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A customary greeting

Of course it’s customary in my last missive of the year to wish all of our valued and loyal customers the very best for the festive and holiday season, and I’ll do so again, on behalf of Gleebooks, for the umpteenth year in a row. And with great pleasure, as I really worried that the umpteenth might be the last. And worried that COVID might wreak havoc, not just on our business, but on some of you. Fortunately. with some tragic exceptions, we’ve weathered the perils, at least in NSW.

But what of all those in the writing and broader arts community. Chaos and difficulties aplenty, well-documented. It doesn’t take a pandemic to highlight how fragile the financial framework of the ‘arts house’ is. Crash and burn for many, with zero or scandalously poor support from Government, but not, by and large, for those in the book industry. In fact, if the pandemic has proved anything, it’s that people will stick with, and even rediscover, books. And while that means it’s the emperors of online sellers who have cleaned up, it seems as though at least the the rest of us will come through the annus horribilis ok.

I’m relieved to say that thanks to you, and a brilliantly dedicated crew of Gleebooksellers, we’re still here, with fingers and toes crossed for a drought/flood/bushfire/COVID ‘free’ Christmas. We’ve a bumper crop of books to recommend, and our well-read staff are keen to get you even better-read with their own ‘books of the year’, and of course you’ll all be seeing our annual Summer Reading Guide soon. I’ve a head full of books, always, and not great at singling out my own ‘best of’, but please make sure you read the fourth of Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead quartet, Jack, which is part of a strange, beautiful moral exploration of American history, and race, and small town life. Utterly original. And for what it’s worth, two Australian books. The best first novel of the year (easily) for me was The Last Migration by Charlotte Mcconaghy. And in late November, a handsome chunky collection of Don Watson’s prose, Watsonia including many previously unseen and unpublished pieces. Watson is a treasure: wisdom, whimsy, satire, history, and ‘wordsmithery’ of the highest order.