Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Parrish Guide to 2012 ~ Or a Bluffers Guide to Semi-Literate Blogging- Pt3.

In the last post “Stats & Views”, I did a month by month review of the most visited & commented on posts of The Parrish Lantern & used this to work out what the most popular books of the year were & how, or if, that ties in with my own views on the Lantern. Although for the most part this worked, it didn’t reflect my own personal favourites or highlights of 2012. Anyone who blogs, by the very definition has an opinion, an ego* that says “this is my view”. So, based on this slightly dodgy premise – here is Parrish’s guide to 2012 - complete with personal highlights.sjon


Top fiction of the year came from Iceland, From the Mouth of a Whale by Sjon an author/ poet, whose work I want to devour, whilst attempting to describe this book I said about the main character Jonas Sandpiper :

 “I could quite happily sit in a bar somewhere with a glass of some fermented herb/ whale blubber etc, listening to his inane or impassioned warbling all night long.”

This comment could just as easily have been referring to the author.


Summer My Father DiedNonfiction. When Lizzie from Telegram books offered this for review, I nearly turned it down, it was the fact that George Szirtes was the translator that sold it to me & I’m glad of that. The Summer My Father Died by Yudit Kiss, surprised me. At first glance it is a book about an academic and dyed in the wool communist, which didn’t really appeal, and yet this is merely one of it’s facets. It is also about a family’s sacrifice and an individuals survival under conditions that could easily go in the Oxford English dictionary as the definition of hell, about a rejection of a past and it’s rediscovery, it is about all the contradictions and half truths people use to get by. But most of all it is about love, family love.

amos oz

Favourite short story collection - Scenes from Village Life – Amos Oz. This wonderful collection of tales form what is a strange and yet beautifully written book that for all its surreal dark qualities really endeared itself to me, that  slowly and quietly charmed it's way into my heart.


A sea of inkTop novella, I was tempted to give this to Sjon for The Whispering Muse, which is a wonderful book, and as I stated in the original post, I’m amazed how he can create a world that is, at the same point on the page, both totally believable and yet is also hallucinatory, grotesque, phantasmagorical and fabulous, this is a writer I want to know more about. But after some immense and neuron destroying cogitation, The Sea of Ink by Richard Weihe gets my vote. In fifty one beautifully crafted chapters, this book manages to capture the life of not just one of China’s greatest exponents of the Shuimohua style of painting, but a man who was an enigma, a spoilt and adored Prince who became a Buddhist abbot, madman to respected artist, poet and philosopher.

FullBlood -j siddique


Poetry. My initial response was to hand this award to Full Blood by John Siddique, this is muscular erotic poetry, the writing is beautiful as only someone who loves language - whatever it’s shape, whether fey or concrete, whether spiritual or something more bloodied, more visceral can write. But my dilemma is that although I reviewed it in 2012 it came out in 2011, which gives me a perfect excuse to slip another poetry book onto my list. Warrior by David Lloyd - in these poems there was a force that had a confrontational nature, that had an almost suppressed violence - almost. Yet, at the same time some of these poemDavid Lloyd Warriorss have a delicate intimacy, a sweetness that comes from close ties.


  2012 was a great year for myself and The Parrish Lantern, I got to interview the award winning Latin-American author Andrés Neuman. I became part of The International Foreign Fiction Prize’s Shadow Jury, with a coterie of fellow “Literary bloggers” (Thanks, RobMark, Lisa,Tony, Simon & Stu) which I hope to repeat again this year, also as part of this I wrote an introduction for the Booktrust. One of 2012’s main aims was to increase the amount of poetry reviewed  & discussed on this site, I believe this not only happened (it’s an almost 50/50 split now) but in some cases the poetry turned out to be the post that stimulated the most reaction. This will remain one of the core principals, along with the ethos of continually improving The Parrish Lantern, by championing as diverse a range of literature as is possible from all the corners, and the nooks and crannies of this world of ours.

Another first for The Parrish Lantern is that a post of mine will feature on another’s blog (with my consent), in this case a brief overview of Ryuichi Tamura, will appear on January in Japan, Tony’s Month of J-Lit Wonders. Please check the site out & say Hi from me.

So a big Thank You to all who follow The Parrish Lantern and feel free to add your own ideas. As a polite introduction to a new idea, whether its a Book, a Poem or your favourite writer is always welcome. Thanks Parrish.

It's me, I'm Here..LOok!!

Although in the 2012 world of the “literary blogger” there was a wonderful cornucopia of books, novels, short story collections, poetry chapbooks and novellas to read, it is sometimes easy to forget that we exist in a tiny bubble that doesn’t reflect the outside world or the tastes of most of the populace. Taking this into consideration & with the aim of appealing to the mainstream readership - here at The Parrish Lantern, we would like to dedicate this next bit to the 50 shades franchise;

50 shades to please your lover  (sorry Paul Simon)

Those bonds are very tight she said to me
there is no way that you'll get free
so now  listen very close-ly
or your punishments they shall proceed
There must be fifty shades to please  your lover

She said it's really not my habit to be rude
but that  book has me hot & bothered feeling lewd
so  I'll repeat myself, at the risk of being crude
There must be fifty shades to please your lover,  there need be
nifty ways  to please your lover

Don't put out your back Jack
it will make you a new man Stan
your now my boy toy Roy
just there to please
Stop making a fuss, Gus
I  don't need you to discuss much
While I've got the keys, Lee
let the punishments proceed

Ooo watch that slipped back, Jack
and get with the plan, Stan
You don't need to be coy, Roy
this will set your mind free
stop making a fuss, Gus
and put on that truss, Gus
Down on your knees lee
Just drop off the key,

She said it grieves me so to see you in such
and that the handcuffs are starting to chafe 
I admit the garden implements are strange
had to improvise as  previously explained
About the fifty shades

She said why don't we both sleep on it tonight
Although you'll be bound up rather tight
she kissed me once, turned out the light
left saying she maybe gone awhile
humming there must be fifty shades to please your lover

thrifty shades to please your lover

Don't out out your back Jack
I'll  make you a new man Stan
your now my boy toy Roy
just there to please
Stop making a fuss, Gus
don't need you to discuss much
While I've got the keys, Lee
let the punishments proceed

Ooo watch that slipped back, Jack
and get with the plan, Stan
You don't need to be coy, Roy
this will set your mind free
stop making a fuss, Gus
and put on that truss, Gus
Down on your knees lee
Just drop off the key,

Now start begging to me .


* Or is that just me???

May 2013 be all that you wish and your wishes all that you need.


Suko said...

I do agree that each (book) blog represents a distinct "ego" or voice --anything in writing that goes beyond "just the facts" does. In the case of The Parrish Lantern, yours is insightful and eclectic and well-written. Enjoyed your mini reviews today, as well as and your rendition of Fifty Ways....

Bellezza said...

Gary!!! I hate that song, normally I've loved Paul Simon but musically, to me, it stinks...however, your lyrics? Infinitely improve it!!! Hilarious! Wonderful! Insightful! A thousand times better than the ridiculous words E. L. Fay strung together and called a novel (the first twenty pages of which I read to see the fuss).

You never cease to bring a smile to my face.

Am jealous, in a happy-for-you-sort-of-way that you were the shadow jury accompanied by some fine friends. Am looking forward to your review on Tony's blog.

Happy New Year, friend!

Serena said...

Scenes from Village Life sounds like something I'd enjoy. Thanks for your review.

Sandra said...

So glad to hear about From the Mouth of a Whale by Sjon. I've just purchased a copy after reading the delightful The Blue Fox. Sea of Ink sounds like my kind of story. I'll read your reviews after I'm finished the books. Happy reading in 2013.

Unknown said...

Ah, poetry and S &M - sublime :)

Some great choices here; hope 2013 has more of the same in store!

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

Thanks for sharing your favorites! Wonderful year for you.

Mel u said...

Thanks for these great reading ideas, especially the Amos Oz short stories. I hope 2013 is a great reading and personal year for you.

Richard said...

Gary, thanks for the fine work you do at your blog; my relative lack of comments notwithstanding, I enjoy the writing & coverage here! Will think about trying one of your 2012 faves once I recover from my own 2012 reading year. All best!

Judith said...

Finaly a poem I love on first sight! What fun, Gary.

You read some great books last year. I wish you another great reading year!

Brian Joseph said...

Looks like you read some great books last year.

Your list is also reminding me that I really need to get to more poetry myself.

Have a Happy New Years!

Chinoiseries said...

Happy new year Parrish! I love your poem dedicated to the Fifty Shades franchise, if only someone would make it into a viral video? The Gangnam Style of 2013? :D

Anonymous said...

Haha, clever reworking of Paul Simon! And good annual review of your reading and blogging. All the best to a great 2013!

Unknown said...

Despite my love of Icelandic fiction I still haven't tried any Sjon. I really need to change that in 2013. I hope you have a wonderful 2013. Keep up the great blog!

@parridhlantern said...

Hi Suko, glad you liked & best wishes for the coming year.

Ciao Bellezza, glad it brought a smile to your face, that was the intention, as sometimes I can get a bit serious & po-faced, this was just some fun. A bright & shiny new year to you. PS, hoping to do the shadow jury again this year.

Hello Sandra, The Blue Fox is the only one I haven't read, although I do have it. Sea of Ink is a wonderful read & worth getting. Best wishes for the New Year.

Hi Tony I think it is the direction I'm going to take The Parrish Lantern, at the moment I'm working on Marquis De Sade The Musical.

Thank You Deb, may your year be wonderful.

Hi Mel Hope you enjoy Oz, I intend to read more of him this year. Best wishes to you & your family.

Hi Richard recovery is not an option, just plough on until the brakes seize. Best wishes.

Hi Judith, my mission was a success :-) All the best for the coming year.

Hello Brian, you can't have enough poetry in your life, Check my Pomesallsizes page if you want some ideas & if your on Twitter check the @pomesallsizes for a new poem everyday (hopefully)The best of wishes for 2013.

Hi Chinoiseries, thanks for your comment I would hate to have to listen to it all year though. Best wishes for this shiny new year.

Hi Pete, glad you liked it & have a fantastic new year.

Hi Jackie, get some Sjon in your life, you won't regret it, definitely my favourite new writer in 2012. All the best for this bright New Year.

stujallen said...

great year and damm Sjon missed him from my list ,so many good books last year and was great to do the IFFP with you ,all the best stu

Chad Hull said...

Thanks for the recommendations; I'm looking forward to checking out the Oz, Siddique, and Llyod.