Posted by: Lisa Hill | December 18, 2016

A Year in First Lines (2016) – a meme

Well really, here we are the week before Christmas and there is heaps to do so I should not be joining in new memes, but I couldn’t help being curious about what might show up if I did A Year in First Lines which I discovered through Jane at Beyond Eden Rock…

These are the rules, from Beyond Eden Rock

The last month of the year is here, and so it’s time to play a particular game:

“Take the first line of each month’s post over the past year and see what it tells you about your blogging year.”

It’s an idea that started with The Indextrious Reader a few years ago, and I remember that that it really is an interesting way to look back at a year.

If I had an artistic bone in my body I would make my own calendar with Aussie birds, but no, I am reproducing Jane’s calendar too:


the-world-repair-video-gameSo, here we go, starting with December:

The World Repair Video Game, by David Ireland

Oh, words fail me when I try to describe the experience of reading this book.

[Well, no they didn’t fail me, I went on to write 1595 words, but you’re not surprised by that, eh?]


Doctor Faustus, by Thomas Mann, translated by John E. Woods

Well, contrary to my own expectations, I’ve finished this in time for German Lit Month!


‘Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius’, from Labyrinths, by Jorge Luis Borges, translated by James E. Irby

Sometimes, I really, really wish that I had kept a reading journal throughout my entire life.

Wood GreenSeptember

Wood Green, by Sean Rabin

Wood Green has been sitting in my pile for a couple of months, but I didn’t pay it much attention until it was shortlisted for the 2016 Readings Prize last week.


Book giveaway winner: Letterature: Verse letters from Australian women, by Timoshenko Aslanides

Time to draw another giveaway,  thanks to the generosity of Melbourne Indie Publisher Hybrid.

The Faint-hearted BolshevikJuly

The Faint-hearted Bolshevik, by Lorenzo Silva, translated by Nick Caistor and Isabelle Kaufeler

July is Spanish Lit month at Winston’s Dad so I checked my Spanish TBR shelf at Goodreads and chose the one with the most intriguing title.


Venice, by Nick Earls

Venice is Book 2 in Nick Earls’ Wisdom Tree series of novellas; it follows Gotham which I reviewed last month.

The Art of Reading

On Patience, The Art of Reading, by Damon Young

I said in my previous post about Damon Young’s The Art of Reading that I didn’t expect to read it straight through, all in one go, as I usually do – but I couldn’t resist the chapter on Patience.

The Queen's PlayApril

The Queen’s Play, by Aashish Kaul

The Queen’s Play is a book for people who love chess.


Talking to My Country, by Stan Grant

Stan Grant’s new book, Talking to My Country has had a lot of publicity, so I bought a copy to see what the noise was about.

Dining AloneFebruary

Dining Alone, Stories from the Table for One, edited by Barbara Santich

I don’t often read short stories, but this collection intrigued me for a number of reasons.


Molecule-R, an Introduction to the Science Behind 40 Spectacular Recipes, by Molecule-R Flavors Inc

This most interesting book was a Christmas present from The Offspring and his lovely wife, and it came with a little kit box for making flavour pearls.


What do these First Lines tell me about my year in blogging?

  • Well, that I do, as indicated by the name of my blog, focus on Australian books, eight of them in fact (though one was a giveaway).  So far I’ve reviewed 120 Australian books this year, but hey, 2016 isn’t over yet and I’m reading one I really like at the moment…
  • Also that I review translated fiction too – there are two reviews, both from Europe.
  • You can tell that I’m a bit of a foodie: there’s a review of a cookbook, and a collection of short stories about dining out.
  • But there are three collections of short fiction, which is completely misleading because I am a rather reluctant reader of short stories, preferring the novel.
  • You can see that I care about indigenous writing all year round and not just during Indigenous Literature Week in July, because there’s a review of Stan Grant’s Talking to My Country in March.
  • The Queen’s Play by Aashish Kaul (an Australian of Indian heritage) also suggests that I’m interested in diverse voices.  Just recently I’ve started a Diversity page (see the top menu) and was pleased to see just how many books I’ve read that are by first and second-generation Australians from all over the world.
  • There are eight posts about fiction and only three about non-fiction, which is more-or-less indicative of my reading choices. (The twelfth one is a giveaway collection of verse).  But there’s only one debut novel, and I think I’ve reading quite a few of those, though I’m yet to tally any stats for the year.  Update: I reviewed 10 debut novels for 2016).
  • And I think you can tell from these First Lines that I have a relaxed style of writing.  I’m aiming to know what I’m talking about, but I’m not scholarly.  (Or pompous, I hope.)

What do you think?  Do these First Lines reveal anything to you?



  1. Your first lines tell me that you have a relaxed but passionate approach to literature, and that you usually write in the first person ‘I’ rather than from some supposedly objective third person. I believe that’s a good thing.


  2. I ignored your titles and just looked at your first lines. As Anokatony says, you’re a very relaxed first person kind of person:
    “Oh, words fail me when I try to describe the experience of reading this book. /Well, contrary to my own expectations, I’ve finished this in time for German Lit Month! /Sometimes, I really, really wish that I had kept a reading journal throughout my entire life.”

    My first words for the year were:
    “Everyone seems to have time on their hands in the past couple of weeks. Sue, Lisa you’re not aiming at the magic 366 posts for the year are you?”
    You answered no, but you must have come close.


    • *chuckle* I haven’t counted! I know how many reviews I’ve done (234) but I haven’t counted other things like awards news and giveaways.
      One thing I am quietly pleased about is that my gender stats for the year are a cool 50/50 – and I swear I haven’t consciously worked towards that.


      • Well done, both on the balance and the quantity – that’s just short of 2 posts every 3 days. As for the quality, that obviously speaks for itself as all your loyal readers will attest.


  3. What a lovely range of books you’ve read. I love this snapshot, I’m so pleased you decided to join in and I hope you’ll find as many interesting books next year.


    • Thanks, Jane, and wishing you a happy year in reading for 2017 too:)


  4. I see you are a reader. Lol. Good selection of books here. My game of first lines which only went up a few minutes ago tells me 2016 was very much about travel. I am hoping to be more bookish in 2017. All the best for 2017 to you please.


    • I love your blog, especially the tales about collecting more Penguins…

      Liked by 1 person

      • I will continue to have experiences collection them so I will make sure you know about them. Lots of fun to share it with others who appreciate the little guys.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I like that your first sentences reveal a little about you & your reading habits. Our blogs should reflect our reading patterns, about why we read the books we do & how we react to them.
    This is a lovely meme – thanks for bringing it to our attention:-)


    • Yes, I think so too, I like the individuality of the blogs I follow…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post! Most of your first lines have a great hook so they engage the reader 😊


    • Thanks, Lauren! Are you going to do it too?


  7. Oh, I completely missed this when you posted it – I was in Melbourne for the 90th birthday and to see the kids – and then it was straight home into Christmas madness. I can’t add to what others have said here though – but I did enjoy reading your post.


    • It’s an interesting meme, but I may not do it this year (2017) because I’m finding now that I’m a bit self-conscious about having “I” in my first sentence!


      • Yes, I understand that except, I suppose, that ours are personal reviews and people like to know why we are reading the book which is often why we have I in our first sentence don’t you think?


        • Yes, and Tony says in the first comment, he likes it better than a supposedly objective tone. It’s more that I aim for variety in my writing and so I don’t want to be same-same…


        • Yes, you’re right, I’m probably just channelling my Grade 6 teacher….


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