Season’s greetings once again and thank you for accompanying me on my random wanderings through literature and life. The photo above is of Western Australian christmas trees, Nuytsia floribunda, which flower from October to January, hence the name. Their Noongar (local Indigenous) names are are moojar, moojerool, munjah and mutyal.
I took the photo a few years ago near Eneabba, sandy coastal heath country 300 kms north of Perth, and the year after bushfires by the look of it. The trees are everywhere about, flowering brilliantly, in bits and pieces of roadside scrub around Perth, and after Sue/Whispering Gums reviewed Katharine Sussanah Prichard’s Christmas Tree (here) I meant to get another photo, but this one will have to do.
KSP’s short story (here in Trove) contains the lines –
What writing! But I think few non-Western Australians would realise what she was writing about.
I’ve read even fewer new releases this year than usual: Extinctions, Josephine Wilson; The Drover’s Wife, Frank Moorhouse ed.; Charmaine Papertalk Green & John Kinsella, False Claims of Colonial Thieves; Krissy Kneen, An Uncertain Grace; Nikki Gemmell, After; Robert Edeson, Bad to Worse. And they are a mixture of 2017 and 2018. My favourite (new release fiction) was Elizabeth Tan’s Rubik; but there was also Arundhati Roy’s compelling The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. I only received one book for review – my own fault, I didn’t chase any up – Bohemia Beach, Justine Ettler’s return to literary fiction after a considerable hiatus. There was some 2017-18 fiction amongst the 190 audiobooks I read; of those Lincoln in the Bardo was disappointing and the rest were just entertainment. The standout, from any year, was Kate Atkinson’s When Will There be Good News? (2008).
Of course, the book release highlight of the year was Michelle Scott Tucker’s Elizabeth Macarthur (review, interview) which I attended, along with Lisa Hill and spouse. And as they say, a very pleasant evening was had.
Now. The wadholloway Best Blog Post for 2018 goes to …
Kate W at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest for the LOL funny The Rules of Engagement.
Kate also got a ‘runner up’ for the much more serious The Green Bell, as did Emma at Book Around the Corner for The Meursault Investigation. A late runner up prize (because I only read it today) goes to Mairi Neil of Up the Creek with a Pen for Can Poetry Promote Peace and Creativity Challenge Politicians Effectively? – a collage of text, photos and poetry on the theme of Remembrance Day 2018.
My favourite post of my own was Border Districts, Gerald Murnane which will go on (the book not the post) to be an enduring Australian classic. But I should also mention in this context my Journals which really are an indulgence which you allow me to write without the bother of background reading and research; and also AWW Gen 1 Week, to which so many of you contributed.
As usual, my favourite on-line columnist is Helen Razer at (paywalled) Crikey and (free) Daily Review. During the year she linked to a NYTimes article which discussed the false equivalence of deaths in the Holocaust, under Hitler, and deaths under Stalin which mostly came from famine and the Siege of Leningrad. Razer’s article today is The Problem with End-of-Year Lists (her Person of the Year is always Malala Yousafzai, who “still managed to get away with attending Marxist conferences, denouncing global poverty and Australian refugee policy and not appear like the genuinely transformative force she is”).
A new blogger I ran into this year is Indian, The Horrible Prophet, and he may already have run out of steam. After reading Arundhati Roy I’ve been interested in the dysfunctional and almost Trumpish aspects of inter-ethnic and inter-class relationships in India. I’ve just finished Q & A (Slumdog Millionaire) which was not the feelgood story I expected, and is explicitly anti-police, and am now reading All The Lives we Never Lived, by Anuradha Roy. The Horrible Prophet here has a little rant about expectations on Indian brides.
And just to get you in the mood for the season, another blogger I follow, Robert Graham’s Anarchism Weblog has Kropotkin: Merry Effing Xmas.
My driving year finished yesterday (Monday). I’ve pulled my last trailer for Sam and Dragan. For all their sturm und drang, I’m grateful to them for getting me started, and for the truck they sold me which, unlike the ones they retained, ran like clockwork for the whole year. Next year, hopefully, I will be an independent contractor with my own trailer(s), Dragan has offered to sell me two which would be very suitable – set up for machinery cartage – but which I suspect he has priced to recover some of the bargain I got with the Volvo.
I’ve already handed the truck over to a mechanic who has promised to set it up for the next million kilometres of its working life, and am home with my feet up, though not for long. Christmas is at Milly’s this year, with all the kids and grandkids and various sisters in law. Over dinner – Greek, Zeus Street, on the roof of her local shopping centre car park – last night, Milly gave me my instructions which include clearing her back patio so a handyman can do the brick paving I haven’t got round to finishing, rubbish removal and the collection and distribution of items between our various houses (mine, hers, Gee’s).
Don’t forget AWW Gen 2 Week, 13-19 Jan. 2019 and enjoy your holidays!