Book Jotter’s end of week recap
This is the fifth of my weekly posts in which I summarize books read, reviewed and currently on my TBR shelf. In addition to a variety of literary titbits, I look ahead to forthcoming features, see what’s on the night-stand and keep readers abreast of various book-related happenings.
If there is something you would particularly like to see on Winding Up the Week or if you have any suggestions, questions or comments for Book Jotter in general, please drop me a line. I would be delighted to hear from you.
THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE TBR >>
I read and reviewed A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr, in which a First World War veteran arrives in rural Yorkshire to restore a Medieval wall painting. It was the winner of the 1980 Guardian Fiction Prize and shortlisted for the Booker. I gave it four stars on Goodreads. >> Read my thoughts >>
I also completed Estoril, Dejan Tiago-Stanković’s comedy-cum-spy novel set in a luxurious hotel during the height of the Second World War. It is scheduled for publication on 8th March. I gave it three stars on Goodreads. >> Read my thoughts >>
I have, over the last few days, been following the Persephone Readathon with immense interest: a fun event organised by Jessie B. of Dwell in Possibility, for the sheer pleasure of “reading and discussing all things Persephone Books.”
Between 1st and 11th February, participants have been discovering, discussing and generally devouring titles from this cult publisher’s collection. There have been optional daily challenges on offer ranging from sharing first impressions to describing current reads in six words. Readers have also been blogging about their particular choices and sharing their experiences on Twitter. You can read a couple of fascinating posts at HEAVANALI and Stuck in a Book. You may also like to seek out a few of the many terrific photographs such as those posted by The Captive Reader and Bag Full of Books.
Persephone Books specialise in reprinting neglected fiction and non-fiction by mid-twentieth- century, mainly women writers. They describe their 125 titles as “intelligent, thought-provoking and beautifully written [books], chosen to appeal to busy people wanting titles that are neither too literary nor too commercial.” All their covers are an identical grey in colour with a small depiction of the queen of the underworld branded in the lower left corner. They are collected with enormous enthusiasm by Persephone devotees, who fetishize the books’ gorgeously designed endpapers and matching bookmarks.
Should you wish to follow the readathon on Twitter or tweet about this literary jolly, please don’t forget to use the #PersephoneReadathon hashtag.
Umpteen fascinating articles appeared on my bookdar last week. I generally make a point of tweeting my favourite finds, but in case you missed anything, here are one or two interesting snippets:
- Medium Daily Digest: How to Teach Yourself to Read an Entire Book in a Single Day – This piece by Thomas Oppong should be especially useful to me as I read far too slowly.
- Electric Literature: Through Books, I Learned to Love the Natural World I Never Saw – Surrounded by concrete and desert, Geether Lyer fed her curiosity about plants and animals with her favourite novel, My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell (one of my all-time favourites, too).
- The New Yorker: The Strange and Twisted Life of “Frankenstein” – In Life and Letters, Jill Lepore asks if, after 200 years, we are ready to learn the truth about Mary Shelley’s novel.
- The Guardian: The best political books by women: chosen by Gloria Steinem, Mary Beard, Diane Abbott and more – To mark the centenary of the Representation of the People Act that paved the way to universal suffrage, politicians, activists and writers share the books that changed their lives.
- The New York Times: Lisa Halliday’s Debut Novel Is Drawing Comparisons to Philip Roth. Though Not for the Reasons You Might Think – Asymmetry features a clandestine romance between a young editorial assistant and a famous, much older novelist.
- Paris Review: Selika, Mystery of the Belle Epoque – Susanna Forrest writes of her investigation into the mysteriously untraceable Selika, the black Amazon of Belle Epoque Paris.
- Signature: A Republic Marked by War: 8 Best Books to Understand South Korea – Keith Rice offers a literary window into South Korea and its culture. Books include The Vegetarian, which is a great favourite of mine.
- The Writing Cooperative: Link Building with Like-Minded Bloggers – When you do it the right way, link building is one of the best ways to boost your following.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I wish you a week bountiful in books and rich in reading.
NB In this feature, ‘winding up’ refers to the act of concluding something and should not be confused with the popular British ‘wind-up’: an age-old pastime of ‘winding-up’ friends and family by teasing or playing pranks on them. If you would like to know more about this expression, there’s an excellent description on Urban Dictionary.
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