Last year I had a photo of my then newest grandson, age 8 months, watching a campfire. This year he is already climbing trees and he has a younger brother, now just a few weeks old.
Another year, another year of Covid. Of course we have it easy over here in the West, at the expense, in my case, of seeing my older children and my mother for another year. Well, that’s not strictly true, we can visit, but entry or re-entry into WA requires 14 days isolation, and that’s not generally time we can afford, though we will if we have to, for Mum’s 90th next year for instance. Bron’s Covid Chronicles, of her life in inner-Sydney, are always interesting. This time she mentions the Covid pandemic is expected to last years longer than, say, the Spanish Flu. No doubt because all our vaccinating is just delaying rather than preventing its eventual spread and burn out.
Christmas Day this Saturday! Doesn’t it race up on you. Milly has to work, Saturday and Sunday mornings, phoning old people for Red Cross to make sure they’re ok. So it will be a simple christmas dinner, prepared in advance and set out by me and Ms 18. With, and this is the case with all of us probably, many absences round the table. A special call-out to Lou who is in lockdown in remote Tennant Creek, NT.
So, on to the wadholloway Best Blog Post for 2021 …
The first runner up might be my favourite because it goes to the heart of why we read. When I list a top ten it is always the ‘best’ 10, whatever ‘best’ means, but Lou/LouLouReads goes right for the nitty-gritty and lists her fifty (current) favourites (here)
I don’t mean to imply there is an order to the runners up, so next as I write, is Brona who is ‘This Reading Life’ now that we have her on WordPress, but is still Brona’s Books when she comments. Bron makes a point of having a regular poetry post, which I always find interesting. Dropbear by Indigenous writer Evelyn Araluen is a good example and demonstrates how far she digs down on our behalf (here).
I’ve only really been following Buried in Print the last couple of years, though of course I have seen her around for much longer than that. She writes often complex posts, generally about north American writers and I think it’s fair to say with a focus on Margaret Atwood, Black and Indigenous writing, Margaret Atwood, and the environment. Alongside Roots, which she and I and Liz Dexter read along together, she had a project this year, Slavery Past and Present, in four parts (here).
And the winner is …
Liz Dexter/Adventures in Reading, Running and Working from Home. Liz and I don’t often read the same books, though we read Roots together this year, which was both informative and fun, a really helpful way to get the most out of what is a big book. However the post I have chosen is a summary of the amazing breadth of Liz’s reading this year re race relations in Britain. (here).
My favourite post of my own, well it would have to be the 12 post series Such is Life, wouldn’t it. Thank you for allowing me that indulgence.
My annual spreadsheet, constructed hastily at the last minute as usual, says that I read 18 ‘new’ books, ie. from 2020/21. The best were How We are Translated and An I-Novel, though of course I loved the event of a new Sally Rooney. Did I read any new release Australians? Indigenous (Tasmanian) short stories Born into This and poetry Guwayu – For All Times. Kim Kelly’s Her Last Words was great and deserves wider release, and I’m part way through Western Australian poet, John Kinsella’s latest short story collection, Pushing Back. No more foreigners? A quick review brings up Simone de Beauvoir, The Inseparables, This Mournable Body and Butter Honey Pig Bread, all excellent.
I wonder what was the ‘best’ book I read during the year. I thought Clara Morison and Jane Eyre were as good as each other; Kylie Tenant’s Tell Morning This was a surprise, a step up from her normal journalistic prose; and then there’s Such is Life, which I didn’t read so much as tear apart.
Butter Honey Pig Bread reminds me I should thank you all for the books you recommend, this year Becky Chambers’ Wayfarers series especially. Which segues into my next year project, to read Black and Indigenous writing from North America and to put up a review at the end of each month. All based on recommendations from you (crossed with what I can get from Audible). For those who might like to read along, January will be Their Eyes were watching God, and February The Autobiography of Malcolm X. For March I’m looking at Nalo Hopkinson, but which book?
Re Malcolm X (and Roots), today’s NYT (actually 17 Dec 21) contains an excellent article: Alex Haley Taught America About Race — and a Young Man How to Write.
I have another project for 2022 (and beyond) which has been mentioned elsewhere, though not my part in it, and that is The Australian Women Writers Challenge site which from February will become a journal focusing on early Australian women writers (Gens 1, 2 and 3 from my POV). Elizabeth Lhuede the convenor, has asked me to join Sue/Whispering Gums as a regular contributor, and we three, with at least one guest contributor each month, will post weekly, short stories from the archives, reviews and essays. It’s my job to find the guests so don’t hesitate to approach me with reviews or more general essays (theaustralianlegend AT gmail.com). AND PLEASE FOLLOW US.
Finally, AWW Gen 4 Week is 16-23 January, 2022. Gen 4 is defined as writers whose careers got underway in the 1960s, 70s and 80s (here). To be clear, although I’ve listed each author’s first work feel free to review anything they’ve written.
Enjoy the holiday season. I hope you all receive (and give) lots of books.