Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ho ho hic

Here's our very own household Santa snapped last year delivering [escaping with?] some useful gifts. He's otherwise known as my husband Ian, and this is how we give our gifts on Xmas Day. Santa sits by the tree and gets wiggly Ned and giggly Grandmas and all the rest of the rellies and gathered friends on his red-clad Warehouse-issue knees, as he hands out whatever the tree elf passes to him [this is often Uncle David in an appropriate hat.]

The littlies love it, and so too do the giggly Grannies. For years my Dad did it and he's got the build and beard of a Santa, but a lean Santa with cotton-wool beard and checked boxers over the Santa pants seems to do the trick, too.

Let's hope Santa brings me a lovely book or two - Auster's Invisible would be nice, and so would Damien Wilkins' Somebody Loves Us All. It's been a great year for books for me. I keep a note of the best ones I've read - for review and for pleasure  - down the side column of this blog with links to posts I've written on this blog or reviews done. But I see I've left a few of the heavy-hitters off, and will have to update it in the New Year. Meanwhile, below is an edited and updated list which becomes a kind of 'best of' list of books published this year. Almost all are what I consider four or five star books, with five stars being the best. Some are books I loved just because they hit the right spot [using the 'search' box above left will help you find posts on some of these.]

I know there are some marvellous books that should be on a 'best of' list that I haven't got to yet, and I hope to read them in the hammock over the holidays - Elizabeth Knox's Angel's Cut and Alison Wong's As the Earth turns Silver are two of those.

First, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all who regularly visit my blog and others who just pop by now and then. And a big thank you to those visitors who also write their own blogs which give me so much to think about and enjoy. My side column has links to those as well. Meanwhile, I will try and blog over the holidays from our rural idyll to the north, and I will be fully back on deck around mid January.

O Audacious Book Best Books 2009 
[in no particular order - and all novels unless otherwise stated]
Singularity by Charlotte Grimshaw [short fiction -Random NZ], The Winter Vault by Anne Michaels [Bloomsbury], The Taste of Sorrow by Jude Morgan, The 10 PM Question by Kate de Goldi [Longacre], The Rehearsal by Eleanor Catton [VUP], The First Touch of Light by Ruth Pettis [Penguin], Corvus, A Life with Birds by Esther Woolfson [Granta], Mirabile Dictu by Michele Leggott [poetry - AUP], Novel about My Wife by Emily Perkins [Bloomsbury], Ithaca Island Bay Leaves - a mythistorima by Vana Manasiadis [poetry - Seraph],  Beside the Dark Pool by Fiona Kidman [memoir - Vintage], Further Convictions Pending: Poems 1999-2008 by Vincent O'Sullivan [poetry - VUP], The Blind Singer by Chris Price [poetry - AUP], JAAM 27 - Wanderings ed. by Ingrid Horrocks [JAAM], Netherland by Joseph O'Neill, Etymology by Bryan Walpert [poetry], The Philosopher and the Wolf by Mark Rowlands [memoir - Granta], Magpie Hall by Rachael King [Vintage], Misconduct by Bridget van der Zijpp [VUP], A House on Fire by Tim Upperton [poetry], Too much Happiness by Alice Munro [short fiction - Knopf], Glory by Fifi Colston [children - Scholastic].

A Late Entry read after Xmas - Somebody Loves Us All by Damien Wilkins [VUP]

Postscript. And before I go, I have rather belatedly discovered the astonishing blogging of Jolisa Gracewood - the award-winning reviewer who blew the whistle on the plagiarism in Ihimaera's Trowenna Sea. Her detailed run-down on what's happened with this book is mind-blowing for the sheer scale of its coverage. Check out the previous post, too. Definitely worth a read if you've been following the Trowenna Sea story. Meanwhile, here's hoping Witi gets some time out over Christmas. Peace and Good Will and all that.


Tim Upperton said...

Lovely to see my book, A House On Fire, on your list, Mary. Happy Christmas.

Harvey Molloy said...

Happy Christmas, Mary. This is an interesting list. I was wondering what you thought of 'The Road': one of the best horror-SF novels I've read in a while. (Of course it can't really be horror or SF because Mr McCarthy is a serious novelist who writes literature.) There's a lot in your list that I want to read.

Claire Beynon said...

I love that you can see Santa's grin beneath his cotton wool moustache... something to do with having a bottle of Chivas under each arm?!

Have a great holiday, Mary. Looking forward to seeing you here again in the new year. Thanks for the conversations this one. L, C

Rachel Fenton said...

I hope you got what you wanted in your stocking!