have analysed my reviews as well.

      When Paris was mooted we expected the youngest to be in a European university, and Lou to be ‘nearby’ in Africa, so it was just a matter of motivating the oldest to save rather than spend. But the youngest now has other priorities, and, well now it would only suit me and Lou. But as I said above, I’ll probably go some other time, not on my own, although I loved the periods last time when it was just me, a Eurail pass, and endless horizons.

      I’ll have to remember – Puberty Blues is the defining Gen 5 text (and try-hard as she might I don’t think Kathy Lette has written a book worth reading since).


  5. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a close-up picture of you. My first thought was “he so tan!” and then I felt dumb. Right-o.

    I read the first three paragraphs of your blog and started laughing out loud. So, the spouse in the other room (who has had 3 sangrias and at least 3 craft brews because he’s on vacation) came into my space to find out why I was laughing. He was saying something about the Christmas meal photo not being upside down. By the time I got his joke, I was so mad I made him leave the room. Thus, he never found out why I was laughing. You’re causing marital strife with your witty writing and having the audacity to live on the “upside down part of the globe,” Bill.

    You should come to Chicago for your 70th. It’s so windy it’ll blow your wig back, then you can tell the tales until your dying day. I’d come.


    • There was a time when I would like to have lived and worked for a while in the Mid West, though a friend told me you can die of hypothermia walking between the buildings in Chicago on a windy day, but that time’s passed. Probably if I came to North America now I’d get you to meet me on the Canadian side of the lakes. If we do, make sure you bring the pirate or there’ll be more ructions.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I had a very nice Christmas, no books as usual, but I did get a very good bottle of cognac which will last me all year.
    It’s a scorcher here today in Melbourne, so we’re hibernating inside and hoping that the fires in Gippsland are not as catastrophic as they are predicted to be. As usual the media is featuring the people who are ignoring the warning to evacuate…


    • I’m looking for a load to get me over east right now, though without success, and given that bushfires had closed the highway past Coolgardie last night, there mighn’t be much point. Fires at my end , fires at your end and the paddocks blowing over the roads in between, there’s not going to be much left. And as with farmers and ecological flows in the river systems, loggers will claim the right to log what virgin forest is left because they need to survive. No they don’t!


  7. Kate W, you have inspired me to more stats.
    Posts for year: 85. Made up of –
    Reviews of women authors: 31
    Reviews of male authors: 29
    Other, mostly Journals: 25
    Like you Kate, I thought ‘most’ of my reviews would be of women authors.
    Included in the above, I posted 14 times for AWW Gen 2 or Gen 3 Week, 6 of those were reposts or guests.
    I reviewed/wrote about Indigenous writers/subjects 6 times, David Ireland 5 times.
    Of the 60 books reviewed, 46 were Australian, 1 Indian, 2 Japanese, 4 US, 5 UK (and all those C19th), 1 Irish, 1 French


  8. I love all the thought you have put into this and your stats. I am waiting to see if I finish these last two (male, white, British, non-fiction, gifts) books before the end of the year before rounding up my own stats!


  9. Happy New Year Bill!
    We celebrated the ny with a pav too.

    I read a book about the Gen’s last year (http://bronasbooks.blogspot.com/2018/01/hello-gen-z-engaging-generation-of-post.html?m=1) that helped clarify dates & trends & names. But they are fairly loose, and open to debate. The book was more about social media trends & health rather than literary trends. But I’m leaning towards the era the book was written in rather than the birth date of the author. Obviously a boomer writing about millennials will have a very different take on it than a millennial writing about millennials or even a millennial writing about boomers, but I don’t think that matters in the end. The perspective is valid for the author, whatever their age, & invites comment about how all people in that era lived, thought, dreamed…
    I’ve managed to read The Dyehouse for your gen 3 week- now I just have to find the time & mojo to write a response!

    Thanks for a great year of lit, driving & family stories.


    • I had to wait till I was home to read your post before I could reply – my Millenial daughter is down south camping (away from the Stirling fires) so I’m the one who has to run around after Ms Gen Z, to her job and to the party afterwards etc, etc! We Boomers were a very optimistic generation, and look how that turned out! Who would have thought that all the Tony Abbotts would beaver away at gaining power and turning back the clock while we were smelling the flowers.

      I’m sure you have plenty of mojo to knock out a review and I look forward to reading it and including it in AWW Gen 3 Week. And I’ll keep writing about books, family and trucks for as long as my readers can bear it – and a bit longer probably.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Haha, Bill, love this “Who would have thought that all the Tony Abbotts would beaver away at gaining power and turning back the clock while we were smelling the flowers”. Who knew indeed. It’s a salutary lesson about flower-smelling isn’t it!

        And, it will be interesting who gives up first re your posts – your commitment or our interest. Right now I can’t see the latter dissipating.

        PS That was “pav” not “pavings”. The autocorrect put in “pavings”, I corrected it to “pav” and then didn’t notice it that it went ahead and recorrected to “pavings”!! Honestly!


      • I thought your pav might have been a bit heavier than mine. Though I’m certainly a bit heavier than I was. We don’t have pud unless Mum is with us. She made me a christmas cake to take home as usual – I generally start nagging her about June – which as usual we were too full to eat. But Milly has been surprisingly quick to bring it down for every cup of tea since. I might ride over for a slice now (lovely overcast day here).

        Liked by 1 person

      • Haha, very funny Bill. Mr Gums is a bit heavier than he was too. We don’t do cake anymore for the reason you give – but we sort of use left over plum pudding for the same purpose (and I’m hankering for some now.)


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