Goodbye 2011

I’ve just popped a bottle of really nice bubbly into the fridge for tonight. I intend to welcome the new year with glass in hand. But the old year still has a few good hours in her. And as those last hours of 2011 tick by, I’m sitting at my computer thinking back on the year. For me, it’s been mostly a good year — both personally and professionally. And whether you like it or not, I’m gonna tell you about it. 🙂

I’ve had quite a few books come out this year. Top of the pile is my teen novel Gamers’ Challenge, which was published in September by Ford Street Publishing. It seems to be selling well and it’s been getting some pretty awesome reviews. I’m happy about that. Earlier in the year I had a six book series, What’s In My Food, released by Macmillan Young Library. It’s a nice looking set of hard cover non-fic books aimed at about Grade 2 level. And there was also a whole batch of school readers.

Then there were a bunch of short stories appearing in magazines and anthologies, including Dead Red Heart, Monk Punk, Basics of Life, [untitled] #4 and Midnight Echo #5. And in September, one of my 2010 stories (“Trees” from Short and Scary) was put onto the Recommended Reading List by the editors of Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2010 — a very nice honour, indeed.

And I launched a new blog, Viewing Clutter, on which I review DVDs and Blu-ray discs.

With the release of Gamers’ Challenge I ended up doing a lot of school visits and bookstore signings. The highlights were the Literary Festivals at Catholic College Bendigo and Yarra Valley Grammar, both organised by the Creative Net (I’d highly recommend checking out Creative Net if you’re looking to book an author or illustrator to speak.).

Between all the writing and school visits, I ended up reading less this year than I normally would. I did, however, manage to read quite a number of really good books. Last year I gave you two Top 5 lists — books publishing in 2010 and those published in previous years. This year, I won’t separate them — just one list of all my favourites. I’m not going to restrict myself to five books and I’m not going to number them. I had a really hard time ordering them last year, and I don’t want to do that to myself again. So…

Here are my favourite reads of 2011. These are the books that I thought were better than just good — each of these had that extra spark, that something special, that made them stand out from the crowd.

  • Goliath by Scott Westerfeld (Illustrated by Keith Thompson), 2011. (see my post “Goliath was worth the wait”)
  • Liberator by Richard Harland, 2011 (see my post “Richard Harland and Liberator”)
  • The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman (illustrated by Dave McKean), 2008. (I’ll post about this one soon.)
  • Blaze of Glory (The Laws of Magic Book 1) by Michael Pryor, 2006. (see my post “Michael’s Blaze of Glory”)
  • Edsel Grizzler Book One: Voyage to Verdada by James Roy, 2009. (see my post “Catching up with Edsel Grizzler”)
  • Darth Paper Strikes Back by Tom Angleberger, 2011. (see my post “Darth Paper Strikes Back”)
  • The High Lord (The Black Magician Trilogy Book 3) by Trudi Canavan, 2004. (see my post “The Black Magician trilogy”)
  • Zombies vs Unicorns edited by Justine Larbalestier & Holly Black, 2010. (see my post “Zombies vs Unicorns”)
  • Changing Yesterday by Sean McMullen, 2011. (see my post “Changing Yesterday”)
  • Vampyre by Margaret Wild (illustrated by Andrew Yeo), 2011. (see my post “Vampyre picture book”)
  • When I Grow Up by Al Yankovic (illustrated by Wes Hargis), 2011. (see my post “Weird Al’s picture book”)

There were, of course, many other excellent books published during 2011 that are not on my list. That’s ‘cause I haven’t read them yet. I’m sure some 2011 books will show up on my list at the end of next year. In fact, I’ve just started reading Elisabeth Sladen: the autobiography, and I’m loving it. I’m not even a third of the way through, so I’ll count that as a “read in 2012” book.

Next year is certainly shaping up to be an interesting one. I’ve got quite a few school readers scheduled for publication and I’ve already been commissioned to write a few more. There are also some other writing projects on the boil. And my must-read-soon pile is very high, teetering precariously with the weight of many interesting books.

2012 is also the National Year of Reading. I’m VERY excited about this, especially since I’ve been appointed Patron Mentone Grammar Reading Ambassador by my old school. So it’s gonna be a big year! I can’t wait!

Okay, I think I’ve probably waffled on long enough. That’s it for this year. I need a drink! I wonder if that bottle has chilled yet?

Catch ya in 2012,  George

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George Ivanoff

LITERARY CLUTTER: Bookish bloggings from the cluttered mind and bookshelf of Melbourne author, George Ivanoff. George is the author of the YOU CHOOSE books, the OTHER WORLDS series, the RFDS Adventures and the GAMERS trilogy.