And the bad sex winner is….

Drum roll, bated breath, nervous giggles. The 2009 Bad Sex In Fiction winner is Jonathan Littell!

400 connoisseurs of crummy sex writing gathered at London’s In & Out Club (I didn’t make that name up) to toast Littell’s sucess. The man of the moment didn’t attend but the award, presented by the lovely Charles Dance, was accepted by his editor at Chatto and Windus. The judges praised The Kindly Ones as an “ambitious and impressive novel” and hoped Littell took the prize in “good humour”.

So bad luck Philip Roth, John Banville, Nick Cave etc but don’t be too despondent there is always next year. For a peep at the prizewinning passage see The Literary Review, be prepared to blush.

Fave Raves 2009

There were a lot of books to like in 2009. Tops for me are the high school comic chronicles of Ariel Schrag,  graphic novels that absolutely nail the hideousness and elation of adolescence, or what I can remember of it.

I wanted to put them on my best Young Adult novels list but they are not classified as Young Adult novels despite being about Young Adults and being written by a Young Adult but that’s an argument that could go on forever and has done since the term Young Adult was invented.  How many times can I write Young Adult in one blog post? A lot of times.

While we’re on the subject of graphic novels and how they often seem tragically under-appreciated, my heart was gladdened by the appearance of that masterpiece Persepolis in second place on the Times Online list of the 100 best books of the last decade.

In the interest of getting one more Young Adult into this post, The Rehearsal by the scarily young and self-possessed Eleanor Catton was another high point in my reading year. I can’t wait to see what she does next after this wonderfully observant and knowing first novel.

Netherland by Joseph O’Neill,  must be good because it’s a novel about cricket that engaged someone who has spent more hours than any lifetime can spare sitting on the sidelines in a Christchurch easterly watching a two day game grind to a draw. It’s also about family and love and New York and learning to drive. Something for everyone.

My non-fiction rave is Zeitoun by Dave Eggers which turned me into one of those crashing bores who treat friends and family to twenty minute descriptions of what’s been happening in the book they’re reading. I literally could not leave this alone; I kept sneaking back to it and turning the pages with horrified fascination and then complete incredulity. Eggers’ calm, measured recounting of what befell an ordinary working man in New Orleans, trying to do his best for his family and his city in the face of the madness that followed Hurricane Katrina, is perfect.

Haven’t really got any hates because I have dropped my previously Calvinistic attitude to finishing  any book I started no matter how bad. As my life grows ever shorter and the list of books I want to read ever longer I can’t afford to waste time. On the disappointing rather than hate-worthy list for 2009 is Family album by Penelope Lively, probably because I revere her more than most novelists so was expecting great things. I finished it but found it a bit blah, somehow the family shenanigans just weren’t that interesting and the big secret not that surprising.

Follow the books…books…books…follow the books

…all the way to the annual Aranui family festival, better known as AFFIRM at Wainoni Park (Hampshire St, Aranui) this Saturday 5th December 2009!!

Between 10am and 4pm, you’ll find amongst many great things the pretty faces of Christchurch City Library staff promoting our wonderful services to the community at our awesome stall!!

You’ll also be able to check out some great food stalls, what the latest gossip is amongst the community and enjoy the hip-hop flavas of Nesian Mystik!!

Check out our ‘Pulse’ website to read comments from organiser Rachael Fonotia or better yet come on down to AFFIRM this Saturday and see for yourself!! Oh and did I mention that it’s FREE?!!!

Best and Worst Books 2009

Twilight has been trashed,  Fiona Farrell fêted and is all is well with the world. Or is it?
If you’ve got your own book-ish brickbats and bouquets enter the Best and Worst competition and be in to win one of four $50 book vouchers. Open until December 16th, keep those entries coming and for a little inspiration check out our blog comments!