EOY 2021

Journal: 080

That’s christmas done. I came home without any leftovers and now after two days of Milly being visited by her sisters, there won’t be any, not even fruit probably. I should have gone down to Gee’s, they got through a whole pavlova for breakfast this morning.

Did I get any books? A voucher from one daughter for a little store in Freo (not New Editions/Crow Books with which I have long been unhappy for their lack of support for Australians in general and WA’ns in particular); Another Day in the Colony which I bought while shopping, and which I hope will be special; and the book above, thankyou Milly’s sister, the little Diva, which will hopefully reinspire me to better (and less!) eating.

I’m writing Monday in the vain hope that a job will pop up Tues or Weds and I’ll be on my way. And no, Liz, I haven’t read any late top ten contenders. Yet. Maybe tomorrow. [Weds evening. No work this week. Plenty left in Milly’s fridge, even pavlova. My sisters in law are all wonderful human beings].

I thought I had posts written in advance way into the forseeable future, I even had a posting schedule on my wall calendar, but of course that ends on 30 Dec. ‘EOY21’. I’d better buy a new one. I see now all remaining future posts are for my upcoming gig on the (former) AWWC site. I do have a couple or three in my head for AWW Gen 4 Week, 16-23 Jan 2022 but as we all know, that is not the same as having them written down.

Ok, here are my reading stats for 2021, 2020 in brackets.

Books read: 145 (164)

Gender balance: Male authors 57, Female 84 (67/97)

Author from: Australia  45 (29), UK 36 (35), USA  39 (79), Canada 7 (3) Europe 12 (10), Asia 2 (5), Africa 2 (1) Other 0 (2)

Genre: Non-fiction 12 (12),  Literature  52 (43), General 21 (39), SF  29 (18), Crime 28 (48), Short Stories 7 (4)

Year of Publication: 2021-20 27 (6), 2010-19 57 (61),  2000-9 15 (27), 1960-99 23 (36),  1900-59 12 (26), pre-1900  9 (8) – I definitely need a few Melanie/GTL pie graphs to make this all readable! Tries Table Block.


That’s made up of 103 (118) audiobooks, 39 (41) ‘real’ books, and 3 (5) e-books (all old, pdf or Proj. Gutenberg)

Fewer audiobooks is down to less time in the truck (in the second half of the year), but fewer real books? What am I doing with my free time? As for the composition of my reading, it doesn’t seem to have changed much. The big increase in current year books (2020-21) is mostly down to new general and genre fiction audiobooks at the library. Although it doesn’t show, I actually read more new release poetry than I did new release Australian Lit.Fic.

And I’m happy that the US/Crime portion of my reading has gone down. At least some of the reason for that is that I’ve been able to target my listening better by using Audible and BorrowBox.

Posts for year: 93 (90)

Made up of: Reviews 55 plus 12 Such is Lifes (63), Journals 18 (21), Other 8 (6). Though some of the Journals were also largely Reviews. Five (8) reviews were supplied by guests or were reposts – all for AWW Gen 3 Week II. Reviews seem to have split 21/35 male/female by author (13/50).

In 2021 I put up 15 (20) reviews to the Australian Women Writers Challenge. Last year I wrote: “Theirs is a great site, I thank them, and hope they keep going for many more years” and bugger me, it comes to an end. Theresa Smith who has done a marvellous job for a number of years needed to wind down and a replacement could not be found. The result is a) the AWWC’s founder, Elizabeth Lheude, has asked Sue/Whispering Gums and me to work with her on the site to produce a weekly journal with a focus on early Australian Women Writers, commencing Feb. 2022; and b) Theresa will continue with the Facebook page “Love Reading Books by Australian Women” on which I hope you will all continue to post.

Last year I had a worst book, Miles Franklin’s Bring the Monkey. Do I have one this year? I can think of two, but let’s say Bill Green, Small Town Rising. The best, mmm … I mentioned three very good new releases last week, but for something different how about my ‘discovery’ of Australian SF/satirist Max Barry, Jennifer Government.

Now, reminder time …

AWW Gen 4 Week 16-23 Jan, 2022

The theory of AWW Gen 4 is one of the posts which is mostly in my head. The definition we are using is authors who began publishing in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. There’s a (hopefully) complete list on the AWW Gen 4 page. These are the aspects of theory I am thinking about – modernist writing; feminism (second wave/women’s lib); post-colonialism; post-War society: prosperous, middle class, increasingly multi-cultural; the slow uptake of postmodernism; and what happened to the radicalism, sexual liberation and drugs of the anti-Vietnam War years?.

All the best for a Prosperous and Healthy New Year!

Recent audiobooks 

Omar El Akkad (M, Can), What Strange Paradise (2021)
Ian Rankin (M, Sco), Rather be the Devil (2016) – Crime
Hunter S Thompson (M, USA), The Rum Diary (1998)

Currently Reading:

Mihail Sebastan (M, Rom), Women (thank you Bron)
Willa Cather (F, USA), Alexander’s Bridge
Richard Brautigan (M, USA), An Unfortunate Woman
Georgette Heyer (F, Eng), The Quiet Gentleman
Helen Garner (F, Aus/Vic), Monkey Grip
Gerald Murnane (M, Aus/Vic), Tamarisk Row
Louisa Atkinson (F, Aus/NSW), Gertrude the Emigrant
Belinda Castles (ed) (Aus), Reading Like an Australian Writer (NF – Criticism)
Clare Bailey (F, USA), the clever guts diet recipe book (NF – Cooking)

42 thoughts on “EOY 2021

  1. Thanks for all of your posts, as always Bill. There’s something very nice about being linked to people who in many senses have such different lives to our own and this occurs to me when I see we’ve read the same book – your reading (listening) environment is very different to mine, and yet words join us and others on this little corner of the internet.

    As to finishing the year with a top ten contender – I am. Three-quarters of the way through Jennifer Down’s Bodies of Light. She is a wonderful writer (note that the book is about all the things I’m drawn to reading about – grief, trauma, loss). I’m setting aside the rest of the arvo to finish it.

    Happy and safe new year, and I hope you’re preparing for the next bit of work as I write!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I couldn’t imagine how few people I would have any connection to without blogging. I probably benefit from having to write my rants down. It stops them getting out of control. And to be honest I find I prefer writing to reading.

      of course you have your head stuck in a book full of grief and trauma. Can’t I interest you in duelling spaceships?

      Thank you. Though what I’m preparing for is a deluge of blogging commitments.


  2. Is that why AWW is winding down? They didn’t look very far. I would have put up my hand if anyone had asked or if I’d known about it. The switch to Facebook doesn’t work for me because I don’t do Facebook other than to publish things on my Reading Matters FB page (most of which is automated anyway).

    The cook book looks good. We bought the blood sugar diet ones that Michael Mosley wrote and they worked! More than a year later I still follow the basic principles (though I do eat bad things, just in moderation) and the weight has stayed off.

    Thanks for all your entertaining blog posts this year, long may they continue in 2022!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, what a shame kimbofo … I think Theresa advertised amongst the existing team via the AWW Facebook admin page, but didn’t put it out to all those who contribute reviews. That probably would have been sensible. There was such a resounding lack of interest I think that she assumed that was it.

      I don’t do much on Facebook either, I used to automatically post my posts to my profile, but when they stopped that and made you have a what they call a “page” to do this I stopped as I didn’t want to manage another “place”. I think Bill might manually post his posts to his profile (or whatever Facbook calls out non-page page!) but I tend not to get around to doing that.


      • I’ve never had a Facebook personal profile. And then when I moved into marketing I had to create one to manage Facebook advertising 🙄. I personally hate FB but the audience on the Reading Matters FB page is TOTALLY different to my actual blog audience, proving everything I’ve ever been taught / discovered myself about comms and publishing: you must have a multi-channel approach to reach your audience. At work everything I do goes on website, Instagram, FB, Linked-in, Google My Business and EDM (email newsletter). And therein ends my TED talk 😂


      • Haha …. I think I got a few hits from Facebook so I do miss those but my profile is limited to friends so I haven’t lost a lot. I do automatically post to Twitter and Linked in but I’m not sure they create many hits. Still I think you are right and bow to your marketing wisdom!


      • Good of you to take the trouble to give it, Kim! I think I’m going to have to learn to tweet in 22. Too much going on that I’m missing. But for as long as my daughter stays on FB I think I’m safe from Instagram. Heaven knows what granddaughter, Ms 18 uses.

        Liked by 1 person

      • She’ll be on TikTok. (My 17yo niece, who discovered reading this year, tells me “booktok” is a thing). I refuse to join cos ftom what I can see it’s just short clips of people dancing to shit music and passing on stupid advice 😂. I’m also contemplating closing my Twitter account. I’ve stopped using it (tweets that appear there are automated) because it’s a cesspool of bile and angst and was beginning to affect my mental health. I like Instagram though as I have always been an amateur photographer and it’s a way for me to keep in contact with whole family…my sister, nieces, brother in law, even my mum and dad are on it!


      • I like Instagram more than Twitter .. but I’m probably shallow that way. However, for a start it feels much easier to navigate. I love it, actually, and regularly see kimbofo and Brona there.


      • Thanks Kim, I was hoping if I only followed bookish people my twitter feed would be safe (my Facebook feed is).
        Speaking of which, my son is running a Minecraft site so that his nephew and a few friends can play safe from being hassled by strangers. A christmas present apparently. I’m proud of him. (I have no idea at all what Minecraft entails – I’m still not up with the Dungeons & Dragons he played 30 years ago).

        Liked by 2 people

      • For someone who likes to rant, Twitter could be perfect for you Bill! I heavily curate who I follow – i.e. only blog people, authors, publishing houses, the occasional local politician. I only find the odd rabbit hole to fall down, but they can be very toxic rabbit holes.

        I’m finding FB not much better these days, too many distant cousins with anti-vax, anti-mask conspiracy theories. I actually unfriended a whole stack just the other day. I don’t need that kind of agro in my life.
        Like Sue & Kim. I’m very happy on Insta – taking photos of flowers and trees and local scenes. Kim’s Freo sunsets with cranes are stunning & Sue’s food shots always make me hungry! Pam/Penguin’s dog regularly features on her feed. It’s all very friendly.

        Booktok is indeed a thing Kim – a thing I’ve had to come to terms with this year when we suddenly had requests for these random titles from a few years ago. It took a young person on staff to say that they were trending on booktok. I now follow the GR page of booktok titles at work, so I don’t get caught out again. Not all of them go viral or result in sales, but the five or so books currently trending are really trending!! (Normally I reorder backlist books back in, in ones and twos, but there were 5 books in the lead up to Christmas that I was ordering by the tens. You’ll be pleased to know that as a result of Karvan’s book show, Wright’s Carpenteria was another backlist book I suddenly had to jump to tens.)


    • I can remember when I first started that Nathan Hobby said I should have a Page rather than a separate Fb account, but it seems to work ok. Some brothers and cousins follow the account with the truck (and family) pictures, and some the wadholloway blog account (and some both). Of course there is nothing benign about the way that Facebook and Google track and record our every movement. I just hope we one day find our way back to the civil liberties we stupidly thought were our birthright.

      The Little Diva told me the idea to buy the Clever Guts book was Milly’s so I guess it’s time I took the hint.

      I love writing posts. I love reading posts. The big problem is writing intelligent comments. But I’ll keep trying!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Haha this made me laugh Bill: “I should have gone down to Gee’s, they got through a whole pavlova for breakfast this morning.” I could eat pavlova for breakfast! usually though it’s just crusketts and hummus.

    I enjoyed your round up. I am drafting mine at the moment – currently in Rutherglen – for posting tomorrow evening, though as usual I will do two – one on Reading and one on Blogging. I’m just tinkering with which were the big reading highlights to mention and how to mention them.

    I borrowed three audiobooks for this Melbourne trip and we’ve listened to none! Somehow we end up preferring quiet.

    Anyhow, you know how much I enjoyed reading your blog and sparring – oops, I mean, conversing – with you, about literature. Roll on 2022, and further opportunities through our new AWW site. Thanks so much for your support this year – which will be mentioned in my Blogging NOT Reading highlights.


    • Gee and I agreed that she’d take the uneaten pavlova and I’d take the other, which was really only missing a few slices. But in the end I slept over being unfit to drive (and having been too lazy to carry my bike downstairs to the ute) and when I left in the morning, Milly was getting ready for work – so no time to grab leftovers. Still, you’d only have to look at me to see pavlova is the last thing I need, and then there is mince pies and christmas cake to get me through months of afternoon teas (and Mum says she made me one too, so that’ll keep me going through the middle of the year!)

      I can see how you might need to camp halfway home to Canberra (if you were going by camel,say). though Rutherglen is definitely a good place to top up supplies. Enjoy your leisurely trip.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Drivers like you would eat up this little trip but for us stopping lots is the way to go plus we did the NE VIC Silo Trail … started in the Mallee as you know.

        Strangely we haven’t seen a mince pie this year? Though that’s not surprising for gf more.


      • I’m with you Sue, the leisurely drive has become our thing too.
        We found a lovely airbnb house in Rutherglen just before Easter, with lunch at Bullers winery and a wine tasting session in town at James & Co Wines. The little second hand bookshop in Rutherglen was a delight and the morning walk around the Arthur Mann trail was stunning.


  4. Impressive list!!
    I have a copy of ‘The fast 800 easy’ which Michael Mosley wrote the forward – has quick easy recipes & a good selection of vegetarian.


  5. Happy new year! I’m looking forward to reading people’s posts for AWW Gen 4 week – sadly I think I will be too busy with work to read anything for it, but I always enjoy reading about books I’ve previously not heard of, so I’m sure there will be lots of new books and authors for me to discover.


    • Lou, It will be an interesting week I think. I have a lot less idea what people are going to read this time round, and there’s a much bigger field, so it will be interesting to see what turns up.
      Stay safe and keep churning out (well-trained) new nurses. We need them! (Apparently turning out new nurses is a skill Australia doesn’t have, as we keep raiding developing countries for theirs.)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Mr Books and I are advocates of the 5/2 diet which we’ve been on and off since we first read Mosley’s book about 7/8 yrs ago. It made a huge difference initially, so now we’re just trying to maintain with a 6/1 approach – not easy at this time of year.
    We both have cholesterol issues too, so his blood sugar book had some good tips on how to reduce our carb load (having the boys leave home was the biggest tip in our favour here though!) With B21 living back at home this past couple of years, our carbs (& meat intake) have crept up again.


  7. I do find it interesting seeing how most of our stats are moving to include more and more Aust based writers, especially female writers. I have my stats lined up in a notebook, but still need to write the post and work out how to feature them. The table block worked well enough I thought.

    One more book post to finish today, so I start the New Year with a clean reading and blogging slate! An enforced week-long lockdown has helped me catch up, but today is freedom day. Mr Books & I tested negative again, so we’re free to join the world (if we want to!) B21 is feeling much better but still testing positive, so it’s a housebound NYE for him.

    Happy NY Bill, here’s to trucking, books and blogging 🙂


  8. Bron & Sue, I lost track of the indents.
    I don’t like to rant, I just start and then I can’t stop. As I’ve said before, my interpersonal skills make me an excellent long distance truck driver (reading Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions at the moment and he makes a similar point. I might have to review BoC just so I can use a picture of a 1980 GMC Astro prime mover).
    I find the 5/2 diet works, if I stick to it. It’s easier though when I’m driving and there’s less food to tempt me.
    I agree Rutherglen is pretty and has lots of wine. Bookshop definitely a bonus. I pass through if I’m going to Wodonga but obviously there’s nowhere to pull up. Gee has a property on the south coast now so that’s a 460 km drive I’m going to have to get used to. Forest and farm country most of the way, but wineries too. I’ll let you know if I start pulling up for tourist breaks.

    As I say, Fb suits me, mum’s worked out how to use it, I have brothers and cousins all over the country, and so unless Gee takes the grandchildren photos to another platform, here I’ll stay.
    Liz Dexter is the only blogger I see regularly (Sue and Lisa post sometimes) and it’s fun to vicariously jog around Birmingham. I hope Theresa manages to retain and build her audience at ‘Love Reading Books’, a lot of AWWC women sound a bit surprised and disappointed right now.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m behind on my blog reading due to recent travels, but fortunately I do know that you got some of that fruit! I also talked about how my reading trended toward newer books this year, too, and I’m not completely sure how that happened. Last night on Jeopardy! there was a question about Miles Franklin that mentioned her two most famous works, so I was quite excited. However, the question was about where she’s from and I stupidly got it wrong. All I could think was, “Oh, how the Australians are going to be so disappointed in me.” Thanks to Sue’s constant reminders in her comments to me, I’ve been getting all Canberra-related trivia questions on Jeopardy! correct. I didn’t get any books for xmas this year, and for that I am glad. I’m trying to read through all the books I own, and adding to the pile doesn’t help. I look forward to your email response. I wrote a boat-load to you this morning. Happy 2022, and watch out for deer!


    • Thanks for the “boat-load”, I’ll stir myself to write back soon. Where was Miles Franklin from – Australia, NSW, Sydney? She lived in Chicago for 9 years and London for more than a decade. Good on you for getting Canberra questions right (which was planned by an architect couple from Chicago with whom Miles Franklin was friends). You can sort the grammar out.

      I’m living on the fruit now. I didn’t manage to bring any pavlova home with me, but luckily only Milly and I eat fruit cake so that will be there when I go back and will last us for a few months.

      No deer at my desk, which I barely leave even to eat, but thank you for the wishes


  10. I’ll be interested in how you go with the gut book. I get enthused about these things but it lasts for about a week and I’m back on the chocolate. I do facebook but mainly for photography challenges and then my siblings and old friends are all in North America as well as Mr Penguin’s rellies. So we have to have it or we’d never hear of them. I’m not on instagram much. Too many weird people pop up here and there at times. I’ll look forward to some of the challenges going on but depends on what I’m reading at the time and if it meshes. I’m always busy keeping up with the Fullers book shop events and recommendations and I do like to follow what happens in other countries too.


    • Pam, I’ve notionally been on 5 and 2 for a year or two but stuff intervenes. I get bored at home and eat (and drink) or I’m working and I get dozy and really, really need something to chew on. Occasionally I’ll get to 10pm and find I’ve cleared my fridge of two or three days meals. But the book seems an interesting read and I don’t like being over 100kg, so I’ll keep trying.

      I never get “attacked” on Fb, my Qld rellos keep quiet about politics (and religion) so I like keeping my account ticking over. If I took such interesting photos as you do I would post more, but mostly it’s just here’s my truck again against another sunset. I do photograph my family but worry about them being caught in unflattering positions.

      Your connection with Fullers is the envy of us all. No wonder they have lasted so long.


  11. Re the timing of best-of posts and will you read anything amazing by the end of the year, I’m just going to say mwah-hah-hah-hah!

    And I know I have an email to answer, I need to do a bit of research on what I can and can’t get, and I have Fallen Behind on my blog reading as I had a day out to go to the opticians and then having been there, with one dilated pupil and unable to read (argh) and it’s all fallen apart. I’m fine eye-wise, but Behind.


  12. Happy New Year! I hope all your experiments and projects ahead turn out as you’re hoping (despite your professed pessimism…Margaret Atwood declares herself a realist rather than either a pessimist or optimist, which always makes me smile). Both you and I have a sweet tooth, so I can relate on that count. I’ve been mostly off sugar (other than Canadian maple syrup) for a couple of years now (just before COVID hit, so it’s been easy to keep count) and on a couple of occasions, when I’ve gone back to my cakes and cookies and croissants, every health issue has spiked and spiralled again, almost immediately. But it’s a very hard habit to break (as you can commiserate), even though it takes an awful toll on the gut. Good luck with your trials!


    • Thank you Marcie, and it’s nice to have you ‘out’. I think the first time I saw you, some years ago, WG was wondering whether she could call you Buried. I’m wary about what MA calls herself and what she ‘is’.

      Millie keeps maple syrup for pancakes. I prefer honey and lemon. I’m sticking to 5 and 2 for now, but it’s too easy to eat at home and there’s too much fruit around – peaches, plums and grapes (Australian. We get fruit from California when Aust is out of season but it’s dear and anyway it doesn’t feel right). Also watermelon and mangoes.


      • She still likes to call me Buried and I answer to it happily. There are reasons I started out as BIP and there are reasons I’m shifting to a more visible stance, but I’ll always be Buried to some of my bookfriends. LOL

        I thought 5 and 2 was making conscious choices for 5 and ignoring them for 2. Turns out, now that I’ve investigated, I like that idea better. Fruit is great for you, think of all those antioxidants! When it’s snowing, you’ll be stuck with dried apple rings, so enjoy!. Hee hee


  13. Trying to play catch up on blog posts I’ve missed this last few weeks so am late in saying congrats on another fab reading year. I enjoy the fact your reading is so varied with so many authors I’d never heard of. I get tired of seeing multiple reviews elsewhere if the same new “sensation” to be released.


    • I’m glad then I snuck in the latest Sally Rooney. It wouldn’t do to be too predictable. I would read only classics, or maybe classics and romances, left to my own devices, so I’m pleased that randomly selected audiobooks, projects and the enthusiasms of other bloggers keep widening my horizons.


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