An end of week recap
This is a weekly post 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 >>
A supplemental snack of a book I am starting later today is a children’s title – a real rarity in my hectic reading world these days. I made an exception for this one because I simply couldn’t resist Great Polar Bear by Carolyn Lesser. I will post my thoughts about it in the next couple of days.
Still on its way (but now somewhat delayed) is Turn a Blind Eye, the first in a forthcoming series of crime novels set in East London, written by Vicky Newham. It has already been optioned for TV by Playground Entertainment.
* How to Read a Novel *
I am rather excited to have signed up for a four-week course with the University of Edinburgh on the subject of How to Read a Novel. Please look out for updates outlining my progress (or otherwise) at the end of each module. >> Discover what I will be reading >>
* Ulysses Readlong *
How many of you have read the whole of James Joyce’s modernist novel, Ulysses? Not me, I’m ashamed to say. First published in Paris by Sylvia Beach in 1922, after being serialised in the American journal, The Little Review, it chronicles the wanderings of Dublin dweller Leopold Bloom over a single day: 16th June 1904. This date has since been immortalized as Bloomsday and celebrated by Joyce devotees around the world since 1924.
Throughout February, Melissa at Avid Reader’s Musings has been attempting to work her way through this notoriously tricky, stream-of-consciousness, 730 to 900-odd page tome (depending on the version you choose to read). By her own admission she’s no Joyce scholar, and she’s been “intimidated by Ulysses for as long as [she] can remember.” She has, however, been boldly hosting this latest literary jolly, naming her quest #FebBloom, and has invited others to join her in “tackling the beast.”
Melissa writes: “The book is broken into three sections and 18 episodes. Each one is written in a wildly different style. It’s loosely based on Homer’s Odyssey, but instead of ancient Greece, the story follows one man […] around Dublin.”
This “laid back” reading challenge has attracted other participants. You can see how well Adam at Roof Beam Reader has been getting on from his most recent post: Joyce’s Ulysses: Episodes 13-18 #FebBloom.
* Fifty Post Mark *
Last week I received a notice from WordPress with the message: ‘Congratulations on writing 50 posts on Book Jotter!’ It arrived with one of those little disc-shaped award-type thingies. I also acquired a similar badge several days earlier for getting 1,000 likes, but it slipped by without me noticing until today. I suppose these are milestones of a sort, so I must be more observant in future.
* Fab Features *
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:
The Guardian: Memento Mori is brilliantly sharp, but is it too cruel? – This week in the Muriel Spark Reading Group: “Muriel Spark’s tale of decrepit characters being rudely reminded of their mortality has been branded ‘gerontophobic’. But it is wickedly entertaining.”
THE OMNIVORE: The Call For Diversity In Children’s Literature – “Facing mounting criticism, publishers of children’s books are looking for new ways to broaden the genre’s horizons.”
THE BOOKSELLER: Penguin pop-up shop to be stocked solely by women writers – Penguin is launching a pop-up bookshop in March stocked exclusively with books by women authors.
The Millions: In Praise of Unfinished Novels – Some novels left unfinished by authorial death are also some of those writers’ most interesting works.
BOOKWITTY: Literary Lives: Five Great Biographies of Famous Authors – R. William Attwood recommends five biographies that invite you into the lives and times of famous writers, and attempts to penetrate the mystery of artistic creation.
Signature: A Look Back at The Feminine Mystique, Which Turns 55 This Year – Fifty-five years after Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique was written, gender equality remains a worthy but elusive goal on the American landscape, says Lisa Rosman.
The Paris Review: Twelve Illustrated Dust Jackets – The middle of the twentieth century marked a high point for illustrated dust jackets. See a selection of these covers with captions provided by Martin Salisbury.
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 British expression: ‘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.