Archive for December, 2013

books of the year: mostly gay and black history, and a little sff

Another mixed year in my reading life. I read a lot of books by comedians, which are fine to keep your eyes moving when the world is falling down around you. I read a number of multi-generational sagas and a number of books set in 21st century New York, choices that reflect publishing industry trends more than my personal tastes. I did better with audiobooks, especially after I acquired an hour-long commute. I read as much good escapism as I could lay my hands on.

Of the 147 or so books I read this year, here are my favourites. Can’t help noticing that only one of these was written by a man. Get it together, dudes.


  • The Secret River
  • The Gifts of the Body
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God
  • Submergence
  • We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
  • Mending the Moon
  • The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo


  • The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration
  • Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
  • The Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to a Lost Imagination
  • Fairyland: A Memoir of my Father
  • Impro
  • Depression: A Public Feeling
  • Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction
  • all this and 2013 is nearly over

    We are in Barraba, staying in the Playhouse Hotel. This morning Jeremy, Andrew and I had a mighty argument about Harold Pinter over freshly baked croissants. My mother is frail but valiant. My sister is a force of nature. We swim every day and galahs fly overhead, having a bloody good time. There is too much Baileys and Christmas cake with marzipan and icing. Today Julia won mahjongg thrice.

    beowulf / their eyes were watching god

    Both are structured in threes. Beowulf fights Grendel, Grendel’s mother, the dragon. Janie marries Logan Killick, Joe Starks and Vergible “Tea Cake” Woods. Both are punctuated by funerals: Scyld, Hyldeburh, Beowulf; the yellow mule, Joe, Tea Cake. Beowulf seeks and attains honor. Janie searches for and finds love like the pear tree in bloom, and then it is taken from her.