12 days into the 13th year of the 21st century, and I'm only now getting round to writing up my literary highlights and booklist for the last 12 months, speaking of 12...
1. I took this snapshot myself on my computer, at 12 mins past 12, on the 12th of the 12th Oh 12, I thought it was pretty cool at the time - so cool it counts as my no. 1 literary highlight... If I'm going to come up with 10 as usual - I better start small.
2. Attended a course entitled parallel worlds and how to create them, run by Trevor Joyce in UCC, it was pretty much a tour of things he likes that are a bit obscure in writing, and was interesting, if a little light on the practical side... ie he didn't really push us to try things out ourselves - but it was good to devote an hour and a bit a week to the aul writing, and definitely helped ease the pain of being back out in the land of work.
3. The Medicine Session - got to go say some poems for nice people in Lismore at the coolest gathering south of the Shannon thanks to the lovely watercats.
4. IPYPIASM has once more been a roaring success with some lovely newcomers and the brilliant Titus as hostess and competitor with the mostess.
5. Attended a lovely writing workshop given by Afric McGlinchey.
6. I didn't enter a single competition all year, so therefore didn't lose any.
7. Nor was I refused publication in a single magazine, low or high brow, paying or not, tree killing or online.
8. Neither did a single agent or publisher say that any novel of mine, no matter how long ago I wrote it, was unworthy of their attention or representation, although I've never sent any novel to an agent or publisher, so I could say that for every year.
9. I was asked to write, and did write, a review of a poetry book.
10. I only had 38 posts on this blog, which you'd imagine would have freed me up for hours of creativity, hours and hours....
And now for the book list
I didn't keep much of a log of reading this year, so I'm just squeezing in what I remember here, some good some bad. Favourites in bold to save you the reading if you're very busy and important (like myself)
Franny & Zooey by JD Salinger I really liked, as you'll know from the post "I love JD"
Jo Brand's autobiography was one of a number of books that were about to be thrown out from my parents house and which I rescued in hopes that it might be amazing, and it was, but not in a really good way - ah no, Jo, I jest, if you're reading this, it was fine, just very like a big long series of emails to a friend recounting ups and downs of life without much in the way of insight into comedienneship.
I had a Kevin Barry feast with City of Bohane and Dark lies the Island, both brilliant in different ways, one of the stories from Dark lies the island will haunt me probably until I no longer know my own name.
A little Jennifer Johnston with the Gingerbread woman, was of her usual quality too - ie great.
The Baron in the trees on the other hand, while light and readable could have easily been left in the trees with us all equally happy.
I can thank my book club for that last one, and thanks too to them, for my getting to read Anna Karenina, actually the wikipedia page about Anna Karenina.
Anne Enright's Making Babies was a good read, funny and honest.
A sense of an ending by Julian Barnes - recycled a bit from an earlier book of his I read, but got alot right.
Book of the year was of course Red Ribbons by Louise Phillips, I loved the pace and excitement, so proud of Louise's writing, a clever blend of thoughtfulness and action, a very successful debut for her and really well deserved.
There was a light one over the Christmas, about a magical health spa and three different women with three different challenges in life, can't remember the name now - maybe "Always and Forever" - something along those lines.
Also read Cinderella in Irish Luathriona it's called - that was a good one too.
Christine Falls and A Death in Summer provided my John Banville fix this year in the guise of Benjamin Black, I liked em, dark, but a good pace.
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe was amazing, full of story telling touches, beautifully written, like a piece of the past, sliced out and served, extremely well worth reading.