So, yep, it is that time of year again. And I will keep it simple.
I'm off to the beach, then having Christmas, as we do, then trying to catch up on Web and book reading - among which I will include this find on The Elegant Variation, some interviews Californian writer Jim Ruland did with Benjamin Black (that's John Banville to the rest of us) recently.
I read a lot of Australian books this year. There seem to be a lot more Oz titles to read next year, and Angela Meyer has a good roundup of potential candidates in the latest Bookseller and Publisher if you can't wait for the holiday newspapers. I do hope I get some European titles under the belt, though - a new book from Colm Toibin is certainly not going to pass me by.
The standout, then, is a poetry/non fiction combo.
Racing this time:
Robert Gray's The Land I Walked Through Last (and all his poetry, just all of it) by a nose from David Malouf's 1990 novel, The Great World.
Coming clustered tightly after that
Hanif Kureishi's richly entertaining Something To Talk About and his first novel, The Buddha of Suburbia, back to front (should one say, tail to tail? quite hard to organise deliberately)
Edward St Aubyn's acidic and brilliantly skewed Mothers' Milk
Gerald Murnane's reissued classic,Tamarisk Row and his essays, Invisible Yet Enduring Lilacs
Christos Tsiolkas' The Slap
Anne Enright's The Gathering
Robert Adamson's The Golden Bird: New and Selected Poems (arranged by the poet, thematically, which makes for a good change).
and making a dash down the strait for the finishing line
Julienne van Loon's Road Story
Sara Knox's The Orphan Gunner
Jessica Anderson's classic, Tirra Lirra By The River
Alex Miller's Journey to the Stone Country
Helen Garner's The Spare Room
and Matt Condon's Trout Opera, of course
Toni Jordan's fine comic-mathematical romance, Addition
Susan Johnson's Gold Coast Barton saga, Life In Seven Mistakes
Fiona Capp's fine historical Daylesford romance, Musk and Byrne
Sophie Cunningham's tri-continental Bird.
Really, this race analogy is tacky. As if Mr Gray Australian writers need to race anybody anywhere, at any time.
I've decided not to publish the year's reads - some of it feels like it's so long ago, I'm beginning to wonder if it's not a corrupted file. May all future reads end up corrupted by memories and crosscurrents from the past, so that I end up rereading more often.
I do want to let you all know, though, that today, having rescued the latest GoingDownSwinging from the carport where an uncharacteristically cranky postie hurled it (fortunately not on the side I park on and a mere four minutes before my son came back in from buying new tyres), I have particularly enjoyed the following:
Stories: 'Pearl of Mercy', by Libby Angel
'Flame Game', by S.J. Finn
'Turnin',' by Eric Stoveken (which is drily fantastic)
Poems: 'Anything Precious', Sean M. Whelan
'Brace', Andy Jackson
'Black Rook in Stormy Weather', Lorin Ford.
And if you are fortunate enough to have your son improvising on guitar to his backing tracks in the next room, 'Net Weight of Intention' by Jillian Patterson reads rather well too.
See you all sometime in the middle of January, and as my favourite mother-in-law would say, go safely.