Leaking lists

Newspaper editors around Australia must be besides themselves with joy that the WikiLeaks story has broken during the silly season when news can be hard to come by. We do have the Poms belting us black and blue at cricket but that can only fill so many pages. Other perennial summer yarns include the road toll (tick) and wild weather (tick, tick, tick). In the bygone era of aggro industrial relations you could usually count on a beer and/or postal strike to liven up the pre-Christmas period, too.

Without such staples, newspapers, magazines and current affairs shows fill up with Top 10s and Best Ofs. Many blogs do, too.

Before I conducted my 2010 autopsy, I delved a little to see what influences have lingered. Here are the 2009 and 2008 entries. Hey, at least I can show I listened to Angus & Julia Stone before they became mainstream cool.

Ms Adele at Persnickety Snark suggested 11 Top 5s to countdown to 2011 but I’m going to have to settle for this mutated selection from her list, because I clearly haven’t read as quickly or widely:

5 Great Covers: Kirsty Murray’s India Dark, Leanne Hall’s This is Shyness, Cath Crowley’s Graffiti Moon, Karen Tayleur’s Six and, dare I say, my Five Parts Dead (thanks to Chong at Text Publishing).

5 Great Series: Based on reading these with my son, Derek Landy’s Skulduggery Pleasant Series, Sandy Fussell’s Samurai Kids series, Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series. Based on my own reading of the first book in the series – Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, and Joseph Delaney’s The Spook’s Apprentice.

5 Great Re-Reads (books you’ve LOVED so much you went back for more): These aren’t YA fiction but this year I found myself re-reading Peter Temple’s The Broken Shore, Neil Gaiman’s Instructions, Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, Dav Pilkey’s The Dumb Bunnies and lots of Dr Seuss with my daughter. I am planning to re-read Markus Zusak’s The Messenger real soon, though.

Most Anticipated (2011 titles): Sheesh, I’m still working my way through a backlog of titles. Books I can’t wait to consume come from 2010 and even further back and include Rachel Cohn and David Levithan’s Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares, Scot Gardner’s Happy As Larry, Kirsty Murray’s India Dark, Cory Doctorow’s Makers, Lian Hearn’s Heaven’s Net is Wide, Justin Cronin’s The Passage, Kate Constable & Penni Russon’s Dear Swoozie, Fiona Wood’s Six Impossible Things, Paul Kelly’s How To Make Gravy and Kevin Keefe’s Paddy’s Road: Life Stories of Patrick Dodson. Sally Rippin’s Angel Creek is a genuine 2011 title I’m keen to read.

But that’s just the tip of the bedside table stack. One of the apps on the iPad that makes me feel 11 all over again is the ComiXology store where I have already downloaded enough graphic novels to keep me going until next summer.

5 Great YA Bloggers
Authors – Cath Crowley, Kate Constable, Kirsty Murray, Penni Russon, Simmone Howell. Passionate book people – Book Gryffin, InkCrush, Miffy, Persnickety Snark, ReadPlus. There are countless others – but these snare me most frequently.

5 Books I Thoroughly Enjoyed in 2010 (but could have been published any time): Cath Crowley’s Graffiti Moon, Chloe Hooper’s The Tall Man, Craig Thompson’s Blankets, Joel Deane’s The Norseman’s Song and Simmone Howell’s Everything Beautiful.

The funniest thing I’ve read all year was a chapter in Rene Goscinny’s Nicholas about a teacher doing yard duty at a boys’ school after several days of wet-day timetable. Absolute gold.

Favourite Films from 2010: Up In The Air, The Social Network, Animal Kingdom, Toy Story 3, The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town. (Runners up: Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, The Hurt Locker, HP7, Inception.)

On Regular Rotation in 2010: Clare Bowditch, The Jezabels, Angus & Julia Stone, Arcade Fire, Whitley, Ben Folds and (still) Bon Iver.

On The Idiot Box: This year I bought a box set of The Wire and became a wirehead whenever free-to-air failed to grab me. Great stuff.

One show that entertained, upset, challenged and inspired me was The United States of Tara. The most recent series of Skins faltered somewhat but I’m still stunned it’s getting re-made in the US. Cue wail of anguish. Nooooooooo! Australian Story is consistently good. Channel 9 desecrated Top Gear.

Thanks list: In a year when I’ve had a new book released, I am acutely aware of the support I need from booksellers, reviewers, Text Publishing, speakers’ agency Booked Out, teachers, librarians, fellow authors, friends and family. Thank you all for being in my corner. I appreciate it.

Have a safe, jolly Christmas and may 2011 see your dreams come to fruition.

UPDATE: Whoops, I’ve added some titles that slipped my foggy mind first time around. And FYI, here’s the New York Times list of Notable Children’s Books of 2010.

7 thoughts on “Leaking lists”

  1. Great post, Tim. I’m glad you are looking forward to the release of Angel Creek. Not more than me, I can assure you! I’m hoping to launch it at The Little Bookroom as they did such a great job on yours. Wonder if I can pull as big a crowd though? 😉

  2. What a great set of lists. I loved Chloe Hooper’s The Tall Man. And Everything Beautiful. And Five Parts Dead. And Clare Bowditch. But I think I liked Angus and Julia after they became mainstream cool.
    I’m off to make my own list now.
    You’ve inspired me.

  3. Thanks Cath. Lists are always fun but I think they’re at their best when you can argue about them with friends over a beverage or two. That said, I do avoid lists along the lines of 100 Films/Books/Places I Need to View/Read/Visit Before I Die because the OCD part of me might kick in and result in years spent trying to tick all the boxes…

    Will tune in for your lists soon!

  4. I love this post Tim! I attempted to have a go at this myself, but abandoned the task as far too difficult! I simply cannot narrow it down. Hopeless. I was beyond stoked and very flattered that the blog got a mention, thank you! 🙂
    If I might shamelessly use your comment box to let Sally know… I am SO looking forward to Angel Creek and am VERY sure you would fill the Little BookRoom in a heartbeat! 🙂

  5. Ahh, this is awesome. That chapter in Nicholas sounds brilliant! There is something different in the air at schools when you’re in that wet weather scene.

    I agree with Tye ~ end of year lists are so impossibly hard but i love to read them and get inspired for things i may have missed ~ or pumped when someone’s loving the same things as me.

    We’re away on holidays at the moment and I’ve brought Five Parts Dead along to pass on to my brother in law who teaches high school English (i most definitely want it back though 🙂 ~ he’s always looking for high school texts that are Australian and brilliant for his male students ~ yours fits perfectly i think 🙂

    and, was a bit flabbergasted to see my blog in there ~ thanks!

    and i agree about the united states of tara! and i think you’ll be thrilled with Fiona Wood’s book. It’s really spectacular. funny and heartfelt and just about everything you want in a book.

    Hope your 2011 is brilliant.

  6. Thanks Nomes. I really appreciate all you do to promote Australian authors as it’s a real struggle to get our books seen among the flood of titles coming from elsewhere.

    Hope your brother enjoys 5PD. I’ve had word from a couple of schools who adding it to curriculum in 2011, which is very exciting. If it stops one kid from getting into a car with a drink driver – or gets one 15 yo male to read a whole novel – then it will have done its job.

    As for that chapter in Nicholas, it still makes me smile thinking about it. I laughed until the tears came with my son, then did it all over again reading it to my wife and daughter.

    Best wishes to you for 2011, too.


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